Here is an excerpt:
[By way of background Jessica is a Federation agent from the starship Bellera sent to Pendragon under cover to guard Penelope who is on a journey to a distant land to be married to Prince Edward of New Norfolk. In this scene the wedding caravan under command of Prince Alfred, Penelope's brother, has stopped for the night]
“This stream has a natural hot spring less than half a mile from this clearing,” Bethany said. “I’ve been here before with my family and my father took us there.”
“A hot spring?” Penelope was clearly excited.
“Yes. In a big pool. Have you ever been in a hot spring?”
Penelope shook her head.
“It’s wonderful. It’s warm and just heavenly. We could all go,” she said.
Penelope’s eyes lit up. “Yes, yes. Let’s go, at once. I can hardly wait to get out of these rank clothes and bathe. You do know the way, don’t you, Bethany?”
“Of course. There is a trail just up by the stream. You follow that and you’re there in no time.”
Jessica had heard enough. This was a very bad idea. Penelope had, of course, been forbidden by her father and Alfred to leave the caravan at any time. And Alfred had established a rule that no female was to leave his camp without an armed male escort. But her father was with the decoy caravan. Maybe she could talk them out of it.
“Uh, we were told to stay in camp,” said Jessica. “It could be dangerous in the forest. Aren’t there wild animals?” Jessica was actually more worried about a possible attack of some sort.
“It’s Jessica again,” sighed Penelope. “What are you, our nursemaid? Don’t you want to get clean? How can you stand yourself after riding all day in that sweaty carriage?”
“No,” said Bethany, smirking. “She’s scared. Are you scared, Jessica? Or maybe you’re afraid Alfred will be angry. Always the obedient one, aren’t you?”
It was true. Appearing more mature, as her cover required, Jessica was regarded as a stick-in-the-mud compared to the young flighty girls who surrounded Penelope. It sometimes felt more like being a keeper instead of a handmaid.amBut her mission demanded it. She’d try to talk them out of it, but no matter what, she’d stick to Penelope like glue, even if it meant disobeying Alfred’s orders about caravan safety. But what would he do then? Jessica wondered. She felt a shiver of arousal as she contemplated the likely punishment. She’d be as guilty as any of them. And, having seen how casually women were corrected on Pendragon, she wondered what a more intimate punishment might feel like. The whip had been bad. But a man’s hand smacking her ass? A man like Alfred? She rubbed her arms to suppress the goosebumps.
“Come or stay, Jessica. We are going,” said Penelope. “But don’t you dare tell or I’ll have Dame Frances take a switch to you.” Dame Frances was a housekeeper and nominally responsible for oversight of FPenelope’s entourage on this trip. From what Jessica had observed, Penelope’s threat was not an idle one.
The plan they hatched was to sneak out, one at a time, and head up the trail. It all happened too fast. One by one, they slipped out of the back of the pavilion. Jessica had no choice. She followed. Well perhaps this will give me a clue as to who the spy might be, she thought. Alfred has to know where we are. She scribbled a hasty message to Alfred and left it pinned under a rock at the entrance to their quarters.
Alfred rendezvoused with Edward deeper in the forest. Edward had taken the opportunity to hunt and kill a large boar-like creature, reputedly good to eat. “The men will enjoy this,” he said. “It will take some of the drudgery out of this trek.”
“Drudgery?” chided Alfred, who was in good spirits. “You are marrying my sister. There is no drudgery, yet. But just wait. You still have to tame the little fox.”
“Yes, I can see what awaits me, but by God, man, she is lovely. Your sister is indeed a beautiful woman.”
Alfred flashed a thin smile, all the while shaking his head. “Yes, beautiful. But willful, spoiled, bratty …” He started to tick things off on his fingers.
“I’ll manage, I think,” said Edward as they rode side by side. “You say your father dotes on her.”
“That he does. After her mother died, no one could lay a hand on her. Not me, not her governesses, teachers, and certainly not my father. No matter what mischief she got up to. It was always somebody else who got punished.”
“Hmm. Sorry my friend, but once we are wed, that changes. I know she’s your sister, but in New Norfolk things are a bit different.”
“You’ll get no fight from me on that score. Penelope is years overdue to be taken in hand. What the girl needs is a well-warmed bottom.”
“We’ll see, my friend. But I’ll save that discussion for later.” At that, Edward spurred his horse forward and Alfred followed in pursuit.
Jessica didn’t like the looks of the place. It was hemmed in by high rock walls in a narrow canyon. The stream entered the canyon at the edge of the forest and flowed into a natural pool formed by rocks. Penelope and the other girls had made their way up stream to the natural rock pool which was fed by an underwater hot spring. So while Penelope and her ladies were tossing their clothes off, Jessica was looking around, assessing the threat level. There were plenty of places from which an attack could come.
As Bethany had promised, the pool was delightful. The sounds of water cascading over rocks in the canyon was soon joined by the sounds of the girls giggling and splashing. Clothes were strewn all over the rocks. A few of the maids were nude, including Penelope, and Jessica could not help but notice the sexy curves on the girl. But of course they were all beautiful. What did Alfred think about her? She was leaner, more muscled and fit as a result of her training and physical regimen. Did he find that attractive? She wondered.
Back at camp Alfred dismounted and made his way toward Penelope’s pavilion with the intent of checking on her. He ran into one of the ladies’ mistresses, Dame Frances.
“Prince Alfred, sir. Come quickly!” She was clearly agitated.
Alfred felt alarm. What was this?
“They are gone.” The woman’s expression clearly projected worry.
“What do you mean, gone?”
“They are not in their quarters or anywhere in camp. I have looked everywhere.”
Alfred brushed by her and ran to Penelope’s tent. She was right. It was deserted. Alfred looked around. What has that girl done now? His only consolation was that Jessica had gone with them. She wouldn’t leave Penelope alone. Then he spied it. A rock right at the tent’s entrance pinning a piece of writing scrip. It bore the words “hot pool—upstream.” That was all. Jessica, he thought. There must have been little time. Who was the damn fool who had suggested this frolic?
Alfred quickly rounded up his knights. “Penelope and her entourage have wandered off,” he told his men. They are upstream a ways. We have to fetch them. There could be all kinds of danger up there, as you know. Let’s go get them before something sneaks up on them. Like a sabertooth or a sloth bear, he thought. Or, worse, an assassin.
Why these addled-headed girls had thought they were immune from the dangers of life in the wild on Pendragon, Alfred didn’t know, but he was going to drag them back, and knock some sense into whoever had proposed it, daughters of noble families or not. Their fathers would thank him.
Edward, coming back from the cooking pavilion, saw Alfred mount his horse in a hurry. “Where are you going?”
“To fetch your bride-to-be,” said Alfred, “before she’s sabertooth food.”
“What are you saying?” said Edward.
“Bring a few men. Follow me.”
Jessica was perched on a rock ledge above the pool, keeping a watchful eye.
Later, recalling the incident, she would speculate that it must have been an intriguing sight that greeted the men as they rode up the path by the stream and the hot spring pool came into view. Half a dozen naked or nearly naked young maidens splashed about in the pool while two others sunned themselves on the rocks. It was as if the men had come upon a bevy of bathing water nymphs, gaily cavorting about.
They all had been oblivious until the knights had entered the clearing encircling the pool. Alfred quietly dismounted and now stood stock still, his arms folded, a frown on his face. Jessica saw him, but did not react, nor did she move to cover herself. It wasn’t in her nature to be ashamed of her own nakedness anyway, and indeed, the thought of displaying herself to Alfred in this state made it exciting. Let him see me, she thought. She was also guessing that a reckoning would be coming for this foolish escapade. Whatever happened, she’d have to play her part without complaint.
One of the girls finally noticed the men and shrieked. Then they all did and panic ensued, complete with yelling and flailing arms as the girls thrashed about. But there was nowhere to go. Alfred just waited until the din died down.
Penelope decided to brazen it out. “One of you, hand me my dress,” she snapped at a nearby knight. “And take your eyes off me, you oaf.” She glared at Alfred, feigning indignance. “Brother, what is the meaning of this? Can’t you see we are bathing? Remove your men so we can climb out of this pool and dress.”
“Oh, you’ll climb out of the pool and dress, sister. But first you’ll tell me whose idea this was.”
For a moment, no one spoke.
“If you must know, it was mine,” Bethany spoke up. “I’ve been here before. With my father and mother. It’s perfectly safe.” But she lowered herself deeper into the pool under Alfred’s angry gaze.
“Your father would have never approved of this, Bethany LeBlanc,” said Alfred. He tossed Penelope her dress. “Put it on and get out,” he said.
As Penelope struggled to get into the dress, which would be soaking, Alfred addressed his men.
“I want you to follow my instructions, men. We are going to teach these young ladies the price of folly. On this trip I am master and responsible for the safety of all. This little jaunt has put these girls at risk and they need to be taught a lesson. The instructions were, no one leaves camp. There are reasons for this. But they disobeyed.”
Each of the ladies looked at each other nervously. They could sense that someone was about to be punished.
“I want each of you to assist one of Penelope’s ladies out of the pool. But they are not to dress. Do it.”
He looked at Bethany. “Except for you, Bethany LeBlanc. I’ll deal with you back at camp.”
There was no help for it. Each girl was seized by one of the men and yanked out of the pool. He tossed Bethany her clothes. “You can watch this for now, but your turn is coming. I’ll have no more disobeying of camp safety on this trip and I don’t care who your fathers are.”
“Gentlemen, find a log or a stump on which to sit. Put your lady across your knee and spank her bottom soundly until I tell you to stop.” At this pronouncement the shrieks started anew and the girls twisted and wiggled in the grasp of their individual captors, trying to escape.
Jessica had sidled up next to Alfred, who looked at her and shook his head. “No. Not you,” he said.
This was the time. Now she would find out what intimate discipline felt like. “But you must,” Jessica whispered. “If I’m spared, they will think I’m special somehow and not to be trusted. I need their trust.” This much was true, but it was only part of what now motivated Jessica. For her attraction to Alfred had grown in the course of the mission. He was unlike any man she’d ever met – strong, assertive and confident. His attitude toward women in particular, typical of the males on Pendragon, was something Jessica had never experienced, but it spoke to her on an atavistic level. She hadn’t had that much experience with the opposite sex to begin with, and the stark difference in the nature of male-female relationships on Pendragon with those in service to the Federation was both intriguing and exciting on a level she didn’t yet understand. But what she understood at this very moment was that she wanted to be treated like a naughty female who had disobeyed her male master and protector. She found the notion of the impending juvenile chastisement distinctly arousing.
Alfred raised his eyebrows at first, but then pursed his lips as if to acknowledge she was right. “I hope you’ll forgive me, but I have to make this convincing,” he whispered. Then he dragged her over to a stump and sat down.
Jessica let herself be upended until she was lying across Alfred’s lap, bottoms up. She was stark naked, a condition she was comfortable with normally, but in this position she felt horribly exposed. Alfred’s hand landed on her bottom with a loud smack. The sting took her breath away. His hand must be huge, she thought. Yow! Ahhh — Owww!
A barrage of methodically applied smacks set her bare bottom on fire. Alfred applied his palm to every inch of Jessica’s bouncing behind, from the tops of her thighs to the crowns of her jiggling bottom cheeks. The brisk smacks jarred her teeth and she flinched as each hearty smack made loud impact with her tender seat.
It’s okay to wriggle, she told herself, gasping. The fact was, she couldn’t help it. The hot sting of his palm was driving her to thrash about, squirming over Alfred’s lap. Alfred’s left arm was a steel band across her back. Her bottom jutted up prominently providing a lush target for his punishing hand. She waved her legs in the air. She clenched and unclenched her bottom cheeks. It was all to no avail. The stinging heat escalated, no matter what she did, and now she ruefully understood why the spanking of a woman’s bottom on this barbaric planet was such an effective punishment. But even as the insufferable heat in her nether cheeks rose, she found her sex responding and she ground her pelvis against Alfred’s knee. Surges of pleasure began to compete with the pain of the spanking. She couldn’t understand why this would be so, but she could not deny it was happening.
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