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Authors: Golden Angel

Tags: #whipping, #domestic discipline, #figging, #anal play, #spankings, #birching

Claiming His Wife

BOOK: Claiming His Wife
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Claiming His Wife

By Golden Angel

Published by G. Angel at
Smashwords

 

Copyright 2013 G. Angel

 

This ebook is licensed for
your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or
given away to other people. If you would like to share this book
with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each
recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or
it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to
Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting
the hard work of this author.

There are many people I need to thank
for helping me with this book:

Katherine, my longest beta reader, who
always keeps me on track and motivated.

Sir Nick, for providing the badly
needed male perspective.

Marie and Chelle, my two new beta
readers, who gave such great insights about both the characters and
the plot.

Marie S., for taking the time out of
her busy schedule to help me with the editing… she caught a ton of
the mistakes that I and others didn’t and I can’t thank her enough
for her attention to detail and thoroughness. It’s almost
impossible for any book to be perfect, but I know this is the
closest any of my books have ever come thanks to her!

And, as always, my husband. Who is
awesome.

Chapter 1

An hour into their
carriage ride, Grace's body was still reverberating with shock.
 Shock, betrayal and the smallest kernel of fear.  All
emotions that, at this point in her life, she'd thought herself to
be far beyond.  She'd truly believed that she'd already lost
her faith in people, that nothing they could do would surprise her,
and that she couldn’t be hurt again.  It had taken her
estranged husband less than an hour to show her
differently.

It was fitting, perhaps,
since he was the one who had taught her the meaning of betrayal in
the first place.  Not that he'd meant to.  But she could
still hear the words, ringing in her ears, like poison in her
heart.

One woman is as good as
another for a wife... and, thanks to you, Grace's dowry made her
especially useful as mine.

If one woman was truly as
good as another, then why wasn't her husband letting
her
go and contracting a
marriage with a better one? A less embarrassing one?  She
looked outside the window, relieved that she couldn't see his
straight-backed form on his horse.  It would have been too
tempting to throw something at his bloody stubborn head.
 
One woman is as good as
another
... it was a chant that swam round
her head, one that had tormented her for months when she'd first
left Alex.

Well he'd certainly proved
it, time and again, with one woman after another.  A few
months after she’d left him, she had just started feeling
worthwhile again, enjoying the flirtations and words of men who
thought she was beautiful, who thought she was desirable.  Men
who appreciated her for more than a business deal with her father.
 Then Alex had started his affairs, crushing what little had
been left of her heart as he replaced her in his bed and divesting
her of her last forlorn hope that perhaps she’d somehow
misunderstood.  Grace had faced down more than one of his
lovers, who taunted her and flaunted his relations with them in her
face.  The women of the
ton
 were catty and cruel,
especially in the face of Grace's youth and beauty.  They'd
been gleeful that the young, stunning bride, a Diamond of the First
Water, had been replaced in her husband's bed by them.
 

That's when Grace had
finally succumbed to her first rake.  At least there she'd
chosen wisely.  The young Marquess of Hartington had been
nursing his own broken heart when he'd seduced her.  There had
been no expectation of a future for either of them, no painful
emotions, just a joining between sympathetic souls and a great deal
of pleasure.  It was empty pleasure, nothing like the joyful
passion she'd found in Alex's arms, but it had healed something
inside of her.  A belief in herself, the confidence of knowing
she was desirable… and the broken edges of her heart hadn't felt
quite so sharp after that.

That was the first lesson
she'd learned from her lovers; that there was still pleasure to be
found in the world.  That lesson led to many others, and
eventually she'd begun to hope perhaps she had a chance for love in
her life after all.  Just not with her husband.  Grace
wanted him to divorce her, and then she could make her way to
America or the Continent to start anew.  Some of the gossip
would follow her, but maybe not all.  Paris would probably be
particularly welcoming of a young, scandalous beauty.  Their
nobility wasn’t nearly as stuffy as London’s, from what she heard,
in Paris scandal made a woman more desirable.

"Bastard," she muttered
under her breath as her husband, seated handsomely upon his horse,
dropped back into view, riding just a bit ahead of her carriage.
Her hand twitched and if there had been a small enough object
within reach, she definitely would have thrown it.

Immediately Rose, her
maid, looked up from the shirt she was stitching.  Grace
glared, filling her eyes with the hate and fury and frustration
that were consuming her, and Rose dropped her gaze back down.
 At one time, Grace had considered Rose almost a friend,
despite the difference in their stations.  She had used Alex's
money to pay the girl an outrageous wage, given her all sorts of
privileges, and had even confided in her often.  Now she knew
that Rose was just another spy in her household.

Just like Peters.

Blinking away tears, Grace
looked back out the window.  That betrayal might hurt the
worst.  She'd always considered the butler to be her anchor,
her haven.  He guarded her home and kept the gossipmongers and
dangerous roués away.  But this morning he'd not only let Alex
in, he'd instructed the household to pack her bags, and he'd been
instrumental in getting her out the door and into Alex's carriage.
 He’d been apologizing the entire time as she'd wept and
raged, but his true loyalty had been revealed; Peters belonged to
the man with the stony face who'd watched the proceedings and then
stepped forward to give her a single stinging slap on her rump.
 She'd felt the blow even through the layers of her skirts and
she'd been aghast, as he ordered her to stop heaping abuse on
Peters.

One woman is as good as
another.

Why had he come back for
her?  Why did he want reconciliation instead of divorce?
 It couldn't be for the deal between him and her father
anymore.  Grace was quite sure that would continue no matter
what; it had proved most profitable for both of them.  Even if
Alex divorced her, her father wouldn't back out of it; he'd
basically disowned Grace when she'd left Alex's
residence.

The day she’d left her
husband, she’d made the mistake of trying to return to her father's
house, and been rewarded with a split lip for her troubles.
 There had never been any love there, but she'd still somehow
thought that her father might at least shelter her for a night
while she decided what to do, where to go.  Instead she'd
spent the night in a hotel, eventually paid for by Alex, nursing
both her broken heart and her wounded lip.  The only thing
that surprised her was that her father hadn't eventually come after
her, demanding that she return to Alex and stop sullying her
family's honor by her behavior. 

Perhaps he'd felt that completely
distancing himself from her was enough, since she and Alex were
still technically married.  

At least Alex continued to
provide for her.  She didn't know why, but she didn't
particularly care either. Some form of guilt, perhaps, or maybe
just to keep up appearances.  It had kept her from having to
contemplate less savory options for survival.  Finances seemed
to be the only thing he understood, the only thing that truly
mattered to him.  Since Grace was no longer of any use to him,
she truly didn't understand why he didn't trade her out for a more
willing wife.

******

Around midday, Alex called
a halt for a meal.  After riding all morning in the hot sun,
hoping to give his wife some time to cool down after her rage this
morning, he was feeling in dire need of sustenance.  Perhaps
it would also help give him the fortitude to get in the carriage
and ride with Grace for the afternoon. He needed to do it at some
point.  Bath was several days away and he didn't intend to
spend the entirety of the journey on his horse.  While he was
certainly hardy enough to, he hoped that he and Grace could at
least begin to repair their relationship before reaching Bath and
their friends.  That required being in the same space.
Besides, it was never good to let a woman stew with her own
thoughts for too long. Especially if those thoughts were already
bound to be belligerent.

As she swanned out of the
carriage, lips pursed, refusing to look at him, he sighed
internally.  She certainly hadn't softened since this morning.
 Although her eyes were still a bit red-rimmed from weeping,
she looked as beautiful and unapproachable as a marble statue.
 Not at all like the laughing young woman he'd married.
 It made his chest ache as he wondered if he’d truly been the
reason behind the death of that laughter.

Sometimes he wondered if
it hadn't been him at all, if perhaps there had been some other
reason for her disaffection.  The day she’d left him, she’d
called them both fools.  The rest of her words had been
broken, disjointed, thrown at him between tears and raging insults,
and he still didn't know what he, or they, had done that was so
foolish. Back then, he hadn’t cared; he’d been too affronted by her
insults and too hurt by the fact that she’d left him without any
warning.

As Grace swept into the
inn, her maid, Rose, trailed behind her.  The young woman
caught his eye and grimaced before following Grace through the
door.  Alex knew that the two had had a very strong
relationship, the kind of trust that was necessary between a lady
and a maid.  He supposed he was to blame for ruining that
too.

Going into the inn, he
arranged for a meal and a private dining room for them.
 Partly so that he could at least try and speak with Grace,
partly because he didn't want anyone to witness the outburst that
he was sure must be boiling.  During their short marriage,
Grace had never been one to bottle up her emotions.  From what
he'd observed since she’d left him that was no longer true, but
this morning had been an exception to that.  Perhaps this
afternoon would be too.

Hell, he almost wished she would rage
at him again, instead of doing this damnable impression of an ice
princess.

"I ordered us some food
and wine," he said as he walked into the room where Grace was
already settling herself down at the table.  He looked at Rose
and tilted his head towards the door, dismissing her.  For
just a moment he thought he saw a flash of anger in Grace's eyes as
his presumptuousness, but then it was gone and she was back to
staring at him blankly.  After her fury this morning, he was
all set for another scene, but instead she'd withdrawn inside
herself again.  Placing his hat down on the table, he sat
across from her, studying her face.  Grace looked over his
shoulder, staring resolutely at the wall.

The idea of spanking her,
as his friends had suggested, was becoming more and more appealing.
 Heating her bottom might break through some of that ice.
Unfortunately, he didn’t really think he could stomach spanking her
just to make her talk to him. He didn’t want to discipline her
unless she’d actually done something to earn it.

The door behind him
opened, admitting the innkeeper, who fluttered around them with
their midday meal.  Alex pasted a smile on his face, something
he rarely expended the energy to do, and assured the man that the
repast of meats and cheeses, with a small plate of fruit, was quite
enough for both him and the lady.  Anxious to please, the
innkeeper poured their wine with a flourish and then hurried away,
obviously picking up on Alex's desire to be left in
peace.

Having a third party there
certainly helped to ease the tension for a few minutes; the second
the innkeeper left the room, the air seemed to thicken and Alex
could feel his stomach churning with anxiety.  Kidnapping his
wife in order to force reconciliation sounded quite easy in theory,
but in actuality, the reconciliation part was going to be anything
but.

BOOK: Claiming His Wife
10.7Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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