Waldorf Manor is enchanting. Not just because of the formality of its residents and the privilege of wealth, but because it guards and protects a lifestyle some could easily mistake as traditional. It isn’t traditional to Brayden James, it’s very deliberate. Beyond the protective gates of Waldorf Manor and Barton-Court House are the lives of two men who believe formality and discipline are necessary strongholds in life. Some strongholds, however, can be crippling; especially when they prevent a man from pursuing love. Simultaneously, a thirty-year marriage is hanging by a thread and despite the shell of their lives being moulded by similar wealth and formality, their roots have come undone. The mother of the groom can’t let go of controlling everything around her, and her husband is finally faced with the consequences of his apathy. Either way, there is truth to be spoken, healing to come, love to be shown and plenty of discipline to be administered. (See below for sample extract)
Excerpt: from Chapter 7
“Uncle Brayden phoned me last night,” Bennett said.
Elisabeth set her fork and knife down onto the plate and lay the napkin on the table beside her.
“I shall find it hard to keep my temper if you push me,” she warned, quietly.
“You will find it hard to sit down before we reach the agency,” Bennett replied.
Precisely as foretold, Bennett pulled Elisabeth straight across his knee after breakfast and as soon as the limo door closed. The driver began to pull out of the oblong drive leading out from The Savoy and onto the Strand, and he did so slowly because pedestrians crossed on either side and in front of the car at the end. Anyone standing on the pavement waiting to go past would have easily seen a dark figure through the tinted windows do a repetitive motion and they would have just as easily heard the application of hand to bare bottom as well. And several did as the limo pulled out and moved along with the rest of the busy London traffic.
“How could you punish me on the way there?” Elisabeth asked, as she frowned at the floor of the limo.
“Quite easily, Darling,” he said, as he laid another set of evenly spaced, deliberate smacks to her exposed bottom. “Hold your tongue.”
Elisabeth held her tongue, in fact she nearly bit it right off trying to keep from answering him back. She was redressed and pulled up once he’d delivered a good, thorough dose of smacks and put her to sit beside him on the black leather seat. Bennett immediately turned to her.
“Now,” he started, pointing a finger. “You do not speak to me so abruptly and especially not in public. Your errant behaviour aside during breakfast, you’ve been extremely rude and very short with me from the moment I collected you this morning. I am your fiancé and soon to be your husband and rightfully so, I noticed your tentative behaviour and was concerned, which is why I asked you if everything was all right. You do not jump down my throat, and you most certainly do not tell me you will speak about it later. If I ask it is because I care and I expect an answer.”
Elisabeth frowned back at him, the stinging, throbbing sensation in her bottom felt like a thumping heartbeat. Bennett knew how to deliver a serious spanking that didn’t fade for hours.
“You are unhappy, I can see it. Why would you hide it from me?” Bennett asked.
She looked away.
“Elisabeth?” he warned.
“It’s nothing. I don’t want to talk about it right now.”
“We cannot possibly walk into our appointment this morning unless this is properly dealt with.”
“Why?” she challenged.
“Elisabeth, I’ve already explained to you exactly why I’m displeased with your behaviour. Beyond that, we are about to walk into a meeting about our wedding. With my mother. You and I need to be on the same side, and I don’t want her to see you upset or in any way distracted. I know her better than you, and I don’t want it used against us.”
“She wouldn’t really do that,” Elisabeth arrogantly replied. Bennett only raised his eyebrow.
“Sir,” the driver said, rolling down the electric window near the front of the limo. “We’re just arriving.”
“We won’t be going inside until I finish dealing with the little madam. I’ll let you know when that is,” Bennett said, to the driver and then looked back at a further frowning Elisabeth.
“Thanks very much,” she replied.
Bennett raised his eyebrows. “Right, I’ve had enough. Back over,” he said, pulling her across his lap.
“I believe the correct response is ‘yes, Sir’, since I don’t endorse the practise of blatant rudeness.”
Bennett pulled Elisabeth’s woollen pea coat and her red velvet pinafore dress up and white tights straight down.
“Bennett, please,” Elisabeth whimpered. “This is a matter of the heart. Please don’t smack me.”
Bennett laughed. “I daresay you expect our children to request something so ridiculous and you expect me to give in, do you?”
Elisabeth sniffed. “That will be different.”
“It isn’t any different. You have been rude, abrupt and naughty; girls who behave in that manner get spanked,” he said, as he began the punishment all over again.
The limo stopped outside of Tweed Events Co. and the driver remained where he was behind the wheel with the engine running, looking ahead so as not to invade his employer’s privacy.
Bennett spanked Elisabeth a good twenty more times and then redressed her and pulled her up to sit beside him on the seat again. She was angry and no tears fell down her cheeks as he’d expected. It worried him slightly to see such a frown on her pretty face.
“Why are you so cross with me? I said I would speak to you, just not during breakfast in public.”
“You seemed quite happy to confide very personal feelings in your Uncle Brayden but not to the man you will soon marry,” Bennett replied, straight.
Elisabeth shook her head. “Really??”
Bennett’s face was enough to tell her she had better get to the point, and quickly.
“Have you any idea how frustrating it is to hear things second hand?” he asked.
“I hadn’t meant to keep anything from you, Bennett. I was in bed. I was tired. It was a long day, and I’d just watched Uncle Brayden dote on Alice for the hundredth time. Then, he tells me that I’m a good friend to her, and oh, what a good Aunty I’ll be. I couldn’t handle it. I just broke down and cried for how pathetic my life has been since before you and Uncle Brayden and this whole world I’m still trying to fit into. He was there and I couldn’t pretend anymore.”
Bennett frowned slightly, watching her, his heart beating faster. He would probably never admit it, but every time Elisabeth was upset he secretly worried she might leave him. Bennett knew he would never find another girl like her, and he had to measure his authority and strict rules with her feelings. She was the love of his life and that meant ensuring she was looked after and disciplined when she deserved it, but he also had to come down to her level and be the one she confided in without fear of reprimand. It wasn’t how he’d expected their relationship to go because he felt he should be rigid at all times but Elisabeth had taught him a lot about love. And if there was anything he had learned about love – it wasn’t angry.
“Pretend what?” Bennett asked.
“That is doesn’t bother me that Alice has a father . . . and I don’t,” Elisabeth said, her eyes filling with tears.