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Submitting to the Baron, Part X



By Em Brown



Table of Contents


A Gentle Warning


Other Works


A Gentle Warning

This serial is intended for readers who enjoy wicked levels of erotica with heavy BDSM elements.

Reading Parts I-IX is recommended.

Part X

Leopold took in Trudie’s trembling lower lip. She had lost weight for her cheeks had not their prior fullness and her arms had thinned. Her gown, with its empire waist, hid her form for the most part, but he hoped her hips, belly, thighs and arse—all the parts he had come to appreciate in their time at Chateau Follet—had not lost their suppleness.

Regardless, he found she looked quite lovely.

“I cannot believe that Diana betrayed me,” Trudie whispered.

They stood the length of the foyer from one another. Having come on horseback, he was still in his riding clothes and likely smelled of horse, but given the circumstances, he had not the time to change to present himself properly.

“She did not,” he told her. “I followed her without her knowledge.”

He wanted to quip that it was gratifying how, in allowing Diana to visit her, Trudie trusted his cousin more than she trusted her husband, but he had no right to such sarcasm.

Sensing that Trudie, like a cornered mouse, wanted to flee, he said gently, “As I am an uninvited guest here, I will not tarry, but would you grace me with your presence for a walk about the garden?”

She lowered her eyes in thought and fidgeted with her fingers. He hoped his assurance that he would not stay would mollify her, but he discerned resistance.

“A brief walk,” he added.

Looking up, she met his gaze. “A brief walk.”

She went to retrieve her bonnet and shawl. Upon her return, he would have offered his arm, but he knew she would not wish to take it. Strolling past him, she headed to the garden. They ambled in silence for several minutes. He looked mostly at her while she looked mostly at the flowers, the sky, and her feet.

Finally, he said, “I begin to think no apology great enough to merit your forgiveness.”

She said nothing.

“But if one such could be had,” he continued, “I would give it in any form you wish, as often as you wish.”

She drew in a long breath as she stared at a bed of flowers. “Apologies cannot undo the past.”

He kept his gaze upon her. “No, they cannot. But they can pave the future.”

“The future,” she echoed with uncertainty.

When she said nothing further, he said, “Yes. You cannot expect to hide away here for the rest of time. You are still my wife.”

Her back straightened. He refrained from pointing out that, as her husband, he had the prerogative to dictate where she resided.

“I will overlook the fact that you have kept your whereabouts secret from me,” he said, “though, as your husband, I have a right to know where you are. But I understand that what happened at Chateau Follet has caused you no small amount of distress.”

She whirled around to face him. “No small amount of distress, sir? I wonder how many wives have suffered what I had?”

“And how many husbands would have banished their wives to a life of poverty for committing adultery?”

Her chest rose and her eyes widened. “Is that what you wish to do?”

He stared deep into her eyes. “I did not mean to threaten you.”

“Certainly I deserve to be banished,” she said, her voice cracking. “If that is what you wish—”

He grasped her by the arm, more tightly than he intended. “I have no such wish. I will not say that the thought never crossed my mind in my angrier moments, but I could not punish you in such a fashion when I was the first to sin.”

She stared at his arm upon her. He could not make out what she felt, so he dropped his hold and retreated a step.

“Your sense of fairness is appreciated,” she acknowledged.

The lack of emotion in her tone riled him. Fairness be damned.

“What I wish,” he stated as calmly as he could, “is for us to move toward forgiveness. You have had ample time to consider it.”

“You wish for me to forgive you for your deception, for the agony you caused me?”

“Yes, and I will forgive your being unfaithful.”

“I did not lay with a man not my husband.”

“No, but you knew not this fact when you gave your body to me, a man known only as a stranger to you.”

“I would not have come near to doing so had you not forced yourself upon me!”

He took a step toward her. “I sought to test you. Do you disavow that you failed?”

She looked down in shame.

“You committed adultery in your heart. No court would absolve the intentions you held.”

“What I did was wrong,” she murmured. “I was wrong to repay your wrong with mine own. For that I am sorry.”

He felt the pressure about his chest decrease. A part of him wanted to reach once more for her, but he did not wish to alarm her.

She looked up at him. “We ought not have married, you and I. Though it was the strongest wish of our families, we are not suited.”

Why did she dwell on what could not be changed? he was about to challenge.

“I would not censure you if you wished to have nothing more to do with me,” she said.

“Quite the contrary,” he disputed. “I expect you to return with me to London tomorrow.”

She was taken aback. “I had no intention of leaving. Mrs. Atwood has graciously allowed me to stay for as long as I wish.”

“With due respect to Mrs. Atwood and her hospitality, I mean to take my wife home.”

“But I have no wish to return to London!”

“How much longer did you intend to stay here?”

“I know not, but I certainly am not prepared to leave on the morrow.”

“You have stayed here long enough.”

“That is your opinion, but I differ—”

“Prolonging your duration here would serve no purpose.”

“You have no assurance of that. Pray do not lord over me as if we were at Chateau Follet!”

With another step, he closed the distance between them. He stared down at her intently, noting her breath had become uneven. “You quite enjoyed my dominance at Chateau Follet.”

She quivered. “You left me little choice!”

He raised his brows. “Did I force pleasure upon you? Did I force you to spend like a wanton?”

She attempted to brush by him, but he caught her around the waist. She struggled against him.

“You could have chosen not to enjoy all that you did,” he told her. The more she writhed to free herself, the more his groin tightened with arousal. “I would hazard that you still enjoy it.”

She pushed against him. “You wish to revel in my disgrace!”

“I wish to exalt it.”

She stopped and stared at him.

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