Glenash Village, Scotland, 1877
Catriona was impaled on two cocks at the same time, a fact which greatly surprised her, given it was not how she had expected to spend the evening when she had come to Bradleigh Manor earlier today on an errand. By rights, she should be at home in her own bed right now, not being utterly debauched and deflowered by three English Lords.
Her eyes were half-closed and she shook as little sparkles of light seemed to radiate through her body from Raleigh’s finger stroking her clit, while she suckled on Wyndham’s cock as though it were filled with sweet ambrosia. The salty, musky taste wasn’t something she’d expected, but as he thrust into her mouth, she found the flavour was not unpalatable by any means.
Wolfgang stepped forward and took her hand in his, placing it gently on his cock. Trying to pay attention to all three men at once was difficult, but she managed to wrap her hand around his hard shaft, hoping she wasn’t squeezing him too hard. She held him without moving her hand at all, unsure what to do next.
“Slide your hand up and down, like this,” Wolfgang guided her hand with his own, and she enjoyed moving her hand over him in a way that seemed to make him harder than ever.
Little droplets of liquid seeped from his tip, but she ignored it, not caring that her hand was getting wet, while she continued to move her hand slowly over him.
At the same time, Raleigh was stretching her in a way that was almost painful, and an intense pressure was building deep inside her. She needed some sort of release, but her only uncertainty was, would the three men permit it, or would they make her wait?
She wasn’t sure she could stop herself from coming apart very soon. Oh, this really wasn’t what she’d expected to do today. Her attention was drawn firmly to the three men, as one of them pinched her nipples and she squeaked in surprise.
Twelve hours earlier
“I don’t understand. How can I smooth this over for you?” Catriona was perplexed. She stood in her father’s office, in the Village Hall, and inhaled deeply. When her ribcage pressed tightly against her corset, she felt calmer and more confident. However anxious she might be on the inside, that corset always held her together, so she could show her best face to the rest of the world. The other women of the village disapproved of her bringing modern city styles to Glenash, but Catriona was certain she would have ended up in an asylum long ago if it wasn’t for the support of an extensive network of whalebone surrounding her like the suits of battle armor that knights of old used to wear.
“You’re a lovely young lassie, Catriona,” Mayor Keeghan MacAllen said gently. “I’m certain you’ll think of something. Distract Lord Wyndham Bradleigh from what happened. Throw yourself on his mercy if you have to. We need to ensure we don’t incur his ire.”
Catriona ought to be surprised that her father was sending her to flirt with the aristocrat who took up residence in the village two summers in a row. Last year, Lord Wyndham had come to Glenash alone, and moved into his father’s country estate, three miles out from the village, staying all through the winter season.
The third son of a Duke, Lord Wyndham was the object of much gossip and speculation, on account of being in possession of a vast fortune, if no real title or lands, and every woman in the village would be dying to know what the inside of his spacious manor house was like. Catriona knew rumors would fly if she went there.
Being the mayor’s daughter, Catriona was constrained by rules other people in the village didn’t need to follow. Her father never allowed her to go out by herself, and he had engaged a chaperone to ensure her conduct was without reproach. She rarely got to speak to anyone, because she was almost without peer in Glenash.
None of the local hunters or fishermen were interested in marrying her, which was just fine, because she planned to never marry. Men died so easily she didn’t understand why any woman allowed herself to grow attached. It would only end in pain. In a village full of comfortably-dressed, easy-going women, Catriona’s corset protected her from any danger of marriage. Who would marry a prickly, disinterested young woman when they could find someone warm and sweet with little effort?
As her thoughts drifted to marriage, Catriona was reminded of the abject futility of life. People got married, produced children, who grew up and got married, to produce more children… what was the point of it all? The emptiness momentarily gripped her chest once more and she breathed in deeply, until the whalebone dug into her ribcage much harder than before. The pain, the constriction… they were more powerful than smelling salts.
“Catriona! Do try and keep up! Leave now, and you’ll return before sunset. You must smooth things over with the duke’s son. We cannae have him thinkin’ we’re all a bunch o’ thieves, lassie!” Her father slipped into his Highland accent, which he always did when he was deeply concerned about something.
“I’m sorry, father. I will do my best for you.” Catriona wanted to do nothing less than she wanted to visit a lord, but she bowed her head and went to find someone to drive the pony trap, so she could begin this fool’s errand. With any luck, she’d be back in time for dinner.
“Ah, the country air. It’s so refreshing after choking on the smog of the city, is it not?” Lord Wyndham Bradleigh, third son of the Duke of Ribbleston, stretched his arms out to demonstrate how much space he was surrounded by. He felt the tension of the past fortnight ebbing away and he filled his lungs with more of the sweet, clean air.
Beside him, Raleigh Carlyle, Viscount of Castlereagh, surveyed the landscape.
“The hills are a fine change,” Raleigh commented. Wyndham eyed his friend with some amusement. Raleigh’s dark hair contrasted with Wyndham’s golden hair. Raleigh had long sideburns in the modern style, where Wyndham had no patience for any kind of facial hair, and shaved to his ears every day.
“Weren’t you born here?”
Wyndham and Raleigh turned to their other companion, Count Wolfgang Ludovich, Graf of Lefsburg, a small area in an obscure part of Austro-Hungary. His hair was light blond, and it matched his clear complexion and pale blue eyes. His brow line was straighter and more pronounced than Wyndham’s, but otherwise, they might have been mistaken for cousins.
“Indeed, I was born on this very estate,” Wyndham replied.
“And I was brought into the world in Fort William, although it was almost thirty years ago, and I remember nothing of it.” Raleigh’s father and Wyndham’s had been hunting companions, back in their younger days.
“Anyway, this certainly is an improvement on the social scene,” Wolfgang said.
“If I had to endure another ball with those pasty-faced waifs swooning everywhere, I might have been driven to bedlam,” Wyndham agreed.
“Two years in a row they were an especially bad crop of debutantes,” Wolfgang added.
“Anyway, we can put the whole shoddy business out of our minds, now. Which way are the hounds?” Raleigh asked.
“Over there.” Wyndham began walking across the rolling lawns of Bradleigh House to show his friends the dogs. Wyndham was rather proud of his prize hounds. He hadn’t seen them since last year, and looked forward to a reunion. Dogs were always so happy to see their master.
Wyndham opened the gate to the kennels and paused. It was oddly silent.
“Is the kennel master taking them for a constitutional?” Raleigh asked.
Wyndham frowned and walked further inside. Every kennel was empty. In a swirl of concern, he ran to the kennel master’s lodge and hammered on the door.
“Angus!” Wyndham shouted.
“Aye, sir?” The pasty-faced youth seemed to blanche more than he’d already done, and Wyndham knew something was deeply amiss.
“Where are my hounds?” Wyndham tried to keep his voice steady.
“Uh… well, y’see…” the youth trailed off and his white face had now turned a deep crimson.
“I want to see them within the hour.” Wyndham decided Angus needed some time to compose himself. Pressuring him to make the dogs re-appear or to explain himself wasn’t going to help matters. After clearing his throat, Wyndham turned back to the main house, followed by Wolfgang and Raleigh.
“Do you really believe the hounds will be back in an hour?” Raleigh asked.
Wyndham shook his head. “No. But I’m hoping by then our kennel master has overcome his selective muteness and put together a rather good explanation.”
“Whether or not that explanation reveals the location of the hounds remains to be seen,” Wolfgang added.
They entered through the French doors that led from the terrace to Wyndham’s drawing room. With no women around, he was using it as an office. Almost immediately, they were found by Palfreyman the butler.
“There is a young woman to see you, sir.”
“Unannounced? Who is she?”
“Miss Catriona MacAllen, daughter of Lord Mayor Keeghan MacAllen.”
Wyndham frowned. The mayor wasn’t ex officio any sort of peer; the title was bestowed on him for the duration of his time as leader of Glenash. Still, it grated on Wyndham that the Lord Mayor’s daughter wasn’t viewed as a Lady, and he didn’t know why that ought to bother him.
“Send her in,” he said after a moment’s thought.