The Blackhouse Bride

Bridie is the daughter of a farrier on an estate near Aberdeen, in Scotland. Her father wants her to marry his apprentice; Lord John Dunwoodie wants her to become his mistress. All Bridie wants is to read books and study.

To escape marriage to a loutish farrier or ruin in the arms of a dilettante aristocrat, Bridie accepts a proposal from a man she has never met. A man who, above all, says he wants an educated wife. But Angus MacAllister is steward or ‘tacksman’ of a remote Highland township, and Bridie is used to the comforts of a great estate. Life in a blackhouse comes as a shock.

Can Bridie learn to be a good wife, and can she ever grow to love the man she married out of desperation?

*Publisher Warning: This book contains scenes of disciplinary spanking of adult women, intended purely as fantasies for adults only.

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Sample Chapter

Bridie knew she had made a mistake even before he reached around her waist and pushed the door closed with a soft but definite click.

“Ah now,” said Lord John Dunwoodie, younger brother of the present Marquess of Crieff, fifth son of the late Marquess, and author of Songs of Innocence and Despair – a slim volume of sonnets, printed in quarto at his own expense – “we are quite alone at last.”

It was late afternoon, and the small dressing room – an ante-chamber to the bedroom beyond – was filled with early summer sunshine. Even in her panic, as she backed against the door and tried to grope for the handle behind her, Bridie could see that she was in a comfortable, masculine room, equipped with a mirror and a wardrobe and a rack for hanging ties and a stand below the window for shaving. And there was a small leather couch, the kind she thought was called a chaise longue.

There were no books that she could see at first glance. An interior door stood open, and beyond that she glimpsed a much larger room, and the outer post of a bed.

“My lord,” she managed to gasp. “Please, I must return to my mistress – ”

“Not yet. Not for a little while yet. Ah, Bridie – have you any idea how fervently I’ve longed for this moment?”

He made a grab for her, and she found herself clasped in his arms before she could make any decisive move to escape. His mouth was hot and hard and urgent on hers.

It was not the first time she had been kissed. The first time had been Robbie Johnson, the baker’s apprentice, who had persuaded her the previous summer to walk with him down the lane to the oldest tree in the village and there, under its ancient spreading branches, clumsily and wetly planted his lips to hers. She remembered how he had trembled, and how his whole face had glowed as red as an apple, and how he had stammered out his declaration of love and offered her his damp, yeasty hand in marriage.

She had been taken off guard that first time, but she had also been conscious of a certain intellectual curiosity. She had wanted to know for herself what it was that had inspired the great poets, the dramatists, even the authors of novels. She found it hard to believe that the sublime transports of passion, the love of Romeo for Juliet, of Dante for Laura, could begin with this sweaty squashing of mouths. She had soon removed herself from the danger of any repeated importunity from Robbie Johnson, and declined his suit perhaps a little too sharply.

Lord John was as far away from poor Robbie Johnson as Milton’s poetry was from the pedestrian verse in the Kirk hymnal. It was as if he were another species of animal entirely, cut from different stuff. She smelled spices, an exotic scent, as he trapped her in his arms and held her commandingly against his whole body.

Just for a moment, she weakened. She had struggled and held herself rigid, but as he would not let her go, and as he would not stop the bruising kiss, she felt herself begin to melt in the heat of his embrace. She relaxed against him, she parted her lips and let his tongue slide between them.

His hand went to her bosom, and squeezed.

No!”

With all her strength, with all her fading sense, she threw him off.

He was not a particularly big man, and she was a well-grown girl, as tall as him. She had felt the strength in his imprisoning arms, and truthfully had found it just a little thrilling, but if she struggled she had the power to throw him off. Or perhaps, he was letting her escape for the moment. Certainly, he grinned as he staggered back from her, then made another lunge.

But she had given herself the moment she needed. Her fumbling fingers found the handle, and she was gone through the door before he could trap her in the room again.

“Bridie! I say, come back here, young lady! Bridie! I haven’t given you that book!”

She ran full pelt along the corridor, fearful that he would give actual pursuit. The appearance at the top of the connecting staircase of Marchbanks, one of the senior footmen, made her skid to a guilty halt.

“What is the meaning of this?” Marchbanks demanded, glaring at her.

“I’m sorry,” Bridie mumbled.

“Bridie, isn’t it?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And what do you think you’re about, girl, being in this part of the house at this time of the day, all on your own and running around like a wild thing?”

Bridie was just trying to work out whether it was worth attempting a lie, to say that her ladyship had sent her on an errand, when Lord John strode down the corridor towards them and laid a hand on her shoulder.

Marchbanks immediately stood back and bowed.

“Don’t row the girl, my good man,” said Lord John easily. “She’s with me.”

“Yes, my lord,” said Marchbanks, keeping his gaze respectfully lowered.

“I invited her to my rooms, to lend her a book. Bridie here is a great scholar. Are not you, my dear?”

Bridie could form no reply. Her heart had begun to hammer, her throat squeezed. But momentarily paralysed as she was, she did not miss the quick upward glance of Marchbank’s eyes. She saw the footman take in his lordship’s hand pressing into the exposed flesh of her shoulder, she saw the sly twitch of his lips before he composed his features to blank servility once more.

A hot wave of shame flooded up through her, making her face – her very ears – burn as red as flame. By nightfall, or sooner, the whole servants’ hall would think that Bridie MacFarlane had surrendered her virtue to Lord John. His lordship had not been back at home long enough to make any new conquests that Bridie knew of, and she had only been at Dunwoodie herself for six months before his return from Italy, but even in her own home in the village of Bridge of Auchtie she had heard tales of how the old Marquess’s fifth son regularly despoiled housemaids and other serving-girls. It would be believed, she had no doubt, and her reputation would be in danger.

“Come then,” Lord John added, with a warm grin. He really was a very handsome man, and his smile – like a cheeky boy’s – was perhaps his most attractive feature. “I believe I’ve found the volume now.” He squeezed her collarbone gently.

“Excuse me, my lord,” she said, mustering all her resolve and breaking free. “I must return to my mistress.”

She dropped a clumsy curtsy and stumbled away, down the stairs, towards the east wing upper hall and the safety of the Marchioness’s sitting room.

This time, he did not pursue.

 

 

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The small upper east sitting room, known to the servants simply as ‘her ladyship’s room’, was pretty and airy and filled with light. It had been newly furnished the year before, when the Marquess – then, merely Lord Atholl – had brought his beautiful and highly eligible bride home to Dunwoodie House.

Bridie slipped in quietly, her heart still thumping hard in her breast. She was sure that her face, too, must still be flushed.

The Marchioness of Crieff was dozing on the sofa near the open window, which let in soft summer air and the sweet sound of birdsong. A book was lying open in one senseless hand, her other was resting on the great swell beneath her white muslin gown. Bridie moved quickly to catch the book, which was just about to slip to the floor, and her mistress stirred and blinked sleepily.

“Oh! Bridie. I must have fallen asleep. What is the time?”

“Not much past four o’clock by the clock in the hallway, my lady.”

“Oh good, there is still plenty of time before dressing. Would you read the rest of this chapter to me? I cannot seem to concentrate on it. Then perhaps we might take a turn around the terrace.”

“Yes, my lady,” Bridie mumbled, and got back to her customary seat before Lady Crieff could notice anything amiss about her demeanour.

But it was too late. A tear had escaped one eye, and she could feel it rolling treacherously down her hot cheek. The Marchioness noticed, as she noticed everything.

“Why, my dear, you are distressed! What is the matter, Bridie?” She shifted upwards on the sofa, awkward with the bulk of the child, and held out her hand to her.

Bridie went to her and let her take it, and curtseyed. “Please, my lady, it is nothing. Nothing of import. I am – a little homesick, perhaps. I was thinking of my father.”

She blushed anew at being obliged to lie so shamelessly. The last thing she wanted to do was to return to live under her father’s roof, to the house by the forge where she had been dutiful but unhappy mistress since the age of eight. She respected her father, of course; he was a virtuous and pious, if not very kind man, and she asked every night in her prayers that the Almighty might make her a better daughter in her heart, but she could never be anything other than miserable at home.

Her mistress’s lovely face softened further. “Of course. Of course you must miss him very much. Now listen, my dear. This Sunday you must go and visit him. I will have Ritchie take you in the cart.”

“Oh! No, my lady, it is not so far, I can walk there quite easily.”

“No doubt.” She smiled. “But if I send you in the cart, I may fetch you back again as I will. I cannot do without you for long.”

“Yes, my lady. I do not need to go at all, if you need me here.”

“It is settled. Now, please, the end of the chapter. I must find out whether Lord Waverley is deceiving Clarabelle, though I expect he is. Why do I enjoy this trash? It would be excellent if for once, the aristocratic gentleman turned out not to be a vile seducer. Some of my dearest friends are aristocratic gentlemen, and I cannot say that any of them have ever attempted to ruin me.” She smiled at her own pleasantry, stretched out luxuriantly, and closed her eyes.

Bridie’s answering smile was fleeting. She hung her head over the pages of the novel, for a moment seeing no words through a blur of fresh tears. She could not tell the Marchioness, whom she adored, about her brother-in-law’s importunities. It would be disrespectful towards Lord John to carry tales of his private conduct to the mistress of the house, and she did not want to trouble or distress Lady Crieff in any way when she was so near to her confinement.

Nor could she bear her mistress to think ill of her. Bridie knew it was scarcely rational, but she found that she was ashamed; ashamed of the way her body had responded with a flush of excitement when he had pressed his own so insistently against it, ashamed of the very fact of having drawn his lordship’s notoriously lascivious eye.

How could she continue to say no to his advances, when he might summon her on a pretext at any time? How would she continue to have the strength to say no, when his mouth tasted of fire and his touch set her heart hammering?

Only fleeing Dunwoodie House could keep her virtue safe, but she had nowhere else to go but her father’s house. And she had a very particular reason for not wanting to end up back there.

What was she going to do?

 

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