He touched her cheek lightly. “Why don't you take the night off—go and get some rest.”
Apprehension coursed through her again. “Wh-why? Am I in trouble?”
He smiled slightly. “No, little doll, you're not in trouble.”
“Then what?” She was beginning to gasp for breath again, panic at losing the best shot at freedom she'd had in five years turning her to ice. She needed money—and working the Devil Diggory's brothel was the only way she could earn it.
He shrugged. “You just don't look like you're up to working my floor.”
“The hell I'm not!” she said heatedly, ready to defend her skills and itemize her assets. But Diggory's face turned rigid, his eyebrows rose in a distinct warning, and she realized too late she had broken his rule. “I'm sorry,” she uttered quickly, stepping back and bumping into the stair rail. “It slipped out. I swear to you, I won't curse again.”
“Upstairs,” he said, lifting his chin toward the stairs.
* * *
“No! I mean, no, sir,” Cora's eyes had rounded and she had pressed herself up against the rail backing away from him.
He gave her his most implacable expression.
“Daddy Diggs,” she said, her voice pleading. It was the first time she'd called him “Daddy” rather than Mr. Diggory and he liked it. Her mistrust of him was beginning to fade. “I understand you mean to punish me, and I know I deserve it. But what I was trying to tell you—but was going about it in the wrong way—is that I assure you I am up to the challenge of working at Daddy Diggs’.”
Her desperation was palpable and it made his heart contract painfully in his chest. Still, he showed nothing on his face. “We'll talk about it upstairs.”
She swallowed, a sad, lost expression flitting across her countenance as she turned resolutely to the stairs, lifting her skirts to climb them. She paused awkwardly at the top, unsure where to go, so he put a hand at her low back to guide her to his room. His hand fit nicely there, spanning the width of her cinched waist, the satin of her gown sliding under his palm as her hips swayed. God, but she was delicious. The heady rush of power and satisfaction spanking a beautiful girl brought him was already flooding his senses, his cock stirring in his trousers, his blood warming.
He unlocked the door to his room, feeling her tension mounting. She rushed out of his grasp when she entered the room, her feet carrying her to the middle of the room where she stopped, uncertainly. He sat down on the bed and simply waited, offering no command, curious to see what she would do.
She turned slowly to face him, her eyes sweeping his face as if looking for clues for what to expect. Still he waited. Her chest heaved under the constriction of her corset, creating a lovely view of the tops of her lifted breasts framed by the low, square cut bodice of the gown. She didn't move from her place, and her eyes fell from his face to his feet. The tension in the room grew, the silence only cut by her shallow panting. At last she took one, faltering step in his direction, then another.
He sat back with satisfaction. It had been so very easy to bring her to heel. He'd been certain that underneath the cursing and defensive exterior was a very obedient girl. Her last few footsteps quickened, bringing her to stand directly before him.
“Good girl,” he murmured approvingly. Her little panting breath answered with the whisper of a tiny moan. He put his hands on her waist and turned her slowly around so he could unfasten her gown for her. It had a series of tiny hooks in the back and it took some time for him to release them all so he could open the dress. It fell in a satin puddle at her feet, and he began unlacing her corset. She took several deep, shaky breaths when he released her lower rib cage from its constriction and tossed the corset to the side. She didn't move. She simply stood there, her torso bared from the waist up, a slight trembling making her back twitch. He put his hands on her hips and turned her to face him.
Though he'd seen them before, he was unprepared for the full effect of her breasts. Like everything else about her, they were so youthful, so wholesome, so full of the promise of life, that he found it was he who trembled. Willing himself to ignore them, he lifted his eyes to her face.
“Did you…” she began tentatively. “Did you want me to show you my capabilities?”
He made a sudden coughing sound as his cock went rock hard at her suggestion. When he recovered, he said, “No, Cora, I just wanted to be sure you can breathe when I spank you.”
“Oh,” she said, her full painted lips formed into an “O” as round as her eyes.
“I will never ask that of you,” he clarified firmly.
She narrowed her eyes. “You will never ask that of me?” she queried, disbelief evident in her tone.
“No. I don't sleep with my girls.”
“What? You don't? You mean you pay them for it?”
“No, I mean I don't. Ever. I don't sleep with my girls.”
A rosy blush was rising to her cheeks, as if she'd just propositioned him and been turned down, rather than believed he was going to force her to perform for him. The innocence of it, the vulnerability she revealed added to the knowledge she'd been expecting to have sex with him, made it hard for him to breathe. He felt an urgent need to put his hands on her and spank her, and looming behind it, an even greater, dizzying need to snatch her from her feet, throw her on the bed, and pound into her with a violent, animal savagery. He carefully placed his hands on his thighs and looked at them until he had marshaled his desires.
“Why am I spanking you, Cora?” he asked with mustered authority. Her shoulders sagged slightly.
“For cursing,” she mumbled.
“That's right,” he said. He tugged at her petticoats. “Take these off, please.”
“Yes, sir,” she whispered, untying the string holding them up and allowing them to fall to her ankles. “These, too?” she asked, fingering her drawers nervously. They were the modified drawers all his girls wore—much, much shorter than the normal kind, with ruffles sewn on the bottoms for their can-can dance. They flipped their skirts up in the number to give a peek at their derrières, as the French girls called them.
“Those you can leave on, if you like. But I will be pulling them down.” Ladies’ drawers had a wide slit in the crotch area to facilitate relieving themselves, but it didn't allow them to open enough in the back for his purpose. Plus, he loved the look of a beautiful, bared bottom, framed by the black stockings and garter belt.
He reached up and untied the drawers, pulling her across his lap with her torso resting on the bed.
* * *
Cora clenched the muscles of her buttocks, acutely registering the humiliation of her position. As Diggory deftly pulled her drawers down and bared her bottom for punishment, goosebumps sprang up all over her skin. Oh God.
This was pure agony. Somehow it was so much more tortuous than any of the violence she'd received from the fists of Smoochy. She could not steel herself against it or allow it to make her defenses stronger as she had with him. This punishment was so calm, and Diggory was almost tender. No wonder they called him Daddy Diggs.
She'd almost felt disappointed when he'd promised he'd never sleep with her. There was a heat blazing between her legs that she honestly had not felt with another man.
His hand connected with one bare cheek, making a resounding slap, and she yelped, digging her elbows into the mattress as if she might wriggle right off his lap. His arm clamped firmly around her waist as his hand came down on her other cheek with another loud crack. She wriggled some more and he slapped again and again. The surface after-burn of the earlier spanks crept across her skin as the sharp impact of fresh blows made a different sort of pain. She balled her hands into fists and bit on one knuckle, trying to keep herself from crying out. It hurt, but she'd endured worse. Certainly she could handle this.
And yet Diggory did not slow down or show any sign of stopping. He was spanking her as if he might spank all night and this spanking seemed much harder than the last one he'd given. She kicked her legs, not to try to hurt him, but as an involuntary reaction—an instinct telling her to protect herself. He clamped one leg over hers, easily handling her resistance, though in the newly pinioned position her instinct screamed even louder to free herself. She wriggled more actively and reached a hand back to block his blows. He caught her wrist and gently bent her arm behind her back, then began spanking even harder, though she would not have thought it possible.
“No!” she shrieked. “Please! Please! Daddy.”
He stopped abruptly and rubbed her blazing bottom. “Shh, Cora. You're all right. Stop fighting it. You admitted yourself that you deserve this, didn't you?”
She tried to pull her arm back and he allowed it. She tucked her forearms up under her chest and rested her forehead on the quilt. “Yes, sir,” she said into the covers, still stunned that she'd called him Daddy.
“You deserve it and I promise you can take it. I'm not going to use anything but my hand tonight.”
“Thank you, sir,” she said, surprised to feel hot tears starting to wet the quilt. Were they from the pain? Surely not. What then? Remorse? Perhaps. Embarrassment, perhaps. Or was it his kindness? Was it that no one had been so kind, yet firm, with her since her parents had died? It made her feel like a child, in a safe and cared for sort of way.
He started again, more slowly this time, pausing between each spank. She drew in a shaky breath, listening to the feel of his punishing palm, so large and firm. She thought fleetingly of his long fingers dancing across the piano keys. He began to build in tempo and intensity, striking with less precision now, the blows falling all over her bottom, the backs of her thighs, and the place right over her sex. She was grunting with each slap now, her breath coming in sobs until she allowed herself at last to let go and cry in earnest. She buried her face deep in the quilt, her back shaking, as the sobs ran through her. Daddy Diggs lightened the force of his spanks, but continued at the same pace and she released all resistance, going limp over his lap, accepting his discipline. She hardly realized it when he stopped, until his deep gentle voice penetrated her cocoon and she became aware of his hand softly stroking her blazing bottom.