Her Lord’s Law by Maggie Ryan
Louisa had always shared a great deal of her life with her sister. After all, Lucille Rose Furniss was an exact replica of her identical twin sister. At no time during their eighteen years had they kept secrets from one another. Not, that is, until the day that Louisa wed. Her husband wasn’t the secret that Louisa was terrified would be revealed. It was obvious to all who knew the couple that their marriage was one of a deep abiding love for one another. Edward’s ancestral home, Wintercrest Manor, had sheltered generations of his family as well as concealed many a secret behind its stone walls. With the arrival of Lucy, those walls were beginning to crack. Glimpses of the truth began to appear behind thick doors as echoes of pleas for mercy and promises of better behavior were sung to the accompaniment of sharp cracks of a thick paddle or supple strap being used on a naughty bare bottom.
Louisa moaned softly in her sleep as her dreams were troubled with her fears. Her mouth worked around her thumb in an attempt to give the small woman comfort. From deep within her soul the knowledge that her life was changing gradually made its way into her consciousness. Even as she fought the truth that the secret she had harbored for many months was revealing itself, she was slowly being drawn out of the security of sleep.
* * *
Climbingthe narrow flight of stairs, Edward approached the room of his precious child bride. His thoughts were filled with the two beautiful young women who shared his home.
Lucille, his ward of the past few weeks was discovering that her guardian was a stern man who would no longer grant leniency when she chose to misbehave. She had been shocked to discover that Wintercrest Manor ran under his sole authority, under his rules and under his laws. That fact became her new reality the evening before when she, alongside her sister, had presented their bare bottoms for a well-deserved birching. The young woman had a very difficult journey to make, but Edward was more than willing to help guide her along the way. But for now, he had another little miscreant on his mind.
As he reached the door of his wife’s nursery, he smiled softly. He thought about the woman upon which society bestowed the proper title of Lady Wintercrest the moment she’d spoke the vows to become his wife. Society could think what they wished as he knew the truth. Louisa would never be burdened with the responsibility of such a lofty title. Instead, his precious bride would always be considered as his own beloved ‘little lady’. As her husband he was responsible for loving her, for providing for her and for protecting her from all harm. Just as importantly, as her papa, he was also responsible for her continued training and guiding her to become the woman he knew she had yet to truly discover residing deep inside her soul. He would never shirk either of his roles. As he reached for the latch to open the door, he was looking forward to reminding his little lady that her sole duty was to obey and please the Lord of Wintercrest Manor.