My guardian has recently passed on and his wife has run off with her lover. Luckily for me I’m a grown woman of twenty-four and no longer need anyone to take care of me. I’m ready to take control of my own life and besides, I already have a man who wants to marry me. I’m pretty sure of it.

My uncle has passed away, and my father the duke and I must settle his estate. I think it will be a tiresome but easy enough process… until my father informs me that I am to take over my uncle’s guardianship of Penelope Martin. I’m an unmarried man, certainly I’m not suitable to be her guardian. I don’t want to be. I’m searching, albeit unsuccessfully, for a woman to be my future duchess. My excuses do not change my father’s decision.
Unfortunately, my father and I have discovered some very important items are missing from my uncle’s estate. Stolen, to put it bluntly. One missing item has the potential to destroy my family. Perhaps Penelope can help us, unless she took the item herself. If she did not, then who did?

Publisher’s Note: This historical romance is intended for adults only. It contains elements of suspense, danger, romance, discipline of an adult woman and explicit scenes. If any of these offend you, please do not purchase.

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“You’re making my head spin,” she said. “Either you want to inspect my bottom, or you do not.”

He advanced toward her, and Penelope backed up to the door. She wiggled the handle again. There was no key in the lock.

“Is that an invitation?” His husky voice made her close her eyes and groan.

“Unlock the door.”

“You made it sound that way.” He was right in front of her now. Even though he wasn’t touching her she could feel the heat from his body. “I do, you know, want to see your bottom. But I want you to obey me. Go to the table and bend over.”

“But I don’t know…” She leaned slightly forward and put her head against his chest.

“What are you afraid of?” He sounded somewhat amused. “You let me birch you easily enough. I saw your bottom then. Why are you putting up such a fuss about it?”

“Because I’m frightened,” she said. She looked up at him. His dark gaze looked onto hers.

“You’re not frightened, you’re curious, and attracted to the idea of a man playing with your body,” he said. “You didn’t love Bixley, yet you let him kiss and touch you.”

“I don’t love you, either,” she said.

“No, but I can guarantee I’ll give you much more pleasure than he would.” He ran his thumb from the edge of her mouth down to her chin and back.

“Well, when you put it that way, I’m ready to oblige you.” She ducked under his arm and went to the table where she moved a chair aside and bent over. She left her skirts in place.

Her hands trembled, and there was a large part of her that wanted to bolt from the room. The other part remembered the door was locked.

She watched as he walked toward her, his steps slow and even. When he was beside her he cupped her bottom and she thought she might burst into flames. He stepped behind her and placed his crotch against her backside.

“Oh, that’s not—oh,” she said. Was this how it felt when a man took a woman? Was the pressure like this, the incredible feeling of being right next to a person?

“Shush,” he said. He ran his hand down her back right before he pulled away from her and then thrust forward, pushing her into the table.

Her quim tightened, and her nipples pulsed with need. He did it again, and again, and again. Penelope clawed at the table.