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A Shameful Training

by Samantha Madisen

When Constance arrives at Dunwich Manor she knows nothing about the place or the two handsome men who preside over the establishment. She soon learns the purpose of her visit: to be trained into a proper woman for a future husband. Petulant at first, she is quickly taken over a knee and thoroughly spanked for her fiery temper. But that is just the beginning. She is soon subjected to painful corrections and humiliating examinations that leave her trembling, blushing and, to her astonishment, desperate for more. Dr. Byron Dunwich and his colleague Julius Cauldwell have made a career of training young women to be submissive brides. Both experts in the art of dominance, they make quick work of subduing their new ward's fiery streak. But watching her submission leaves them both aroused and wondering if this is the woman they've been waiting for all these years. When their long-kept secret, to marry the same woman, is revealed to Constance she is shocked. But she can not bring herself to ignore her feelings for the two men. Will the trio overcome what haunts them and find love?

Chapter One

Constance Clark stood staring up at the massive wrought iron gate that led to the courtyard. Father Edmunds stood beside her, nervously shifting his weight from one foot to the other, peering into the darkness beyond.
She sighed and rolled her eyes. “Perhaps they’re taking their supper,” she offered.
“Perhaps,” Father Edmunds muttered. “I would so hate to interrupt them but it’s getting dark and…” He stopped mid-sentence and leaned forward, wrapping fingers around the iron bars, eyes narrowing.
“Who’s that?” a voice asked from the courtyard. “Who’s there?” The noise was followed by the appearance of a dim orange glow of a lantern. A portly man stepped into view, holding the light above his head. “May I help you?” he asked.
“Oh thank goodness,” Father Edmunds said at the sight of the man. “Kind sir I am here to ask for the help of Dr. Byron Dunwich. I sent a letter by post and received a reply assuring me that I could come at any time. Would it be possible to get an audience with the doctor despite the late hour?” The portly man’s eyes narrowed. He regarded first Father Edmunds, then Constance with suspicion. “What’s the name then?” he asked, his voice nearly a bark.
“I am Father Edmunds of the Holy Rosary Church and Orphanage in Twinnester. This is, or rather was, our ward, Constance Clark.” He pointed at Constance, who gave the lantern man behind the gate a faint smirk.
“Father Edmunds,” the man said, nodding. “Of course. Of course. I was told of your arrival but we always close the gate at dusk. There’ve been unsavoury characters on these roads of late.” Hanging the lantern on a hook by the gate, the man took out a ring of keys and pressed one of them into the keyhole. It clicked, then groaned as he swung it open into the courtyard. “Please,” he said, waving his hand and bowing slightly to the pair.
Father Edmunds pressed a hand to Constance’s back to urge her into the courtyard.
Constance watched the portly man glowering at her as she walked past him, her imagination springing to life and wondering what mischief would make him most upset.
The man swung the gate shut behind them, locked it and took the lantern from where he’d hung it to lead them through the darkness toward the house. Something unsettling fluttered in Constance’s stomach as the house, or rather mansion, loomed out of the darkness. Shuttered windows on either side of a massive oak door looked like eyes whose lids were closed for a night of sleep. The place was imposing. Father Edmunds hadn’t mentioned that Dr. Byron Dunwich was a man of means.
The portly servant mounted the stone steps ahead of them. He opened the front door to the house and waved them past the same way he had through the gate.
They stepped out of the chill air outside and into a large foyer with a hearth the size of a small bedroom with a fire roaring in it. Despite the cavernous size of the front hall, there was a decidedly cheerful feel to the place.
Constance thought to herself that as upsetting leaving everyone at the orphanage had been, she could easily get used to a life in a place like this. Motion up the large winding stairs caught her eye. She glanced up just in time to see a man dressed in a black evening coat, a white starched shirt and black slacks with immaculately polished black shoes descend the stairs.
Something stirred inside her at the sight of him. Not only was he at least a head taller than she, he had a shock of coal-black hair combed neatly to one side of his face and an impossibly strong jaw. The way he looked at her with his shinning dark eyes did funny things to her belly. Things she’d never experienced before.
“Father Edmunds!” the man called out, raising a hand in greeting.
“Dr. Dunwich,” Father Edmunds said, bowing his head in greeting.
The two men exchanged a warm handshake, as if they were old friends. Then Dr. Dunwich turned his attention to Constance. “And this must be Constance, of whom you wrote.”
“It is, doctor,” Father Edmunds replied.
Constance stiffened under the doctor’s probing stare. The intensity of his look caused a faint blush to rise to her cheeks. She held his gaze for as long as she could but finally found it impossible not to look away. His stern expression was as imposing as his stature. She felt herself shrink a bit under the weight of it.
“A pleasure to meet you, I’m sure,” the doctor said.
Constance, having limited experience with anyone outside the orphanage, offered a small curtsy. The doctor held out his hand. “You are how old now?” he asked.
Constance furrowed her brow at the impertinent question.
Father Edmunds nudged her elbow with his and implored her with his eyes to answer.
“I’m nineteen years, as if it’s any of your business,” Constance snapped.
Father Edmunds closed his eyes and sighed. He kept them closed, as if saying a silent prayer.
“I see,” Dr. Dunwich said after a few moments. “And what, pray tell, brings you and Constance to us, father?” Dr. Dunwich asked after stretching out an awkward silence.
“As you know, doctor,” Father Edmunds began, “we do our best to find a place for all of our former wards from Holy Rosary.”
Constance huffed and shot Father Edmunds a sideways glance.
“When Constance turned eighteen we had a number of gentlemen express an interest,” Father Edmunds explained. “Good, charitable men who were looking to help a young woman in need as much as they were looking for a wife.”
“And what of them?” Dr. Dunwich asked, one eye raised.
Father Edmunds’ lips formed a tight line. He glanced at Constance, then quickly looked away but did not meet Dr. Duniwch’s inquisitive stare. “It pains me to say, sir, that she was…returned by each of the three potential suitors.”
“Returned?” Dr. Dunwich inquired.
“Unfortunately,” Father Edmunds said.
Constance own mouth went tight. Her back stiffened at the memory of not just being sent away to the lecherous old louts who’d expressed an interest in her, but also at the humiliation of being brought back to the orphanage each time.
“She is now nineteen years, sir, and has no prospects in this life. It was sister Helen who reminded me that we have remanded other young women to your…your care in the past.” His speech was halting, as if he were unsure of the right way to put what he wanted to say.
“You have indeed,” the doctor replied. “And if I remember correctly we’ve been successful in training all of them to be upstanding young women worthy of any man who might show an interest in them.”
“We had thought of taking her into the convent but…”
“Yes?” the doctor asked. “What is it?”
Constance glared at Father Edmunds. How dare he share these intimate details of her life with this stranger?
“She is a child of God as we all are,” Father Edmunds said. “But I’m afraid a life in service to him is not…what was intended for her.”
Dr. Dunwich turned his attention back to Constance, who now met that same probing stare with defiance, jutting her chin out to show she would be cowed by no one. “I see,” he said, nodding. “And what do you believe was intended for you, young lady?” he asked.
Constance, whose temper had already started bubbling at being talked to as if she weren’t there, found the condescending question enraging. “Why should I tell you anything?” she snapped, shooting the doctor a furious scowl.
“Hm,” the doctor mused, rubbing his chin with a finger and thumb. “I see,” he said, his eyes roaming down Constance’s body.
His stern glare once again forced her to look away. The way his eyes seemed to bore straight through her made her want to crawl into a hole in the ground. She briefly entertained the notion of slapping him across the cheek. Only Father Edmunds’ pleading expression kept her from stepping forward and doing so.
“I’m sure we will be able to do fine work with Ms Clark,” the doctor finally said after another painfully long silence.
“The Holy Rosary would be forever in your debt,” Father Edmunds said, offering another slight bow of his head.
The doctor turned to look at the portly man who had let them in. “Graves, go and show Father Edmunds his quarters. When he’s ready bring him to the dining room. You’ll take supper with us, won’t you Father?” he asked.
“You’re far too kind, doctor,” Father Edmunds replied, shaking his head. “I’ve already made arrangements at the monastery down the hill. An old friend I know from seminary lives there.”
The doctor nodded. “Of course. As you wish. But before you leave I will require Ms Clark to agree to our terms.”
Constance furrowed her brow as she stared at the doctor. Her irritation with him had ebbed somewhat, replaced by a funny warm feeling in her stomach. She wasn’t sure what it was or whether she liked it or not.
“Of course. Of course,” Father Edmunds said.
“Terms?” Constance asked. “What terms?”
Father Edmunds pressed his hands together and looked at her. “Constance, dear. Please. This is our last hope. We can’t take you back at the orphanage. You’re too old and there’s no more room. I would never sleep peacefully again if I didn’t leave you in good hands. Do as the doctor asks. Please?”
Constance softened at Father Edmunds pleading. He had been so kind to her for as long as she could remember. Far kinder than sister Helen and the other nuns who were constantly chasing her with a switch in their hands. Father Edmunds had always guided her with love instead of punishment and for that she would be eternally grateful. And yet, the thought of leaving for good and stepping into this new life filled her with a certain dread. She turned to look at Dr. Dunwich again. “What terms?” she asked again.
“If we are to accept you here at Dunwich manor, we require you to have complete faith in our methods. They are sometimes unorthodox as some situations demand but they have never failed to yield results. You will emerge after a month at Dunwich a better, stronger woman ready to accept any challenge the world might send your way.”