Tara paced the small room along the bars holding them inside. Quinn sat on the small white bench at the back of the room. Outside the cell, the guards stood with their backs to them. They knew Kit and Rex had left the ship and that Rex was in the process of executing a plan that would likely have dire consequences for Kit as well as themselves. From the Griffinscape’s brig, they also knew there was nothing they could do about it.
Tara wrung her hands together , purposefully not looking at Quinn. “This is all my fault.”
“There’s enough blame to go around,” Quinn said.
“If only I hadn’t dumped the cargo,” Tara said, still pacing.
Quinn shook his head. “We’d still have problems, maybe more than we have now and we’d be directly responsible for everything that happened to the people who ended up taking those drugs.”
“I didn’t trust her,” Tara said. “She’s barely more than a kid and it just made sense that she’d be taken in by the lure of fast, easy money.”
“Trust comes with time,” Quinn said. “You haven’t known her or me for very long.”
Tara stopped pacing and faced Quinn. “All the more reason not to rush to judgment. I should have known better than to trust a man like Rex.”
Quinn looked up at her. “He’s a master manipulator. You did what you thought was right.”
“I didn’t think things through,” Tara said.
Quinn said, “There would have been consequences for inaction as well.”
Tara’s hands landed on her hips. “Are you saying I was right to betray Kit?”
Quinn studied her face. He recognized the torment of guilt straining her eyes and cheeks. “No,” he said. “What I’m saying is everybody makes mistakes. It is what we do to correct them that matters.”
Tara nodded. “Spank me.”
Quinn raised an eyebrow at her.
“If not for Kit,” Tara said, “I’d be naked and on the streets of Centora City. A spanking is the least of what I deserve for betray the person who saved me from that.”
Quinn said, “A spanking won’t fix anything right now.”
Tara said, “Perhaps not, but it will ease my conscience long enough that we might find a way to help her.”
Quinn nodded. “Alright, I’ll spank you, but it will be done my way.”
Tara dropped her hands from her waist to dangle free at her side. “Deal.”
He sat up straight, pushing his back against the wall. “I want you to get undressed and lay yourself over my lap.”
“Undressed?” Tara bit at her lip, eyes flickering between the floor and Quinn’s face.
Quinn nodded. “Undressed,” he said. “You said it yourself, without Kit you’d be naked and so it’s only fitting that you be naked when punished for betraying her.”
Tara didn’t bother responding. Instead, she shed her clothes into a pile on the floor. There was no pause or hesitation in her fingers and she did not bother trying to hide her nakedness from Quinn’s piercing gaze. If he hadn’t seen her naked in the square on Centora, enough others had that the embarrassment of being naked no longer even colored her cheeks red. But Tara knew he’d seen her. She remembered his face, on the other side of the door leading into the casino. He had looked away when he noticed she was looking at him.
Not this time. He looked and made no attempt to hide his wandering eyes. She walked the short distance between them, keeping her hands out of the way and leaving herself open to his inspection. His expression yielded no signs of appreciation or lack of it. Only a faint twinkle in his blue eyes suggested he enjoyed the view and the moment. She laid herself over his lap, resting her upper half on the bench beside him and keeping her toes on the ground.
Quinn touched her buttocks with his right hand and wrapped her body to his with his left arm. She offered no resistance at all, not even tensing her muscles. The ointment he’d previously applied to her buttocks had done its job. The bruising and redness from her time in the pillory were all but gone. Only the faintest of tinge of a pink blush remained. He slipped his fingers in the tight space between her thighs and she responded by moving her legs apart.
Patting the center of her bottom, he said, “That’s a good girl. Now, stay in position.”
Tara held her breath and closed her eyes. Quinn raised his open palm, high above her buttocks. He waited, hand hovering in the air and then, without warning, he brought it crashing down into the center of her naked cheeks. Her butt bounced beneath his hand. She snapped her eyes open and let out her held breath in an explosive puff. Quinn allowed his hand to bounce up off her buttocks only to bring it back down again and again. Her bottom turned pink decorated with the fading white prints of his hand.
He continued the spanking until Tara cried freely without restraint. Her buttocks felt warm beneath his hand and they glowed a soft, vibrant red. Through it all she kept herself still and avoided the clenching, squirming, and kicking that the rising sting in her posterior demanded. Over and over, she told herself she deserved nothing more, and certainly nothing less, than she was getting. The spanking bared no comparison to the spanking she received in the pillory. This one had been deserved and despite its clearly lesser severity, it affected her much more deeply.