Matt Preston picked up a document from his in-tray, glanced at it, made a marginal note and put it into his out-tray.
The firm mouth under the neatly trimmed grey moustache twisted briefly in a sardonic smile. He knew well enough that the note would be ignored, his initials taken for granted. What he was doing was make-work, paper-shuffling.
Not that it mattered. After today it would be over. The firm of Mulprods Ltd where he had spent most of his working life would know him no more. As he had done so often over the past month Matt tried to analyse how he felt about the prospect. To depart had certainly come as a shock at the time, though he realised that the warning signs had been clear enough. The installation of the new computer a year ago had meant drastic staff reductions in all departments, but somehow Matt had taken it for granted that he would work on for another. Heather Caldwell, a plump extrovert blonde in her early thirties was Mulprods’ Personnel Manager and an old friend of Matt’s. She had done her best to break the news gently but there was no way to sweeten the discovery that the work which had hitherto occupied Matt throughout an industrious week could now be performed by the computer in seventeen minutes. ‘I suppose,’ Matt had said bitterly, ‘the computer couldn’t use a reliable man to go round with an oilcan and a polishing cloth?’
But the computer, it seemed, had its own acolytes, fluent in the jargon of bytes and ROM and the rest of the techno-jabberwocky.
No place for Matt.
‘At least,’ Heather had said, ‘the board are making you a generous offer for early retirement.’
It was generous enough. Full pension as though he had worked until the normal retiring age, and a lump sum which was, if not quite a golden handshake, at least handsomely gilded. Perhaps one or two of the older directors had recalled uneasily that Matt had been useful during various crises in the earlier, struggling days of the firm, and undoubtedly knew where some of the bodies were buried.
A couple of days after his chat with Heather, Matt had been moved from the main office to the one he now occupied. A private office, albeit a small and isolated one was glibly explained as a privilege due to his seniority and experience. In fact, as he admitted without rancour, his presence among the other staff had become something of an embarrassment. Better, he thought ironically, for him to occupy his ‘condemned cell’ until it was time to go.
Someone arrived twice a day to fill and empty his desk trays. Otherwise he saw few people, though he was aware of the busy life of the firm going on around him. What was he to do with his empty future? He had been married once but the divorce was twenty years in the past. There were no children and he never had a fancy for keeping pets. Matt resolved that it would be better to look for a part-time job, no matter how low paid, rather than end up as a sour-faced crank writing rambling letters to the local paper.
There was a brisk rap at his office door, which opened before he could respond. Matt’s face brightened as he recognised his visitor. Julia had been his assistant in his former office. Despite the age difference — Julia was twenty-two — they seemed to have a lot in common and had worked well together. She had dark, curly hair and an attractive, intelligent face. Her figure was a delight to the masculine eye and a temptation to the masculine hand, and her excellent legs were enjoyably revealed by the short skirt of her scarlet dress.
‘Mr Preston,’ she smiled, ‘you know I’ve been organising the collection for your leaving present. We’ve bought the things you suggested and there’s still some money left over. Is there anything else you’d like?’
That innocent question could have been asked a thousand times in other circumstances with no dramatic result. But Matt’s usual prudence had been badly shaken by the mental and emotional turmoil of recent events. Fantasies and secret dreams which had long been concealed by a bland appearance and amiable manner overcame any thought of discretion as Matt impulsively answered, ‘Yes! I should like to put you across my knee and spank you soundly!’
Julia’s lovely face was a picture of astonished dismay. ‘But — but I thought you liked me!’ she gasped. ‘What have I done wrong?’
‘Julia, my dear, I do like you very much!’ Matt assured her. ‘And you haven’t done anything wrong — at least, not recently. I didn’t say that you deserved to be spanked — just that I should very much enjoy doing it!’
Julia’s look of consternation was replaced by a relieved grin. ‘Oh, you would, would you? Don’t you think I’m too old to be spanked?’
‘You’re just the right age to appreciate it!’ Matt declared. ‘Have you ever been spanked, Julia?’
Julia shook her head. ‘More than one boyfriend has threatened it, but none of them had the nerve to do more than talk.’
‘You sound almost disappointed,’ commented Matt.
‘I have sometimes wondered what it would be like,’ she admitted. Mischief twinkled in her big brown eyes. ‘I suppose it would be better for it to be done by someone more mature, more experienced. I take it you are experienced?’
Matt nodded. ‘Enough to give me many pleasant memories.’
Julia laughed. ‘To think I worked with you for two years and never dreamed you were into S & M!’
Matt shrugged. ‘That suggests people in black leather with spiked collars, cracking whips. I think of my — er — hobby as CP or correction.’
‘It’s just spanking, is it?’ asked Julia. ‘Nothing else?’
‘I have used a cane,’ said Matt. ‘And a tawse.’
Julia looked puzzled. ‘What’s a tawse?’
‘A leather strap, my dear, divided into tails at one end. Very effective in warming a naughty girl’s tender bottom.’
Julia’s eyes widened and her hands went to her shapely seat as though she was imagining the impact of tough leather upon tender feminine curves. ‘Oooh! I’m glad you haven’t got one here — or a cane.’
‘Sometimes,’ said Matt, ‘one can improvise. But a spanking can be very effective, just using the open hand.’
He knew he was being reckless. It would be absurd to have his final day spoiled by complaints of sexual harassment. But Julia showed no sign of complaining. She looked at him steadily, her cheeks flushed, briefly biting her lower lip.
‘I like you and I trust you,’ she said, ‘or I wouldn’t be talking to you about something like this.’ A pause, and then, ‘Do you spank hard?’ she asked.
‘I do,’ said Matt. ‘Playful spankings are for boys and girls in love-play. A man of my age should spank thoroughly if he spanks at all.’
‘Ouch!’ said Julia, making a rueful face. ‘Still, I suppose there’s no point in doing it unless it’s done properly.’
Matt could hardly believe that this beautiful creature was actually considering letting him spank her, but he sensed that to show any lack of confidence now would ruin everything. ‘I’m ready when you are,’ he said, as calmly as he could.
Julia giggled nervously. ‘I’m tempted!’ she said. ‘It’s crazy but I’m really tempted. Only — I can guess what I’ll be like when you’ve finished spanking me, breathless and dishevelled and weepy. How can I go back to the office like that?’
Matt looked at the clock. ‘Everyone will be going to lunch in a few minutes. You needn’t go back to the office for an hour. That will give you time to regain your composure and wash away the tears.’
‘So while the other girls are enjoying lunch, I’ll be across your knee having my bottom smacked!’ pouted Julia. ‘Which means I’m going to spend a hungry afternoon trying not to wriggle on a very sore seat!’ Again her hands went to her shapely rear, caressing it as though in consolation for the ordeal with which it was threatened. ‘I’ll have to go to the loo first,’ she said.
Matt nodded. ‘I was about to suggest that.’
As soon as Julia left the office Matt leaned back in his chair with a self-mocking smile. Of course she wouldn’t come back. She had found it exciting and amusing to play along with him, to discover a side of his personality she had never suspected, but she could not really mean to let him spank her…
He did well, therefore, to conceal his surprise when Julie walked back into his office a few minutes later. There was something different about her, and after a few moments he realised that her legs were bare.
‘I thought you might take my tights down to spank me,’ she explained, ‘and I’d rather have them off altogether than dangling round my knees.’
‘I see,’ said Matt. ‘Did you take your knickers off while you were at it?’
Julia blushed vividly. ‘Oh no, please, it’s not going to be a bare-bottom spanking is it?’
‘Of course!’ said Matt, amused. ‘Why not?’
‘But it will be so humiliating!’ wailed Julie.
‘That,’ pointed out Matt, ‘is quite intentional. I don’t suppose your knickers would offer you much protection, but their removal will make it clear that you are being punished, not played with.’
He pushed his chair back from the desk and patted his thigh. ‘Come on, Julia, over you go!’
That very apprehensive young lady meekly obeyed, keeping her balance with her hands on the floor in front and stretching out her long, lovely legs behind. Matt turned up her brief dress and gazed with delight at the beautifully proportioned bottom so revealed. Julia’s panties were, as he had surmised, a mere wisp of floral patterned fabric but he briskly pulled them down her warm white thighs, while the red-faced young beauty squirmed with shame and unhappy anticipation.
‘It’s not fair!’ whimpered Julia, as Matt’s appreciative hand stroked and patted the warm, springy curves of her vulnerable posterior. ‘I haven’t done anything! I don’t deserve to be sp-spanked!’
‘Don’t you?’ said Matt. ‘While you were learning your job under my supervision, you made a number of silly, careless mistakes. I covered up for you, I kept you out of trouble, I was very patient with you. But now, my dear, I am going to do what I often felt like doing then and give you a bloody good spanking!’
He delivered a resounding smack to Julia’s left bottom-cheek and she let out a yelp of mingled pain and astonishment as the stinging impact gave her painful notice of what to expect. Matt whacked her right cheek, grinning with pleasure at the incomparable sensation of the firm, warm curve of feminine flesh vibrating under his hand. Then he settled down into a steady rhythm of solid, stinging slaps, determined to make Julia’s first spanking a truly memorable experience.
Matt had a fair amount of experience to assist him in his joyous task of roasting the luckless Julia’s squirming seat, but most of the bottoms he had smacked in recent years had been those of professional ladies who had charged high fees and firmly insisted that the spanking should stop once a certain degree of discomfort was reached. This was a different matter… it was up to Matt to decide how long the spanking should last, and he was resolved to show Julia just how thoroughly a richly deserved punishment could be inflicted with the open hand upon a young woman’s naked buttocks.
He could tell that Julia was beginning to realise just how much and how often Matt had been exasperated by her misdeeds while she was under his authority. With the cheerful confidence of inexperience, she had probably thought of the threatened spanking as an adventure rather than an ordeal, assuming that it would end after ten or twelve smacks had made her tingle enjoyably. By the time each tender bottom cheek had endured twenty resounding slaps she realised only too well what she had let herself in for. Gasping, squealing, wriggling helplessly across Matt’s lap, Julia could surely not hold back for much longer the tears which would complete the bitter shame of having her bare bottom soundly spanked. The fiery stinging in her shapely rump was worse than anything she had imagined possible, and still the punishing hand descended again and again with remorseless regularity.
‘I can’t take any more!’ she wailed. ‘Please, sir, that’s enough!’
‘Nonsense!’ said Matt, cheerfully. ‘You’re just getting nicely warmed up. Another five minutes at the very least, I think.’ The methodical impact of punishing masculine hand upon bare, burning female buttocks continued with, if anything, even greater vigour. And now the big, hot tears came at last and Julia sobbed out her heartfelt repentance for her past misbehaviour.
‘So far so good,’ said Matt, approvingly. ‘But of course I’ve got to make quite sure that you’ve learned your lesson. My word, your bottom does look sore! Let’s try a change of target.’
Julia’s tears flowed more lavishly than ever as Matt started to smack the back of her thighs with the same vigour with which he had tanned her bottom. Regardless of her frantic pleading and protesting the punishment continued until the tender flesh was scarlet half-way to her knees.
‘It’s lucky you came to work in black tights,’ observed Matt. ‘When you’re back in the office, no-one will be aware of your smacked legs.’
‘I will!’ sobbed Julia, wriggling in abject misery across his lap.
‘Which feels sorest now, Julia, your bottom or your legs?’ asked Matt.
‘My legs! No, my bottom! I — I don’t know! Please, Matt, please!’
‘Let me help you to make up your mind,’ said Matt, and once more to Julia’s blubbering dismay, her shapely buttocks endured the correction of a vigorous spanking.
When Matt eventually stopped he glanced at the clock and realised that a little over ten minutes had passed since Julia had gone across his lap. No doubt it had seemed much longer to Julia.
‘I think that will be enough for now, Julia,’ said Matt, relaxing his grip on her. ‘Get up, my dear, and wipe your eyes.’
When Julia rose to her feet with tears streaming down her face it seemed the most natural thing in the world to take her in his arms. She made no objection; indeed, she seemed to find the masculine embrace comforting. It was extremely pleasant to feel her clinging to him as she sobbed out her reaction to the punishment.
‘Oh, my poor bottom! And my legs! I’m so sore and the smacking hurt so much and — and — I felt so awfully in disgrace to be punished like that. Did I really deserve such a spanking?’
‘You did!’ said Matt, firmly. ‘You’ve had nothing that you haven’t deserved over and over again!’
‘If you say so, sir,’ said the meek, tearful voice in his ear. ‘But if you’re going to punish me over and over again, I shall have to visit you at home.’
‘That,’ Matt reminded her, ‘is where I keep the tawse and the cane.’
‘Yes sir — I know!’ said Julia, wriggling.
The warm, submissive body cuddled up to his was arousing sensations of an intensity which Matt had not experienced for years. He permitted himself one kiss on a flushed, tear-wet cheek and then, using every ounce of willpower, he released her.
‘I think you’d better put your knickers and tights on again Julia,’ he said. ‘Then go and wash your face and try to make yourself look —’
He broke off, unsure how to finish.
‘Unspanked?’ suggested Julia, wryly. She had stopped crying but the expression on her face as she gently rubbed her suffering bottom showed that she was still vividly feeling the physical and emotional effects of the spanking. ‘I’m not planning to tell everyone that I’ve had my bare bum smacked for being a naughty girl! If anyone does guess, I suppose I’ll just have to say that I asked for it!’
When she had left, Matt looked thoughtfully at the papers on his desk. The idea of continuing with the futile work he had started earlier seemed ludicrous. He picked up his in-tray and emptied it into the waste paper basket. The contents of the out-tray followed. Then he sat back in his chair, put his feet up on the desk and waited to see what would happen next.
About half an hour later Heather Caldwell burst into his office. She was not her usual pleasantly imperturbable self. Her flushed face showed a mixture of astonishment and amusement and she had an unprecedented tendency to stammer.
‘Matt Preston!’ she gasped. ‘You — you —’
‘I’m a dirty old man?’ suggested Matt, calmly.
‘That’s not what I was going to say,’ said Heather, ‘but perhaps you know best after what you did to Julia!’
‘I thought she was going to keep quiet about it,’ said Matt.
Heather laughed. ‘Have you forgotten that the staff of her office is entirely female? She didn’t have a chance against the united curiosity of twenty-seven other women! We’ve heard all about it — in detail — and seen the marks! No wonder poor Julia can’t sit down without wincing.’
‘So what do they propose to do?’ enquired Matt. ‘Complain to the management? Go to the union? Have me kneecapped by a Women’s Lib Action Squad?’
Heather laughed again, shaking her head. ‘Wrong three times over! They’re not going to spoil the most exciting thing to happen here since the police came for the Chief Accountant. Those who don’t fancy trying it for themselves can’t wait to hear the experiences of those who do.’
‘Are you telling me —’ began Matt.
‘I mean,’ said Heather, ‘that there are at this moment four very nervous young women lined up outside your door, and several more back in the office who are still trying to make their minds up. You have a busy afternoon in front of you, Matt.’
‘And an exhausting one,’ said Matt. ‘Heather, the spirit is willing but the flesh isn’t what it was. I can’t possibly give a proper spanking to four girls, one after the other.’
‘Not four,’ said Heather. ‘Five. I’m going to be first. I see your problem, Matt, but there are other methods, aren’t there? Ways to inflict effective punishment without the exertion of a spanking.’
‘If I had the equipment here, yes,’ said Matt. He looked sharply at Heather as she leant back against his desk with her arms folded, smiling at him, looking cool and elegant in a lime-green jacket and skirt with a white lace blouse. ‘What do you know about punishment methods anyway?’ he demanded.
‘Oh Matt!’ said Heather. ‘You don’t think you’re the only one with a taste for this kind of thing, do you? I went across Gerry’s knee for a good smack-bottom on my second date with him, and in the twelve years we’ve been married I’ve spent plenty of time baring my bottom and bending over for a good hiding. Tawse and paddle, cane and riding switch, I’m painfully familiar with them all. Even the birch, sometimes. I have to collect the twigs for that and make it myself, which is not what I’d call an amusing pastime.’
‘Gerry is obviously a man after my own heart,’ said Matt, ‘but I can hardly send the girls from the office out into the local park to collect swishy twigs. Still, as I told Julia, one can sometimes improvise.’
‘You might find this helpful,’ said Heather. She picked up her shoulder bag from the desk, opened it, and produced a thick but supple three-tailed tawse, doubled to fit into the bag. It opened to full length as she laid it on the desk, and Matt stared incredulously at the ominous twenty inches or so of black leather.
‘Good God!’ said Matt. ‘Do you always carry that around?’
‘Of course not!’ said Heather. ‘But if I’m due for a strapping in the evening Gerry makes me put the tawse in my bag and carry it round all day. Every time I open my bag I’m reminded what’s going to happen to me later. Gerry gave me my orders this morning — I was across his knee at the time, without a stitch on! It will be six strokes as soon as I get home and twelve more at bedtime. And probably a good slippering in between to keep my poor bottom suitably sensitive.’
‘This will certainly be very useful,’ said Matt, appreciatively examining the well-used tawse. ‘I wonder if we can find anything else?’ He picked up the flat, eighteen inch wooden ruler from his desk. ‘This might serve.’
Heather had changed her position, perching on a corner of his desk with her right foot on the floor. It was a position which pulled the thin material of her skirt skin-tight across her left thigh. Matt brought the ruler down on that thigh with a resounding crack.
‘Ow!’ squealed Heather, clutching her thigh with both hands. ‘Matt, that hurt! I’m very sensitive there.’
‘In that case,’ said Matt, ‘you’d better have half a dozen more.’
‘Oh, but Matt —’
‘Does Gerry allow you to argue?’
Heather bit her lower lip. ‘No Matt.’
‘Are you going to argue with me?’
‘No, Matt. I’m very sorry.’
‘You came to me for punishment,’ said Matt, ‘and I’d hate to disappoint you. Put your hands on your head, please.’
Heather obeyed at once with an apprehensive glance at the ruler in his hand. Matt brought the ruler down again, and again, flooding the front of Heather’s left thigh with stinging fire from just below the groin to three inches above the knee. Heather gasped and grimaced at each stroke but did not speak or cry out. She kept her hands firmly on top of her head.
‘Very good!’ said Matt, approvingly. ‘You can take your hands down for the time being, Heather, while you change position so that the other thigh can be dealt with. You may as well take your skirt off too.’
As Heather obeyed, Matt noted with pleasure that she was wearing tan hold-up stockings instead of tights. The flesh of the left thigh glowed angrily between the stocking top and her white lace briefs.
‘Roll your right stocking down below your knee, Heather,’ instructed Matt. ‘That’s right. Now sit on the desk again, please.’
When she was in position with her hands on her head once more, Matt picked up the ruler again. This time the wood cracked down juicily upon tender feminine flesh. Heather’s gasps were louder and sharper and her eyes filled with tears, but she endured the seven strokes without protest or appeal.
‘So far so good,’ said Matt. ‘Now, what else can we find?’
He glanced round the office. In one corner was a large plant pot which had been there when he moved in. The plant it had contained was now only a shrivelled ghost — Matt had no interest in horticulture — but the three-foot cane which had supported it was still in the pot. Matt took it out and wiped away loose earth. Bending it between his hands, he found it pleasingly flexible. He turned back to Heather, who was standing by the desk, hands still on her head, awaiting further orders.
‘I think this should be quite punishing, don’t you, Heather?’
‘Yes, sir,’ said Heather. She licked her lips nervously. ‘I’m afraid so!’
‘Roll the other stocking down, Heather. Now face the desk.’
Matt swished the cane through the air and she flinched involuntarily. ‘Take your knickers down, Heather.’
Obedience was immediate. The white briefs were an undignified tangle around Heather’s knees. She stared in front of her, breathing heavily, willing herself not to react to the shame of exposure and the imminence of chastisement. She waited, mouth dry and heart thumping, for the words which were always the prelude to a squirming, humiliating ordeal.
Tapping the cane against his leg, Matt admired the plump, lusciously rounded buttocks and full, soft white thighs which were awaiting punishment. This, he reminded himself, was no inexperienced girl but a woman trained year after year to endure every form of disciplinary correction. To deal with her less than thoroughly would invite her contempt. He laid the cane gently across the crown of her bottom and saw her knuckles whiten as she gripped the far side of the desk.
‘Heather,’ he said, ‘why do you deserve to be caned?’
‘Because I was pleased about Julia being spanked,’ confessed Heather. ‘I wished I could have seen her howling across your knee with her knickers down. That was very wrong of me.’
‘It was, Heather, indeed it was, and now you are going to suffer for it. I shall not decide on any specific number of strokes, I shall simply continue to cane you until I am satisfied that you have been adequately punished. Do you understand?’
‘Yes, sir,’ whispered Heather, wriggling unhappily across the desk.
Matt took careful aim and laid on a scorching stroke across the centre of the attractive blonde’s plump, bare bottom. Heather yelped and screwed up her face as a line of fire blazed across her shapely rump. Swish! Swish! Swish! Matt caned the luckless culprit slowly and methodically, and her howls of anguish filled the room as each deliberate stroke added its fiery sting to tender buttocks already desperately hot and sore.
‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry,’ wailed Heather. ‘Please, sir, please, I’m really sorry!’
‘I thought you would be,’ murmured Matt. The next vigorous cane stroke landed across both thighs at once, a little above the knee. Ignoring Heather’s frantic entreaties Matt worked his way steadily upwards, and each thigh displayed six red-hot weals before he turned his attention back to her spectacularly striped bottom.
‘Do you still think there was anything amusing about Julia’s spanking?’ he asked, as his cane flick-flick-flick-ed across Heather’s wincing cheeks.
‘I said I was sorry!’ blubbered Heather. ‘I — I’ll apologise to her!’
‘I’ve got a better idea,’ said Matt. ‘You’ll offer to go across her knee for a bare-bottom spanking in front of the other girls.’
‘I can’t!’ she sobbed. ‘Please don’t shame me like that, sir, please!’
‘Oh dear,’ said Matt, ‘and I was beginning to think you’d learned your lesson.’
One, two, three full-blooded strokes of the cane whipped across the lower curves of Heather’s agonised buttocks.
‘Eeeeeeyow!’ screeched Heather. ‘No more, please! I’ll do it! I’ll beg Julia to take my knickers down and smack me while they all watch.’
‘In that case,’ said Matt, ‘I think we’ve finished for now.’
A couple of minutes later, Heather was facing the wall with her hands on her head. ‘I want the other girls to have a good look at your bottom when they come in,’ explained Matt. ‘Just to give them an idea what to expect.’
That is, he thought as he turned away, if the sound of Heather’s thrashing hasn’t scared them all off.
Matt put the cane on one side. The next girl, he decided, could be introduced to the tawse. It was quite a long time since he had had a submissive young lady bending over to have her naked buttocks soundly leathered. He picked up the tawse and went to the door. Heather had said there were four girls waiting outside. Matt saw, with great pleasure, that three more had joined them. Seven extremely nervous, pale-faced, wide-eyed, lip-nibbling, hand-twisting young women, waiting with trembling legs and churning stomachs for their turn to enter the room from which such eloquent expressions of feminine dismay had just been coming.
Some of them had featured regularly in Matt’s secret fantasies, now to be transformed into vivid reality. Long-legged Jane had been the star of her school’s athletic team only a few months earlier. Now, her gleaming blonde hair tied back with a scarlet ribbon, she was fidgeting uneasily, breathlessly aware that this time she was really for the high jump!
Andrea, superbly shapely, lust-provoking, whose cool, black-haired elegance always gave the impression that she was on her way to some glittering social function. But today she was on her way to a tear-soaked hour of penance, facing the wall with her fiercely-stinging hands clasped on top of her sleek head and her expensive silk knickers ignominiously around her slim ankles, her crimson, clenching buttocks showing lavishly-wealed evidence that her chastisement with both tawse and cane had been blisteringly thorough.
And sweet, shy little Geraldine, whose innocent blue eyes and dimpled cheeks made her look much younger than twenty. Few people had the heart to reprimand Geraldine for her occasional mistakes; it only took a few sharp words to make her flush deeply, her eyes brimming with tears, her rosebud mouth lisping quavering excuses. Now, driven by some unfathomable feminine impulse, she was tremulously awaiting her first experience of corporal punishment. She, decided Matt, could be dealt with last, giving her time to think about it, standing outside the office in quaking suspense, hearing the juicy thwack of scorching punishment upon wincing feminine flesh, listening to the fervent declarations of repentance, the heartfelt promises of future good behaviour, the blubbering, desperate, unavailing entreaties of, ‘Please, I can’t take any more, sir! I can’t!’
Finally, to go across his knee, not merely bare-bottomed but stripped to her sweet young skin for a good sound spanking. Then she could touch her toes for the cane — or should it be the tawse? Perhaps he’d invite her to choose.
There had been a murmur of uneasy conversation among the girls before Matt opened the door. Now they were very quiet as they saw him standing there with the tawse swinging casually in his hand. All that could be heard was Heather, sobbing her heart out, thinking, perhaps of the belting still awaiting her when she arrived home.
Matt smiled pleasantly at the girls. ‘Next!’ he said.