A Simple Misunderstanding by Kathryn R. Blake
When Domestic Discipline turns into abuse, the result is more than A Simple Misunderstanding.
Elly Benson struggled to be the properly submissive wife her husband desired. She tried to do everything he asked of her, until he convinced her she could never be the perfect woman he expected and demanded by nearly killing her.
As a vet, Jerry Douglas recognized signs of abuse when he saw them. Elly Benson, however, was a married and consenting adult who insisted all her bruises and welts were nothing more than a simple misunderstanding between her and her husband, until the day Arthur Benson took his authority and discipline one-step too far.
In this scene, Eleanor Benson (Elly) is returning Gerald Douglas’ (Jerry) jacket to him after he’d lent it to her the afternoon before when the Colorado autumn took on a sudden and unexpected chill.
Jerry stepped over to open the park gate for Elly, but she gave her head a single shake. “I can’t stay. I only came to return your coat. Thank you.”
Accepting his leather jacket, he placed a staying hand on her arm. “Were you punished last night because you had this?”
“No.” Her emerald green eyes held his gaze, but he sensed there was more to the story than she was saying, so he raised one eyebrow and waited.
With a sigh of defeat, she added, “I was punished for not being properly dressed yesterday. And, given the unpredictability of Colorado autumns, I should’ve known better, as you intimated yourself.”
Though she spoke to him without any pretense of hesitancy or deference today, he didn’t particularly care for what she said. “Were you late getting home?”
A touch of green fire lit her eyes as she stared at him. “What do you think?”
“I think you’re angry enough you’d like to take your frustration out on someone, but you’re not sure how, or whom to attack.”
She turned away at his words. “I need to go.”
“How long before you’re expected back, Eleanor?”
Her back stiffened with displeasure, but she didn’t yank free of his gentle restraint. “Five minutes.”
“Then stay with me for one more minute.” When she didn’t take off running, he asked, “Do you object to me calling you by your first name?”
“Then why did you stiffen?”
She briefly met his gaze. “I prefer to be called Elly.”
Smiling, he bent his head toward her. “Good to know, Elly. So, tell me. Did your husband restrain you last night?”
Her head snapped up, and she glared at him through eyes alight with unshed tears. “So what if he did? That doesn’t mean I’m not submissive to him.”
Jerry promptly released her arm. “Whoa. I never said or implied you weren’t.”
“Well, isn’t that what everyone else thinks? I’m such a lousy wife and incompetent submissive, my husband needs to restrain me during my chastisements?”
“No, Elly. No one thinks that.”
“Why not? It’s true. Thank you anyway for your concern, but I need to leave.”
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