Judged by Him

By: Jaye Peaches

(Sublime Trust #1)

Part One

Chapter 1. Fingers

Day One

Struggling to contain her nervous energy, Gemma Lucas rested her head on the leather headrest. Three weeks on a yacht cruising the Mediterranean Sea. Starting in Marbella, south of Malaga, and then ending up where? Her husband, Jason, hadn’t revealed their itinerary beyond the first few days. There would be surprises, guaranteed.

The limousine sped along the highway, covering the distance between airport and marina quickly. Weaving about the seemingly reckless drivers, the luxury vehicle negotiated the busy road with ease until it abruptly ground to a halt. The stationary traffic, in combination with the blazing sunshine, made a heat haze across the road surface. Waves formed in the air, shimmering and bright. Thankfully, the air conditioning provided a constant stream of frigid air.

She recalled packing her sunglasses in the holdall. The weather back home had been overcast and bitterly cold, and she hadn’t thought to put her shades in her handbag.

She squeezed Jason’s hand, barely aware of her tensing muscles and the tightening tweak of her fingers.

“All right, babe?” he asked.

Why she was so edgy would be lost on him. She should have been bouncing up and down on her seat but instead, she maintained a nervous pose.

She gave him one of her most appreciative smiles. “Yes, of course. Just, you know, so bloody excited.”

Jason kissed her knuckles in reply. She doubted she had convinced him—her attempts to lie to Jason were generally unsuccessful.

“What happens when we board the boat?” she asked.

“Yacht, baby. Don’t denigrate it by calling it a boat,” he censured with a grin. “We’ll be introduced to the crew. The courteous formalities. I’ll give you a tour, which will probably blow you away. We will unpack a little. Make sure there is nothing you need before we depart tomorrow morning. Anything missing can be provided while we are docked. This evening, we’ll dine somewhere rustic, up in the hills above Marbella.” He glanced over his shoulder. The escort car followed, laden with their personal possessions.

“It all sounds great. Three weeks. I can’t believe we’re doing this.” The timescale thrilled her. Although her husband was not being straightforward. He wouldn’t truly be on vacation for the duration. The wonders of modern on-board technology and communication systems enabled him to work some of the time.

Gemma tried to envision the yacht. He had kept her in the dark about the vessel’s name and shown her no pictures or the layout, so she knew little. “Do we have our own cabin?”

“My darling, we have the stateroom. The owner’s stateroom.”

They both smiled at his emphasis: Jason not only owned the yacht, he owned her for the duration of the cruise.

“A suite of rooms with private access. Imagine our deck as a private house within the yacht. The guest cabins are on the main one and aft of the lower deck, where the crew lives.”

“Crew.” Gemma said the word with reticence and a degree of trepidation. “The two you say you have employed for the three weeks...?”

“Yes. Enrique and Maria. Mexicans, ethnically, not Spanish. They come from Los Angeles, so they speak English with an American accent. They will be our personal domestic staff, though, technically, they are listed as stewards. Enrique will be my manservant and Maria, your maid. I explained this to you on the plane.” His voice sharpened. “What is the issue?”

Gemma pursed her lips. “Servants to us. In private when we are, you know...”

Again, she was inarticulate and nervous. Images flashed through her mind, specifically of another submissive being used on their yacht. “It’s just, on the plane, you made Maria sound like your…your handmaiden, that’s all.” Gemma pouted, unable to dismiss the unwanted thoughts about Maria.

Jason flicked a switch and the privacy screen rose behind the driver. He glared at her with those blue eyes she had come to know so well. She shrank into her seat. He glazed disappointment over his facial features, matched by annoyance, which manifested itself in the folding of his arms across his chest.

“Handmaiden? I know full well the context of that reference. I explained to you, Enrique and Maria are there to serve us. They are our kind and will treat us with respect, as you will treat them in return. You are due to have your period in the middle of the holiday, but I have no plans to use Maria as a substitute between your legs if you fail to conceive. The idea you have in your uncontrolled, imaginative mind that I would insult your fertility is repulsive.

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