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Exploring Great Britain
To say that Raven Hunter was spoiled was probably true, but she would never admit it. She’d just graduated from Pepperdine University, but she had a four-point grade average, and none of it was given to her. She worked hard; although, with the campus on the Pacific Ocean, she also partied hard. Who wouldn’t when you had the blue ocean at your doorstep? She had a great job already lined up, but she made sure that she didn’t start until September. It was a sales job in pharmaceuticals, but it took a lot for her to get it. Her degree in chemistry was instrumental, but she was also outgoing and personable. Her best friend, Faith, could attest to that. Raven’s parents were well off, and that allowed Raven to graduate without any student debt. Both of her parents worked in the company they owned and ran. It made munitions, mainly for the government. It was started by her great-grandfather and passed down until her father ran it now along with her mother at his side.
Faith Bishop graduated with her, but her major in economics got her an analyst job at Bank of American in San Francisco. She’s not only was good with numbers, but she saw things in them that most don’t. She couldn’t really explain it; the numbers just pop out into her focus without any thought. Her parents said it was her background, although they never explained it. As much as her first and last named denoted religion, her parents weren’t religious, at least not that Faith had ever seen growing up. Faith’s parents were also well off, although not in the same caliber as Raven’s. Her parents were in the publishing business. They ran a publisher that dated back to the American Revolution, passed down from generation to generation. Even in the age of electronic books, the business thrived.
Raven and Faith aspired to spend the summer in Europe, and their parents spoiled them with their wish. It wouldn’t be backpacking through Europe; they’d go in style. Their parents were proud of their accomplishments and rewarded them justly.
They took a plane to London where they started their summer vacation. They were both from California, so they didn’t impress easily, but London was impressive. It welcomed them with open arms, what city wouldn’t when it saw the lovely twenty-two-year-old women.
Their parents probably expected them to spend their time visiting the historic attractions, but unless the clubs they went to every night happened to be in a historic building, they missed them all. They danced, drank and found not only British men to pleasure them, but also other men from around the world. London was truly a cosmopolitan city. After a week of partying, they decided to set out on a road trip in England. They needed the time to unwind from the torrid pace of the first week so they wouldn’t exhaust themselves too soon.
“My parents want me to visit my great aunt in Glasgow, Ireland.” Faith mentioned it to Raven when they were deciding where to go next. They had no plans for the summer, for they’d go where their interests drove them at the spur of the moment. “We could take a plane to Manchester, rent a car and drive to Glasgow if you want to go. It should be a nice drive.” Faith was afraid that it was a silly idea to go to visit a great aunt.
“That’s funny. My parents wanted me to look up a long-lost uncle in Edinburgh. I didn’t know if they were serious or not.” Raven couldn’t believe it. She looked at the map, and it couldn’t be more than fifty miles between the two cities.
“Since they’re paying for this, I guess we should do something they want. The map says there is a bunch of castles on the road from Manchester to Glasgow. I’d love to see a castle from medieval times.” Faith had this fascination since she was young, but except for its name, Hearst Castle, California didn’t have much in the way of castles. She’d read that many castles were home for those that worshiped and served the pagan gods.
“Yes, a castle or two would be interesting. Maybe we can find one that takes in guests. I’d love to explore a castle.” Raven would love to find one with a dungeon. A place where men would take those that were opposed to them, male or female and subject them to unspeakable torture or pleasure, she was never sure which, but she’d like to find out.
“Are you up to driving on the other side of the street?” Faith thought that it might be difficult, but at least they’d be out of the city.
“Yes, I spent a couple of months in Australia, and I didn’t have any trouble. It takes a bit to get used to, but after a while, it’s almost natural. I’ll drive.” Raven would make sure they got something sporty to drive.
“So, I guess that is the plan,” Faith not sure how this came up so fast, but it was adventurous. They got the partying out of the way last week. Now, they could enjoy the rest of the vacation, but that wouldn’t mean there would be no men, wine and music. There would always be time for that. They began to plan the trip. The drive to Glasgow was only a couple hundred miles, but they weren’t sure how good the roads would be, so they planned to stay overnight along the way. They hoped to find something interesting, not a modern hotel, but something historic.
* * * *
Martin saw them walking over to the counter. Who could miss them? He was already on the lookout for two American women, and they fit the bill. The plane from London just arrived, so he was sure it was them. Just from their names, he guessed that the one with long, black hair was Raven Hunter, although he could be mistaken. She was beautiful with a glowing tan, and with the red lipstick, her mouth was succulent. He wished he could see her from behind sure her ass was as nice as her tits. He could see the slight sway of her breasts as she walked, and if she wore a bra, it was thin. She had long legs, and her shorts accented them. The other one, Faith Bishop, looked like the typical California surfer girl. Her name might have a religious connotation, but she dressed to show her body to perfection. She wore a sleeveless pullover that could barely contain her large breasts, and her belly was naked. Her shorts hung low on her waist. She wore sandals on her feet. Martin loved American tourists. These seemed to be well off, for they rented a BMW Series 3. “Good morning. You must be Ms. Bishop and Ms. Hunter. I’ve been expecting you.”
“Why thank you,” Faith paused until she saw his name badge, “Martin.” Business must be slow if he knew their names.
“If you’ll just fill out the paperwork, I can get you on your way. Who’s going to be the primary driver?”
“I am.” Raven took the paperwork and began to fill it out. Faith filled out the other one.
It didn’t take them long to fill out the paperwork. He took their driver’s licenses, passports, credit card and insurance papers, although their insurance would only be secondary outside the United States. He looked at their driver’s license, and he picked them correctly. He completed the paperwork. “You have the top-of-the-line BMW Series 3 from us. Have you ever driven a right-handed steering-wheel car before?”
“Yes, in Australian for two months. It was a couple of years ago, but it shouldn’t take much to get used to it,” Raven confidently said. She gave Martin her best smile.
“Okay. The car has GPS, but here’s a map just in case you get stuck too far out in the middle of nowhere. Is there anything else I can help you with?”
“No, Martin. You’ve been great. Have a nice day.”
He got his view as the two women went to the parking lot to pick up their car. They both had a delectable ass.
It didn’t take them much to find M6, the highway. It’s one of the major north-south routes in England. They were disappointed that it was a six-lane highway, three in each direction. They could’ve stayed in California and driven on something like this. At least it didn’t take long. It was a little less than two hours before they got to their exit, A65 highway to Kendal. This road was more to their liking, a single lane in each direction with lots of small towns and forest along the way. They were in rural England. It was another 70 miles or so to Kendal, the last major town if you could call it that.
They stopped there to get something to eat and see the sites. They knew it had some castles, but they were ruins, nothing majestic and still standing. The food was good, some of it they never tasted before. The people were very friendly, not just the men, but the women, too. It was later in the day as they had dinner and celebrated with a bottle of wine.
“Should we stay here tonight?” Faith asked Raven since she had to drive. It would be dark by the time they finished.
“I didn’t see anything that impressed me here to stay the night. No castles or bed and breakfasts that looked intriguing. The map says it’s only about a 2 ½-hour drive to Glasgow. It’s back on A6, and that turns into A74, so they are both probably six-lane highways, so it should be fine. I’d rather see what Glasgow has to offer in the way of historic hotels.”
“Yes, Kendal is only about 28,000 people, and it looks like they roll up the streets early. I’m sure that Glasgow would be better, and it’s not that far.” Faith didn’t see anything that inspired her here. They walked the main street, but it was short, and the businesses were starting to close up.
They went back to the car and headed out. As soon as they left the town, it started to drizzle. “Damn rain,” Faith said as soon as the wipers started.
“This is England. It’s always raining, just not hard most of the time. It’ll be okay. San Francisco will be the same way.”
“Don’t remind me that’s where I picked to live. I hope it’s not as bad as some say.”
“It’s a nice city, just like London, very cosmopolitan. You’ll love it, and I’ll visit you with my nice tan,” Raven would stay in Southern California where it was perpetually sunny and warm. The rain began to pick up. It was getting a little difficult to see especially when she wasn’t sure where she was going. She hoped she got the directions right, but the road was still a single lane, and it was dark and woody. The road began to curve more as if they were going uphill. She wasn’t sure she was going the right way now, but it had only been ten minutes since they left the town. She could always turn around and head back to start all over again.
They passed a town if you could call it that. It couldn’t be more than a dozen small shops, and most were dark. A few houses were in the trees, but you could barely see them. The road began to curve more. “Are you sure this is the right way?” Faith grew worried that they were lost. The GPS didn’t help much. It was as if it was also lost.
“No, we should’ve found the highway by now. I’ll go a couple more miles and find a place to turn around. It’s all curves, and another car would never see us turning around.” Raven started to look for somewhere to turn around, but the edge of the road was dirt and grass, and she was afraid with the rain soaked dirt they’d get stuck.
“Watch ou—” Faith cried out, but it was too late. Some large animal crossed the road in front of them.
Raven saw something in the middle of the road, and she tried to swerve to avoid it, but the road was narrow, and there was no place to go. She caught the hindquarter of the large animal. She saw it twisted around by the car, but her urgent need was to keep the car on the road. The tires slipped on the rain-swept road as she tried to stop, but she lost control of it for a split second, and that was too long. The car slid off the road and through the grass, half turning sideways as it skidded.
“TTTHHHUMMPPP!” The sound of metal ripping apart rang out as the side of the car hit a tree, but at least it only scraped along it. Faith cried out, but she could only hold on. The airbag hit her, but it quickly deflated. The car finally came to a rest, and Faith was thankful that she was okay.
Raven couldn’t see for a split second when the airbag exploded, but the car stopped, but it wasn’t in good condition. The horn was constantly beeping, and steam poured out from beneath the mangled hood. The right side of the car took most of the damage, and Raven looked over to see that Faith was okay, although she was startled. “Are you okay, Faith?”
“Yes. I want to get out,” Faith panicked when she couldn’t open the door. She saw the steam rise up from under the hood, and she feared a fire.
Raven’s door opened, and she slid out. “Climb over the console.” She reached in to help her. The horn continued to blow loudly as if proclaiming their failure. Luckily, the rain was only a mist, but they didn’t even have a jacket on.
“Can you shut off the horn?” Faith asked her. It was driving her crazy it was so loud.
“Unless you got a gun I can shoot through the hood, no. At least maybe someone will hear it.” She checked her cell and got no coverage. “Nothing.”
“Me neither.” They were too far in the woods.
Raven opened up the trunk. At least that worked so they could get their suitcases. They put a jacket on, but they were already damp beneath it.
Oliver hopped into the black Land Rover. He could hear the horn blaring in the distance. That wasn’t a good sign. There weren’t any houses around, and the winding road was treacherous in the rain. The Land Rover stuck to the ruts that ran down the dirt road as the tires gripped tight. He hit the paved road, and he didn’t have to go more than half a mile before he saw the car lights angled toward the road, but the car was in the bushes and trees. He was glad to see two figures standing near the car. He pulled up behind it and left the lights on. Two women were standing there, and in spite of being wet, they were still beautiful.
Raven was a bit nervous when the SUV pulled up, but out here, anything was better than nothing. She didn’t know where it came from. Someone started walking toward them. She wished she had her Mace with her, but it wasn’t allowed on the airplane. She would’ve felt more secure.
Faith was glad for anyone to rescue them. It wasn’t as if there would have a serial killer out here in the woods and he happened upon them.
“My, you’ve made a mess of the bonnet of your car. Are you okay?”
“Yes, we barely missed an animal, but we ran off the road.” Raven tried to explain away her error.
Oliver looked at the front of the car. “I think you got him, at least you nicked him. There’s blood on the car.”
That made Faith feel bad that some poor animal was out there wounded by them.
“Must’ve been a deer, lots of them around here. Well, your car’s not going anywhere.” Oliver went back to his car and got the crowbar. He pushed it into the bonnet and pried it open. Finding the horn was easy. He yanked the wire and silenced it. It wouldn’t make much difference to the repair bill.
“Thanks, that was too loud, but I’m glad it raised you at least to save us.”
“I couldn’t help hearing it.” He paused for a second. “Damn daft of me for not introducing myself. I’m Oliver.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Oliver. I’m Raven.” He was handsome, about six feet, well built, and he seemed to be intelligent, although she still had a hard time understanding some of the English words.
“Yes, raven black hair, but I’m sure you’ve heard that before.” She made his cock hard.
“I’m Faith. And no, we lost our faith in this situation,” beating him to the punch.
“Damn straight. Where were you heading?”
“You missed a lot of turns to the motorway, although you were going in the right general direction. You’re not going to get anyone to come out tonight to help you. You can ring up a tow truck in the morning.”
“Our cells don’t work,” Raven volunteered. She didn’t want to stay out here tonight. “Can you take us to a hotel?” She hoped that there is one nearby that wasn’t so bad.
“Nope, no mobile out here. And no hotels. Can I offer you my hospitality? I live up the road.”
“We couldn’t inconvenience you and your wife.” Raven wanted to see if he was married.
“No missus. It’s no trouble, the house is big, and we have a couple of servants that make our life livable. It’s much better than anything you’ll find within fifty miles.”
Faith looked at Raven. Faith didn’t have any problem with taking up on his offer. Raven was just being extra careful. “What do you say, Raven? We can stay in an authentic English cottage.”
“Seeing how Oliver is here to help us, I can’t see us turning him down.” This could prove to be interesting. He was handsome, but there was only one Oliver. Hopefully, he had a brother, a twin brother.
Oliver got their bags and put them in the back of the Land Rover. He headed back up to the house.
It was a bit disconcerting when Oliver drove into the woods on a dirt road that wasn’t more than tire ruts. It went uphill, but the Land Rover held the ground. It didn’t take long until Faith saw some lights in the distant. As they came closer, it began to grow more apparent that the English cottage was much more than that. “It’s a castle.” It sounded like she was an impressionable teenager, but she couldn’t help it. It was huge. She could make out the gray stones that spiraled at least four stories high. The windows on the ground floor had to be thirty feet high. As the Land Rover pulled into the front, she could see the stone stairway, at least thirty steps up to a pair of gigantic wood doors that looked as though you could barely move them.
Raven couldn’t even say a word. It left her speechless. She was finally able to get the words out. “Is this where you live, Oliver?”
“Yes, it’s been in the Edwards family for 800 years, although it’s been worked on so many times that it doesn’t resemble the original buildings.” He grabbed their bags. “Let’s get out of the drizzle. There’s a nice fire going inside.”
Raven and Faith looked up as they walked up the stairs. There were two turrets in the front, and they couldn’t see much past that. The door opened before they got to it. A man waited for them.
“Let me, Oliver.” Arthur grabbed the bags from him. “Was there an accident?”
“Yes, I’m afraid their car is not in great shape. Take the bags upstairs, put them in adjoining rooms.” He turned to Raven and Faith. “Come into the parlor. I’ll get you brandy, and you can dry off next to the fire.”
The hallway was massive, but that was nothing like the parlor. It had to be at least two thousand square feet, a good-sized house in the United States. The furniture looked like it was all antiques, from upholstered chairs and couches with hand-carved wooden frames to antique vases. A large clock rang out the hour. The fireplace was large enough so a person could stand inside it, alongside another person. The walls were all stone, and there were coats of arms and flags that adorned them, along with spears and swords. The oil paintings looked as though they were the previous lords that ruled the castle, dressed regally as they posed for hours to get the right look of power on their faces.
“How big is it?” Faith had to pull her tongue back into her mouth. She’d wanted to see a castle, but she expected ruins, not a castle that someone still lived in.
“It has eighteen bedrooms, eight bathrooms, two kitchens, three parlors, two libraries, a ballroom, chapel along with servant quarters. There are other buildings housed within the walls such as the stables, a granary, armory and a few shops from yesteryear.” Oliver loved to impress first-time visitors.
“How many people live here?” Raven would love to live here.
“That depends on the day of the week. Eight have permanent residence here, but when we have occasions for celebration, the number can climb to over forty, all in relative comfort.”
“Are you a permanent resident?”
“Are you one of the Edwards?”
“Yes, although that is not my last name. The Edwards name spans almost a thousand years, and the family is widespread through Great Britain. We even have a few in the colonies,” he joked to Faith.
Someone else brought them brandies, and Faith and Raven sat on an antique couch in front of the fire. It felt good, and the brandy was even better. He’d brought cookies or biscuits as he called them. Oliver was an attentive host, and the brandy felt good. The busted rental car left their minds immediately. After all, this was a vacation and not everything worked out on vacations.
Raven hated to say it, but it grew late and the day had been long. “We should be turning in, Faith.”
Faith was disappointed, but she started to ache. The accident had affected her after all. “Yes.”
“Your rooms are up the stairs, the last two on the right. You should be comfortable there. Heating in a castle is what you’d expect, not good, but there are plenty of blankets, and in the morning if you run the hot shower for a moment it will warm up the bathroom. Breakfast is usually served at eight, but there are always leftovers to be had. I can help you with your car in the morning.”
“We can’t thank you enough. One of our goals on this trip was to see a castle, but we never expected anything like this.” Raven hoped that they might get a personal tour of the castle. At least she hoped to get one from Oliver.
“Yes, thank you so much. If you hadn’t come along, we’d be held up inside a busted car all night.” She wanted to see the chapel tomorrow if Oliver would let her. Her imagination took over as to what might have occurred there centuries ago.
Secret Passages and a Dungeon
Raven slept well, but she had strange dreams. It was expected since she slept in this huge bed that she had to use a wooden step to get into. It was a four-poster bed with the posts intricately carved. And she was in a castle, so her dreams tended toward the macabre, namely the dungeon she hoped the castle possessed. She slept naked even though it was cold in the room. Beneath the blankets, she was warm, and between her legs she was wet.
She found herself waking up early. It was barely six when she got out of bed. She ran naked into the bathroom and immediately turned on the shower. She was surprised that it shot out hot water so quickly but grateful that the steam soon warmed the room. She took her time getting ready. The shower felt good, and the aches in her bones from last night were gone. It wasn’t lost on her that she primped herself meticulously. She was hoping that the stay here would be more than one night. They could always go to Glasgow later. That was what their vacation was all about, no set schedule or restraints.
She put on a skirt, not shorts. It showed off her legs better and tempted a man’s eyes of what lay beneath it. The castle was a bit cold, and it was surrounded by woods so the temperatures wouldn’t get that warm, so she selected a sweater, but it was light and cashmere. She liked the way it laid across her breasts, her naked breasts. She put on a pair of flats so she could walk around the castle without tripping. She had expectations of a personally guided tour. She did look good when she gazed at her reflection in the tall wooden mirror. It was almost eight. She’d taken her time so she could be there at exactly eight. She walked out into the hallway and went downstairs, but she didn’t knock to see if Faith was awake. She was a bit selfish, for she wanted Oliver to herself. She’d understand, just as she would if she found Faith already at the table, but she got lucky. She wasn’t there.
There were four people at the table, and all of their eyes turned to see Raven walk in. They all stood up as she entered. English customs were more polite. She smiled at Oliver immediately. “Good morning.”
“Raven, good morning. Did you sleep well?”
“Yes, the bed was so comfortable and warm. It was as if it encased my body in a warm embrace.” Naked it was even better, but she didn’t mention that.
Oliver began to introduce everyone to Raven. “This is Michael.”
Michael took her hand and shook it. She had a firm grip and her skin was soft and supple. She got a stir out of him as he looked at her body.
Michael was older, late forties or early fifties. It was difficult to say. His brown hair had streaks of silver, but he had a head of hair. He was fit and handsome in a debonair sort of way, but in the sunlight, she could see his skin was weathered with age. He had green eyes that seem to pierce her soul. “It’s nice to meet you, Michael.” Oliver didn’t say if he was one of the Edwards or if he was related to Oliver, but she didn’t ask.
“I’m Riley. It’s nice to meet you, Raven. It’s such a fascinating name.”
Riley looked a couple years older than Oliver, but they didn’t look alike, so they were probably not brothers. He had black hair and blue eyes, which was a rare occurrence. The two attributes contrasted with each other. He was taller than Oliver, and his build was bigger, but it looked like all muscle, not fat. He did have a nice smile. “Good to meet you, Riley.” He held her hand longer than usual, but she liked that in him.
“Chivvy along, Riley. I want to meet this dishy woman.” Jake couldn’t take his eyes off her. “I’m Jake, Raven.”
“I know we speak the same language, but I barely understood a word you said,” but she laughed as she said it.
“Actually, you don’t speak English, you speak American, but we don’t hold it against you. I told Riley to hurry up because I wanted to meet this attractive woman.”
“I’ll take that compliment.” She shook his hand. He was younger than Oliver, just as handsome, but his accent was more pronounced. She didn’t know if she’d ever understand him.
“Let’s sit down for breakfast.” Oliver was hungry.
Arthur brought out breakfast, and Raven was glad that it was typical food that an American would eat, although there were some oddities. There were eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, but it was more fried bread than toasted. Then, there were mushrooms and beans. That was strange breakfast food. Raven took small portions of all of it, but the men didn’t seem to watch their weight, even though they were fit.
“Does Faith sleep late?” Oliver asked Raven after not seeing her come down.
“I was early, so this is normally what time we would get up, but last night’s accident was disturbing, and the beds are comfortable. I’m sure she hated to get out into the cool air.”
The other men started talking to her. All of them wanted to hear about her life in the colonies, as they put it. They gave her a chance to ask them questions back. She learned that Michael was a direct descendant of the Edwards and he was an Edwards.
“He’s officially Lord Michael Edwards,” Oliver proudly said.
“Then, I should find an oil painting of you somewhere in the house,” Raven retorted.
“In the parlor, back wall, second from the right. It was done about five years ago so you might not recognize me.” Michael was proud of that painting. He sat for a week to get it right, and it hung proudly with his other relatives.
“I’ll have to check it out.”
“I’d be glad to give you a tour of the castle after breakfast if you’d like. I’m not sure of your schedule and whether you want to get another car and be on your way.” Oliver hoped they’d stay a bit longer, and maybe, he could convince them to stay much longer. It would be nice to have two beautiful women in the castle.
“I forgot all about that car. I should call the rental agency after breakfast and tell them the bad news.”
“If you’d like to stay for a day or two, I can arrange transportation to Glasgow for you when you are ready to leave.” It was Michael that spoke up.
Michael’s offer surprised Raven. It was basically his castle and she’d just been invited to stay longer. “That’s very generous of you, Lord Michael,” she laughed as she teased him.
“Then, you must not defy the lord of the manor. We take those that defy us seriously, and you could find yourself in the dungeon,” he teased her.
That sent a chill up her spine. “You really have a dungeon?” She could barely catch her breath.
“But of course. A castle wouldn’t be a castle without a dungeon.”
“Then, I guess I better not turn down your generous offer. Your castle is so big, and I’d enjoy seeing it all,” making sure she put the emphasis on all to include the dungeon. She hoped that Oliver understood.
The others joined in once again. She learned that Riley was an athlete, a football player in Manchester, but she knew that meant he played soccer. He wasn’t that big to play American football. It was off-season, so he stayed here.
Jake was a banker in Liverpool. She knew that was where the Beatles started, but she also knew it was a seaport and a large city. It was only about 120 kilometers or 70 miles away, so it wasn’t far. He did a lot of work out of the castle and only went into his office one or two days a week.
As far as she could tell, none of them were married, including Michael. She’d look to see if Michael’s painting had a woman with him. None of them wore wedding rings. It didn’t take long to finish breakfast as the men ate as though they hadn’t eaten in days. The coffee was strong, but it woke her up.
“I’ll let you ring up the rental company and give them the bad news. You can have some privacy in the other room.” Oliver led her away from the others to an alcove near the parlor. She’d put the rental agreement in her pocket. She dialed the number as Oliver left, but her eyes never left him as he walked away.
It was a long conversation, but she got through it. They promised to pick the car up today and tow it away. She’d put the keys under the mat on the driver’s side. It’s not as if anyone could drive it away even if they found the keys. She saw Oliver in the parlor waiting for her. That was a good sign. “Done. Can you take me to the car so I can place the keys under the driver’s mat?”
“If you give me the keys, I have Arthur do it. I thought you wanted a tour of the castle.” He took the keys as Arthur entered the room. “Would you put these under the driver’s mat, Arthur?”
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