The four of them got into an elevator, which they rode to the fifteenth floor.
"I don't own a penthouse like you, Graham, but I've soundproofed the walls, so you needn't worry about anyone overhearing."
"This way," he said pointing the way when the elevator doors slid apart. He led them down the hall to a door, which he unlocked. Kelly's first impression of Mr. Cartwright's apartment was its fancy décor. Pastel flowers, crystal vases, lamps with figurines. It all seemed very feminine. And when a young woman in high heels, party dress, and pearls entered from a side room, Kelly understood why. Susie, it appeared, had a mommy and a daddy, and that thought had Kelly gripping Daddy's hand in dismay. He gave her fingers an absent pat but didn't say anything.
"You're back from your walk early, Trent. Something happen?"
Trent Cartwright kissed the woman on the cheek. "Our little girls misbehaved, so we brought them back to be punished."
"Really?" The scowl the woman gave Susie made Kelly's backside clench. Susie probably got double punishments, but all the little girl did was lower her head and say, "I'm sorry, Mommy."
Kelly gave Daddy's hand another tug. "I want to leave, Daddy. Now. Please don't make me do this."
"Hush. It will be beneficial for you to observe how other families interact with their little girls."
Still shaking her head in doubt, she clutched Daddy's hand while Mr. Cartwright made the introductions. "Darling, you remember Graham White, don't you? This is his new little girl, Kelly."
Mrs. Cartwright kissed Daddy on the cheek. "Of course I remember Graham. Nice to see you. You haven't been to any of the recent munches, so I wondered if you'd abandoned the lifestyle for a more conventional arrangement with your last little girl. Louise, wasn't it?"
Graham White smiled. "Yes, Louise. And no, I haven't entertained any thought of leaving the lifestyle. At least not yet."
Then Mrs. Cartwright turned to Kelly, who promptly backed up against Daddy. "Hello, Kelly. Are you scared, little one?"
Kelly nodded. No point in lying about that. She wanted to go home—
"Well, I doubt it will be that bad. I'm sure your daddy takes care of you after a punishment. Doesn't he?"
Kelly frowned, unsure what the woman meant, but Daddy answered for her.
"Actually, we don't play that way, Marge. I prefer not to mix discipline with pleasure. I consider the activities opposite and contradictory."
When Child Services attempts to place her in a Residential Treatment Center next, Kelly's growing mistrust has her running away again and again. Homeless and penniless with no relatives to harbor her, and a penchant for escaping her caretakers, Kelly is finally handed over to one of the few parish orphanages remaining in existence until age at 18, when she is released.
Possessing only a little money, few skills and even fewer resources, Kelly's attempts at job hunting end up with her prowling the streets in desperation until a wealthy stranger makes her a proposition she is too cold and hungry to refuse. Though, it isn't until he takes her home that she realizes just what it is she's gotten herself into.
Note about the characters in this story:
Though Learning to be Little will be the newest book in the series, it actually begins immediately after A Dom's Dilemma, then takes the reader into Kelly's past in a sequel/prequel. The story is a departure for me in that the majority of its chronological time line takes place before the two books I've already published, but it belongs in the middle of the series. I expect two, possibly three more books in the series to be available in the near future.
Learning to be Little: Kelly's Story is available on Kindle Unlimited, and for purchase on Amazon.