How deep does a grave have to be?
Wasn’t there something about animals?
Chloe gripped the small, metal heart charm which hung about her neck, taking solace as the metal warmed beneath her hand. The blue-white beam of her flashlight bounced off dark tree trunks and the thick bed of wet leaves and twigs which covered the ground.
Would the rain make digging easier or harder she wondered?
The sound of crunching gravel alerted her to a car traveling up the long driveway even before she saw the headlights. Turning off her flashlight, she ran back towards the cabin, tripping over a half-buried log in her haste. Throwing open the rough wooden gate that separated the forest from the clearing, she raced across the yard, ignoring the ice cold water that seeped into her sneakers as her feet sunk into the rain-soaked grass. Cringing at the loud squeak the back screen door made as she carefully opened it, Chloe crouched low as she crossed the study into the kitchen. Keeping her head down, she reached up and turned off the small lamp she always kept lit on her kitchen table. Without the soft warm glow, the cabin felt cold and still.
Chloe held her breath, straining to hear the sound of any movement outside. A car door. The sound of an engine turning off. If there was a god, the sound of gravel as the car turned around and left.
The anxiety of not knowing was too much. Chloe crawled across the linoleum, around the kitchen island. She paused and listened.
Trying to calm her beating heart, she crept closer to the front door. Her knees ached from crawling on the hard floor. Her damp jeans chafed and clung to her hips with every movement. She could feel mud squishing between her toes inside her sneakers. All she wanted was to take a hot shower and forget this night ever happened. But that wasn’t possible…she would never wash away the horror of this night.
Grimacing as small pebbles, tracked inside from the driveway, cut into the palms of her hands, Chloe slowly crept into the mud room. The front door was straight ahead. It had an open window pane so she kept low and to the shadows. Just beyond was the small porch and the gravel drive. Leaning against the wall to the right of the door, Chloe tilted her head and listened.
Her heartbeat finally slowed.
It must have been a neighbor driving by.
“Chloe. Open the door.”
Throwing her hand over her mouth to stifle a scream, Chloe scurried further back along the wall, staring at the closed door with wild eyes.
There was another long, excruciating pause.
“I know you are in there. I need you to open the door.”
The dark command of his voice almost had her obeying. How did he know her name? Who was he? The police? She would have welcomed the police. An hour ago. But not now. Now it was too late. Maybe he was a friend of his. Just another reason why she couldn’t open the door. The cabin was dark. The doors locked. Her car was parked in the garage with the door closed. There was no real way for him to know she was inside. Maybe if she stayed quiet he would give up and leave?
“Baby, I’m losing my patience. Trust me. You don’t want that.”
The deep tone of the stranger’s voice was getting harsher. Did she dare continue to defy him?
She moved her hand over the low shelf that ran along the wall at her back, encountering bug candles, rubber boots, and fishing tackle. Nothing that could be used as a weapon. There were her late uncle’s hunting rifles in the gun cabinet in the living room, but she would have to crawl back through the kitchen. The cabin was dark, but there was no way he would not see the outline of her movements through the front door window now that he was standing just on the other side. The door wasn’t even secured with a deadbolt, just a simple key lock. She lived in a cabin in the woods in the middle of nowhere in upstate Michigan where all the neighbors knew one another. There wasn’t a need for extraneous locks and deadbolts.
“I’m giving you one last chance to open this door, baby girl,” the stranger growled.
Chloe knew the old door with its old lock would not hold. She needed to make a decision.
The door handle rattled violently.
She was out of time.
Rising up, Chloe bolted back through the kitchen.
The sickening sound of splintering wood and shattering glass reverberated throughout the cabin.
Chloe’s wet soles skidded along the floor as she sharply turned right down the narrow hallway to the living room. The gun cabinet was just over the threshold. Her trembling hand closed over the brass handle. The guns weren’t loaded, but hopefully the stranger wouldn’t get close enough to notice. Wrenching the handle upwards, Chloe threw open the cabinet door and blindly reached in, feeling for the cold barrel of the rifle she knew was there.
A hand closed over her shoulder, spinning her about and slamming her against the wall. She had no chance to even scream. That same hand wrapped around her throat, the long fingers easily encircling the slender column, till her jaw was pushed upwards, her head crushed painfully against the wall.
The sharp angles of the stranger’s face came into focus. His angry, lowered brow. Dark, unreadable eyes.
His full lips lifted in a sneer. “I warned you, baby.”
Chloe tried to rise up on her toes to ease the pressure on her throat. Desperately, she clawed at the man’s t-shirt. A garbled scream escaped her lips.
“Shhh…all that will do is piss me off more than I already am, and we don’t want that do we?” He’d leaned in close to whisper the ominous threat, his lips skimming along her jaw. The scrape of his stubble rubbed against the soft skin of her cheek.
She tried to shake her head no, but his grip on her throat would not allow it.
He spread his legs wide before leaning his hips forward, pressing into her body. He was a large beast of a man. Both his size and voice were frightening…intimidating.
He ran the back of his knuckles down her cheek. “Now, you are going to be a good girl and obey me.”
Chloe tried to convey her willingness with her eyes.
He seemed to understand because he released his grip on her throat, but he shifted his hips as if to remind her he still held a portion of her body prisoner. As if she needed reminding.
With a warning look in her direction, he flicked on the light switch by her shoulder.
Chloe blinked as the room flooded with light. The moment her eyes adjusted, she caught her first real look at the stranger who had forced his way into her cabin. If he had not been holding her against the wall, her knees would have given out in sheer fright. Jesus Christ! The man looked like the type of prison thug you only saw in the movies…or mug shots on the news. Impossibly tall, his chest and arms were thick with muscles. He had a neck tattoo. A goddamn neck tattoo. Piercing blue eyes watched her with amusement.
“You like what you see, baby girl.”
Oh god, thought Chloe. She had survived one horror this night only to be raped and murdered by this man.
Maybe it was what she deserved.
He ran a finger over her collarbone and then traced the V-neck edge of her pink t-shirt.
Chloe bit her lip to keep from crying out. Her palms hurt from where her fingernails bit into them, her fists were clenched so hard.
Still he taunted her. His finger slowly ran up and down the edge of her neckline, till it dipped into the low vee. Hooking his finger into the flimsy fabric, he pulled it towards him.
Chloe cried out in alarm and started to defensively raise her arms.
“Don’t,” he ordered.
She had no choice but to lower her limbs helplessly to her sides.
Her t-shirt gaped open, exposing her to his intense gaze.
Chloe closed her eyes in mortification. The generous top curves of her breasts encased in delicate white lace were clearly on display. Embroidered onto the bra, right in the center, nestled in her cleavage was a small pink design.
The stranger raised one dark eyebrow. “Hello Kitty?”
Chloe slowly nodded her head yes.
“Later I’m going to want a closer look at this cute bra, but for now we have some business to attend to.”
A warm tear escaped the corner of her eye. Later? Her stomach twisted.
Her cabin was isolated and hard to reach during the day let alone during a torrential storm in the middle of the night. Even if she were willing to call the police, they would never reach her in time. It would take the small force of Glennie at least an hour to respond to her call for help. She shuddered to think what this dangerous man could do to her in the space of an hour.
“Please,” she choked out. “The stones are in the garage. In my workshop.”
“The diamonds. Just take them.”
The man chuckled. The sinister sound was devoid of any mirth.
“I don’t give a fuck about any diamonds.”
“Then what do you want?”
The moment the question left her lips, she knew it was a mistake.
The man leaned in with his hips. The hard ridge of his arousal pressed against her stomach.
Chloe whimpered as she shifted her body to the side, desperately trying to break his hold.
What kind of man turned down diamonds? A crazy fuck, that’s who.
Chloe didn’t trust anyone who claimed to not be interested in money. Money was cold, unfeeling. Straightforward. Every horrible moment in her fucked up, twisted life could be traced back to someone else’s need for money. At least it made things uncomplicated. There was no wondering why or any deep self-reflection or even a need for that elusive idea of closure or meaning. She knew why…money.
There was only one other thing besides money that could influence a person’s actions…sex.
She could feel the ominous power of his intention as he used his body to cage her own.
She would not give in without a fight. Clenching her small hand into a fist, she lashed out. The fifteen carat, vintage amethyst ring she always wore, caught him on the cheekbone. A droplet of blood trickled from the scratch caused by one of the diamond accents.
He raised two fingertips to swipe at the blood. Keeping his eyes trained on hers, his tongue flicked out to taste the crimson drop.
Watching him, she could almost taste the metallic tang on her own tongue.
“I was hoping you would fight me. It will make this all so much easier.”
Her scream was lost in the deep, dark woods.
A Dark Historical Daddy Dom
Shifting confused eyes from one face to the other, Corinne tried to make sense of their words. Was he the reason why she had no longer been permitted to walk to the village after her six and tenth birthday? Why she had been kept to only the abbey grounds and surrounding moors while the other girls housed under their protection had been allowed far more freedom?
The duke’s large, tanned hand covered her slight, pale one. She was led to stand before the altar. The cardinal’s words were only a murmur in the background of her mind. Corinne could only stare at their joined hands. His engulfed her own, dominated it. Only the tips of her fingertips could be seen past the strong sinew of his fist. On his ring finger there was a heavy, gold signet ring. It had a large, smooth black stone. Embedded in its hard depths was the image of a golden bird with its massive wings outstretched. Clutched in its vicious talons was a crushed rose. The family crest of Ebonhurst. An omen.
“In the presence of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are here this night to witness the marriage of Lord Lucian Talon, Duke of Ebonhurst to Corinne, orphan,” droned the cardinal.
Corinne’s mind snapped to attention. The horror of her situation crashing into her conscience mind. This could not possibly be happening. Upon her life! She couldn’t marry this man. He was too rich. Too powerful. Too frightening. There was a dark, seductiveness about him that would swallow her whole; body and soul. This was madness!
Shaking her head, her slippered feet slid backward.
His hand tightened on her own.
“Please! You cannot mean it. It cannot be me you want,” begged Corinne as her body leaned backward, foolishly trying to break his grasp.
Lucian turned hard eyes on her.
Only the sound of her own harsh breathing broke the silence in the small chapel as she waited. A trapped bird hoping for release.
His grip slackened. Corinne slipped from his grip and took a relieved step backward, pressing her hands to her pounding heart. Mother Superior would be furious, but she would rather face her wrath than a lifetime bound to this overwhelming man.
Lucian shrugged out of his frock coat, tossing it carelessly over the nearest pew. The thin lawn of his shirt stretched over heavily muscled arms. Nonchalantly releasing a cuff, Lucian began to slowly roll up one sleeve.
“Leave us,” he ordered through clenched teeth.
Both the cardinal and Mother Superior scurried out of the chapel without so much as a sympathetic glance toward Corinne. Lifting the long skirts of her nightgown, she moved to follow them.
“Not you,” he barked.
“Your grace?” she asked timidly.
Lucian rolled up his other sleeve, exposing darkly tanned forearms touched with dark hair. “Your defiance merits a punishment.”
“Punishment?” Corinne choked out, more frightened then she had ever been in her entire young life.
No sooner had Chance released her bonds, then she flew off the bed and across the room, desperately searching for a weapon to grab. Luckily there was a small dagger resting on this desk top. Isabelle held it in front of her with both fists.
“You stay back,” she warned.
“You disappoint me,” said Chance with a sigh. “Now I shall have to punish you for your disobedience. I was hoping my first view of your delectable ass would have been under more amiable circumstances after we had come to an understanding, but so be it.”
Isabelle let out a nervous laugh. “You are mad if you think you will be seeing my… my bottom or any other part of my body.” She refused to say the word ass.
“We’ll see,” said Chance calmly as Isabelle watched him slowly undo his belt for the second time that day.
“Stay back,” she warned as he took a step closer. Isabelle waved the dagger in front of her as she tried to think of a plan. It was to no avail.
Chance flipped the leather tongue end of the belt in her direction, effortlessly whipping it around both her wrists. With a sharp tug, she was flung against his chest, the dagger falling uselessly to the floor.
Releasing his belt, he secured both her wrists with one hand. “And now to your punishment.”
Isabelle struggled as he dragged her across the room to a small wooden stool. Sitting down, Chance pulled her squirming body over his lap. Isabelle screeched and cursed.
“I must say I am impressed,” commented an amused Chance. “I had no idea a lady of your caliber knew such low language.”
Ignoring her further outbursts, he gripped the edge of her almost sheer, white pantalettes and pulled downward, exposing her creamy, caramel skin. Running an appreciative hand over the exposed curve of her bottom, Chance said, “Luscious. Just as I thought it would be.”
Bending the thick, leather belt in half, he pushed one strong forearm down between her shoulder blades to keep her steady. Raising his arm, he brought the belt down sharply across both her bottom cheeks.
Isabelle was so startled from the impact, it didn’t even hurt, at first. Then a sharp, stinging pain spread across her backside. Before she could fully register the pain, the strap fell a second time.
Chance watched as her beautiful ass jiggled slightly from the impact of his leather belt before blossoming into a pretty pink blush with just the faintest red outline from the belt. He directed the next two blows to the tops of her thighs and the sensitive skin just below the curve of her bottom.
Isabelle fisted her hands as she tried not to cry out and beg the scoundrel to stop. She had never been physically punished in her life. She was completely unprepared for the humiliating heated pain. Her bottom felt like it was on fire, the skin becoming more sensitive and swollen with each blow. Throwing pride and principle aside, she begged.
“Please stop. I can’t take any more. Please,” she cried.
Chance gave her two more straps across the center of her bottom for good measure before putting the belt aside. Once again, he ran his hand over her smooth ass, appreciating the heat rising from her pinkened skin.
The throbbing pain made his touch feel all the more invasive to Isabelle. Not realizing he had set the belt aside, she pleaded, “Please don’t punish me anymore. I’ll behave.”
Covering her bottom once more with her pantalettes, Chance set her on her feet before rising to his full height. His over six-foot frame dwarfing her tiny but curvy five-foot-three. Grabbing her by the chin, he warned, “See that you do, or you will get my belt again.”
Isabelle reluctantly nodded. Satisfied, Chance took a step back before issuing his next command. “Now undress me.”
A lone rider scanned the horizon. The fiery orange sunset bathed the desert valley in a rosy glow. Blotches of desert scrub and tiny bursts of honey yellow flowers from the greasewood plant the only other hint of color across the brown barren stretch of stone, sand and jagged rock. In the far distance, just to the south, were the low mudbrick and wooden structures of Fort McIntosh. The stranger’s destination.
Easing the horse forward, the stranger kept a wary eye on the surroundings. The distinctive grayish-brown coat and black-tipped ears of a bobcat appeared from behind a mesquite bush only a few arm’s lengths away. The stranger pulled on the reins. Although not its natural prey, it didn’t pay to take chances. The bobcat darted east after a black-tailed jackrabbit.
As the fort neared, so did the wide expanse of the Rio Grande as it cut through the valley like a blue ribbon. The dirty canvas tents, tumbledown shacks and brightly, painted clapboard buildings of the rowdy town which sprung up between the banks of the river and the wooden spiked picket fence of the fort also came into view. Shouts of drunken laughter, the tinny sound of a saloon piano and the occasional crack of a gun harshly replacing the calming sound of rushing wind and the call of a mockingbird from the trail.
Wrapping the leather reins around a wooden hitching post, the stranger sucked in a bracing breath before pushing open the frosted glass doors of the Imperial Saloon.
The acrid scent of tobacco smoke and warm, unwashed bodies blended with the cadence of low conversation, clinking glasses and the discordant shrieks of a saloon girl on stage attempting a rendition of When This Cruel War Is Over. The gaudy oil paintings, polished brass lamps, felt tables and mahogany bar of the interior gave an air of tawdry luxury to the saloon that ran counter to the run-down appearance of the town itself.
Eyes averted, the stranger stepped up to the bar. Tossing a bright, double-eagle, gold coin on its grubby surface, their voice scratched out, “I’ll take a flip and some information.”
The barkeep cast a disparaging glance over the floppy, black-felt hat which obscured the stranger’s face. With a shrug of shoulders, the barkeep pocketed the coin and grabbed a bottle of champagne and one fresh, farm egg.
Cracking the egg into a tin cup, the barkeep asked, “What do you want to know?” The town was a popular trade route and the last stop before the Mexican Territories. Folks came and went all the time. Some respectable, most not. It wasn’t uncommon for lawmen, gunfighters, jilted lovers and the like to pass through asking for information. It made for some extra coin in his pocket.
“Looking for a man who goes by the name Black Jack Doolin who might have passed through with a woman not too long ago.”
The caterwauling stopped. The piano music ended with a crash on one long chord. In the sudden silence, the scraping of several chairs along the unpolished, wood-planked floor rent the air.
“Can’t say we like some Johnny Reb strolling into town asking questions,” groused one man as he wiped chewed tobacco spittle from his beard.
After the Northern Aggression, many Southerners abandoned their burnt out farms and headed west for a fresh start. Large swaths of western territory were filled with former Southern belles and Confederate soldiers looking to cash in on the skills they learned during the war.
“I’m talkin to you, Gray Back!”
Apparently this wasn’t one of those territories.
The once bluish-gray shell jacket was now faded to a ragged, brown butternut complete with tarnished brass buttons and frayed black piping. But even through the years of war, the dust of the trail and the ravages of castile soap and the scrub board, the Confederate Cavalry uniform coat was unmistakable.
Resting a hand on the butt of an army-issued Colt, the stranger refused to turn around. “I’m not looking for any trouble. Just trying to track someone down.” The voice was a low, gruff whisper.
“Yeah, well you just found trouble, Johnny Reb. Apparently we didn’t whup your ass enough in the war,” cackled the man. “You still need to learn your place.”
The stranger took a slow sip of the recently poured drink, fingers flexing over the warm, smooth butt of the Colt resting against a hip. In a lot of respects, the war would never be over. “If I’m not mistaken. We’re near Laredo. Didn’t a couple of Rebs fight back over two-hundred Yanks three times at the Battle of Laredo before the Yanks finally left, tails tucked between their legs, crying for their mamas?”
There was a cry of outrage and the shuffling of feet before one beefy hand fell on the shoulder of the stranger, spinning them about. “You’re going to pay for that,” spat out the furious Yankee.
The polished Colt cleared the holster before the Yank had even finished his threat. Taking a step back, the stranger aimed left handed as the edge of their right palm slashed down on the greased trigger. Firing off three shots in rapid succession. Effortlessly turning one man’s shot of whiskey into bits of wet glass, another’s hand of cards into an ace in the hole, and shooting clear through the disagreeable Yank’s kepi cap, knocking it off his damn fool head.
There was the distinctive shrill shout of the Confederate Rebel Yell, an infamous battle cry, before all hell broke loose.
Apparently there were actually a few Southerners in the saloon after all.
The stranger adroitly swung both legs over the bar, taking up a secure position behind its solid wooden base. Grabbing an earthenware jug in each hand, the figure swung out at anyone who dared come within an arm’s length.
The sounds of rough men enjoying rough entertainment was replaced by a cacophony of splintering wood, shattering glass, grunts and groans and high-pitched screams…from both the men and saloon girls as the entire room broke into fisticuffs.
It didn’t take long, before the piercing screech of whistles could be heard as men in blue cavalry uniforms burst into the saloon. It was a patrol from Fort McIntosh. The commanding officer viewed keeping the peace in the nearby town as an extension of the fort’s responsibilities.
The federal soldiers quickly subdued the drunk and unruly crowd. Lining them up against a far wall to assess the situation. The stranger included, whose head never lifted, hidden beneath the wide-brim, felt hat.
“Each of you will be fined twenty-five cents for breaking the lord’s peace,” shouted the corporal in charge.
“Attention!” called a nearby private raising a flat hand to his forehead in salute.
All the soldiers clicked their heels, threw back their shoulders and pushed their chests out.
The stranger listened as a heavy boot trod across the boards.
Major John Thomas Brice, commanding officer of Fort McIntosh had arrived.
An imposing man of six feet four inches, he wasn’t just an officer in the United States Cavalry…he was the cavalry.
His family had been serving in the cavalry back since they were called the dragoons. In The War of Southern Aggression, he served under Union Major General Pleasonton, who commanded the Cavalry Corp of the Army of the Potomac. Major Brice was the key strategist behind the Battle of Brandy Station. The largest cavalry engagement during the war, right at the beginning of the Gettysburg campaign. Major Brice launched a dawn attack against the Rebel General Stuart. It was the first time the Union Cavalry managed to beat the superior Confederate Cavalry. The Johnny Reb cavalry never recovered.
Many considered him a hero of the war…others a legend.
No one questioned his authority.
Brice surveyed the room. The damage was minimal. This time. A few broken chairs. A smashed bottle or two. More bruised egos than blackened eyes. At least the expensive saloon mirror and front windows were spared. He scrutinized the ragtag bunch slouching against the wall.
Similar to the army, society out in the west had its own hierarchy and accompanying uniform. There were the homesteaders, easily recognizable in their blue flannel shirts and woolen pants. The hide hunters, covered head to toe in buckskin, always smelling faintly of sweat and death. The prospectors who pitched widely between threadbare, dusty overalls and oil-soaked hats to ruffled shirts and tailored suits depending on their fortunes.
Each stratagem was represented in equal measure as they stood, hunched shouldered and long-faced, shuffling their feet as they avoided eye contact with the imposing commanding officer.
Of course, there were also the soldiers, former and current.
“Report, corporal.” The command was given in a crisp, clipped tone.
“Bar fight, sir.”
Brice spared an annoyed glance for the young corporal.
“What I meant to say, sir, was mostly civilians. One sergeant and two privates of ours.”
“Men,” barked Brice.
It was only one word…that was all Major Brice needed.
Three men stepped forward out of the rag tag bunch. The stranger recognized one of them as the man who started the trouble and stiffened.
“Sergeant Cleave Stinger, Private Gene Covey and Private Reuben Warnock, sir,” offered the corporal.
“It weren’t our fault, Major!” whined Sergeant Stinger as he worried the brim of his hat in his hand. “That dirty Johnny Reb came in shootin his mouth and his gun off!”
Brice’s hard gaze landed on the slight figure of the former Confederate soldier. Back pressed against the wall, one foot propped up, head bowed, the figure looked tired and uninterested. Brice knew better. He could see the tightening in the shoulders. The subtle twitch of the left hand over the Colt.
Something was not right.
The former soldier presented a slight figure. Narrow shoulders and hips. Shorter than the average man. Young. Malnourished. That wasn’t especially surprising; Brice had heard rumors of a desperate Confederacy taking boys as young as twelve to fight for their lost cause toward the end.
Still, something pricked at his instincts about the man.
Brice scrutinized the man’s worn uniform. The patch was faded and dirty but still visible, he was cavalry. No rank. A horse man was a horse man no matter what side you fought on. His gaze fell on the boots. The boots. The boots were all wrong. Too slim and narrow. They certainly were not cavalry boots. Despite the dirt and mud, they looked almost…elegant.
His gaze flew to the lowered head. I’ll be damned, he thought.
“Corporal, take the men to the Guardhouse. Thirty days fatigue duty,” he ordered.
The sergeant and two privates were escorted out of the saloon. It was a harsh punishment but they knew Major Brice did not tolerate his soldiers setting a bad example in town.
“The town marshal has finally arrived. I will turn the rest over to him.” The corporal did little to keep the disdain from his voice. The town marshal was a dissipated, corrupt drunkard with no discipline or morals. He was the very reason why the soldiers were forced to patrol the town, breaking up fights and keeping the peace.
“All but him,” ordered Brice, motioning to the Confederate with a jut of his chin.
“Him, but he started….” The corporal immediately stopped, knowing better than to question his commanding officer.
Keeping their head lowered, the stranger listened to the sounds of grunts, protests and dragging feet as the men to either side were pulled away one by one.
A moment passed.
Then he stepped close.
A pair of polished cavalry boots. A glimpse of bright, blue wool pants with a canary yellow stripe. The clean smell of soap.
Brice crossed his arms over his wide chest and stared down at the black, felt hat. The brim so wide it almost spanned the width of the slight figure’s shoulders. Even at full height, he doubted if the top of their head would reach his shoulder.
“Time to sound the recall. You’re beaten.” Even through the harsh command, his voice held a hint of amusement.
The stranger didn’t move.
Brice whipped the black felt hat off the Confederate’s head. Even having his suspicions affirmed, nothing prepared him for the sight of the startlingly, beautiful, violet eyes which rose in shock to clash with his curious gaze.
Michaela Armistead pulled her Colt.
Baring her teeth, she threated the imposing man, “Stay away from me.”
There was a slight Southern lilt to her voice. He would guess Georgia. What was once, he was sure, a proper head of waist-length hair, had been chopped to the shoulders. What would have looked like a scandalous mess on any other well-bred woman gave this feisty baggage an irresistible appeal, as if she had just emerged from bed after being good and tumbled by a man. The golden honey locks only highlighted the unusual purple color of her eyes, which at this moment flashed brimstone and fire at him.
The corner of Brice’s lips rose on a seductive smile, “Not a chance.”
For a man who had a gun drawn on him, he seemed remarkably unaffected.
He didn’t know what had brought the little beauty to the far corner of the country, alone and unprotected, but he would be damned if he was going to let her just stroll out those saloon doors.
“You have no right to keep me here. Those men started the fight. I didn’t hurt anyone,” rattled off Michaela.
He made her nervous. She had spent the last several years surrounded by men in the cavalry. Men of all shapes and sizes. Of all temperament. Some good. Some bad. But none like him. There was something about him. The way he held himself. A reined energy, like a powerful horse only barely held in check.
“You just violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice by drawing a weapon on a superior officer,” quipped Brice. His voice a low, dark threat.
Michaela lowered her brow in confusion. “But…I’m not even in the army!”
“That is a matter for the commanding officer to sort out. Till then, you’re my prisoner,” said Brice as he took one step forward. The barrel of her Colt pressing into the tight muscle of his stomach.
“You’re the commanding officer!” accused an exasperated Michaela.
“I know,” grinned Brice.
Without thought, Michaela squeezed the trigger. The hammer fell with a hollow empty click.
Brice wrapped one large hand around her slight wrist and snatched her close. “Dammit woman,” he growled.
Just because he had seen the glint of light through the empty bullet chamber didn’t mean he would excuse her trying to fill his gut with lead. If ever there was a woman who needed to be taken in hand, it was this little, feral spitfire.
Tearing the gun from her grasp, he put a shoulder to Michaela’s middle and easily lifted her slight weight high. Ignoring her indignant screams and shouts, Brice walked with a determined step out of the saloon, tossing a final command to the corporal over his shoulder.
“See that her horse and things are sent to the fort.”
“Yes, sir. Where should I have them brought?” asked the somewhat stunned corporal.
“My quarters,” answered Major Brice without hesitation as he carried an angry Michaela out into the night.
Dragging her by the banked fire, he sat down on the empty dynamite crate. Placing her in front of his outstretched knees, he took in her tousled, ragged appearance. Damn, she was till a beautiful woman.
“You rotten scalawag! I can’t wait till the law catches up to you and hangs you from the nearest tree for how you’ve treated me!”
A beautiful woman with a mouth on her.
“Take off your pantalets and ask for your punishment.”
Annabelle shot him an incredulous stare. Had he taken leave of the sense god gave him?
“You must be jesting!”
“Do I look like I am?”
She took in his hardened jaw, narrowed eyes which had darkened to the color of gunmetal and the tense, restrained set of his shoulders. He wasn’t funning her. He actually expected her to bare her bottom and ask to be spanked!
Annabelle shook her head as she took one tentative step backwards.
“Take another step and I’ll shove my cock so far down your throat you’ll taste me for weeks…then I’ll still tan your hide,” he growled.
His dark threat stopped her in her tracks. “This isn’t fair!” she cried.
“Life isn’t fair. Drop your pantalets. I won’t tell you again.”
With tears filling her azure eyes, Annabelle lifted the hem of his large navy blue shirt and fingered the ribboned bow holding her pantalets around her narrow waist.
“Please,” she whispered.
With shaking hands, Annabelle pulled on the ribbon, releasing the bow and allowing the linen under-drawers to slip down to her ankles. Her modesty was sparsely saved by the tails of his shirt which reached to her mid-thigh.
“Kick away the pantalets and turn around.”
Choking back a sob, Annabelle stepped out of her pantalets. She stood still.
“Turn around, Annabelle,” his voice dark and low with lust.
She started at the sound of her name on her lips. Biting her lip to keep back the sobs, she slowly turned her back to him.
“Lift up my shirt.”
“Don’t. Please, leave me that dignity,” she begged.
“Lift. The. Shirt. Up.”
Annabelle grasped the hem of the shirt. As slow as molasses, trying to delay the inevitable, she pulled the shirt up.
Mason held his breath as more of her creamy thighs were exposed. The rough-spun dark blue fabric of his shirt made her thighs appear that more smooth and creamy. After what felt like an eternity, he saw the soft, rounded curve of her bottom cheeks.
The shirt skimmed over her bottom, touching her skin with fabric as he longed to with skin. The lush fullness of her bottom was revealed. Pale, perfect skin.
“Turn back around,” he ordered. “Keep the shirt high,” he instructed as he saw her about to lower the fabric and cover her charms.
Lowering head in humiliation, Annabelle turned around. She refused to look up knowing he was looking at her…at her naughty place.
Mason took in the soft, light brown curls which barely covered the sweet curves of her cunny. Mine.
The sharp claws of possession tugged at his middle.
Annabelle watched in horror as he unbuckled his gun belt. Pulling the holster and bullet flap free, he placed the Colt far out of her reach. Then fisting the thick, black leather belt into a large loop, he raised his eyes to challenge her own.
“Place yourself over my lap and ask for your punishment.”
Annabelle opened her mouth to try and object but one look from him cowered her. With reluctant steps she walked to his side, taking a deep breath for courage, she placed herself over his lap.
Annabelle jumped, clutching her bottom cheeks tight when she felt the caress of the leather against her exposed skin.
Mason traced the curve of her ass with his belt. Liking the contrast between the dark, worn leather and her pale skin.
“Ask for your punishment.”
Annabelle covered her face with her hands. Shaking her head, no, she couldn’t.
Mason grabbed her chin and forced her to look at him. Placing his thumb along her bottom lip, he pushed until the tip was forced into her unwilling mouth. “Ask or I’ll use your mouth first.”
Annabelle’s eyes closed, unwilling to remember the feel of his cock as it pushed into her mouth. “Please…please punish me,” she whispered.
“Punish me,” she choked out.
Adjusting his grip on the belt, Mason raised his hand bringing it down swiftly on her exposed bottom. The leather cracked loudly. Annabelle’s whole body jerked. He raised his hand to deliver a second spank before her skin even showed a mark from the first. The canyon rang with the sounds of snapping leather and Annabelle’s cries.
“You owe me a punishment,” his voice pitched dark and low.
“A…punishment?” she squeaked.
“Yes, you were a very naughty girl. You need to be punished. By me.” He smiled.
Winnie occupied herself by straightening a display of ribbons. “Come here, Winnie.”
She thought about pretending not to hear him. “I wouldn’t,” he stated flatly.
Winnie started. It was like he read her mind. With slow determined steps, she approached him but stopped a few feet away. “Closer,” Archer ordered as he uncrossed his legs and opened his knees wide.
Winnie took another step so the hem of her flimsy dress brushed the tops of his polished boots.
Archer steepled his fingers in front of his chest. “Closer.”
“There’s no room,” Winnie said hesitantly, blushing as she glimpsed the unmistakable ridge outlined along his thigh. The light buff trousers concealing nothing.
Ignoring her objection, Archer merely raised an eyebrow as his gaze remained fixed on her face. Chewing her bottom lip in indecision, Winnie finally slid her slippered right foot along the carpeted floor before slowly joining it with her left. She was now standing between his outstretched legs.
Winnie closed her arms tight about her as if she could make her body smaller, lowering her head, refusing to meet his intense gaze. Amused, Archer pressed his legs together till his inner thighs brushed against her skirts. Winnie’s mouth fell open in shock. Her dress was so thin, she could feel the heat from his skin through her dress and petticoats. She tried to back away but his legs tightened, trapping her.
“Please, my lord. Madame could return at any moment,” she pleaded.
“Then you had better do as I say without prevarication,” he warned darkly. “Did you touch that sweet, little cunny of yours dreaming of me forcing my cock on you?”
Winnie felt lightheaded with shame and guilt. Should she even try to deny it? It seemed pointless since this enigmatic man seemed to have the power to read her innermost, wicked thoughts!
Winnie covered her face in mortification. “Please don’t, my lord,” she muttered.
Archer rubbed his thigh against her own. Winnie could feel the press of his arousal. “Answer me, Winnie.”
All she could muster was a small shake of her head…yes.
Archer smiled. She was the perfect combination of seductive innocence. Her existence in the East End ensured she was not completely sheltered as to the ways between a man and a woman. Yet, her blushes confirmed she was undoubtedly still untouched.
“Unbutton your dress.”
All Winnie could do was stare at him over the tips of her fingers.
“Unbutton. Your. Dress.”
Her mind spun. He couldn’t possibly mean to…to…not…here…in the salon…during the day…with her…um…ah…
“My dear, there will be time for that later, after your punishment. For now, I want you to unbutton the front of your dress.”
Once again, he knew her thoughts before she had even fully formed them. Not feeling as if she had a choice and trusting in the safety of the daylight and open setting, Winnie forced her numb fingers to unhook the tiny buttons that ran down the front of her dress. Slowly the threadbare, white chemise and top of her whalebone corset were revealed as the flaps of her dress fell open.
She was so tiny, her beautiful breasts were at his eye level. Archer leaned forward. Placing his index finger between her generous cleavage, he pressed on the top of the corset till it shifted down a few inches, just enough for her breasts to peek out over the top. He could see the cute, pink nipples through the practically sheer chemise.
Tearing his gaze from the stunning vision before him, Archer glanced up to see Winnie’s eyes tightly close, her mouth slightly open, her cheeks flushed, her breaths coming in short gasps. He smiled. He breathed deeply, taking in the warm, fresh scent of her skin. No perfume. Just the clean scent of lemon verbena soap and her. Knowing his time was short. Knowing if he gave into the impulse to taste her flesh he would not be able to stop there, Archer decided to test Winnie’s pleasure impulses.
He gently flicked her right nipple, watching as it became even more erect. She started but kept her eyes closed. Archer then lightly rolled both nipples between his index finger and thumb. Winnie shifted on her feet, a soft moan escaping her open lips. Instinctively, her body leaned in closer to his.
Without warning, he clamped down hard on her nipples. Pinching and twisting the delicate bunch of nerves. Archer tightened his thighs around Winnie as she bucked, trying to escape the pain. Locking her against him. Pressing her harder against his erection. “Keep quiet, my dove. You don’t want Madame to hear and come running,” he whispered harshly as he kept up the pressure on her nipples, oblivious to her distress.
Winnie bit down on her lower lip till she tasted blood. Quelling her own cries.
The moment he released her tortured flesh, there was this euphoric rush. As if the pain turned the absence of pain into pleasure. Her whole body felt warm and sensitive, especially the secret place between her legs. Without thought, she collapsed onto his lap. Archer kissed her forehead, as he gingerly re-buttoned her dress.
“Was that my punishment, my lord?” she asked, still in a daze.
Her gray eyes still dark and stormy with confused desire. “No, my dear. That was just a test. Your punishment is still to come.”
“One punishment at a time, little one,” he said, gripping the folded leather strap harder.
“I will correct that impertinent mouth of yours later.” Alex leaned down on his haunches so he was eye level with her. “Right now, we need to correct your dangerous decision to run from me.”
Penelope wisely kept quiet, struck numb from his intense words and stare. Alex rose and stepped behind her. A shiver of awareness coursed through Penelope, knowing that behind her, he was staring at her bare bottom. After several tense moments, she jumped when cool, smooth leather softly touched the heated skin between her shoulder blades. He traced the length of her back with the strap, running it over the curve of one globe.
Penelope felt of rush of moisture between her thighs. She was lightheaded with fear, and something else she feared to name. “My lord…”
“Tsk…tsk…tsk, naughty girl,” crooned Alex, lightly tapping her bottom with the strap on each word. “That is not what you’re supposed to call me.”
Penelope wet her lips and tried again, “Papa…I’ve…I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want to do this.”
Alex leaned close to her ear and whispered, “You have no choice.”
She shrieked and pulled wildly at her wrist binds. “Let me go, you bugger…you…you…wanker!”
Alex placed a restraining hand on her lower back. “Cease!” he ordered. Penelope instantly stilled. “It is this wild, rash behavior we need to correct. You act with no thought to your safety. You open your mouth with no care to the consequences. You need this punishment more than you know.”
Penelope shook her head as tears coursed down her cheek, still denying what she knew deep down to be true.
“Ask for your punishment, Penelope.”
She shook her head, stubbornly pressing her lips into a tight line.
“Ask for your punishment or face a much harsher one,” he said with more menace.
Still she remained mute. She would be damned if she asked him to punish her!
“Very well,” said a resigned Alex. “Your punishment was to be ten straps to your bare bottom. You will now receive those in addition to a more exacting punishment.”
Penelope opened her mouth to release another stream of colorful, guttural language. Alex closed his open hand over her mouth and once again leaned in close to her ear. “You have already opened yourself up to a more painful discipline than I had intended this eve. I suggest you hold your tongue before you truly anger me and make your situation even worse.”
Her eyes widened in horror but she remained silent.
“Let us begin.” Alex slowly wrapped one end of the well-oiled strap around his right hand, leaving two feet excess. Anchoring one foot behind him, he leaned over and placed his left hand on her lower back. Arching his arm, the strap swung through the air with a hiss before landing with a loud crack in the center of her pale, vulnerable buttocks.
Penelope’s surprised shriek was cut short as she ruthlessly clenched her jaw, determined to show no reaction or pain. Alex smiled…that would change. He aimed the second swat lower, over her sit spot. She was so tiny that the three inch wide strap easily covered large areas of her delicate skin with every contact. By the third smack, Penelope could no longer contain her pain.
She howled in agony as the fourth hit her sit spot again. Her bottom, already warmed by the heat from the flames, now felt as if it were truly on fire. The pricking, stinging sensation was almost too much to bear. She went up on her toes and braced for another hit. She did not have to wait long. Alex continued the assault on her unprotected bottom till it glowed a harsh angry red. By the time it was over, Penelope was choking on her own sobs.
“What am I looking at Kitten?” he demanded as he caressed her heated bottom.
Penelope did not even think to ignore his question. “My…my punished bottom.”
Isabelle’s stomach twisted in a knot as he ran his eyes up and down her exposed form with a look of appreciation before giving her an exaggerated wink.
Chance reached out and ran his thumb along her lower lip, desire hardening his eyes. “Get on your knees.”
“What?” asked Isabelle, baffled by the request.
Sharpening his gaze on her open mouth, he repeated through a clenched jaw, not accustomed to his orders not being immediately obeyed. “Get. On. Your. Knees.”
Alarmed at the savage look he was giving her, Isabelle was still baffled. “But why?”
“Because I intend to put my cock into that beautiful mouth of yours,” he growled, radiating barely leashed tension.
Rather than staring at her beautiful breasts during her bath, Chance had become fascinated with her mouth. Her lips were a delicious red color, as if stained by a rich merlot. The plump lower lip, often caught between her pearly teeth. Imagining the feel of those same pearly teeth as they gently scraped along the underside of his cock, nearly drove him over the edge. It took all his restrain to allow her to finish her bath unmolested. There was plenty of time to take her cunny, right now he wanted her mouth.
Confused, Isabelle stammered, “Such things don’t happen! That’s not possible!”
“Oh, it will be a struggle on your part, but I assure you it will be possible.”
After allowing his words to sink in, Chance said, “Now, Belle.”
Isabelle blinked away the tears rapidly forming in her large, dark blue eyes. Never one to beg, she did so now. “Please, don’t make me.”
Chance ran his knuckles along her cheek, smearing the tears. “You are my captive. It is your duty to see to my pleasure, that is if you value your life,” he responded quietly, making his words all that more dangerous. “Do you understand, ma petite?”
Isabelle nodded her head as the tears continued to fall. Realizing she had little choice, Isabelle reluctantly obeyed. Clutching the bathing linen protectively to her chest, she bit her lip and slowly bent her knees. Keeping her head lowered in humiliation and fear, she refused to look at his erect cock.
“Tilt your head back,” Chance ordered, his voice harsh with desire. Isabelle knew to fight would only cause her pain and delay the inevitable. With a sniff, she did as she was told.
Here's a hot little excerpt from her first spanking.
"Lift your skirts."
Sobbing, she reached back and grabbed small handfuls of the material, slowly inching it up her thighs. She stopped when the material bunched around her bottom. "Lift them all the way up, Angeline," Blackhurst snapped. Dutifully she submitted, pulling the material over her bottom to bunch around her waist. Stepping behind her, Blackhurst looked at her pale pink skin through the thin fabric of her pantalets. He ran a single finger down the seam of her bottom, pushing the fabric away from her cheeks, framing them. Angeline startled and tried to rise. He placed a restraining hand on her lower back, preventing her.
He observed how the thin cambric both displayed and hid her charms. Feeling her sharp indrawn breath as he slid his hand from her lower back to curve around to her front, he gently pulled on the ribbon holding her pantalets in place. Hooking two fingers on either side, he slowly slid the fabric down her hips. Crouching down on his haunches behind her, Blackhurst eased the undergarment down over first one slippered foot, then the other.
Angeline whimpered when she felt his warm breath on the under curve of her bottom. She started to squirm and shift, confused by the dueling emotions of embarrassment, fear and arousal. He smiled, knowing full well his effect on the poor naive girl and then once again rose to his full height. He took a moment to enjoy the sight of this sweet little angel anxiously waiting for her first spanking with her soft bottom on full view. Despite her slight frame, she had an ample bottom with the cutest little dimples on the top of each cheek. He tested the weight of one cheek with his hand. Angeline yelped with surprise.
"Let us begin."
Angeline squeezed her eyes tight and held her breath, bracing herself for the first hit, but it did not come. Perhaps he had reconsidered.
"Angeline, unclench your bottom cheeks this instant," he demanded sharply.
She was so frightened by the command she immediately unclenched and so was unprepared for the first painful smack. Oh god, it stung!
"No. No. No. I changed my mind. Stop. I won't let you do this!" she cried, trying to rise.
"You are not letting me do anything, angel."
The spanking continued…slowly. Blackhurst wanted her to feel every stinging ripple from each and every slap. He raised his hand high and brought it down hard on her plump right backside cheek, watching as her bottom contracted then bounced, the pale cheek blanching even paler for just a moment before flushing in a riot of pinks and reds. Still he waited. Finally, his patience was rewarded when the faint outline of a handprint appeared on her perfect cheek. He had marked her as his own.
Pierce swung Sarah around till her back connected with the wall, cushioned only slightly by a thick tapestry.
She had only a moment to glance around before his broad frame blocked her sight. They were in the library. The dark, unoccupied library.
Running his hand down her arm, Pierce closed his hand around Sarah’s delicate wrist, lifting it high over her head.
Pinning it against the wall. Feeling the power of his height and strength, she was trapped. Sensing the danger she was in, Sarah watched the muscular swells of his chest beneath his thin linen shirt expand with each labored breath as he fought for control.
“Look at me,” he demanded soft and low.
Sarah kept her eyes trained on his waistcoat buttons. Her humiliation from him not kissing her and her jealousy of that woman had gotten the better of her and now she was going to pay the price. Despite the trappings of wealth and respectability there was something primal and uncivilized about Lord Warrington.
“Now,” he barked.
Startled, Sarah looked up at him. Her bright green eyes close to tears.
“Little girls who are used to boys shouldn’t try their games on men. Do you understand me?”
Sarah could only nod.
Pierce palmed one thick ringlet of her hair. Slowly gliding his hand down the long, silky length, pulling the curl straight. Gripping the end tightly, he gave it a sharp tug before allowing the curl to spring back in place. Her hair fascinated him. It was raven’s wing black. The color rich and deep. So long and thick, a man could wrap his hand around a silken lock twice. A vision of her head forced back as he fisted her hair before driving deeply into her small, tight body with his cock flashed before his eyes.
Sarah opened her lips on a gasp from the small sting of pain from the sudden tug on her hair. Watching his strong hand grasp the delicate tendril somehow heightened her awareness of his physical brawn compared to her diminutive size. She couldn’t help but feel the hum of restrained energy, as if he was forcing himself to only lightly touch her. What would happen if his restraint snapped?