Isabel Carrie Reynolds is the oldest daughter of Grover Town’s richest landowner. Her father wants to see her settle down, but all she wants is to go east to school. Set to take matters into her own hands, she sneaks off to the train depot, where she meets a mysterious stranger. When her father catches her attempting to run away, he orders her not to leave the house and warns he will find her a husband. True to his word, he invites a tall, handsome, imposing man to dinner, who turns out to be the stranger from the train.

Two weeks later, the deal is done, and her hand is taken in exchange for a chunk of her father’s land. Always one to follow her own rules, she doesn’t let the fact that she’s become an instant wife and mother stop her. Her husband’s warning of discipline doesn’t curtail her, but soon she discovers he means business.

Cary Brown is a man who has lived his life divided, like his race, half white and half native. When he ends up with the responsibility of his brother’s two children, he’s set on working his own land and building a home for the little ones. But the land he wants comes with a price; take the man’s wayward daughter or no deal. However, his new wife refuses to be tied down, and he soon learns the young woman, who is determined to teach, needs some instruction of her own. When a situation happens in town that places his wife in jeopardy, he will fight against anyone to save the woman who taught him to love and gave him a home.

Publisher’s Note: This steamy western romance contains graphic scenes and a theme of power exchange.

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Excerpt

In four steps, the test failed. Not because the shoes had let her down, but because she forgot she was trying to match herself against a big man with long strides. He’d caught her before she even made it into the tree line.

“Let me go.” She kicked as he held her fast to his chest. “I promise I’ll do better. I won’t be selfish ever again.”

He ignored her rants and pleas as he carried her with ease back to the large rock. “Oh, wife. I am going to enjoy tannin’ that prudy hide of yours.”

“No!” she screamed when he sat then flipped her deftly over his thighs.

Her skirts were tossed up over her head in a flash as he used one of his arms to press the center of her back, to keep her layers in place.

“You may want to still your flailing before you wind up face first in the Kansas soil.” He chuckled.

Stopping, she stared before her. Her face was three inches or so from the ground. When she lifted a hand to move the layers of her skirts out of the way, she saw that she dangled two feet away from the water. Unlike down the embankment where they had been the other night, where there was a gradual slope into the water, here was just the giant boulder hovering on the edge. “This isn’t safe, Cary.”

“Not if you don’t keep still.” His other leg came over hers. She figured it was to keep her from pitching to her death. She felt a tug then a ripping sound. Sunshine kissed her backside.

She realized she’d just lost her drawers. Her husband took hold of her hands and fastened them together at the small of her back; she assumed with strips of her ruined undergarment.

“You are a beautiful sight, all pale, plump, and round.” Cary was running his callused hand up and over her bare skin that was revealed to him.

“I really don’t want this.”

“That’s not going to stop you gettin’ it.” He squeezed the supple flesh of one cheek then the other.

Hanging upside down, she was already feeling lightheaded, but she didn’t complain because she figured that would be the least of her problems soon.

“You ready, wife?”

“No.”

It didn’t matter what she said, because the first smack landed. It smarted like the dickens.

Smack. They rained down fast and hard. She tried to keep count in her head, wanted to know when it was going to be over, but the pain and heat radiating from her backside overwhelmed and confused her. She couldn’t keep track; she couldn’t count. If someone had asked her name at that moment, she would not have been able to tell them.

“Ah! Oohhh,” she whimpered and whined as tears poured from her eyes and ran over her forehead to saturate her hair and the ground below her.

Whack. Whack. Whack. The slapping of her husband’s big strong hand on her butt cheeks and the back of her thighs had her delirious. Her ears were ringing with the sound, and nothing else got past it. She didn’t know if birds took flight at her screams or if coyotes were howling. The only high quavering cry she knew for sure was happening was coming out of her throat.

“It hurts! Cary…husband…Ow!” She kicked her legs, but they only pounded into the dirt; with them locked beneath his big thigh, she could not do more. One of his hands was holding hers, interlocked, and she dug her nails in it and squeezed hard, trying to cause him some amount of pain as he was inflicting on her. However, nothing stopped him.

She felt branded by him. She didn’t doubt that for the rest of her life, her backside would carry his handprint, marking her as his.

When the strikes finally ended, she became aware of the changes in her body. Even as she whimpered from the throbbing of her rear end, she also noticed that there was an ache just south of her backside. Her clit was pressed along the inside seam of Cary’s breeches and the friction caused wetness to pool between her thighs. She could feel the slickness. Her unbound breasts had been swinging freely under the soft cotton of her mutton shirt, sending sparks into her nipples, now drawn tight.

Recognizing her body’s response, she sniffled as fresh tears ran out her eyes. She was embarrassed. It was evident to her that her desire for Cary knew no bounds, even in this.

“Shh… Ayv adanvdo. It’s over now.” He smoothed a hand lightly over her hot, pulsing skin. He lifted her up gingerly and settled her against his chest, her knees on the sides of his hips.

She pressed her face in his neck as he caressed down her spine and back up. He had called her his heart. Even after her actions, he still thought of her in such a special way.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered. She leaned into him and inhaled the sandalwood, earth, and sweat of him. Her hardworking, sexy, big husband. She thought about the places he was big and how he fit around her, inside of her. Her sex remembered his cock and how it filled her, stretching her in such a deliciously painful way.

His hands paused in stroking her hair, hanging wild and loose around her and her back. “Isabel?” he groaned.

“Yes,” she sighed.