Widowed at a young age, Molly is introduced to widower, Derek, by her fun-loving cousin, Philip. Their courtship by mail results in matrimony – on the very day they meet each other face to face for the first time!

Molly adores her new husband and wants nothing more than to make him happy. But sometimes, his rules just get in her way. He wouldn’t really take her in hand, would he? He’s just joking, teasing her. Right?

He’d been right about the rustlers, though. After a very tough night, they were caught, and now, surely, Derek could loosen up those rules. Besides, what he never finds out won’t hurt, will it?

Publisher’s Note: This sweet Old West romance contains elements of power exchange.

Excerpt

A little amused at her apparent nervousness, Derek decided to take control.

“Darlin’, why don’t you go into the bathroom and freshen up. You can use it instead of going out to the outhouse in the dark. Or if you prefer using it, I’ll walk you out there.”

“No, I guess inside is fine.”

“Okay. I’ll go outside then; I won’t be long. In that little cabinet beside the chamber pot are some cloth rags and a covered bucket for the used ones.” She nodded and disappeared into the room, carrying a lamp.

While she was in there, she filled the basin and washed her face and hands and let down her hair. She found the comb and brush on the shelf and figured they had belonged to his late wife. Hers were still inside her trunk. She washed a little more, and when she felt clean and as ready as she ever would, she stepped out to find him lighting a lamp in their bedroom.

She cleared her throat to get his attention. “Would you mind bringing my larger trunk in here? I’d like to get a nightgown out.” He showed some slight hesitation but brought in the trunk. He watched her open it and dig out a pink gown. As she was about to leave the room with it to change, presumably in the bathroom, he took her arm and gently pulled her around to face him.

“Please, Molly.” His voice was deep and low. “Don’t put it on now. Later. Right now, I’ve been given a precious and beautiful gift, and I want to unwrap you, myself.”

She swallowed but stood there, acquiescing. It seemed a reasonable request from a husband. He took her gown and tossed it onto a nearby chair. He bent to kiss her passionately and felt her sway a little bit. He kept his left arm around her, steadying her, as he began to unbutton the top button of her blouse. She wondered if he could hear her heartbeat, because it felt like it was going to beat right out of her chest. Soon, he had all the buttons undone, but he didn’t slip it off of her yet. Instead, he stood there, looking down at the sight before him, just a glimpse of the swell of her breasts above her shift and corset. It had been a long time since he was this close to a woman, and nearly four years since he was this close to a woman who meant the world to him. Savoring the thought of what lie ahead, he lowered his lips to hers again while his right hand slipped inside her blouse and explored, finally reaching around. He had his arms around her, one inside her blouse and one outside.

At last, he pulled her blouse out from her skirt and let it drop to the floor from her shoulders. Her thin shift had narrow straps and a low gathered neckline that covered what seemed to be an ample bosom before disappearing behind her corset. He bent and placed little kisses across her smooth skin, stopping to concentrate on that place where shoulder meets neck. Molly could barely stand it. She didn’t remember ever experiencing this sensation. It was almost too intense to bear. She was surprised to realize how her body was reacting. Her little mewling cries let him know he’d found the spot. She found herself bending her head to that side to dissuade him or at least get him to lessen his intensity, but he would have no part of that. His big arms drew her to him more forcefully, and he knew she’d have a passion mark soon from his attentions. He wanted to mark her that way.