Nellie Lancaster has been raised by her over-indulgent widowed father and it shows. She is known to be rude, arrogant, and so spoiled that no man within fifty miles is interested in courting her, much less marrying her. When her father grows terminally ill, he has to face the fact that it was his fault she turned out that way and it’s up to him to remedy the situation before he dies. He calls upon an old friend and business advisor from Big Rock to come help him liquidate his estate. He also wants Philip to take Nellie back to Big Rock with him and find a husband for her.
They all know any man set on marrying Nellie has his work cut out for him. Wes Hollicker has been in Big Rock less than two years, but it’s been long enough to build a successful cattle ranch. It is so successful that he has detailed plans of how to expand and nearly triple the size of his business within three years. He only lacks one thing to make his life happy: a wife. The first time Wes hears about Nellie, he sets his sights on her. So what if she has more spirit and fire than other men are willing to handle? Wes likes fire. He likes it a lot.
Publisher’s Note: This historical western romance contains a theme of power exchange as Nellie and Wes get to know one another.
“What are your thoughts right now?”
“How can I answer that? I’m ashamed and embarrassed, humiliated. I’m sorry that my old habits are coming out again. I thought I was leaving them behind. Mostly, I’m sorry for the damage to us. I want your trust again.”
“I’m glad to hear that. I want it, too. I’d like to see us come out of this even stronger than we were.”
“I want that, too. More than you can know.”
“I believe you, sweetie, but we still need to deal with this. You know there have to be consequences.”
Nellie nodded her assent. She slowly handed him the paddle.
“This one will be real, you know that. Right?”
“I know. I already decided I deserve whatever you think is appropriate.”
“Good girl. I’m proud of you for not fighting me on this. I think you might as well take your clothes off.”
“All of them?”
“All of them, Nell. Are you going to defy me again?”
“No, I won’t.”
“That’s my good girl.”
He watched her remove her clothing. She’d undressed in front of him many times, but she’d never felt this exposed before, this vulnerable.
“Over my knee now. Sweet Lord, Nellie. I almost hate to turn this thing red. Almost. Get situated as comfortably as you can. It’ll be bad enough as it is. And don’t put your hands back to protect yourself; they could get hurt pretty bad. Are you ready?”
“As ready as I’ll ever be.”
The first blow surprised her. She hadn’t recovered from that one when the next one hit. She yelled with the third one, then the fourth. She pounded her fist on the lower part of the chair Wes sat on. He continued the strokes and she continued to blubber, unable to make words.
Finally, he stopped and she lay there, limp.
“Almost done, sweetie. These last two are going to hurt the most, then it’ll be over.”
They were delivered so fast and so furiously hard that she couldn’t even get a scream out until moments after the second one landed. They were placed in that tender crease where bottom meets legs. She’d likely be reminded of them for days.
Wes stroked her back with his left hand, gently shushing her. He set the paddle down on the bed and, with a delicate touch, tried to comfort her bottom. She hissed at first but he continued until she felt the worst of the pain begin to subside. “Come on, sweetie, come up here in my arms.”
She welcomed the feel of them after her punishment and remembered that from the very first time she met him, his arms made her feel safe and secure.
Wes grabbed a quilt from the foot of the bed and wrapped it around her. He stroked her hair and gently rocked her back and forth just enough to be soothing. Soon, she calmed.
“Sweetie, I’m proud of you. Thank you for yielding yourself to me.”
“I owed you that much.”