With an oil company breathing down her neck about land rights for a new pipeline and a nosey neighbor breathing down her neck for entirely different reasons, Harriet Frederickson isn’t so sure she’ll survive through winter. She knows one thing for certain, though. She has to win, because in Texas, oil might be king, but she is the undisputed ruler of her own life. Well, just so long as she follows her new neighbor’s rules, too.

Nelson Childress has just moved to Texas after inheriting one of his late uncle’s ranches. When he comes face to face with the cute little neighbor who is pointing a gun at him, he knows she is the one for him. He just has to convince her.

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

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He sat on the wide chaise lounge end of her gray u-shaped sectional and pulled her small, fighting frame across his lap.

“Nelson!” she yelled, falling forward as his hands on her back and waist pinned her down on his hard thighs. She pushed up on the couch cushion, but he was strong and seemed pretty determined. And she knew exactly what he wanted to do. “You can’t do this!”

“Do what?” he calmly asked, holding her down as she wiggled and pushed and pulled. Her light blue shirt bunched up under her arms as she tried to slide back, but he just moved her back right where he wanted her. Face down, over his lap, with that adorable round little ass in the perfect position.

“I’m not some dumb little kid!” Her voice was half muffled as she tried to shift around, and her face smashed into a throw pillow. She pushed it away and tried to look at him over her shoulder. He was strong, though. Really strong. She wasn’t going anywhere.

“That’s right,” he agreed, leaning back and dodging a swinging boot as she kicked and fought. “A dumb little kid would have been spanked where she stood, after pulling a gun on two strange men at her front gate. A grown woman of…”

Nelson waited as she continued pushing up and struggling in his grasp. He needed her to answer, as well as a few minutes to calm himself down.

What was he waiting for, an invitation? She gritted through her teeth as she realized he was waiting on an answer.

“I’m thirty-one, asshole.”

She looked very young, but that was definitely old enough to know better.

“Yes, then, a grown woman of thirty-one gets to think about how she’s going to get spanked over my knee for confronting those men, pulling a gun on them, and discharging it.” He smacked her over her jeans at every other word, the sound echoing throughout the steepled trusses of the tall ceiling.

She continued fighting him, though every now and then she’d let out a pretty vulnerable sounding squeal. He had to admit, first, that he should have been doing this to women his whole life. And second, of course, who was he kidding? He only wanted it to be Hattie. Her cute little body writhing as he spanked her again and again was getting him all kinds of worked up.

“And if I ever, ever see you or hear about you pulling a gun like that again, we’re going to do this all over except your jeans and panties will be pulled down and I’ll get to see every pink handprint on that sweet little ass of yours.” He held her waist and smacked her a few more times until he heard her reply.

“Please, please, let me go. I won’t do it again! I promise!”

He could tell she wanted it to stop and knew she was powerless. It didn’t hurt all that much, but it was fucking humiliating.

Wow, Nelson thought. She’d said exactly what he wanted to hear. He stopped spanking her and pulled her up into his arms, feeling her fight it at first and then sitting very still, breathing heavily. A lot hinged on how he handled the next few moments. He could tell he’d at least gotten through, though he didn’t want her afraid or mad. He wanted to comfort her. He wanted to always be the one who comforted her.

He leaned over her small figure and pressed his lips to her ear. “I hope I didn’t hurt you. I will never hurt you. I wanted to get your attention, though, and I did. I’ll spank you again, probably, but it won’t be to hurt you. It will be to stop you from doing something stupid, like pulling a gun on people you have no idea about. They could have had a gun. Several guns, and more people in that car. Do you understand?”