Get married or go to prison?

Ruby Rankin is fuming. The judge has given her a choice: go to Big Rock and find a husband within a month, or spend a year in the Wyoming Territorial Prison. All those times she’s been caught, she was only stealing food for survival. She doesn’t want to get married; she is barely eighteen!

Jake Jernigan is a rancher. A handsome, hot, single, successful rancher who knows what he wants. And he wants Ruby.

But someone else wants her too. Can Jake save her in time to make her his?

Ruby from Rawlins is book three in the Operation Big Rock Brides series but can be enjoyed as a standalone.

Publisher’s Note: This historical romance contains a theme of light power exchange.

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Ruby stood nervously, hoping she hadn’t taken it too far. She didn’t think she had; after all, it was honest and from her heart. As she thought about that, some of the things Harriet had mentioned to her came back to mind. She realized how wet she was when she felt a droplet form a rivulet on her thigh. Harriet’s nonsense was beginning to have sound reason behind it. Ruby never dreamed accepting the chastisement and total authority of her man would be this sensual and arousing. A glance downward told her Jake was affected, too.

He accepted the paddle from her hands. “Sweet, if you’re expecting me to go easy on you after that speech, you’re wrong.”

“No, no, I was honest in what I said. I expect you to use your judgment. I told you I trust you, and I expect you to trust yourself.” She got quiet for a moment then simply said, “I need this.”

“I think we both need this,” he said. “Go over to the bed and bend over it the way you did before.”

“Yes, sir.” She did.

He walked over to her and rubbed her back and buttocks. Ruby’s nerves were such that his touch seemed to scorch her. Her skin felt so vulnerable. She felt more moisture between her legs and wasn’t sure if she wanted Jake to know or not. She felt sure that in his mind, this was a disciplinary punishment, nothing more or less.

“Spread your legs apart some, sweet.” She did, and she hoped he wouldn’t run his hand between them and find out the secret she’d only just learned about herself.

“I’m using the paddle on you today because of the nature of what you did and who it involved, namely Harriet and Arthur. In the future, I will likely also use other things such as my belt or a strap, my razor strop, a crop, or a wooden spoon. Understand?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And I plan for us to spend some time with Harriet and Arthur to expand our horizons, so to speak. I’m sorry if that’s going to embarrass you, but I’m giving you fair warning to get used to the idea.”

“Thank you for telling me ahead of time. Maybe it’ll do for us what it’s done for them.”

“Good attitude, sweet.”

Without warning, Jake brought the paddle down on Ruby’s right buttock. She flinched and her head shot up, but she didn’t try to move away. He watched as the word Obey appeared on her skin from the word that was carved into the paddle.

He brought it down again on her left side using the flip side of the paddle. The word Ruby appeared on her skin and it amused Jake.

He let loose a barrage of swats all over both globes with no particular pattern. Ruby’s stoic countenance changed, and she began to cry out “Ow” and “It hurts.” To her credit, though, she didn’t move from position or ask for mercy.

He moved to her thighs and let her have it with the same ferocity he’d been using. Her legs tensed and trembled, but again, she didn’t try to get out of position. Her legs bent a time or two, but she managed to straighten them back up.

By that time Ruby was crying in earnest, her tears falling to the bed coverlet.

Jake stopped and stood back to take in the sight. “Stay where you are, sweet. I’ll give you a few minutes’ respite.”

Ruby could feel his eyes on her, and she wanted to close her legs so he wouldn’t see her reaction. If she did, though, it might just draw attention to the fact she was indeed being sexually excited by having Jake dominate her so thoroughly. She didn’t want him to know. Or did she? Again, she remembered Harriet. Yes, Jake would have to know if they were to fully explore this new dimension to their marriage.

She hadn’t heard him leave the room, but she felt a cool cloth at her face. “Here, sweet, wash your face and blow your nose.”

“Thank you, sir.” She started to stand up, but she remembered his control. “May I stand up while I wash my face?”

“Of course, sweet. Take a look at your backside in the mirror while you’re at it.”

Ruby ran the cool cloth over her eyes and around her face before finishing by blowing her nose. The wild idea of wiping between her legs came into her head, but he was watching, and she couldn’t. She stepped over to the mirror on the dresser and turned around to get a look. She wasn’t surprised to see a vibrantly dark red splotch from her mid-thighs up to the top of her back cleft. On the edges where fewer licks had landed, she could make out portions of the words carved into the paddle. There was a spot on each cheek that had taken on an ashen cast and she knew each one would be a bruise.

“So tell me how the paddle feels.”

“It hurts, sir. I’m sure that’s by design.”