Buttercup: 

I am not dating. I am not dating. I am not… 

As always, the devastatingly handsome face of Jake Hargett flashes in my mind’s eye, interrupting my mantra. I picture that smile, the one that makes my knees feel weak and my tummy go all to butterflies. 

But I’ve been hurt. Too much to take another chance. I’m better off lying low and focusing on the Poke Town family that I’ve returned to. Even if Jake seems to be everything I always dreamed of in a man. But will he take no for an answer? 

 

Jake: 

Love at first sight is just stuff they make up in movies, right? I thought so, too, until I laid eyes on Buttercup. I’ve waited ten years for her to return to Poke Town. I’d almost given up on the idea. Then, one day, she was back. And my world changed. 

A gentle spirit, she’s even more fragile this time. I want to keep her safe and I want to make her mine. And give her the love she deserves. I can show her that a man can be strong as well as kind. But after all she’s been through, will she let me? 

 

This is book four in the Sweet Texas Love series. It’s ten years later and all your favorite characters are here for a visit. If you haven’t visited Poke Town before, this is a great place to start. 

 

Publisher’s Note: This sweet romance is for adults only. It contains elements of power exchange and domestic discipline. If these offend you, please do not purchase.  

 

Excerpt

 

Prologue 

 

Ten Years Later 

 

Buttercup’s eyes roved over the room taking stock of everything that she owned in this world. She had ten minutes, fifteen at most. Then she had to be out of this house, out of this town, out of this life. 

Grabbing the bus pass from the dresser top, Buttercup caught a glimpse of her reflection in the mirror. Purple circles hung like crescent moons under her panicked, green eyes. The pale shade of her skin dramatized the dark rings. Her hair hung down lifelessly around her shoulders the red tint gone from lack of hours in the sun. The sight of her collar bones sticking out disgusted her. When had she become so thin, so—gothic looking? 

Turning away from the mirror she got to work. Kneeling on the floorboards, Buttercup fought with the big green suitcase. Grunting, she pulled it out from under the metal bedframe. The beaten leather now had another long scratch running along its smooth surface, a battle scar from one of her and Tom’s many moves.  

Heaving the heavy suitcase onto the mattress she said to herself, “Think, Buttercup. What can you possibly need from this place?” Nothing. That was the only thing she could think to take. Everything else held memories.  

But she would at least have to have clothing. Throwing open the closet doors Buttercup took down armfuls of the hanging garments, stuffing them into the case. The purple dress Carrie had bought her for Ray’s wedding lay on top. Ten years later it was still her favorite, but the fabric hung limp from her thin frame. Buttercup laughed, bitterly. The entire town of Poke had made it their mission to fatten her up, and now she was much thinner than when she had left a decade ago. 

Glancing at the clock on the wall Buttercup’s heart began to beat against her ribcage. There was not enough time—there may be no time. Buttercup opened the top drawer of the dresser. Digging around until she hit the back of the drawer extracting what she had been searching for.  

The manila envelope that held her personal documents. Stuffing the envelope into the purse that was slung over her shoulder Buttercup turned to the door. A stream of sunlight hit the diamond on the ring finger of her left hand blinding her momentarily with its sparkle. Considering the ring for a moment Buttercup tore it from her finger. The weight of it on her finger wasn’t worth the money it might bring her. She paced back to the dresser leaving the ring on the center of its bare top. 

Leaving the suitcase open on the bed with clothing spilling out, leaving everything, Buttercup walked over the threshold of the bedroom door. There was nothing for her here and if she stayed any longer there might not be anything left of Buttercup. 

But where could she go? Taking one last glance at the purple dress, she grabbed it, shoving it into her purse as she ran from the room.   

 

 

Chapter One 

 

“I swear if I have to pick up one more sweaty sock I am going to lose my mind,” Jessica yelled from the living room of her Texas ranch. Grabbing the filthy culprit from her five-thousand-dollar cream colored couch she stomped in the direction of the laundry room. 

Rounding the corner while grumbling to herself, Jessica ran smack into the broad chest of her husband. Ray stood looking down at her seemingly amused by her bad mood. 

“I heard you all the way from the back room, Miss Jessica.” Looking down at her hands he said, “All this over one little sock?” 

“It’s not just this sock, Ray. This is the hundredth one I’ve picked up this week. It’s driving me crazy.” 

“Well, what can we expect with three rambunctious boys running around here? I told you I built this big house to fill it with children. And a few extra dirty socks come with the deal.”  

“But I have our anniversary party to prepare for and nothing’s going to get done if I have to spend all of my time picking up dirty laundry. Then Colton and Harry have t-ball, and Evan has a soccer game. And I still have five cakes to bake for the PTA bake sale and my order of ‘support the parks’ tee shirts are running behind and I’ll never get them in time for the Spring Fling. I just can’t keep up with it all.” She threw her hands up in the air. 

Her husband’s warm brown eyes flashed at her knowingly. Raising an eyebrow, he asked, “Does someone need a stress relief spanking?”  

Jessica’s temper flared. Wanting to flip her long blonde hair over her shoulder in a sassy retort she stopped herself before she could complete the old habit. Instead, she ran her fingers agitatedly through her chin length locks. Throwing a hand on her hip and with a roll of her eyes, Jessica sassily retorted, “No, someone does not need a stress relief spanking. What I need is a secretary, a chauffeur and a full-time housekeeper. Which I know we can afford but you still refuse to pay for, always telling me ‘the Stevensons can clean their own home’.” 

The warm look was replaced by a flash of anger in Ray’s eyes. “When you come from modest beginnings tucking away every penny you earn, you learn the importance of hard work. And I do as much around this house as you, without any of the grumbling. My offer to give you a stress relief spanking is now revoked, little lady. You just earned yourself a good old-fashioned spanking.” Ray grabbed a firm hold of Jessica’s arm, pulling her into the laundry room and shutting the door behind them. 

His muscles bulged in his shirt as he swiftly bent Jessica right over the top of her front-loading washing machine.  

“Oomph.” Jessica braced herself over the top of the machine as the first hard smack came down onto her jean covered bottom. Glad she still had her pants on, Jessica could tell by the intensity of Ray’s swats that he was not in a playful mood. 

“When you get stressed out you act like you have the right to march around this house, snapping at everyone,” he lectured as he spanked. “Not going to happen in this household, young lady.” 

The spanks were coming hard and fast. Jessica’s skin was starting to burn but it wasn’t quite enough to help her hold her tongue. “I am not snapping. I have every right to be upset about having to pick up everyone’s crap all the damn time,” she huffed. 

Mistake. 

“Is that so? And words like, ‘crap’, and ‘damn’, are allowed in this house? I think not.” The spanks came down harder and faster. Ray was covering every inch of her bottom clearly unimpressed by her terrible attitude.  

Jessica, not one to cry, began to sob. Not from the pain, from the feeling of absolutely being overwhelmed by the life she had created. When had her life gotten so hectic? Why had she felt like she needed to volunteer for every event and committee that came up? 

The spanking stopped. Ray’s big hands wrapped around Jessica’s waist. In one fluid move, he had her turned around and sitting on top of the washing machine. Centering himself between her thighs, Ray wrapped his arms around her waist. “Now, that I’ve got your attention let’s talk. I want you to tell me everything you are frustrated about, honey.” 

Sniffling and drying her eyes she asked in a small voice, “Then I won’t get spanked anymore?” The feel of her husband’s rock-hard body between her thighs, his hand gently rubbing her lower back calmed her, melting her tough exterior. 

Holding her chin between his thumb and forefinger his warm eyes locked on hers. “You will most certainly be getting your bottom warmed by me again today. Your attitude has gone from bad to worse and you seem totally out of control. And Daddy knows exactly what it takes to get you back on the right track. But first, I want to know how you’re feeling.” Releasing her chin, he waited patiently for her to speak. 

Giving a heavy sigh, Jessica picked at the buttons of her husband’s shirt. Sitting on top of her washer her husband formed a protective wall around her. The temper had been spanked right out of Jessica. She was finally able to process the emotions she had let control her actions. “I think I just signed up for too much stuff. I can’t keep up with it all, Ray.” 

His voice was soft as he spoke. “I see.”  

“You don’t need to tell me ‘I told you so’, either, Ray Stevenson.” 

Raising a brow to her he said, “Careful there, honey. I did warn you about this.” 

“I know.” Jessica gave a sigh looking down at her husband’s familiar hands that were resting on her upper thighs. His polished silver wedding band sparkled under the light. She ran her fingertips over the cool metal. 

With his fingertip, Ray tilted Jessica’s chin. Her gaze met his. “And what did I say would happen if you overbooked yourself and got feisty with me? Hmm?”  

Wanting to roll her eyes, Jessica somehow found the strength to resist. She did not want to say the humiliating words. Ray waited patiently. 

“Jessica?” 

“I believe the exact words were, ‘young lady, I do believe I’m going to be purchasing a paddle to use on you this spring’.” 

“And you signed this family up for every sport this season, you volunteered to head up the school PTA, and you just joined the Athletic Booster Club for the Town of Poke. Did I miss anything?” 

“The party,” she mumbled. 

Sweetly tucking a stray lock of her hair behind her ear, Ray said, “Ah, yes, the party. Our ten-year anniversary party that you want to throw—putting all other parties in this town to shame. Knowing how much hosting stresses you out, won’t you reconsider and spend a quiet evening out with me? What about Giorgio’s?” 

Giorgio’s would be a romantic choice—it was where they had their first date. It was the place Ray had made her insides turn to a pool of liquid, saying, “I think we both know who the Daddy is here.” But, she wanted the party. Jessica didn’t have a response, so she sat silently on the top of her washing machine while her husband considered her fate. 

A moment later, Ray snapped into decision making mode. Giving her thighs a soft slap with his open palms, he said, “Change of plans for today, hon. All activities have been canceled. I’m calling Wes. I’m sure they can handle the boys for us, today. You and I need a little special Daddy time together.” 

Her eyes widened, and she sat ramrod straight, unable to jump down from her throne as Ray was blocking her way. “No way, Ray. They cannot miss the first game of the season. What would the other moms think if the boys don’t show up on the first day?”  

“Then Wes can take them to the games.” He remained firmly planted. 

“It’s too complicated. There is no way they will be able to get everyone where they need to be, and have all the gear and…” 

“Enough.” 

The tone of his single command was one Jessica knew well. It was his, ‘Daddy is in charge and unless you want your butt tore up you’d best zip it. Now’. And so, she stopped her rant heaving a great sigh. 

“I will call Wes, pack up the boys myself and take them to go play on the ranch for the day. You know they will be more excited about riding than playing sports anyway. They love athletics, but they are true blue Texans, through and through. My little cowboys love nothing better than to spend the day at The Lonestar Cattle Company soaking up everyone’s attention, riding, and being spoiled to death. They keep the deep freezer at the ranch chock full of homemade pies, cookies and cakes, all ready to be defrosted at the first sign of a little Stevenson boy clomping up the front steps in his muddy cowboy boots.” 

Jessica still found it difficult to relinquish control. “Okay. I’ll start planning the party, then.” 

“Nope.” 

“Well, then I will get cleaning up this pigsty of a mess. Since I can’t hire someone.” 

“Nope.” 

Jessica threw up her hands in frustration. “Then what am I going to do, today? 

“The first thing you are going to do is drop this sassy attitude.” His darkened eyes flashed at her in warning. She knew what he needed to hear from her. 

“Yes, sir.” 

“Good girl. You and I are going on a little shopping excursion.” 

Her mood instantly brightened. Jessica did so love to shop. And loved it even more when Ray took her out, spoiling her and buying her pretty things he loved to see her in. Her mind began to wander to the chic boutiques with the high price tags lining the streets of downtown Clinton. “I can get a dress for the anniversary party.” 

“Guess again.” The look he gave her told her everything she needed to know. There would be no trying on of pretty dresses, no peeking in windows of home décor stores, no searching for the perfect party decorations. “We are shopping for a paddle to help me keep you in line this spring.” 

Jessica groaned. “You can’t mean it, Ray.” 

“Oh, yes, I can—and I think it’d be best if you called me ‘Daddy’ for this trip, young lady. You seem to need a reminder of who’s in charge around here.” 

Ray grabbed her around the waist once more, lifting her up as if she weighed about as much as a bag of flour, and gently set her on the ground. Opening the door to the laundry room and holding out a hand to gesture for her to exit, he said, “Now git.” 

“Yes, Daddy.” Jessica walked out receiving a sharp slap on the rear as she did. 

Chuckling to himself, Ray said, “Hustle up. We don’t want all the paddles to be sold out, now do we?” 

*** 

Entering the adult super store reminded Jessica of her earlier dating days. She had been a Dominatrix, playing games and creating scenes at a local BDSM club. Seeing the leather outfits, masks and whips made her cringe to herself. She had changed so much since those days.  

Wild, reckless, partying, drinking, going home with strange guys. The birth of her son, Evan had cured her of that. Ray had come along at the perfect time showing her that she was ready for a different type of love. One, where the man led, and the woman followed. Ray was everything she hadn’t known she needed until he had lovingly shown her. She was a taken in hand woman and loving every minute of it. Well, almost every minute. She would have to see how much this paddle stung. 

Ray was a good man, a great father, and he loved his boys. His dark hair and beard had a few more silver strands than when she first married him, and his eyes a few more smile lines, but they only served to make her man even more handsome in her eyes. Holding her husband’s strong hand in hers Jessica gave a happy sigh. 

Ray turned to her a twinkle in his eye. “What was that sigh all about, honey?” 

Looking up at her man, she said, “Nothing. Just happy.” 

Reaching out and running his fingers over the black leather Cat woman like outfit on the mannequin, he asked her, “Hey, didn’t you used to wear this kind of stuff?”  

She had worn ‘that kind of stuff’ and more. Some of the outfits had been more edgy than just a black leather one-piece full body suit. Jessica pictured herself wearing the Cat woman outfit, wielding various implements and bossing Ray around the bedroom. Laughing at the thought, she said, “That was a long time ago. But I could probably pull some things out of the back of my closet and whip you into shape if I ever wanted to. Oh, the things I could make you do…” 

Ray froze. 

Uh-oh. Jessica’s sentence trailed off. Sneaking a glance at Ray out of the corner of her eye, she saw the little muscle in his jaw clench. She had taken her joke too far for her dominant man.  

Turning to her, he narrowed his eyes. His tone severe, he demanded, “Is that so, little girl? I’d like to see you try.” Giving her hand a tug, he pulled her body against his. Reaching around her waist with his other hand his fingers grasped her bottom. With a hard squeeze he had her up onto her tippy-toes.  

Leaning down, he whispered into her ear, “I should take you out to the car and whip your behind just for suggesting such a thing.” Flutters ran through Jessica’s tummy as her husband tightened his hold on her rear. “Do we need to visit the car, Miss Jessica?” 

“No, Daddy,” she breathed. 

“Then behave yourself.” Giving a long, hard stare Ray released his grip on her bottom. With a firm squeeze of her hand he tugged her around the store resuming his casual browsing. 

Her cheeks flushed with desire—there was nothing in this world she found hotter than when her husband’s dominant nature showed itself. Jessica cast her eyes down trying to follow her husband’s advice and behave herself. She filed away the little joke she had made about the cat woman suit just in case she ever wanted to earn herself a thorough spanking. 

“Now, this is interesting,” Ray said, holding the edge of a long pink nightgown. Jessica focused her eyes on the garment that had caught her husband’s attention. Across the front in red letters were the words, ‘Daddy’s girl’. On a hanger next to the gown were white panties boasting the pink words, ‘Spank me’. 

Her face was now on fire as her husband grabbed a pair of the panties.  

“No.”  

His eyes cut to her, giving her ‘the look’.  

“I mean, it’s too much.” 

“Not for a woman who’s been as naughty as you. Trying to boss your husband around, stressing out, yelling over socks—and suggesting for even a second, that you could whip me into shape.”  

She knew the words he wanted to hear. She looked over the pair of panties her husband held. She couldn’t bring herself to say the ‘yes sir’ or ‘yes daddy’ that he required. She couldn’t say—anything. 

Ray’s jaw set in a hard line. “Go wait in the car for me, young lady. I will finish my shopping. Then I am taking you home to paddle your behind. Am I clear?” 

The words came, but it was too late. “Yes, Daddy.” 

Lifting his hand, he pointed his finger in the direction of the car. “Go.” 

Turning, Jessica went, receiving a loud smack on her behind as she did. 

Ignoring the curious gaze of the saleswoman, Jessica walked straight out the door the tinkling bell announcing her departure. 

With a sigh she sat down in the passenger seat of the car. She could just make out Ray through the store windows walking, slowly touching this and that. Sitting back in the seat Jessica felt her tummy do flip flops. Wondering her fate when her daddy got her home, she gulped nervously. Squirming in her seat she imagined what it felt like to be paddled by a man that was six-foot-four with the muscles of a body builder. 

When Ray seemed satisfied with his purchases he walked to the counter. Jessica watched anxiously as Ray appeared to be talking amicably with the sales woman as she rung up the purchases. Her face burned, knowing the young sales clerk had not only seen her receive a warning swat to her rear, but now was placing what Jessica assumed to be various spanking implements in a bag—just for her. Jessica sat forward craning her neck over the dash trying to catch a glimpse of what her husband was buying. She couldn’t quite see past the displays in the front store window. 

“Damn,” she whispered, allowing herself one little cuss word. Figuring her butt was going to be on fire soon anyway, she might as well say what she wanted. Murmuring quietly, Jessica let out a long satisfying string of her favorite dirty words. 

Finally, her husband appeared with a large, hot pink, black handled shopping bag that had the name of the store, ‘Naughty’, across the front in huge letters. He gave her a wink as he walked around to the rear of the car putting the bag into the trunk. Taking his place in the driver’s seat he gave Jessica a hungry look, his hand squeezing her upper thigh, hard. 

“Ready?” he asked. 

“Ready as I’ll ever be,” she answered honestly as shivers ran through her taunt body. 

*** 

Jessica laid over the edge of the bed, wearing nothing but a humiliating pair of panties that proclaimed, ‘It ain’t gonna spank itself’. 

Hearing his footsteps behind her she looked over her shoulder. There was a soft thud of an object landing beside her on the bed. As she looked to what had made the sound, her eyes popped wide open. Jessica gave a gulp. Resting on the floral comforter was the black leather paddle. It was the one her husband had hand selected. The one he had promised to purchase to keep her in line during the busy season of spring. 

“We are going to have ourselves a little spanking therapy, Miss Jessica. You need to learn how to handle your stress and I am going to teach you by warming up that beautiful bottom of yours.” 

She trembled as Ray softly ran his hand over her panties. He let out a deep chuckle as he said, “It’s not gonna spank itself, is it? Though if you keep up this naughty behavior, I might just sit back and watch while I make you spank yourself. Might be a good warm up if you keep getting too big for your britches with me.” 

Jessica let out a groan. She couldn’t think of anything more humiliating. He wouldn’t dare. Would he? 

Snapping the waistband with his finger, he said, “These are your stress relief panties from now on. When you need a stress relieving spanking, you can just put these babies on and I’ll take care of the rest.” 

Truly hating the mouthy panties, Jessica grumbled, “I highly doubt that will ever happen.” 

Pulling on the back of her neck and leaning down next to her ear, Ray whispered, “You had best do as I say, Miss Jessica. Because if you don’t ask for it, it will be twice as hard when you get it.” 

Giving a shudder, Jessica remained quiet. 

“Now, I think I would like to start out this session with my hand. A little attitude adjustment.” Jessica tried not to squirm with pleasure as Ray’s hand softly made circles on her rear end. The circles changed over to soft little pats as he began his lecture. 

“You have been an ornery little thing, running around here, cussing and bossing, haven’t you, young lady?” 

“Yes, sir.” The pats transformed to harder slaps, the sound echoing through the room. Jessica’s skin started to tingle where her husband’s wide palm landed. 

“Who is the boss in this house, Miss Jessica?” 

“Daddy is,” she whispered. 

A hard smack landed on the seat of her panties, causing her to lose her breath. 

“Who is the boss?” 

“Daddy is,” she said louder. 

Two even harder spanks came down, right on the tender place where her bottom met the tops of her thighs. Then a sharp slap of his hand to punctuate each word as he spoke. 

“Who. Is. In. Charge?” 

“Daddy is!” she cried as the stinging spanks burned her bottom. 

“That’s right, little girl, and you’d best learn that quickly. Or you won’t be sitting down again anytime soon.” 

Jessica cringed as Ray tugged at the waistband of her panties. Bunching them up just below her cheeks, he came around to the side of the bed where he had tossed the paddle beside her. 

Watching wide eyed from her position laying over the edge of the bed, she gulped. One by one, Ray was stacking their king-sized pillows, creating a high hill in the center of the bed. When he was satisfied with his handiwork, Ray said, “Crawl up here on your knees so your tummy is settled over these pillows and your bottom is up in the air. Then I can give you the proper paddling that you so desperately need.” 

Her face felt hot as she crawled onto the bed, the elastic waist of the panties constricting her movement. Positioning herself over the pillows on her knees she left her bare bottom sitting exposed like a target for her man. 

“Good girl,” Ray murmured, sounding as if he was appreciating the view. Running his hand over the tender skin he had just warmed by his firm hand, he asked, “Comfy?” 

“I guess,” she answered. “But not for long, I assume.” 

Ray laughed. “You know what they say about assumptions—they get your bottom spanked.” 

She gulped as she felt the paddle being lifted from the bed. Silently, it came down through the air, landing on the center of her bare bottom with a loud thwack. The feeling from the contact of the leather was a stinging, burning sensation that melted her core. Hovering somewhere amazing between pleasure and pain, Jessica moaned as she sensed Ray lifting the paddle again.  

Ray murmured, “I think I’ve just found myself a new hobby. And a new favorite place to shop.” 

With that statement, the paddle came down harder this time. The sting was stronger, and he left the paddle sitting in the place it had landed for a moment, letting the feeling fully sink in. Again, he brought the paddle down on the center of her bottom. The pleasure was turning to pain. Jessica knew she was now being punished and that her daddy was going to do a thorough job with his new toy—ensuring that her attitude adjustment would last the rest of the day.  

Her big husband brought that black leather paddle down faster and harder each time, covering every inch of her sensitive skin. With her bottom absolutely on fire, Jessica mentally kicked herself for her mouthy attitude. 

Then the paddling stopped. Ray ran his hand over her hot, stinging flesh, his touch warming her in other places. She thanked her lucky stars he was done—but too soon. His fingers hooked into her panties, pulling them further down her thighs. Now concentrating on the place her bottom met the tops of her thighs, Ray brought the paddle down on the right side. She gasped as he paused, letting the full sting of the blow settle in. Then he brought the implement down in the same spot on the left side, giving the same pause. 

The punishment of her sit spots continued in this way, with him stopping after each loud spank before he would pull the paddle up through the air and bring it down again with a mighty smack. The paddling was thorough and by the end, Jessica was quivering and sobbing over her mound of pillows. 

When Ray scooped up her bare body, her punished bottom resting on his lap, she melted into a puddle on his chest, sobbing and letting the stress and worry of the past month disappear with every tear that rolled down her cheek. 

“That’s my good girl,” he murmured, holding her and stroking her back. “You needed that, didn’t you, honey?” 

Nodding and sniffling, Jessica felt a smile cross her lips as she burrowed down further in her daddy’s strong arms. Laying over the bed wearing nothing but the embarrassing panties he had chosen for her put her in a submissive mindset. The feel of his hand warming her bottom had made her feel desire for him. Having to present herself over the pillows had been humiliating and the paddling painful. But the session was exactly what she needed. Starting the day feeling cranky and out of sorts, she now felt peaceful and content, thanks to her husband knowing her so well. 

With her bottom still burning and her arms around her man, she was sure she would be Daddy’s very, very good girl for a long time to come. Or at least, hopefully, make it through the rest of the day without getting herself into more trouble.