“Mm-hmm,” she sighed. She was in heaven or something close to it as she was tended to by her daddy.
He took his time washing her hair. It was a ritual they both enjoyed greatly. He never suggested bath time unless they both had time to spare. He always filled the tub with warm, oil-scented water, just the way his girl liked. Then he would take his time lathering a soft terry washcloth with Dove soap. Colton always teased her as he picked up the soap, because he could tell by her wince that when she saw the bar she thought of it as the enemy. Which it wouldn’t be, if he didn’t so often have cause to wash her mouth out with it. He didn’t enjoy it—she had such a pretty mouth, with lush, full red lips. But it was a necessity when it came to taking his little girl in hand and letting her know who was boss.
She usually relaxed by the time he began to wash her. There was nothing he enjoyed more than seeing her with her golden head thrown back as she practically purred in contentment while he soaped up her lean, gorgeous body. His Scarlett was so near a doll, it made perfect sense that he would treat her like one. She was a petite little thing, with long blond hair, clear blue eyes, and a graceful, swanlike neck. There wasn’t an ounce of fat anywhere on her body. Not that he hadn’t tried to put some meat on her bones. He cooked often—and she’d finally, it seemed, gotten over the hilarity of a man who cooked and liked it. He made good old soul food, the kind of food that could pack on the pounds if you weren’t careful. But no matter whether she ate like a bird or like she hadn’t seen food for days, she never seemed to gain an ounce.
Finally, he turned his attention to her hair. Everything else, while enjoyable, was a buildup to the moment when he told her to lean back so that he could spill a cup of water over her long, flowing hair. He took his time, combing his fingers through the damp strands and playfully tugging on the ends of her hair just to hear her giggle. He couldn’t help but smile whenever he heard the sweet sound of her laughter. He took his time, enjoying the feel of her wet skin against his own. He often had to remind himself to finish up before the water got cold.
Once her hair was thoroughly wet, he would put in shampoo and massage her scalp until she was limp and tranquil. It was a time-consuming process, but worth every second. He liked using it as time to bond with his baby-girl, something he enjoyed immensely. In fact, come to think of it, he didn’t enjoy anything more than spending quality time with her—not even riding his horses felt quite as good. It didn’t happen every time, but today Scarlett had convinced him to climb in with her.
“I’ma hop out and get you a towel.”
“Ooh, not just yet,” Scarlett pleaded. “A few more minutes, please?”
With an indulgent sigh, his fingers went back to massaging her scalp that was now free of soap. “All right, but just this once. I mean it now.”
“Yes, daddy,” she said with a giggle.
He wasn’t convinced she meant it, but if she tried him again, she’d see that he did. He was planning on giving her five minutes and not a second more—his mind was firm on the matter. That was, until she shifted, pushing her bouncing, naked breasts toward him. He could swear he saw a hint of mischief glinting in her laughing blue eyes.
“What are you up to, naughty girl?” Colton demanded. But even as the question left his lips he was already reaching for her erect nipple. He gave it a firm tug, making her giggle. “Tryin’ to distract me, hmm?” With his other hand, he reached up and ran his fingers through her hair, enjoying the feeling of being tangled up in her strands. “Fine, but when your fingers are shriveled to prunes, don’t come cryin’ to me.”
“I won’t,” she whispered, arching her back and tilting her head up for a kiss.
Colton pulled her head to his and met her mouth hungrily. When he’d kissed her good and hard, so possessively that she whimpered, he let his tongue wander. He pulled her nipple into his mouth and was enjoying himself immensely as he reclaimed his territory. One hand still firmly in her hair, the other wandered to that special spot between her thighs. She parted her legs readily and he plunged two fingers deep inside. She was wet, no doubt about it, and as she moaned into his ear he didn’t think it was only because of the bath.
“I want you.”
Had there ever been three words more beautiful in the whole English language? He doubted it. Those words transformed him, made his fingers ache to possess every sweet, desirable inch of her body. He wouldn’t be satisfied until he’d caressed, kissed, and fucked her into a blissful oblivion. By the time he was through with her, she’d have trouble standing for the rest of the day.
“Let me get that towel.” Colton hopped out of the tub, dripping wet, and walked not to the bedroom they often shared but to the nursery he’d had made for her.
He’d painted the walls a pale yellow that was soft enough to be reminiscent of sunshine. The border was a cream wallpaper embossed with beautiful carousel horses—each one different and beautiful all on its own. There was an exquisite white horse tossing its vibrant lavender mane; a cherry-brown, holding its head high with a sparkling crown atop its black mane; and a gray pony bedecked in jewels with the golden head of hair. Their proud and regal bearing was precisely why he’d chosen the paper. When he’d seen it in the book, he’d been reminded of Scarlett herself and had known right away that she had to have it for her nursery. When the paper had arrived it was even more breathtaking and Scarlett had seemed to think so too, oohing and ahhing over it as she’d stroked the paper with a gentle, reverent hand.
He’d placed a daybed in the corner, made up with frilly sheets and piled it high with stuffed animals. It faced a large bay window bedecked with white billowing curtains. Scarlett’s closet was full of dainty, beautifully made clothes that showed his little girl off to the fullest. In the center of the room was a large, antique wooden rocker. It was stained a deep cherry and was wide, perfect for allowing him to cradle his girl on his lap while she fell asleep. But that usually only happened after punishment, after she’d been soundly spanked and perhaps even plugged. Only when he was through and her bottom was hot and red, her cheeks streaked with tears did he scoop her into his arms and rock her until she’d cried it out.
The pièce de résistance of the room would be what he called her ‘punishment corner.’ The corner housed a large wooden-backed chair that he’d had made especially for her. It had ‘Bad Girl’ written on the back in loopy pink cursive. He wasn’t quite sure why, but Scarlett loathed that chair. Just the threat of being made to sit in it could usually make her listen to reason. But if not, having to put her stinging bare bottom on it usually taught her a good lesson. The seat of the chair had been made out of purple hardwood and was especially irksome for little girls who had to sit on it with sore behinds.
He’d installed cubbies in the corner beside it, and each one housed different objects only used for the purpose of punishing his naughty girl. In one sat all their implements: a hard wooden hairbrush, a wooden spoon, and a thick leather belt. From time to time he tried out new implements, but those three were his go-to and seemed to work well when it came to teaching Scarlett to behave. The other cubby housed a long line of butt plugs in various sizes and the third cubby was home to her enema kit.
The fourth cubby was his mystery shelf. Whenever Scarlett had done something particularly naughty, something worthy of a more thought-out, special punishment, he let her know by placing whatever he had in mind on that shelf. Then she would sit on her hot, spanked rear and have her look at it—whether it was a ball gag or simply a bar of soap—knowing that she would soon face the music.
All in all, he was pretty pleased with how it had turned out. Scarlett seemed to like it—with the exception of the punishment corner, of course—and he often caught her reading in the bay window or trying on her pretty clothes. She’d been spanked on that occasion, for leaving discarded outfits lying around the floor. He’d spanked her bottom red using nothing more than his hand and then watched as she’d picked up and rehung every dress.
The memory made him smile. His life certainly had changed since Scarlett had walked into it. He often thanked God above that she chose to go to the rodeo on the day he’d been riding. He was even glad that she’d walked up to that stallion, dangerous as it had been, because if she hadn’t he could have walked right past her without ever looking twice.
Though, truth be told, it was hard to imagine anyone being able to walk by Scarlett. On top of her all-American good looks, she was also extremely smart and had a fierce strength that that belied her small, willowy frame. But you could see it if you took the time to look close enough.
And even better, she was either unaware or unfazed by her beauty, because she was also the sweetest person he’d ever met. Not that that meant that she didn’t earn her fair share of punishments, because she could certainly be mischievous when it suited her. She’d yet to admit it, but in the months they’d been dating Colton had come to think that maybe Scarlett liked being sent to bed to sleep on her tummy.
He knew without a doubt that she loved being his little girl. Before they’d met, he’d been more into handcuffs and the occasional erotic spanking than a wooden paddle that doled out real, tear-inducing punishment. But Scarlett was the first girl he’d ever met to make him feel completely alive, so he’d become the man—or rather the daddy—that she needed. He’d never looked back or had a moment’s regret.
Colton was humming to himself as he rifled through her dresser drawer, grinning when he heard Scarlett splashing around in the bathtub. Where had he put that towel? When his hand finally closed around a thick, terry-cloth material, he pulled it out of the drawer. As he did, a piece of paper fluttered to the floor. His brow furrowed as he eyed it lying so innocently on the floor. He almost left it there, eager as he was to see to their post-bath activities, but curiosity got the better of him. He bent to retrieve it and when he saw the writing on the paper, the humming stopped short and the smile fled from his face.
He knew he had to get a hold of himself before he went back to that bathroom. He had to be calm, with a plan in place, otherwise he’d yank her out of the tub and turn her over his knee still dripping wet. He glanced at the rocking chair, wondering if he ought to sit a minute, but decided against it. When it came right down to it, he was more of a pacing guy. And pace he did, back and forth across the restored wooden floors. Sometimes, he walked over the pale cream throw rug that the rocking chair sat on, but most often he headed for the door, determined to confront her, then changed his mind when he realized he was still too upset to talk.
Once he was positive he’d be able to speak without smoke funneling out of his ears, he made his way to the bathroom. Scarlett wasn’t aware of him at first and he had a moment to watch her before he showed her what he’d found and the night veered off course completely. She’d decided to take up the whole tub and was lying on her belly with her legs crossed in the air. She was humming and splashing along to the tune. She was so damn cute, her body enveloped by the few remaining suds. His cock was still at a semi, in forlorn hope that the night could still be salvaged. He wanted her—watching her with the water running across her tiny waist and plump, curvaceous behind… there wasn’t anything he wanted more. Maybe, just this once…
But he knew that couldn’t happen. This was one of those moments when being her daddy was hard. His decision made, he cleared his throat to announce his presence.
Scarlett turned her head at the sound, a smile splitting her face when she saw him. “Hey. What took you so long? I was starting to think you’d gone to sleep on me,” she teased, the dimple in her cheek showing.
His only answer was to hold up the paper he’d found. At first, she just stared blankly from it to him, but he could see the moment when recognition hit because the smile fell from her face. Her bouncy mood vanished, instantly replaced with a wide-eyed, anxious stare.
“Do you wanna tell me what this is?” His voice sounded calm, because daddies had to stay calm even when they were less than happy with their little girls.
“Um…” she hesitated, as though she could detect the anger flaring up inside of him despite his collected outward appearance.
“I know what it is, Scarlett, but you need to tell me why I’m holdin’ it in my hand right now and I’d make it quick if I was you.”
“It was an accident,” she mumbled, dropping her eyes to gaze at the sudsy water.
“An accident,” he echoed. “Which was that, exactly? The speedin’, or me findin’ the ticket?”
“Both?” she offered timidly.
“You better look me in the eye right now, girl.” He watched with growing impatience as she slowly lifted her head. Her lower lip was trembling and he had to clench his jaw to keep from pitying her. She’d brought this on herself and she knew it. “Here’s what’s goin’ to happen: you’re gonna get out of that tub right now and dry off. Then you’re goin’ straight to your room to stand in the corner.”
Scarlett offered a feeble nod.
Uttering a yelp of surprise, Scarlett pulled the plug out of the bathtub and leapt to her feet. He handed the towel to her and she took it. He watched as she used it to dry off before stepping out of the tub. Then she wrapped it turban-style around her head.
A grim little smile tugged at his lips as he watched her scurry past, her ass cheeks clenched as though she was afraid of being swatted on her way out. That would be the least of her problems.
It had been such a stupid, stupid thing to do. She’d known it at the time, had felt it in every bone of her body as she’d hurriedly stuffed the ticket in her dresser drawer, burying it under a pile of clothes. She’d known, almost as though she could see into the future that he would somehow discover it and she’d be found out. Either he’d come across the ticket itself or the charge on her debit card, but he would find out. He always did. It was part of what made him such an excellent daddy. In that case, why had she even bothered? That was the question, and the one she was reflecting on as she had her nose in the corner.
She heard the heavy tread of Colton’s footsteps as he walked in and could tell just how mad he was by how softly he closed the door. He was different than most men—she’d learned that early on. The more upset he was, the quieter he seemed to become.
She could hear him riffling through the closet, not making a single noise except the occasional scrape of a hanger as it was being pushed aside. Curiosity got the better of her and she turned her head ever so slightly to get a peek.
“What did I tell you, darlin’?” Colton asked, his voice soft but stern. “Nose in the corner.”
How had he known?! He hadn’t even been looking at her! She was a little annoyed, but mostly she was impressed. His mad-daddy skills would make her the envy of littles everywhere. If she could tell anyone, that was, but she doubted she’d ever be able to bring herself to do it.
Once she knew that he was in the room, she was more impatient than ever to get out of the corner. She knew she was going to be punished and she’d rather see the implement he had in mind in his hand than be left to guess. She hated guessing games, particularly when they involved unpleasant things like spanking. But although she would have voiced her impatience, she knew that would accomplish nothing except to earn her a scolding and extra time looking at the wall in front of her, so she wisely kept silent.
Even without her earning extra penance it still felt like she’d been standing in the corner forever—until her feet began to ache and even her nose was tired of it. OK, maybe her nose wasn’t tired of it, but the rest of her definitely was. When he finally called for her to turn around she was relieved, even though she knew that a painful punishment lay ahead of her. She hated corner time more than anything—she’d rather be in hell than purgatory any day of the week.
“Come here, Scarlett.”
She walked toward him on tippy-toe, unconsciously mirroring his hushed tone. Only when she was standing right in front of him did he begin the lecture. She sucked in her breath and resolved to take it without crying. Yes, he was that good, that he could reduce her to tears even before the first swat flew.
“I can’t honestly believe you would speed,” he began. “What were you thinkin’? Were you even thinkin’ at all? Of course not,” he put in before she had a chance to answer. “If you were usin’ half the sense God gave you, you would have realized that people die in car accidents every day. If you were thinkin’, you would have realized what it would do to me, if anything ever happened to you. I’d go crazy, Scarlett. I’d lose my ever-lovin’ mind, baby.”
And just like that, she was sniffling, a lone tear making its way down her cheek. He’d done it again. She tried her best to keep more tears at bay as she fervently apologized. “I am so sorry, Colton. It will never happen again, I promise. You have to believe me.”
“Oh, you’re damn right it won’t.”
She drew back, her eyes widening in surprise. Though spoken mildly, he’d still cussed, which he rarely did around her. It gave her a glimpse of how angry he truly must be.
“And you know why it won’t, don’t you? Because I’m goin’ to light that tail of yours on fire.”
“But I said I was sorry, and I meant it. I know you have to spank me, but—”
“Believe me when I say you’ll be sayin’ it a lot more before we’re even half through.”
Though his voice was as level as ever, there was a fierce look in his eyes that made her shift uncomfortably.
“Do you know what bothers me more than the speedin’?”
She was certain that she did, but there was no way she was going to so much as utter a syllable. It was better to just stay quiet and let him do the talking and see where the cards fell when he was done. She knew from experience that when she tried to get out of trouble she often just dug herself in deeper.
“It looks like you got another ticket for not wearin’ your seatbelt.”
The room became still. She could feel his eyes on her, feel him waiting for her to defend herself, but they both knew there was nothing she could say to change it. The only thing she could do was admit it was stupid, but he already knew that. She dropped her eyes and stared at her toes just to get away from that hard, disappointed stare, even if only for a moment.
“And if all that wasn’t bad enough,” he continued, “you thought the best thing to do was to hide it from me.”
Scarlett winced as his words seemed to echo off the walls. She hadn’t thought it was the best thing to do, exactly. Just the thing that would keep her butt from being red and her cheeks from being lined with tears—at least for the moment. Now, of course she wished she’d been honest and gotten it over with, but at the time she’d only been thinking with the panicked reasoning of a girl who didn’t want a red butt.
“You’ve made a real mess of things, sweetheart.”
Didn’t she know it.
“Well? Don’t you have anythin’ to say for yourself?”
“Only that I am so, so sorry,” she offered, her voice quiet, but fervent. “I swear. I wasn’t thinking, I… I don’t know why I didn’t just bring it to you.” Which wasn’t entirely true, of course, but he didn’t have to know that. After she’d basically thrown herself at his feet, she worried her bottom lip between her teeth, watching him with wide eyes as she waited to see if he’d show her mercy.
“I reckon because you knew your butt would be in a heap of trouble. And you were sure right about that, let me tell you.”
Nope, it didn’t seem like he was in a lenient kind of mood.
“So, let me see if I’ve got this right: you were going fifteen miles over the speed limit on the interstate. And when the officer pulled you over, you weren’t wearin’ your seatbelt.”
“I didn’t have time to put it on before he came to the car,” she blurted out.
When Colton arched an eyebrow and she suddenly realized that it had been exactly the wrong thing to say. When would she learn that the best thing to say in times like these was “yes, sir” and “no, sir”?
“So that makes it okay?”
“No, sir,” she mumbled, ducking her head.
“Scarlett, look at me.” He didn’t speak again until she was looking him in the eye. “It will never, ever be acceptable for you to go ridin’ around without a seatbelt on. Do I make myself clear?”
“Well, just to make sure I’m goin’ to pay special attention to your sit spots today. That way,” he added, ignoring her gasp, “every time you sit down in the car, or anywhere else for the next few days, you’ll be remembering to put on your seatbelt.”
“Honey—” He nailed her with that no-nonsense stare until she swallowed back her protest and uttered a feeble, “Yes, sir.”
“Good. Now go lie over the bed and I’ll be along in a minute.”
She rushed to do as he bid without delay. It wasn’t until she was lying over the bed with her butt sticking in the air that she felt the nervous flutters in her tummy. She hated waiting for her spanking. She hated being bare, feeling the cool air kiss her skin, reminding her about what was coming her way. The mattress pressing into her tummy wasn’t uncomfortable by any means, yet she squirmed at the reminder that she’d soon be sobbing as her daddy punished her. He never stopped until she was begging for forgiveness as she cried her eyes out. And that was bad enough, but knowing she deserved it was even worse.
She didn’t have too long to wait this time. She’d only gotten the slightest bit antsy when she heard his heavy, ominous footsteps and felt him behind her. She began to tremble—she was not afraid of him by any means, and though she was dreading her spanking, it was knowing that she had let him down that hurt more than anything else. She actually welcomed his punishment, however much it would hurt, because then she could look at him without guilt and accept his love. It had been so hard to keep it a secret—maybe deep down inside she’d wanted to get caught. What she wanted more than anything right now was to get it over with so that she could cuddle in her daddy’s lap and have him comfort her and tell her that he loved her.
“I’m givin’ you two dozen with the belt,” he said without preamble.
Scarlett’s shoulders tensed. Normally, he gave her a warm-up first. She opened her mouth to protest, but shut it just as fast. She wouldn’t get anywhere by arguing. Instead, she nodded and pushed her bottom up in the air.
He didn’t say anything, but she got the feeling he was pleased—at least, she hoped so. When the first crack of the leather strap rang out across her quivering cheeks, all other thoughts were driven out by the line of pain. She gasped, but struggled to hold herself in place. When the second landed, nearly right on top of the first, she grabbed handfuls of the bedsheet and clenched her fists. She made it to the fourth before she cried out. By the first dozen, she was a weeping, hiccupping mess with bits of hair stuck to her face from all the tears.
Though he gave her a break before starting again, Colton didn’t say a word. In a way, she supposed it was a good thing, since she wouldn’t have been able to give an intelligible answer, anyway.
She could feel it when he raised the strap again, and against her better sense, she rolled over, shaking her head. “Please don’t.”
His eyebrows drew together in an angry line. “Scarlett. Get back into position now.”
She obeyed, but she was crying as she did so. Oh, how it hurt. She’d never had more than a dozen with the strap—her butt felt like it was on fire. Raging, untamable fire that was burning her backside and wouldn’t stop until it was put out or until she turned to ash. Unfortunately, a bucket of water was not in her future.
When he resumed, the first smack of the strap landed square on her sit spot. She yowled and shot up on tiptoe. How she managed to do anything other than whirl around and run for it was beyond her. She felt that stroke more than all the others. It was a hard, angry line of owie-ness across her tender, unprotected skin that hurt like hell.
Though he gave her more time between these, when the second came she yelled and her hands flew back to protect her poor bottom from more.
“Move your hands,” he ordered.
Like hell. Her hands were staying right where they were, thank you very much.
“Scarlett,” Colton said, he voice laced with grim warning, “move your hands. This is the last time I’m gonna tell you.”
“I can’t,” she whimpered. “It hurts too bad!”
“It’ll be a lot worse if you can’t behave.”
She didn’t see how that was possible, but she just knew that he had the scenarios running through his mind. That was what made him a good daddy, even if it wasn’t making her very happy right now. Hesitantly, she moved her hands and put them in front of her, regretting it even as she did it.
“Good girl. Now keep them in front of you, because if you try to stop me again, we’ll start this set all over again and you don’t want that, do ya, darlin’?”
She shuddered just thinking about it. “N-no, sir.”
No sooner were the words out of her mouth when another blistering, angry stripe landed across her sore sit spots. She suspected that he was dealing these out using less of his spanking strength, but they hurt much more than any of the others.
“Puh-lease,” she groaned. “No more. I can’t take any m-more.”
“Do you need a little break, darlin’?”
“No. I need you to stop.”
“I’ll give you a break. You can stand up, if you want.”
She did, and turned to see his arm lowered, the belt looped and dangling in his hand. She glared at it, hoping that looks could, in fact, kill. “It hurts too much.”
“I know, baby. And I hate that I have to do this, but I do. You need to learn your lesson and this one is important.”
He said something along those lines about every lesson, but she decided not to mention the fact.
“Besides, what kind of daddy would I be if I promised you a spankin’ and didn’t follow through?”
“I think I could forgive you, this once.”
That earned her a little chuckle, but then Colton shook his head. “‘Fraid not, baby-girl. As much as I can’t stand the sight of you cryin’, I’ve got to keep my promises. And when you sit down on that sore, adorable ass of yours, you’ll remember what I told you, won’t you?”
She huffed and crossed her arms across her chest, not deigning to answer. She knew he’d assume he was right, though.
“All right, honey, let’s get this over with.”
She was whimpering, tears rolling down her cheeks as she got back into position. She tried to brace herself for it and managed to make it through the next three without too much howling. As the next one blazed across her thighs, she cried out at the top of her voice. She briefly wondered if any of the neighbors were out walking their dogs or checking the mail just now. Perhaps someone was wheeling their dumpster to the curb and would hear her anguished cry. She was sure that if anyone happened to hear they’d be reaching for their phones before she was done screaming. The only problem was that she doubted 911 would come to her rescue before the spanking was through.
“Do you need another break, baby?” he asked, considerate as ever.
Not too considerate, though, to keep him from whaling away at her behind. “No,” she ground out. “Get it over with. Please,” she added as a hasty afterthought.
Colton made quick work of it. By the time he was through, she was a hopping, crying, spluttering mess. He let her do the pain dance of the well-spanked for a few minutes before pulling her into his embrace. The moment his big, strong arms closed around her, she began to calm down. Her bottom didn’t hurt any less—in fact, the pain seemed to intensify as time went on—but knowing he’d forgiven her did a lot to help her mood. She sank against him gratefully and buried her head in his chest as she cried. She practically drenched him in tears, so much so that part of his shirt became soaked through, but he didn’t seem to mind.
“I’m sorry,” she said at last, her voice hoarse.
“I know, baby. Just like I know you’re gonna remember this whippin’ and do better in the future, aren’t you?”
“Oh, yes, sir,” she vowed fervently, ready to promise the world if it meant having this over and done with.
“You don’t know how glad I am to hear you say that. Now, I want you to go sit in your chair.”
Her lower lip stuck out as she looked at him with wide, pleading eyes. He couldn’t be serious! If he had any idea how badly her butt already burned, he’d never suggest such a thing.
“No, no more lip. I said go and I meant it. You might as well try to get comfortable, you’re gonna be there awhile.”
A thousand protests came to mind, but as she ran through them by the dozen, she knew that not one would sway Colton. She allowed herself a long-suffering sigh—she’d earned it after what she’d just gone through, hadn’t she?—and did what he asked. It took everything she had not to cry out when her hot, aching ass touched that mean, unyielding wood. She shot a glance at Colton. He looked back at her sympathetically, but not so much that he was going to let her off the hook, it seemed.
“You’ll have ten minutes here, alone, to think about what you did and why you’re bein’ punished. Then I’ll carry your chair to the study and you’ll write me a two-thousand-word essay tellin’ me why you should always wear your seatbelt.”
Scarlett made a face to express her displeasure, but she knew better than to say anything about it.
“Use this time wisely so you can get it done quick, understand?”
“Yes, sir,” she muttered, hanging her head. Damn, her ass hurt, and it hurt plenty on its own, so why did she need to sit in this stupid chair?
“I’ll see myself out then.”
Scarlett wisely waited until he left before she glared daggers at the door. He was being such a meanie! He knew she was hurting and instead of comforting her and making her feel better, he was leaving her here to be miserable all by herself. For a minute, just a teeny, tiny moment, she wished she’d never met Colton. She wished that she’d never become his baby and that she’d never made him her daddy.
But the wish faded in a poof of worry that it might come true. Scarlett fidgeted uncomfortably at the thought, making her sore rear scream in pain. The truth was, she loved being his—even when she was bare-assed and blistered and about to write an embarrassing essay, probably until her hand fell off. She didn’t want to change a thing.
Colton scanned the essay that Scarlett had typed, noting that it was about two and a half pages long. She’d used a bigger font than he would have liked, but he’d let her slide this once. “Read it for me.”
Scarlett’s eyes widened. He thought she looked very much like a deer caught in headlights. “W-what?”
“I asked you to read it to me, darlin’,” he said, making it clear that it was not, in fact, a request. He held it out and waited until she took it. He couldn’t help but notice that her fingers trembled slightly.
She gave him one last pleading look, but when he shook his head she began to read aloud. “You should always wear your seatbelt be-because it will protect you in case there is a… a wreck. You should we-wear your seatbelt because… because it is the law.”
He gave an encouraging nod and listened with a neutral expression—though, at times he had to work really hard not to laugh—as she stammered for the next fifteen minutes. The most comical thing was when she was finished. The look that crossed her face was almost defiantly relieved. For a minute, he thought she was going to throw the papers on the floor. She didn’t, but probably only because she thought of the consequences first.
“That was good, darlin’. I hope you remember that in the future.”
“I will, I promise.”
He surveyed her face and only when he was satisfied as to her sincerity did he pat his lap. She dropped the papers she held and practically flew to him. She was on his lap in an instant, and though there was no denying that he was very disappointed in her, he couldn’t help but pull her close. He loved her petite body that radiated warmth all the same. He loved the way she melded into his arms, like they belonged together.
“I know that your bottom is still hurtin’ something fierce. I’m sorry about that, but you know why I had to do it.”
“I know,” she mumbled, hiding herself as she buried her face in his chest.
“I don’t want to ever have to do it again, you hear me?”
“I mean it, Scarlett. I love you to death, baby, which is why if there is a next time you won’t be sittin’ down for a solid week. That’s a promise, baby-girl.”
“I’ll be good, I promise.”
He hugged her even tighter, inhaling the sweet vanilla and cinnamon of her skin. “I don’t know what I’d do without you. And I don’t ever want to find out, y’hear?”
“Yes, sir,” she answered, giggling a little this time.
“All right then. I’ll hold you to it. Are you tired, honey?”
“No.” But as soon as the word was out of her mouth, she let out a big yawn that had Colton grinning. “Well… maybe just a little.”
“I can see that. Why don’t you lie down and close your eyes for a little while?” For someone who hadn’t thought she was tired, she seemed to embrace the suggestion. He saw her eyelids sag as soon as he handed her a pillow. She stretched out on the couch—he squelched his smile when she winced—and was out cold almost as soon as the blanket came around her.
He stood there for just a few moments, watching. He didn’t know how it was possible, but somehow she became even more beautiful in sleep. Angelic, even if she didn’t always hold true to it in her waking hours. When it came to spanking her, well, he didn’t mind so much. She needed it—it helped her feel safe and secure. It made her feel loved, and there was nothing he wanted her to feel more than that.
When it was for small things, like eye-rolling or talking back, well, he liked a girl with spunk. He didn’t mind taking her in hand, because he believed that she not only wanted it but needed it on a deeper level that he was just beginning to understand. But serious things like this… things that might have gotten her hurt, or worse… that was when he was at a loss.
All he knew for sure was that they weren’t done discussing it.
Scarlett didn’t wake up until the sun had gone down and Colton was there waiting when she did. Her lashes fluttered open lazily and she smiled when she saw him. “Hey.”
“Hey. How’d you sleep?”
“Mmm. Good, I think.” She rolled over and uttered a little cry of surprise when her butt touched the seat.
“Feeling any better?”
“What do you think?” she quipped, making a face at him.
“Hey, now,” he warned softly. “Watch it.”
Scarlett stuck out her tongue, but otherwise was silent.
This was the kind of thing that he didn’t mind. He could take her sass and throw it back at her. He’d willingly spank her ass for her, if that’s where she wanted things to land—and he could tell by the look in her eyes when this was the case. She’d gone from lying over his lap to riding his cock after many such an occasion. That he didn’t mind.
But this other stuff… well, it was a different matter altogether.
Almost as though she could read his thoughts, Scarlett’s eyes zoned in on the paddle he’d set on the coffee table. It might seem innocent to anyone stopping by, but both of them knew it was anything but. Colton knew the exact moment when she realized what was about to happen when he saw her shoulders tense.
“You already paid the piper for not wearin’ your seatbelt.” He decided not to beat around the bush. “But now that you’ve rested it’s time to settle up for speedin’ in the first place and for hiding it from me.”
Her eyes had gone wide before he’d even begun to speak and by the time he was done they were round as saucers. “How many?” was all she asked, in a timid, little-girl voice.
“Remind me, how fast were you goin’?”
She swallowed hard. “Thirteen miles over, sir.”
“Thirteen. So we’ll make it a baker’s dozen. And as for lyin’ to me…”
“But I didn’t lie.”
“You hid the evidence, then. Is that any better?” He arched an eyebrow, waiting for her argument, but it never came. Instead, she clamped her lips together and shook her head. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a butt plug. He thought she’d object, but the only sign that she’d seen it was the way she began to blink again and again, as though something was caught in her eye. He suspected she was holding back tears.
But when it was time to get down to business, she bent over and spread her cheeks like a good girl. It made him think of the first time he’d ever plugged her—her hands had been shaking then, and she’d had no idea what he’d wanted of her. Now she looked like a pro. Since her back was turned to him, he allowed himself a proud smile.
The plug he had in mind for her this time was thick and large and he knew it would be uncomfortable. Though he knew she didn’t deserve to be comfortable while she was being punished, he still felt for her as he used his finger and a generous amount of petroleum jelly to probe her asshole.
“Take a deep breath,” he instructed, and once she had, he pushed it firmly into place.
Scarlett let out a whimper of discomfort, but otherwise was silent as she waited. He knew she had to be thinking about the smooth, blond paddle she’d seen lying on the table. It was new, to begin with, but if that wasn’t enough to stir interest—that, and the fact that it would shortly be punishing her still-red ass—then the fact that it was an inch thick with ten holes drilled into its surface would do the trick.
He picked it up, admiring the plain, varnished wood, testing the weight in his hand. “Thirteen licks and we’ll lay this thing—and you—to bed. Be my good girl now. It’s gonna hurt, plus you have the plug. Lie still for me, okay?”
“I’ll do my best… sir.” Her tone indicated that she’d use other words if given the choice, but they both knew it wouldn’t be wise given her current predicament.
He lined it up against her perfect, round little ass. It covered a good portion, which meant that he could get both cheeks in every single stroke. He rubbed the smooth wood over her skin, his feelings warring within him. On the one hand, there was no denying that seeing her bent over and bared, submissive to whatever punishment he deemed fit, was a huge turn-on. On the other, he hated that this was necessary. He much preferred their playful spankings.
Colton drew his arm back and let fly against her bottom. The smack of the paddle against her tender orbs reverberated through the room. Even he winced at the sound of the impact.
Scarlett was sobbing before he’d even given the second stroke.
It made him feel bad to hear her cry like this. It made him want to drop the paddle and comfort her, but he gritted his teeth. If he did that, it would be even harder on both of them when he had to pick up the paddle again to make good on his word. He’d made her a promise, and while maybe right this second she didn’t feel like it, the truth was she needed him to keep it.
He knew that and he wanted to be the man she needed more than he wanted to kiss her tears away. There would be time for that. It was what gave him the strength he needed to deliver the second punishing swat of the paddle, and the third, and the fourth. With each one Scarlett shuddered and he waited, giving her time to react to the pain.
Her arms flew out, her feet danced, she howled, sounding much like an angry rooster. It was all he could do to keep from smiling—just in case after one of these swats she decided to turn around. He couldn’t have her think he was taking pleasure in this, or worse, that he was making fun of her. But he just couldn’t help it—she was so damn cute, even now. Even with her rosy ass pushed out toward him, she was adorable.
He was about halfway through when she covered her clenched buttocks with her hands. “Now, Scarlett,” he sighed, “move ‘em so we can get on with this.”
“It hurts!” she wailed at the top of her voice, drumming her toes on the carpet to illustrate her point.
“‘Course it does, darlin’. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t be punishment.”
“At least take the butt plug out,” she begged. “Every time you use that damn paddle, it hurts even more.”
He could just imagine, as the paddle was intended to drive his point home. “This is not a negotiation, baby-girl. You don’t get to decide how many you get. And unless you want me to start over, you’ll move your hands.” Hesitantly, inch by inch, she did so. “And watch your language.”
The next swat was delivered extra-hard, intended to punish for that as well as her delaying them. Whether she believed it or not, he wanted to be done just as badly as she did. After a few more swats, spaced out evenly to allow the full burn of the paddle to be felt before stoking the fire again, Scarlett was a hiccupping, crying mess.
“Last one, baby.”
“Please, I can’t t-take anymore,” she wailed.
“You can do this. I believe in you.” He was gentle with the last swat, though he doubted she could tell. He knew that being paddled over a whipped behind couldn’t have felt good, but hopefully it had taught her a lesson she would remember.
Suspecting that it might be a while before she calmed down, he scooped her into his arms and carried her to their bedroom, laying her down gently on the bed they shared. As soon as he had, she rolled over to lie on her stomach. He sat down beside her and gently patted her back as she sobbed, knowing that he was in for the long haul.
It did take several minutes for the tears to abate. By then, her eyes were red and a little puffy, but he still thought she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.
“Why are you smiling?” she sniffled, wiping tears from her cheeks.
He caught her hand and held it. “I didn’t know I was. Now, let me do that.” He leaned over and carefully brushed the tears away from her eyes, leaning in closer to kiss where they’d been.
“You aren’t mad at me anymore?”
She looked so hopeful, so darn cute, that he couldn’t have been if he’d wanted to. “No, darlin’. Just promise me you’ll pay more attention from now on.”
She gave him a small smile. “I promise.”
“All right then, we’re square. Let’s go to bed.”
“Are you going to take out the… uh, the… plug?” She was blushing furiously as she tried to get her meaning across.
“Not just yet.” He tapped her nose lightly.
“I’d leave it alone, if I were you.”
Scarlett made another face at him, but she didn’t seem to have the effort to keep it up so the matter was dropped. Colton changed into a pair of comfy flannel pants and joined her in bed, careful not to make it shift too much. He’d just pulled her close when he realized that she was asleep.
“Love you, sweet girl,” he murmured before kissing her on the temple.