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Standing Strong by Stardawn Cabot – Sample

Standing Strong by Stardawn CabotChapter One

Dakota’s skin prickled with nerves. She was on edge and high alert. She was also being sneaky and she knew it, but it was worth it as she had managed yet again to beat her partner to the mailbox. She’d been watching it closely for the last two weeks, practically on pins and needles in the hopes of preventing Morgan from discovering her little secret. Not that Dakota made a habit of hiding things from her partner, but in this situation she didn’t see any other way around it.

Dakota was all of nineteen, living with her twenty-five-year-old lover, and their situation was somewhat unique. Dakota was a celebrity—the star of her own teen TV-sitcom, yet she’d had her share of challenges. She’d always been the good girl, never causing any ripples, but that had changed when her brother had been killed in a car accident almost two years ago. Her mother, who was already mentally unstable, had taken a turn for the worse, and her father, who was distant at best, had only driven deeper into his work. Dakota had been left alone and had become lost.

Without her family structure, she’d spiraled out of control and had hit the party scene, engaging in drinking and in a host of other behaviors that she was now ashamed of. That had led to other problems, including the suspension of her driver’s license, which she’d only recently gotten back. In fact, that was part of the problem, and the reason why she was intercepting the mail. The last thing she wanted to do was to prove to Morgan that she was being irresponsible, even if it was true.

Being held accountable was still a novel concept for Dakota, and it was still something she struggled with. In fact, it wasn’t until Morgan had come into her life that everything had turned around.

Morgan was an army veteran who had been injured during her service in Afghanistan. She was also unique, for although she only had one leg (losing her left leg just below the knee from a sniper bullet), she was quite probably the bravest person Dakota had ever met. To Dakota, Morgan was amazing. She never let her disability get her down, or even advertised that it was a disability. She had an artificial leg and still walked with a tiny limp, but only those closest to her knew the true reason for it.

Morgan had been hired by Dakota’s studio as a bodyguard/babysitter eight months ago in an effort to save their ratings and their show. Morgan’s job was to keep an eye on Dakota and keep her out of trouble, but it had quickly become more. Morgan brought Dakota both discipline and love, not hesitating to pull Dakota over her knee when necessary. Dakota, in turn, found peace in that, and was happier now than she ever remembered. But Dakota also found problems with their arrangement, for although she often agreed and sometimes even welcomed the discipline, there were times like this when she was not only ashamed, but truly worried about what would happen to her backside if Morgan found out.

Shifting through the pile of bills and junk mail, Dakota’s stomach dropped as she found a letter from the Superior Court of Los Angeles. She was relieved to find it, but worried at the same time. Feeling as if one weight had just been removed only to be replaced by another, she stuffed it in her pocket before returning to the house.

“Anything interesting in the mail?” Morgan called from the sofa.

Dakota managed a small smile at her dark-haired lover. Morgan was beautiful, and she never tired of looking at her. Her shoulder-length dark brown hair was almost always pulled back at the nape of her neck in a simple pony, but her blue eyes were to die for. Dakota almost melted seeing those eyes study her, but she knew she had to make a quick retreat. Her letter was burning a hole in her pocket and if she didn’t hide it before Morgan found it, it would also be setting her backside on fire.

“Just the usual, bills and junk,” Dakota called. “And I’m going to be upstairs. Gonna take a shower and get ready for tonight.”

* * *

Morgan watched Dakota make a hasty retreat. For once Dakota had her hair down and Morgan had a sudden urge to run her fingers through Dakota’s blond curls. Her hair was long and golden, and although naturally straight, it was usually kinked into curls from the twin braids that she often wore. Straight or curly, however, she was adorable, which easily let her get away with playing a young teenager on TV.

Unlike Morgan, who was just shy of 5′10″, Dakota was naturally petite, barely topping five feet, which made her look even younger than she was. Her features also played into it—although Dakota did most of that on purpose. She wore her bangs down, and used bright colors on her lips, eyes, and nails. Between the clothing and attitude, anyone would believe that Dakota was really fifteen. To the world Dakota might be Candice, an accident-prone, fifteen-year-old troublemaker, but to Morgan she was Kody, her nineteen-year-old lover and all woman.

Glancing at the clock, Morgan thought it a little early to be getting ready, but then Dakota often did her own thing. She’d probably spend an hour alone just picking out her outfit. As long as she stayed out of trouble, Morgan didn’t mind, and she’d reap the benefits as well. Whether Dakota chose to dress like a teen or an adult, Morgan would still find her adorable and would enjoy undressing her later after the party.

As the thoughts of after the party drifted though her head, Morgan chuckled and returned her attention to her book. It was just getting good and she didn’t need nearly as much time to get ready as Dakota did.

* * *

“Kody, are you about ready?” Morgan asked, peeking her head into Dakota’s childhood bedroom and narrowing her eyes suspiciously as the nineteen-year-old jumped and then quickly closed her laptop. “Hold it, what were you doing?”

“Nothing, you just startled me,” Dakota exclaimed, practically bouncing up off the bed and giving Morgan a quick kiss. “I’m ready.”

“No, hang on. What were you looking at?” Morgan pressed. “And why were you in here, and not downstairs? You never hide up here in your room.”

Dakota shrugged. “Maybe I was just looking at porn and didn’t want you to see,” she quipped.

Morgan opened her mouth and then clicked it shut. “Since when do you look at porn?”

“Maybe you don’t know everything about me, Morgan C. Fox,” Dakota teased, running a playful finger down the middle of Morgan’s chest. “What do you say we skip the party and just stay home? Just you and me…” she trailed off, those golden sparks in her hazel eyes blazing with mischief.

Morgan raised her eyebrow. “You know how I feel about lying, Dakota,” she warned.

Dakota widened her eyes. She hated when Morgan did that. She had an eerie ability to see right through her, and Dakota would fold too easily under the scrutiny of those deep blue eyes. She shifted a bit, trying not to look nervous as she racked her brain for an excuse, or at least a better way to distract Morgan. “Seriously, it’s nothing. I was just passing the time and you startled me.” She tried to sound casual.

Morgan’s eyes narrowed, which only told Dakota that she didn’t believe that either. With a sigh, Dakota decided to go for broke. “It’s a surprise. Please, Morgan, don’t make me spoil it,” she tried, hoping the desperation in her voice was taken as sincerity and not the sheer panic she was trying to suppress.

Morgan looked at Dakota, capturing her eyes in a firm stare. It was a well-known fact that Dakota was unlikely to hang out in her childhood bedroom unless Morgan sent her there, and even then she was less likely to actually hide anything. Since they’d started sharing a bed several months ago, Dakota had practically moved into Morgan’s bedroom, not even giving hers a backwards glance. So, besides for the occasional forced nap, punishment, or spanking, Dakota only ventured into her bedroom if she needed something.

“One chance,” Morgan finally spoke. “I want to know what you are up to and I want to know the truth.”

Dakota chewed her lip. If she told Morgan what she was looking at, she was toast, but she’d be much worse off if she didn’t. Morgan would just open the computer and see the website for herself. “Promise not to get mad?”

“I promise to hear you out,” Morgan volleyed.

Dakota winced, but knew it was the best she was going to get. “Okay, okay. Sit down.”

Waiting for Morgan to actually sit down, Dakota paced back and forth, quickly racking her brain for a way to break the news as gently as possible. Coming up with nothing, she finally decided to try to downplay it while still being as honest as possible. Morgan appreciated that, honesty that is, and it was still her best hope to survive in one piece. “Okay, I um, I…. well remember a couple of weeks ago when you had that dentist appointment?” Dakota started. Waiting for a nod from Morgan, Dakota continued. “We took separate cars to the studio that day, and I told you I’d come straight home. Which I did,” she quickly explained, holding up her hands in defense. “Or, well, I didn’t mean to stop. I, er, well… I kinda got pulled over.”

“Pulled over?” Morgan’s brow knit in confusion.

“Yeah, and well, I got a little tiny ticket.”

“How tiny and for what?” Morgan asked, her voice taking on that gruff tone that Dakota hated unless they were making love.

Dakota let out a long breath. “I was just going a couple of miles over the speed limit, honest, it was like the cop had something out for me.”

“Let me see it.”

“See it?”

“The ticket,” Morgan clarified.

“It’s, well,” Dakota sighed in defeat. She was hoping to avoid this part. Knowing there was no way out of it, she crossed the room to her desk and opened the top drawer. Shuffling through a few papers, she pulled out a pink slip that she’d received in the mail just a couple of hours before. Hands shaking, she passed it to Morgan, biting her lip anxiously as Morgan mulled it over.

“You were going 55 in a 40, and failed to fully yield at a stop sign?” Morgan asked with another raised eyebrow. “That’s more than a couple of miles over the speed limit, Kody, and were you just planning on leaving the stop sign part out?”

“It’s not as bad as you think,” Dakota tried to explain. “See, I didn’t realize I was going that fast, then I saw the lights from the motorcycle cop, and he distracted me and I just didn’t see the stop sign. I mean, he was like hiding. They aren’t supposed to do that,” she practically whined.

Morgan let out a long controlled breath. “Alright. And what does this have to do with the laptop?”

Dakota looked down at the floor. “I was trying to sign up for an online traffic school class.”

“So you could pay the fine and just take the class without me being any the wiser.”

It wasn’t a question, and Dakota could only sniffle. It didn’t get any better as Morgan grabbed her arm and pulled her closer. Her adorable black and white skater skirt suddenly wasn’t as cute as Dakota found it flipped up over her back just a second after Morgan pulled her over her knee.

Dakota didn’t even have time to contemplate the merits of never wearing a skirt again before she was suddenly staring at the carpet and yelping as Morgan’s hand made sharp contact with her panties. Nineteen more crisps spanks followed, although Dakota would have sworn it was more like a thousand.

Suddenly righted, Dakota found one hand wiping away tears as the other tried to rub the sting from her backside. She could only sniffle as Morgan pointed a warning finger at her.

“That,” Morgan started her lecture, “was for trying to be sneaky. We are going to have a long talk about this tonight, but right now we have a party to get to.”

“I don’t wanna go,” Dakota whined.

“Too bad. Everyone is going to be there and they all expect you to be as well. You know what a big deal these end-of-the-season wrap parties are. You’re the star, Dakota, you can’t miss it.”

Dakota frowned and rubbed again. “Can I at least put some pants on?”

“I don’t think so,” Morgan quickly answered. “I like the idea that I can access your backside or thigh” she paused and gave Dakota a half-hearted swat to the back of her closest thigh to illustrate, “in case I need to. I expect you to be on your best, and I mean best behavior tonight, Dakota.”

Dakota nodded, chewing her lip and trying not to start crying again as she knew that Morgan wouldn’t hesitate to pull her back over her lap. Letting her lip slip into a pout, however, she realized she was missing something. “Morgan, are you really mad at me?”

“Disappointed,” Morgan sighed. “And not so much that you got a ticket, although we’re going to talk about that, but rather because you lied and tried to cover it up.”

Dakota hung her head. “Can I at least have a hug?” she managed after a long moment of self-pity.

Morgan didn’t need to be asked twice. She reached out and easily pulled Dakota into her lap. Squeezing her tightly, she also kissed her soundly. It was just what they both needed. After Dakota settled, Morgan let her slide back onto her feet before she lifted her skirt again.

This time though she lifted the front, rather than the back, and Dakota blushed as Morgan’s hand ran down the front of her navy blue lace panties and settled between her legs. Dakota shifted in embarrassment as Morgan suppressed a smirk when she found them obviously damp from Dakota’s excitement.

Giving her a look, Dakota blushed. “I can’t help it.”

“I know, but maybe I can. You still have those Hello Kitty panties from Vegas, right?”

Dakota’s face fell, giving Morgan all the answer she needed. “Since you’re so interested in childish behavior, I want you to take these off and put a pair of those on. Then you can find a corner for a bit.”

“Morgan, really?”

“Yes, really,” Morgan emphasized with another swat. Although this one was over her skirt, Dakota got the message. She could only blush again as she hurried to follow Morgan’s directions as her lover watched.

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