Chapter One: Cords
MacKenzie had to admit, the cords at her wrists were well and truly tied. And though for the last hour she had tried to wriggle free, this time her restraints had got the better of her. Exasperated, she dropped her hands on the desk and fixed her gaze on Jed who was quietly reading on the other side of the room.
“You win, I can’t get out this time.”
Up until this moment, Jed had been completely absorbed by his studies, but now he looked up from his copy of The Circular and a broad grin lit up his handsome features.
“So you concede?”
“Yes, Sir, I do. Can you untie me, please?”
Jed put the circular down and joined MacKenzie at the desk. Instead of untying her at once, he sat down on the edge of it and gently took her tied hands in his own.
“At last, I’ve found a knot my little pickpocket can’t wriggle out of.”
It was MacKenzie’s turn to smile. “Well, you have to confess, Sir, I had you going for the longest while.” It was true; for the last few weeks Jed had tried various knots on her, but each time she’d been able to slip out of her bonds. It had become something of a challenge, and now each night, Jed had come home exclaiming he’d found a new knot to beat her.
“You’re a slippery one, little lady, but I knew I’d win out in the end.”
“Well then, Sir, I am well and truly beaten. But I think my hands have turned blue.”
Without acknowledging her, Jed opened a drawer in the desk and slipped a small knife out of a velvet pouch. Slowly and with the greatest care, he cut MacKenzie free of her bonds.
“Feel better?” He massaged her wrists, and MacKenzie sat back in her chair, enjoying the sensation as the blood returned to her fingers.
“Well then,” Jed continued. “So what’s my victory prize?”
“Yes,” he grinned. “I feel some kind of reward is in order, don’t you?”
There was a twinkle in his eyes that MacKenzie knew well. She lowered her own in response. “How can I please you, Sir?”
Jed slipped the knife back into its pouch and put it away in the drawer. “Well,” he said, scratching the stubble on his chin. He crooked a finger into the bodice of her dress and gently ran it along the fabric. “If you give me a moment I’m sure I’ll think of something.”
MacKenzie gasped and closed her eyes, focusing entirely on the path of his finger. Her breasts heaved as Jed gently caressed her, and her head rolled back when his hand slid fully inside and brushed against her nipple.
“You like this, don’t you.” It was not a question.
“Stand up and take off your dress.”
MacKenzie’s heart was a-flutter. Whenever Jed gave her a command, it was like a charge of dynamite was triggered down below and she could feel herself become wet with desire. It was a delicious sensation but still she hesitated. She was not yet used to doing as she was told, and for this task, she was at a loss. She could not remove this particular dress without assistance.
She could see Jed misread her hesitation as refusal. “You don’t wish to please me?” he asked. His voice was low and controlled, but there was danger in it.
MacKenzie nodded quickly and standing up, glanced down the front of her blue velvet dress, with its tightly fitted bodice and gray rose centered at her bosom. “Yes, Sir, sorry, but I can’t undo this on my own. I’m tightly corseted in.”
Jed acknowledged her difficulty with a slight nod of the head. “Turn around, little lady.”
She did as she was told, marveling as she always did at how she trembled at his every touch. Not too long ago she had been the tough little pickpocket, brought up the hard way on the streets of New York, an independent little ragamuffin who got by solely on her wits and ingenuity. And now here she was, a Texas lady-in-training, wholly reduced to a quivering mass by the ministrations of this burly Texan with his gentle eyes and sandy brown hair.
MacKenzie’s skin tingled as Jed’s hands first caressed her neck, then shifted down to unlace the ties in the back of her dress. As each cord was loosened she caught her breath, anticipating the pleasure she knew would follow.
Jed’s palms caressed the exposed flesh of her back, then pushed the fabric over her shoulders and forward, so the material hung loosely at the front. MacKenzie melted as his palms slid over the rounds of her shoulders, and her nipples hardened in readiness for him.
“Now step out of it.”
Slowly, she pushed the dress down and stepped out of it, standing before him in her corset, bloomers, and bustle. Reaching around, she unhooked the bustle at the waist, and climbed out of that too. As she straightened, Jed wrapped a pair of strong arms around her, and she pushed back into his body, enjoying the sense of his strength and protection. She raised her hand to his head, allowing him the freedom he loved to run his hands up and down her boned corset, settling at last on her breasts, which he kneaded softly.
She groaned; like a skilled musician he knew just how to play her, and she shuddered as the lips she loved so well grazed the soft skin of her neck, making the tiny hairs there stand on end.
Jed began to slowly pull the cords of her corset and she breathed more easily, though her gasps were still shallow and elevated. The corset dropped to the floor, and she stood there wearing nothing but her chemise, bloomers, and stockings.
“Raise your hands,” he whispered in her ear.
“But someone might come in,” MacKenzie replied.
Jed was not to be distracted. “Over your head.”
With heart pounding she lifted her arms, and Jed pulled the chemise up and over her hair.
“Take off your bloomers,” he continued.
Shaking, she did as she was told. She had little left on but her dignity.
Jed turned her slightly so she was fully facing the door. Any second it could open, any second a member of staff could walk in and see her in all her natural glory. It was frightening, nerve-racking, and sexy all at the same time. MacKenzie felt a tickle between her thighs and she knew she was wetter than ever.
“Stand still.” Jed reached around her waist and down to her mound. For a second he just stroked the silky black hairs of her womanhood, but then his forefinger traced the line of her sex, feeling for the little button that always drove her madly insane.
Carefully he caressed her, expertly rubbing around that one little spot that made her knees buckle and set her desire ablaze.
“Don’t make a sound,” Jed whispered.
It was tough, when every little circular motion made MacKenzie want to cry with delight. But Jed was her lord and master now, and he had forbidden her to utter a single syllable. She closed her eyes, focusing on the delicious honey-like warmth between her legs, wanting nothing more than to scream at the top of her lungs that she was his, and always would be, and wanted this to go on forever and ever.
MacKenzie was so close now, and still Jed wouldn’t let her move or do anything but face the door, which could open at any moment, admitting any one of the servants, who would see her stripped as she was, in all her feminine glory, being played like an instrument for her master’s amusement. But then she had passed the point of caring; there was nothing in her world but Jed’s fingers, that little spot, and the delicious fire that even now swirled inside her, like the sun at the center of a galaxy.
And then everything exploded, and for a second her whole world was pure sensual delight, and in that split moment she forgot everything, even Jed’s explicit command. She opened her mouth and cried out like a wanton harlot, leaning back into him, like she wanted her body to blend with his. And though she had been disobedient, Jed continued his caresses, carrying her through the delight until at last, her body went a little limp, her consciousness returned, and she felt something of the silliness of it all.
Like a contented cat she purred, and reached back to stroke his hair while his hands slid up her body to toy fondly with her bosom.
“I told you not to make a sound,” said Jed.
“I’m sorry, Sir. I was as quiet as long as I could be, but you had me so excited, I couldn’t control myself.”
Jed sighed. “Flattery will not get you off the hook, little lady. If you were at Sugarcane Academy, they would thrash you ruthlessly for that transgression.”
She smiled and remembered her days at that school of discipline. Not too long ago, Jed had agreed she need not go back, and had taken on the responsibility for her education himself. “But you will not, Sir?”
She stiffened when he did not answer.
“Oh, but I will, darling. Not being able to control yourself is a problem. I intend for you to learn total control of your passion. That is what I want.”
Jed turned her around, and she saw the serious look in his eyes.
“I’m sorry, Sir. I shall do better next time.”
“You will do better this time,” he said. “Lean over the desk, put your palms down flat and your cheek to the surface.”
MacKenzie bit her lip but would not defy him a second time. She did exactly as he asked her, and waited with bated breath as Jed positioned himself behind her. For a moment he did nothing at all, and she looked behind her to see what he was about.
“Close your eyes,” he said firmly. “You will not look at me.”
She closed her eyes.
There was the fumbling of fabric, followed by the feel of Jed’s erect cock sliding slowly up and down her wet pussy. She was still all tingly from coming, and her pleasure got the better of her and she moaned with delight.
Slap! Her punishment was to receive a smack to the side of her thighs, and she felt her skin glow at the point of contact. While she still focused on the tingles, Jed pushed his erect member hard into her, causing yet another involuntary moan of pleasure.
Smack! There it was again, almost at the same point of contact. Her thigh burned hot, but this time she closed her lips tight and did not make a sound. She was rewarded this time; instead of the sting of a spanking, Jed leaned forward and cupped her breasts in his hands. He squeezed her nipples hard, but though the sensation was intense, she remembered his bidding and kept her lips tight shut.
“Good girl,” he whispered, and rewarded her with a deep and satisfying thrust.
It was hard not crying out as he fucked her. It felt so good whenever he was inside her body, and her excited pussy enjoyed a thousand tingles all at once, but he had been quite explicit, and she knew silence was all he wanted from her now. It was part of the training and she would not let him down.
Jed always liked taking her from behind, and it was not long before his thrusting became more determined. When she heard him clench his teeth she knew he was close, and a second later his hot seed pumped into her primed pussy. She clenched her muscles around him, spurring him on as he had taught her to do. He felt larger at this point, and as she squeezed hard her own pleasure became so intense as she clung to him more intently and her joy escaped her lips. God, how she loved fucking this man. Would always love fucking him.
When he was spent, he slapped her on the thigh for good measure.
“Ow, what was that for?” MacKenzie asked at last.
“Because I wanted to,” he said.
MacKenzie looked intently at the door. “Isn’t it time Barlow came in with the lunch things? He’ll catch us if we don’t move soon.”
Jed slid slowly from her body, and she felt the loss of his cock as it left her. Still, her lover was in no hurry as he buttoned up his breeches. “Stay where you are until I tell you to dress yourself.”
MacKenzie felt ridiculous. However, she would not disobey him for all the world.
Once he was decent, Jed strolled casually over to the door and opened it just a fraction.
“Ah, there you are, Barlow, bang on time as usual.”
Oh, sweet Jesus, no.
“Actually, if you don’t mind, MacKenzie and I will luncheon in the drawing room today.”
“As you wish, Sir,” the butler replied.
MacKenzie didn’t dare breathe until she heard the butler walk away. Chester, the family dog, scurried after him across the hall. In the last few months the dog had disassociated itself from Jed, his former owner, and now their once true and faithful friend Chester had bonded with their old retainer Barlow. No one minded, really. The odd couple had been through a nasty attack together. As if it were only yesterday she recalled how her sister-in-law’s ex-husband had broken in and left both the butler and the dog for dead at the foot of the staircase. It had happened in this very house.
She had not seen the attack when it happened, but after that it seemed perfectly natural that they became steadfast friends. The two were inseparable now.
“Thank you, Barlow.”
Once they were gone, Jed closed the door and returned to the desk where MacKenzie was still lying face down across it. He smiled at her, and his eyes wandered freely over her undressed body.
“You are doing much better, little lady,” he said. “I think you deserve a little treat.”
“What’s that?” she asked.
“Get dressed and I’ll tell you.”
MacKenzie pushed up from the desk and shuffled into her garments. Jed didn’t wait to be asked but set about tying her corset and the back of her dress. She wandered across to the mirror over the fireplace and gazed at her reflection. Her hair was certainly a little disheveled but nothing out of the ordinary; she might just as easily have recently returned from a breezy ride.
“How do I look?” she asked anyway.
“Beautiful,” Jed replied.
“So what’s my prize?”
“Not now, little lady, that will have to wait, because I’m utterly famished. But I’ll tell you over luncheon, and I think you’ll like it.”
Now he mentioned it, MacKenzie realized her stomach was growling too. “Sounds good to me, Sir. I could eat a horse.”
“Ladies don’t generally express themselves that way, but we’ll let it pass this time. Come, let’s go eat, and I’ll tell you all about it over sandwiches and hot coffee.”
Jed opened the door for her and MacKenzie walked quickly through. The old MacKenzie would have sprinted and stuffed her face full of everything presented on the plate, but she knew Jed would frown at this, and above all else she wanted to please him. After all, she loved him, and nothing in the world could come between them, most especially not a plate of ham and mustard on rye. Hell, that was for sure.
Chapter Two: The Surprise
Jed patted his stomach and sat back in his chair, unable to take another bite. He rarely ate to excess, but he’d been up since the crack of dawn attending to ranch business and had only eaten a light breakfast. So for once, the luncheon sandwich platter was returned to the kitchen empty. Not that he’d managed this amazing feat all alone. MacKenzie had certainly stashed away a few, though not nearly so many as he had. She still always ate like she was enjoying her last meal, and though he knew that would raise a few society eyebrows, Jed didn’t mind one bit; he had much to be proud of in his little lady. She was doing well, responding naturally to his direct training; so much so that they hardly ever talked of Sugarcane Academy at all now. Sometimes it felt like her initial introduction to domestic discipline was all but forgotten.
After draining a full glass of buttermilk, Jed wiped his lip with a napkin and lit a fat cigar. It was early, but he liked to indulge in this vice from time to time. MacKenzie shot him a sideways glance. He knew she didn’t like it, but some habits were just too good to kick. He puffed hard on the end, and after exhaling a long line of smoke, he sat a little more upright.
“So,” he said, letting the chubby Corona droop idly between his fingers. “Would you like to hear my surprise now?”
Of course he knew she would. MacKenzie was a sucker for novelty, and surprises were her favorite thing.
“Yes, of course,” she replied eagerly as she eyed the dessert tray. She had been drooling over the cook, Mary’s, sponge cakes for some time and Jed wondered when she would give in to her desire, as she so often did. He did not have to wait long. As she chomped down on her sweet treat he wondered where she put it all. She was so tiny but she had the appetite of a tiger.
MacKenzie looked up just long enough to catch him grinning at her. “What?” she said with her mouth half-stuffed, though her eyes were laughing.
“You know what!” he said, laughing in unison. “Anyway, I thought it would be fun if you and I went on a little trip. I recently heard from Alice, and she and Freddy invited us over to a small house party. I thought you might like to see her again.”
Come to think of it, he was no less eager to see his sister and her new husband again himself. After all, before they were married, he and Freddy had been devoted friends. It would be good to catch up. He hoped MacKenzie would be as eager to see them as he was.
“Oh, yes, please!” mumbled MacKenzie, barely concealing the glob of cream filling her mouth.
“You shouldn’t speak with your mouth full,” he chided.
“No, Sir, sorry, Sir.” MacKenzie swallowed and licked her lips. “I really haven’t spent any time with your sister, and I would so love to get to know her better.”
“And so you shall,” said Jed.
“Will there be many at the party, do you think?”
Jed shook his head. “I really don’t know, she didn’t say. The letter said it would be a small gathering, but with Alice, that could mean anything from one or two to a hundred people. She always loved to put on a good show. Well, at least she did, before…”
They both knew what he alluded to. Jed shuddered when he remembered how her first husband had treated her with unspeakable cruelty. His plans might have been the death of Alice, too, had MacKenzie not been there to thwart his plans and save the day. But thank God, she had, and now Alice was safe and secure with her new husband, Freddy.
“I didn’t think you liked these social gatherings,” said MacKenzie, finally conceding defeat by placing her pudding spoon upon her plate.
“I don’t, not really, but the truth of it is, I’m anxious to see Alice again, if nothing else, just to see how she’s doing.”
“Of course. Will Valerie be there?”
“I don’t think so, not this time.”
“Oh, that’s a disappointment. In her last letter she said she had news. I’m really desperate to hear it.”
Jed grinned. His other sister, Valerie, was also recently married, and both he and MacKenzie had an inkling of what that news might be. At least they both hoped for the same thing.
“I sometimes wondered if Valerie would ever have children, but if she is in the family way then I’ll be absolutely thrilled.”
“If she is, that would explain why she doesn’t feel up to the journey, I suppose.”
“Quite so.” Jed took a few long drags of his cigar and stared thoughtfully at MacKenzie. “I confess I’m looking forward to the day when we start a family of our own, little lady.”
MacKenzie blushed and hid her grin behind her water glass. She looked adorable like that.
“I’m kinda hoping nothing happens before the wedding,” she confessed.
He raised an eyebrow and looked quizzically across the table. “You would rather I kept away from you before the ceremony?”
“Hell, no!” she blurted.
They both laughed.
“Good, because Christmas is a long way off and I’m not sure I could hold out that long.”
“And you’re the one always chiding me about self-control,” laughed MacKenzie.
“Yes, well, I’m the master.” He was being saucy and he knew it. He took another puff from his cigar but couldn’t hide his smirk from her. Time to change the subject. “So, how are the preparations for our big day coming along? And what is it going to cost me?”
MacKenzie thoughtfully tapped the side of her glass with her finger. She didn’t look as happy as he thought she should.
“Is something the matter?”
“Nooo, well, not really,” she replied. “I… err.” Her pretty brow furrowed and she scratched her head.
“Out with it, little lady.”
“I just wish I was better at it. I’ve no experience of these things. I don’t know what food to order or what to tell the dressmaker, and, oh, there’s just a million things that could go wrong and I’m frightened of making a mess of things and letting you down.”
“You couldn’t possibly. Just say ‘I do’ when the question’s asked and I’ll be content.”
“Oh, Jed, you know there’s more to it than just that. And the whole town will be there, judging me, expecting me to screw it up.”
“Well, you know what I mean.”
Jed leaned forward in his chair and stubbed out his cigar in the ashtray. “You’re worrying over nothing, believe me, little lady. But if it bothers you that much, I will write to Alice, and ask for her assistance.”
For a second MacKenzie’s eyes lit up, but then she slumped down in her chair again.
“But she lives so far away.”
Jed nodded. “Yes, yes, she does, but I think you should ask her all the same. Alice was always good at that sort of thing, I’m sure she’ll jump at the chance to be involved. I would suggest you ask Val but if we’re correct in our assumptions…”
“Would you write to Alice for me? I’m still not confident with my letters. She might laugh at me.”
“I don’t think she would,” Jed answered, “but if it makes you feel any better I’ll write to her and ask.”
“Thank you, Sir.”
Jed rose from the table and gently kissed the top of MacKenzie’s head. “I’ll be in my study if you need me. What will you be doing this afternoon?”
“I figure I’ll be doing a bit more book learning, if you expect me to write my own letters and all.”
“Good girl. I approve.” He squeezed her hand softly and left the drawing room. His heart was light, for if a few wedding jitters were all that was wrong in his world, then he had little to worry about in the grand scheme of things.