They rode a full day, stopping only for a brief meal Cole allowed. He watched Aida reluctantly choke down hardtack with coffee. She was learning. Patricia fed her baby, and explained that an Indian woman she’d befriended taught her how to tie her baby to her back. It was a useful tool, as the baby dozed easily while they rode hard. Patricia sat behind Preach, holding tightly to his large body, and when they stopped, Preach saw to her needs. He hoped Preach wasn’t growing soft on her. Any attachment to a woman on the trail was dangerous.
Aida rode behind him, at the head of the pack, holding onto him. It seemed she held on less reluctantly than when they first began, and he hoped it would stay that way. Time would tell.
The clomping of horse’s hooves came beside him, until Justice rode next to him. “You reckon we’ll make it to Lawson’s in time?” he asked.
Cole clenched his jaw and nodded. They were not to speak of their plans in front of Aida. “You know it,” he growled. They’d ride hard all night if they had to but his plans would not fail. “Everything’s workin’ just as it should, except for yesterday, but we ain’t slowed down none. Now no more talk of it.”
Justice gave a barely perceptible nod, gently lifting the reins on his horse so that she slowed and fell in line behind Cole.
“We’re going to Litchfield?” Aida asked behind him.
Cole swore. Curse his brother and his claptrap. Women didn’t have the faintest sense of direction and she likely wouldn’t have even known where they were otherwise.
“That’s the plan, darlin’,” he said, with forced gentleness. “You feelin’ all right back there?”
“Mmm,” she answered. “Need to use the facilities soon,” she said. “When we get to Litchfield?”
He swore under his breath. “Don’t say the name of the town aloud again, Aida,” he ordered. “Best we keep that secret. And we’re due for a stop, so we’ll pull over at the clearin’ and water the horses. You can visit the privy then.”
She muttered under her breath, and he gave her a sidelong glance. She quieted.
“Hold!” Cole shouted, holding up a hand. The party came to a stop, as Cole swung down from the horse. “Last stop before we reach our first destination for the night. Up ahead lies the railroad station. We leave Preach and Patricia in town, then move on to where we’ll sleep tonight. Anyone need to relieve themselves or get some water, do it now. I’ll give you fifteen minutes. I want everyone back here promptly.”
Murmurs came back to him, “Yes, sir,” and “You’ve got it, boss,” as the men stretched their legs and secured their horses. Aida began to walk away.
“And where do you think you’re goin’?” Cole asked, trotting to keep up with her.
“To use the facilities,” she said. Her eyes flashed at him as she lifted her skirts up over the leaves. It was no use. They were already caked with dust from the trail, and dragging on the ground. Holding her skirts was likely habit. She continued to walk ahead of him.
“You wait for me,” he ordered, but she didn’t slow. In two large strides he caught up with her, took her by the elbow, and delivered a sharp swat. “I said wait up for me, young lady.”
She froze, her chin lifted high, stock still. “Fine.” She’d obey, but not happily. Someone was looking to get her pretty little backside blistered.
He marched her to the creek, no longer allowing her to have the illusion of freedom, but holding her steady. Soon, when they were alone in a hotel room in Lawson’s, he’d turn on the charm again. But right now, his instincts to make her obey were in full force.
When they reached the water’s edge, she turned and asked him to leave her be.
“One minute,” he said, lifting a finger in warning. “One, and I’ll be back.”
He turned his back to her to give her privacy, counting slowly in his head, listening for any signs of escape. But he could hear her right behind him. She was not running. When he reached sixty, he turned to her. She was just finishing righting herself, when a flash of silver caught his eye. She gasped, but it was too late. The pistol fell from her waist and to the ground.
“Freeze,” Cole growled. “Don’t you move a goddamn muscle.”
Her eyes looked up at him, wide and fearful as he prowled closer. Junior’s pistol, red-handled and unmistakable, lay at the ground at her feet. Cole picked it up and glanced it over.
“Well, well, little lady, what have we here?” he said. “When did you come about this little stolen piece of property?”
She cast her eyes at the ground and refused to speak.
He took one step closer and reached for her, her entire delicate chin engulfed in his large hand. “You’ve already earned yourself a trip over Daddy’s knee for stealin’, little girl,” he said. “Now fess up before Daddy’s forced to punish you more severely.”
She swallowed, and fear tripped across her features. She jerked her face from his hand, looking away as she spoke. “This morning at breakfast,” she mumbled. “He left it out because he’d cleaned it. I took it then and hid it.”
Cole glared. Not only had she stolen the gun, now he’d have to deal with Junior. Likely Junior hadn’t told him about the missing weapon because he feared being punished himself. Cole had few laws in his band, but one of them was a man must be armed at all times. Losing one’s weapon was a major infraction, and couldn’t go unpunished.
He nodded once. “I’ll deal with Junior later,” he growled. “I’ll deal with you now.”
She took one step back before he grasped her arm firmly, marching her over to a fallen tree. He turned her to face him.
“You’re getting a spanking, Aida. You know that, don’t you, little girl?” Her eyes flitted away, but a quick chuck of his finger under her chin brought her glance back to his. “Do you think Daddy can let sneaking go unpunished?” He made his voice intentionally gentle but firm, his tone scolding but kind. “I don’t want you hurt, honey,” he said softly. “A big ol’ gun like that could hurt you. And Daddy needs to teach you a lesson to keep you safe.” He sat, drawing her firmly across his knees. It surprised him how little resistance she gave.
He slowly raised her skirts. He’d taken many women across his knee, and he well knew the intimate touch like this could work in his favor. He wasn’t truly angry with her. He was almost proud of her courage and tenacity. And she’d acted the part of the chastened girl quite well, to his immense pleasure. His cock hardened at her rounded bottom over his knee, her perfect figure begging to be touched. His hand went to the front of her drawers and he tugged the drawstring. Her hand flew back but he deftly pinned it.
“Hands down, young lady,” he said sternly.
She kicked her feet in protest as he lowered her drawers. He gave her one sharp swat to the crease of her thighs and bottom. She yelped.
“Daddy told you what would happen if you misbehaved. A good bare-bottom spanking should make my point loud and clear.” He pulled her drawers down while she begged him to stop. Determined, he pulled them down to her knees and rested his hand on her naked bottom. God, he wanted to take her.
“Why is Daddy spanking you, little girl?” he asked.
Her shoulders slumped. “I took the gun,” she whispered.
“Was that honest?” he asked.
She shook her head vehemently, as he ran his hand from the small of her back to the top of her thighs.
“No,” he said softly. “Now, we can’t have dishonesty between us, young lady. What you did was not only dishonest and disobedient, but you also risked injury to yourself. And I can’t allow that to happen.”
He lifted his hand and brought it down sharply on her naked skin. She yelled out loud. He felt the satisfying sting in his hand as he administered a second sound swat. The loud clap of his hand on her bottom resounded in the quiet. Again, he spanked her and this time her little feet kicked in protest.
“None of that, now, darlin’,” he said firmly, while delivering a handful of rapid swats to the place just below her bottom, where it stung worse than ever. She whimpered, but he continued spanking.
“I’ll not have you put yourself in danger,” he said, lifting his hand and administering another hard stroke. Her bottom was growing red now. His cock ached. She wiggled, and his hand around her waist firmed. “You obey Daddy, and you won’t find yourself like this again,” he said, giving her several more punishing swats. “Getting your pretty little bottom tanned over Daddy’s knee.”
She moaned, but he continued. His cock throbbed, desire consuming him every time his hand connected with her beautiful backside.
“Daddy wants to treat you well,” Cole continued. “And not have to take you across his knee to be spanked like a naughty little girl. But if you disobey, this is where you’ll be, sweetheart.” Another sharp swat followed another, until she was flaming hot to the touch, her backside a sunset crimson. He closed his eyes briefly. She was so beautiful. If only…
He stopped spanking her, running his hand over her punished bottom. “Has Daddy made his point, darlin’?” he asked.
“Good girl,” he crooned. “Such a good girl, taking her spanking over Daddy’s knee.” Slowly, he dipped his middle finger between her legs, a slow, wicked grin spreading across his face when he found her slick with arousal. She wiggled in protest.
“Ohh,” she said. “Oh, please don’t!” He guessed her face was as flushed as her vulnerable bottom spread over his lap.
“Just relax, honey,” he whispered. “You took your spanking like such a good girl. Now let Daddy make it a little better.” This time she didn’t protest as his fingers traveled between her legs. First, he explored her core. Gently, he pushed his fingers on the inside of her thighs. “Open up wide, sweetheart,” he coaxed. To his immense pleasure, she obeyed. His chest tightened along with his cock as he slowly plunged a finger between her legs again.
“That’s a girl,” he crooned. As slowly as possible, he carefully slid his finger to her sensitive nub, circling in firm but gentle strokes. He lowered his head and whispered, “Does that feel nice, darlin’? I’ll not hurt you. Trust Daddy and take what’s yours. You took your punishment. Now take your reward. Such a good girl,” he crooned as she squirmed on his lap.
One hand released her waist and gently brushed across her chest until he felt what he was looking for. Her hardened nipples. Oh, this would do quite well. He gently lowered his hand beneath the top of her dress until his fingers grasped a nipple. He squeezed, while at the same time flicking his finger over her nub. Over and over again he teased her nipple and stroked her, all the while whispering to her. “Just relax,” he said. “It’s natural to feel excited now.” He was not new to this exchange of power. Women loved his strength and dominance, growing weak in the knees and wet between the legs when he overpowered them. His fingers nimbly pinched her nipples so that she gasped, stroking her pussy until her back arched and she moaned.
“Good girl,” he said, as she jerked beneath his hands. “Come for Daddy.” She groaned and bucked, writhing as she climaxed hard. He continued to stroke her, easing back gently as she slowed, until she lay completely spent over his knee.
He released her, turning her over so that she lay in his arms. Her cheeks were bright red, as he’d suspected they would be, but as he drew her close to his chest, her arms reached for him.
“Hush now,” he crooned. “You’re a good girl. What a very good girl.” He held her until she was breathing steadily, calm again, then he planted a kiss on her forehead and stood her up. “Now, little girl, I want it clear. You know why I spanked you?”
She nodded, swallowing, as he continued. “And you know that little bit at the end was your reward for taking your punishment like a good girl?”
Though her eyes cast down, she nodded again.
“Very good. Will you obey Daddy like a good girl now?”
Her eyes were softer when she looked at him. Could they be… trusting?
“Yes, Daddy,” she whispered.
He could’ve shouted with glee. It was almost too easy.
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