Despite having been born in Chicago’s urban jungle, Marcus loved Wyoming, especially in the spring. With a little help from his staff, nature abandoned its winter slumber and returned the familiar display of color to the ranch. Hints of green, snowy white, and pale yellows emerged from the budding plants whose history Marcus knew almost as well as Jack’s knowledge of Cloudcroft’s horses.
The gardens were much more than a utilitarian means to provide resources for the resort. Framed by the majestic mountains and picturesque meadows and fields, the yards formed a relaxing oasis in the middle of a very serious working ranch. More than pride, his third of the resort profits was vital to his income, and he took every part of Cloudcroft’s management seriously. At the death of Linc and Jack’s grandfather, he even owned a small percentage of the ranch itself.
The new gardener was not a chatterer. Marcus took advantage of the quiet moment to gaze at the tall, gorgeous woman whose body clearly waited to be unwrapped from her oversized clothes. Her brown hair was a soft cocoa shade, and her eyes were just a tad darker. Shyness made her even more appealing, and his dominant side recognized it was only a matter of time before they negotiated a scene. Her curves would snuggle perfectly under his extra-large body.
As they toured his yards, Sophia offered true sincerity. “These are just amazing. How do you manage it all?”
“It really should be a full-time job,” he replied earnestly. “Jack’s grandmother established the basic foundation years ago. She couldn’t do the work after her stroke, but I followed her around as a kid and helped where I could. She was pretty special, and it was hard not to pick up her enthusiasm. From there, I just kept expanding.”
Sophia absently brushed a few leaves away from some emerging hostas while Marcus continued. “But I can’t keep up with all this and the resort management. I also do minor repairs, menu planning, shopping lists, and a lot of the cooking. The job got a little easier with Bella working full-time, and Meg helps a lot, but it’s still tough to get everything done. None of Jack’s staff are gardeners, and there’s a disaster almost every time I let anybody out here other than myself.”
When they got to Bella’s rhododendron disaster, Sophia gasped, “Oh, my God. She didn’t just prune them. She butchered them.”
Marcus groaned, “I know. They’re probably sixty-year-old bushes. I never would have let her near them. I sent her to prune back the dead wisteria and clematis. I thought she could handle that.”
Sophia held a branch with a gentle touch, and Marcus wasn’t entirely sure she spoke to him or the plant. “Don’t worry. They’ll fill back in, but I’m really disappointed I won’t see any blooms this year.” Marcus nodded in agreement, and they stood in silent mourning to imagine what would be missed.
He shook his head to break the moment and continued. “We need to finish the summer vegetable planting next week. We grow a lot of produce for our kitchen, but the resort is hosting a wedding this weekend, and that’s our first priority. We’ll set up the tents tomorrow so the place has to be cleaned up today. Bella and Meg are driving into town after lunch to get some potted flowers.”
He got about halfway through her chore list when he asked, “Do you know how to run a lawn tractor?”
There was no response. Lost in her own world, Sophia’s focus was a million miles away, and he cleared his throat delicately. “Umm… it’s a lot easier to follow instructions if you are paying attention to me, little girl.”
Her blush was absolutely delightful and she almost smiled. “I’m sorry, Marcus. It’s just that everything is so beautiful. I mean, look at this place. Think about the years of hard work to bring it all together. It… it represents generations of family and closeness. It’s amazing.”
He couldn’t help it. Her shy smile and genuine enthusiasm overwhelmed his resolve to maintain the role of employer. Gazing at her bright eyes, her full lips simply needed his attention, and he kissed her without warning. The innocent moment would have been captured quickly, but Sophia responded with a very serious connection that lasted much longer than he’d planned. Her skin was luxuriously soft, and his cock pushed against the confines of his jeans.
When she pulled away, her face froze. The expression was lost as quickly as it came, but a tiny whimper of disappointment followed his withdrawal and her hand moved slowly to rest where her tummy met her jeans. She toyed with her own soft skin for a second or two but stopped her fingers from sliding down to her secret spot. Instead, she pressed her thighs together and shivered.
Offering his assistance with a grin, his huge hand covered hers to tickle her belly. Sophia closed her eyes, but didn’t push him away so he moved downward to envelope her pussy through her jeans. He tickled the insides of her thighs, and she wiggled in a seductive attempt to connect his touch.
He took a firm handful of her bottom before he delivered a sharp spank. Her soft moan encouraged his cock even further, and he demanded, “Be still, Sophia.”
Her quick submission thrilled him, and he pulled her close to whisper, “We’re definitely going to play next weekend. I bet those legs lead to the softest pussy in the world.”
To prove his point, he tickled her tummy a second time, and she sucked her breath in to make access to her baggy jeans even easier. Slipping his fingers down the front, he found her soft brush of curls before locating her panties. He toyed for a second or two, but soft whimpers encouraged him to explore her wet slit to find the tight button of nerves swelling in her secret spot. With a sensitive touch, he tickled and pinched the small bud until she tried to pump on his hand with a helpless shudder.
He pulled her even closer and whispered, “You’ll be mine next weekend. Tell me that you’ll play with me, little girl.”
When Sophia didn’t speak, he dipped his finger deep into her channel and felt an instant spasm from her tight vaginal walls. She moaned loudly, but still didn’t answer him.
“I expect you to call me sir when we’re playing. Say it, Sophia. What’s my name?”
She made small noises in the back of her throat while Marcus continued the finger fucking. When he added a second finger, the sounds of growing wetness mingled with the tiny mewing noises. She was clearly lost in her emotions, but he increased his demand with harder intrusions.
“What’s my name? Tell me, and I’ll let you come. If you don’t, I’m going to stop. Do you want release, or do you want to stay like this?” To make his point, he withdrew his finger and teased the outside her swollen sex.
There was a moment’s hesitation, and her voice was barely above a whisper. “Sir. Your name is sir.”
He continued to thumb her clit while moving his finger back into her wet pleasure, a dexterous move that took some practice. Her eagerness was amazing as she moved in unison with his hand, and her spasms returned quickly. Moans turned to subtle whimpers and eventually to full-blown cries. Her body attempted to crumble toward the ground, but he held her easily as his fingers reached even further into her need.
When she was spent, her eyes opened to reveal a subtle surprise. It was almost as though she’d forgotten he was there. His cock grew even harder, and he rubbed against her thigh. “Are we playing next weekend?”
Sophia simply nodded, but Marcus waited with a stern look until she said, “Yes, sir.”
He rewarded her with an easy grin. “The guy who’s collared you is a lucky man, little girl.”
The memory of his fingers invading her sex stayed long after he left and it took almost fifteen minutes before she acknowledged what she’d agreed to. She couldn’t erase the touch of his lips or his fingers. She’d never felt such a strong tie to another human being. Her lone serious boyfriend was obviously nothing more than a male acquaintance whose companionship was taken away as easily as it was offered.
Marcus’ smooth body mixed with collars and dungeons, but the resulting confusion was more than she could process. Shaking her head to return to safe solitude, Sophia settled into the dirt. Work always brought clarity, and Cloudcroft’s beautiful gardens were an easy responsibility. She spent hours digging through leaves and winter’s loss to find the beginnings of life. To connect a little further, she removed the thick pair of work gloves to run her fingers through the soil and breathed the crisp fresh scent of springtime.
When she was done with the flower beds, she found the small garden tractor and mowed the lawns. She may not have had a driver’s license, but she’d long since learned how to use power equipment. A small dead tree near the woods was lost quickly to a chainsaw, and the tractor helped her move the logs to a pile near the barn.
It was hours before Bella found her. Dirt was encrusted on Sophia’s clothes and rammed under her fingernails. Loose hairs escaped from her ponytail and mud made her boots unrecognizable. But the content expression on Sophia’s face was apparent, and she grinned when Bella tapped her on the shoulder.
Bella whistled, “Boy, you look like shit. And I think you like it too.”
She laughed loudly, and met Bella’s gaze easily. “It’s been amazing. I just love working outside, but I’m starving. I need to get some lunch.”
“Lunch? Shit, girlfriend, I came to tell you that we eat dinner in fifteen minutes. Meg will skin you alive if you track dirt into her kitchen. There’s an enclosed outdoor shower by the barn with soap and shampoo. I left you a clean towel and some of your clothes. You’d better get moving, but I wouldn’t tell the boys you missed lunch. Not eating around here is a serious crime.”
She didn’t have a watch, but the late hour caused her serious mood to return. Before she ran to the shower, she remembered her conversations with Marcus. “What does it mean if you wear somebody’s collar?”
Bella was in a hurry and answered with a simple shrug. “It’s more serious than just playing. It means you’re committed to them.”
Every new piece of information expanded her imagination and the titillating results formed from a deep spot between her legs. She washed quickly, pulled her long hair into a wet ponytail, and dressed in the utilitarian gray sweats and t-shirt. Even with her fast action, the family was already sitting at the table by the time she got to the kitchen, and she cringed at the scowls from the three dominant men.
Before she could make her excuses, she felt the twinges of a physical uncertainty completely unrelated to the sexual arousal she’d felt under Marcus’ touch. She took a breath and tried to focus, but the room spun in dangerous circles as the four adults blended into one creature. She put her hand to the back of a soft leather chair, but her new roommates’ concerned voices were lost just before everything went black.
When her eyes opened again, she was lying on the kitchen couch with Marcus’ concerned face hovering by her side. An unsuccessful attempt to sit up and push a bag of ice off her forehead earned his scowl, but the same room-spinning dizziness left no choice but to lie back down.
Jack spoke first. “Sophia? Can you hear me?” When Sophia reluctantly opened her eyes a second time, Linc and Jack stood beside Marcus, and little Bella was in tears.
“I’m fine, everybody. I just need a minute.” She tried to push the ice bag aside a second time, but the sensitive lump on her head cemented the realization she’d done more than get dizzy. She’d hit something. Hard.
Marcus gently pushed her back to the couch. “Keep the ice bag. You hit your head when you passed out. A friend of ours is a doctor, and he’s on his way. Has this ever happened before? How do you feel now?”
Bella spoke softly. “I think she needs food, guys. She hasn’t eaten much today.”
Linc’s glare was truly frightening. “How much is ‘not much,’ Sophia?”
Physical weakness blended with overall uncertainty to generate a quiet whimper, and Bella moved quickly between them. “Lincoln Sullivan, you may think you are a kind and gentle man, but you scare the shit out of people. Back off.”
Marcus remained suspicious. “Have you eaten anything besides that little bowl of cornflakes this morning?”
When her eyes went to the floor, the men had their answer, and Marcus continued scolding. “You had one small bowl of cereal then spent seven solid hours doing manual labor? You’re lucky passing out is all you did.”
Jack’s eyebrow twitched as though it had a little life of its own, and his frown mirrored his brother’s. Sophia wiggled away from all of them while Bella tried to take over. “Jack, get some pasta over here. Marcus, help her sit up a little. Linc…” She searched for a chore and finally sighed, “…just go sit at the table and stop being so scary.”
Thankfully, all three men followed tiny Bella’s orders and gave Sophia a little breathing room. When Jack brought the pasta, however, Marcus insisted on feeding her one forkful at a time. Her feeble protests were met with a stone wall of dominance and an icy scowl. “Do what you’re told, Sophia. I saw you with a fucking chainsaw an hour ago. You’re not going to be dizzy for long. When I paddle your ass over risking a limb, you’re going to want me to remember a whole lot of cooperation.”
The threat did nothing to calm either girl’s nerves, and they exchanged a look of horror. Bella started to speak before her husband cut her off with another scowl. “Go eat dinner, little wolf. Marcus has this. Dan’s going to be here soon to let us know if we should take her to a hospital.”
The calorie-heavy pasta helped, and her strength returned slowly until Marcus finally allowed her to finish feeding herself. When Dr. Daniel Garcia arrived, he pronounced her bruised, but not concussed. “She’ll be fine, guys,” he proclaimed before helping himself to the leftover pasta at the stove.
She turned to her tall, dark shadow. “I’m sorry, Marcus. I just hadn’t worked outside in months, and I was having so much fun. I forgot about eating.”
He rubbed her leg gently. “I have to admit that the sight of a smoking hot, leggy woman with a chainsaw was a turn-on that I enjoyed. Just promise me it won’t happen again. Three meals a day and extra calories when you’re doing so much physical labor.”
Sophia tried a shaky laugh. “Come on. It’s not like I couldn’t afford to lose a few pounds. I’m built like a cow.”
Marcus didn’t share her humor. “Did you just call yourself fat?” His voice could have cut ice, and Sophia didn’t know how to answer.
“Because if you did,” he said in the same tone, “that will just add to the intensity of your spanking.”
Sophia’s eyes grew wide with abject fear, but Bella was instantly by her side. “I think I’ll just take her to bed now. She must be exhausted. Don’t worry, Marcus. I’ll see that she’s settled.”
The room came to a grinding halt as the four dominant men stared at Bella. Jack snapped his fingers and pointed to his side. “You aren’t interfering with Marcus and Sophia, are you, Bella?”
Even Sophia knew she didn’t have a choice. With one last pleading look in her direction, Bella mouthed ‘safe word’ and reluctantly followed Jack out of the room. When Linc and Dan made plans to finish with brandy in the upstairs study, she was left alone with Marcus and his scowling displeasure.
The need to speak overrode her shyness. “Please don’t spank me, Marcus. I won’t do it again. I promise, I’ll eat better.”
Marcus lowered his glare. “I can’t wait to play with you, but discipline is different. That was a stupid move, and you could have been hurt. You know how this works. Unless a spanking is a hard limit, drop the pants, and let’s get this over with.”
A hard limit sounded like a wonderful out, but she had no idea how to play that card. A word that was defined as safe also appealed to her but screaming red just felt silly. Her breathing slowed to a crawl while she tried to process her current predicament. A little over twenty-four hours earlier, she’d considered a lonely homeless shelter, but tonight faced a real, full-blown spanking because somebody cared that she might have gotten hurt.
Breath returned out of sheer survival, but she still fought the urge to run. There had to be a locked door or something between her bottom and his hand. She looked frantically around the room but before she could move, the memory of his giant fingers enveloped between her wet lips awakened something a little deeper inside her pussy. When she added the image of Bella’s pink bottom bent over the porch rail, the deep electrical circuits focused into one very wet spot. In a weak attempt to stop her need, she pulled her thighs together to make flight physically and mentally impossible.
Marcus’ voice interrupted her muddled thoughts. “I’ve already told you once, little girl. Lose your pants and let’s get this over with.”
The only way to extricate herself from his punishment was to tell the truth; she’d never been spanked, and yesterday was the first time that she’d even heard the word ‘submission’ in a sexual context. Bella and Tami would take the spanking she deserved, but even more frightening, the news would mean the end of her stay at Cloudcroft. Marcus would likely drop her off at the homeless shelter himself. Quite simply, she didn’t want to leave any of them.
A tiny tear escaped as the sum of all her losses clearly rested with one decision. She swallowed hard and squeaked, “Yes, sir.”
He crossed his arms and waited patiently while Sophia slipped out of her baggy sweats. She hesitated over her panties, but his frown clarified the message, and she stepped out of them with as much grace as she could manage. A slight gleam came to his eyes as he surveyed the tiny hairs that protected her secrets, and she blushed even further.
With a futile attempt to pull her t-shirt over her very virgin bottom, she stood while he settled himself on the big leather recliner and patted his lap. “Over my knee, Sophia.”
Mortification ran deep and the telling blush crept slowly down her entire body. It took four of the deepest breaths imaginable before her feet would take a step. His hands grew in size before her eyes, and their movement seemed to drop to slow motion.
Any other lap would not have been able to take her height, but Marcus did not have just any lap. She fit perfectly over his long legs as he adjusted her ass to the correct angle to meet his correction. Her hands grabbed his calf in a failed attempt at safety, and her feet didn’t quite reach the floor. She had no idea what to expect so she closed her eyes tightly, and her entire body tensed.
Instead of a correction, he tantalized the nerves on her bottom with a gentle touch. Tiny traces of his fingertips created light, swirling patterns across her skin that teased her vaginal walls into the play. The new sensations were overwhelming but when she tried to wiggle away, he locked her firmly into place with a quick scissoring of his leg. “Hold still, Sophia, and mind what I say. I’m not going to fight you on this.”
Trapped between his firm thighs, she went under his control with her glistening apex exposed to his sight. A simple touch to her wetness caused her to gasp, and he chuckled with his new information. “I think you might like this, little girl. Now, what did you do wrong?”
Her voice sounded like it belonged to an alien. “I… uh… didn’t take care of myself. I didn’t eat lunch. I used the heavy equipment when I could have been hurt.” Even without seeing his face, she knew he would expect a full accounting of her misdeeds, so she didn’t miss a thing. “And you didn’t like it when I called myself fat.”
His warm palm cupped her ass with another gentle movement. The tantalizing effect of his skin on hers became an unwilling aphrodisiac to her growing need, and she almost allowed herself pleasure from his touch. Despite her embarrassment, she wiggled her bottom to encourage a second exploration of her swollen sex.
Instead, he delivered a stinging smack, and Sophia gasped. The simple pain electrified thousands of nerve endings in her bottom to fuel the wetness between her legs. Before she could fully register the first connection, he delivered a half a dozen more. As he layered one on top of the other, a warm glow fought its way out of her body, and she bit her lower lip to keep her emotions under control.
By the seventh smack, he’d picked up his intensity and the warmth turned to sting and finally, they just plain hurt. Instead of layering, he circled her bottom with a random pattern that worked closer to her upper thighs. When he connected a little lower to the place where she preferred to sit, the sting built on her already established nerve endings and she yelped, “Ow… that hurts…”
Sophia’s failed attempt to wiggle out of his powerful grasp made her feel tiny but there was no escaping his control. Given no other options, she began to cry. It was an emotion she’d seldom allowed, but under Marcus’ hand, real tears escaped. She begged, “I promise… I won’t do it again. Please. Please. Ow. It hurts.”
He met her bottom with a stinging correction more times than she thought possible. The tenderness intertwined with a hormonal release, and genuine sobbing took over. Used to keeping her emotions to herself, the alien display of tears left her as mortified as the thought of her burning, hot bottom exposed to his gaze.
His hand finally slowed before he stopped altogether. With no appropriate reaction, she buried her face further away from his sight while her sniffling continued.
In a surprisingly gentle move, he rubbed the redness carefully to work the muscles deep in her core. His physical connection provided a foreign comfort, and she struggled to reconcile the emotion with her need to cry. The sting slowly subsided along with her hormones, and a gentle warmth relaxed her entire body.
He lifted her to his lap. “Easy, Sophia. It’s all over. You were a good girl. I’m proud of you.”
The quiet praise inexplicably opened a second floodgate of emotions, and her tears returned with a vengeance. Faced with no alternative, she soaked the front of his shirt. Every time she thought she could win the battle to pull herself together, his comfort reached further into her armor and more tears escaped her heavy shield. He placed no demands and waited until she returned to some sense of normal. He finally murmured, “It’s okay, kiddo. I’ve got you.”
She wiped the tears with the back of her hand. “I’m sorry. I… I don’t know what’s gotten into me. I don’t usually cry… and… it didn’t hurt that bad. I’m really very quiet.”
He smiled. “Well, maybe that’s the first thing we need to work on changing. Quiet never did anybody any good.”
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