Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the ring of keys on the coffee table. All kinds of mischievous thoughts rushed into my mind. There were about a dozen reasons why stealing his truck was a bad idea. Maybe more. I chewed on the inside of my cheek before gingerly easing the thick wad into my hand.
I’d figure out a way to return his truck. Somehow.
Or, I’d just leave it at the bar.
The second I walked around the couch and made it two feet away, I knew I’d been caught.
“Just what the hell do you think you’re doing?” The cowboy’s tone was gruff, although so husky that it wrapped around me like a fabulous flannel blanket.
Shuddering, I clenched my fingers around the thick mass of keys, trying to figure out how to get myself out of this. I was a damn adult, having spent years on my own after college. Now I was acting like a stupid kid.
All because of a past that continued to haunt me.
“Nothing.” Nothing? Did I actually think that was going to work? I cringed when I heard his deep exhale as well as the slight rustle as he removed the quilt.
“So, we’re going to add theft to your string of crimes?”
Wait a minute…
“Crimes?” I demanded, jerking around to face him, ready to wipe the smirk off his face. “I was just borrowing your truck, buster. That’s all. I need to get out of here. I have a life and things to accomplish.”
“Uh-huh. You’re not going anywhere.”
“And why is that? I’m a big girl.”
Snorting, he rose to his feet and headed in my direction, the hard stomping sound his boots made with every step making me jump.
“You might be a big girl, but you’re acting like a teenager. You have no idea where you are, and you were getting ready to commit grand larceny. I think those are reasons enough, but if not,” he half whispered as he closed the distance, “I’ll give you another one. Because I won’t allow it.”
Okay, wait. Now the man thought he controlled me? “Funny how you think I’m required to follow your orders. Why?”
“Yep. You are. You’re in my house and that’s reason enough.” He wrapped his hand around my forearm, yanking me toward him, lifting his eyebrow when I kept my hand clamped tightly around his keys. “If I hadn’t caught you before you walked out that door, you might have ended up on the side of the road. Or worse. You could have killed somebody. It’s apparent that you need some discipline in your life.”
“Oh, no. Fuck you,” I said, although I opened my hand, allowing him to remove the keys. The scent of him, so rugged and masculine, was more intoxicating than the damn tequila. But the way his eyes bore into mine was positively unnerving. It was as if he was peeling away several layers, finding the vulnerable girl inside.
And I hated it.
“If you don’t stop cursing, I will be happy to wash that bratty mouth of yours with soap. My house. My rules.”
I honestly had no witty comeback, no sarcastic words to say in order to get myself out of the hole I’d dug. “What does that mean?”
“First of all, it means what I said. You’re not going anywhere until you figure out where the hell you’re supposed to go. The roads around here are dangerous, including the wildlife. Second, you need a stronger reminder that bad behavior equals consequences.”
Another wave of heat shot up from my neck, crawling along my cheeks. The man was going to punish me again. I was sick to my stomach, my entire body shaking, yet my pussy had already leaked into my panties. They would soon be soaked. “You’re going to spank me.” For some reason, my words came out more like an affirmation than a question.
“That’s exactly what I’m going to do, only this time, I’m going to use my belt. Just like I promised. Maybe using a thick leather strap will be able to get through to you, Caroline.”
My God, the way he said my name was as if he had every right to treat me like a child. “And what should I call you? Do you actually have a name, or do you just go by Neanderthal?” Other than just asshole?
He cocked his head, obvious frustration mixing with lust. Raw, unadulterated lust. “My name is Scorpion McKenzie, but I think you can go ahead and call me Daddy. That was your choice. Wasn’t it?”
Scorpion. I could only imagine just how venomous his sting would be. Oh, how I regretted being so impetuous before. He certainly wasn’t going to become my daddy.
As he took his time unbuttoning and rolling up his sleeves, I took a long stride away from him, another lump forming in my throat. There was something so sensual about the way he folded the material, finally reaching for his belt. Dumbass me couldn’t take my eyes off the horrific actions, my breath caught in my throat.
“Here’s how we’re going to do this. You’re going to remove those sexy boots of yours followed by your skirt and panties.”
“And if I don’t?” I was mortified, no longer able to feel my legs.
“Then I’ll be happy to rip them off of you.” As Scorpion jerked the last of the belt free, he gave me a stern glare before folding the thick strap in half.
“Just where do you think you’re going to do this treacherous deed?” I demanded, my nipples pushing so hard against my shirt I wanted to scream.
Scorpion chuckled. “Treacherous. Maybe that’s a good way to think about it, if that will help you remember. When you’re undressed, you’re going to crawl onto the big leather chair over there, leaning over the back. If you’ve very good and remain in position, as well as respect my authority, then perhaps I won’t force you to stand in the corner for insolence.”
I’d been tossed into the past, a generation where men ruled the roost and women allowed them. “You’re nuts.”
“Like I said, my house. My rules.”
“Fine.” Had I actually just agreed to it? Crap, although I wasn’t getting out of this, not unless I wanted to run away like an idiot. Why did I have the distinct feeling that he’d do everything to catch me? I couldn’t see him owning a house like this. While the ranch was rough around the edges just like Scorpion, it didn’t have an austere, organized feel. The place didn’t belong to him.
“You have about five seconds to decide before I pull out my knife and cut off those pretty clothes of yours.”
“You do and I will gut you.” The words spewed from my mouth before I could stop them. Exhaling, I turned away, lifting my leg and attempting to yank off one of my boots. I could feel it the instant that I lost my footing, ready to tumble to the floor and face another round of embarrassment.
When two big, strong hands caught me, not only keeping me steady but pulling me against the heat of his body, only then did I admit he was right. The last thing I wanted to do was kill someone because of my stupidity. I watched as if slow motion had taken control, the belt cascading down to the floor. My mouth was suddenly dry, my legs quaking.
Not from fear.
Not because of anger.
Because of extreme desire rushing into every cell and muscle.
I was shocked that I had this kind of reaction, leaving me aching, my mind foggy.
His nostrils flared as he peered down at me and even in the warm glow of the firelight, I couldn’t help but drink in his almost Viking-like features. A strong jaw, carved cheekbones, and a strong forehead were highlighted by a pair of the most captivating eyes I’d ever seen. The way his fingers danced across my skin as he brushed the rough pads back and forth created another pool of heat between my legs. My thoughts turned even more lurid than before, my mind delving into all the naughty things he could do.
A slight growl erupted from his throat, the sound savage and controlling.
As if he owned me.
“Careful, Caroline. I don’t want you to hurt yourself.” His words were stated with such authority, the arrogance biting. He reached down, yanking the strap off the floor, adeptly folding it with one hand. His breathing ragged, he rubbed the strap down my arm then shifted it to my breasts, rolling the thick belt slowly around one of my nipples. I gathered a whiff of the leather, the rich scent mixing with the fragrance of my own feminine wiles, my panties now soaked.
My body had betrayed me and there was no way he couldn’t tell how aroused I was and all because of his rough treatment. Humbled, I tried to shut down my body’s reactions, but to no avail. The man was what fantasies were made of.
“Who are you?” The words flowed from my mouth as if asking a superhero to divulge his true identity.
He lowered his head, allowing me to catch a whiff of whatever he’d been drinking. When our lips were only inches away, I held my breath.
“Someone not to be fucked with,” he answered, another growl oozing from his sexy lips. “I think twenty-five strikes will provide some much needed guidance.”
“Twenty-five? Are you crazy?” I shot back.
“Do you want to go for thirty-five?”
I heard the single moan slipping past my lips, the tingling sensations skyrocketing. Everything about this man was powerful, exciting. My god, I was actually even more aroused from thinking about a wretched spanking? I’d definitely used poor judgment in going to the bar so soon after arriving.
“No?” he asked, lifting a single eyebrow.
“No. Sir.” That was all the respect he was going to get.
When he moved away, his intense gaze remained.
I slumped forward, holding my shit together as I managed to remove my boots, very carefully placing them together in a neat and tidy fashion. The deed seemed odd. Why should I care where I put my things? I was more embarrassed than ever as I struggled with my jean skirt, my hands shaking so badly I could barely push the dense material past my hips. I knew he was watching me, studying everything I did. I could hear his ragged breathing and could almost read his mind.
The man was nothing but a brute who thought he should be in charge of everything and everyone, just like in whatever military branch he’d come from. Or so I continued to tell myself. I placed my skirt over the arm of the couch then slipped my fingers under the thin elastic of my thong. All I could think about what thank God I’d worn sexy red underwear.
My God. I was losing it.
When I reached out to place the lacy panties with my skirt, he interceded, wrapping his long fingers around the flimsy material. I watched as he pulled them to his mouth and nose, horrified when he took a deep whiff.
Oh, God. Oh, God. Oh…
I’d never felt more naked in my life, goosebumps popping along every inch of naked skin. My feet felt heavy as I walked toward the chair, refusing to snag another look at him. I couldn’t get his name out of my mind or the questions as to why he’d been given the nickname in the first place.
Maybe I didn’t want to know just how savage he’d been.
Or still was.
When I was in position, leaning over the back of the clunky chair, I fisted my hands. I heard nothing, not a single thing for at least a full minute.
Then he cleared his throat. I dared to look over my shoulder. The asshole was standing by the fireplace, his arm on the mantel, a drink in his hand. What in the hell was he doing? Making me wait?
Oh, he was a jerk. At least his actions built up my resolve. I wasn’t going to give a damn about the sexy cowboy, no matter how insanely good-looking he was.
It wasn’t going to happen.
And so, I waited like a good little girl.
Until my impatience clicked in, one of those traits that had gotten me into trouble more than once.
“Can we just get on with this?” I demanded, kicking my shins against the chair.
“That’s going to cost you, Caroline. We’re up to thirty.”
“No. No! I’m sorry. Okay? I’m just… tired.” There was nothing like his presence as he moved behind me.
Asshole. Jerkoff. Bastard.
Like I’d dare allow my nasty thoughts to surface.
He took a few seconds, adjusting my top so he’d have plenty of real estate to discipline. I dug my nails into the leather chair, struggling to maintain my position and the bastard had yet to even get started.
Hurry. Do this. Get it over with.
I growled inwardly since I refused to spout off to him again.
He rubbed his fingers down my spine, creating another wave of sensations. “I hope this will teach you a lesson.”
When he issued the first hard crack, all I could concentrate on was the sound, a light whooshing that was almost pleasant to the ears. I had no idea what to expect, had never been belted for anything in my life.
Not by my father.
Not by one of the very few boyfriends I’d had.
As if I would have allowed any jerkoff guy I’d dated lay a hand on me this way. My spiteful thoughts evidently shielded the initial pain because when Scorpion delivered two more directly across my sit spot, I almost jumped out of my skin.
“God! That hurts.” I couldn’t stop my legs from shifting, kicking out as I took gasping breaths.
“It’s supposed to hurt, brat,” he said in that same husky, sensual tone as before.
Stars floated in front of my eyes as I tried to reel in my anger, my heart racing. The second he gave me four in succession, I realized somewhere in my brain that I’d kicked out one of my legs in defense. I also was able to tell my foot had connected with his chest.
When he fisted my hair, yanking my head back until he was able to look me in the eyes, I could see utter frustration in his.
“That wasn’t very nice,” he half whispered, once again brushing his fingers down my spine. The tingling effect was just as powerful as before and for a few seconds, I felt captured in his web.
“I’m sorry. Sir.”
Exhaling, the feel of his hot breath cascading across my face forced a blush to creep along my jaw.
“We start again.”
This time, I didn’t argue, doing everything I could to maintain my position as he brought the belt down several times, two hitting my upper thighs.
While the pain became explosive, there was something else that happened, a rush that I would never understand.
Another wave of longing, my thoughts drifting to what his cock would feel like in my mouth. I was one bad little girl, incapable of accepting right from wrong, at least with regard to my actions of a few hours before.
All I could do was concentrate on the snapping sound his wrist made, the sweep of adrenaline racing throughout my body. Nothing had prepared me for the blinding anguish. As tears formed in my eyes, I shoved them away, refusing to allow him to see that he’d gotten to me. Lowering my head, I struggled to control my breathing as he caressed my bruised bottom. I had no doubt the heat had seared the tips of his fingers.
Maybe that’s exactly what he deserved.
All time stood still as he continued with the whipping. When he drew close once again, I held my breath. The second his fingers rolled down the crack of my ass, I was unable to hold back a moan.
“You are a very bad girl, Caroline, but after tonight, you’ll be absolved of your sins.”
He spoke the words as if he was my lord and master. For some crazy reason, they were thrilling. I arched my back as he brushed the tips of two fingers down the inside of one thigh, slowly crawling them upward on my other leg.
“Are you wet for me?” Scorpion asked, his words almost inaudible.
“No,” I moaned, biting back a series of whimpers even as I involuntarily opened my legs wider. What the hell was wrong with me? Was I begging him to touch me, to drive his fingers deep into my pussy?
“Hmm… I think you’re lying to me.” He rolled his fingers just over my pussy lips, teasing me. The bastard was teasing me.
I arched my back, pushing up from the chair, taking several shallow breaths. No. No! I couldn’t want him.
But I did.
I refused to hunger to be taken by a brute.
But I was.
When he swirled a single finger around my clit, I was unable to hold back the ragged moan, the sound floating into the air like a beacon of wanton sin.
“Your pretty pink pussy lips tell me otherwise,” he murmured, his voice dripping with the kind of thirst that might never be quenched.
I undulated my hips, just another wretched betrayal that I had no control over. When he crowded closer, planting his massive body over mine, I shivered to my very core.
“No, sir. I mean yes, sir. I mean…” I couldn’t put a freaking coherent sentence together.
Scorpion continued taunting me, sliding his fingers down the length of my pussy then pushing them past my swollen folds. “Wet and hot, a tight little channel.”
As he pumped his fingers deep inside, I couldn’t believe my muscles reacted instantly, clamping around the invasion, wanting more. Needing more.
I bit back another moan, my teeth digging into my lip with enough force, I expected I’d draw blood. I couldn’t believe the extreme pleasure washing over me as he thrust deep and hard, curling his fingertips until he rubbed my G-spot several times. Within a few seconds, I could no longer see straight, my entire mind blurry.
My body responded to the sheer ecstasy, bucking like some wild pony in order to meet his ruthless plunges. I dropped my head, panting like some wild animal. He continued for at least a full minute until I knew I would go out of my mind, my panting sounds mixing with purrs. Freaking purrs!
“Do you want to come?” he asked, the sound guttural like a wild beast.
“Yes. Yes. Yes!”
“Do you think you’ve learned your lesson?”
“Yes. Yes, sir.” I couldn’t believe I was using the damn word, as if the man deserved respect, but I’d scream it to the heavens if he’d let me come.
He pumped even harder, the force shoving me against the chair. I clung to the leather like a lifeline, now panting like some dog. Please. Please. Please.
It had been far too long since I’d felt any kind of pleasure, my own self-imposed penance for being so stupid now tossed away. I no longer cared about the horrible prick who’d tossed me aside only weeks before. I almost laughed from the relief it gave me even as my muscles clamped down harder, pulling his fingers in deeper.
A string of curse words almost left my mouth, the pleasure was so intense.
“Good girls receive absolute pleasure. Something for you to keep in mind.”
“Yes, sir. Yes.” I’d agree to just about anything if he’d allow me to come.
“Then come for me, Caroline. Cover my fingers with your sweet juice.”
There was no holding back, no way I could shove away the bliss. My body reacted instantly to his command, a climax roaring up from the very depths of my being. When the orgasm swept over me, my entire body tensed, a strangled moan turning into a slight scream.
He refused to stop, thrusting like some wild man as the single climax turned into an even more powerful wave. I was pitched into raw ecstasy, vibrant colors of light flashing across my field of vision. As I swam into the world of rapture, all I could hear was sweet music.
I had no idea how long my body shook, but I was completely drained, uncertain of almost everything around me.
Except for his hulking mass.
He leaned over, easing damp strands of hair from my face, lowering his head until he was able to brush his lips across my cheek. “We’re not finished with your punishment just yet, sweet Caroline.”
“What… What does that mean?” I managed to ask, my pussy clenching and releasing.
He issued the kind of growl that screamed of utter possession before pulling me off the chair and within seconds, tossing me over his shoulder. “That means you’re going to get fucked.”
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