“When we get to Sweet Home, we’ll stay in the inn for the night. Do not engage other travelers in conversation. You don’t know who might be about, and from what you told me, this Kull fellow would like to silence you for good.”
“Oh, fah!” she said dismissively. “He wouldn’t follow me here.”
“Oh? Then who threw that firebomb into your boardinghouse?”
“You don’t know that had anything to do with me.”
Virgil sighed. The woman was hard-headed. “Listen to me, Tansy. From here on out, you are someone else.”
“Who?” she said with a flirtatious smile. “Your wife?”
“That would be the safest,” said Virgil, nodding assent. “No one would bother you then.”
Tansy batted her eyes in jest. “Why, Marshal, is that a proposal?”
“You are taking this lightly when you should be on your guard. Just do as I say.”
“Aye, Captain,” she said, adding a snappy salute.
Virgil reacted to her sarcastic response with a shake of his head.
They arrived in town as the shadows grew long in the late afternoon. Virgil arranged for a room for them as Mr. and Mrs. Smith. The innkeeper raised an eyebrow, but said nothing.
Virgil hauled Tansy’s belongings up the stairs then left for the barn to make sure the wagon and horses were secure for the night. “Stay here. Wait here till I get back. I have to call on the sheriff, then we’ll get supper.”
Tansy sat in the dingy room for a time, but became bored quickly. Other patrons were downstairs mingling in the common areas awaiting supper, and the sounds of laughter and conversation drifted upstairs. Tansy did not understand why she was confined to her room to wait for Virgil to finish his business. To hell with him, she decided. She changed into more fashionable attire, a skirt and blouse, and went downstairs, hoping at least to converse with fellow travelers who might have interesting tales to tell.
“Who did you say you were, sir?”
Virgil had caught the sheriff in his office as he was about to leave for the day. He studied Virgil in detail for a moment, giving him the careful scrutiny of a professional lawman.
“I’m Deputy US Marshal Virgil Cotton, Sheriff. I’m here transporting a witness, but keep that under your hat.” Virgil displayed his badge and the sheriff took note.
“How can I help you, Marshal?”
“I need to know if there have been any strangers around lately, probably one or two men traveling on horseback, passing through town with no apparent business.”
“Can’t say that I recall any. Sorry. We get your usual collection of drummers, salesmen, folks from the timber companies, that sort of thing. They’re passing through, but they got regular territories.”
“All right,” said Virgil. “Much obliged.” He tipped his hat and left the sheriff to his business. That was actually a good thing. Maybe the flash on the hill had been his imagination. Maybe this Kull character had given up the chase.
Virgil arrived back at the hotel to find Tansy standing at a long bar deep in conversation with a pair of men who looked like salesmen. The conversation was animated. The men were clearly interested in Tansy, since it was unusual for an unattached woman to mingle with strange men at a bar, even if it was a traveler’s inn and not a saloon.
The laughing and drinking stopped abruptly as they noticed the tall lean man standing just a few feet away, arms crossed, staring intently at Tansy and frowning. The salesmen noticed, and eyed Virgil warily.
“Tansy, what are you doing here? I told you to stay in the room.”
“Is this your wife?” said one of the men.
“Yes, she is,” said Virgil, glaring at Tansy.
“Hey, we’re sorry, mister. She let us buy her a drink. She didn’t say anything about any husband.”
Virgil nodded, but continued to glare at Tansy with obvious disapproval.
“I told you to wait for me in the room,” said Virgil.
Tansy shrugged. “I know, but I was bored. What harm can it do?”
As Virgil and Tansy stared each other down, Virgil glaring, Tansy defiant, the traveling salesmen backed away. “Looks like you got a real hellion there, mister.”
“Yes, I do,” said Virgil through gritted teeth. “One that needs taming, I expect.”
By this time the room had gone silent with all patrons pausing to watch the domestic drama unfold.
“And that’s what I intend to do.” Virgil reached out and grasped Tansy’s wrist. He tugged, causing Tansy to lurch away from the bar, and headed for the stairs, pulling Tansy along behind him.
“Stop! Let go of me!”
“Not until we have a little discussion about your behavior, wife.”
As the pair climbed the stairs, the other patrons all started talking at once, commenting on the likely outcome of the drama they were witnessing.
“I’d say that little madam is in for hot time,” remarked one. “Most likely across his knee.”
A woman traveling with her husband offered her opinion. “I imagine sitting will be a mite uncomfortable for the remainder of her trip.”
“Serves her right, the hussy,” said another lady who had watched Tansy at the bar with obvious disapproval. “Sometimes a husband has to remind a wife just who is in charge, with the flat of his hand or with a supple belt. I know. I’ve had both.”
Her husband nodded sagely.
The door to the couple’s room was just above the bar off a balcony. Virgil opened the door and pulled Tansy inside.
“What in tarnation were you doing?” demanded Virgil.
“I didn’t think there was any harm.”
“You have no idea who might have been in that room. King Kull may have spies all over.”
“Oh, pooh. You think there are bad men everywhere, just waiting to pounce.” She crossed her arms and glared at Virgil. “It’s silly. We are far away from the city.”
“My job is keeping you safe, and part of that is maintaining this cover until we get where we are going. Downstairs you created a scene as a single woman drinking with those men. But that’s not so. You are supposed to be married, so as your husband I have to correct that behavior.”
Virgil advanced on Tansy, who shrank back in alarm.
“What do you think you are doing?”
“I’m going to apply a little husbandly correction. Noisily. So everyone down there will hear it. Then there won’t be any doubt we are a married couple. Whoever is looking for you is not looking for married couples.”
Virgil’s arm snaked out. He grabbed Tansy by the wrist and yanked her over toward the bed.
“Stop, don’t you dare!” screeched Tansy, who now realized what he intended to do.
Virgil ignored her. Let her yell. All the better. Everyone in that room downstairs is all ears by now.
Virgil tossed Tansy over his knee and planted his left arm across her back, holding her down securely. With his right hand he lifted the hem of her skirts and petticoat, throwing them over her back. That exposed her bottom, now clad in knee-length cotton drawers.
Virgil thought about it, but decided not to spare her modesty. The smacks would be louder if applied to the bare skin. There was no help for it. Besides that, he needed her obedience if he was to ensure her safety in the future. He could not have her going off, flitting around here and there. This would be a good lesson. He yanked down her drawers, allowing the frilly cotton to pool at her knees. She shrieked at the indignity.
Virgil ignored her. He rubbed his hand across the prettiest female derriere he’d ever seen. Tansy Fletcher may have a trim figure but her backside was full and curvy. He whistled to himself and raised his arm.
At first Tansy was too stunned with shock to react. This deputy had jerked her over to the bed and plopped her face down over his lap. She was now in an ignominious posture, bottom up, her nose nearly touching the floor and her legs waving in the air. Now—horror of horrors—he was lifting her skirt, actually exposing her backside. But that was nothing compared to what happened a few seconds later. He had the effrontery to tug her drawers down, baring her bottom. She let out a screech, an automatic reaction to this new indignity, but it did no good. The next thing she felt was the marshal’s callused palm resting on her bared buttocks. She froze instinctively, tensing her whole body, stiff and motionless for a brief moment, but the spell was broken as the first spank landed with a loud crack. It was followed by another. Then another.
“Ow! No! Stop!”
In rapid succession she felt the sting of smacks from repeated impacts of the marshal’s hand.
It stung! Her poor bottom felt on fire! Embarrassed beyond belief, she wriggled and kicked. Anything to escape that relentless burning sting.
“Yow! Ow!” she bleated as spank after stinging spank cracked down on her defenseless bottom.
“Well, Mrs. Smith,” said Virgil in a loud voice, “maybe now you’ll mind your husband when he tells you to wait for him. Are you going to be an obedient wife?” He landed one stinging smack after another as he scolded her.
“Ow!” yelled Tansy. “You go to hell!”
That prompted her tormentor to apply another flurry of crisp spanks that scorched her bare fanny like she’d backed into a stove.
Smack-smack-smack! The man’s hand was relentless—and hard! The spanks created a stinging heat that bloomed outwards from her backside all the way through her core, reaching unbearable proportions. Shifting around did no good. She squirmed across the marshal’s sinewy thighs, feeling the flex of the muscles that provided the platform for her abject wriggling. The arm clamped across her back felt like an iron band. But mostly the center of her attention was focused on her sit spot. Her bare burning bottom stung like a nest of hornets, and the searing heat applied by the marshal’s hard palm continued to inflame her rear cheeks as he spanked in a maddeningly steady tempo.
“Now will you behave?” she heard him say.
She had no choice. He could do this all night, and she was near tears. Curiously it hurt less as he continued to pepper her bottom with spanks. He spread them all over the expanse of her posterior, interspersing them with periods of rubbing that felt so good she now felt, not pain, but a hot glow. The glow spread from her bottom to her womanly parts, making her slick with moisture. She blushed when she realized she was squirming in a way to rub her mound against the man’s knee. The friction sent pulses of pleasure up her spine. The pulses strengthened to the point that she wondered if she wanted the spanking to stop or continue. If only he wouldn’t spank so hard.
Then she snapped out of her fugue. “Yes! Yes! I’m sorry. Please stop!”
That satisfied him. He stopped and set her back on her feet.
“From here on, mind me, wife,” he said, loudly enough to project downstairs.
She stood in front of him rubbing her bottom through her skirt that had fallen back down and pouting.
The pair made an appearance at supper, much to the delight of the other guests who had heard the whole thing. Someone thoughtfully provided a pillow for Tansy, who, with a forced smile, stubbornly declined, but several patrons caught the grimace on her face as she sat. It was pure humiliation for Tansy to have to suffer through supper. She wanted to stay in the room, but Virgil insisted that they dine with the guests, demonstrating the couple’s married status. She was about to protest hotly when a sharp glance from Virgil cut her off. “We can always pick up where we left off,” he said. Tansy decided not to test him.
That night as she slept in the bed alone Tansy tried to assess the strange feelings the incident had generated. She recognized sexual arousal. In her wild past there had been some illicit adventures with boys back home, so she understood the pleasures of the flesh to a degree. It was with considerable chagrin that she was forced to admit her spanking at the hands of the rangy marshal had stirred some of those pleasures. But how could that be? He had paddled her bottom—her bare bottom, mind you. Yet even now as she tossed and turned in bed with the marshal not ten feet away, asleep in a chair, she fantasized about his arms wrapped around her, his hot breath on her neck, and his hands all over her body. She got little sleep that night.
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