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The Rancher’s Bride by Dina Chapel – Extended Preview

The Rancher's Bride by Dina ChapelFrank rubbed the palms of his hands on his hard thighs, a gesture not lost on Marie. “Right now, Emme is napping in her crib and the boys are playing quietly in their room. I told them not to come downstairs until I came to get them for supper. I want you to be clear on how I run things in my home. I am fair and just. But I don’t take kindly to lying. You lied to me, Marie. And I’m going to punish you for it.” Frank then patted his lap again, a grim and determined look on his face. “Come here.”

“Are you fixin’ to spank me?” Marie shook her head. “I’m not a child, Mr. Carter.”

“I’m not going to talk any more about this, young lady.”

He sounded really serious. He didn’t really mean it…did he? Maybe he was just trying to scare her.

“If I have to come and get you, then I’m going to bare your bottom.”

Marie just stood there, shaking her head in disbelief. He couldn’t really mean to punish her that way, could he? Spanking was for children. She had thought he might sternly lecture her or take some of her wages away. But this…

With that, Frank rose from the chair, interrupting her thoughts with his swift movement.

One minute she was standing by the stove, pondering her punishment, the next she was face down over Frank Carter’s strong thighs, feeling the hem of her dress being lifted up and pulled toward her waist. She came to her senses then.

“No!” Marie tried to reach back to pull the dress back down. It was an exercise in futility. “Please, Mr. Carter, please! Leave my dress down.”

He not only ignored her as he gathered the dress at her waist and held the fabric in place with the same hand that held her in place, but he then proceeded to pull down her drawers, down to her knees, rendering her completely naked from her waist to her knees. Then he started spanking her bare behind with his hard, calloused hand.

Marie was horrified. Her entire backside was completely bare! He had no right to take her clothes down; it just didn’t seem decent. But Marie was in no position to argue that point with him. He had her pinned to his lap and, even though she was bucking and squirming to be released, she could hardly move. He was very strong and she was no match for him.

And, by golly, did his hand hurt! It felt like his huge hand covered her entire backside. And he spanked hard. If he hadn’t been holding her so firmly, she felt as if she might just go head first off his lap every time his hand connected with her behind. Marie felt the tears threatening and she wasn’t sure if she could hold back much longer.

“Please, Mr. Carter…” she begged. “Please stop. It hurts! You’re hurting me!”

“A spanking, if’n it’s done right, is supposed to hurt, girl.” Frank had stopped spanking to speak, so then he gave her behind two hard spanks for emphasis. “I want you to understand how things are here in my home.” Two more spanks. Marie’s backside was red and hot, but it seemed Frank wasn’t done yet.

“I…I…can’t take any moooorrre!” Marie finally burst into full sobs, the tears running down her face.

Frank shifted her a bit forward and started spanking her sit spot, where her behind met her legs.

Marie grabbed at the chair legs and held on tight. “Pu…pu…leeeze… Mr. Carter…” Marie could hardly get the words out she was crying so hard. “P…p…please. It h-h-hurts…”

Frank just kept spanking, moving his attention down a bit now to her thighs.

It seemed that Frank was intent on making sure that the entirety of her hind quarters was red and tender and well-spanked. Marie couldn’t even remember the last time she had been punished thusly. And she definitely did not recall that it hurt this much.

“I will not tolerate any lying in this house, to me or anyone for that matter.” Frank’s hand firmly spanked Marie’s thighs. “Do I make myself clear?”

Frank did not stop spanking so that Marie could answer and she was having trouble dealing with the pain and speaking at the same time.

“Answer me, girl.”

“Owww… ye-e-s. Y-y-yes, sir.”

Marie hung limply over Frank Carter’s lap, having lost the strength to fight any more. She just cried out every time his hand connected with her back end. With every hard spank of Frank’s hand, she wished with all her might that it was the last one. It just hurt so much.

Finally, Frank stopped spanking, although it took Marie a moment to realize that he had, in fact, stopped. She was crying so hard she didn’t notice at first. But when she tried to get up off his lap, she felt a strong hand at her lower back, holding her down.

“Hold on, there, young lady, hold on.”

Marie felt a brief momentary panic when Frank wouldn’t let her up. She thought he was going to continue with the spanking. “Please,” she cried. “No more, Mr. Carter, please. I don’t think I can take it.” Marie cried pitifully. She was not above begging him.

“The spanking’s over and done with, Marie. But you’ll be allowed up when I say so, and not a moment before. Is that clear?”

Marie felt Frank Carter’s hand rub her back gently, even as he held her in place. “Yes, sir, Mr. Carter.” Marie lay over Frank Carter’s lap, with her entire behind on fire, chastised, and yet feeling strangely cared for and protected at the same time, as if Frank Carter could keep her safe even from herself.

“I want you to understand the fact that I make the rules here and anyone living under this roof needs to follow them. If you break a rule, your punishment will be swift and certain, as you just found out.” Frank paused. “This is my way of running things here in my house.”

Frank then lifted a limp and tearful Marie from his lap, after pulling her drawers back up over her raw behind and pulling her dress back down over them. Her face was almost as red and swollen as her hind quarters had been and Frank pulled a clean rag from his back pocket and helped her to dry her tears.

“Some folks might say I’m a bit old-fashioned in my thinkin’, but it don’t really matter to me what other folks think. I believe that the man is the head of the house and should be obeyed.”

Marie just stood, rooted to the spot directly in front of Frank, her eyes downcast as he spoke.

“I expect that we’ll still have a long talk later, and you have some time to take in what just happened here. In the meantime, I think it best if you get yourself to the bathroom and put some cold water on your face. That should help. I’ll get the young’uns down and settled for supper and help with whatever needs doing.”

Marie didn’t move.

“Go on, now, girl,” Frank urged her. “Go get yourself together so’s we can eat supper.”

Marie, still staring at the floor, whispered something.

Frank took hold of her chin and lifted her face. “Marie.” Frank’s voice was stern as usual. “Look at me.”

Marie forced herself to raise her eyes until she was looking directly at him. She really didn’t want to look at his face and see the disappointment that she was sure she would find there. But he didn’t look disappointed; he looked calm. His commanding voice belied his placid demeanor.

Frank only had to raise his eyebrow in question, and Marie’s tears began again.

“I’m sorry,” she cried softly as she spoke. “I’m sorry about the lie.” The tears streamed silently down her face as she looked directly into Frank’s eyes, hoping to see some forgiveness there.

Frank took the rag from Marie’s hand and attempted again to dry her tears. Then, to her complete surprise, he leaned forward and kissed her forehead gently. “It’s over now. You took your punishment and it’s forgiven.” Frank brushed the hair back from her tear-soaked face. “Now go get cleaned up for supper.” He turned her around then and gently pushed her in the direction of the bathroom.

She went without further delay.

Later that evening, after all three children were asleep in their beds, Frank sat Marie down at the kitchen table for a talk. He wanted to make sure that she understood the rules here and the consequences. She could choose to leave if his way of running things didn’t agree with her—although he sincerely hoped she would stay.

Marie shifted in the hard wooden chair. Frank fetched a soft pillow from the couch in the front parlor and gave it to her to sit upon. It did seem to help, but it seemed to embarrass her too. Marie stared down at her folded hands on the table in front of her.

“Now, how is it that you came to havin’ those two boys to take care of?” Frank started. “You’re not much more’n a child yourself, girl.”

Marie stuck her chin up at this statement. “I’m an adult, Mr. Carter. And I’m old enough to have had them two boys myself.” She looked quickly down at her hands again and Frank suppressed a smile at the blush he saw creeping up her neck into her cheeks. He knew right then that she was innocent of the ways of a man and woman in the bedroom and had most certainly never been with a man. Not that that knowledge surprised him, since everything about her already seemed pure and innocent. Frank knew she couldn’t hide herself that way even if she tried. “‘Ceptin’ I didn’t.”

“Well, whose children are they?” Frank thought he deserved an explanation of the situation and her excuse for feeling that she needed to lie to him. And it better be good. He had no qualms about spanking her again if he thought she was still lying.

“Jack and Henry’s mama and daddy owned the farm down the road from ours. They was always nice folks and my mama liked their mama. They was good friends and would get together whenever they could manage it.” Marie paused. She looked up at Frank. “I remember when those boys were born. I’ve known them their whole lives.” Marie looked down at her hands again and continued.

“Then their daddy took sick. He got real bad real fast and died awful quick. It was a sad time. We did what we could to help, with food and such, but there was an awful lot of young’uns at our house too.”

“One day I went to visit and bring some baked goods Mama wanted to send over and found Trudy, Jack and Henry’s mama, in bed, took sick herself. I ran back home to tell Mama and she decided that I should go stay at their place so’s I could care for Trudy and the boys until she was better.” Marie was wringing her hands now.

Frank realized that she was having a hard time talking about all this. “I’m surprised that your folks chanced you going to stay.” Frank was puzzled by this, and a bit bothered. “They weren’t worried that maybe it was somethin’ that you’d catch too?” Frank noticed that Marie seemed uncomfortable with his question.

She didn’t make eye contact with him as she answered. “I think that Mama was worried—I overheard her discussing it with Pa—but he didn’t sound worried none at all. He kept insisting it was the right thing to do. I’m not sure Mama agreed with him all that much, but she didn’t ever go against him that I can recall. That time was no exception.” Marie was wringing her hands again and seemed to be choosing her words carefully before continuing. “I think he just liked having a good excuse to send me away for a bit. Sometimes it seemed like he didn’t like having me about the place.”

Now Frank was well and truly puzzled. Marie was one of the most gentle, hard-working, and agreeable young women he’d ever come across. Why would a body prefer she not be around? Didn’t make no sense at all to him.

“It was probably all in my head. Just a feeling I always had; maybe it was because I was born a girl and he wanted all boys. Boys can do more work on the farm. Pa always said girls are weak and only good for one thing.”

Frank saw red at this last statement and desperately tried to reel in his temper. From what he was hearing from Marie, he didn’t like her pa and he hadn’t even met the man. Perhaps it’d be best, Frank thought, if they just stuck to the subject at hand. “What happened with the boys’ mama?”

“She didn’t get better. She died after a spell. It was real hard on them two boys.” Tears ran slowly down Marie’s face. “I just didn’t know what to do for them.”

“Before she passed, when she knew she was real bad and probably not going to get better, Trudy made me promise her that I would look after her boys as if they were my own. I swore to her that I would.” She looked directly at Frank.

“I’m sorry about lying to you, Mr. Carter, but I was afraid that if anyone knew those boys weren’t mine they would take them away from me. I promised their mama and I need to keep that promise. And I wasn’t sure that you would let them stay here also if’n you knew they weren’t mine.” Marie looked back down at her hands again. “I’m sorry.”

They were both silent for a few minutes as Frank digested the information.

“I understand what you did and why you did it, Marie. And you’ve been punished for it. I told you that you were forgiven and I meant it. What I’m not clear on now is why you was on your own here in this town with those boys. Why didn’t you go back to your ma and pa’s farm with them?”

Marie burst into tears then. “They wasn’t there,” she sobbed. “When I got back home with them, the farm was deserted. Mama left a note for me, sayin’ that there wasn’t nothing left for them and they needed to move on to find work to feed everyone. But she didn’t say which direction they went.” Marie sniffled. “I was hopin’ that Pa could help bury Trudy, so I had to go back with the boys and do it myself.”

Frank felt sick at her words.

She went on. “I made sure that they was busy doin’ somethin’ else while I did that so’s they wouldn’t see it.”

“When it was done, I packed the few things we had, and we headed to the nearest town, which was here. And now we’re here.” Marie looked at Frank then and the look on her face nearly broke his heart.

“I’m grateful for the job, Mr. Carter. I didn’t know what I was gonna do and how I was gonna take care of them two boys. I’m sorry for lyin’ and I promise I won’t never do it again. I won’t never give you a reason to punish me ever again.”

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