My heart thundered in my chest, my eyes still adjusting to the darkness of the bedroom as I woke with a start. Wiping a hand across my brow, I sat up, thankful the details of my dream were fading already. I’d worked hard to bury those memories.
When our house had burnt to the ground, set ablaze by my husband’s own hands, and he had been shot to death a short time later, we were taken in by the Stanley family. Ma, the matriarch of the brood, lived with her sons Matthew and Samuel. Matthew, at twelve years old, was just four years older than my eight-year-old Hannah. I was only twenty-three years old, and Samuel three years my senior.
The townsfolk had done a regular house-raising for us, and now we were the proud owners of a brand new home. There was a small window in my room—a rarity in the cabins on the plains, but Samuel, my neighbor and friend, had insisted I have one when our new home was built.
“Flowers need light to grow,” he’d said. And so the men raising our house had put in a window. I’d heard Geraldine, Samuel’s sister-in-law, grumble that she didn’t have a window in her bedroom, and my friend Pearl had told her to hush. Now, as I lay in bed, I saw the faintest trace of morning light peeking through the window that Samuel had given me. It was just before daybreak.
I tiptoed to the front room after dressing. Hannah didn’t need to wake for another hour, and she was a good girl. She’d get up and get ready for school and do her chores. We’d breakfast together, and I’d go about my day. But first, I needed to fetch water. I liked the early morning quiet.
I hummed quietly to myself, walking along the path that led to the woods, but ceased humming as the creek drew near. I didn’t want to miss the low coo of the mourning dove, a familiar sound that brought me comfort. In the distance came the telltale banging of a woodpecker and the soft twitter of a songbird.
“Ain’t right for a woman to be out about these parts alone.”
I nearly jumped out of my skin at the voice behind me. My bucket clattered to the ground.
“Land’s sake, you don’t have to scare me out of my wits,” I muttered, though my cheeks flushed slightly. Samuel’s serious, cornflower blue eyes peeked at me from beneath his wide-brimmed hat, his lightly bearded jaw clenched as he stood behind me with his arms folded across his chest.
My heart still danced in my chest, and the fright made me angry. As he picked up my bucket, I swiped a hand at him, trying to snatch it back. His hand shot out and he grasped my wrist just before my hand brushed his. His brows lifted ever so slightly and he shook his head at me with a frown.
“Now, little Ruth, you be a good girl,” he chided, his voice dropping an octave. “There’s no need for you to be losin’ your temper.”
“I’m not a girl, Samuel,” I said haughtily. “I’m a woman, one who’s been fetching her water by the creek alone for years. Now hand me my bucket.”
“You didn’t fetch water by the creek when you lived with me.”
“Only because you wouldn’t let me, but you can’t stop me now.”
Another small shake of his head. “Is that right?”
“Give me my bucket!” I said, anger rising.
His frown deepened. “Say please.”
Oh, the audacity! I fumed and tried to pull my wrist away from him, but he held fast.
“It’s mine, now give it to me.”
His brows rose further. He was implacable. “I won’t give it to you until you say please.”
“Confound you! Please!” He released me and handed me my bucket, though he pursed his lips and his jaw tightened.
“Woman, why on earth are you goin’ to the creek, when you could just go get your water from the well?”
I felt a bit embarrassed at that point, and looked away. “I like the walk,” I said. “Sometimes by the creek in the early morning, I can hear the call of the sparrow, or the mourning dove. And sometimes I see the white-tailed deer.” I turned and faced him bravely, which took a bit of gumption, considering he was staring at me steadily and dwarfed me in size. I was the ‘runt of the litter,’ my ma liked to say, shorter than any other woman I’d known, and certainly just a wisp of a thing next to the tall, sturdy Samuel. “I like being alone, and I’ve not been hurt yet. Anyway, if anything tried to hurt me, I’m fast and run like the wind.”
He took a step toward me and put a finger to the wisp of hair that had escaped from the hasty knot at my nape, tucking it behind my ear.
“Is that right?” he asked, but it was more a statement than a question, a low murmur. I looked down shyly. I’d known Samuel now for over a year, and as of late, things seemed to be a bit different. He felt less of a friend and now more… something else. I felt quieter, and my anger began to diminish.
His voice dropped lower. “Do you want me to leave, then, Ruth?”
“Well, no,” I said slowly.
“Good,” he said, and his eyes were smiling. “Because I ain’t goin’ away.” He sobered as he stepped closer to me. “I won’t be allowin’ you to go to the creek alone now.”
“It’s not your place to allow or disallow,” I said.
He smiled softly at that, but his eyes grew serious. “While I’m standing here, it is.”
Anger flared in my chest and I wanted to smack him again. “And what will you to do stop me?” I asked, glaring.
“I’ll take you right up off that ground and toss you over my shoulder,” he said, and a muscle twitched in his jaw. His eyes flashed. “And if I had to? March you back to the barn and tie you to a post so you don’t get away.”
Something about the way he suggested overpowering me set my heart to stuttering again. “I’m not afraid of you and your highhanded ways,” I hissed.
He leaned in closer, his voice deep and low as he spoke. “Well, maybe you ought to be. I hear tell around town there’s been a few women roughed up by some men travelin’ in packs. Comin’ in tradin’ furs and movin’ on, leavin’ destruction in their wake. You’re a tiny little thing and I could pick you right up and put you in my pocket.”
Was it worth fighting him? I stepped back and sighed. “All right, then. I won’t go alone.” Today, I added internally. “Will you at least come with me, then?”
He shook his head. “No, Ruth. You have a well that’s just as good, and there’s no need to venture into the woods. There are rattlers, and wolves, and savages.” His voice sharpened. “Use your head, woman. Come with me, now.” He reached for my hand. It was the first time he’d ever taken my hand before. His hand was larger, and callused, and my own hand felt soft and small compared to his. He tugged me a bit, turning me away from the creek and back toward home. I didn’t much like that he’d fancied it proper for him to tell me what to do. He wasn’t my husband, my father, or my brother, and I did not owe him my obedience.
Why, then, did I feel a sort of quiet in his sturdy presence, as I walked by his side?
“You need help around the farm today?” he asked.
“We’re fine.” I trotted quickly to keep up with his long strides.
“I noticed the other day your barn door is not as secure as it ought to be. I can stop on by after supper and fix that.”
I was still annoyed he was being so bossy, so I tried to yank my hand away from his. He wouldn’t let go. “I said I’m fine, Samuel, thank you. I do not need a hand.”
He glanced at me sideways and scowled. “Young lady, you may not need a hand on the farm, but you could use a hand across your backside,” he said in a low drawl.
I finally managed to yank my hand away from him, spinning around to glare at him. My eyes roved over him. He was much taller than I was, and his sleeves were rolled up, revealing tanned, muscled arms. His sandy brown hair was long enough to peek out from beneath his hat. Hands anchored on sturdy hips, he stood, bracing himself in front of me, two feet planted solidly. He frowned. “Are we goin’ to stand here all day arguin’ about where to fetch water?”
It was then that I was struck with the absurdity of the situation. My anger began to fade, and I cursed my hot temper that flared so easily. He’d made me come along with him so that I wasn’t in harm’s way, and told me I needed a spanking. Truth be told, I was acting like a spoiled child. I was suddenly repentant.
“I’m sorry,” I murmured, closing my eyes. I inhaled, lifting my eyes back to his and speaking quietly. He was still frowning at me with his hands on his hips, as if to wait and see what I would do next. “Samuel, you don’t deserve to be treated this way. Out here, you’re one of my only friends.” My voice caught. He’d been so good to me the past year, had done more work around my homestead as we prepared to move than my own husband had done in the past eight years. “Please forgive me?”
His eyes softened a bit as he nodded and took my hand again, tugging me along so we were walking back to my cabin.
“It’s all right now, honey,” he said. “But you’re right tied up tighter than a newly strung banjo. What’s eatin’ you?”
“Oh, nothing. Well, nothing big, I guess.”
He led us over to the well and reached for the handle, lifting up a bucket of the cool, clear water, as I held my bucket for him.
“Hannah needs new shoes, as her toes are nearly clean out of the ones she has. School’s out soon, and she and I have much to do around here. I’ve got nothing to really fall back on, and we haven’t had fresh meat in weeks. I hate hunting. Can’t bear to do it. I do dearly love to eat meat. But I can’t bring myself to actually fetch it. Small little things troubling me that I’ll deal with.”
I watched as he filled the bucket with water, and when he was done, I reached to take it. He merely shook his head.
“I can carry the bucket,” I said. “I do it every day.”
“Not while I’m around you don’t,” he muttered, reaching for my hand again, holding the bucket of water in the other hand. I allowed him to take it, and trotted beside him as we made our way back to my home. With my husband, things had been quite different. He’d not been kind and protective, like Samuel, but malicious and selfish. I wanted to purge every memory of my husband, the way he’d touched me and taken me and abused me, scorch the memories from my mind and heart. I hated every memory of him. I needed to reclaim the woman I once was.
There was only one good thing he’d ever given me, and she was waiting for me in the cabin.
“You get on with your chores, and I’ll get on with mine,” Samuel said as we approached the front door.
“Will you come in for some breakfast?” I asked.
He shook his head. “I’d like to, but I’ve got to get back. We’re getting’ on with the shearin’ today. Aaron and Phillip are comin’ to give me a hand, and then I’ll be headin’ on over to their places to help them.” There were four Stanley brothers. Aaron was the eldest, and he was married to Pearl, who was a friend of mine. Phillip came next. He was Geraldine’s husband and they’d just had their first little baby. I didn’t see much of them. Samuel was next in line, and at the very end came Hannah’s friend Matthew, the youngest.
“You need help with the shearing?” I asked. Often, the sheep would respond well to the gentler touch and softer voice of a woman.
“Thank you, no,” Samuel said. “You’ve got your own work to do here. But I’ll be by right soon to visit again. Noon?”
I nodded. He looked me over then, and his eyes warmed. To my surprise, he reached his hand out and it wrapped around the back of my neck. He tugged, drawing me closer to him. His mouth dipped to my forehead and he gave me a brief, chaste kiss. “You be a good girl, now, Ruth, and take care of yourself.”
“I will,” I said with a smile. I stood in front of the door, watching until I couldn’t see him anymore. And even as I felt the warmth of his lips still upon my skin, I felt suddenly very, very alone.
Hannah sat at the table, swinging her little feet in front of her. Her hair was lighter than mine, a caramel-colored brown, neatly braided. Her freckled face was scrubbed clean, her blue eyes bright and cheerful. I marveled at the transformation my little girl had undergone in the year with just me and the Stanleys watching over her. She no longer cowered, or hid in her room in fear. She walked taller now. I was proud of my strong little girl.
We were getting used to our new home. It was still built upon the plot of land Leroy and I had staked when we were newlyweds, so fortunately I hadn’t had to begin new with crops. They’d been planted in previous years, and though not maintained most recently, I’d been putting in tireless hours weeding and pruning in preparation for spring. But it was difficult for me to keep up the farm. The house and barn were sturdily built, but needed constant attention. Our livestock was meager, but also needed care.
So as Hannah chattered on and on about the book she read for school, and the new trail to the creek she and Matthew found, my mind was occupied.
How would I get what we needed? What services did I possibly have to offer? I had no idea how I could earn some extra income.
“Ma, you seem as if you’re a mile away today,” Hannah said, taking a long sip of milk from her tin cup.
“Oh, just much on my mind, darlin’,” I said, stirring the coffee as I prepared it. The warm, pungent scent filled the room, and I smiled softly to myself. The first cup of coffee with just a bit of the fresh milk would do me good. “You need new shoes. We need supplies around here, and I need to be prepared to tend to the animals.”
Hannah nodded. “Ma?”
“Can I go to Mary Ellen’s? She’s having a birthday celebration, and I wanted to go.”
I turned my back to her and faced the stove. Frowning as I poured the steaming coffee into my mug, I kept my back purposefully to Hannah, so she wouldn’t see my face. I did not want her to go. It had only been a year since we had broken free from the tyranny of my husband. I wanted to shield her from all that was evil and wicked and hurtful in the world. As long as I lived, I’d never forget the way he’d raised his hands to her. I’d defended her every time, to my own detriment, and couldn’t bear the thought of another soul harming her.
“I don’t know,” I said. I didn’t want to tell her no. “I’ll think on it, and let you know.”
Behind me, she responded, “Yes, Ma.”
I decided to change the subject. “I saw a nest full of eggs this morning when I went to get the water,” I said. “And one of them is cracking open! We’ll hear the chirps of baby songbirds any minute now.”
My proclamation had the desired effect. Hannah’s eyes shone. “Ooooh! I want to see!” she said, but I pointed to her breakfast and reminded her to finish. She quickly downed the remainder of her food, and as soon as she was done, the two of us scurried out of the house to where the nest lay in the eaves of the barn. We crept along quietly. I reveled in my daughter’s shining eyes as we came upon the nest. “Three of them, Mama!” she whispered, pointing a little finger at the trio of downy little baby birds chirping and mewing for their mama. As we watched, stock still, the mama bird came flying in with a large, wiggly worm in its beak.
Hannah gasped. “Oooh, oh, the mama’s gonna feed the worm to the babies!” she hissed.
“Well, of course,” I said. “Birds don’t nurse their young like the cows and horses.”
“I know! It’s just… awful!” she said, giving a muffled shriek as one little bird began eagerly nipping at the worm. “Oh, that little one didn’t get anything to eat, because the other ones were all greedy! I wonder what it would be like to share something like that with your brothers and sisters.”
“Well, now, I’m sure that mama is capable of finding more worms,” I said with a chuckle.
“I can find some, too! I’ll pile them all up right next to the nest where she can find them.”
“Oh, that’s a noble idea,” I said. “But now it’s time you get yourself to school.”
We both started as we heard a shout right outside the barn.
“Oh, that’d be Matthew,” she said, scrambling up to go meet him outside. I brushed the hay from my apron and followed behind her, the sun momentarily blinding me.
Matthew stood with his lunch pail in one hand and books in the other, his wild hair wet and slicked down, and I remembered well the mornings he’d fight his ma, when Samuel wasn’t there, until she bested him and straightened his hair out for school. If Samuel was there he’d merely give him that ‘look’ and say in his low voice, “Matthew, mind your ma,” and Matthew would meekly comply.
As my eyes adjusted to the light, I looked with surprise to see that Samuel stood next to him. I hadn’t expected Samuel to return so soon. I nodded to him, and he tipped his hat.
“All right, then, you two behave yourselves, and come straight back here for some cookies after school,” I said, knowing that they’d come straight home with the promise of such a treat.
I waved as I saw them off, pleased Hannah had Matthew to watch out for her. I stood, my arms wrapped around me, enjoying the warmth of the sun. Though Samuel stood beside me, my mind was churning over all I had to do that day, so I didn’t speak for a moment. I had so very much on my mind that when I heard the squall of the barn cat, I just about jumped out of my skin.
There was chirping and squawks, and sounds of a struggle just inside the barn. I gasped, thankful in the split second it took me to realize what was happening, that Hannah had already gone to school. I bolted to the barn, but Samuel got there first.
There were feathers and blood, and a proud-looking tabby cat standing with the mama bird limp in its mouth. We called the cat Cornhusk, and she was Hannah’s least favorite, scrawny and aloof, but I liked her because she hunted mice with a vengeance. Cornhusk came to me and dropped the bird as an offering at my feet. I shook with fury.
“You wicked, evil thing!” I shrieked, swatting at it fiercely with my hand. It scurried away, narrowly missing my hand, and likely confused as to why I hadn’t been grateful for the gift.
I fell to my knees and gently lifted the lifeless bird. Dropping the bird, I lifted my apron to my face. As tears welled in my eyes and sadness filled my chest, Samuel spoke.
“Now, Ruth, don’t despair,” he said. “Come here, woman, and look.”
I dropped my apron.
“Every one of ‘em unharmed,” he murmured, picking up one of the wee baby birds in his large hand. The baby bird pecked at his palm, causing him to chuckle as he stroked one large, rough finger over the downy feathers.
“They’re all safe?” I whispered.
He smiled and nodded. “They’ll need some attention, of course,” he said. “I mean, without their mama they won’t be able to survive.”
Something about watching his big, gentle hand holding the tiny baby bird made my heart twist.
“They’ll need shelter, water, and food,” he continued. “You can’t keep ‘em in here like this. Any manner of beast would get ‘em. You’ve got a place inside?”
“Of course I do,” I said. And with his help, we moved the little nest and the three baby birds into our cabin. One of the people who’d helped raise our house had fashioned a bit of a table out of a tree stump for Hannah, which stood right next to her bed and beneath the window in her room. It worked as the perfect sunny spot. The little birds chirped and squawked. I smiled as I turned to Samuel.
“What brings you here?” I asked. “I thought you were shearing the sheep today.”
“Ma asked if I’d come and fetch you,” he said. “Said she wanted to have your hand in helpin’. Matthew found himself a honey tree, and she said come and help, and take what you’d like.”
“Honey?” I asked, as gleeful as a small child. I loved honey on my biscuits, or in my tea, and I still made a honey cake my own ma taught me to make when I was a little girl. But honey wasn’t something easily found, or even easy to come by. When we did find it, we found it aplenty, and stored it away as best we could. It was liquid gold to me.
Samuel’s eyes twinkled. “I think she’d much appreciate it if you’d give a hand with the dinner. You know I like your food better’n anyone else’s, anyway.”
I wondered for a moment if this was his polite way of saying, “Ma wants to make sure you and Hannah have enough to eat.” I was quite a hand at cooking, though, and Ma said I could make a meal fit for a king with nothing more than greens from the garden and a little bit of sunshine.
When I didn’t answer right away, Samuel’s eyes hardened a bit. “I know that look, woman,” he said.
“What look?” I responded, pretending to ignore him as I turned my back to him and tended to the little birds in my nest.
“That stubborn look that says your pride is gettin’ in the way of good sense is what. When’s the last time you and Hannah had meat?”
I frowned, giving him a quick glance over my shoulder. “We do just fine, thank you. Honestly, Samuel, I don’t know if I have time to go with you today. I’ve much to do around here.”
He crossed his arms on his chest and looked at me sternly. “Tell me.”
“Tell you what?” I asked, feeling my irritation rising.
“What you’ve got to do today.”
The nerve of the man! “Do you doubt my honesty?” I asked, spinning around to face him. “Or is it that you have no use for woman’s work? You think that the work in the house isn’t as important as the work in the field? You’d do well to remember that I have both the work of a man and woman on this farm!” I’d marched over to him as I spoke, so close to him now my angry exhale ruffled his shirt.
His eyes darkened. “Woman, if you hadn’t been mistreated at the hand of that lowlife husband of yours, do you have any idea what I’d do to you?”
My anger flared into flames of fury. “How dare you threaten me? You’d take a hand to me like he did? You wouldn’t!”
He took a step toward me then—the only step between us—so that now he towered over me and I had to crane my neck to look up at his furious face.
His voice was a low, hissed whisper. “Not like he did. You insult me to even hint at such a thing. But there’s a world of difference between his fist and my palm across your backside. Ruth Watson, though you try my patience, I won’t spank you. But as God is my witness, if you don’t close your mouth, I’ll close it in the only way I can.”
My stomach clenched. I knew I was acting in anger and I knew Samuel was a good man, but I was not immune to the threat of a spanking. I also didn’t know how he meant to close my mouth.
I poked a finger at his chest, though I trembled. I was furious at his ridiculous statement but angrier still at my body that would betray me. For I was somehow set to flames with his warning of a spanking, my belly tingling.
“Don’t you ever,” I began, but his large hand wrapped around my smaller one, interrupting my punctuated set-to, pinning my hand behind my back. With his other hand, he grasped my second wrist. My chest heaved with impotent anger and fear, and the room fairly spun with the intensity of my feelings. And before I knew what was happening, his mouth met mine.
I wanted to protest. I wanted to push him away.
I wanted to be stronger than I was.
But I was not. As he kissed me, I moaned. My wrists pinned helplessly behind my back, overcome by the sheer size of the man compared to my tiny frame, I felt consumed by him. His mouth was warm and sensual, surprisingly soft, and in sharp contrast to the whiskers that pricked my lips. I felt the flicker of his tongue in my mouth, and my chest constricted, as he kept his hands firmly on mine. He kissed me until my knees weakened. I’d never been kissed like this before.
I heard the distant chirping of the birds, and further in the distance, the bang of an axe on a log. Someone was chopping wood, and a hawk cried overhead, but it all murmured in the background as my only focus was Samuel’s mouth on mine. Arousal flamed in me, licks of fire between my legs and low in my belly, as my body yearned to be touched by him.
I’d been sold into marriage by my father to a man who beat me on our wedding night and took what he wanted. I’d never been touched by a lover before. I longed for Samuel’s touch. I wanted more, as I felt deep within me that somehow his touch would cleanse me. I wanted his hands on my breasts. I wanted him to strip me. I wanted his strong, powerful hands over my bare skin, ravishing me as I relinquished myself to him so that my body no longer remembered the savage assault I’d experienced, but instead the claiming of a real man, a lover.
I knew my thoughts were wanton. I well knew that such desires for an unwed woman were considered sinful. Other than the Stanleys, ‘polite society’ had spurned me when I’d been wed to a man who drank and beat me, so I’d long since discarded any care for societal expectations and morals.
As his mouth pulled away from me, I looked at him in astonishment. I had no words.
His eyes smiled at me. “I have means to quiet that razor-sharp tongue of yours, little Ruth.”
“You’re a brute,” I whispered helplessly.
He released my hands and stepped back, one corner of his mouth turning up. “Honey, if you think that was brutal, we could have a talk or two to show you otherwise.”
And in that moment, somehow it all struck me as funny. My flaring temper, over—what? His ‘way’ of quieting my mouth. His declaration that I needed a spanking but he’d stay his hand, and the way he implied he could do more than kiss me to keep me in line. Amusement bubbled up inside me that I couldn’t contain. I put a hand to my mouth and laughed. His eyes widened. The laughter burst out of me and I snorted out loud. He looked astonished, even as his eyes darkened. I found it hilarious.
“You’d quiet my mouth with a kiss?” I asked, in between gasps of breath. “You were mad enough to swallow a horned toad backwards!”
His mouth dropped open.
“Oh, I’m simply shaking with fright!” I guffawed, not sure where I was going with this, but certain that if my punishment for provocation had been a kiss like that, I needed to provoke him again.
“Woman,” he warned, but I would not be quieted.
“And I’d like to see you try to spank me, Samuel Stanley! I’ll tell your ma on you!”
His eyes were dark now. “She’d clap my back and congratulate me,” he growled.
This had me howling with laughter.
I didn’t know such a large man could move so quickly. He had me cornered, then up and over his shoulder in seconds, marching me out of Hannah’s bedroom and into the main room of the cabin. I protested, of course, but it was no use and I knew it. He walked with decided steps to my room and tossed me down on the bed.
I shrieked with laughter. “Oh, you look like a bear that’s just emerged from his winter cave, with those eyes of yours,” I taunted. I placed the back of my hand to my forehead and pretended to be faint. “What’s a girl to do?”
“Stop your yappin’!”
I needed him to kiss me, or spank me, I just needed him to touch me, and I needed him to touch me now.
“Yap yap yap!” I prattled on. He growled, bending down toward me again, lowering his mouth close to my ear as he grasped my bottom with one hand and squeezed. It was a shocking gesture, scandalous for an unmarried couple.
“Naughty little Ruth needs to be put in her place.”
He kissed me again, and this time, his hands roved my body. I moaned into his mouth, my hands on his chest, my palms flat against his shirt. I could feel the hardened muscles beneath, and I shifted with arousal.
He wrenched his mouth off mine, but only to growl one more warning. “Are you gonna behave yourself now, or not?”
“Nooooo,” I moaned, as I did not want this to stop. I began unfastening the buttons on his shirt. He removed it as the last button came undone. I stared for a moment at his muscled chest, honed by years of hard labor. As I roamed my hands across the sprinkling of hair and lower still to the taut muscles, I could see the evidence of his arousal tented in his trousers. I felt suddenly overcome with tears.
He wanted me.
Until then, I’d never been desired like this, in a way that made me feel attractive and beautiful. With my husband, I was merely a vessel for him to use to satisfy his base desires. But for Samuel, it was different. He hungered for me even his firmest touches were gentle. Right then, I’d have allowed him to have his way with me. I’d have refused him nothing.
“You beautiful, reckless, naughty little girl,” he whispered in my ear.
“I’m not a girl,” I replied in protest.
“When you’re with me you are.”
My lady parts tingled as one large hand wrapped around my waist and pulled me closer to him. His mouth on mine again, we kissed as his hand kneaded my breast, one firm thumb encircling my nipples straight through the fabric.
I knew I should have protested. I should have insisted he court me, or sent him on his way. But I did not care that we were not married. Samuel made me feel wanted for the first time in my life, and I yearned for more.
I was pinned beneath him now as he kissed me, bracing himself over me with one hand so he wouldn’t smother me, while the other was hiking up my skirts. My thighs clenched together in anticipation as I felt the warmth of his hand on my stocking. Blast the layers of clothing I was wearing! He smoothed a hand over my drawers. My hips bucked. The intensity of my arousal had me near tears.
“Please,” I begged, conscious of the desperation in my voice.
“Sit up,” he ordered. “Undress yourself.”
Hastily I obeyed, until I was wearing nothing but a thin chemise and drawers.
“Ah, so you will obey,” he said. “Seems I may have found the key.”
I moaned in reply as he laid me back down, lowering himself over me again, his lips insistent and probing. He kissed me as he pulled my drawers down, dipping a finger between my legs to my most sensitive parts. My breath caught in my throat as he stroked me. The feeling was exquisite.
“Spread your legs, honey,” he whispered. I obeyed, while he stroked me, his other arm holding me close to him while we kissed. Two fingers plunged into my core. I gasped from the sheer pleasure before he went back, stroking me. I was going to lose control, with Samuel holding me tightly next to him. In minutes, the release coursed through me, waves of ecstasy meeting in a delicious crescendo as he stroked and pumped my sex. He kissed me slowly, softly, holding me until the delicious spasms passed.
“You feelin’ better?” he whispered.
“Yes,” I replied with a sigh. “You?”
He chuckled. “No, but that’ll be for another day. Today was about puttin’ you in your place.”
I pursed my lips. “Is that so?”
“It is. You’ll question me now, woman?” he said with a raised brow.
I smiled. “No, sir,” I said, as meekly as a lamb.
“Sir, is it?” he said. “I’m not sure you’ve called me that before.”
“No, sir,” I said, closing my eyes as he lowered himself onto the bed next to me.
He chuckled. “Now are you gonna be a good girl, get yourself dressed, and come bake me one of your cakes, or am I gonna have to toss you over my shoulder and carry you on over?”
“You and your taunts,” I muttered. “Toss you over your shoulder! Spank your naughty little bottom!”
He tilted a head to me. Though his eyes twinkled, his voice was stern. “Oh, honey, those weren’t threats. Now get yourself dressed and let’s go before I prove that to you.”
Not in the mood to test him, subdued after he’d brought me to ecstasy, I obeyed.