Kindred Spirits

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Kindred Spirits By Maren Smith ©2011 Blushing Books Publications and Maren Smith

Copyright © 2011 by Blushing Books® and Maren Smith All rights reserved. No part of the book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Published by Blushing Books®, a subsidiary of ABCD Graphics and Design 977 Seminole Trail #233 Charlottesville, VA 22901 The trademark Blushing Books® is registered in the US Patent and Trademark Office. Smith, Maren Kindred Spririts eBook ISBN: 978-1-60968-448-8 Cover Design: ABCD Graphics

Blushing Publications thanks you whole-heartedly for your purchase with us! There are plenty more stories such as the one you’ve purchased from Blushing Books! Visit our online store to view our mighty selection! This book is intended for adults only. Spanking and other sexual activities represented in this book are fantasies only, intended for adults. Nothing in this book should be interpreted as advocating any non-consensual spanking activity or the spanking of minors.

Chapter One Raking her hands back through her shoulder-length dirty-blonde hair, Mindy checked her reflection in the mirror to make sure she didn’t have any dusty smudges on her face as she tied her wavy curls into a low ponytail. Raising her voice, she called out loud enough to be heard all the way to the kitchen at the opposite end of the house. “Nana, I’ve got the upstairs bedrooms cleaned. I’m going out now!” From the opposite end of the house, an aged voice warbled back, “Not before you deal with Murphy! He’s throwing a fit!” Pausing in the act of smoothing back her too-long bangs, Mindy stifled first a sigh and then a smile. Picking up her purse on the way—she would have preferred white, which would have matched her off-the-shoulder sundress, but so far she’d only unpacked the muddy brown one—she headed for the kitchen. Nana met her in the hallway, leaning heavily on her walker as she hobbled towards the living room, a cup of tea balanced in the basket. “He’s on the fridge again.” The old woman tsked and shook her curly gray head, thoroughly irritated. “It’s the move,” Mindy said. “Everything is strange here, and he doesn’t like being locked in his room all the time.” “Ha!” Her grandmother paused in the living room archway to shoot Mindy a caustic glare. “He keeps throwing my cereal on the floor and we’re all going to find out how well he likes getting smacked with the broom!” Mindy chuckled, taking that for what it was worth. “I’ll take care of this.” Sure enough, when she entered the kitchen, one quick glance told the story. There was a box of crackers on the floor and Corn Flakes everywhere, the box having fallen open sometime during its lofty topple from the top of the fridge where Murphy was currently sitting, sulking. Cereal crunching under her feet, she reached for him. “All right, young man. You’ve misbehaved long enough.” One sharp slap of his tail sent the Raison Bran crashing to the floor just before her hands closed gently around him, lifting the bad-tempered iguana down. He hissed once, but settled down quickly against her chest. “Such a bad boy,” she crooned, carrying him upstairs to the spare room across the hall from her bedroom and the large, closet-sized cage that he called home. She turned on his basking lamp, checked to make sure he had plenty of veggies and clean water in his bowls, and then closed the cage door. A squirt of disinfectant on the fridge and quick sweep of the kitchen cleaned up the mess. A peck on Nana’s withered cheek won forgiveness for the entire unruly episode, and after turning the channel to Oprah, at last Mindy was free to go. “Bring back ice cream,” Nana called. “It’ll melt before I get back,” she replied, stepping out the front door onto the sunlit porch. “We need a car,” Nana groused. “Or a Taxi service.”

“In Willow Grove?” They both laughed at the equal unlikelihood of either happening any time soon. Theirs was much too small of a town and much too tight of a budget. Closing the door behind her, Mindy stepped lightly off the porch and headed down the long dirt driveway until she reached the road to town. It was a two mile walk in all, and one that she had made every Monday afternoon since she’d moved to Willow Grove six weeks earlier. Today was a good day for it, too. The sun was out, warm like a blanket across the bare summits of her shoulders. Crickets and birds were singing, and here and there along the road katydids drowned them both out. If she booked it, she could be home again in just over an hour, but with Nana so dependent on her care, she didn’t get out very much anymore and on Monday Shopping Day she liked to take her time. She stepped off the narrow country road only twice to allow the unobstructed passage of two vehicles. Both times she waved, recognizing Lisa the receptionist who manned the phones for Nana’s doctor, and the other one everybody in town simply called the Snake Man. He was easy enough to recognize and not just because he was gorgeous personified—a dark-haired, muscular cowboy poured into t-shirts and skin-tight blue jeans and never seen without his hat or snakeskin boots (homemade as the rumors went). But also because his vehicle of choice was a modified school bus, bought from the county surplus auction six years back. If local gossip could be believed, that bus was filled to the brim with snakes in aquarium enclosures. She’d never been one to believe in gossip, but Willow Grove was located smack-dab in Redneck Central U.S.A. Gossip here was a major form of communication. She supposed a grown man playing with garter snakes wasn’t as odd as it could be. Cow tipping, for instance, was much stranger and still pretty popular among the local yokels, particularly where the Balray brothers were concerned. Speak of the devils; she stepped off the road just as the Balrays’ camouflagepainted jeep barreled past her. Two of the three Balrays stood up in the back, saluting her with open beer bottles and exuberant whooping—the redneck mating call—but the jeep did not slow down. She kept walking and didn’t acknowledge that she’d heard or seen them at all. With any luck, they’d be deep in their cups at Sunny’s Bar by the time she reached the Country Store. Unfortunately, the Balrays never did anything for anyone’s convenience but their own. They were not only not at the bar, but they were parked in front of the Country Store, leaning against their jeep, laughing and drinking as if waiting for her to arrive. “Hey baby.” The oldest of the brothers, James, held out his arms, albeit with hands low down by his hips. Mindy automatically changed course, giving him a wide berth lest he try to embrace her or—as was more likely—to grab her ass. “Don’t be like that,” he called. Even with two cars between them, he fell into step with her, trailing her to the entrance. “Come on, have a beer. We don’t bite...hard...” She should have ignored him altogether but, trying to avoid a scene, she offered a brisk, “No, thank you.” Into the store she went while James stopped just short of the doors, which swung heavily closed on his brothers’ barks of laughter. “Crash and burn, bro. Crash and burn!”

As Mindy bent to pick up a shopping basket, her eyes met those of Carol, who manned the empty check out lane. They both rolled their eyes. “They’re rough, but they’re harmless,” Carol said, shaking her head and buffing her nails. “So everybody keeps telling me.” Slipping the twin handles into the crook of her elbow, she headed for the minimal produce aisle. A half hour later, she left the grocery store with a single paper grocery bag balanced on her hip. The Balrays were still outside, and judging from the quantity of empties lined up on the hood of their jeep, they’d each had at least two beers more. “Hey!” James shouted out when he saw her. “Hey, I want to talk to you!” “No, thank you,” Mindy said automatically and turned her back for good measure, cutting the long way across the parking lot and going around the feed store just to avoid walking past their jeep. It was a relief when she finally stepped out onto the long road that led back to Nana and home. One quick glance over her shoulder and she sighed with relief. For a change, the Balrays seemed to have given up. A half mile down the road, however, Mindy heard the familiar roar of the jeep’s modified muffler. Automatically, Mindy stepped down off the narrow country road, hopping over the ditch just in case whoever was driving got it into his head that it might be funny to tap the backs of her legs. Again. Even halfway expecting it to happen, Mindy still jumped when the jeep suddenly swerved off the road just in front of her, bumping down into the ditch and throwing great clods of dirt back up at her when it screeched to a stop. “Oh!” Mindy snapped to one side, dropping her groceries as she spun sideways in an attempt to avoiding getting hit by flying earth and rocks. “Douche,” James mildly rebuked his youngest brother, Marcus, who was currently behind the wheel. In the passenger seat, Danny shook spilled beer off his hand, tried effectually to brush the worst of the wet from his pants, and then whacked Marcus upside the head. They both followed James out of the jeep without speaking. Brushing dirt from the side of her waist and hip, Mindy froze, her eyes wide as she watched them come. They were an ominous bunch: dirty jeans and t-shirts stained from the garage where they worked, lanky hair and hungry, gleaming stares. James at least was smiling, a wolfish look that instantly made her skin crawl, especially when he began to shake his finger at her. “You’re not being very friendly, Ms. Caveat.” A car drove by them without slowing. Suddenly realizing the bushes flanking her might also be hiding her and this rapidly unraveling situation, Mindy grabbed her grocery bag back into her arms and almost fell over a tangle of sticks in her haste to get back to the road. Her shaky, “Excuse me,” became a startled scream when an arm hooked around her waist, yanking her back against a rock-hard chest. Groceries went everywhere when she dropped the bag again. “Polite,” James said, sultry and low, his breath hot against the side of her neck, “is not friendly.” He buried his face in the side of her hair, his deep-drawn breath sending prickling fingers rushing all the way down her spine. “Let go of me!” It was surprising how angry she sounded, when in fact all Mindy could really feel (aside from the strength of his arm squeezing her to him and that

ominous bulge digging into her back just above her buttocks) was stark and devastating fear. She pried at his wrist, struggling to twist away but she might just as well have been trying to bend iron bars with her bare hands. Her one comfort, that not even these degenerate hicks would dare to assault her this close to the road, shattered like brittle glass when James began to push her. She dug in her feet, but he was stronger and he simply walked her deeper into the bushes. “Have a beer,” he offered, pushing her ahead of him, her stiffly braced legs dragging through the grass and shrubs without slowing him in the slightest. “Take it, and let’s all get nice and...friendly.” The two younger Balray boys closed in at her sides. Unsmiling, Danny offered her his half-spilled beer and knowing now exactly what was going to happen next, with a trembling hand, she reluctantly accepted. “There now, see.” James grinned at his brothers. “She’s not so frigid after all.” Mindy hit him with the bottle. Gripped at the base, all she could do was jab back behind her head with the mouth of it and hope she hit something vital. She was aiming for his eyes but missed, landing only a glancing blow that bounced off the side of his forehead and hit his ear when he jerked instinctively back. But that reflexive jerk also loosened his arm from around her and that minute release was all Mindy needed to wrench herself free. Pelting Marcus with the sloshing beer bottle, she ran right through a tangle of blackberry brambles—losing her shoe in the process—to get around the front of the jeep and then leapt back across the ditch and dashed into the road. She was just over a mile away from home with little more than nothing in between here and there, and although Willow’s Grove was closer, she knew there was no way she could outrun the jeep or Balrays, who were yelling and swearing and already giving chase behind her. Mindy snapped around for town and very nearly ran head-on into the front grill of the Snake Man’s bus. She barely had time to scream; the bus had even less time to brake but did manage to swerve, missing her at the very last second and screeching to a sudden stop that left a good ten feet of rubber on the blacktop. But at least he stopped. He also got out. All six-foot-two-inches of him. Lean and swarthy, a tire iron gripped in one broad hand as he came bursting through the unfolding doors to take in the situation. “What the hell are you idiots doing now?” Whether it was the tire-iron, the look on the Snake Man’s face, or perhaps because they’d had run-ins with him before, the Balrays immediately abandoned their pursuit of Mindy. Turning tail, they jumped back into their jeep and, spraying dirt, leaves and sticks of butter, they peeled back onto the road and took off in the direction away from town. Hands pressed to her tightly knotted stomach, Mindy swayed once on her feet before her knees completely gave up all semblance of sturdiness. She collapsed flat on her butt, right there in the middle of the road, her knees just two inches from the first step of the bus’s gaping folding door and the hot air of the engine billowing through her hair. “You just keep on running!” the Snake Man shouted after the fleeing jeep. “Total wastes of human sh—” He backed up two steps, glanced down at her, then back at the

jeep just as it disappeared around the next corner, and then back at her again. She started to pick herself up, and belatedly, he reached for her arm. “Are you okay?” “Yeah, I think so.” But she wasn’t. She was shaking, her dress was torn from her sleeve all the way down the side of her breast and her groceries were scattered across the bottom of a blackberry-brambled ditch. Trying to hold her dress closed, she looked at that week’s worth of badly needed food and her shoulders sagging. “At least you didn’t hit me.” “Thank God.” Jiggling the tire iron in his hand, he turned to follow her gaze. There was a wry twist of his mouth as he handed over the makeshift weapon. “Here, hold this. I’ll get them.” She took the tire iron—it felt so cold and heavy in her hands—and her knees buckled weakly in and out as she tried to follow him. He caught her arm and then her waist, helping her back to the bus until he could sit her down on the bottommost step. For the first time, the anger was gone from his face when he looked at her. “Are you okay?” “I lost my shoe,” she said softly, noticing her bare and bleeding foot for the first time. The brambles had snagged her leg, scratching around her ankle and she hadn’t noticed that either. He looked at her foot and then he looked at her again. “I’ll get it. Stay right here. Don’t move.” He pointed at her, a long stern, staying finger, but with that blatant concern still darkening his eyes. He pointed again, just to make sure, and then hurried down into the ditch to fetch the groceries. He found her shoe, too. “Thank you,” she said when he brought it back to her. She shook two leaves and a caterpillar out of it, then bent to put to slip it back over her bleeding foot. She had to hold the ripped sleeve of her dress up to keep her bosom from falling out while she was bent over and the scratches had begun to sting but the blood was drying, but by the time she’d righted herself, he’d finished gathering up the groceries. “You’ve lost about half your eggs,” he said helpfully, holding out the bag. Her knees still felt weak, but this time her legs stayed under her when she slowly stood up. “Thanks,” she said again, not looking at him even as she accepted it from him. She shifted the bag to one arm, offering him his tire iron back. “And again, thanks for stopping.” “I’d offer you a ride, but…” he gestured at the bus, half shrugging with one shoulder and looking uncomfortably helpless. “Most folks won’t even park next to it.” Trying to keep both the torn bag and dress from spilling their burdens, Mindy stepped back to look first at the bus and then down the long road toward home. She still had over a mile to go. “Do you really keep snakes on there?” “They’re caged,” he said helpfully. Her leg was really starting to bother her. She tried to smile, though she wasn’t really feeling it. “I’d love a ride.” “Seriously?” In a blink, his surprise gave way to a look of mixed pleasure. He held up that long staying finger again. “Okay, stay right here. Give me one second to find a place to put you.” He really was a gorgeous specimen of man, she half-heartedly acknowledged as he jogged up those three steps and disappeared from sight into the back of his vehicle. The school bus rocked as he shifted weight around in the back. She briefly saw the

shadow of him pass the tinted window with what looked like a ten-gallon aquarium in his arms. “Sorry, I haven’t had passengers in this thing in years,” he called back out at her. “That’s okay. I appreciate the ride.” “You’re ol’ Mrs. Caveat’s granddaughter, aren’t you? Up from the city for a while, right?” She glanced up in time to see the back pockets of his jeans briefly pressing against the glass of the first and only untinted window along the side of the bus as he quickly bent to stash something out of sight under the seat. Her smile wasn’t quite so forced when he reappeared at the top of the steps again. “Mindy,” she supplied. “Colton Waters.” He brushed his hands off on the seat of his jeans, then offered her one. “Welcome aboard.” He took that poor, beleaguered grocery bag from her arms first, depositing it onto the seat directly behind the door and then reached down to help her up. She wasn’t sure what she was expecting, but as she mounted those steps her breath was stolen by the sight of all those tanks. Only the two front passenger seats remained in the bus. The rest had been removed and floor-to-roof shelves built in their place. Aquariums—some set up for length, like the huge tank that lined the back of the bus, while others stood on end to maximize height—lined those shelves. They were well lit and clean and most definitely occupied, as the bolted-down screen tops suggested. “Oh wow,” she said. “You’re perfectly safe,” he stressed, trying to block her view of the tanks with his broad chest. “Every one of those cages is locked and, for a change, I actually know where everybody is.” Her leg forgotten, Mindy squeezed past him so she could get a better look into the first cage. This was no garter snake. Wound around a narrow tree branch, an emerald green tree snake looked back at her with eyes as yellow as the decorative bands that sectioned its three-foot body length. “Oh wow!” she said again, her tone one of reverence rather than disgust. “How cool! Look at the color. I’ve never seen a snake like this before.” This time when she pushed deeper into the bus, instead of blocking her, he followed. Milk snakes, corn snakes, king and rat snakes; she made her way from tank to tank, marveling at the patterns and vivid colors. She stopped for the longest time at the very back, where a massive yellow- and white-mottled python was basking under a heat lamp. The body of that snake had to be at least twelve feet in length and was thicker around the middle than her own thigh. “Wow,” she said yet again, softer this time. “I’m impressed. I am seriously, seriously impressed.” “So am I,” Colton mused, standing just behind her. She touched two fingers lightly to the corner of the glass where the snake’s body was currently pressed. It looked so smooth and soft, she wished she could just reach inside and touch it. Then again, considering the size of the head and, consequently, teeth, it was probably just as well that she didn’t. “Have you ever seen anything more beautiful?” “Not for some time.”

Laughing, Mindy glanced back over her shoulder at him, but it wasn’t the snake Colton was looking at. Instead, he was watching her closely, a mix of pride and interest and even muted amazement on his handsome face. Right up until their eyes caught and held. Then his face hooded and, sheepishly, he looked away. Had he been talking about her? Mindy almost forgot to breathe, he was that handsome. And tall. Very, very tall. And swarthy, in a 5 o’clock shadow, unshaven sort of way. “Right, well,” he cleared his throat. “We’ve blocked the road long enough for one day. Let’s get this thing moving, shall we. Does Mrs. Caveat still live out on along the Old Holler Road?” “Same old house.” She followed him back to the front of the bus. While he buckled himself in behind the steering wheel, Mindy cleared her ripped bag of groceries off the seat and stashed it on the floor next to her feet. Then she shifted a short stack of his mail, along with a couple of magazines—Field and Stream and Nascar (huh, so somebody actually did read those things)—out from under her before she sat. Setting the mail down closer to the window, she twisted around to look at the tree snake slithering along the glass just behind her, lightly tapping its nose to test the resolve of the screen door that locked it safely inside its enclosure. “Seat belt,” Colton told her. Mindy faced forward again, giving first him and then her lap a blank look. “Oh you’re kidding! You outfit this clunky old thing with—” She stopped when she realized what she was saying. “Uh…” Her face colored. “Safety first, right?” “I’m a safety kind of guy.” He waited, watching her through the rearview mirror, his slight smile forgiving the unintentional slight, until she snapped the belt into place around her waist and tightened down the strap. When he started up the bus, the whole vehicle came vibrating to life, and as he jolted into forward motion, the short stack of mail jostled and then slid sideways, spilling from the seat onto the floor beside her. “Oh! Oops!” Mindy caught some of them, but ended up reaching headfirst down under the seat after the rest. “It’s okay,” he called. “I’ll get them later. “No, no! I got it!” Seat belt choking the breath out of her, she struggled to wrangle the scattered mail together with first her hands and then her feet. She put the envelopes back on the seat and then went down again for the magazines. The tips of her fingers played tickle-tag with the loose pages of Nascar before finally managing to snag and pull it out. She had to take her shoe off, using the extended length to fish blindly under the seat for several unsuccessful minutes before she heard a crinkle of paper when she lay down the heel. Finally! “Ha, ha!” she crowed. “Success!” And dragged back into the open light of day not just Field and Stream but three others as well. One was still wrapped in its prying-eyes obscuring plastic. The other two had not only been removed from theirs, but were obviously well-thumbed. It was a good thing Mindy was bent down under the seat, because her face went a deep, brilliant shade of red the instant she saw the cover: two young ladies bent over a desk, skirts up and white cotton panties dropped to half-mast around their knees. Both of their bottoms as red and hot as Mindy’s face was quickly starting to feel.

“Did you get them?” Colton asked. Mindy opened her mouth, but no sound came out. Instead she stared, taking in every detail of that first cover, from the man standing behind them, ruler in hand while his other sternly rolled his long white sleeve up past his elbow; to the girls, both gripping the far edge of the desk and wincing expressively. One looked near onto tears; if Mindy’s bottom were already that red with the threat of another spanking looming that ominously in her very near future, she’d have probably been on the verge of tears too. The skin of her bottom was crawling, she suddenly realized with a start. And between her legs, a very real, timid tingling was moving across her sex, as soft as a caress, as warm as the blush burning into her face. “Did you get it?” Colton asked again. He was starting to sound a little concerned. As if perhaps he’d suddenly remembered what he’d stuffed under this particular seat just before she came onto the bus. In one fell swoop, Mindy scooped all three magazines, both the two already opened and the one still sealed, into her grocery bag. “Got it!” she cried, grinning broadly and waving the Field and Stream once over her head to show him. She also made a great production out of trying to keep herself modestly tucked inside her torn dress and hoped that he would attribute her furiously blushing cheeks—the northern pair, rather than the southern—to her malfunctioning wardrobe. It must have worked because in the rearview mirror, the direction of his gaze obediently fell from the magazine in her right hand to the tattered scraps of dress she was clutching in her left. They lingered at boob-level for a long time before, clearing his throat, he turned his attention back to the road. He was flushed now, too. If she weren’t already so thoroughly flustered (albeit for a very different reason), she might have thought that sweet. “That’s…” Colton cleared his throat. “That’s good.” He bobbed his head into a nod. “Yup. Right wonderful.” He probably couldn’t get her home fast enough at this point. Right now, she couldn’t get home fast enough, either. She picked up her bag of groceries and— Bright red blushing bottoms... —hugged it on her lap. Her chest felt tight, and for some reason it felt so strangely hot in here that she could barely breathe. Fortunately, that single remaining mile went back awfully fast when traveling in a bus. Even in a bus full of snakes. In no time at all, they were turning off the main road onto the familiar, unpaved driveway of home. Colton took her right up to her front porch before he levered the sliding door open. “Thank you so much,” she said, hurriedly unclipping her belt and struggling to get up without letting go of her bag or, even worse, allowing it to fall open in any way that might expose her pilfered treasures. He smiled and nodded, his gaze sliding back to the magazines and mail that she’d left behind her on the seat. “Not at all. I hope your leg’s all right.” He started to get up, no doubt to help her disembark, but Mindy quickly hurried past him, jogging down the steps onto the crisp gravel outside. “All right,” he said with a nod. The sight of a woman scurrying to get off his bus was probably not an unfamiliar one. Or maybe his deflating expression was due to his

realizing she’d found his secret spanking stash and now couldn’t get away fast enough because of it. Either way, he still muttered, “Nice meeting you.” Her feet itched to immediately run her straight into the house (before he realized what she’d taken) all the way up to her room (without running into Nana who might nose her way into the grocery bag and see them) where she could shut and lock her door and safely explore what she’d taken in wide-eyed, red-faced, open-mouthed, tummytightened, pussy-tingling astonishment. But she didn’t. She made herself stop. She made herself turn back around and look at him, right into his handsome as sin eyes. She meant to thank again for his help, and for the ride, and for just being in the right place at the right moment in time to help her. But she had visions of white-knuckled women bent over desks and ready to take their licks in her mind, and what she ended up blurting out was a nearly indecipherably garbled, “You wouldn’t want to have dinner with me, Mr. Waters, would you?” He visibly started, his hand paused on the door handle. “I’m sorry?” Bright red bottoms flinching from Teacher’s ruler... Her own tightened as a soft wind tugged at her skirt. She swallowed hard and made herself press on. “Tomorrow night? Around seven, maybe?” He was clearly surprised. He glanced back at the seat where she’d been sitting, and then even further back at the snakes, and then, blinking twice, he looked at her again. He opened his mouth, emitting a rough bark of sound that was more a breathy gasp that real laughter. “Okay. I’ll be here,” he finally managed. Her heart pounding in her chest, her blood thundering in her veins, Mindy managed one last smile before she snapped around and ran inside the house. When the screen door slammed shut behind her, in her own mind at least, it sounded just like the meaty whack of a ruler driving some misbehaving, white-pantied miss right up onto the tips of her toes. She didn’t stop to watch Colton drive away. She didn’t even stop when Nana called out from the living room, “Did you bring ice cream?” Mindy ran all the way up to her bedroom, where she quickly slammed and locked the door.

Chapter Two With two fingers, Mindy held back the curtain to watch as the bus made a slow three-point U-turn in the driveway before jostling and bumping its way back to the road. As far as she could tell, Colton hadn’t paused long enough to get up and check his mail. He probably didn’t yet know what she’d taken. Surely he would before seven tomorrow evening, but Mindy didn’t dare think about that yet. Maybe she would after she’d looked through his magazines, after all those images of well-spanked ladies were indelibly burned into her fantasies and her mind. Her hand shook. She dropped the curtain and, still hugging that tattered bag of groceries, crept to her bed and carefully set it down. Rubbing her hands on her skirted thighs, she stared at the bag. It could have held the stolen crown jewels instead of spanking pornography for all the reverence she was giving it. She rubbed her hands again, her breath catching in the back of her throat. She jumped when Nana called up the stairs, “Mindy? You okay?” She quickly opened the door long enough to call back, “Fine, Nana! Give me a minute; I’ll be right down!” She sounded half-strangled, and even before she got the door closed again, she could already hear Nana’s cane thumping its way up the stairs. Mindy knew one moment of sheer, unadulterated panic. She hurriedly dug the magazines out of the bag, whipped aimlessly around the room in search of a Nana-proof hiding place and then dashed back to hide them under her mattress. She then sat down on top of them, crossing her legs in an effort to look nonchalant, except that the deep scratches in her leg than because alarmingly obvious. Her hand flew to her mussed hair, encountering pine needles, and she looked down at herself in dismay. Whipping her ruined dress off over her head, Mindy ran to the closet. She’d only just yanked out a replacement when the door suddenly flew opened. Mindy jerked the dress up in time to cover herself but she knew she looked a mess, and while Nana might be half-blind from cataracts when it suited her, today was not one of those days. Today, she didn’t miss a thing. Her eyes traveled the length of Mindy, narrowing on the pine needles in her hair and again when they settled for a painfully long time on her scratched-up leg. “What happened?” she finally asked. “I fell,” Mindy said, holding her new dress up to her chest in an effort to cover herself. As unobtrusively as possible, she kicked the torn one into the closet on the off chance that her grandmother hadn’t seen it yet. “Uh huh,” said Nana, her rheumy eyes narrowing slightly. A long silence then ensued, broken only by a hiss from Murphy in his cage just down the hall and a brittle crackling as Mindy reached up to pull a dead leaf and a couple pine needles out of her tangled hair. She dropped them on the floor. “Was that a truck I heard in the driveway?” “Colton Waters gave me a lift home.” “The boy with all the snakes?” “He’s more of a, uh…” Mindy cleared her throat. “He’s not really a boy anymore, Nana.”

“Um hm.” Nana’s mouth pressed together, but although her hawk-sharp gaze wandered Mindy again, all she said was, “Did you get ice cream?” “Vanilla.” Nana went to the bed and retrieved the groceries. “We moving the kitchen into your bedroom?” “No, I…just wanted to get changed.” “Uh huh.” Nana gave her another hard look, but then took the groceries with her when she left. Although obviously believing there more to the story than what was being told, she wasn’t going to dig. The door closed quietly behind her, and Mindy quickly climbed into her dress, sunshine yellow with white squiggles. She made another attempt to shake out those foreign bits of nature that still stubbornly clung in the tresses of her hair while listening to the thump-steps of Nana retreating back down to the living room. Oprah awaited, and Mindy hoped that would be enough of a distraction to keep her grandmother busy for a good, long time. Her fingers were trembling as she fidgeted with the folds of her skirt. Her palms sweat; she rubbed them restlessly against her thighs, listening until she was sure she was alone in the whole upstairs of the old house. Then she went back to her bed, carefully digging the magazine back out into the unwavering light of day and lay them on the coverlet. Even in the privacy of her bedroom, she felt that slow flush of heat stealing up into her face as she looked at that cover. She slipped the unopened package aside and looked at the second magazine cover, her breath catching all over again. A broad, strong dark-haired man sat on the center cushion of a long sofa, a laughing blonde tumbled across his knees. Blushing red fingerprints extended out from around the elastic of her underwear. His large flat hand was raised high above her, and he was grinning down at the back of her head, so obviously enjoying giving what she was so thoroughly enjoying receiving. She held a wooden-backed hairbrush in one hand and the prospect of upgrading didn’t seem to bother her one bit. Her heart thumping excitedly in her chest, Mindy set that aside and went back to the first magazine. A shiver of anticipation tickling up her spine, she opened it. The stories played out before her like a dream, a long-buried fantasy that had come straight to clearly-defined and glossy-paged life. Giggling Catholic schoolgirls, each of whom had to be at least twenty, caught by a frowning, folded-arms instructor, his black-rimmed glasses riding low on the bridge of his nose as he glared over the top of them. Up to teacher’s desk they went, sulky defiance tugging at the corners of their mouth as, bending over to grip the far edge, twin short skirts of black and red plaid were turned up to reveal the rounded seats of plain white-cotton panties. Mindy’s thighs clenched as she sat down on the edge of her bed, and after looking her fill, she turned the page. She could almost hear the brisk slap!-crack!-whap! as Teacher’s broad hand went to work, first on one trim bottom and then the next. The sulky frowns were gone now and the girls were far from smiling as they struggled to hold onto the desk. One reached back, remorsefully caressing the rosy glow of one chubby nether cheek, and the teacher reached for his ruler. Toes curling, Mindy turned the page. Panties came down, the hot pink flush became a deeper shade of red, lined here and there by the edges of the ruler. Her breath

caught and held as she contemplated how that might feel, the heat and the hurt, mingling all through the bare bottoms that wriggled in frozen suspense on those glossy pages. Motionless lips mouthed ‘Ow!’ and ‘Please!’ and there was probably at least one frantic, teary ‘Stop!’ uttered before Teacher deemed they’d had enough and each girl was dismissed to the blackboard. With panties down and the hems of their too-short skirts tucked up into their waistbands, each was reduced to writing lines of ‘I will not talk in class’ on individual halves of the blackboard while a satisfied Teacher leaned back against his desk, arms folded across his chest and ruler still in hand. Just in case. Mindy shivered, delighted. Next came a Naughty Secretary scenario, followed by a misbehaving wife and steamy letters to the editor, which Mindy skimmed before returning back to the beginning of the giggling schoolgirls. She went through the whole series twice more. If she listened hard enough, she could almost hear the spanks and the pleas. If she concentrated hard enough, she could almost felt the burn, the slow pulse of hot, wet arousal licking up between her legs at the very thought of being made to take one of their places. Both their places, even. She’d have loved the chance to give Teacher his ‘just in case’ reason. Then again, perhaps not. She had always been very good in school. Laying the first magazine aside, she reached for the second. Naughty girls, sassy girls, plump girls and skinny girls. They were bent over laps, over tables, made to kneel on hands on knees at the foot of their beds or with pillows tucked up under their hips. Hands spanked, straps slapped, willowy and whippy canes left parallel lines of burning fire and milky white bottoms blushed into hues of soft pink, deep burgundy red and every conceivable shade in between. The laughing wife lost her panties and was utterly naked by the time she succumbed to the hairbrush. In the end, she straddled her husband’s lap to kiss him in hungry, teary gratitude while his hands dipped down to rub and soothe, even in places he hadn’t spanked. A lazy maid met her end across her mistresses lap for the cropping of her life and became more enthusiastic in her work. A bed report card ended in an over-the-lap walloping by a sternly mustached ‘daddy’, his hard right hand expressing a fury of displeasure that left handprints all over his ‘daughter’s’ tender sit-spot, and even Mindy felt significantly more studious by the end! She liked the schoolgirls. She liked the laughing, kissing wife with her liberally fondling husband. She even liked the maid, although that might have been more because of the revealing French maid’s uniform and the fact that her bosoms were a great deal plumper than Mindy ever thought hers could be. Wondering which ones the Snake Man might like the best, Mindy went back through both magazines, this time combing the pages for telltale wrinkles where fingers other than hers might have lingered. What she found was a dog-eared page in the very back of the second magazine where the personals’ section lay. There in black and white, was a five-line ad for someone right here in Willow’s Grove. For a moment, Mindy thought her heart stopped beating. It read: SWM seeks kindred spirit. Must be SF, DD inclined, ready for lifelong

commitment to red-hot loving. No one night stands. Must like snakes. CW PO Box 161, W.G., NC 27607 Her first instinct was to write a letter, which was crazy since he was (hopefully) coming to dinner tomorrow night. Her second instinct was to wonder was ‘DD inclined’ might mean. Dear Diary? Deep Devotion? Delightful Discipline? Heck, it could have meant Darkwing Duck for all she knew. She really had no idea. From somewhere downstairs, Nana thumped on the ceiling with the foot of her cane. “Are we having dinner at all tonight?” Mindy took her hand off her mouth long enough to call back, “Be right down!” Then she covered her mouth again. She really was trembling now. She also felt a little dazed. Gathering the magazines together, she briefly hugged them to her chest, her hands stroking and petting the back covers before she tucked them neatly under her pillow to look at later. She then went downstairs. She still didn’t know what ‘DD inclined’ might be, but she was also lost on what to fix for supper and she wasn’t thinking about tonight’s. All she did know was that she desperately, desperately wanted for everything to be as perfect as she could make it when Colton Waters came back tomorrow night. ***** Mindy jumped half out of her skin when she heard the crunch of tires rolling down the gravel driveway. He was here, he was here, he was here! Scrambling to get off the bed, she ran to her bedroom window and looked outside. But it wasn’t a school bus that she saw coming slowly towards the house. She raced from her bedroom anyway, pausing only long enough to shut Murphy’s bedroom door (friendly and personable to strangers he was not) and jogged quickly down the stairs. “Gracie’s here,” she told her grandmother in the living room. She grabbed Nana’s bingo bag and hustled it out the door, taking it right up to the car as it pulled to a gentle stop just shy of the porch. Having married and settled down some fifty years earlier, Nana’s best friend Gracie was now so short she could barely see over the top of the steering wheel without a booster seat. She didn’t get out of the car, but swiveled when Mindy opened up the rear passenger door and tossed the bingo bag onto the backseat. She grinned, her bright blue eyes practically owlish behind her Coke-bottle glasses. “You have a date!” Mindy smiled back, but she was in just too much of an excited hurry for chit-chat. “Drive safe and come home winners.” “You betcha!” Gracie grabbed her cow bell out of her own dauber bag and gave it several enthusiastic rings, crowing, “Bingo! Now pay up, buster!” She threw back her gray head, cackling uproariously. “Woo hoo! You tell ‘em, sister!” Mindy shut the door, leaving the cowbell tolling, and jogged back into the house to hustle Nana out the door. “What’s your hurry?” her grandmother groused, pushing her walker along at an even slower pace than normal. “Maybe I should meet him. Make sure he’s suitable.” “You already know who he is,” Mindy told her, and tried to hustle her faster. It might have been a trick of the wind, but she could have sworn she could hear another set of tires winding its way down the long driveway, still out of sight but coming closer by the second.

“That doesn’t mean he’s suitable!” “Nana, please!” “I’m going, I’m going.” But she didn’t go gracefully or without pouting. She dropped grudgingly into the front seat, relinquishing her walker so Mindy could fold it up and stuff it into backseat alongside the dauber bag. “We want details when we get home,” Gracie grinned at her when Mindy ducked down to buss Nana’s weathered cheek with a farewell kiss. “Say it loud and say it proud,” Mindy bid them both, and closed the door on their warrior cries of: “Bingo!” She stood on the front porch waving until the car was out of sight, and then when the school bus did not magically appear after they had gone, dashed quickly back inside. She took the stairs rapidly back up to her bedroom. Looking at her reflection in the vanity mirror, she smoothed the skirt down, adjusted her breasts in the low cut neckline (it didn’t help them look any bigger, though) and tossed her long hair back over her shoulders. She didn’t look bad. A little Sandra Dee-ish. She wished she knew how to put her hair up in something other than a ponytail, so maybe she’d just leave it down tonight. But if he spanked her she might want it up and out of her face? No, no. Definitely leave it down. Maybe she should wear jeans. For the umpteenth time, she fingered the knee-length blue and white floral print sundress before deciding—for the umpteenth and one time—that she’d rather have her bottom accessible. Just in case he wanted to do something other than show up, snatch his magazines back out of her hands, whack her upside the head with one or both of them and then crossly leave again. Always a distinct possibility. Life wasn’t a fantasy photo spread, after all, and she had stolen his mail. He might actually be upset about that. Her fingers fidgeting, Mindy turned around to see how she looked from behind and then she resumed her position on the bed. On hands and knees, she glanced back over her shoulder in an effort to judge how cute and/or attractive her backside looked in a spankable position. Not bad. She was about to pull up her dress and double-check the panty selection when this time she really did hear the rumble of a bigger engine and gravel grinding under heavy tires. Mindy rolled over onto her hip and sat up, but that was as close to the window as she got. Her stomach was an instant tangle of knots; she couldn’t breathe. This really was quite pathetic, she told herself, already perched on the verge of either laughing or hyperventilating—she hadn’t yet decided which and he hadn’t even got out of the bus yet! Then she heard it: slow, crunching footsteps approaching the porch, then climbing—one, two, three steps—before crossing the weathered wood to the front door. She grabbed his magazines, hugging them to her chest like a shield, every nerve in her body so painfully on edge that when he knocked she could feel each rap echoing through her veins. She was going to have to go downstairs now and confess what she’d done. Either that, or sit here really, really quietly and hope he’d give up after a few knocks and go away. This was ridiculous.

“Get your ass off this bed, go downstairs and knock his socks off!” she whisperingly scolded. But do it in a sweet, sultry and sexy way and not like a rhino in heat, which was what she was starting to feel like. Drawing a deep and stabilizing breath, she made herself put the magazines down. He knocked again. “Coming!” She could hear the strain in her voice, but managed to make her way downstairs without throwing up. That was always a plus. When she reached the front door, she paused again, looking at the shadow of him through the curtain-covered window and pressing her hands over her stomach in a vain attempt to still the nervous butterflies. Drawing another steadying breath, she took hold of the doorknob and swung it open. His eyes were hooded and he wasn’t smiling. That was the first thing she noticed. He wasn’t frowning, per say; he just wasn’t smiling. He didn’t say ‘Hi’, either. He just angled his head and, as if unable to believe he was asking, said, “Do you…have something of mine?” Mindy had spent all day practicing how she was going to answer that question. And to be honest, she’d actually started practicing the night before, curled up on her pillow, flipping slowly through both magazines again, trying to commit every detail in each of the scenarios to memory. Now, confronted at last with that character-building, come-clean, learn-and-grow-from-your-mistakes moment, her brain went completely blank. “I haven’t exactly figured out how to answer that yet,” she hedged, her fingers twiddling in the folds of her skirt. He stared at her. His eyebrows quirked and a corner of his mouth started to tick upward, but then she blinked and there he was again, just looking at her, hooded and reserved. Finally, he asked, “May I have them back?” “I haven’t figured out how to answer that one yet, either.” His eyebrows shot up into his hairline. As she picked at the edge of the door, she caught quick shy glances at him from out beneath her bangs. “I really like them. Maybe you’d consider letting me buy them from you…maybe…when you’re done looking at them?” That corner of his mouth twitched again, coming perilously close to a real smile as he reached out to catch hold the door. As if expecting her to suddenly change her mind at any second, he took two slow steps into the house. He turned around to close the door, and then stood there, staring at it for several minutes while his long fingers tapped lightly at the wood and he wrestled himself into some silent decision. Mindy took a step back when, suddenly seeming to make one, he looked at her again. “How’s your leg?” he abruptly asked. She actually looked down at the one in question, the long scratches still very visible around her ankle and up her shin. They were bright red, ragged lines that looked far worse than they really felt. “Not bad. Stings a little, but it doesn’t really hurt anymore.” Very evenly, he asked, “Would you like something to?”

Her knees actually went weak. This wasn’t a fantasy photo-spread, she had to remind herself again, and yet all of a sudden everything had taken on a distinctly surreal focus. How did one even answer a question like that? “Yes, please.” His hands came to rest on his hips, and she looked at them. They looked like very capable hands: big square palms, long and thick fingers. The butterflies in her belly had doubled in number, but they weren’t just in her belly any more. They had moved down to her bottom where all she could feel was this half-dreadful, half-excited crawling sensation just underneath the skin. One quick jerk of his head gestured for her to start walking. “Go get the magazines.” Fingers twitching and twisting in the folds of her skirt, Mindy turned and headed for her bedroom. She was halfway up the stairs before she realized he didn’t intend to wait patiently at the front door for her return; he was following her up to her room. Still several steps behind her, that put his eyes right about butt-level to her, and when she glanced back over her shoulder, she was pretty sure that’s exactly where he was looking. At her butt. She should have worn jeans. He’d have got a better view. Her hands were sweating. She rubbed them against her thighs, leading him straight up to her bedroom without a word. The magazines were under her pillow where Nana wouldn’t accidentally see them should she glance in from the doorway. As Mindy pulled them out into the open, she would have handed them straight over to their rightful owner, except that Colton stopped her. “Put them on the bed. All but that last one. Hand that one to me.” Mindy shuffled through the short stack, placing the two by now very well-read magazines on the neatly-made comforter and handing back the one package that she hadn’t had the nerve to open. It was, after all, addressed to Colton Waters. “This,” he said, holding it up by its protective-wrapped plastic, “is the only reason why you’ll be able to sit down tonight for dinner.” The most delicious thrill shivered through her. He looked so self-confident and stern and…and authoritative. Her breath caught in the back of her throat, and then again when he pointed to the edge of the mattress and said, “Bend over and put your hands flat on the bed.” Life might not be a fantasy photo-spread, but it was doing a really good impersonation of one right now. Her stomach tangling and tightening, her bottom crawling and tingling, Mindy bent over and braced her slender weight upon slightly spread arms. Colton lay the two magazines directly between her hands where she couldn’t help but look at them. “Open it to the scene you liked the best.” She hardly had to think about it. It was the first of the two magazines that she’d looked at, and she had no trouble finding the two giggling schoolgirls with their stern Teacher standing over them. After glancing at the open page, he moved around to her left side and Mindy jumped a little when his arm came across her back. His hand settling lightly against the far side of her waist, he tucked her up against his side to steady her. She needed it. Her knees felt very wobbly. “Were those your books to take?” he asked.

Mindy shook her head. Her arms were trembling now too, and although it had nothing to do with the meager strain of being bent over, it did have everything to do with the position she was in. “I want to hear you say it.” “No,” she squeaked. “No, what?” “No, sir,” she promptly corrected herself. One didn’t actually have to have spanking experience to know that was the right response. “No, sir, they were not,” he agreed. And then he just did it. The flat of his hand smacked down upon the left side of her bottom, jolting her up and over the bed. Had it not been for his steadying hold around her waist, she was so shaken that she’d have fallen sprawling across her own bed in a totally graceless and humiliated heap. As it was, Mindy quickly recovered her balance, sucking at one startled breath after another, her eyes widening at the surprise that reality had given her. That sharp, single spank hadn’t hurt. Not really. But the potential for pain was there in the muted sting that the barrier of her clothes helped to absorb, albeit only partially. Giving her a moment to recover herself, Colton then asked, “Did you ask if you could borrow them?” Mindy started to shake her head, but then caught herself. “N-no, sir.” She gasped outright, stiffening as two sharp smacks bounced off her rounded bottom, first the right side and then the left. The barrier of her clothes were feeling a little thinner now, particularly over her left buttock. She clenched them, trying to hold in the sting which was already beginning to fade. Her bottom shimmied, but then she quickly caught herself and locked her knees. His hand came to rest on the fullest part of her now stinging left bottom check. “What do you think should happen to young ladies who take things that do not belong to them and without asking?” “They sh-should g-get, um…” the word stuck in the back of her throat, “...mmaybe spanked…maybe just a little bit?” Apparently, Colton agreed with everything but the ‘little bit’ part, because he spanked her then and it was not ‘just a little bit.’ He by no means used the full strength of his arm. He didn’t have to. Swift slaps peppered all over her bottom, catching both sides equally, high and low, side to side, sparking heat and insinuating that delicious sting everyplace destined to touch a chair if she tried to sit later on. Mindy’s jaw dropped. Her brow puckering as she struggled to hold herself still, to absorb his spanks and absorb the sensation, to simply feel as the sting became a glowing, overwhelming warmth. He was a really good spanker. Admittedly, her first-hand experience at being able to judge a Really Good Spanker when she encountered him was limited to this one experience. But she did know that Really Good Spankers were supposed to make it impossible for a girl to hold still shortly after discipline ensued and within just a handful of slaps Colton accomplished that. Mindy lost the fight to hold still. Despite all her best efforts, she began to move in tandem with the steady rise and fall of his hand, sometimes arching back to meet the flat of his palm and sometimes cringing in as if to get away from it. Her gasps became whimpers, her whimpers became squeaks. And right as the fury of that growing sting

perched on the cusp of becoming real pain—not the hot and glowing kind, but the sort that was just a smack or two away from not being fun to take anymore—the spanking abruptly stopped. Her arms weakened, with relief or disappointed she didn’t know, but she sagged down to press her face into the blankets and momentarily rested there. She barely realized his hand had begun to rub gentle figure-8s into her warm and throbbing bottom. At least, not until he stopped and patted the side of her hip. “Back into position.” With shaky breaths, Mindy rose up onto her arms and locked her knees once more. She stared down at the magazine between her hands until he bent to close it, tossing it a short distance away and leaving the second one in its place. “Open to the scene you like the most,” he said again. Mindy started to obey, but then paused. Her battle was as brief as it was internalized, but in the end, the page she settled on was that of the laughing couple. She almost turned to the very last part of the scenario, the photo where the naked and redbottomed wife straddled her husband’s lap, kissing him so passionately while his hands dipped into all the right places. But she chickened out. She showed him the first page instead. This was a first date, after all. She was really kind of surprised it was going so well, considering they didn’t know a thing about one another. Not really. Colton looked at the magazine for at least as long as she had hesitated in revealing it. “I liked that one, too.” Some of the heat in her bottom moved down between her legs. It pulsed up into her, melting in a way that was both wonderful and erotic and a little bit unnerving when he bent down to take the hem of her skirt and pull it up over her bottom. The cloth bunched into the small of her back as he wrapped his arm again around her waist before asking, “Was this yours to take?” And so it began again. Her softly admitted, “No, sir,” was met with much crispersounding smacks. His bare hand on her panty-covered bottom bringing home the realization that underwear—even cotton underwear—was really no barrier at all when a strong palm was being studiously applied. The sting was now a rousing burn and they were right on the verge of crossing the line between fun spanking and real discipline. She wanted to hold her position, but slowly and surely she was crawling up and over the bed. He allowed her to escape only a few inches at a time before hauling her back into place. She gasped out loud, panting and clutching helplessly at the comforter when he stopped. “Oh ow!” she squeaked. “Oh ow!” He hooked the elastic sides of her panties and, in one deft movement, flossed it up between her buttocks, baring the round, blushing summits. “Oh my god!” she blurted, her eyes flying open wide. She forgot the heat and forgot the throbbing. She scrambled, still bent over, trying to twist back far enough to glimpse what she looked like in the vanity mirror behind them both. Her bottom was the next best thing to bare. It was also a bright and beautiful shade of pink all over. When he caught the direction of her stare, he also looked back at their reflections. “Did you ask to borrow my property?” “No, sir-Yiiouch!” She squealed, caught in a whole new onslaught of rapid fire swats that brought her dancing up onto her tiptoes.

He branched out, no longer centering the focus of his attention on the very summits of her cheeks but attacking all the places still pale and untouched, particularly along that low crease the bisected her bottom from her thighs. He made her wiggling and kick, prancing on the tips of her toes, bobbing her hips this way and that, arching and squirming and wagging those strawberry red nethers all over the place. And it didn’t seem to matter if she could hold still for this or not, his hand never missed. Not once. Not until he decided she was done. Not until her bottom looked exactly like the wellspanked wife in the open magazine below her. “Ow! Ow!” she cried, but she was far from tears when his hand again paused to caress her. Ever so gently, he fondled the flesh he’d scalded. Ever so softly, he stroked the aching curves. First one side, then the other, the elastic of her panties scraping like sandpaper across her skin as he, without a word, deflossed her buttocks and smoothed first her underwear and then her dress back into their proper places. “You may stand up,” he allowed, removing his restraining arm and backing a step away. Mindy eased herself to stand upright. She reached back with both hands, holding herself long enough to feel the heat of her flesh burning right through her clothes. Then she rubbed, lightly, the scrape of her clothes the coarsest of sandpaper. Oh, she felt so hot. Swollen and throbbing, at least three sizes too large for her skin. None of her fantasies had come anywhere close to this! She looked up at Colton in absolute wonder, and all that she could think was how, in the words of that immortal song, he had made it hurt so wonderfully, marvelously, magically good!

Chapter Three She made a nice supper: bar-b-qued chicken quarters, green beans, and mashed potatoes (made from a box) with gravy (made from scratch—go figure). If Colton could tell that the potatoes weren’t real, he was nice enough not to say so. He even helped her clean up afterwards: she washed the dishes and he dried. Then they retired to the couch to open up that third spanking magazine and peruse the scenarios together. She sat on his lap with her skirt bunched around her waist and his hand resting on her bottom. To better feel his handiwork, he said. Midway through the evening, she excused herself to the bathroom just so she could again gain that visual thrill of seeing her own bottom looking as well-chastised as any one of those ladies from the photographs. Sadly, the redness was already fading. It was little more than the faintest blush now, but the warmth was still there. Not as intense as before, but muted and still wonderful. And when she returned to the living room, she had no hesitation about lifting her skirts and regaining her place on his lap, cuddling up against his chest while his hand rubbed and caressed. Nana came home around this time. If she gave them more than a casual glance, then she hid it well. “Carry on,” she said loftily and, it being nearly midnight already, swept on past them on her way to her first-floor bedroom. Colton took his hand off her bottom after that, and Mindy smoothed her skirt modestly down where it was supposed to be. She also got off his lap, but the damage was already done. Having grandma in the house was, as they say, a mood killer. So they said their goodbyes on the porch. He bent to kiss her cheek, his hand lingering along the soft slope of her jaw, the pad of his thumb brushing a final caress across the bow of her lower lip. “Can I see you tomorrow?” he asked, before he left. “I’d like that.” She wished she were brave enough to rise up onto her toes and kiss him on the lips. “Dinner at my place?” He smiled. “I’ll pick you up at six. This time I’ll cook.” He took two of the magazines home with him (they were his, after all), but he left the third one with her so she could look at it some more. Those were some thoroughly explored pages by the time she turned out the light. Rolling over onto her side and softly stroking her still ever-so-faintly tender bottom, it took a very long time before she could finally fade off into sleep. She never did get to introduce him to Murphy. Ah well, there was always tomorrow. ***** “So,” Nana conversationally began as she lowered herself to sit at the breakfast table. Mindy set a hot coffee cup in front of her and then turned to get the milk from the fridge. “Sew buttons, Nana.” “You were right.” Dropping two cubes of sugar into her cup, Nana picked it up to cradle the hot mug between her arthritic hands. “That boy is all grown up.” Mindy cracked a couple eggs into the frying pan, making good use of the distraction so her grandmother wouldn’t see the telltale blush stealing up over her cheeks. Although she hadn’t known Colton back in the old days, when dinosaurs roamed the

Earth and her grandmother still taught at the local K-12 school, he’d certainly felt all grown up while she’d been sitting in his lap. “He wasn’t acting too slithery when I came home, either,” Nana continued. “Maybe one wandering hand, but what with the way young folks are these days…” “Nothing happened,” Mindy told her, buttering two pieces of toast to go with the eggs and setting a plate down in front of her grandmother. “He was a perfect gentleman.” A perfect gentleman who’d lifted her skirts and tucked her panties in between her buttocks so his bare hand could do the most delicious things to her mostly bare bottom. “Uh huh,” Nana said, watching the blush stealing up over Mindy’s cheeks. “It’s a little warm in here, isn’t it?” she said weakly, and went to wrestle the window above the sink open. “Are you going to see him again?” “Tonight. Six o’clock. I’ll have your supper on the stove before I go.” “Pssh!” Nana waved her hand. “I can do it. I’m not helpless you know. I got along fine on my own for eighty-four years; I’m sure I can handle my own supper for one night. What about you?” “What about me?” Halfway down on the chair across from her grandmother, Mindy still paused, looking up from her own plate of breakfast with beetled brows. She blinked twice, then sat. “Are you going to do anything special?” Mindy’s face flamed. She quickly turned it to the business of eating and hoped that Nana was feeling half-blind today. “Dinner at his place. He’s cooking, he said.” She tried not to, but she squirmed a little on her seat anyway. Her bottom wasn’t tender any more, but she was kind of hoping he’d remedy that shortly after he picked her up. “Um hm,” Nana said, missing nothing as she searched her granddaughter’s blushing face. “Maybe you should go to town today. Pick up something nice to wear. Just in case.” “I think I’ve got something, actually.” Mindy turned her attention to her plate, but some part of her mind was already upstairs and in her closet. Maybe jeans today. Something tight to hug her bottom, giving him that visual treat when she went over his knee and herself that yummy psychological thrill when he gave the order to ‘take them down.’ She imagined having to stand in front of him, head hanging in hot shame while she unzipped and slowly peeled the denim down over her hips. Colton had seen her from the back last night, but if she wore jeans then he’d be in a prime position to see her from the front too. Or maybe he’d do that part himself. She shivered, already feeling the pressure of his big hands as he tugged her pants to her thighs. And maybe her panties, too. Leaving her completely bare to whatever part of her he chose to look at...and maybe touch...with those long, thick fingers of his. “Mindy!” Mindy’s head came up from her plate with a jerk as she quickly transferred her attention from the remains of her breakfast to her grandmother. “Yes, I’m listening.” “Great. Wonderful.” Nana didn’t look like she believed her for a bit, but she gamely forged on anyway. “What I said, child, was do you know how it’s done?”

Of all the times to be caught not paying attention. Mindy blinked at her, but she could recall nothing beyond the luscious feel of Colton’s make-believe hands undressing her. “School these days,” her grandmother grumbled, shifting in her chair and straightening in preparation for a serious conversation. “All right, pay attention. This is very important, particularly for a woman your age. It’s going to happen sometime and trust me when I say you don’t want this coming to you as a huge surprise in the wee, small hours of the night!” “Nana,” Mindy said, confused. “I don’t think we’re planning to stay out all that late.” Her grandmother actually looked pained. “Mindy child, it doesn’t only happen at night! Men these days are quite progressive. It’s even worse when it happens in the day. And when it happens, if it happens, you’ll need to know what to do, because heaven help you, girl, Colton might well be the most wonderful man in the world, but he is not going to understand if you run screaming from the house!” “Run…screaming..?” Blinking in confusion, Mindy sat up a little straighter now too. “Nana, what are you…” “Oh hush and let me just come out and say it!” Heaving a great sigh, Nana briefly closed her eyes, bracing herself. When she opened them again, she held up both her hands. “You have your birds,” she said serenely, and with her left hand she touched the tip of her thumb to the tips of her fingers, making a round hole. “And you have your bees.” She closed her right hand, extending only her first two fingers, side-by side. “And when you bring them both together…” “Oh my God, Nana!” Mindy shrieked, suddenly understanding exactly where her grandmother was going with this visual demonstration. Abandoning her breakfast, she jumped up from the table. “I do not need to hear this!” “You’ll need to hear it sometime!” It was a hard fight not to slap her hands over her ears and flee the room singing ‘La-La-La!’ at the top of her lungs. Mindy hurried her dishes to the sink and left the kitchen like an adult. A fast-walking adult, but an adult just the same. ***** The sun had dropped as low as the tree-lined horizon when Mindy heard the chug of the school bus coming down the driveway. She quickly finished brushing out her hair, twisted it up into a ponytail and then checked herself in her bedroom vanity mirror. She liked the jeans, the dark blue denim was tight enough to hug the lower curves of her bottom but not so tight that it cut off her oxygen or left a red ring around her middle. She’d changed her shirt a half-dozen times. The white tanktop showed her bra strap, and that was a Redneck Trailer-Trash look she simply wasn’t going for. She ended up in a simple rose-pink t-shirt that matched her cotton panties, and which would hopefully inspire Colton to paint her bottom with the palm of his hand until it was every bit as colorful. And warm. So toasty and warm and just a little bit tender to sit on. She let her hands wander down over the curve of her backside, starting to feel that giddy tingle suffusing the skin beneath her fingers. Little butterfly wings stirred low down in her stomach, kicked up by the steady footsteps crunching in the gravel down below as they journeyed their way to her front door.

“I’ll get it!” Nana called up the stairs at her, even before Colton had reached the porch. That put a bee under Mindy’s tail. Whatever finishing touches she’d been about to make regarding the light dash of mascara and lipstick that defined her eyes and lips, she suddenly deemed herself absolutely perfect. Quitting her room, she tore down the stairs in an effort to beat Nana to the door and thereby circumvent another ‘birds and bees’ discussion. She only barely got there ahead of the old woman, who was moving quite spritely today, walker and all, and who looked up at Mindy with wide and wounded eyes. “I said I’d get it.” “That’s okay. It’s for me.” Mindy threw open the door with a smile, which grew in direct proportion to Colton’s when his gaze traveled over her. She looked good, but he looked even better, a lean and gorgeous hunk of cowboy in his customary hat and snakeskin boots, jeans that hugged his lean hips and long legs, and a blue button-down shirt so neat that it looked freshly pressed. “I hope you’re hungry,” he said by way of a greeting. “I think I’ve packed enough for a small army.” “Fine,” Nana huffed grumpily, blocked in behind the door where she couldn’t see him. “Don’t introduce me, then. It’s not like I’m anybody important. Just your only blood relation in all the world.” Mindy closed her eyes for just a half second longer than a blink required and then extended her right arm, pushing the door open as wide as she could without letting go of it. That made an opening between her and it just big enough for Nana to poke her head around from the side. “Good heavens, he’s grown.” “Good evening, Mrs. Caveat.” Colton removed his hat, still smiling and with a glint of good humor in his brown eyes, particularly when he glanced sideways at Mindy. “Good to see you again.” “You too, good heavens. Last time I saw you, you were half—” she made height and width motions with her hands before grabbing her walker again, “—what you are now. Mindy child.” Catching her arm, Nana pulled her to one side and slipped a small paper-wrapped envelope no bigger than a movie ticket stub into the palm of her hand. “They say one size fits all, but…” she looked at Colton again. “Good heavens!” She patted Mindy’s fingers closed around the package. “Good luck.” Putting his hat back on his head, Colton waited until Mindy came out of the house and Nana had bid them both goodnight, before whispering, “What did she give you? I promise, you won’t need cab fare home.” “It’s not money. I’m almost afraid to look.” She glanced back at the house, but as she and Colton stepped down off the porch and headed for the bus, she opened her fingers. They both looked, but neither said a word. Not until they were on the bus, each buckled into their customary seats, and the vehicle was rumbling its way back to the main road. It was Colton who broke the awkward silence first. “That’s a condom, isn’t it?” Mindy didn’t think she’d ever be anything but a deep, burning scarlet color for the rest of her life. The color wasn’t bad, except that she was wearing it in entirely the wrong location on her body. “Silver-Tex. Triple tested. Guaranteed not to tear.”

“I’ve never even heard of Silver-Tex.” He glanced at her in the rear view mirror. “Not that I’m all that worldly-wise where prophylactics are concerned.” Now it was his turn to clear his throat. “I’m pretty sure they don’t come wrapped in paper anymore, either. How long to do you suppose she’s been hanging on to that thing?” Despite her supreme embarrassment, Mindy had to fight to keep from giggling. “It’s real proud of being, um…lubricated.” Smirking, Colton shook his head. “What say we put that thing away. When, if we decide we need something like that, we’ll just go buy our own, okay?” “Deal.” She tucked the paper-wrapped condom into her pocket and folded her hands in her lap so she’d have something to do with them while she was trying so hard not to look at him. “That looks good on you,” he said after a while. “What?” “Pink. Blushes. Take your pick. I like them both.” They turned onto the main road, heading away from Willow’s Grove and up into the hills. They had gone several miles, filling the comfortable silence that kept trying to fall between them with amiable chitchat (how’s your day, nice weather we’re having, how’s your bottom, still sore?), when Mindy became aware of the enticing scent of cooked chicken. “What smells so good?” she finally asked, swiveling around in her seat so she could chase the scent. She reached blindly behind the seat until she found the wicker handle of a picnic basket tucked behind her, right next to the first set of shelved snake enclosures. She couldn’t see any snakes without taking her seatbelt off, but she did manage to drag the basket out into the aisle. “What’s this?” “Supper,” he said, smiling at her through the rear view. “I thought we’d go up to Montridge View, look at the fireflies and the city lights, such as they are. We can eat a little supper (or a lot of supper, considering how I packed that basket) and maybe do some talking.” “Sounds good.” She started to unwrap the white blanket that covered the food, but stopped when Colton loudly cleared his throat. “No peeking.” She made a face, her stomach starting to rumble, and then changed the topic. “What’s DD-inclined mean?” Was it her imagination or did the bus just swerve a little? Clearing his throat, Colton shifted in his seat. “I guess that answers whether or not you’d seen the ad.” “If I knew what it meant, I might consider replying to it?” she teased and stole a peek inside the basket while he wasn’t looking at her. “It means domestic discipline.” “As in foreign or domestic?” She stole a little crispy skin off a piece of fried chicken. It was halfway to her mouth when he looked at her in the mirror and caught her. She smiled and ate it anyway. “Uh huh,” he said, a knowing look in his eyes and promissory smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. “Actually, domestic discipline, in my mind at least, refers to wives submitting to their husbands whenever a good spanking is required.” “What about girlfriends?”

“Girlfriends, too. Especially girlfriends who go digging into picnic baskets when they’ve been told not to.” Mindy giggled and stole another piece of chicken before covering the tablecloth back over the food. “We’re going up into the woods, you know.” He said, tossing her a rakish grin. “Where switches and bamboo stalks abound.” Mindy perked. “Like in that farmer/daughter scenario? Where he marches her down to the barn and bends her over a hay bale and he switches her until she’s got all these bright red stripes poking out from under the hem of her short, short shorts?” “Note to self,” Colton said with a rueful chuckle. “You are way too excited by the prospect of switches for that to ever be a successful threat.” Mindy grinned back at him, but she was thinking now not of the mouthwatering chicken practically melting in her mouth, but rather of blue cut-off shorts being lowered to reveal black thong panties and a tangle of swollen switch welts cris-crossing one another all across the blushing surface of that howling ‘daughter’s’ bottom. She’d looked oh so penitent by the time ‘daddy’ was done with her. She’d stood in the center of that barn, clutching and squeezing and rubbing in an effort to put out the fire he’d lit within the tender flesh of her sorely mistreated backside. Mindy shivered delightedly. “I think it was supposed to be a woodshed,” Colton said. “Do you have a woodshed?” She tried not to sound too hopeful. After all, she didn’t want the man to think she wanted him only for his implements and spanking paraphernalia. He wasn’t fooled. “As a matter of fact, I do. But you’re going to have to be a very good girl if you ever want to see the inside of it.” Mindy laughed. “Isn’t that backwards?” “For every other woman in America, yes.” He shook his head once. “But not for you. You’re one of a kind; you like it too much.” “Aww!” “Nope,” he said brightly. “No more spankings for you, young lady, until you learn to behave yourself.” “No!” she laughed, but she also put the picnic basket back where she’d found it. He slowed the bus to turn off the main highway, venturing down a road that more resembled a sparsely traveled trail, unpaved with grass growing up between twin tire tracks that wound their way through the trees, gradually climbing the gentle hillside. They came to a stop at the top of a bluff. A well-known necking spot, it had seen just enough teenage traffic to turn a section of the grassy meadow into a bare-dirt parking lot. It was dusk but not dark when he shut off the engine and climbed from the bus to set up their supper table. Finding a plush grassy spot, he spread a blanket out on the ground not far from a heavily laden oak and a purple-leafed maple tree. Setting the picnic basket in the middle, he beckoned her over. “Take a seat. Unless, of course, you’ve eaten enough of the chicken that you’re not hungry any more.” “Not a chance.” Mindy came onto the blanket and eagerly knelt across from him. “I’m starved.” They had chicken, potato salad, corn on the cob, cheese and crackers, grapes and strawberries, and thin slices of German chocolate cake for dessert. Just about everything

could have been purchased at the deli in town, but that didn’t make it taste any less good. And Mindy really enjoyed the company. When they’d eaten their fill, Colton patted a spot on the blanket and said, “Put your butt here.” She scooted over, putting her back to him and glancing over her shoulder at him questioningly. When he lay down a short distance behind her and patted his stomach, she lay down too, pillowing her head and shoulders upon his midriff. They looked up at the indigo sky, watching as the stars came out and the near-full moon began to shine. It washed the whole countryside in a soft, silvery glow. It was a beautiful night, neither hot nor cold, and the conversation wasn’t bad, either. “When I was a little boy,” Colton said, his fingers combing softly through her hair. “I used to play with these two girls that lived on my street: Bobby Ann Barker and Michellinda Ewing. I can’t believe I still remember their names. They were the cutest girls, too. Blonde hair, blue eyes. We’d play house and I was always the daddy. There wasn’t a half hour that went by where I didn’t find some really good reason to spank one or both of my girls.” Rolling over onto her side, she looked up at him. His hand felt heavenly, endlessly stroking her hair. His head was pillowed on his other arm, and while he watched the winking, sparkling stars, she watched him. “I grew up; they grew up. Little girl behinds became womanly behinds. Round butts, bubble butts, wobbly and heart-shaped butts, and every last one of them looking sexy as hell with a pair of bright pink handprints on them. Yeah, I think it’s pretty safe to say I’ve been a butt man from the beginning.” He gave her head a playful pat and a scritch, grinning up at the stars. “What about you? When did you know?” Her head still pillowed on his stomach, Mindy reached up to toy with one of his shirt buttons. It was infinitely easier to look at that then to look up at him as she confessed a secret she’d never ever told another living soul. “When I was fifteen, my best friend and I played hookie from school. We were back at her house exactly when the bus would have dropped us off, but the school must have called her father because he was waiting for her when we opened the door. He grabbed her arm and right there in the hall—he didn’t even close the door first—he just bent her over his hip and started smacking away. He spanked her, and I mean he really spanked her. This was my best friend, and she was kicking and wailing like I’d never seen before in my life. And the whole time I was standing there watching this, all I could feel was…well, a little scared in the pit of my stomach, but also kind of excited. He sent her running up to her room in tears, and then he looked at me. I’d known that man since I was five. I used to play at his house every week, if not every day. He used to help me with my homework and even bought me a cupcake for my birthday one year. So when he looked at me like that—with this...this...Look...I honestly thought he was going to spank me next, too.” “He didn’t?” “No.” She tried not to sound too disappointed, especially not after so many years. At the time, she remembered feeling exceedingly grateful to get out of that house unscathed. “He threatened me with a good whipping if we ever did it again, then sent me home and called my mother. I got grounded for a month, but unfortunately spent that whole time sitting down quite comfortably.”

She glanced up at him then. He was smiling. “What a crime.” She laughed softly. “Yeah, well. It was a long time ago.” “Few reasons beat out playing hookie where good spankings are concerned.” He was twining his fingers in long strands of her hair. A soft night breeze rustled through the old oak tree, shivering the leaves over their heads. “Was the switching scenario your favorite from the last magazine?” “Yes, but it ran a close second with the bad-tempered girlfriend who got her attitude resoundingly adjusted with that hairbrush.” She giggled, sitting up when he nudged her. He got up slowly, digging a penknife from his pocket and unfolding it with a snap before holding it out to her. “You ever cut your own switch before?” Holding that knife in her hand, Mindy felt the butterflies stirring back to life. “No.” “All right.” When she made no move to stand, he offered her a hand up, patiently waiting until she took it. “I’ll show you how it’s done, but pay attention because you’ll be cutting the next one on your own, and there will be penalties for not picking one sturdy enough to count out a decent licking.” She tried to laugh as she followed him to the tree, but although he’d been smiling as he said it, there was a delightful ominousness to his words that made her giggles choke to a stop in the back of her throat. In the moonlight, he felt along the length of several thin branches until he found one to his liking. “Nice and green,” he said, snipping it from the tree. At the thickest end, it wasn’t any bigger around than her smallest finger. He quickly pared away the twigs, leaving only the slender branch. It made an evil hiss when he cut it twice through the air. “Here you go.” He made her hold while he went back to the bus long enough to turn the headlights on. They weren’t trained on her, but it lit up the bluff anyway and gave her ample opportunity to study the lithesome switch, bending it experimentally between her fingers until he returned. He was still smiling and that gave her the strength and confidence she needed to extend that switch back to him, but instead of taking it, she felt Colton’s fingers catch the waist of her jeans, pulling her those last few inches towards him. Her fingers turned to rubber when she felt his playing along the button and zipper, and she almost dropped the switch completely. The snugness of her jeans eased a half second before his bare hands slipped in between the denim and her skin, smoothing down her hips to cup her bottom. Gazing into her eyes, he squeezed them, bringing her up on her toes again, before shrugging her pants down her legs so that they puddled around her knees. “Turn around, put your hands on the tree,” he said, his voice husky and low as he finally accepted the switch from fingers that had gone limp and almost numb. When she turned to obey, his free hand settled light and warm against the small of her back. “Don’t let go.” He lay the switch against her flanks, the cool length coming to rest partly across her bare skin and partly as little more than the softest caress over the thin cloth of her underwear. He held it against her, letting her simply feel the flexible length before giving the switch a flick.

And a flick was exactly what it was: a snap of his wrist, a whisper of sound and the barest whisper of answering sting that streaked across the fullest curve of her pantycovered bottom. Mindy sucked a sharp breath. He could have hurt her, but he didn’t. He used very little force at all, just tender wristy strokes as he followed that first stroke with a second, third, then fourth, an endless soft rain of them that kissed all the spankable surface of her bottom and lingered for a brief eternity, flicking lightly repeatedly into the crease where her buttocks met her thighs and the skin there was so tender than after two she couldn’t hold still for the third and she clenched, tucking her bottom in as if that might protect it. It did stop the switching, but only just long enough for the warm palm of his free hand to rasp down over the stinging surface of her skin. “Push your bottom out, Mindy.” And Mindy did. Her hands shifted against the rough bark of the tree, coming in close together as she leaned in to press her forehead against the backs of her fingers. The length of the switch returned to the upper part of her bottom, resting there lightly for just a heartbeat or two before he began again. She caught her breath and held it, closing her eyes, each flick of his wrist—ever so slightly harder than before—making her bottom bounce and her hips twitch. Soft as they were, the sting very quickly grew teeth and Mindy’s little twitches became outright squirms. Her hips twisted, softly bucking from one side to the next, unable to hold still but reluctant to evade as he worked his way down to the crease that topped her thighs. She took three quick snaps there before her silence was broken by a ragged gasp. He paused, and the tip of the switch moved down to tap at the back of her knee. “Spread your legs apart. Wider.” She shifted her feet as far apart as her puddle of jeans would allow. Her ragged breaths were tiny gasps of uncertainty when he hooked the waist of her underwear and pushed those down now too, albeit only midway down her thighs. As lightly as he’d spanked her, there was still a flush of warmth to her flesh and heightened sensitivity when his bare hand rasped a caress, circling the mound of first one smarting buttock and then the next. It was so light and so brief, that when his two middle fingers followed the curve of her bottom down to skim between her thighs, she almost thought she imagined it. There was no missing, however, the sheen of wetness that she felt cooling against her breeze-kissed skin when he let his fingers trail back up and over the curve of her right cheek again. “More?” he asked, sultry and low. She couldn’t speak. She just nodded instead. His hand found its place in the small of her back again, so warm and strong and sure, and then it began again. Sharper this time. Strokes of pain-tinged fire that lanced lines into her flesh. Lines beyond counting, beyond holding still for, beyond being quiet for. “Oh!” Her hands became fists against the rough bark of the tree, and again she tried to twist her hips away, still pushing back into the sting even as she fled from it. Except this time, he didn’t let her. His hand left her back, reappearing below her belly, moving down to boldly cup her sex, arching her hips back and holding her there for the switch to sting with endless, fiery lines.

It was bitterness and sweetness, painful and pleasurable, unbearable and arousing all at once. She arched up onto her toes, pushing her fists against the old oak, unable to take it and yet crying out sharply when it stopped too soon. Too soon! She was moving on his fingers, hardly aware of what she was doing until the heat of his mouth pressed hot kisses down the slope of her neck. “I like switchings,” she said, startling her badly when her voice came out sounding so shaky with the pain of it and yet husky with the rawness of her need for more. He laughed softly, sounding every bit as aroused. “Only because you’ve never felt the real thing.” “That wasn’t real?” “Not by a long shot.” She turned her head to look at him, awash in moonlight and the yellow glow of the headlights. Her bottom was throbbing lightly, caressed by the lithesome switch from behind. Her sex ached even more, his fingers stroking up into the wet hot folds until her hips twitched to ride them again. “Please?” She didn’t have to specify; he knew full well what she wanted. “It’s going to hurt,” he warned. “Just one?” Her whole body shivered as he stroked her, both before and behind, two different sensations, both arousing in the extreme. Colton took his hands away and stepped back, measuring the slender switch once against the fullest swell of both rosy cheeks. For one split second, Mindy knew what it was like to be the farmer’s disobedient daughter. For that one single stroke, he put a taste of real punishment into the fire that cut across the naked hills of her buttocks. Her shout echoed all over that bluff. She forgot about holding onto the tree or holding still. She vaulted stiffly upright, grabbing herself and dancing in place, stamping her feet in the grass as she bouncing frantically up and down. But just as quickly, completely unmindful of the show she must be giving him, she turned quickly into the light, twisting back her head in an attempt to see the resulting welt that she could already feel swelling beneath the tips of her fingers. “Oh ow!” she whispered, rubbing and soothing and craning her neck back the other way to see if she could glimpse it any better from the other side. “Oh! Oh ow!” Dropping the switch into the grass, Colton came up behind her, forcibly pulling her hands away and pressing her forward until they were once more against the tree. The rough denim of his jeans were a scouring abrasion against that single growing welt. But even more breathtaking was the conspicuous bulge that pressed up between her buttocks from behind. “Now,” he breathed, hot and sultry against her ear. “Aren’t you glad to be such a good girl that you won’t have to stand here like this, taking a dozen more just like that?” Trembling, her hips pushing and rubbing back against him just to feel the aching friction against the fury of the weal, all Mindy could think to say was, “Could I be just a little bit bad and have a few more?” Laughing softly, Colton shook his head in wonder, “You really are one of a kind.” He kissed the back of her neck, and then he bent to pick up the switch once more.

Chapter Four The next day, Mindy still had three perfect lines bisecting the width of her bottom. They were tender where the elastic of her panties rubbed them but she liked the feel. Every time she sat down, a little of that old heat flared and the throb would begin anew. It took two full days before they disappeared completely, but sometimes if she sat just right she imagined she could still feel some tenderness and it would make her smile. And then she’d smile even more as she remembered the hard bulge of Colton’s unapologetic arousal, still safely confined within his jeans but pressing up against her wealed buttocks, seeking its own entrance into the warm wet heat of her. He’d wanted to make love to her, but in the end he refrained. It was only their second date, after all— although maybe his reluctance had more to do with Nana’s forty year old condom. Regardless of the reason, he’d simply watched, a funny little smile on his face, while she wincingly pulled up first her panties and then her jeans, the tenderness of her aching bottom so deliciously wounded by those three wonderful, throbbing stripes. Not all the rubbing in the world could put out that kind of fire, and oh to have to sit down on that bus for the long ride home. She didn’t remember the road being that full of potholes when they’d come up here; she both moaned and laughed each time he hit a rut and she couldn’t quite arrest her bounce. Once home, Colton walked Mindy to her door. He took his hat off as he bid her goodnight, then tucked a finger under her chin, tilting her lips up into his and kissed her. Not a modest buss to her cheek, but a full on conquering kiss, his lips on hers, coaxing her mouth to open to him and then invading relentlessly when she obeyed. Who could ever could have thought a simple kiss could so thoroughly curl a girl’s toes? But his did. Curled her toes, weakened her knees, melted her through and through. He turned her into butter, right there on her own front porch. And after he was gone, she’d floated up the stairs to her bed as if she were walking on clouds. “Details,” Nana said, when Mindy joined her at the breakfast table in the morning. “There’s nothing to tell,” she replied, but try through she did to behave with absolute normalcy, the way she eased herself onto the hard, straight-backed chair did not pass unnoticed by her grandmother. Clucking her teeth and shaking her head, the old woman muttered, “One size fits all, my ass.” Hiding her knowing smile behind her coffee cup, she couldn’t wait until Friday to see him again. It would be a night of bowling and hotdogs, and maybe some hot spanking fun afterwards. Maybe back at his place. Maybe she should get her own condoms, just in case. Because she didn’t think she could stand to feel him rubbing up against her sorely aching bottom, not one more time without also wanting to feel him rubbing deep inside of her. Yeah. Yeah, they were definitely going to need condoms for date number three. And Mindy was washing the lunch dishes and quietly contemplating the pros and cons of strawberry-flavored versus ridged-for-her-pleasure when the phone rang. “Can Mindy come out and play?” a familiar voice asked from the other end of the line.

“Colton!” It wasn’t Friday, but her heart skipped a beat anyway and she quickly found a dishtowel to dry her hands. “What’s up?” “Well, I actually have a favor to ask you. The sort of favor a guy normally wouldn’t ask a girl like you after only two dates, but since it does involve you—in a roundabout sort of way—and since I can’t get a hold of anyone else, I thought I might have some success in sweet-talking you into helping me.” Leaning her hip against the counter, the fingers of her free hand already aimlessly tangling themselves in the receiver cord, Mindy checked the stove clock. “Sure, I guess. I’ve got some time.” Even more curiously, she asked again, “What’s up?” “Can you meet me in town some time today?” She checked the clock again. “I can check with Nana, but I don’t think we’ve got anything planned. When?” “Whenever you can get here works for me.” Her eyebrows quirked closer together. He seemed cheerful enough, almost like he was trying not to laugh, but there was just something about his tone that sounded a “Are you broken down? I don’t have a car.” “No, no. Nothing like that.” “Where should I meet you?” “I’m at the sheriff’s station.” Mindy startled. “Oh my God, have you been arrested? Because of me?!” Her voice dropped to an incredulous whisper. “Oh my God, did somebody catch us on Montridge?” Her hand clapped to her forehead as, even worse, she felt a shock of pure panic at the thought of someone seeing them. This was way, way too small of a biblethumping town for either of them to ever live something like a spanking fetish down. “No, no. Nothing like that. It was a minor infraction, really. Disturbing the peace, a little destruction of private property. I ran into the Balrays at Sunny’s Bar, and it quickly became a nose-breaking opportunity I just couldn’t walk away from. I don’t suppose you’ve got a couple hundred dollars just lying around somewhere? I can pay you back the instant I get out of here.” A corner of Mindy’s mouth started tugging its way into a smile. “You broke somebody’s nose for me?” “Three noses. One lesson in how to treat a lady apiece.” “Aw,” she said, grinning. That was almost too sweet to be mad about. “Yeah, I can bail you out.” But just to make sure this didn’t become a regular habit, she added, “But if you get sent to jail, all bets are off, buster!” “Yes, ma’am,” he replied. She hung up the phone and went to get her purse. She had a few bills and a letter to post, so she took those with her as well. “I’m going into town, Nana,” she called into the living room on her way to the door. Even though it wasn’t Monday, Nana made no complaint. “Bring back ice cream.” “It’ll melt.” “Then I’ll drink it!” Running a quick brush through her hair, Mindy dabbed on a little lipstick and then started out for Willow’s Grove. She hit the post office first and then the bank before heading across the street to the police station. Small towns had small police departments,

and this one was manned by a sum-total of three men: Sheriff John Huskins and his two deputized employees, Mark Lennings and Fuddly Goosie, whom everyone just called Goose since any man named Fuddly had assuredly been punished enough for it during his childhood. The basement of the building had two holding cells, and after putting up his bail, Goose took her down to see them. The Balrays were in one, all of them huddled on the bench farthest from, while Colton stood leaned up against their separating wall, burly arms sticking through the bars, broad hands folded together, asking, “How’s those broken noses coming, fellas?” Her heart skipped a beat all over again. He looked good: tight butt in close-fitting jeans, the checkered flannel of his shirt stretching the width of his shoulders. His knuckles looked bruised, while even though he was smiling there was an underlying hardness to his faux cheerfulness that even the Balrays could recognize. The town bullies nursed their bloody noses, breathing through their mouths and blinking warily back at him in absolute silence as far from him as that tiny little cell would let them get. “Ready to go home?” Goose asked. “Or are you looking to stay another tour?” Colton glanced back over his shoulder. When he saw her, that hardness behind his expression vanished. “There’s my girl,” he announced, his smile turning genuine in an instant. He came to the door while Goose unlocked it, and like a pony shooting from the gates, he caught her up in his arms, lifting her clean up off her feet and, before she could even squeal her surprise, kissed her. It was very public and, considering they hadn’t yet been dating long enough even to hold hands in front of anybody else, very surprising. It was also toe curlingly good all over again and her knees wobbled a little when in the end, he let her slide down the length of him to stand on her own two feet. “Let’s go home,” he said, his long arm settling across her shoulders. It was all so very proprietary, and Mindy didn’t mind a bit. “Just so long as you don’t pee on my leg,” she said while they stood waiting to collect his belt and his belongings from the front desk. Colton laughed. He also held the door for her, and they walked out of the station and into the daylight. “I’m not a jealous man, honey. I’m just letting folks know that I take care of what’s mine.” “I’m yours?” she asked, her breath catching a little, like a tiny hiccup in the back of her throat. “I was saving this conversation for Friday. You want to talk about it now, or do you have to go straight on back home again?” “Well...” she hedged, her sense of responsibility waging a bitter war with her desire to be with him just a little while longer. “I do need to be back in time to fix Nana supper. And I have to bring ice cream.” As he led her back across the street to the bank, he leaned in close enough to whisper, “Want to go home sitting on cold packs?” “I’d never use cold packs,” she whispered back. “It ruins the burn.” ***** Colton took Mindy home to his two-story white farmhouse with its whitepicketed wrap-around porch set back off the road and privatized by a shield of ash and dogwood trees. Everything looked neat, and the yard was large but tidy. She could see the peak of a red barn behind the house, and sure enough, he had a woodshed. A smaller

gray building with cords of wood aging under an attached, open-faced carport that was way too small to house the bus. Instead, he parked the bus at the corner of the house under the shade of a sprawling oak. Unbuckling her belt, she stood up as he started to disembark, but on the middle step he stopped and faced her, his expression one that seemed startlingly somber. “All right now, honey, there’s two talks I’d like to have with you. The first one is completely under your control. You can say no, and I’ll honor and respect that decision. We’ll just try it again later when we’ve both had a chance to get more comfortable with one another. Do you understand?” Not really, but she nodded anyway. “All right.” A corner of his mouth turned up in that smile she liked so much, yet at the same time, he gave her a Look that made her stomach tense up in all kinds of funny little knots. “Then I want you to stay on the porch until you feel comfortable coming into the house, because if you come inside, honey, I’m going to take your control away.” “This must be some talk.” She mused, following him off the bus on watery knees. “A long, hard one,” he said, as he climbed the front porch steps. “The first of many ‘real’ talks we’re going to have.” That made her stomach tighten with nervous anticipation all over again. He opened the front door without needing to unlock it first. That was one of the things she’d never get used to about Willow Grove. It might be the 21st century, but almost nobody here locked their doors whether they were home or not. While he went inside, she crept as close as the threshold as she could come without crossing it and rested her hand on the jamb so she could peek inside. Although as neat and tidy as the exterior and yard, it was definitely a bachelor’s house with wood trim and green wallpaper, a few hunting trophies on the mantle and hanging in the living room, and a singing trout on a plaque halfway up the stairs. “How serious is this talk going to be?” she finally asked, her eyes coming back to him. “The school called today,” Colton replied, as he hung his hat up on the coat rack just inside the door. Then he turned to confront her, arms folded across his chest. Despite the fact that she hadn’t been in school for years, he had a deadly serious look on his face. “You’ve been playing hookie.” Like nothing she had ever felt before, a tiny stone dropped out of nowhere and landed, cold and trembling, in the very pit of her stomach. Unfolding one long arm, Colton pointed to a spot directly on the carpet before him. “Come here, young lady. Right here. We’re about to have us a reckoning.” For a moment—just one split moment—she was fifteen and standing in the entryway of her best friend’s house, staring up at into the angry face of a man she’d never seen lose his temper before and knowing all the way down into the creases of her soul that she was about to get a very real spanking—the first in all her young life. For a moment, Mindy honestly forgot how to breathe. His eyebrows arched. As serious as the grave, Colton said again, slower, darker, “Mindy. Come. Here.” In that moment, Mindy knew two things instantly and with all of her heart: one, she really, really liked Colton; and two, she trusted him enough to put her foot across the threshold and step inside his house.

That’s about as far as her courage took her before the trembling took over. After that, she crept under the shadow of his authoritative finger like a puppy under the threat of a rolled up newspaper. The consequences happened just as fast as she remembered back happening to her best friend all those years ago. Colton caught her arm, completely disregarding her startled shriek, and in one fluid jerk he had her bent over his lean hip and pinned beneath the iron strength of his left arm. He didn’t take the back of her skirt up or her panties down. He simply started spanking her, and right from the very start, his hand as hard and flat as any wooden paddle, it hurt like hell. This wasn’t playful. It wasn’t sexy. It was fast and hard and jarring all the way down to her madly scrambling toes as a whole barrage of furious swats knocked her feet right out from under her. Her hand shot back in vain attempt to catch hold of his. “Ow! Wait, OW!” One hand encountered his back, the other pushed and shoved at his restraining arm, but she might just as well have been trying to bend chiseled stone. “Co—Ouch! OW! Colton! Wa—ow, please!—wait!” She scrambled to squeeze her arm back under his and cover her already fiercely aching backside. It worked; for just a few blessed seconds, the spanking stopped. “Move your hand,” he said, stern and so obviously not yet finished. Not only did she not move her hand, Mindy spread her fingers in an attempt to cover as much vulnerable space as she could reach. Wincing and panting, she said, “I’ve changed my mind! I think I’d like to go back out on the porch now!” Taking hold of her wrist, Colton shifted her blocking hand into the grip of the arm that held her bent over and pinned. “Little girl, you’re going to be very sorry you didn’t mind me when you had the chance.” With a bottom already smarting like the devil, his words and tone set her body to throbbing in a whole different way. A flavor of that old, familiar eroticism crept in on throbbing pulses of pain. “W-wait,” she stammered when he took hold of the back of her skirt, lifting it up and tucking it under his arm. Twin fingers and a thumb hooked the back of her underwear and her eyes flew open wide when she felt the brush of elastic being skinned down the backs of her thighs and cool air smoothed over the swells of her now quite naked behind. “No, no, no!” But his ‘yes’ was to resume the spanking, just as hard and as fast as before, only now the breadth of his hand was flattening her naked bottom with scalding intensity. It was unreal. No, scratch that. It was very real. The most real thing that she’d ever experienced, and between smacks and splats and yelps and shrieks, there was a very, very real fire beginning to build into bonfire proportions underneath her skin. It was hurt so good all over again, only with a whole lot more ‘hurt’ and a very shy ‘good’ playing peekaboo in between the spanks. “Please!” Mindy grabbed onto the back of his leg, needing something solid to hold onto while her eyes began to tear and tireless rise and fall of his right arm absolutely rocked her fragile world. “Colton, please!” Please stop, please don’t stop, she had no idea exactly what she was pleading for, but he did. He spanked until there was no white left anywhere in her bottom. He spanked until the mottled prints of his hand blended into a warring patches of red and pink, fury and fire in every imaginable shade of pain.

She wasn’t crying. She didn’t think it possible to take a spanking like that without falling absolutely to pieces, but maybe that was the difference between fantasy and reality. Grown women need more than just hurt bottoms to cry. They needed strong, implacable, intractable men to give them Looks, because it wasn’t until Colton set her upright and sternly gave her his that whatever reservoir inside her finally broke and the tears came flooding out of Mindy. “Ow!” she wailed at him, catching hold of her bottom and rubbing furiously to put the fire out. One hand on the back of her neck, he steered her through the living room into the nearest corner. “Hands on your head,” he said, spanking her twice more when she failed to instantly obey. Her poor, abused bottom twisted to escape, but his hand found it anyway, and his palm felt no less like granite for her being upright instead of bent over and pinned helplessly into place. “You go on and let that heat percolate some. No rubbing until I say you can.” He rolled the back of her skirt up, tucking it into its own waistband and putting her bottom on full, cherry-red display. She had no idea where her panties had gone to. Or her sandals for that matter. She couldn’t even remember kicking them off, but she was bare foot now. “Nose in the corner,” he told her, taking a seat on the couch to watch her. He rubbed his spanking palm. It was red. A dark red. Was her bottom that dark? She forgot the corner and twisted back to see for herself. “Corner,” Colton said, his tone warningly low. “Or haven’t you had enough yet?” Mindy faced the wall. She wanted to rub so badly! This spanking wasn’t like the others. The hurt was taking longer to fade and the fire was intensifying. “Was that a real spanking?” “Yes, ma’am. As close as you’ll ever get to the real thing, at least with me, without doing something to deserve it.” “Wow,” she said softly, and reached down to touch the scalding heat. Her fingers skimmed along the sides of her hips, coddling half milky-white skin and half scarlet. “Hands,” he reminded her. She put them back on her head and after a moment of quiet contemplation, he chuckled. “God, you’re beautiful.” Mindy sniffled, but she was smiling now too. Although the hurt was still devastatingly strong, the throbbing was beginning to spread, out from her buttocks and down between her legs. “D-did you mean what you said?” “Hands on your head? You bet I did.” “No, the other part.” She lay her hands on the wall to show she wasn’t quite leaving the corner and turned around so she could see him. He was reclining on the center sofa cushion, his long legs extended before him and crossed at the ankles, his hands folded behind his own head. He was watching her through smoky, half-closed eyes. “I mean, what you said earlier. In town. About taking care of what’s yours, and when you called me your girl.” Colton nodded once. “That, too.” He unfolded his hands long enough to twirl one finger in the air. “Nose to the corner until I say otherwise, or there’s going to be a very uncomfortable Round Two coming right up.” Mindy faced the wall. She sniffled again, not really all that close to tears anymore, although it was killing her not to be allowed to rub. The minutes ticked slowly

by, tracked by an unseen windable wall clock, echoed by the dull pulse that was making her sex ache every bit as much as her bottom. “I sent you a letter today,” Mindy finally said, unable to keep it secrete any more and hoping desperately that he’d take the hint, and then maybe just plain take her. “Just in case your DD-inclined position is still available.” The quiet that followed that admission was broken a few seconds later when he chuckled. “Honey, you really are one of a kind. I’ve had exactly two responses so far. Both from men who skipped right over ‘single female’ and went straight to ‘must like snakes,’ although I’m sure they were thinking more along the lines of the one-eyed trouser variety.” She heard him shift on the couch, and then he patted his leg. “Come here, Mindy.” Gladly. Leaving the corner behind, Mindy went to him, she didn’t even cover herself before him. Colton took full advantage of her wanton boldness; his hungry gaze was locked on her pussy from the moment turned around until, no longer a hookie-playing teenager, she knelt to straddle his hips like a well-spanked ‘wife’, her aching bottom perched upon his knees for him to fondle and caress. She lay her head upon his shoulder, loving it when his arms came up around her. “I canceled the ad two days ago.” He admitted and stroked her back. “Consider the position filled.” She looked up at his strong chin. “But not the magazine subscription, right?” Colton laughed outright. His hand moved down to give her bottom a sharp slap, and then a sexy rub, and she wrapped her arms around his neck when his fingers followed the curve of her buttocks down between her splayed thighs into those hot and wet places he definitely hadn’t yet spanked. “What say we go get your Nana her ice cream...” “And pick up some condoms,” Mindy breathed, her hands fisting in the loose folds of his shirt as her hips began to grind upon his first stroking, and then penetrating fingers. “...and fix her some dinner,” he murmured, sultry and low. “And I can introduce you to Murphy.” “Murphy?” His fingers stilled. She drew back far enough to see his eyes. “My iguana. I’ve had him since I was ten. Love me, love my iguana. We’re kind of a package deal.” “You have an iguana.” His wondering look melted into a smile, which quickly became a grin. “Beautiful, smart, funny...and she’s got a lizard.” He picked her up, rolling with her until her back was to the sofa cushions and he lay comfortably on top of her. He shook his head once. “Yeah, I think I’ve found my kindred spirit.” THE END