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Bringing Trouble Home

Lost and Found in Thorndale, Book 1

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Widowed rancher Heath Wolfe worries he’s making a big mistake by bringing Willow McAllister home to his ranch. A known troublemaker around town, she can’t seem to keep a job or avoid skirmishes with the law, so the town marshal implores Heath to help. While Heath agrees to employ Willow, he certainly won’t allow misbehavior, and he’s even prepared to take the willful young lady over his knee for a sound spanking if warranted.

Orphaned and alone for several years, nineteen-year-old Willow is used to taking care of herself. She sleeps wherever she can find a soft surface and roams freely. She doesn’t drink whiskey every night and she only steals when she has to, so it doesn’t seem fair when the marshal insists she give up her freedom to work for Heath. She suspects that the rancher is as humorless as he is handsome.

Heath and Willow are as different as two people can be, but a tentative friendship forms. Old habits die hard, though, and it doesn’t take long for Willow to engage in familiar shenanigans. When problems arise, will Heath regret bringing trouble home, or will he get to the bottom of it, once and for all?

Warning: Bringing Trouble Home contains sexual scenes and domestic discipline, including punishment spanking. If you don’t like these themes, please don’t buy this book.

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Sneak Peek

Willow watched Heath walk into the jailcell and look down at her mildly, hands on his hips. She hiccupped and stared into his eyes, waiting for the verdict.

He didn’t make her wait long. “Well? You want to come home now? Or do you fancy staying in the marshal’s fine hotel a bit longer?”

The relief that washed over her caused more tears. She stood from the hard bed and walked the one stride to him with her head bowed and shoulders stooped. She sniffled. “I want to go home, Heath.”

“Come along, then, Trouble.” He pivoted and strode out of the cell. She followed him to the buggy. When he wordlessly offered her a hand up, she accepted it. His calloused fingers clasped hers, and she squeezed them tight on her ascent, drawing strength from his touch.

“’Y’yup!” Heath said to the horse, once they were both seated. The buggy lurched forward.

Willow held on to the railing until she’d caught her balance, then let go and fidgeted with her hands in her lap. The only sounds for the next half-mile were the crunching of the wheels along the dirt and puffs of air from the horse.

She wished Heath would say something to her. She wanted him to yell at her, tell her she was a terrible disappointment, tell her he was angry with her—anything but the pervasive silence. She couldn’t guess what he was thinking, but a glance at his face told her he was more unhappy than he’d let on at the jail. His jaw was hard, his eyes narrow.

“Are you angry with me, Heath?” she asked, her voice small.

He didn’t respond. Willow sighed and gazed at the grass shuddering over the rolling hills. The cool air against her cheek felt like freedom. She hadn’t realized how stale it had felt in the jail until she was free from it. She never wanted to end up in trouble again.

“I wouldn’t blame you if you were angry,” she continued. “Matter of fact, I’m surprised you’re even bringing me home. I thought you’d be done with me. I thought you wouldn’t want me working for you anymore.”

“Is that what you would prefer? Be done with me and the kids? Go back to your old life?”

“No. As I was sitting in the cell, the only thing I wanted was to see you and the children. I made a vow to myself never to drink or chew or play cards again.”

“Don’t make vows you can’t keep, Willow, even to yourself,” he said sharply.

“I mean it, though. I’m sorry, Heath.”

He nodded once in acknowledgement of her apology, and then he was silent again.

After some time watching the muscles rippling under the haunches of the horse pulling the wagon, she said, “I wish you would yell at me or something.”

He didn’t respond right away. “I’m not much of a yeller,” he said finally, glancing at her before turning forward again. “But if you recall, I did promise you a punishment.”

She swallowed. “You were serious about that?”

“I was. Didn’t you think about how much a spanking from me would hurt when you were out causing a ruckus?”

Her bottom cheeks clenched, and her tummy gave a strange little flip. She thought back to how she’d dismissed her fear of punishment after a drink. Now that the threat was very close to becoming a reality, she wondered about her own sanity. “I guess I didn’t think about it very seriously. Honestly, I meant to come home before sunset. I lost track of time. I wasn’t intentionally going against your wishes.”

He grunted. “That will not make me more lenient on you.”

Her gaze drifted to Heath’s large hands. Would he thrash her with an open palm, or would he do it with a strip of leather? She was afraid to ask, but she was also afraid of the unknown.

When Heath pulled in front of the cabin, she climbed down and looked longingly at the front door. She felt torn between wanting to get the punishment over with and wanting to spend some time in her room to get her mind wrapped around the idea.

Heath didn’t give her a choice. He descended from the buggy. “Come here, Willow.”

She drew a deep breath and walked to him, feeling like her boots were made of lead. Finding it hard to look at him, she kept her head bent. She was resigned to her fate and willing to accept punishment. Despite her apprehension, she knew Heath wouldn’t be cruel, and she was used to discomfort. Would a spanking be any worse than going hungry for a few days? She didn’t think so.

Heath wrapped his two strong arms around her and pulled her to his chest. At first she was so shocked by his sudden show of affection, her body stiffened, but when there was no sign of him letting go anytime soon, she softened into his hold. She tucked her head against his chest, and he rested his chin on top of her head. He smelled so good, like leather and soap.

He released her and held her out to arm’s length, hands firm on her shoulders. She looked up at him while he studied her without speaking, a question in his eyes. She wondered what he was searching for and felt uncomfortable with the intense scrutiny. She said nothing, but whatever he saw in her face must have answered his question. An expression of resolve filled his features. His hand slid from her shoulder down to her hand, which he held in his, palm to palm.

“I think we might as well get this over with.”

She swallowed and nodded.

He turned and walked toward the barn with her in tow and entered through the back door. It was still light outside, but the barn was dim and shadowed by the slats of stalls. A pitchfork jutted out from a pile of hay that nearly reached the ceiling. The milk cow mooed upon seeing them, and the mare Willow had ridden to town and abandoned nickered at them before dipping her head and taking a long drink of water. Though occupied by her thoughts of the impending punishment, dimly she felt grateful the mare was safe despite her negligence.

Heath continued to hold her hand as he looked around for something in the shadows. His gaze stopped at a large, unused trough propped against the barn wall. He released her long enough to pull the trough out, shove it upside down, and sit on the flat surface.

With a firm tug, he pulled her to him, swiftly planting her upturned bottom directly over his right leg and her stomach over his left. With a squawk, she clawed the air for balance until her hands touched down on the straw-covered ground.

He landed a hard spank across her trouser-clad bottom. Before she could respond, he had landed four more, alternating between cheeks. There was force behind the swats, each one causing her to lurch forward and let out a small yelp. She would have leapt off his lap if his other hand weren’t so firmly planted against her hip, pulling her body against his stomach.

He rested his punishing hand on her bottom, and she took a large gulp of air before saying, “That really hurts.”

“It’s supposed to. Do you think you’re across my lap for a good time?” He rubbed her bottom in a lazy circle.

Her breath caught. Never had she been touched by a man in such a way. It felt good—too good. She didn’t like how completely at Heath’s mercy she was in experiencing that pleasure, which had all too quickly followed pain. When she’d envisioned a spanking, it was her bent over some inanimate object being whipped with a strip of leather, not being held tight to his body and rubbed between swats.

“To answer your question from before, I am very angry with you. It scared me half to death when you didn’t come home. I thought something terrible had happened to you.”

She looked back at him over her shoulder. His jaw was hard and his eyes locked with hers. She licked her dry lips and said, “I’m sorry I made you angry, Heath. I wasn’t trying to.”

“I’m sure you weren’t. There wasn’t much thought at all to how you behaved, was there?” Without warning, he hooked his fingers in the waist of her trousers and tugged them down, baring her bottom.

She let out a half-yell, half-squeal and twisted frantically, outraged by the sudden exposure. He tightened his left hand around her hip and kept her planted on his lap as he continued forcing the trousers down her legs until they were bunched at her ankles. “A spanking on your bare bottom will be much more effective,” he explained blandly. “Now stop your thrashing about or I’m going to punish you more severely than I intend to at the moment.”

Willow wondered what he thought about seeing the slopes of her plump, smooth bottom. Then she realized he might be seeing even more than that. A surge of humiliation overtook her that made her eyes sting. “Please, Heath,” she choked out. “It’s indecent, me being exposed like this.” Her face was flaming. She could hardly breathe. There was no way she could endure the humiliation of knowing her private parts were on display, let alone the pain that would soon be in tandem with it. He wouldn’t spank between her legs, would he? The very thought caused an awareness of her womanhood and a shudder of fearful excitement.

He spanked her bare cheeks a few times, not very hard, more like he was trying to get a feel for his target. “There’s nothing indecent about a naughty girl getting her pretty little bottom spanked. What’s indecent is your behavior. Gambling and stealing, chewing and swearing like a sailor, going out all night without care for your safety. You seem to forget, or perhaps it has never occurred to you, that you’re a young lady and must behave like one.” He landed a mighty swat to emphasize his point. […]

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