I hope everyone is having a great week and enjoying all of the fabulous blogs being posted. I know I’ve enjoyed reading them! 🙂 TGIF! Have a fantabulous weekend! Happy reading! ~Morganna
Keely rode to her favorite spot on the river and climbed from her horse. She heard a splash as she walked toward the river. It was him! Keely ducked behind a mesquite tree and watched him swim. He was naked. The sight of his broad chest with water trickling down it made her stomach flutter. The fluttery feeling made her even angrier with him than she already was. Halloran had only been on the ranch a few days and had already managed to alter her whole life.
Keely felt her face go hot as she remembered what he had done to her this morning; she had gone down to the back pasture to help cut the bull calves just like she did every year.
Halloran frowned when he caught sight of her, “This is no place for a young lady Keely. Go back up to the house.”
Keely had glared up at him, “I always help with cutting.”
“Not anymore,” He said firmly. Keely had looked to her father’s oldest friend Jim for support. “Jim tell him it’s okay for me to be here.”
Jim had smiled at his gently, “Honey, you know I have never really thought you should be down here with the boys and me. I should have put a stop to it myself a long time ago.” Jim knew they should have taken a firmer hand with Keely after her father died, but found it hard to deny her anything. She’d lost both her parents so young and had been left at the mercy of the ranch hands and house staff to raise; they all adored her and were relieved Halloran understood she couldn’t be turned away from the only home she’d ever known.
Halloran felt very strongly about how such a feisty young lady should be dealt with though and Jim knew the girl was about to get some of the discipline she so badly needed if she didn’t watch her step.
Keely straightened and glared at both Jim and Halloran. “Jim may be cowed by you but I’m not!” She said as she turned to head toward the small heard of bull calves.
Halloran took her by the upper arm and propelled her towards her horse landing three stinging swats to the seat of her jeans on the way. He then lifted her onto her horse, “You owe your Jim an apology young lady and I will expect you to give it to him later. For now you get on up to the house,” he said as he smacked her horse on the rear.
Keely speechless with rage and embarrassment had ridden past the grinning ranch hands. Instead of going home she’d ridden for hours. Now hot and sweaty she was looking forward to a dip in the river and he was there.
She sat behind the tree and glared at him. Then she noticed his clothes on the bank. Keely grinned to herself and when he was swimming to the far bank she grabbed his clothes and used a stick to cram them down into a mesquite tree. She worked them far into the branches tangling the clothes up in them. Humming to herself she untied his horse and led it back to hers.
Keely was still smiling several hours later when dinner was being served, “I’m glad to see you’ve gotten over this morning’s unpleasantness Keely. Matthew is right you have no business being there when we cut the bulls. Please try to be a little more civil to him Keely, this is his ranch now,” Jim told her chidingly.
“Why does he have to come in and make all these changes? You’ve been the foreman here since I was a baby. Old Mr. Halloran never interfered with the way we ran things,” Keely said resentfully.
“Matthew just wants to make the ranch more profitable Keely. He’s got a good head on his shoulders. You just keep a civil tongue and remember he’s running things now. I wonder where Matthew is. He should have been home hours ago.” Jim frowned, as he realized how late it was getting. Matthew never missed dinner.
Keely had to bite back a grin, “Probably out riding the range.”
Just then they both jumped when they heard the front door bang open. Jim jumped up when Matthew walked in, there were tiny bloody scratches all over his face and arms. His clothes were pretty torn up too. “What in tarnation happened son?” Jim asked.
Matthew glared down at Keely who had taken a sudden interest in her plate. “Could I speak with you in the study for a moment Jim?” he asked softly and then left the room.
Jim looked worriedly at Keely’s bent head for a minute before following Matthew from the room. Keely felt like her stomach was in her feet.
Keely was still sitting there a few minutes later when a red faced Jim returned, “Young lady I don’t think I have ever been so disappointed in you.” He put up a hand when she started to speak. “No I don’t want to hear any excuses for your behavior. Matthew wants to see you in the study. I don’t think it would be wise of you to keep him waiting. I’m going out to the barn to check on the horses, I won’t be back up to the house tonight. You mind Matthew Keely and remember he doesn’t have to let you stay here. I’ll see you tomorrow,” he said as he left the room.
Her face flushed at Jim’s reminder that the ranch wasn’t really her home; she was only here because of the charity of the great Hallorans. Keely knew she should feel badly about the trick she’d played on Matthew but she was sick of being treated like a little girl! She wanted to work on the ranch with the men.
Keely started to just walk on past the study door and head to her room when she heard his stern voice from inside the study. “Don’t even try it. Get your butt in here pronto!”
She looked longingly at the stairs then sighed and went into the study, “You wanted to see me?”
Matthew rose from behind the desk and walked around to the front of it. “Come here Keely,” he said sternly. Keely stood rooted to the spot. “Now!” She jumped and walked quickly up to where he was standing.
“I uhh…guess I should…Hey!” Keely yelled as Halloran sat on the edge of the desk and jerked her across his knee. “Wait you can’t do this! Stop it right now!” she shouted at him.
His only response was to raise her skirt and pull her drawers to her knees. Keely barely had time to react to her bottom being bared before the first sharp smack landed. “Ohh…,”
Halloran pulled her in a little tighter and then began to pepper her bottom, “I’ve tried to patient with you young lady, but I’ve had enough. You will obey me, as far as I’m concerned until you marry you’re my ward and you will answer to me. There will be no more working with the men on the range. You will apply yourself to learning how to run a house and prepare to learn to be a good wife. I’ve already spoken to Greta, she will begin your lessons in the morning.”
“I don’t want to learn to run a house!” she cried jerking over his knee as his hand began to fall even harder.
“Never the less, you will learn young lady. Your days of running wild like a little hoyden are over. It is clear from your actions today you should have been taken in hand long ago. Rest assured little lady I am more than up to the task,” Matthew assured her as his hard hand continued to fall relentlessly on her upturned backside.
“Owww! Please stop!” she wailed.
Again and again his palm continued to fall giving little respite to her poor bottom as it changed from white to pink and from pink to a brilliant shade of scarlet beneath his capable hand.
Keely lay sobbing limply across his lap by the time he was finished, her bottom a bright shade of crimson. “I’m so-orry Matthew. I sh-houldn’t have played such a nasty trick on you,” She said softly.
“No you shouldn’t have. I have scratches from that damn mesquite tree all over me. I also had to walk about two miles before I came across one of the hands,” Matthew lifted Keely to her feet. “I want you to bend over the desk.”
“Why? I said I was sorry,” she cried.
Matthew picked up a thin whippy mesquite branch that he had carefully stripped of all its thorns. “I plan to ensure that you will think more than twice before ever being so vindictive again. Over the desk Keely, don’t make me ask again.”
Keely whimpered as she lowered herself across the desk and felt the air hit her tender bottom, “I’m sorry Matthew, please don’t switch me.”
“You’re getting ten licks with the mesquite switch and then you are to go to your room and go straight to bed.”
Keely sniffed and nodded her head. The first line of fire laid by the mesquite switch brought her up on her toes as it fell across the tender under curve of her bottom. The little switch stung her already sore backside like the dickens.
The rest followed hard and fast, barely giving her time to protest one before the next fell to add a another line of fire.
“Yeeouch!” The ten strokes though quickly applied seemed to take forever. The last stroke fell diagonally across the nine stripes neatly crossing her behind. Halloran lifted her gently from where she lay sobbing across his desk and pulled her to stand in front of him as he righted her clothing. Then she was sobbing into his chest while he rubbed her back soothingly as she cried.
When her tears finally stopped Halloran held her away from him as he studied her damp face, “I hope you have learned your lesson Keely. I don’t ever want to have to do this again but you need to understand that I will if I find it necessary,” he said firmly.
Keely looked up at him and nodded, “Yes sir.”
“Good girl, now off to bed,” Matthew kissed her forehead and then put her away from him with a firm swat to her now covered behind.
As Keely walked out of the door she turned, “Halloran?” he looked up from the switch he had just retrieved from the floor. “I really am sorry.”
Matthew smiled at her, “All is forgiven. Get some rest.” As he watched her walk from the room he snapped the mesquite switch in two.
Don’t forget to visit the other blogs in the Spanking A-Z Challenge!
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