Lily’s Lessons

Melinda Barron
© 2010 © 2007 by Blushing Books and
Melinda Barron

Lily’s Lessons

© 2010 © 2007 Melinda Barron &
Blushing Books

Originally published by Blushing Books in
2007 on Bethany’s Woodshed
(www.herwoodshed.com).

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Lily’s Lessons by Melinda Barron

eBook ISBN:978-1-60968-074-9

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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

Lily Park pulled her rental car into a
rest stop and stepped outside into the
warm June air.

Texas. She was home again after
eleven years. Home. Could it really be
called home? She hadn’t felt welcome in
her father’s house since after her mother
had died. And here she was, heading back
to his house at the urging of her sisters.

“Lily, you have to come home,”
Saffron had said with the air of the eldest
sister. “Father broke his leg and his arm in
a fall from Buster. Daisy and I both have
families that we need to take care of. You
don’t have a job or a family. You need to
come home and care for him.”

Lily had blustered at her words.
“Just because I don’t have a job right now
doesn’t mean I can just pick up and move
back home. I do have a life you know.”

“What type of life? Spending your
trust fund by living life to its fullest on the
Rivera? Being screwed by playboys?
Does your family mean nothing to you?
You’ve never even met four of your nieces
and nephews. Don’t you think it’s time you
quit running and came back home?”

Lily hadn’t had an answer for her. It
was true that she hadn’t met half of her
nieces and nephews. And her nephew Bart
had been just a baby when she’d left
Texas eleven years ago. But it was
because of her father that she’d left. Why
should she be forced now to go back and
take care of him?

“Hire a nurse,” she’d said. “I’ll pay
for it.”

She’d heard Saffron’s sigh of
exasperation over the phone lines.
“You know father. He doesn’t want a
nurse. He wants one of us.”

“Even if that ‘one of us’ is me?”

Saffron sighed again. “Even if it’s
you. Please come home Lily, we
need you.”

And now here she was, sitting in a
rest stop staring at the green trees and at
the hills. She’d loved Texas, still did if
truth were told. But she knew when she
left at age 21 that she couldn’t live here,
live this near her father. Her heart beat
rapidly as she sat down on a picnic table
and took a deep drink of her tea. In an
hour, or less, she’d turn her car through
the gates of Park’s Bar III, drive over the
cattle guard and wind her way through to
the ranch house.

Would her father be waiting with
baited breath for the prodigal daughter to
return? Or would he spit on her the
moment she came inside? She took another
drink of tea, wishing for the second time
that day that she’d opted to buy beer at the
convenience store she’d stopped at in
Austin. It would be easier to face her
father with a few beers under her belt.

A pickup truck pulled up next to her
and a tall cowboy exited. He smiled at her
as he tipped his hat. “Afternoon, ma’am.
Y’all doing OK?”

She nodded back and said yes and
he sauntered up to the restrooms, his jean-
clad behind causing Lily to smile. Ah,
cowboys in tight jeans. Now that was one
thing she’d missed. She herself hadn’t
worn a pair of jeans in eleven years, not
even designer ones. They would remind
her too much of what she’d left behind, of
the father that hated her for killing his
wife.

Lily shook her head to clear her
thoughts. She took her shoulder-length
blond hair and twisted it into a knot at the
nape
of
her
neck.
She
wasn’t
accomplishing anything by sitting around
and feeling sorry for herself. She needed
to get going. It was still another twenty-
five miles to the Bar III and she’d told
Saffron she’d be there before dinner.

She finished her tea and threw the
container in the trash. Then for good
measure she waited for the cowboy to
come back to his truck so she could enjoy
the front view too. It was just as fine as
the back view and she’d smiled again. Oh
how she’d missed Texas cowboys.

*****

“I’m Bart, and this is Mark,” the
young boy looked at Lily questioningly.
“Mom says that you’re going to be living
with paw-paw. Do you know how to ride
a horse, Aunt Lily?”

Lily felt herself shiver. All of
Saffron’s boys were blond, just like their
parents. And they talked as much as their
mother. And who was paw-paw? She
couldn’t believe that her father would
allow his grandchildren to call him paw-
paw.

She raised her eyes at Daisy who
smiled in return. “Yes, the man who
wouldn’t let us call him anything but father
now likes to be called paw-paw, amazing
huh? And he likes for us to call him dad.”

Lily stared at her very pregnant
sister. “You’ve gotta be kidding me. Did
y’all have him checked to make she he
wasn’t possessed by aliens or something?
And, by the way Saffron didn’t tell me you
were expecting again. When are you due?”

“Six weeks, thank the Lord,” Daisy
whispered. “I don’t think I could stand
another Texas summer while pregnant. At
least the baby will be here by the middle
of July and I’ll be me again when the heat
of August hits.”

“And no, Lily, he’s not possessed,”
Daisy said softly. “He’s changed over the
last eleven years. You need to get to know
him.”

Lily looked down as she felt
someone tugging on her sleeve.

“You didn’t answer my question,”
Bart said. He and Mark were studying
Lily as if she was a science experiment.
“Can you ride a horse?”

“It’s been a while but I think I can
remember,” Lily said. “How about
yourself?”

Bart nodded enthusiastically, as did
Mark. “Mom taught us to ride when we
were five. We come out every weekend
because we keep our horses here. Paw-
paw gave each of us a horse for our
seventh birthday.”

Lily felt a lump form in her throat.
Just like he did with us, she thought. “He
did that for me, too,” she said. “My
horse’s name was Jimmy. What’s yours?”

“Mine is Stevie, and Mark’s is
Hopper. James’ horse is Winney. Ben
doesn’t have one yet cause he’s only
three.” Bart pulled on Lily’s arm, pulling
her toward the door. “Come and see,
come and see.”

A loud voice stopped them both in
their tracks. “Bart you give your aunt time
to get herself settled. You can show her
your horses when you come back this
weekend. For now your mother wants to
eat so you can get back on the road to
Winston.”

Lily looked at her father and smiled
uneasily. He’d greeted her happily enough
but she was nervous to think what would
happen when everyone was gone and the
big house was filled with only the two of
them. The last time they’d been alone
together they’d screamed and yelled and
Lily had packed and left, and never been
back.

And what had happened since?
Saffron now had four boys and Daisy had
two girls, with another one on the way.
And her stern father now liked to be
called dad, and paw-paw. Had she
entered an alternate universe?

The housekeeper, Mrs. Chisholm,
stepped out of the kitchen long enough to
announce that dinner was ready. Lily
watched as Saffron’s husband, James, and
Daisy’s husband, Ty, helped her father up
out of his chair and into the dining room.

“It’s not as bad as it looks,” he
growled at Lily as she stared at him. “You
don’t have to worry about too much. Mrs.
Chisholm will take care of most
everything.”

The trio moved into the dining room
and Lily pulled on Saffron’s arm. “If Mrs.
Chisholm takes care of ‘most everything’
how come it was so important that I hurry
home?”

“Because Mrs. Chisholm has other
duties also,” Saffron said. “She has to
cook breakfast and lunch for the hands so
she can’t leave the ranch to take father into
Austin for doctor’s appointments. You’ll
need to sit with him in the mornings while
she’s busy. After that most of your
afternoons and evenings should be clear.”

Lily shook her head and then smiled.
Her father had one of the largest, and most
successful cattle operations in the area.
And yet he still did things the old
fashioned
way,
serving
his
hands
breakfast and lunch at the main house.

“And how many hands are there
now?” Lily asked.

“Twenty-two,” Saffron answered.
“Father told me to tell you that one of the
hand’s houses is empty and you can stay
there if you like, or you can stay in the
main house. It’s your choice.”

The idea of having a house of her
own made Lily smile. She had an
apartment in London, but it was crowded.
Being in a house would be fun.

“Which house?”

“Number two,” Saffron said, “right
next to the foreman’s house. You’ll like
him. His name’s Chase Hamilton. Fills out
his jeans rather nicely if you know what I
mean.”

The sisters laughed and moved into
the dining room. The large table was
filled with laughing children and Lily
stared at her father, who was grinning at
something five-year-old Riley had said.
Saffron had exaggerated his injuries too.
His arm and leg weren’t broken; it was
more like his wrist and his ankle. The
casts were not near the size of the full-
body casts that Saffron had described.

Lily looked at her and raised her
eyebrows.

“So I told a few white lies, sue me,”
Saffron said. “We wanted you to come
back. You’ve been gone too long Lily.
You need to get to know your father again
before it’s too late.”

*****

Chase Hamilton undid the cinch and
lifted his horse’s saddle off his back.

“There you go Jonah old pal. Hope I
wasn’t too hard on you today.”

The paint whinnied in response and
shook his mane. Chase laughed and pulled
off the blanket. Putting both pieces of
equipment in their proper places in the
tack room he picked up a brush and began
grooming his horse.

“Heard that old man Park’s daughter
is home,” a voice called out from behind
him. “Wonder if she’s the looker that the
other two are.”

Chase turned to find Josh Stevens
standing in the opening of the stall. The
young ranch hand was holding his horse’s
reins in one hand and blanket in the other.

“Even if she is, she’s still too old
for you,” Chase answered, turning back to
continue his brushing.

“Yea, but I bet she could teach me
some things,” Josh said. “You know she’s
been living in Europe. We could have a
Mrs. Robinson thing going on, with some
European flare.”

Chase shook his head and smiled at
the young ranch hand. “Barely twenty one
years old and wanting to hit on the boss’
daughter. Don’t you think you ought to
save yourself for someone a little younger
than the daughter? From what I’ve heard
she’s gotta be in her thirties.”

Chase didn’t add what else he’d
heard, that the missing daughter was a real
bitch who left because she couldn’t get
along with her father, or any other member
of the family.

“Yea, well I’m still gonna throw my
hat in the ring,” Josh said. “Maybe I could
end up owning this place one day.”

He moved toward the tack room and
Chase laughed. “This woman’s way out of
your league, Josh.” Chase’s voice carried
throughout the barn. “I suggest that you just
turn your attentions toward little Mazy
Thomas, who I saw checking you out last
week at the Lazy Q.”

Josh threw his tack in the room and
ran back to the stall. “Mazy was checking
me out? Are you sure? Shit man, what I
wouldn’t give for a piece of that.”

Chase
laughed.
“Fickle
little
bastard, aren’t ya? Well Romeo, before
you try for either of these fair maidens you
get your ass in there and put your tack
where it belongs.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Josh said.
“Then maybe I’ll head to the Lazy Q after
dinner. I could use a beer or two. Wanna
go?”

Chase shook his head. “It’s been a
long day kid, and this old cowboy needs
to put his feet up. You let me know how
things turn out with Mazy. But don’t forget
you’re expected at work at seven a.m.
Don’t be late.”

Josh ran out after putting up his tack
and Chase shook his head. The kid knew
better. He needed to groom his horse and
check the horse’s hooves at the end of the
day. Since Josh was the only unmarried
hand, besides himself, Chase was sure that
he was skimming dinner from one of the
married couples before heading in town to
the bar. He’d have to find him before he
left and remind him to care for his horse.

Chase finished brushing Jonah, and
then checked his hooves for foreign
objects. He put more hay in the stall and
as a treat he half-filled a feeder bag with
sweet corn and hung it on the side of the
stall.

“Eat up buddy, and enjoy yourself.”
He patted Jonah on his withers and then
headed out of the barn and started toward
his house. It had been a long day and he
needed to eat and then talk to Joe as he’s
done at the end of every day since his boss
had broken his bones.

Maybe he’d even catch a glimpse of
the new girl in town. Hopefully Josh was
right and she was a pretty as her sisters.
And hopefully everyone else was wrong
and she wasn’t a royal bitch.

*****

James and Ty had carried Lily’s
suitcases down to the open house. She
didn’t have much, only two suitcases of
clothes. Everything else was still in her
London apartment.

She turned and watched her father
wobble out onto the porch and wave
goodbye to his daughters and their
families. When they were gone an uneasy
silence filled the air.

“If you need anything you let me
know,” her father said, turning back
toward the main house. “I had Agnes stock
the refrigerator with plenty of food. And I
had Saffron buy you a horse, a beautiful
paint mare that she named Chay. I hope
that you like her.”

His voice was soft, and then he
turned and stared off into the growing
darkness and squared his shoulders. “I’d
like you to come back up to the house
around nine. Breakfast is early, at seven.
You’re not required to be here for that, but
if you’re not here then you’re on your own
for food until lunch. I’d appreciate a ride
down to the barn around ten so I can check
things out. You can use the golf cart for
that. I try to sleep for a few hours after
lunch, and then want to go back to the barn
again to check on things. You’ll be
expected here for that trip also.”

Lily huffed. Her father’s stocking of
the refrigeration and buying her a new
horse had been sweet. She’d actually
thought that he cared. Then he started in on
his laundry list of what she had to do
during the day.

She could feel her gray eyes
clouding over with every word her father
spoke.

“Anything
else?
Since
you’re
treating me like the hired help I guess
you’ll have more instructions for me. Do I
have
regularly
scheduled
breaks?
Weekends off? Do I need to fill out
paperwork? You want to take blood?
Drug test? Give me a curfew?”

Lily immediately wished she could
take the words back. One of her main
problems was that she spoke without
thinking first. She could see the hurt in her
father’s face.

“I’m sorry that my accident forced
you out of your party lifestyle.” Her
father’s voice was harsh. “If you want to
leave you know the road out. I can hire a
nurse.”

“Oh no, a nurse is not good enough
for the great Joe Park. Saffron told me
that. Don’t worry father, I’ll do my
daughterly duties for a while and take care
of you, then I’ll get out of your life again.”

“I don’t want you to do anything
because you think it’s your duty, Lily. I
want you to do it because you care about
me. Do you Lily, do you care about me?
Do you care about anyone but yourself?”

Before she could answer he turned
and headed toward the door. A man’s
voice stopped him.

“Joe? Sorry to interrupt but I do
need to discuss some of today’s events
with you.”

Lily turned her angry eyes toward
the voice and stared. The most gorgeous
man she’d ever seen in her life was
standing before her. Six foot two inches of
cowboy. Well toned muscles showing
beneath his shirt and jeans. Dark brown
hair shoulder length hair speckled with
gray. Dark brown eyes. Full beard and
moustache neatly trimmed.

Lily felt her knees go weak. The
newcomer had his hat in his hand and
was giving Lily a wary look.

“Chase, this is my daughter Lily. Lily
this is my foreman, Chase. He’s your
neighbor so do me a favor, be nice to
him.”

Her father’s words broke her
concentration and Lily frowned at the
two men before turning toward her
new house.

“In your dreams,” she said over her
shoulder. “I’m sure he’s already heard that
I’m a big-mouthed brat. So I might as well
keep up appearances.”

She could hear her father sputtering
an apology to the newcomer but Lily
didn’t care. Coming home to Texas had
obviously been a bad idea.

*****

Chase placed his hat on the table
and sat down in his easy chair. Joe had
been in a foul mood when he’d arrived
and
things
hadn’t
improved.
Mrs.
Chisholm had brought the pair a few beers
and they’d discussed cattle and horses.

As he’d stood to leave Joe had
again apologized for his daughter’s
behavior. “She’s had a tough life. I
blamed her for some things and said some
things to her that I never should have
said.”

Chase went into the kitchen and
opened two more beers. He brought
them back and sat down again.

“Wanna tell me what’s eating at the
two of ya?”

Joe took a swig of his beer and sat it
down with a thunk.

“You know my wife died in a car
accident eleven years ago?”

When Chase nodded Joe continued.

“Miranda was the light of my life,”
Joe said, sadness in his voice. “She was
happy no matter what. Always smiling,
always spreading joy. Kinda like Daisy. A
very, very rich woman who married a
poor cowboy, against her daddy’s wishes,
and helped him build an empire.”

Joe took another swig of his beer
and stared at the floor. “Lily was driving
the car when the accident happened. Tire
blew out. Nobody’s fault really but my
own. I shoulda kept the tires in perfect
condition. Miranda died instantly. Lily
spent a month in the hospital. She didn’t
even get to go to her mother’s funeral.”

Chase drank his beer and remained
silent, seeing the pain in the other man’s
eyes. “But the worst part about it was that
in my grief I blamed Lily. Told her she’d
killed her mother. Told her she killed the
only thing I’ve ever loved.”

“Of course it wasn’t true,” Joe
drank down another gulp. “I love my girls,
always have. But Miranda’s death drove
me over the edge for a long time. Three
months after the accident Lily left for
London. My anger and harsh words drove
her away. And she’s never come back,
until tonight. And now she hates me. She
didn’t even hug me when she came in. The
only reason she’s here is because Saffron
made it look like I was dying.”

Chase shook his head. “If she came
because she thought you were dying she
still cares about you.”

But Joe just sat and stared at the
ground. “No, it’ll never be the same. She
was always headstrong, but my anger
turned her into a, well, a...”

“A brat who doesn’t care about
anyone else’s feelings,” Chase said softly.
“I think there’s a good person inside her.
She’s just hurt, as you were. You two
need to sit and chat and work things out.
Want me to hogtie her for ya?”

Joe had laughed and declined.

Now, Chase sat and stared at his
empty fireplace. Joe Park was a good
man. Tough yes, but still a good man.
Chase hated to see him in a stew because
of an eleven-year-old misunderstanding.
And
that’s
what
it
was,
a
misunderstanding. The girl couldn’t hold
Joe libel for something he’d said in his
grief.

She was a pretty little thing, though.
About five foot five inches tall, blond hair
and beautiful gray eyes. He was still angry
over the things he’d heard her say to Joe.
She needed to be nicer, that was for sure.
Joe Park had enough on his mind right
now. He didn’t need a snotty little brat to
make things worse. The more he thought,
the madder he got.

Chase stopped in the middle of
pulling off his boot and shook his head.
He pulled it back on and stood, anger
clouding his judgment. He went outside
and turned toward the house where he
knew Lily Park was staying. Lights shone
in the windows.

He knocked on the door and waited
for a few moments before knocking
again.

When Lily finally pulled the door
open Chase was royally pissed. He
pushed his way inside despite her
sputtering.

“You need to learn how to respect
your father,” he said harshly.

Lily stared at him, her hands on her
hips. “I beg your pardon? And what
business is it of yours to barge in here and
give me orders? You’re only the hired
help. Get the hell out, NOW!”

Chase took a step toward her, his
anger burning deep inside him. “Isn’t that
what you just told your father, that you felt
like the hired help?”

Lily took a step back as her own
words were thrown back into her face.

“Let me tell you something Little
Missy, your father is a good man.” When
Lily started to speak Chase pulled her
close and placed his hand over her mouth.
“You just listen. Your little attitude really
upset him tonight, and I don’t like to see
him upset. He has enough to deal with
right now. He doesn’t need you clouding
things up more.”

Lily squirmed in Chase’s arms but
he kept his hand in place. “You need to
march your little ass up there and
apologize, right now.”

Chase’s voice was steely and
Lilly’s eyes were flashing when he was
done with his little speech.

Then, Lily shook her head and
opened her mouth and bit the palm of
Chase’s hand. He released her suddenly,
pushing her back so that she fell flat on her
backside, giving a resounding “oof” as she
landed.

“You little bitch, you bit me.”
Chase’s anger hung in the air. He brought
his hand up to his face and examined the
wound.

“And you, you arrogant bastard are
butting into something that you know
nothing about,” Lily stood up and stared at
him. His anger made his brown eyes
darken and Lily actually felt her knees go
weak.

Then she shook her head and
stepped back again. “Get out of my house
Mr. Hamilton, before I call the sheriff.”

Chase laughed. “You better be glad
you didn’t draw blood Little Missy, or
you’d regret it.”

Lily threw back her head and
laughed. “It’s your fault! You’re the one
who butt into things you know nothing
about and try to scare me for defending
myself? You stormed your way into MY
house and manhandled me! You deserved
to be bitten. I’m just sorry that I didn’t
draw blood.”

“You just listen to me, Little Missy;
we were doing fine here without you, and
we don’t need you messing things up with
your crappy attitude. So you can just turn
it around, hear me? You will apologize to
your father or you will answer to me.”

Chase started toward the door and
Lily laughed at him. “Answer to you?
What are you going to do? Spank
me?”

Chase turned around and took a few
steps into the room. Lily could see
anger flashing from his eyes.

“Don’t tempt me, Lily, don’t tempt
me.”

Chapter Two

Lily was still fuming when she went
up to the house the next morning. She had
seen Chase Hamilton on the porch of his
house, staring at her with anger in his
eyes.

She was sure that he was actually
thinking about taking her over his knee and
spanking her. No one had ever spanked
her. Her father didn’t need to. One look
from him and his daughters immediately
straightened up and did what was right.

Pushing her way through the front
door Lily smiled at Mrs. Chisholm.

“I can warm you up something to eat,
if you like,” the housekeeper said.
“Won’t take but a second.”

Lily smiled at the woman who had
fed her for more than half her life.

“No thanks Mrs. Chisholm, I ate at
the house. And thanks for stocking the
refrigerator.”

Mrs. Chisholm blushed. “It was your
dad’s idea. He said you might want
to eat down there instead of eating
with the hands.”

“What are you doing wearing a
dress?” Lily turned toward her father’s
voice. He was standing in the doorway
leaning on a cane. “How do you expect to
ride a horse while wearing a dress?”

He made the word dress sound like
a disease and Mrs. Chisholm tittered. Lily
turned back toward her and stared. A look
passed between the housekeeper and her
father that Lily had no trouble reading.
They were in love with each other,
whether or not they wanted to admit it, or
even knew it, there was a spark there. She
smiled to herself.

“I don’t have any jeans, father,” Lily
said softly. “I only wear dresses now.”

Her father shook his head. “Damn
foolish thing to do if ya ask me. When we
go into Austin tomorrow you and Saffron
can go shopping for some boots and jeans,
my treat. You’re living on a ranch again,
not some fancy street in London.”

Without waiting for an answer he
headed toward the door. “Let’s go,
girl. I want to check things out.”

Lily shrugged at Mrs. Chisholm, who
was still smiling, and followed her
father out the door.

“Saffron is going into Austin with us
for your doctor’s appointment? I
thought she didn’t have time to make
trips into the city.”

Her father settled himself into the
driver’s seat of the golf cart and
stared at Lily. “You getting in?”

Lily put her hands on her hips and
shook her head. “I thought I was
supposed to drive? And you didn’t
answer my question.”

“Bullshit,” her father said. “I can
steer with one hand.” When Lily didn’t
move he gave a huff and slid over to the
passenger side.

Lily took the wheel and pointed the
cart toward the barn.

“You’re sister’s going with us so
we can return your rental car,” her father
said. “Don’t need no damn rental car. I
have two trucks and a car you can use.
Told her to pick you up yesterday so you
wouldn’t have to rent a car but she said
something about a soccer game for Bart
that she had to go to. She goes to lots of
soccer games and crap like that.”

Lily swallowed a grin. She was
sure that “paw-paw” found time for a
soccer game or two, also.

Her stomach clinched as silence
filled the air and they neared the barn.
Lily’s heart leapt at the sight of the huge
red structure, surrounded on both sides by
large stables, came into sight. How she’d
missed the smell of hay and the whiney of
horses. She hoped Chase Hamilton was
out amongst the cattle and not in the barn.
She’d deliberately missed breakfast that
morning so that she didn’t have to see the
jerk. Then he’d been on his front porch
when she’d left the house.

But when they pulled up out front of
the barn, Lily caught site of him tying his
horse to a hitching post. Of course her
father had probably arranged to meet him
there so they could discuss the herd.

He turned toward the sound of the
cart and Lily felt her heart race. He was
more gorgeous in the light than he’d been
in the dark.

Her father started to exit the cart
before Lily brought it to a stop. She
watched as he walked toward Chase and
knew again that she’d been duped. Her
father wasn’t hurt badly. And then she
smiled. Her family had wanted to see her.
They actually wanted to see her, to the
point where Saffron had exaggerated a
story to play on Lily’s sympathies.
Perhaps Lily could be a bit nicer.

“Howdy.” Lily turned to see a young
cowboy grinning at her. “I’m Josh
and you must be Lily.”

Lily smiled at the young hand. He
couldn’t be more than twenty-one.

“Hello Josh,” Lily answered. “It’s
nice to meet you. How long have you
worked for my father?”

Josh grinned. “About five years.
Started while I was in high school.”
Realizing that he’d made himself look
young Josh puffed out his chest. “Course
I’m Chase’s right-hand man. One of the
best hands on the spread.”

Lily stifled a laugh. It’d been a long
time since a young cowboy had hit on
her.

“I’m sure you are,” she replied.
“How are things going lately?”

“Good, good,” Josh replied. “A few
sick head, but nothing too bad. Vet’s
gonna check for mad cow.”

“My father’s herd has mad cow?”
Lily felt her heart rate quicken.

“Not mad cow,” Chase’s voice
interrupted the conversation. “We have a
few head that are acting strange and I’ve
sent for the vet. It’s not mad cow.”

Lily turned toward him and dropped
her gaze to his hand. She wondered if he
was feeling the sting of her bite this
morning.

In response he smiled and turned to
Josh.

“Run along and bring out Chay,”
Chase said. “Don’t bother saddling her
because Ms. Park’s not dressed for riding.
But her dad wants to show his daughter
her new horse.”

Josh ran off to do his boss’s bidding
and Chase turned to Lily.

“I owe you for this, you know,” he
held up his hand and Lily could see the
faint outline of her teeth. “You and I need
to discuss this later.”

Lily laughed. “You deserved it, so
there’s nothing to discuss. Maybe it’ll
remind you to mind your own business in
the future.”

She stepped toward the barn and let
out an exclamation of joy as Josh led a
beautiful black and white paint horse out
of the stables.

“Oh my God, she’s beautiful,” Lily
whispered, walking over to stroke the
horse’s withers. “Father, thank you. I
don’t know what to say.”

Chay tossed her mane and looked at
Lily inquiringly. Then, deciding that the
newcomer was OK, she tossed her head
back and nuzzled Lily’s hand as she
stroked her neck.

Joe looked at his daughter and
smiled. “Well you need a horse. This is a
ranch, you know. She’s sixteen hands high.
Chase broke her himself.”

Lily turned toward Chase who had
stepped close to her. Much too close to
her.

“Just like I’m going to break you,”
he whispered so that no one else could
hear. “This one’s spirited, just like you
are. But I had her saddle broke in two
weeks. I think I’ll have you saddle broke
before then.”

He grinned and without giving Lily
a chance to answer walked toward his
own horse, mounted and rode off.

Lily could feel heat rising in her
face. Saddle broke? How dare he? Josh
stepped up to her and pushed back his hat.
“I can help you ride her if you need me
to.”

The statement brought a bark of
laughter from her father. “Lily’s been
riding a horse since before you were born
Josh. She don’t need no help. You just go
and get to work.”

Josh shook his head, mounted up
and rode off. Lily smiled at her father.

“I really don’t know what to say,”
she repeated. “I can’t believe you bought
me a horse when I’m only going to be here
for a few weeks.”

The smile that had been on her
father’s face faded.

“I’d hoped you’d stay longer than
that.” He cleared his throat. “At least long
enough for your sister to have her baby.
Then you can go gallivanting around all
you want, I don’t care. Take me home. I’m
tired.”

He sat down in the cart and Lily
shook her head. She’d screwed up once
again. Her father had made a wonderful
gesture toward her and she’d blown it.
She couldn’t think of anything to say as
they headed back to the house.

In the silence her thoughts turned to
Chase Hamilton. So he wanted to “saddle
break” her huh? Well he could just kiss
her ass. No man had ever saddle broke
her. She was always the one in charge.

Still, Lily could not deny the
feelings of desire that Chase had raised in
her. Despite what her family thought it had
been a long time since she’d enjoyed the
company of a man. A very long time. Most
of those she met in Europe were fun, but
she eventually found out that they were
only interested in her money. The money
left to her by her mother. The mother she’d
killed.

Lily pulled the cart up to the house
and her father got out and headed for the
door.

“Lunch at noon,” he said gruffly.
“Then another trip to the barn around four
or so.”

Without waiting for an answer he
went inside and Lily felt her shoulders
slump. Maybe she could talk to Saffron
tomorrow and get some ideas about how
to handle their father. Because despite
what Daisy had said yesterday he had not
asked Lily to call him dad. And that
simple fact opened a hole in Lily’s
stomach that hurt like hell.

**********

Lily hadn’t known there was a
phone in her new home until it had rung.
She’d answered it tentatively and heard a
squeal of laughter.

“Lily, you little hussy, it’s Elsie.
Thank God you’re home. And home in
time for my birthday. We’re partying
tonight at the Lazy Q and you’ve got to
come.”

Lily had laughed and they’d spent an
hour reminiscing about high school and
discussing things that had happened
afterwards.

Elsie was now married to Stuart
Watkins, who was now a veterinarian.
Together they had two kids. “I’m so glad
you’re here, and I can’t wait to see you
tonight.”

Lily shook her head as she pulled
her car into the Lazy Q parking lot. One
lonely car in a sea of pickups. She
laughed. It was definitely time for the car
to go back to the rental place and for Lily
to re-learn how to handle a pickup.

Her afternoon with her father had
been tense. He’d barely said two words to
her as she shuttled him to the barn and
back. She couldn’t seem to say anything
right to him. Of course it didn’t help that
every time he came into her view she
remembered him screaming at her,
blaming her for her mother’s death.

The steering wheel felt cold under
her hands. Every time she thought about
the accident a chill ran up her spine. She’d
come to terms with it a few years ago,
finally admitting to herself that it wouldn’t
have mattered who had been driving the
car; the tire still would have blown and
the accident still would have occurred.

But that didn’t mean that it didn’t
still bother her, in the back of her mind.
Being at home brought it to the forefront.
When they traveled to Austin tomorrow,
she’d pass the exact spot, and she wasn’t
looking forward to that. She’d taken a
different route on the way to the ranch. If
she did that tomorrow, her father would
want to know why.

Lily entered the Lazy Q and shook
her head. Some things never change. The
bar looked the same as it did the day she
left Winston. Smoke filled the air and loud
country music blasted from the speakers.
She fought to adjust her eyes and almost
fell over when a body grabbed her and
pulled her close.

“You’re here! You’re here!” Elsie
pushed back and Lily laughed. Her high
school friend was carrying a few extra
pounds, probably because of babies, but
other than that she looked the same.

“I am indeed. Is there free beer?”

“For you, anything!”

Elsie pulled Lily toward the bar,
shouting at various people to “look
who’s back.”

Lily was soon engulfed in familiar
faces and hugs. The people brought back
many fond memories and she felt
overwhelmed. Her friends shouted out
questions and she fought to keep up.

Finally, Elsie pulled her to a table,
where they sat with a few chosen people
and discussed Europe and its many
attributes. When it was finally just Elsie
and Lily, Elise leaned in and hugged her
close.

“Admit it. There’s no place like
home and you’re glad you’re here.”

“Yes, I’m happy to be home. It’s
been a bit tense at the house, but I
think things will get better.”

“Your father’s missed you.”

“Right.” The word came out on an
outtake of breath and Lily shook her head.
“He’s no happier to see me now than he
was after the accident.”

“That’s not true. I promise you that
he’s missed you. Haven’t you missed him,
at all?”

Tears welled in Lily’s eyes as she
recalled her first few days in London.
She’d fled the house in a hurry, stopping
long enough in her room to pack a few
bags and get her passport and purse. When
she got to the Austin airport, she’d chosen
the one place she could remember being
happy.

Lily and her mother had traveled to
London for her sixteenth birthday. They’d
had so much fun that mom had promised
they’d go back for Lily’s twenty-first
birthday. That first night in the hotel, she’d
cried herself to sleep. It had been hard to
break herself out of the funk.

After a month of room service and
British television she’d go out shopping.
That night, on the advice of the concierge,
she’d picked a trendy nightclub and gone
out dancing. She’d met a few people and
felt almost human again.

A week after that, she’d leased a
flat. She’d been surprised several days
later when Saffron had called, begging her
to come back home and work things out.
When Lily had refused, her father had one-
upped her. He refused to talk with his
youngest daughter, yelling loud enough for
Lily to hear that she “took the only woman
he’d ever loved.”

“He’s grieving,” Saffron had said.
“Please, don’t listen to him. Come home,
everything will be fine.”

But Lily had listened, but things
weren’t fine. She’d forgiven him at the
same time she’d decided the accident
would have happened, no matter what. But
she was just like him, too proud to admit
that she’d been wrong.

She shook her head and realized that
Elsie was studying her intently.

“Of course I’ve missed everyone.
I’m here now.” She took a sip of her
now warm beer and grimaced.

“Let me get you a fresh one.”

“No, thanks. I don’t like to drink too
much when I have to drive.”

“Stuart can take you home. He only
drinks one beer in case he gets a call
about an animal. Come on, it’s a
party!”

“How about a soda? Diet?” Lily
raised her eyebrows and grinned.

“Be right back.”

Elsie flew out of her chair and Lily
shook her head. Her friend had always
had tons of energy, and it was nice to see
that things hadn’t changed.

“This seat taken?”

Lily jumped when Chase Hamilton
sat down next to her.

“As a matter of fact it is. Get lost.”

“Oh come on, is that any way to treat
your neighbor?”

“Screw you. I can’t believe you have
the balls to sit next to me after what
you said today.”

“Oh I’ve got balls, baby. Two of
them, and they’re loaded for bear.”
He shot her an evil grin and laughed.

“You’re disgusting. I should bite
your other hand.” She wanted to walk
away from him, but she wouldn’t give him
the satisfaction of knowing that he affected
her so much.

“Yeah, about that…”

“Oh good. Hi, Chase!” Elsie sat a
soda can in front of Lily. “I’m glad
you’re here for my birthday.”

Chase stood and kissed Elsie on the
cheek. “Anything for you, darling.”

Elsie giggled and pushed playfully at
his shoulder. “I’m going to go dance
with my husband, now. Y’all have
fun together.”

She
raised
her
eyebrows
meaningfully at Lily and then pulled
Stuart toward the crowded dance
floor.

Chase sat back down and put his
hand on Lily’s knee.

“Now, where were we?”

“I was just leaving.” Lily started to
stand, and Chase gently pushed her
back down.

“I don’t think so. You leave that chair
and I’ll make a scene, guaranteed.”

“You pig!”

“Call me what you want, darling, but
you’re going to pay for biting me.”

“I’m not your darling. And you
deserved it; you put your hand in
front of my mouth. I just took
advantage of the invitation.”

“Ya think? Here’s what we’re going
to do. You and I are going to go outside
for a little bit. We’ll be back in plenty of
time for the cake. You can come along
nicely, or I can carry you. What’s your
choice?”

“You wouldn’t dare.” Even as the
words left her mouth, Lily knew that he
would dare. She shook her head and
grabbed the table. “I’m not going. I’ll
scream.”

“And everyone in here will laugh.
They’ll think it’s funny if I carry you out
over my shoulder. But if you want to call
attention to us, then that’s your right.”

Chase stood, and Lily again
marveled at his size. He grabbed her
hands and had no trouble breaking her
hold on the table. Once she was in a
standing position he made to throw her
over his shoulder.

“Wait! Wait!” Panic gripped Lily’s
stomach. “I’ll go. Please, I don’t want
everyone watching us. We can go outside
and calmly talk about this.”

“Good girl. Let’s go.” He offered
her his hand and Lily shook her head. In
turn, he took her palm in his and led her
from the room. Several people greeted
them as they made their way toward the
door.

Once outside, he began walking
toward the far end of the parking lot.

“Where are you taking me?”

“I parked in the trees for a reason.
I’m going to spank you, Lily, and I want a
little bit of privacy. If you prefer, we can
lower the gate on one of these pickups and
do it here. We might get an audience that
way.”

Lily’s ears burned at his words. He
was going to do what? Not if she could
help it!

She pulled her hand from his and
took off at a run for the front door of the
Lazy Q. Stuart would help her fight off
Chase, who was obviously a big bully.

She’d made it two cars away from
him when he grabbed her around the
waist and began walking toward the
trees again.

“Put me down! HELP! HELP!” She
couldn’t believe this was happening.
She’d been home two nights and a
barbarian was attacking her.

He remained silent as she walked
and she fought, ineffectively, against
his hold. “I’ll tell the sheriff, I
swear!”

“Tell him what? That you got
spanked for biting someone? Go ahead.
I’ll take the ticket or whatever it is he
gives me. This is going to be worth it.”

His voice was harsh and Lily
grimaced. What could she say to
make him stop?

“I’ll tell my father! He’ll fire you!”

“Fat chance of that. He’ll probably
give me a raise for doing something
that obviously needed to be done a
long time ago.”

For the second time that evening,
tears welled in Lily’s eyes. He was
probably right. Her father would think she
was getting what she deserved. She fought
harder and was rewarded when she felt
Chase’s grip loosen. Then he stopped,
tightened it back up and entered the trees.

His pickup was parked a few feet
away, the tailgate already lowered and
ready for use.

“Good thing you’re wearing a dress.
That’ll make this a whole lot easier.”

He sat her down, then gathered her
hands in his as he hoisted himself on the
gate. He pulled her across his lap and
pushed her skirt up to her hips.

“How dare you! Chase! Stop that!”

“You can’t just go biting people,
Lily. There has to be consequences.”

He grabbed her hands with one of his
as she reached back to try and
prevent him from pushing her panties
down.

“Stop it! I can’t believe you think…”

“Oh get your mind out of the gutter.
This isn’t about sex. Punishment is
best delivered on a bare bottom.”

He slapped her ass and Lily
screamed. Then he slapped it again and
again and again. The sting was terrible
and she wiggled in a futile effort to get
away. Her loud cries of anguish melted
into the trees.

“You should be glad that you didn’t
break the skin. Little witch. I’ll teach you
that you can’t just run all over people.”

Chase’s hand slapped her ass over
and over as Lily struggled to get free. The
tears that had been threatening all night
long spilled over and ran down her
cheeks. The sting was turning into a throb
and it felt like he wasn’t going to be
letting up anytime soon.

Words of protest lodged in her
throat as he continued the spanking,
alternating his hand between cheeks.
Finally, when Lily thought her bottom
couldn’t feel any worse, he delivered five
hard slaps to each cheek, pausing between
each one for the slap to have full effect.
Then he pushed her up to her feet.

“You need to learn to behave
yourself!” He gathered her wrists as
she tried to beat her fists against his
chest.

“Me? Look what you just did. I
swear, you haven’t heard the last of
this.”

“Get over yourself, Little Missy. Pull
your panties back up and let’s go
back inside.”

“You…I
can’t
believe…”
Lily
sniffled.

“Oh hell.” Chase went to the front of
the pickup and opened the door. He came
back with a tissue that he handed to Lily.
“Wipe your eyes. It wasn’t that bad.”

“It was! You hurt me.”

“And you hurt me last night when you
bit me. All you did was laugh about
it. I’m not laughing, am I?”

Lily shook her head wiped her
cheeks.

“Will you pull your panties back up?
Fix your face. Use the mirror in the
pickup.”

She did as he said, then walked
around him gingerly. She opened the door
and hopped onto the seat, screaming out as
her abused behind came into contact with
the leather.

Chase watched her with a stern
face. She gently lowered her behind onto
the seat and wiped way traces of mascara
using the lighted mirror for guidance.

When she was done, she stepped
back into the warm night air.

“I’m serious, Lily, when I tell you
I’ll do it again. I ain’t putting up with
your put upon attitude.”

“You won’t get the chance. I will tell
my father to fire you.”

“No you won’t, because you’ll have
to tell him why. Do you want him to
know that I took you over my knee?”

Lily scrunched up her nose in anger.
“I hate you.”

“Fine. Just behave yourself and we
won’t have to have any contact. Now,
let’s go back inside before Elsie wonders
what happens. She might put two and two
together and come up with the wrong
conclusion.”

He
raised
his
eyebrows
lasciviously.

“Hardly. She knows I have better
taste than to sleep with the likes of you.”

Chase threw back his head and
laughed. “Right. Listen, darling, I’m
considered a fair catch around these parts.
And you know that your words aren’t true.
You’re attracted to me.”

“In your dreams.”

“In yours, too, baby.”

He turned and walked back to the
Lazy Q. Lily ran her fingers along her
burning backside. It would be a cold day
in hell before Chase Hamilton got
anywhere near her behind again, for
spanking, or anything else.

Chapter Three

Lily stood by the rental car and
wondered how Saffron had fallen so far
behind. She’d been right behind her until
they hit I-35, then Saffron had fallen back.
Lily checked her watch. She’d been here
almost ten minutes. In the back of her
mind, she worried that something had
happened, that they’d had a wreck and
here sat Lily without a cell phone.

She mentally added the need to get a
phone to her to do list for the day. She put
it between buy new clothes and get Chase
Hamilton fired. Her behind was still on
fire from last night. How dare that brute
think that he had the right to take her over
his knee? No man had ever done that to
her, and no man would get away with it.

Once Lily had a chance to talk to her
father, Chase Hamilton would be sinking
his spurs into somebody else’s soil. Lily
just had to find the right way to approach
the subject with her father. She’d come up
with,
and
rejected,
four
different
scenarios. In each one, her father had
simply said, “well, you must have
deserved it,” shrugged his shoulders and
walked away.

She closed her eyes and shook her
head. She hadn’t deserved it, had she? So
she’d bitten him. He’d deserved that, and
because he had, he should have just taken
his medicine and gone on. He had no right
to spank her.

Lily
thought
through
another
scenario, this time at lunch: “Oh, by the
way, father, can you fire Chase Hamilton?
He had the nerve to spank me last night.
On my bare ass!”

She shook her head as Chase’s
words from last night rang through her
mind. He was right. She wouldn’t tell her
father because then she’d have to admit to
being spanked. That in itself would be an
embarrassing situation.

An evil thought crossed her mind.
She pushed it away, and then allowed it
back inside. She’d do more than get Chase
Hamilton fired. She’d make his life a
living hell. He’d be so miserable that by
the end of the week he’d want to quit.
Then, he’d be out of a job, lonely and
destitute. Or at least Lily hoped that he
would be.

Her father’s car turned into the
rental agency. She straightened and waved
her hand so that Saffron could see her.
Once she was ensconced in the back seat,
Saffron took off quickly.

“If we don’t hurry, we’re going to
be late. There was an accident right in
front of us on I-35. We’re lucky that we
avoided it. Of course we would have been
here sooner if you hadn’t taken the back
roads.”

Lily’s stomach turned. She clamped
her lips together and the car grew quiet.
The tension grew, and she waited for
someone to say something. Talk of
accidents always made her nervous. And
she’d taken the back roads to avoid seeing
the spot where the accident had occurred.
In Europe, she generally used public
transportation, or let her friends do the
driving. Her palms felt sweaty as the
silence grew. Were they all thinking the
same thing she was, that it was too bad
she hadn’t avoided the accident all those
years ago? Things would be different, if
she had.

Finally, after about five minutes, she
gave up.

“How long is your appointment,
Father?”

“It takes most of the afternoon,” he
said. “I see a physical therapist for two
hours, take a break, and then see my
doctor. They’re all in the same building,
so you and Saffron can go and have lunch
and do some shopping.”

Lily nodded. Once they had dropped
their father off, the women drove to the
closest mall and spent two hours buying
clothes. Lily bought three pairs of jeans, a
pair of boots and several shirts.

When they finally sat down for
lunch, she dropped her packages and
flopped onto the chair. Then, she winced
as her sore bottom protested its contact
with the wood. She stood up quickly, and
then resettled herself in the chair.

“Something wrong?” Saffron sat her
purse on the table and shook her
head.

“No. Here’s some money. You want
to get us some food?”

They looked around the food court,
decided on a fast food franchise, and
Saffron went off to order and pick up
their lunch.

Lily shook her head as she thought
about the reasons for her aching behind.
She hadn’t tried on her jeans, or she was
sure that she would have been reminded of
her spanking earlier in the day. The ache
just reinforced her idea of making Chase
pay for his heavy hand.

Saffron sat the tray on the table, and
after they’d taken a few bites, Lily cleared
her throat.

“So, tell me what you know about
Chase.”

Saffron raised her eyebrows. “Well,
not much. He’s in his mid-thirties.
Divorced, no kids. And Daddy loves him.
He says that with him around he doesn’t
have to worry about anything.”

Saffron took a bite of her hamburger
and wiped her mouth.

“Why do you ask? Does he interest
you?”

“No way. The man’s a class-A jerk.”

“Really? Why do you say that? Does
he play his music too loud? Does he walk
around naked and you can see him through
the windows? Of course, with as gorgeous
as he is, I don’t think that would be a bad
thing.”

“Gorgeous? Him? Right.”

“What’s the famous line? ‘Me thinks
the lady doest protest too much.’ I
think you like him.”

Lily snorted. “Yeah, right.”

“Well, something’s happened. You
have very strong feelings here, and strong
feelings don’t just come up out of
nowhere. Wanna let your big sister in on
it?”

“I bit him. And he spanked me.”

Lily watched Saffron carefully. She
held her cup to her mouth, her straw
poised between two fingers. Her eyes
widened, at first with anger, and then with
laughter. She took a sip and set the cup
down.

“I see. You mean an old fashioned
over-the-knee spanking?”

“That’s exactly what I mean.”

“Can I ask why you bit him?”

Lily took a sip of her own drink. “I
don’t know. It seemed like a good idea at
the time. He was giving me a hard time
about me giving father a hard time. He just
pissed me off.”

Saffron took another sip and shook
her head.

“Sweetie, you can’t go around biting
people and expect them not to get
mad.”

“Don’t talk to me like I’m twelve and
one of your kids. I never should have
told you anything.”

Saffron shook her head. “Sorry.
Reflex maternal instincts. Look, it’s water
under the bridge. You don’t have to have
that much contact with him.”

“Bull! I live right next door to him.
And I’ll see him at every meal. This isn’t
funny. Stop laughing!”

Saffron covered her face with her
hands, her shoulders heaving.

“Oh but it is. The idea of him
spanking you just sends me into hysterics.”
To prove her point, Saffron continued to
laugh, and Lily continued to fume.

“Fine. Laugh.”

“Oh, don’t be mad at me. You’d
laugh if it was the other way around.”

Lily narrowed her eyes and shook
her head.

“Yes, you would.” Saffron’s eyes
softened. “I’ve missed you so much. It
feels like we’re getting to know each other
all over again. And if you’re that mad at
Chase, get back at him. Do something
mean. If I remember right, you have an
ornery streak.”

Lily
nodded
and
lifted
her
eyebrows. She had an ornery streak
indeed. Saffron’s reaction proved that Lily
couldn’t tell her father what had
happened.
He
wouldn’t
react
any
differently. Lily had to take matters into
her own hands.

*****

When Lily said she wanted to visit
one more shop, Saffron begged off, telling
her that she would wait in the food court.
Saffron smiled as she watched her little
sister walk away.

Then, she pulled out her cell phone
and dialed Daisy’s number. Her
pregnant sister sounded harried when
she answered.

“I think I have a way we can keep
Lily in Texas. But, I need your help.”

“What can I do? I’m hugely pregnant,
in case you missed it.”

“Your brain still works, doesn’t it?”
When Daisy laughed, Saffron continued.
“Lily is attracted to Chase, and vice versa.
But it sounds like the two of them are
being jerks and won’t admit it to each
other. What do you say we push them
together? We need to come up with some
situations where it’s just the two of them.
Any ideas?”

Saffron listened, and then she
laughed. “Geeze, you’re brilliant! I’d
forgotten all about that. It’s perfect.
They’ll both be royally pissed afterwards,
but it could be just the nudge that they
need. OK, here’s what we need to do…”

*****

Lily pulled her sacks from the golf
cart and frowned. Chase had parked his
truck between their two houses, instead of
parking it in his own driveway. She
sneered at it and headed for her own door.

Sounds of his whistling floated
through his open windows. Jerk. Of
course he was happy. He wasn’t the one
with a sore ass. She unlocked her door
and dumped the packages. A check of her
watch showed that there was thirty
minutes until dinner. She’d planned on
freshening up a little bit, then going to the
main house.

An evil glint entered her eye as she
looked out her window. All it would take
was about five minutes. There was the
chance that he would see her, but more
than likely not. She crept out her back
door and crouched down, duck-walking to
the driver’s side tire. She unscrewed the
cap and pushed on the air valve. A
satisfying hiss reached her ear as the air
left the tire. When it was close to flat, she
moved to the rear tire and did the same
thing.

Her stomach was in knots the whole
time, a mixture of excitement over
flattening two of his tires, and anxiety that
he would come out and catch her in the
act. She had no doubts that if he did catch
her he’d try and spank her again. This
time, however, she would make sure that
he suffered a few bruises, too. She’d fight
back.

When both tires were sufficiently
out of air, she turned and duck-walked
back to the corner of the house. She
glanced back, laughed and then muttered
under her breath, “Well, Chase, sorry you
can’t make dinner tonight. Looks like
you’ve got some things to take care of.”

She ran back inside, washed her
hands and dashed to the cart. She’d barely
made it past the fence when his deep yell
of, “Oh shit. Damn it, Lily!” reached her
ears.

She laughed loud enough for him to
hear. Teach him to spank her!

*****

Chase gathered the wildflowers in
one hand and opened the door with the
other. He fought back a smile at Lily’s
look of amazement as he walked into the
dining room.

He winked at her, and handed most
of the flowers to Mrs. Chisholm.

“For you, lovely lady.”

The older woman laughed and bit
her lip. He took the remaining flowers and
leaned over Lily, pressing them into her
hand as he whispered, “air pumps are
wonderful things,” in her ear.

“Sorry I’m late.” He took his seat
and watched Lily’s face turn several
shades of red.

“We just started,” Joe said. “Waited
on you like one hog waits on another. Lily,
pass him the meatloaf.”

He took the plate and gave her a
fake smile. He could see the anger that
raced through her blood. He was sure she
still felt the effects of the spanking he’d
given her last night. For the millionth time
that day he wondered what had come over
him. He’d just meant to give her a few
swats, but some how that hadn’t seemed
good enough. She’d needed the spanking.

Seeing his flat tires, though, proved
that she needed a few more. If she thought
a little inconvenience like that was getting
back at him, she was mistaken. It just gave
him more reasons to spank her. He was
bound and determined to make sure that
her attitude toward people improved.

Chase answered questions from Joe
about the herd, and watched Lily out of the
corner of his eye. She picked at her food
as the conversation sailed around her.
When the main meal was finished, she
quickly stood and began clearing plates.
He saw his chance, and pushed Mrs.
Chisholm back into her seat, taking some
of the dishes into the kitchen right behind
Lily, and promising to bring back dessert.

She stood at the counter, her back to
the door. He sat the plates on the kitchen
table, then pressed his body against hers
until she was trapped between him and the
counter.

“Get away from me!”

“How’s your behind?”

She squirmed and pushed against
him.

“Watch it. I might think you’re
interested in something.”

“You wish!”

“You know, letting the air out of my
tires wasn’t a good plan on your part. All
I had to do was call down to the barn for
the air machine.”

She turned her head toward him, fire
lighting her pretty eyes.

“Next time I’ll use a knife.”

Chase cocked his head and shook it
slowly. “That’s not a very good
idea.”

“What’s wrong, are you mad? Go
ahead and spank me again. See if you can
explain it to my father. Or will you wait
until you can catch me alone, like you did
last night?”

“If you think I’m going to apologize
for last night, you’re wrong. And if you
think I’ll ignore your little childish
behavior, you’re wrong again. Keep
goading me, Lily. You’ll think the
spanking you got last night was a little
love tap.”

He picked up the cake sitting on the
counter and headed for the door, turning at
the last minute to smile at her. “Bring the
ice cream, please.”

Chase bit back a chuckle as she
shook her head and let out a yelp of
frustration. He was sure that Lily had lots
of fun things planned for him. He needed
to be on the lookout for any slashed tires,
or burrs under his saddle. Although he
was pretty sure she wouldn’t do anything
to cause physical harm, he knew that she
was mad.

That was a good thing, though. His
main goal was to keep Lily from being
mean to her father. And if that meant she
focused her anger on him, then so be it. He
had ways to deal with it, and they all
involved a very red bottom for the young
lady.

*****

It was early the next morning when
Lily heard Chase moving around. She’d
left the windows open in the house,
enjoying the fresh air that flowed in over
her bed. She took a deep breath and
smiled. She’d always loved living in the
country.

Her smile dimmed as she thought
about the asshole next door. She thought
she’d been so clever when she’d let the
air out of his tires. He’d just laughed and
aired them back up. Jerk.

The screen door on his house
slammed and she could hear him whistling
as he walked to his truck and fired it up.
The tires hadn’t worked as revenge, she
wondered what else she could do.

She could go into his house and
flood it, stop up all the drains and start the
water. She shook her head. The person
punished there would be her father. He
was the one who would have to pay for
the cleanup.

Steal his towels? Short sheet his
bed? Steal all his food? She rejected each
idea as juvenile attempts at getting back at
someone. There had to be something she
could do.

Ideas reeled through her mind as she
showered and drove the cart toward the
house. Her father waited on the front
porch, a cup of coffee in his hand.

“You missed breakfast.”

“I don’t generally eat breakfast.”

He frowned at her and shook his
head.

“At least have some coffee.”

Lily sat down and poured herself a
cup. She took a sip and sighed.

“Delicious.”

Her father nodded, then cleared his
throat. “I want to go for a ride today,
and I want you to come with me.”

“What? Did the physical therapist
say you could? You’re still in a
cast.”

“Cast, humph. It’s my ankle and my
wrist. I can ride with those, as long
as I was careful.”

“What about your back? What
happens if you fall again? Father, the
doctors say…”

“Screw them! I haven’t been on a
horse in over a month. I’ll lose my
mind if I sit here much longer.”

“Father, I don’t think this is a good
idea.”

“Well, frankly, I don’t care if you
think it’s a bad idea. I’m doing it, and
you’re going with me.”

“Like hell I will! And if you don’t
give a damn what I think then why the hell
am I here, trying to be the voice of reason?
You obviously don’t need anyone to take
care of yourself if you’re just going to do
whatever you want.”

“Watch your mouth, young lady. I’m
still your father. I never said I didn’t care
what you thought. I just said…”

“Oh, right. It wasn’t but eleven
years ago that you said you never wanted
to see me again. I don’t know why the fuck
I’m here!”

“Watch your language! I didn’t raise
you to talk like that. You’re not too old for
me to find a bar of soap and wash your
mouth out!”

Lily stood quickly, knocking her
coffee cup to the porch where it broke.
Her chest heaved with anger. Out of the
corner of her eye she saw the figure of
Mrs. Chisholm dash into the kitchen,
probably to call Saffron and report that all
hell was breaking loose.

“Lily.” Her father’s voice was sad.
“I never said I didn’t want to see you
again. I was grieving, I didn’t know what I
was saying, I…”

“You don’t think I wasn’t? Did you
care? No, all you could do was blame
me.” Tears streamed down Lily’s face.
Years and years of self-recrimination and
anger bubbled over. She saw Mrs.
Chisholm step onto the porch, a towel in
her hands.

“Calm down you two. There’s no
reason to shout.”

“I didn’t blame you…” Her father’s
words cut off as he turned toward the
sound of Chase’s truck, which sped
toward the house, spewing up gravel as it
ground to a halt and he jumped out. Lily
knew then that Mrs. Chisholm had called
him. She’d probably called her sisters,
too, to report that Lily was once again
causing trouble.

“What’s going on?”

“Get the fuck out! This is none of
your business. And you, you say you
didn’t blame me? What did you say, huh?
That I took the only person you ever
loved? What was that? Blame! Did you
once try to hug me? No! Did you once say,
‘it’s OK, Lily, it was an accident. They
happen.’ No! All you did was tell me to
get out of your sight.”

Mrs. Chisholm buried her face in
her hands and started to cry.

“Lily, please.” Her father stood and
put out an arm to prevent Chase from
crossing toward her. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry
for everything. You have to believe that.”

“Do I? You know what I heard
when you said those words to me, Father?
I heard that you didn’t love me. That you
never had.”

“That’s not true!” Mrs. Chisholm’s
voice was loud. “He loves you very much.
He always has!”

Lily jumped and stared at her. Then
she took several deep breaths. Her Father
had turned to Mrs. Chisholm, who was
again sobbing into her hands. Lily turned
toward Chase, who, for the first time since
she’d met him, didn’t look angry. He took
a step toward her and Lily backed up. She
wiped her tears and sniffled.

“You know what, father? Go for
your damn ride. Break your other leg. But
I won’t go with you. I won’t be blamed for
hurting my last parent. I think maybe it’s
time I went back to England.”

She jumped over the railing before
anyone could say anything and took off at
a run toward the house. When she arrived,
she collapsed on the porch, tears
streaming down her face as she fought for
breath.

She never, ever should have come
back to Texas.

*****

Chase helped Mrs. Chisholm settle
Joe into a chair.

“I’m not an invalid,” he pushed
away their hands and sighed. “I have done
so wrong by that girl. This is all my fault.”

“Not totally,” Chase said. “The
problem, as I see it, is that you are two
peas in a pod. Stubborn, headstrong,
independent. The list could go on and on.”

Joe
laughed
and
patted
Mrs.
Chisholm’s hand.

“I’m all right, Agnes. Don’t fuss.”

“The language she used,” Mrs.
Chisholm said. “I’ve never, ever
heard a woman say those things.”

“I don’t want her to leave.” Joe cut
his eyes to Chase, who nodded.

“Agnes, will you get me some water,
please?” She hurried into the house
and Joe looked at Chase again.

“Let me talk to her,” Chase said.
“Give her a minute or two to calm
down.”

“If we give her a minute or two
she’ll be on the road to the airport.”

Chase nodded and headed for the
truck. He could hear Mrs. Chisholm and
Joe talking quietly as he climbed into the
truck and started it up. He’d not been
privy to the conversations Joe and his
daughter had after the accident, but
obviously they had been very, very bad.

It didn’t give her the right to be a
bitch, but it explained a lot of things. He
pulled in between the houses and put the
truck in park. He’d seen her sitting on the
porch as he’d driven up. She was crying
into her hands, her shoulders shaking.

He walked up cautiously and
crouched down next to her.

“Lily.” He gently caressed her
shoulder.

“Go away! If you’ve come to make
me feel bad for yelling at my Father,
forget it!”

“No, that’s not why I’m here. Come
on, stand up.”

She shook her head violently and he
sat down next to her, wrapping his
arm around her shoulder.

“Take a deep breath,” he whispered.
“It’s going to be OK.”

She shook her head. “I never should
have come back.”

Her words were interspaced with
sobs. Chase’s heart went out to her. He
put his other arm around her and pulled
her onto his lap. She burrowed down,
burying her face in his shoulder as she
sobbed.

He laughed to himself as she did. If
she’d known it was him who held her,
she’d probably scream bloody murder.
Instead she just cried in his arms.

“Two days,” she said, hiccupping.
“We can’t make it two days without
screaming at each other. He hates me,
Chase. He always has.”

Chase pulled her back and grinned at
her. “You do know it’s me.”

Lily laughed and wiped her face.

“Listen, Lily, he doesn’t hate you.
It’s exactly what I just told him. You are
two peas in a pod, exactly alike. He said
hateful things to you, true, but you said
them right back. Both of you are too
stubborn to apologize, or to believe what
the other says.”

“Are you a cowboy, or a therapist?”
She pushed away from him, but he
pulled her close.

“Don’t go. Don’t run away from it
again.”

“You want me to stay and give my
father hell?”

“No, I want you to stay and work it
out with him. He’s a good man, Lily.
Give him a chance to make things
right with you.”

“Well, that’s a change in heart. Two
days ago you were screaming at me
for making his life hell.”

“Hey, I’m not giving you an open
invitation to be a bitch. I’m saying
that, if the two of you work at it,
things could be good.”

Lily shook her head, then pushed
herself away from Chase.

“Don’t touch me.”

“There’s the Lily I met. Now listen
to me, little girl. You’re not running this
time. If I have to hogtie you to keep you
here, I will. You and your father are going
to sit down and talk, without screaming at
each other.”

“And if we don’t? Will you spank
me again?”

“I might. I just might.”

Chapter Four

Lily woke with a start. She could
hear something ringing, but she wasn’t
quite sure where she was. Then, it all
came flooding back to her. She was at
home, on the ranch, and it was the middle
of the afternoon.

Her eyes burned from her crying jag
that morning, and the ringing was the
telephone. She sat up and shook her head.
The ringing stopped.

Images from the morning ran through
her mind. Her fight with her father, her
running back to the house, Chase holding
her, and then helping her into the house
where he’d tucked her into bed and told
her to sleep. Damn him for being a nice
person. She didn’t want him to be nice.
She wanted him to be the asshole who’d
spanked her. She didn’t want to like him.

The phone started to ring again. This
time, Lily walked over and picked it
up.

“Hello?”

“Geeze, I’ve been calling for almost
an hour.” Saffron’s voice was harsh.
“What the hell happened today?”

“Um, well, father and I had a fight.”

“So I heard. Mrs. Chisholm called,
crying her eyes out. Said you and Dad
were screaming at each other. She said,
and I quote, ‘she used the f word, several
times.’”

“Yeah, that was probably a bad idea,
but I think I only used it once.”

“You wanna talk about it?”

“Not really.”

“Well, how did it start?”

Lily sat down on the couch. She laid
her head against the back and told her
sister the whole thing. When she was
done, tears streaked her face again.

“I’m sorry, Lily.”

“It’s not your fault. Chase is right.
Father and I are just alike.”

“Chase, huh?”

“Oh shut up! Geeze, what is it with
you?”

Saffron giggled and Lily smiled.
Truthfully, the only good thing about this
morning was the fact that Chase had held
her close while she’d cried.

“What time is it?”

“Almost four.”

“I slept all day? I need to get my ass
up.”

“We’re coming for dinner tonight.
All of us.”

“To act as shields? Don’t worry,
I’m not going to kill him or anything.” Lily
snorted and tried to shake the cobwebs out
of her head.

“Well, Mrs. Chisholm said she
thought it would be nice if we were there.
She’s worried about both of you. I guess it
was a real knockdown, huh?”

“Well,
I
used
the
f-word,
remember?”

The sisters both laughed.

There was a knock on the door. Lily
looked up as Chase pulled open the
screen and came inside.

“I gotta go.”

“Is it Chase? Is he looking good?”

Lily blew a raspberry into the phone
and hung up. She smiled shyly and
hung her head.

“Don’t look at me. I’m so ashamed.”

“Why? For letting out emotions that
have been brewing for ten years? We’re
lucky neither of you exploded.” He leaned
into the doorjamb and crossed his arms
over his chest. Lily could tell he was
trying to look gruff, but there was a grin on
his face. “Feeling better?”

“Somewhat. I have a headache,
though.”

“I wouldn’t doubt it.” He crossed to
the kitchen and she could hear him rooting
around. He reappeared with aspirins and a
bottle of water.

She swallowed them quickly and
then shook her head. “Quit being nice
to me.”

He laughed and sat down in a chair.

“Have a seat.”

“Don’t mind if I do.” He wiggled his
eyebrows.

“How’s my Father?”

“OK. Happy that you’re still here.
He was worried that you were going to
run. Josh ran him around all day. Course
Joe could bully Josh into letting him
drive.”

“Is that a hint that I need to go back to
work tomorrow?” Lily sniffed and
took another drink of water.

“Yeah. At least you’ll stand up to
him.”

“We’ve always fought like two cats
in a sack. Mom always said we were
made from the same mold.”

“I think she was right.” Chase stood.
“I’m going to shower. We can walk
up to dinner together, how does that
sound?”

“Good. But after tonight, you really
have to stop being nice. I don’t like
you.”

“I don’t like you, either. I’ll see you
in an hour.” He winked at her and left.
Lily laughed and went to her own shower.
She wasn’t looking forward to seeing her
whole family. She was sure that somehow,
this morning would be blamed on her.
Maybe it had been her fault. She knew her
father was a stubborn man. She never
should have said those things to him. She
would work hard to hold her tongue
tonight. She would work really, really
hard.

*****

Chase stopped outside Lily’s door
and took a deep breath. He’d come up
with an interesting idea on how to keep
the peace during dinner tonight, and it
would start inside Lily’s house. He was
sure she wasn’t going to like it, but it
would focus her energies on someone
other than her father.

He knocked and entered without
waiting for an answer. Lily came out
of the bedroom and frowned.

“You could wait, you know, until I
said come in.”

“If you don’t want me to just walk in,
you shouldn’t leave your front door
open.”

She shook her head and moved
toward the bedroom. He fought the arousal
that she’d stirred in him. She was wearing
jeans that fit her just right, not too tight,
not too loose. Her shirt was a pullover
with short sleeves, and low cut enough to
show the swell of her breasts.

She was a beautiful woman, that
was for sure. You’re not here for sex,
Chase, forget that. Concentrate on the
plan. Concentrate on the plan.

He straightened his shoulders when
she came out, her hands rubbing
together as if she’d just loaded them
with lotion.

“I’m ready.”

“We need to talk about something,
first.”

She frowned and murmured, “OK.”

“I think I have a plan for tonight that
will help you concentrate your anger
on me, instead of your father,”

“Excuse me?”

“Well, it’s obvious that today’s
little argument didn’t solve anything, and
you’re still angry with your dad. To keep
you from blowing up tonight, I’m making
you a promise right now. If you get out of
hand, if you blow up and cuss again, I’m
going to spank your little ass when we get
back.”

Lily’s mouth dropped opened. He
tried not to concentrate on his full lips, but
on the fact that anger was even now
bubbling forth from her.

“I don’t think so.”

“I do. Listen, every time you think
about cussing, or you think about
screaming at your father, I want you to
remember the spanking I gave you the
other night. Cause I’ll do it again tonight,
if I have to.”

“You are an asshole. I can’t believe
you think you have the right.” Lily shook
her head and then sat down on the couch.

“Fine. I just won’t go tonight. Was
that your intent?”

“No. You will go. Listen to me, I
thought about it a lot. This way you’re
focusing your anger on me, and not on
your father. It’s obvious that the two of
you need to talk, but if you go in there
loaded for bear, with feelings from this
morning still fresh, then things are going to
get ugly. If someone asks you about this
morning you’re going to blow.”

He stepped in front of her and
looked down. Her eyes were focused on
his stomach, and when she raised them to
his own he could see anger just about
ready to explode.

“My plan is to give you another area
to focus your anger on. Instead of being
mad at your father, you can be mad at me,
because I’m very serious, Lily.”

“You’re an asshole.”

“Think what you want, but this is
going to work fine. Trust me.”

She bounded off the couch, they were
so close he could feel her breath
against him.

“I swear, if you try and do that to me
again, I’ll fight. I won’t let you get
away with it this time.”

“Good. Focus on that, and behave
yourself tonight. Maybe I won’t have
to spank you.”

“Jerk!” She ran for the door,
slamming the screen behind her. By the
time he got to the porch, she’d already
moved quickly up the hill, heading for the
main house. He’d have to run to catch up
with her.

A smile crossed his face. She had
spirit, that was for sure. He hoped that his
little plan worked, and that she was now
pissed at him. He’d hate to see a repeat of
this morning’s fight.

*****

Lily pushed off Chase’s hand as he
came up behind her.

“Don’t touch me.”

“You’re a smart woman, Lily, and I
think I proved the other night that I’ll
follow through on my promise.”

“You mean threat.”

“Promise.”

Saffron’s greeting drifted down to
them. Lily pasted on a false smile
and waved back at her sister.

“Don’t come near me, tonight.”

She wanted to wipe the grin off
Chase’s face. He winked and took her
hand, which she immediately pulled away.
She stalked toward the porch, her chest
heaving with anger.

“You OK?” Saffron pulled her in for
a hug. “Father’s worried.”

“Is he? Well, then he can just…” Lily
broke off and looked at Chase, who
stood nearby with his eyebrows
raised.

“Look, I’m sorry about today.” Lily’s
cheeks turned red. “But I shouldn’t
be here, Saffron. Father and I just
don’t mix well.”

“This is your home, Lily. He loves
you whether you believe it or not.”

Lily shook her head and turned
toward her father, who was talking with
his grandchildren. Ever few seconds he
cut his eyes toward her. He didn’t smile at
her. He just stared. She couldn’t read his
expression and she wondered what was
going through his mind.

Saffron rubbed her shoulder, and
Lily shook her head. She climbed onto the
porch and smiled at Mrs. Chisholm, who
looked less than pleased to see her.

“We have brisket for dinner,” the
housekeeper said, turning to Chase.
She turned back to Lily and frowned,
then went inside.

“You know what? Screw this. I’m
going back to the house.” She turned
and had taken a few steps when her
father’s voice rang out.

“Lily.”

She turned toward him, her eyes
widening when she saw he had a
glass of tea in his hand, and he was
offering it to her.

Tension-filled silence permeated
the air. Lily fought the desire to run. She
wet her lips and climbed the stairs to the
porch, taking the glass from him and
nodding.

He nodded back and turned toward
his seat.

She shivered when Chase came up
behind her and caressed the small of
her back. His breath was hot against
her neck.

“Good job.”

“Fuck you.” The words were low,
and meant only for him. She hadn’t
expected him to chuckle.

“Well, I guess you do want me to
spank you tonight.”

She watched him take a can of beer
from the table, pop it and walk to where
her brothers-in-law were discussing
something in earnest.

“Where’s Daisy?” She turned to
Saffron.

“She’s lying down. She thinks the
little one may want out early. Since it’s
way too early, she’s being careful. Of
course she said she’d be up in time for
dinner. You want to talk about today?”

“No.”

“Look, we’ve been discussing it, and
we think that maybe you two should
see a therapist together.”

“Excuse me?” Lily’s voice was loud.
She cringed when she noticed
Chase’s head turn toward her, a
frown on his face.

“Someone who can help you work
through your troubles. I know one
who will come out to the ranch and
talk to the both of you.”

Lily lowered her voice. “What, have
you already talked to him? Is it set
up? Is he coming for dinner?”

Saffron frowned and shook her
head. “I’m just trying to help. You have to
believe that, Lily. What’s happened
between you and daddy is bad, but you
need to work it out.”

“You know what? My life was fine
until you called. I don’t need this crap,
and I’m not, under any circumstances,
sitting down with a total stranger to
discuss the reasons why my father hates
me.”

“So you didn’t miss us at all? Fine.
I’m sorry I called, then. I just thought
maybe, just maybe, you missed us as much
as we missed you.”

Saffron stood, her feet rooted to the
porch. Lily could see the anger in her
eyes.

“I can’t win for losing today, can I?
Maybe I’m too different now. Maybe
I’m not meant to be here.”

“You didn’t answer my question. Did
you miss us? At all?”

Lily bit her lip and nodded.

“Then let’s do the therapist thing.
Daddy says he’s willing to try.”

“Father said he’d see a therapist?”

“Yes.”

“OK. As long as it’s not tonight.”

“No, I set it up for the morning.”

Saffron laughed at Lily’s expression,
and then turned toward the house.

Lily watched her walk away, then
turned toward her father. He’d sat down in
his rocker, drinking iced tea. He watched
her intently. She crossed the porch and sat
down opposite from him.

“Did you go for your ride today?”

“No. Although I did get to drive the
cart. We’ll go tomorrow.”

“You mean after we see the
therapist?”

He huffed, then took a drink of his
tea.

“I’m sorry I yelled at you.” His voice
was soft and Lily frowned.

“I yelled back.” She swallowed a
lump. “I’m sorry, too.”

“I never hated you, Lily. I just didn’t,
what I mean is… Oh crap.”

Before Lily could say anything, Mrs.
Chisholm appeared and announced that it
was time for dinner. Her father pushed
away offers of help and stood up.

Chase came up behind Lily and
smiled at her, even as she shrugged his
hand away from her back. She waited until
her father was inside, then she turned to
him.

“Stop touching me.”

He grinned in response.

“I mean it! All you’re doing is
pissing me off.”

“I heard your discussion with your
dad about the horseback riding tomorrow.
I think it might be a good idea. I can go
with you, in case something happens.”

“I don’t need your opinion, or your
help.” She stalked toward the door. “And
I’m warning you, if you touch me one
more fu..damn time…” She growled in
frustration and slammed inside.

She could hear Chase’s laughter as
she walked toward the dining room. She
would be nice as pie to her father, and her
family tonight. But once she and Chase
were near her house, all bets were off.
She’d show him that he couldn’t control
her, that he had no business poking his
nose into her affairs, and that she never,
ever wanted him to touch her. For a
spanking or anything else.

*****

The moon was high in the night sky
by the time Lily and Chase left her father’s
house. She’d been good all through dinner,
talking with everyone and acting as if
nothing was wrong.

The only indication of problems had
been when her father had asked what time
“the head shrink” would be there in the
morning. Everyone seemed to know that
he was coming, because nobody, not even
the children, questioned him. Chase had
raised an eyebrow and Lily had put her
glass to her lips, turning it sideways so
only he could see her mouth.

She’d stuck out her tongue and he’d
laughed under his breath.

Now, as they walked toward their
houses, he snaked up close to her.

“It went well, don’t you think?”

“Don’t think your threats had
anything to do with it. It went well
because I felt bad about this morning.
That’s the only reason.”

“Part of it, yes. But you were also
thinking about what I said.”

“You wish.”

“What’s this about a head doctor?”

“Saffron set up an appointment for
father and I to see a therapist
tomorrow. She thinks it will help us
work out our issues.”

“I think that’s a good idea.”

“Did I ask you?”

They were at the gate now. Lily
moved toward her house, her arms
crossed in front of her chest.

“Want to practice what you’re going
to say?”

“When pigs fly.” She stepped onto
her porch. “You’re not invited in, so
get the hell out of here.”

She walked inside and shut the door
on his face. Before she could turn the
lock, he pushed the door open.

“Are you deaf?”

“No. What are you going to say
tomorrow?”

“Tell me again how this is any of
your fucking business.”

She pinched her lips together the
minute the word was out of her mouth.
What was it about this man that brought
out the worst in her? She wanted to
scream and holler at him.

“Oh my. Somebody didn’t take my
warning to heart, because I distinctly
remember you cussing earlier tonight,
too.”

“Get out.” She pointed toward the
door.

“Not yet.” He turned his head from
side to side, as if sizing up the room.
Then, suddenly, he moved toward her,
putting his arms around her waist and
propelling her toward the bedroom.

“What do you think you’re doing?
Get your hands off of me! I’ll
scream!”

“Go ahead. They won’t be able to
hear you up at the main house. I
warned you that cussing would get
you spanked.”

They crossed into the bedroom and
Lily snorted.

“Figures. You only wanted to get me
into bed.” She fought against his
hold, stopping suddenly when he
laughed.

“This isn’t about sex. You need
discipline in your life. You’ve been
running free for years. Now, you have
family things to attend to and you need to
be in the right frame of mind.”

He sat her down, but still held her
close.

“Now, are you going to take down
your jeans and panties, or do I need
to do it for you?”

“You jerk. You…you…you… pig!”
She struggled in his arms, but he held
her close, not moving.

“Are you done?”

“What do you expect me to do, lie
down and take a beating from you?”

“Please, it won’t be a beating. It’s a
spanking. You need it. You know you
need it, so stop fighting.”

Lily stopped fighting. She took
several deep breaths and then screamed,
“fine! But I’m not taking down my jeans.
You can just forget that.”

“I’ve seen you half naked already,
remember? I spanked your bare ass just
the other night.”

When Chase’s hands dropped to her
waist to unbutton her jeans, she panicked.
She grabbed his hands and tried to stop
him. In response, he gathered both of her
hands in one of his and deftly undid her
jeans with the other.

After a few moments, she realized
that her struggles helped him as he worked
her jeans over her hips. She stood
completely still, waiting for the right
moment. At some point he would have to
bend down. When he did, she would kick
backwards and catch him somewhere that
would make him think twice about trying
to spank her again.

Her chest heaved as she waited for
just the right moment. Then, the floor was
yanked out from under her, literally. As if
he’d anticipated what she had planned on
doing, Chase turned them toward the bed
and pushed her over, so that she would
land on the mattress.

Lily put her hands out to brace
herself at the same time Chase grabbed
her jeans and panties and pulled them
down to her knees.

She made to stand, but he pushed
her farther into the mattress, one hand in
the small of her back as the other rubbed
against her behind. He put one knee on the
bed, and kept the other one on the floor.

“Let me go!”

He smacked her ass and Lily yelped.
He smacked it again and again and
again.

“Ladies don’t use the f-word, you
know.”

Lily beat her fists against the
mattress.

“Fine! F-you! How’s that for an f-
word?”

He slapped her behind again and
Lily felt the burn all the way to her
stomach. She yelled out for him to stop,
but he kept on going, slapping her behind
over and over until tears streamed down
her face.

She screamed for him to stop again,
but he kept it up, moving his hand between
her cheeks, and varying the intensity of the
slaps. Some were not too hard, others
were painful, harsh slaps that made her
yelp around her tears.

She cradled her face in her arms and
cried. Most of them didn’t hurt that badly,
she wasn’t sure why she was crying.
Maybe it was because Chase had been
right. She’d been a pure-d bitch. She
never should have said those things to her
father. He’d tried to make it right and
she’d ignored him.

She hiccupped into the bed, and then
her head shot up. Chase wasn’t spanking
her anymore. He’d sat down on the bed
and was rubbing her back, his hand
moving in slow, gentle circles. There was
no sexual feel to it, just a soothing
massage as if to say that he understood,
and that it was OK for her to cry. The
punishment was over.

“Two crying jags in one day,” she
said. “I haven’t done this in years.”

“Seems like you needed it.” His
voice was soft. He lay down on his side,
his hand moving up to gently rub her
shoulders. He didn’t apologize for the
spanking, and she didn’t expect him to.

When her tears had dried, she lifted
her head.

“I’m going to get up, now.”

He grinned at her and averted his
eyes as she stood and pulled up her jeans.
Her behind was on fire and she grimaced
as she covered the orbs.

“Why did you do this? Tell me the
truth.”

“I think you needed it, Lily.
Sometimes
spankings
can
help
relieve tension.”

She sat down on the bed and hugged
herself.

“You want to talk to me about the
accident?”

“No.”

“You
wanna
talk
about
what
happened afterwards with your
dad?”

“You heard it this morning. He
blamed me for everything, and told
me to get out of his sight. So I did.”

Chase began rubbing her back again,
in slow circular motions.

“Do you think he was just talking
about right then, not about the rest of
his life?”

“I don’t know, and I didn’t care. He
hurt me. Yes, he was hurt, too, but not
once do I remember him asking if I was
all right, if I needed anything, if I was
scared, or felt horrible.”

“Emotions can be a terrible thing. I
don’t think he meant to hurt you, I really
don’t. The other day he told me that he felt
the accident was his fault, since the tire
blew.”

“He never said that to me.”

“Maybe he will tomorrow.”

Lily shook her head, then started up
at Chase as he began removing his
boots.

“What are you doing?”

“Getting ready for bed.”

“Ah, I don’t think so.”

“Get your nasty mind out of the
gutter,
Lily.
Sometimes
human
contact, as in touching and holding,
can be good for the soul.”

“You spank me, and then want to
hold me? Who are you?”

“A man who cares about your father,
and this ranch, and in the past few
days, you. I promise, no monkey
business.”

“I can’t believe you. You have guts,
you know that?”

“Yup.” He lay down on the bed,
scooting the pillows together and
patting the mattress beside him.

Lily shook head, then wiped her
eyes with the heel of her hand. Part of her
wanted to tell him to get the hell out. The
other part wanted to cuddle up next to him
and bury herself in his arms.

The latter half won. Lily lay down
next to him, her back to his front. He
wrapped her in his arms and kissed
her shoulder.

“This isn’t changing anything.”

“I know, you still don’t like me.”

Lily laughed. She could feel tears
forming behind her eyes again. Chase
pulled her closer and she let them
fall.

“Not even a little?” The humor in
his voice made her sniffle. He wiped her
tears and held her as she cried. When she
fell asleep, she was vaguely aware of the
smell of horses and aftershave that drifted
from his body. Maybe it was good to be
home, after all.

Chapter Five

“I feel like I should be telling you
what’s for dinner and to not be late.”

Lily stared at Chase as he pushed his
feet into his boots. He gave her a grin
that might have melted butter.

“OK, dear. I won’t be late.” He
laughed and she joined him. “You
going to be OK?”

“I don’t think you’re going to get a
call from Mrs. Chisholm saying I’m
killing my father, if that’s what
you’re worried about.”

“Actually, she said you were
screaming at each other. But, she did
tell me that you started it.”

Lily shook her head. “The therapist
will be there, making sure that we
behave ourselves.”

“Afterwards, why don’t you and Joe
come down for a ride? I think it will
do him good.”

She nodded, then took a deep breath.

“Everything will be fine, Lily. He’s
stronger than you think, and I’ll go
with you, just in case.”

He started for the door, then stopped
when she called his name. He turned
toward her and she felt her stomach drop
to her knees. Damn. She’d thought he was
handsome before. This morning she
thought he was devastatingly handsome.

“You know, I still don’t like you.”

He winked at her. “Liar.”

She put her hands on her hips and
stuck her tongue out at him. In
response, he raised his eyebrows and
muttered, “tsk, tsk.”

He was still shaking his head when
he walked out the door. Lily laughed. It
had been years since she’d let a person
close to her heart. There was too much
pain involved in relationships, her family
life proved that. She’d find some way to
push Chase Hamilton back into the barn
when he belonged.

Once her father was well, she was
going back to Europe, where she didn’t
have to answer to anyone, and she didn’t
have to think about the past.

*****

Lily took a drink of coffee,
swallowed, took another and set the cup
on the table. It was very quiet in the room.
Her father sat across from her and the
therapist, Matthew Green, sat in a chair,
looking back and forth between them

Finally, the newcomer took a deep
breath and said, “Saffron told me about
the accident, its consequences, and the
fight that drove you two apart. Do either
of you want to add anything to the
background here, to give me more
information?”

Lily shook her head at the same time
her father said, “no.”

“All right. Then let’s start with
yesterday. I understand there was a
yelling argument. Who wants to tell
me about that?”

They both sat, stonily quiet.

“This isn’t going to work if both of
you refuse to talk. We’re here to open a
dialogue, to air out feelings and,
hopefully, bring the two of your closer.
Holding back feelings, which both of you
obviously have, isn’t healthy. Our
sessions won’t succeed if you don’t talk.”

When neither of them said anything,
Matt linked his fingers.

“OK, Lily. I’m going to ask you a
direct question. I would like an answer.
Tell me what you remember from after the
accident, after the funeral. I think that’s
where all this traces back to.”

“I’d rather not.”

“Have you ever talked about it, to
anyone?”

“No. What’s the point? It’s over and
done with.”

“OK,” Matt said. “Let’s look at it
this way. Do you like the fact that you and
your father can’t talk with each other?
That you have no relationship?”

“No, I don’t like it. But I don’t think
if I say, ‘he hates me because I killed
my Mother,’ that everything going to
be fine.”

Lily felt the tears swell in her eyes.
She’d thought she’d cried enough last
night. Obviously, she’d been wrong.

“Is that how you feel, Lily, that you
killed your mother?” Matt’s voice
was low.

“Obviously, I did.” Lily took a tissue
from the box on the table.

“Were you drunk?”

“No.” She shook her head violently.

“Were you speeding? Not just five
miles or so, but ten or more?”

“No, but I was driving. Everyone
knows that.”

“Joe, did you blame Lily for the
accident?”

Lily turned her head toward her
father. He pressed back into his chair
and sighed.

“Yes.”

She balled her hands into fists, then
opened them and grabbed the arms of
the chair when he continued.

“At first. I blamed her at first. I was
angry, hurt, scared about how I’d live
without Miranda. It was selfish of
me, I admit.”

“You only came to the hospital
once.” Lily practically spat the
words out at him. “I was there a
month, and you came once.”

“I’m sorry for that.”

“So am I,” Lily spat back. She pulled
her feet onto the chair and crossed
her arms in front of them.

Matt leaned forward. “Let’s center
on that. Joe, tell me why you only
went to the hospital once.”

“I don’t know. I just didn’t. My wife
was dead. For a week, my daughter was
near death. When they told me she was
going to live I felt relief. Then I felt anger,
I admit it, I was mad. I didn’t want to see
her. I just curled up inside myself, I
guess.”

“Sort of like Lily’s doing right
now.” Matt turned to her and smiled.

Lily frowned, looked down at her
legs, at the position she’d put herself in
and shook her head. She lowered her legs
to the ground and put her hands on the arm
of the chair.

“So who wants to discuss the actual
split?” Matt looked between them
and Lily felt like she was under a
microscope.

“When I got home from the hospital,
he told me to get out of his sight.”

“That is not what I said.”

Matt cleared his throat. “What did
you say, Joe?”

“I was mad, I admit it. But I don’t
remember telling you to leave.”

“Well you did. And you didn’t bother
coming after me!”

Lily shrank into the chair when her
father screamed, “How could I? You ran
away. It took a private investigator to find
you, but I was damned if I was going to
beg you to come back.”

“What?” The shock hit Lily square in
the chest. “You hired a PI to find
me?”

“Yes. How did you think Saffron got
the number to call you?”

“I thought maybe Elsie had given it to
her. I called her and told her where I
was.”

The shock spread through her body.
He’d tried to find her. He actually
had found her.

“Why didn’t you call me?” She felt
the need for his approval swell inside her.
The accident had taken away both of her
parents, and left her unable to open up to
anyone, even someone as tempting as
Chase Hamilton.

“For the same reason you didn’t call
me. You never tried to call me.”

“I thought you hated me.”

“I’m sorry for that. I’m sorry for
everything.” Her Father twisted his hands
together and looked toward the door. She
knew that he was uncomfortable, that he’d
never been one to talk about his feelings.
Saffron was right. They were just alike.

She nodded, then took a deep breath.
“I’m sorry, too.”

Matt sat back and nodded at them
both. “This has been good.”

“So that’s it. A few I’m sorrys and
we’re done?” Lily raised her
eyebrows hopefully.

“Hardly,” Matt said. “But it’s a
huge start. You can’t just wipe away ten
years of anger. We can sit down together
in a few days, if you like.”

“Yes.” Her father’s answer was
more like a growl. She nodded her
approval of the idea.

“Excellent,” Matt said. “You know,
you can talk to each other when I’m not
here. Just don’t let it degrade into a
yelling match, like it obviously was
yesterday.”

“That was bad,” Lily said. “It was
my fault.”

“We don’t need to lay blame,” Matt
said, lifting his hand to cut off Joe’s
words. “It’s enough to know that the two
of you want to work out your differences.
That will make your family very happy.”

“We’ll work on it while I’m still
here.”

Her father’s head whipped toward
her so fast she thought it would snap
off.

“You’re still planning on leaving?”

“Yes, father. I don’t live here
anymore. I’m only visiting.”

“Fine, fine, just go back to
wherever.” He stood up and stormed
out of the room.

Lily stared after him, and then turned
a confused gaze on Matt.

“What was that all about?”

“That, Lily, was a man who has
missed his daughter, and who wants
her to stick around for a while.”

*****

Lily tightened the cinch on Chay’s
saddle. She was surprised that she still
remembered how to saddle a horse, seeing
as how it had been so long. Josh was
saddling Buster for her father, and Chase
was nowhere to be found. So much for
going with them.

Butterflies had taken up residence in
Lily’s stomach the minute they’d driven to
the barn. If something happened to her
father, she would be blamed. She’d tried
one last time to talk him out of the ride.
He’d refused to listen, saying it was “high
time he got off his kiester.”

The morning’s session with Matt
played through her mind. Her father had
missed her? You couldn’t tell it from her
end, that was for sure. He’d never called,
never written a letter, never offered to
visit.

Of course neither had she. She’d
stayed in her own little world, content that
no one would be able to hurt her again.
How wrong she had been. She was hurting
others, and herself, by staying away. She
knew that now. But she wasn’t sure she
was ready to move permanently back to
the ranch.

Where was Chase? At least with
him along she’d feel a little better.
Sensing her discomfort, Chay threw back
her head and whinnied. Lily patted her
neck and assured her that everything was
going to be fine.

“I don’t need a mounting post, Josh!”
Her Father’s voice rang out and she
laughed. “Geeze, Louise, do I look
like a child?”

“Father, maybe it’s a good idea with
your cast and all,” Lily said. “It
would keep the pressure off your
bones.”

As soon as the words were out of her
mouth,
Chase
rode
up.
He
dismounted his horse and nodded
greetings at everyone.

“Are we ready to have some fun?”
He raised his eyebrows at Lily, who
nodded and smiled.

“Good. Joe, how about you?

“If these two can quit telling me how
to mount my own horse, I’ll be fine.”

“They’re just trying to help, Joe.”

“Don’t need any damn help.”

Lily bit back a laugh as her father
pushed away Josh’s hand, and hoisted
himself onto Buster’s back. A huge smile
lit his face and she grinned. She mounted
her own horse, her behind tweaking a
little bit as it came into contact with the
saddle.

As if sensing what she was feeling,
Chase turned his head and raised his
eyebrows. She shook her head at him,
fighting the urge to give him her usual
salute with her tongue. He walked over
and patted Chay’s neck.

“How’d it go this morning?”

“We didn’t kill each other, as you
can see.”

“Just once, give a straight answer.”

“It went fine. He said he was sorry, I
said the same thing. Everything’s
back to normal.”

“Right. Two stubborn peas in a pod.”

Lily opened her mouth to tell him
what he could do with his peas and
he held up his finger.

“Don’t say it. Did you learn nothing
last night?”

“Yeah, that you’re a jackass.” The
minute the words were out of her mouth
she regretted them. Sure, he’d warmed her
ass, but he’d also held her close while
she’d cried, twice.

She looked away from him and saw
her father watching them intently. He
cracked a little smile, then kicked Buster
into action and headed for the field. Lily
took off after him. Seconds later, Chase
pulled up next to her.

“You can keep trying to push me
away, Lily, but I don’t think it’s
going to work.”

“Bullshit. I’ll tell you what I told my
father today. I’m only here for a visit.
I’m going back to London before
long.”

Chase narrowed his eyes. “We’ll see
about that.”

He took off at a run and caught up
with her father. Lily lagged back, doubt
nagging at the back of her mind. Her life in
London wasn’t that great. She had some
friends, but nobody that she considered
truly close to her.

Here she had Saffron and Daisy, her
newly discovered nephews and nieces and
yes, even her father. And what about
Chase? She’d never, ever, allowed herself
to fall in love with a man. She had a
feeling that if she stayed too close to the
handsome cowboy that was exactly what
would happen.

The idea had its pros and cons. One
the one hand he was arrogant, demanding
and just a little bit of a jerk. Hadn’t he
spanked her, several times already? On
the other hand, he was handsome, and
could be sweet, and caring.

Lily shook her head. Nothing good
could come from this. Sooner or later, she
and her father would blow up at each
other again, and she would have to leave.
If she allowed herself to become too close
to Chase, it would hurt horribly when she
left. She would just have to cut the cord
between them. Tonight.

*****

Once she was back at the house,
Lily quickly showered and changed into a
dress. Dinner wasn’t for several hours
more, and she wanted to talk to Chase
before then, to nip the feelings that she
was developing for him in the bud. She
would just tell him that the idea of them
being together wasn’t a good one.

He couldn’t stay in the house any
longer, and she wouldn’t allow him to
spank her again, under any circumstances.
She thought about the one he’d given her
last night. The first time he’d spanked her
she’d been angry. So very angry that the
only thing she’d been able to think about
was getting revenge.

That hadn’t worked out, though.

Last night had been different. The
feelings that he’d invoked in her had
scared her. Yesterday had been so
emotional that she’d welcomed the
contact, even when he was slapping her
ass. It had hurt, yes, but it had felt
wonderful to cry, and then feel close to
him afterwards as he held her in his arms.

The fact that he hadn’t made any
sexual overtures toward her made her
decision to cut off any chances of a
personal relationship easier.

Last night hadn’t been a sexual
overture, had it? Yes, they’d slept
together, but it had been just that, sleep.
There had been nothing sexual about it.
Well, that wasn’t entirely true. Lily smiled
as she remembered the feel of his arousal
against her backside as she’d fallen
asleep.

She pursed her lips. Her backside
that had been aching after he’d spanked
her, again.

No way. No way am I starting a
relationship with a man who thinks he has
the right to swat my ass whenever he
thinks it’s needed.

She straightened her shoulders as
the sound of his truck approaching reached
her ears. She heard him park and close the
door. As she knew he would, he came to
her house before going to his own.

“Hi darling, I’m home. Have a good
day?”

She smiled in spite of herself. Then
she schooled her face and nodded.

“Hum. I don’t think I like that look.”

“Listen, we need to talk about last
night. I don’t want you to think that
just because you slept here that…”

“That what, Lily? That we’re a
couple? That we have feelings for
each other?”

“Exactly.”

“You’re cold, you know that. I
suppose it’s to be expected, after
everything with your dad, but you’re
cold.”

“I am not cold, I’m just being
realistic. My life is not here, it’s in
England.”

“Yeah? And it’s so great that since
you’ve been here, you haven’t called one
soul. No one there is wondering where
you are, are they? When you leave, I can
guarantee that your Dad and your sisters,
and yes, me, will wonder where you’re
at.”

“That is so unfair.”

“Is it? Sorry. But we’ll play it your
way. I’m leaving now. I’ll see you at
dinner.”

“Chase! Wait, you don’t. I’m not.
Crap.”

Lily sat down on the couch and
dropped her head into her hands. She
knew that this was better, that if she hadn’t
ended it before it had gone too far, that it
would have been harder. But that didn’t
make it any easier to take.

*****

Chase slammed his saddle down on
the sawhorse and ran his fingers through
his hair. Dinner last night had been very
uncomfortable. Joe had been in a great
mood, laughing and joking as if he
couldn’t sense the tension between Chase
and Lily. And who couldn’t sense it. It had
been so thick you could cut it with a knife.

He could tell by the way that she
looked at him that she wanted him as
badly as he wanted her. She was just
afraid of opening herself up to someone.
He halfway blamed Joe for that problem.
Her fight with her father had shut down
her ability to allow herself to care.

After he hung up his reins, he put
Jonah in his stall and gave him a quick
brushing and rubdown before feeding him.
The horse nickered in delight at the extra
sweet feed that Chase threw in.

“Take it easy, buddy and I’ll see
you tomorrow.”

Chase shut the gate, wandered
through the barn to make sure everything
was as it should be, and then shut the outer
door. Dinner was at seven, and it was
now almost five. He had enough time to
get home, shower, change and make it to
the house.

He knew that Lily had taken Joe into
Austin that day for a doctor’s appointment.
If all went well, the casts should be
removed. Chase knew that Joe was
anxious to get back to work in the
pastures. He couldn’t blame him.

But the removal of the casts brought
up a different problem. Lily would want to
leave almost as soon as she could, she had
made that point clear. Joe wanted her to
stay. Saffron and Daisy wanted her to stay.
And Chase wanted her to stay.

In one short week he’d become
attached to her. Last night he’d tossed and
turned knowing she was right next door,
and that, the night before that, he’d held
her close as she slept. He’d wiped her
tears and listened to her breathing. He
wanted her little blond head resting on a
pillow next to him every night. He wanted
to see her beautiful eyes over coffee in the
morning. And he wanted to tan her little
bottom every time she needed it, which
would be often, he was sure.

He couldn’t think of any better time
to start than the present. He would go to
the house and shower. By the time he was
out, Lily would be back from Austin and
he would talk with her about the fact that
they belonged together. He wasn’t going to
let her go.

*****

Chase’s truck was already parked
between their houses when Lily arrived
home. The sight of it brought differing
emotions into her body. On one hand she
was glad that he was there, that she would
see him that evening at dinner. On the
other, it irritated her because it reminded
her that he’d given up so easily. That he’d
just said, “fine, let’s not start it.”

She hadn’t expected that reaction
from him. Part of her had hoped that he
would fight for her. When he hadn’t, it had
reminded her that nothing good could
come from relationships. Of course they
hadn’t really had a relationship. A few
spankings and a night in each other’s arms
didn’t constitute a commitment. It had felt
like one, though.

She went inside the house and
carried her purchases from the day into the
bedroom. It had been a good day. She and
her father had not exchanged one single
word that was hostile. They’d talked
about horses and the good reports that
he’d received from the doctor.

They’d eaten a fast food lunch at a
park near the University and then he’d
gone shopping with her. She’d been
impressed that he’d not once looked at his
watch and said it was time to go. And,
he’d insisted on paying for some of her
clothes.

When she’d pulled up in front of the
house, he’d actually smiled at her. The
only disagreement of the day had been
when she’d taken the back roads to Austin.

“It’s just a patch of road, Lily.”

“It just takes a little bit longer. We
have
plenty
of
time
before
your
appointment.”

“You can’t be scared of it forever. I
may not have been much of a father to you,
but I would like to help you here. Next
time we go to Austin, we’re taking the
main road.”

She hadn’t answered him. She’d just
driven on, ignoring his statement, even
though she knew it was true. She had to
drive that road at some point in time. Or
she’d have to if she stayed in Texas.

Lily couldn’t believe that thought
had actually passed through her mind. Was
she seriously thinking about staying at
home? The thought had crossed her mind.
It would be fun to get to know her nieces
and nephews, and to get reacquainted with
her sisters, although the three of them had
talked on the phone during the years.

Actually staying here might be
something that could be fun. Maybe.

There was a knock at the front door.
It was pulled open just as quickly.

Chase. It could only be Chase. She
took a deep breath and moved to the living
room. He was wearing tight jeans and a
button down shirt that revealed a light
smattering of chest hair.

“Yes?”

“I thought we’d walk up to dinner
together. Unless that falls under the
heading
of
‘no
relationship’
activity.”

She shook her head. “You don’t have
to be pissy.”

“Don’t I? Do you think it hurts, just a
little, to be rejected before the
relationship even started? I think it
sucks.”

“I didn’t reject you. I just said that
there wasn’t a future.”

“Sounds like rejection to me.” He
stepped toward the door and opened
the screen.

“Shall we go?”

Lily moved toward him. He looked
angry, and more than a little intimidating
as he stood there. She brushed by his body
as she moved out the door, stopping
suddenly when he put his arm up to block
her progress.

“Just so you know. I’ve decided that
I’m not going down without a fight.”

“Excuse me?”

“I like you, Lily. Even though you
think there’s no future, I think you’re
wrong, and I plan on proving my point
after dinner. Be prepared.”

He moved his arm and Lily scooted
by him. She turned and looked at him. He
was smiling, and the look he gave her
made her knees go weak.

“I told you…”

“I know what you told me, Lily. You
don’t want me in your life? Fine.
You’re going to have to prove it to
me.”

“What does that mean?”

Chase stepped outside the door. He
pulled Lily into his arms and kissed her,
his mouth demanding and possessive. She
pushed against his shoulder but he held
her firmly. When his tongue pressed
against her lips she sighed and opened for
him, kissing him back with all the passion
she could muster.

He pulled back and cupped her face.
“You’re a liar, Lily. You want me as
badly as I want you.”

“Are you going to punish me for lying
to you?”

“I’m going to spank your little ass.
You won’t be able to ride a horse for
a week.”

“I…” The phone rang inside the
house. Lily jumped, then ran back
inside.

She picked it up and before she could
say
hello,
her
father’s
voice
exploded in her ears.

“Get up here, now. Daisy’s gone
into premature labor and they’re taking her
into Austin. We have to get there as quick
as we can.”

Chapter Six

“We’ll take two cars, in case one of
us needs to come back before the baby’s
born. Just follow me.” Chase ran toward
his car and Lily pulled him back.

“Take the farm to market road.”

“Are you kidding me? That will put
us in on the other side of Austin.
We’re in a hurry, here.”

“Please, Chase. I don’t want to…”
Her voice drifted off and she looked
at him with pleading eyes.

Understanding
dawned
and
he
cocked his head at her. “Lily. Your
Dad will be with you. It’ll be fine.”

As if hearing his name, her father
came down the stairs of the porch,
heading for the passenger seat of his
car.

“Let’s go. Ty said every second
counts. She’s at the hospital right now and
the doctor thinks she should be delivering
in the next few hours.”

Chase pulled Lily close and kissed
her forehead. “You’ll be fine. Relax.”

Your dad will be with you. You’ll
be fine. Yeah? Well, my Mother was with
me before, wasn’t she?

“Let’s go,” her father yelled from
the car. Mrs. Chisholm climbed into the
back of the car and Lily crossed to the
driver’s side. Her palms were sweating
and she felt as if the world had turned
upside down.

She put the key in the ignition and
started the car. After pulling her seat belt
across her, she looked at her Father. For
the first time in years, she felt care and
concern pour from him into her.

“It’s gonna be fine,” he said. “I told
you today. It’s just a stretch of road. Now
let’s go so we can get there before you
sister makes me a grandfather again.”

“Maybe you should drive.”

“My cast is off, but the ankle’s still
sore. Getting on a horse is one thing,
driving another. You’re gonna do fine.”

Lily took several deep breaths. This
would be the first time she’d driven over
the accident location since she’d been
back. She wasn’t looking forward to it,
but knew that it had to happen.

A cell phone rang and her father
answered it.

“Yeah, we’re on our way. No
kidding? How did they miss that? Yeah,
we’ll be there in about an hour.”

“Miss what?” Lily drove through the
gates of the ranch. Chase’s truck waited
on the other side. He waved at Lily and
took off down the road. She tightened her
grip on the wheel, moved in behind him
and cut her eyes to her father.

“Twins.”

“What? They didn’t realize that in
this day and age? How can that be?”

“Well, Daisy always said the doc
was having trouble deciding what sex the
baby was. I guess they were hiding, or
taking turns posing for pictures.”

Mrs. Chisholm burst into laughter.
“Goodness gracious, that’s fantastic”

“That’s great,” Lily said. “Saffron
had twins. Daisy is having twins. I’m
never having any kids.”

She nervously laughed as she drove.
She fought to control her fear as her father
and Mrs. Chisholm talked about babies,
and how they were going to have to buy
another crib, and get more baby clothes.

Lily’s memories faded back to the
day of the accident. She and her mother
had been talking about nothing in
particular, just shooting the breeze after a
day of shopping. If Lily had been able to
control the car when the tire blew, her
mother would be here right now,
witnessing the birth of her granddaughter.

Lily took a deep breath as they
turned onto the state highway that would
take them into Austin. Chase was keeping
his truck right at the speed limit, and Lily
did the same.

Her father must have noticed the
death grip she had on the wheel, because
he sighed and said, “Don’t.”

“Excuse me?”

“Don’t think about it. Just relax and
let things happen. If it’s one thing I’ve
learned in the last eleven years is that
life’s too short, Lily. I regret everyday you
and I spent apart, and every mean, hateful
thing I ever said to you. I hope you believe
me.”

“I do.”

“It took me a long time to figure it
out. I don’t want you to have to wait that
long.”

Lily nodded. They were minutes
away from where the accident had
occurred. She’d been driving from Austin
to the ranch, so she’d started in the
opposite lane, but had ended up on the
other side of the two-lane highway.

When they crossed the exact spot,
Lily expected to feel great fear. Instead,
she felt calmness as her father reached
over and gently patted her hand. Then he
sat back on his side of the car.

“I wonder if it will be one of each,
or two boys, or two girls. They’re going
to have to think of new names. They’d
already come up with one for each sex,
Dalton for a boy, Celia for a girl. Now,
they’ll have to come up with two more. I
wonder how long it will take them to
figure out names.”

Lily laughed and shook her head.
She wasn’t sure what she had expected to
happen, but her father had been right. It
was just a stretch of highway, where
something terrible had happened.

She listened to her father and Mrs.
Chisholm discuss baby names as she
focused on Chase’s truck. His words from
earlier in the evening played on the edge
of her nerves.

“I don’t plan on going down without
a fight. You want me as badly as I want
you.”

He’d been so right. She was scared
out of her mind, but he’d been right. And
she planned to let him know that as soon
as she could.

*****

“Well, Daisy should be happy,”
Saffron said as she patted the seat
next to her. Lily sat down and cocked
her head in confusion.

“She didn’t want to be pregnant
during the heat of the summer, and
she won’t be.”

“Have they said anything yet?”

“No. They took her in for a C-
section. Ty went with her. He looked
really cute in his hospital scrubs. I hope
he doesn’t faint, though. He hates blood.”

“So what, she just all the sudden
went into labor? Did she have no
warning?”

“None. We were talking about you
and…”

Lily turned toward her sister. “Me
and?”

“Chase. We were trying to figure
out a plan on how to get you two stranded
together at the cabin near the lake. She
said something about taking horses, and
then boom, her water broke.”

“Isn’t that just great, my sisters
teaming up on me.” Lily looked at
Chase, who stood talking with her
father.

“Oh please, you could stand to get
laid. And he’s perfect for you. I hope
you realize that.”

“Are you saying this because you
really think so, or because if we
were together it would keep me
here?”

“Both.”

Lily sighed and shook her head.

“On another subject. How are things
with you and dad?”

“Fine, actually. We talked, and
today I actually felt close to him. It’s
kinda scary. And, instead of trying to fix
me up with Chase, you should be figuring
out a way to get father and Mrs. Chisholm
to notice that they’re in love with each
other.”

“I know,” Saffron said. “Pretty cool,
huh? Daisy noticed it about a year ago.
We can all work on that together.”

“Maybe we should strand them at
the cabin.”

“Yeah, we could. But if we do
anything without Daisy she’ll throw a fit.
By the time she’s out of the hospital and
able to plan things, you’ll be back in
London, won’t you?”

The disappointment in her sister’s
voice made Lily smile. It was nice to
be wanted.

“I don’t know. I thought I might stick
around for a while.”

“Hey, I can go to London with you to
pick up your stuff. I haven’t been
there in years. James can watch the
kids.”

“You just want a vacation from your
rug rats. Plus, I never said I was
moving back permanently.”

Saffron frowned at her. “Those are
my children you’re talking about. But yes,
you’re right. I could use a little break. Pub
crawling with my little sister sounds like
fun.”

“Yes, it does.”

The sisters locked hands and smiled
at each other. Seconds later, Ty came
through the door with a huge grin on
his face.

“Two boys, handsome as all get out.
Both are very small, only about four
pounds each.”

“How’s Daisy?” Joe asked.

“She’s fine. You can see her in a
bit. They’ve taken the babies to the
Neonatal ICU. You’ll have to look at them
behind glass for just a little bit. But they
let me hold ‘em. So cute, so tiny. I just
want to wrap them up and keep them in my
arms for the rest of their lives.”

Ty accepted hugs and handshakes.
Lily watched her family and thought about
how much she’d missed, and how happy
she was to be here for a happy moment.
She could feel Chase’s eyes on her. She
turned toward him and smiled.

The grin he gave her set her toes on
fire. In the back of her mind, she
wondered whether the two houses they
lived in could be torn down and made into
one. She shook her head to clear the
thought. No need to put the cart before the
horse.

*****

Once her father and Mrs. Chisholm
were settled in the house, Lily and Chase
drove down to their houses in silence.
Without being asked, or saying anything,
he followed her inside.

“Now, where were we? Six hours
ago?” He laughed and pulled her close. “I
think it was right here.”

He brought his lips down on hers.
Lily didn’t push him away. She leaned
into him and kissed him back. His hand
stroked her hair as their gazes locked.

“We still have to deal with the fact
that you lied to me.”

“I didn’t lie. I was telling you the
truth, or what I thought was the truth.”

“Then you were lying to yourself.
You felt the same thing that I did.
You just didn’t want to deal with it.”

“You can’t fault me for that.”

“Oh yes I can. You tried to take
yourself out of my line of sight.
That’s unacceptable.”

“You know, you’re awfully bossy.
I’ve been on my own for quite some time
now, and I don’t think I need you telling
me what to do.”

“I think you need me to keep you in
line.”

Lily raised her eyebrows. “Excuse
me? If you think...”

She jumped when Chase slapped her
ass.

“You need an attitude adjustment.”

“Me? You’re the one who thinks he’s
king of the world. There is nothing
wrong with my attitude.”

“Oh, I beg to differ. You just need a
little spanking to reinforce the fact
that we belong together. Just a little
adjustment.”

Lily narrowed her eyes at Chase,
then pushed away from him and ran for the
bedroom. She tried to slam the door
before he got there, but he was too quick.
She headed for the bathroom with the
same idea in mind, but he was right on her
heels.

He grabbed her around the waist
and bent her over the counter.

“Good thing you wore a skirt.”

She fought him, half-heartedly. Her
body pulsed with energy and desire as he
pushed her panties down to bare her ass.
Her caressed her behind gently and she
closed her eyes.

He slapped each cheek a few times
and Lily bit back a moan of need. She
wasn’t sure which attitude he wanted her
to have, but she knew that her mood right
now was one of ultimate desire.

He gave her a few more slaps,
nothing harsh, then stopped.

“This will remind you not to hide
your feelings from me?”

“OK. I’ll remember that.”

She jumped when something hard
slapped down on her ass. She jerked her
head back and watched Chase’s hand go
back, her wooden hairbrush clutched in
his fist.

“Now wait just a minute…”

The brush came down, hard. Lily
squealed and tried to get away, but Chase
held her firm, moving her so that she
partly over his thigh.

The brush came down again and
again, each stroke harder than the last.
Lily counted at least ten before she yelled
for him to “stop, damn it!”

“You’ll think of this the next time
you try and push me away.”

He continued to spank her and
despite the pain, Lily felt warmth start to
spread through her belly. He wanted her.
He wanted her to stay, so did her father
and sisters.

The spanking continued but Lily
didn’t feel anger over it. She felt
acceptance, and the desire to stay with
Chase for the rest of her life.

Several more smart smacks landed
on her bottom.

“Stop! I get the point.”

“Are you sure?” He landed a few
more swats.

“I’m sure! Chase! STOP!”

Chase pulled her into his arms. “I
love you, Lily. Lord help me, because
you’re a stubborn woman who can act like
a little girl when she does things like
letting the air out of tires. I love you.”

“I, Chase, I…”

“It’s OK.” He stroked her cheek.
“You’ll be able to say it soon.”

He leaned down and kissed her, his
tongue dancing inside her mouth.

“Make love to me.”

Chase raised his eyebrows and
grinned. “I thought you’d never ask.”

He gathered her in his arms and
lifted her up, walking them toward the
bed. He sat her down and gently
undressed her, dropping kisses around her
shoulders and arms as he did.

Lily shivered as he kissed her.
When he gently pushed her backwards and
gave her an evil grin, she laughed. He
undressed quickly and lay down beside
her.

She turned toward him as they gently
caressed each other.

“I feel wicked doing this here. It’s
hard to come to terms with being an
adult while on my father’s ranch.”

“Weelll…”
Chase
pushed
her
backwards and climbed on top of
her, he kissed her shoulders and
breasts and then shook his head.

“Well, what?”

“Your Father told me yesterday that I
needed to, and I quote, ‘get the lead
out.’”

Lily gasped as Chase gently parted
her legs and placed himself at her
opening.

“Are you serious?” She laughed, then
gasped as he gently pushed inside.

“Very. I think he saw it before we
did.”

He set a gentle pace, locking their
hands together on either side of her
face.

Lily wrapped her legs around him,
grateful that she had come home to Texas,
and that she’d been welcomed in the most
beautiful of ways.

*****

The next morning, Lily sipped her
coffee on the porch of the main
house, then frowned at Chase.

“You can’t keep spanking me.” Her
words were low and she frowned at
him. “My ass hurts.”

“Oh yeah? Think again, missy. That’s
part of my job description.”

She laughed and buried her face in
his chest. At that time, her father opened
the door. She looked at him, and smiled.
In return, he gave her a huge grin.

“About time you two figured things
out.” He sat down at the table and
took a sip of coffee. Lily and Chase
sat opposite him.

Mrs. Chisholm appeared with food,
setting it on the table and smiling
shyly at Lily.

“Why don’t you join us, Mrs.
Chisholm,” Lily said, raising her
eyebrows.

The older woman looked to Joe for
confirmation. He winked at her and
Lily ducked her head to hide a laugh.

“All right. Let me finish bringing
everything out.”

Lily jumped up to help and soon the
four of them were situated around the
table, eating breakfast together like they’d
been doing it for years. They were in the
middle of the meal when a truck pulled up
and Stuart Watkins got out.

“Stuart,” Lily said. “Did you bring
Elsie?”

“No, this is business.” He nodded
and shook hands with Joe and Chase. “I
got the tests back on those cattle that had
been acting strange.”

Lily stared at the vet.

“And?” Joe’s hands tightened on his
coffee cup.

“Locoweed.”

“What?” Chase shook his head.
“That’s not possible. I haven’t seen
any.”

“That doesn’t mean that it’s not out
there. We need to do a sweep and get
rid of it before any of your other head
get into it.”

Joe nodded. “Round everybody up,
Chase. This needs to be top priority. I
want it dug up at the roots so there’s no
chance of it coming back.”

Lily stood and put down her napkin.

“I’m coming along.”

“Absolutely not,” Chase said.

“What, are you going to tell me this
is men’s work?” She put her hands
on her hips and stared at him.

“Lily, a cow that’s ingested
locoweed can turn aggressive, downright
dangerous. Leave it to the hands who are
around it every day.”

“No. I’m not going to sit on my ass
while y’all go out. If you don’t like
it, you can lump it.”

She headed down the steps and
Chase grabbed her arm.

“I’m serious about this.”

“So am I.” She pulled away from him
and stepped closer. “I know we’re
lovers now, but I’m still my own
person.”

“And I’m still the foreman of this
ranch.”

She grinned and cocked her head
toward her father, who had been
talking with Stuart.

“Daddy, I’ll drive us to the barn in
the cart. We can leave from there.”

Her father nodded absently, then
looked at his daughter, a big grin on his
face. She realized, at the same time that he
had, that she’d called him daddy, and not
father. She wondered for a few minutes
where that had come from. Then she
returned the smile and turned back toward
Chase.

“Don’t think I’m going to ignore
this, Lily. You and the hairbrush may have
an appointment later tonight.”

Lily stuck her tongue out at him and
moved toward the cart. She may be falling
in love with Chase, but there was no way
she was going to allow him to run her life
completely. She was her own woman, and
she planned to stay that way.

*****

Lily reigned in her horse and pointed
toward a gathering of trees near the
pond.

“There.
Purple
thorny
flowers.
That’s it.” She headed Chay toward
the area, her father and Chase close
behind.

Chase jumped off his horse and
walked amongst the plants.

“Yup. Locoweed. Shit, where did it
come from?” He looked around and
shook his head.

Lily dismounted and stood next to
him. “Maybe the wind blew in some
seeds last year.”

Her father rode up and Buster
danced around. “I’m riding back up to the
house. We can get a backhoe in here to dig
all this up. Then, we’ll get someone out
here to spray.”

Without waiting for an answer he
took off.

“He’s a lot better,” Chase said. “It’s
good to see him being active again.”

Lily nodded and walked toward her
horse.

“You, young lady, are in major
trouble.”

“Oh please? What do you expect me
to do, sit home and do nothing? I’m
not that kinda girl, Chase. Get used to
it.”

“I don’t expect you to do ranch work.
We have workers that we pay to do
this.”

“Yeah, well if they were so good
they would have caught this before
the cows got into it.”

A movement from the trees caught
their attention. They both turned to
watch a cow wander out of the trees.

“Shit.” Chase mounted Jonah and
pointed at Lily. “Stay here. Let me
handle this.”

The cow bent to eat from the weed
patch, and Lily knew that it had already
been feasting on the flowers. Chase rode
toward it and she ran and mounted Chay.

She watched Chase pull out a short
whip and smack it in the air. Jonah didn’t
react, but the cow, startled by the noise,
nervously backed away from its treat. The
large animal turned his head toward
Chase, then bolted for the horse.

Chase cut toward the animal’s left,
and Lily took off for its right, surprised
that she remembered the things her father
had taught her about herding cattle.

“Lily! Go back!”

She ignored Chase’s demand and
cut in back of the cow, intending to move
it back toward the main pasture. The cow,
however, decided that it liked the area it
was in. It turned its bulk back toward Lily.

Chay, not trained as a cattle horse
like Jonah, shied away from the animal
and began to nervously prance around.

“Lily! Back off!” Chase moved
toward the cow. When he was within a
few feet, he sent the whip flying through
the air again, the cracking sound
resounding through the trees. This time the
cow got the message. It took off toward
the main pasture. At the same time Chay,
frightened by the cow and the noise,
reared back and dumped Lily from her
back.

Chay took off behind the cow and
Lily landed on the ground, the harsh
landing knocking the breath from her
lungs. She gasped for air, vaguely aware
of Chase yelling her name and jumping off
Jonah to run to her side.

“Stay down, stay down!” He gently
pushed her back when she tried to stand.
Then he ran his hands up and down her
legs, checking for broken bones.

“The only thing hurt is my pride,”
Lily said as he helped her up. She rubbed
her backside and grimaced. “Well, maybe
a little bit more than that. I haven’t been
thrown from a horse since I was thirteen
years old. This really sucks.”

“I told you to let me handle it.”

“So spank me.”

“I will. Later.” He turned at the
sound of horses. Her father and
Stuart were headed toward them,
with her father leading Chay

Lily hung her head sheepishly when
her father tossed Chay’s reins to her.

“I believe this belongs to you,” he
said with a grin. “Do we need to get
you a pony to relearn how to ride
on?”

Lily quickly remounted the horse,
who danced nervously, then turned her
head toward Lily as if apology. She patted
Chay’s neck and shook her head.

“The cow?” Chase said. “Did you
see him, or is he heading back this way?”

“Josh got him,” Stuart said. “He’ll
isolate him so we can watch him.
Meanwhile the other hands are searching
other areas to make sure there’s no more.”

Chase nodded in agreement. They
all split up and searched the surrounding
area, finding no more trace of the weed.

When they were back together, Josh
rode up. “Nothing else was found,” he
said. “But the guy with the equipment says
he can’t get here until tomorrow to dig it
up.

“Fine,” Chase said. “I’ll camp out
here tonight to make sure no cattle get into
the stuff again. Lily can stay with me.
She’ll love it.”

She cocked her head toward him and
said, “oh, I will?”

“Oh, you will,” Chase answered. “A
night under the stars will be fun.”

And her father laughed.

*****

Lily threw a few large sticks on the
fire and turned toward Chase. He was
stretched out on a heavy blanket, propped
up on his elbows. He looked delicious
and she could feel herself salivate at the
idea of cozying up to him in the sleeping
bag.

“How’s your behind?” There was a
grin on his face.

She rubbed her hip area. “It’s more
around here. I’m OK, though.”

“That’s good. I’ll just remember to
spank low.”

“Excuse me? You’re going to punish
me for falling off a horse?”

“No, Lily, I’m going to punish you
for the reasons for falling off that
horse. I told you to stay back. You
didn’t listen to me.”

“I’ve been around cattle all my life.”

“Have you? When was the last time
you saw a cow near Big Ben?”

Lily bit her lip. He was right, she
knew that. But she didn’t want him to
be right.

“So you’re going to spank me to
show me you’re the boss?”

“I am in this, Lily. You could have
been seriously hurt this afternoon.”

From the darkness near the trees,
Chay whinnied as if in agreement.
Lily laughed.

“OK, so you were right. How will
that do for a punishment? I hate
admitting that I’m wrong.”

Chase shook his head. “Nice try. If
you’re a good girl, and take your
punishment, it won’t be that hard.”

“So if I’m in a relationship with you,
I can expect to be spanked for every
little thing?”

“Today wasn’t a little thing, Lily.
What would have happened if the cow
charged Chay? A cow on locoweed is
very unpredictable, you know that. The
cow charges Chay, you fall off, the cow
tramples you.”

Lily didn’t answer. His words rang
true, even though she didn’t want to admit
it.

“So I tell you what. You take off
your jeans and panties and lie down next
to me.” He patted the blanket. “I’ll give
you a few swats, to reinforce my words.”

“Chase…”

“I’m serious, Lily.”

Lily considered her options. She
could turn and run. Chase would take off
after her and catch her, she knew that. Or
she could take the spanking. Was there
something wrong with her that made the
latter part of those options the more
enticing?

She undid her jeans and slid out of
them. She put her hands in the elastic of
her panties and started to lower them. He
looked calm as he studied her. He stopped
and studied him back.

“You’re not going to use the whip or
anything like that?”

“No, Lily. Just my hand. Or maybe I
should use my belt? Would that get
my point across?”

To underlie his words, he undid the
clasp and pulled the leather away
from his jeans.

“No belt.”

“Lie down.”

“No belt.”

“Now.”

“NO BELT!”

“Now, you’re just making it worse.”
He stood up. He moved quickly for a man
his size. Lily backed up, and made a grab
for her jeans. Taking a spanking with his
hand was one thing. Taking one with a belt
was something totally different.

Chase was on her before she could
pull her pants back on. He angled them
toward the blanket were he sat down and
pulled her down over his lap.

“Maybe I should use the truck. That
would remind you of the first time
that I spanked you.”

He slapped her ass a few times, then
pulled her panties down and slapped
it some more.

Lily giggled and wiggled. He’d just
been teasing her about the…

The leather slapped against her ass
and she yelled out. Chay whinnied in
response and Chase landed another
swat against her ass.

“That hurts! Stop that!”

Five more swats landed. Lily
wiggled down his lap. Chase pulled
her back, then captured her legs in
between his scissor fashion.

“Chase! Stop it!” She beat her fists
against the pillow as Chase landed
several more swats.

Lily screamed out in frustration and
then suddenly, after Chase had delivered
two swats to each side that stung worse
than all the rest, he stopped and pulled her
into his arms.

“I love you, Lily. Don’t ever, ever,
do something like this afternoon again. If
you want to work the range with us, fine.
We’ll find you a proper horse and you can
do it. But remember, on the range I’m the
boss.”

“Yeah, and you’re the boss at home,
too?”

“Yes.”

“So, I’m just the peon?”

He kissed her gently. “I love you.”

“Yeah, well I hate you!”

Chase cocked his head, a grin on his
lips. Lily wrinkled her nose at him.
She lifted her eyes to his.

“OK, I may love you, but I don’t like
you.”

“Fine. I can live with that.” He
kissed her and pulled her close to his
chest. “And there are ways to adjust
that attitude.”

The End

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Lily’s Lessons Melinda Barron © 2010 © 2007 by Blushing Books and Melinda Barron Lily’s Lessons © 2010 © 2007 Melinda Barron & Blushing Books Originally published by Blushing Books in

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