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Authors: Cara Nottingham

Punished by Passion

BOOK: Punished by Passion
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Punished by Passion

By Cara Nottingham

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Copyright © 2013 Cara Nottingham

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Rights Reserved

Madison was in trouble.
She knew it, the entire town knew, and she had exactly one hour before U.S.
Marshal Nate Marcus knew it. That was the one person she had hoped to hide it
from, but now that the whole town knew what she had done, there was no hope.

It wouldn’t matter that
she was only trying to keep her twin brother from getting himself killed. That
always seemed to be the justification for whatever scheme she fell into. Nate
had told her time and again to come to him the next. But Foster was her problem,
her responsibility. She didn’t know how to let anyone in to help when it had
been so long since she’d taken full responsibility for him.

He started out with
small enough pranks, ones that she could always sweet talk people into
forgiving him for. Once she had set right whatever wrongdoing he had done. Now
here they were, almost 24 years old, Foster amassing a huge fortune in gambling
debt and Madison practically a spinster. She’d had proposals, but Lord knew
once she’d first laid eyes on the sexy marshal, she could never settle for a
good natured dependable rancher. Nate was danger personified, with an ice cold
demeanor that kept in level headed in the stickiest of situations. Hardened
criminals were known to flinch under his crystal stare.

She should have just
left town, yes, that probably would have been the easiest course. But she knew,
deep down, that she could never run away from Nate. Even if she wanted to, his
tracking skills were known throughout the territory. It was said that he always
got his man. In her case, he’d catch her and she have hell to pay once he did.

No, it was better to
face her fears and take whatever Nate dished out. Not that he’d ever really
hurt her, though Lord knew she’d pushed him to the brink enough times. But he
had a way of making her squirm while he calmly explained each and every detail
of her punishment. He was always in control. She was the one with the raging
emotions.

“Here comes the
marshal,” her brother Foster announced from the doorway of the saloon. “He
looks mad enough to peel paint off the walls.”

“You needn’t enjoy this
so much,” Madison responded. “This is as much your fault as mine. He’s probably
going to arrest you before he even begins to look in my direction.” Her stomach
was instantly filled with butterflies at the anticipation of being under Nate’s
scrutiny. Maybe that was why she always fell for Foster’s schemes. She figured
Nate’s cold fury was better than what she received from him any other time.
Indifference. That was one thing Madison could not withstand from the marshal.

Foster laughed. “Oh
Maddie, you’re damn fool is you believe that. Nate Marcus has been in love with
you since the day we came to town. Why else would he spend every spare moment
trying to keep you out of trouble?”

“Well, it is his job,”
Madison said. Her eyes grew large as the marshal burst through the swinging
saloon doors, causing both to crack loudly against the walls. His eyes sought
and found her in the dim light of the saloon. His jaw clenched and unclenched,
giving her a true indication of his rage. His typical nonchalant demeanor had
all but disappeared.

“Foster, get outta
here.” He never took his eyes off Madison, fully expecting Foster to obey. When
Foster took a step toward him, Nate’s fist clenched tightly and he put his other
hand on the butt of his gun. “For the love of God Foster, run away from here
before I put a bullet in your fool head. And I will kill you if you ever drag
your sister into another hare-brained scheme again.”

“See Foster, I told you
this was your fault,” Madison inched away from Nate, trying to position herself
so a table, or maybe two, stood between them.

“Madison, I suggest you
shut your pretty little mouth and head up to your room. Now!” Nate roared the
last word and both Madison and Foster whirled and ran in unison, hightailing it
away from the one man who had any power to frighten either of them.

 

“Really Madison, did
you think I wouldn’t find out?” The marshal said through a clenched jaw.

Madison tossed her
copper curls over her shoulder and gave the marshal her haughtiest stare. “In
all actuality, marshal, I never gave a thought one way or another about your
knowledge regarding whom I spend my time with.  I can’t imagine why it would be
any of your concern.”

“Everything you do is
my concern,” he practically growled as he grabbed her by the shoulders. “From
the minute you rolled into town until the day you draw your last breath, your
safety is my primary concern.  And since you continue to play these childish
games, you will find yourself treated as child.”

Madison struggled, but
his large hands were clamped around her like a vise. He placed her in a dining
chair without any effort.

“Sit.” He ordered and
turned his back, walking, or more like stalking to her door.

“If you dare to think,
sir, that I will be ordered about and then have you leave me here to consider
my actions, you are sadly mistaken.”

“Oh Madison,” he
replied so softly she barely heard. “The time for thoughtful consideration has
long past.” He reached for the doorknob, but instead of opening the door, he
turned the key in the lock. The click of the tumbler locking into place seemed
louder than the hammering of her heart.  When he slid the key into his front
pocket, she jumped up from her chair.

“What the…? You can’t
lock me in.  I am a free citizen of this town.  I will call for help and my brother
will alert the sheriff…”

In less than three
strides, the marshal was directly in front of her. Madison tried to step back,
but fell back into the chair.

“Your brother is in
just as much trouble as you are. Maybe more. I can probably keep you out of
jail, but I doubt I can convince any judge that your brother is just as
senseless as you.  If you thought to spite me by taking up with train robbers,
you thought wrong. Now I know just how much freedom to allow you. None. As for
the sheriff, he has already turned you over to federal custody so it can be
decided whether you should be charged as an accessory to both the bank
robberies. That means for the forseeable future you pretty little hide belongs
to me.”

Madison paled as she
considered the position she had put both the marshal and her brother in. All
she had wanted was to help her Foster pay off his gambling debts, but instead
she had turned the entire town on its ear by allowing an entire gang of train
robbers access to the town’s businesses.

“Now, you have two
choices,” the marshal continued. “Face up to your punishment like the mature
woman you should be or continue your childish charades and put up a struggle. 
Myself, I’m hoping for the struggle.  I have a lot of frustration to get out of
my system.”

“Why would I struggle?
If you are going to hold me captive, I am hardly a match for a strong, wily
lawman as yourself.”

“You’ve had my mind
going in circles since the moment you arrived in town. If I would have just
thrown you and your dimwitted brother in jail the first time you’d broken the
law, I could have saved myself and half the town a lot of sleepless nights.”

“I never asked you to
come to my rescue. Not then and certainly not now. I would have found a
resolution to my dilemma eventually.” Madison crossed her arms and huffed.  If
the marshal didn’t leave, she was never going to be able to hide the bag of
money she’d pilfered form the train robbers as they were packing to leave town. 
If he knew what she’d really been up to, he’d implode with rage. She tried to
stand, but the marshal shoved her back down in her seat.

“Sorry darlin’ but I’m
callin the shots now. And I specifically recall telling you to sit.” He leaned
down to whisper in her ear. “And I’d enjoy it for now, because it’s the last
time you’ll be able to do so for the next week.”

Before she knew it, he
was across the room, removing his coat and draping it on the back of her chair.
He had a seat opposite her and slowly removed his boots, letting each one fall
to the floor with a loud thud. He pulled a thin cigar out of his inside coat
pocket and tugged a flint lighter from his front trouser pocket.

When he lit it, Madison
jumped up in protest. “Please extinguish your cigar.  The smoke does not agree
with me.”

The marshal raised one
eyebrow and pointed at her with the lit cigar. “Sit. We have business to take
care of, but first I am going to enjoy my cigar and have a glass of whiskey.
I’m going to need both to calm down enough to keep from breaking you in two.”

Madison plopped back
into her seat. She was getting nowhere with getting rid of the marshal. She had
no idea what he had planned, but she knew it wasn’t good. He was madder than
mad at her and she knew he had good reason.  But then, being nervous always had
an extremely loosening effect on her tongue.

“You know, there is
strong evidence that smoking shortens one’s lifespan. I would hate to see you
unable to hasten after the criminals and ne’er-do-wells of the territory due to
a sudden bout of asthma.”

“Shut up, Madison.” He
blew a series of smoke rings toward the ceiling, each one forming concentric
haloes above his hat.

“I was merely trying to
be helpful.” She tossed a pouty look in his direction.

“That’s it!” The
marshal threw the cigar into his whiskey glass and slammed the glass on the
dining table. He was back in front of her in less time than it took her to
blink once.

“Up.” He ordered.

“But I though you
wanted me to…” she was yanked unceremoniously from the chair. He then sat down
and roughly pulled her face down across his lap.  “What are you….oh, oh,
noooooo!” Madison howled as his hand made contact with her behind. The many
layers of clothing kept it from being too painful, but the humiliation was just
as painful for her.

His forearm held her
tight against his upper thighs, making escape impossible. A few more swats and
she hoped he’d have that out of his system. As if in confirmation, his hand
stopped and rested on her bottom, giving it a rough knead.

“Well that was a bit
uncalled for,” Madison tried to get up, but was still pinned by his iron grip.

“Oh it was completely
called for.  You have been begging for it and we’ve only gotten started. I
don’t think you’ve felt nearly enough of my wrath through all of these fancy
layers.” The marshal peeled her floor length skirt up, flinging it over her the
back of her head.

Madison gasped. In the
shrouded darkness created by her upside down skirt, Madison felt a very real
shudder of fear. The marshal was a keg of gunpowder ready to blow and she’d
been foolish enough to light his fuse. Instead of the candlelight seduction
she’d long been dreaming of, he was about to beat her bloody.

His hand at the waist
of her petticoat had her jumping again. He slowly pulled the tie of first one
side and then the other. His hand brushed against her bottom softly as he went
from one side to the other, tugging the waistband further down with each turn.
In several agonizing minutes, her petticoats were bunched around her knees and
her thin underpants were all that separated her bottom from the marshal’s
view.  They were very expensive, very transparent underpinnings ordered from
France. Oh how she wished she was wearing some rough homespun version right
now. Her French panties were open at the bottom, allegedly to allow more
healthy air flow.

The marshal’s hand was
stroking the thin fabric that barely covered her, inching slowly closer to the
center. Madison clenched in worried anticipation as he found the slit.

“Ah, ah, ah.” He
admonished.  “You have to hold very very still.” His voice was rougher; his breathing
had grown more rapid and much shallower. “Now, you’ve not been behaving very
ladylike and I’m guessing your daddy never put you over his knee to teach you
any lessons.  It’s a real shame that I’ll be the one to take care of his
business now.”

“But you’ve already
administered a good number of swats,” Madison protested. “I’m quite certain
that I’m cured of any future delinquent behavior.”

“No darlin’ that was
just a warm-up. When I’m finished with you, your bottom will be as rosy as a
summer sunset across the desert. The next ten swats will give you a better idea
of what you’re in for.”

BOOK: Punished by Passion
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