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Cole wasn't a man controlled by anyone, let alone the little spitfire trying to lure him to the alter. He decided who he married. He decided when. So when Tessa shows up for church one Sunday, she enters as Miss Bowers and leaves as Mrs. Bridger.
Right from the start, Cole dictates his expectations of Tessa, who quickly realizes married life is not as she imagined. Willful and disobedient, she fights against the humiliating and shameful things he demands. With the help of the town doctor, Cole begins to train Tessa to be the proper wife. It is a difficult task, but he'd waited years to tame her - mind, body and soul.
I'd never seen Tessa Bowers more beautiful than the moment she discovered she was getting married. She was stunned, panicked and nervous. Her cheeks, bright pink with vitality, had drained of color. Her mouth, often turned up into a contrary little smile, fell open and her tongue darted out to lick her full lips. Needless to say, my thoughts took a very carnal turn at the gesture.
Ever since she'd developed her woman's body, she'd tested her feminine wiles on every man in Liberty, Montana, before ultimately setting her sights on me. Coy glances, an inappropriate brush of a hand, a brief, yet planned moment alone had been a few of her attempts to gain my attentions. Instead of the modest, demure behavior of a young miss, she was brazen, bold and devious and I'd been bewitched from the very first. The more she tried to gain my attention, however, the more I rebuffed her every effort. That didn't mean I hadn't noticed her. Hell, what man hadn't? I blatantly disapproved of her every forward gesture, snubbed her bold advances because that meant she would apply herself even harder, and I enjoyed her efforts. Her blatant innocence was endearing, as long as it was directed toward me. No one else. And until she was old enough, I waited, for she was to be mine.
But she couldn't ensnare me. I would trap her. It was the man's job to claim his bride. And today at church, I did.
"You're sure she's the one you want?" Sam asked, leaning in to whisper in my ear. "It's not too late to back out. No one would blame you. I hear Clara James has turned quite fetching in recent months."
We were standing shoulder-to-shoulder at the altar, next to Reverend Abernathy. The church was small and the pews were filled with townspeople I'd known my whole life. I could hear their soft whispers as they watched the event unfold.
I turned my head and rolled my eyes at my brother. "Clara James? If you think she's so fetching, then you have her. Tessa's mine."
I turned and watched my intended in the middle of the aisle, standing motionless between her parents. Both had a hand on one of her elbows, attempting to push her forward, but her feet held fast, even on the polished wood floor. For the first time in her life, Tessa Bowers was being forced to do something she wasn’t inclined to do. It might not be the last.
As she was being manhandled in my direction, Tessa seemed to have grasped what was about to occur. No one came up to the raised dais besides the minister unless they were about to be wed or buried. Mr. Bowers had taken care of his last responsibility toward his daughter: getting her to the altar. He'd done an exceptional job. It was obvious she had no idea this was no ordinary church service until she’d crossed the threshold to see me standing by the minister in my Sunday finery.
Stepping down, I shook Mr. Bower's limp hand, nodded to his sour-faced wife and then took Tessa by the biceps.
"This is not happening," she snapped, her voice low. She actually stomped her foot like a five-year-old, not the nineteen-year-old woman she was. She was tall, but still only came to my chin. Her hair was black as night and she had the bluest of eyes, a striking contrast that I'd never seen in another woman. Her mouth was lush and ripe, as were her womanly curves. When she spoke, however, her venomous words never failed to find their mark. I doubted she had many friends, and her parents had been quicker with a belt than a kind word. They were far from doting.
"I'm not even dressed appropriately." She leaned in close and I could see a slight hint of freckles across her nose. Her familiar floral scent drifted up to me.
"You're worried about your dress and not the man who is standing at the altar waiting for you?" I smirked at her tangled concerns.
She pursed her lips as if I’d just made a benign statement. "Of course it is you. Who else did I tempt all this time?"
Who else, indeed? No one that wished to claim and tame her like I did. Not that I'd let any of them get near her. I wanted a spirited woman. I wanted a woman with passion, with fire. I wanted Tessa.
"Regardless, this is not a convenient time. Perhaps next Sunday would be better." She sniffed and smoothed her skirts to appear unaffected. I knew otherwise.
I only arched a brow at her dictate and leaned my head down so only she could hear. "Do you want to tell the reverend about the time you cornered me in the coat closet, or should I? How about when you accidentally spilled the water pitcher on your white blouse?" It was blackmail of the lowest form, but she needed to be swayed and quickly. I'd waited long enough to make her mine.
I heard her sharp intake of breath and watched her give Reverend Abernathy a furtive glance. "You wouldn't." Her voice hissed out with her usual snap of anger.
I bent at the waist so we were eye level. Her pale blue gaze was wary, fearful, yet still defiant. The room was silent. Not even a deep breath came from the congregation, as they no doubt watched our exchange, wondering who would emerge triumphant. "It doesn't matter to me, darlin', one way or the other." I grinned. "We can stand up and get married today with everyone knowing of your forward ways, or we can just keep that to ourselves. It's your choice."
Her full mouth fell open and I could see her thinking, debating. I enjoyed watching her clever mind at work. It only took her a moment to realize she was good and trapped. "Very well, but I don't have to like it. Or you."
"You don't have to like it, but it'll sure be more enjoyable for you if you do."
With those words I stood up to my full height and held out a bent arm for her to take. The whole town had turned out to fill the back pews. My brother, Jake, and his wife, Catherine, sat in the front with my cousin Grant and his wife, Maura. Across the aisle sat Mr. and Mrs. Bowers and their oldest daughter, Henrietta, and husband. Sheriff MacKenzie leaned against one wall toward the back and gave me a knowing grin. Adam Graham, the town doctor, stood with him.
Tessa placed her dainty hand at my elbow and we stepped up to the altar. I could have sworn I heard Mr. Bowers sigh in relief.
Reverend Abernathy smiled at us both and opened his Bible. The religious portion of the service was quickly accomplished; the man knew the chances of an unwilling woman fleeing the altar were diminished if the service itself was kept brief. So within minutes, I lowered my head to kiss my bride for the first time.
I felt her intake of breath, watched her eyelids flutter closed. She did not resist; she'd been wanting me to do so for years. Now that she was legally mine, I could. Her full lips were soft, warm and pliant. I didn't know if it was her first kiss or if she'd practiced with another, but she was woefully lacking in skill, yet it was somehow endearing. This was something I looked forward to improving. When her eyes fluttered open, the congregation applauded. I couldn't help but grin, pleased that Tessa was now mine. Some surely thought I'd been kicked in the head by a horse to take on Tessa Bowers. There was something unbelievably beautiful and soft beneath her uppity manner, and I aimed to see more of it.
Some of the congregation stood and left, while others remained. Mr. Bowers gave me a relieved nod and departed with his eldest daughter and her husband. It appeared Mrs. Bowers would stay as family witness to the final portion of the marriage ceremony.
Tessa turned toward the steps as if to depart. While her eagerness to leave with me was pleasing, we were not finished by half. She might have been mine now in the eyes of God, but she needed to be corked for me to claim her in the eyes of the town, and in my eyes as well.
Reverend Abernathy raised his eyebrows in silent question and I nodded. A week earlier, my brother Jake had married Catherine and had chosen to skip the corking at the wedding. I, however, had no such intentions. The minister held out a hand towards the bar to the right side of the altar. He often stood behind it to give his sermons, but it held another use for occasions such as this.
"We're not done, darlin','" I told Tessa.
She glanced up at me, her dark brows coming together. I gave her hand a little tug and pulled her over to the bar.
"Grab hold and don't let go." I intentionally dropped my voice to a deeper pitch and addressed her in a manner she would quickly learn meant immediate obedience on her part.
She stood directly in front of the bar and glanced over her shoulder at me in confusion. The reverend handed me a small glass jar, gave a brief nod and stepped down to stand by the sheriff.
"It's time to make you mine, darlin'." I pulled her hips back.
Of course, she resisted and squawked. Frantic eyes shot left and right. "What? Here? Now?" Her tone was shrill, panicked.
I just shook my head at her nonsense as I pulled the cork I'd chosen for this occasion out of my pocket. "Of course not. I don't fuck in public." I held up a small object for her to see.
Whispers came up from the congregation, but I doubt she heard. Only the men and married women remained to witness Tessa's corking; all children, unmarried ladies and certain family members like Mr. Bowers had left after the vows were spoken. The community of Liberty shared very specific rules that were strictly enforced, but they also kept them very closely guarded.
"It's time for your cork." A feeling akin to elation shot through me as I said those words. Like other men of Liberty, I'd been waiting a long time for this moment. Waiting with Tessa in mind, in my dreams, in my fantasies. Waiting for her to be finally, and irrevocably, mine.
Tessa's eyes widened. "My...my what?"
I placed my hands gently on her shoulders. "Your cork. All married ladies have their asses filled."
"Her a....what?" Tessa glanced furtively over her shoulder at the congregation and the married women who remained. Obviously, her mother had sheltered her well. Most ladies gave nods of encouragement, but no doubt a few who’d been subjected to Tessa's verbal barbs at one time or another were now enjoying her discomfort.
I was enjoying this immensely. Without her realizing it, she'd been pushing me toward the altar for years. Now that she had me here, I was the one now in control. She would be tamed by my hand and this would be the first step. I just had to be gentle about it, perhaps even reward her once the task was done.
Slowly, I turned her around to face the bar, grabbing her skirt at her hip as I went, slowly working the back of the garment up. She resisted, using her hands to push it back down, holding it securely in place. "No. This isn't right. I refuse." Her eyes were brilliant blue in anger. Bright slashes of color brightened her cheeks.
Leaning forward, I spoke quietly in her ear. "I'm your husband, not your parents, Tessa. You don't have to fear me."
Her blue eyes blinked, then darted toward her mother in the front row. "But...but I thought my body was for you." She flushed prettily.
"Oh, darlin', your body is just for me. I look forward to being alone so I can take you just as I've dreamed. But some things are allowed to be seen. Witnessed. Your first cork is one of them."
"Put your hands on the bar, Tessa," I interrupted. "Be a good girl and when everyone's gone, I'll give you a special treat."
With shaking fingers, she acquiesced and grasped the wood. Once again, I pulled her hips back and unceremoniously pushed her skirt up in back. The front remained in place, long down to the tips of her shoes so she remained covered from the view of the congregation.
"They might know what I'm doing, darlin', but no one can see," I leaned in and murmured. Most of the men had been in just my position before and all the women had been in Tessa's place. MacKenzie and the other unmarried men in the room were probably considering how they'd tackle this situation when their turn came.
I undid the tie on her white cotton drawers and let them slip down to the floor. Oh, she was lovely. Her skin was a pure, alabaster white. The round globes of her ass were a perfect heart shape and I could see just a glimpse of her pussy peeking out. Gripping one hip, I pulled her back even more.
There. That's just how I wanted her. I took a moment - I'd earned it after the years of waiting - to look my fill. Her pussy lips were dark pink, a striking contrast to the dark hair that surrounded it. And her tight rosebud was so perfect and ready to be stretched.
I leaned forward again. "So beautiful, darlin'." Goose bumps rose on her delicate skin. She was not unaffected.
I dipped my fingers in the jar of ointment, placed one hand on her hip and touched her ass.
"Oh, Cole," she cried out, her hips shifting at the contact.
Without waiting nor offering her time to fight me, I pushed my greased finger gently into her hole. I circled a bit, but didn't linger to let her relax. I knew she wouldn't no matter how gently I worked her. So I fought the muscles there and pushed my way in. Her ass was no competition for my probing fingers and I slipped in to my first knuckle. At the same time, I slid my thumb forward to find her clitoris, hard and protruding from her folds. She gasped at the contact. Had she never touched herself there before? Was this a completely new sensation for her? The idea made me very possessive.
She thrashed her head as I worked her front and back, her hair coming out of its pins and she cried out. Taking the cork I'd chosen for this occasion--a small one that would acknowledge my dominance of her but not too large as to scare her--I coated it with additional ointment from the jar, then pushed it against the tight opening.
With one one hand strumming her clit, I didn't need to hold her down. I worked the cork into her carefully, forward and back until it slid into place. Shaped like a wooden spool for thread, it stretched her ass open, but did not go into her deeply. She groaned at the intrusion, yet didn't move away because she'd miss the brush of my fingers against her greedy clit. I tugged on the cork once, twice, to make sure it was secure and seated, and then ran a fingertip around the stretched ring of muscle to make sure it wasn't hurting her. Discomfort was expected and anticipated, but pain was not.
"Like that, darlin'?" I flicked her clit ever so gently.
"Mmm," she murmured.
I was more than pleased with the final result, the cork peeking out, her clit responding so eagerly. I'd assumed Tessa would put up a fight; I'd never witnessed a corking where the woman didn't. She was used to having her way and I knew that unless I took control from her right now, she'd think to continue with her highhanded ways. One way to curb that was a good old-fashioned corking. An easier way was to bring her pleasure. To have her focused on that and the small plug I inserted, she wouldn't have a thought to anything else.
The cork I chose was not overly wide, and stretched her ass only slightly. It also sank into her only about an inch, not too deep, but just enough for her to feel full. She wouldn't complain. Now that she knew the women in town were in a similar predicament, she no doubt knew she'd get no sympathy.
Her parents were miserable people and made the lives of those around them equally miserable, including Tessa. But I was nothing like them, and under my protection, I had hopes she'd flourish. She could learn to be herself without the fear of cruel repercussion her parents meted out. While she would quickly recognize I took charge of her body, she would find pleasure, and ultimately freedom, in that. She'd all but been begging me to take control since that first time she worked her wiles on me, not that she was aware that was what she'd been doing.
I nodded to the congregation who'd stayed to witness the corking. They stood and worked their way outside. Soon the church was empty save for Tessa and myself. The next, her reward, was for me and me alone.
"You've been very brave, Tessa," I told her, who was still bent forward. "Now you get your treat." I brushed my fingers over her pussy, her folds beautifully damp from her arousal, then found her clit once again. "Have you ever touched yourself here before?"
She shook her head. "N...no."
"Do you like it?"
"Oh, yes, Cole." Her voice was breathy. Even bent forward as she was, I could tell she breathed hard. With my other hand, I slipped one finger into her tight pussy. She cried out.
"I want you to come for me, darlin'. You've been such a good girl."
It didn't take long, mere seconds of working her, my finger sliding in and out, just up to my first knuckle as not to damage her maidenhead, while circling her clit, She came, her back arching, her hips thrust back to gain more contact, to make the pleasure last. She groaned as her inner walls milked my finger. My cock throbbed against the tight confines of my pants. It wanted to feel that hot, wet squeeze.� Once sated, I brushed her skirts off her back and they fell to the floor, covering her once again.
"Such a beautiful sight, and all mine. You may let go now and stand."
With a very relaxed body, she stood, then spun around to face me. She gasped, most likely by the shift of the cork. Quickly, she leaned forward, shifted her hips back. Her cheeks were flushed, her skin dewy with her release. Her eyes, usually a light blue, were dark and stormy with her waning arousal.
I stepped closer and ran my thumb down her soft cheek.
"The...um, the cork," she whispered.
"Yes, darlin'?" I tucked an escaped curl behind her ear, my finger caressing the dainty curve at the top.
"It's...it's horribly uncomfortable. I can't keep this in me."
"You can and you will." I crossed my arms over my chest and waited.
"For how long?"
"This cork? I'll take it out before I fuck you later. In general? Always."
I watched various emotions flit across her face. Anger, frustration, discomfort, stubbornness, defiance. And then defeat. She started to cry, her shoulders slumping.
Pulling her small frame into my arms, I hugged her, ran my hand up and down her warm back. She smelled of flowers and springtime, her hair silky soft beneath my chin. Her full breasts were pressed into my chest and she no doubt felt my cock, hard and thick against her belly. "Don't cry, Tessa. Everything's going to be just fine. That pleasure you just felt?"
Her forehead bumped against me as she nodded.
"That's for me to give you. You might find some things I ask of you to be difficult, at least in the near term, but remember that pleasure. I will make you come again and again."
"But, but why me?"
I tilted her chin up so she could look in my eyes, see the truth in my words. "It's always been you." I brushed away the last of her tears with my thumbs, then lowered my head and kissed her, this time lingering on learning the curves of her lips, her taste, without an audience.
Sadly, I couldn't linger. It was time to depart; even though I'd made her come, I couldn't take her on the alter. Taking her arm, I led her out of the church, making sure to go slowly to accommodate her new distraction in her ass. Once outside, I shook hands with the minister and thanked him for his service. The man made no notice of my bride's flushed cheeks, her sated expression; he'd seen this many times before. Next, Tessa's parents approached, all stern faced and severe. Mr. Bowers shook my hand and I nodded respectfully at his wife, whose lips were pursed into a thin line. "I'll give you all a moment."
Tessa's flushed skin paled and she bit her lip, clearly not wishing to be alone with the couple. I wouldn't let them monopolize her time for long. They moved away to talk privately and I went to stand with my brothers, who both shook my hand and slapped me on the back.
"She does not look the happy bride at the moment," Sam said, looking over to where my new bride stood meekly listening to something her mother was saying. From the angry look on the older woman's face, it wasn't good. My new mother-in-law was a very severe woman.
My bride was gazing upon me, clearly trying to ignore her mother's diatribe, yet when her ear was yanked, she had no choice but to focus elsewhere. Anger pulsed through my veins at her mother's cruel treatment.
When she gave me a small smile, pride filled me. Knowing my cork was filling her, the way her body responded so swiftly to my touch, had me anxious to get her home. Training her would involve finesse, but I'd waited years. I was nothing if not patient. And it meant she was free of her parents harshness.
"Thank you, husband, for not corking me at our wedding ceremony," Catherine told Jake. She looked quite pretty with her dark hair wrapped neatly in a bun, and dressed in a simple black skirt and white blouse with the modest scarf covering her breasts. She'd come from St. Louis to marry Jake and had fought him and the strict rules of being a wife in Liberty. Still did on occasion, from what I gathered. But Jake used a pill in her ass every night to elevate her arousal. Now that she knew the pleasure to be found in the more unusual aspects of sexual congress, such as a good ass fucking, she was more concerned about pleasing Jake and easing the ache of her body than griping.
"And what about the dildo that's filling your pussy?" Jake murmured, caressing her cheek and smiling. Earlier in the week, I'd fashioned a dildo onto a leather strap for her to wear about her wrist for when she needed to pleasure herself, which seemed to be all the time. I'd heard it was being well used, and had been a great source of easy pleasure for Catherine. Right now, however, it was not in its usual place dangling by her shirtsleeve, as it was inappropriate for town.
Catherine's lids lowered and her eyes glazed over at the husky tone of her husband's voice. "Between the dildo and the wide cork, I don't know if I can make it home," she replied, her voice low.
Jake looked around.
"The jail's empty," MacKenzie said as he approached, hearing the very end of their conversation.
Jake nodded, bid a hasty farewell, then steered his wife into town.
Sam and MacKenzie just shook their heads at how smitten Jake had become in such a short time.
Mrs. Bowers led Tessa back my way, the younger woman's face pinched and it looked as if all the pleasure I'd wrung from her body had bled away. What had the woman said to make my new wife so unhappy?
"See you bachelors later," I replied over my shoulder as I went to meet Tessa. I heard the men chuckle, but I couldn’t have cared less. This beautiful woman before me was mine.
"Tessa is ready for you, Mr. Bridger," Mrs. Bowers said. Tessa would not meet my eye. "Good luck."
Tessa winced at Mrs. Bowers' parting words, as if she'd offered a physical blow. Not even her mother understood her. I didn't need luck, just a controlling presence and some gentle praise.
When I saw Cole standing at the altar, I knew we were to be wed. I'd wanted it, dreamed about it for years. I'd done everything I could think of to get him to notice me, to court me so that I could be free of my ruthless parents. It wasn't just any man I'd pined for, it had just been Cole. Only Cole. But he'd caught me completely by surprise and I didn't have the appropriate dress, my hair was a mess and my parents were all but dragging me forward. Clearly, they'd been as eager to get rid of me as I was of them. I'd had visions of my wedding, and reality certainly did not match. The ceremony had been too short for me to even feel like I was being married. Even the kiss was brief and chaste and nothing like I'd imagined it would be with Cole. And then....
It had been awful! Horrible! Cruel! How could Cole, my husband, treat me in such a way? In front of the townspeople? In front of my mother? Not only had he lifted up my skirts and seen me ... bare, but he'd stuck his finger inside of me! And definitely not where I’d imagined. That thing - the wooden thing he shoved in - it was very uncomfortable. His words, his warm breath against my ear, had soothed me, made it bearable. He found me beautiful. He wanted me. He'd been waiting for me!
My heart soared at the notion. He was stern, often brooding, but he'd been gentle with me, even touching me...there. It had felt, oh! Incredible. Indescribable. Wonderful. He'd said he'd give me a treat, but I imagined a candy or some frilly notion. I wasn't a silly girl anymore and Cole certainly didn't see me that way. The way he touched me, the way he made me groan with sheer pleasure, ensured me that I was his woman.
He led me, sated and replete, out of the church, only to be told by my parents, in no uncertain terms, that I was no longer their responsibility and that whatever Cole did to me was my fault. Mine! Not like my perfect sister, Henrietta. Had the plug been my fault? Cole had said all wives had them. If my mother and sister both had their...bottoms filled as well, how was my corking my fault? The pleasure Cole had given me; obviously my mother did not know what he'd done to my body in the sanctuary when we were alone. I saw nothing but relief on their faces when Cole led me to his horse to go home, and I knew, right then, that I would be happy with Cole. I would strive to be the perfect wife, if just to be rid of my family. I was a Bridger now, not a Bowers.
Home! My home was now with Cole. The man was so big, so tall, so broad that I'd been smitten since I was sixteen. He looked so handsome in his Sunday finest. His hair was dark, although lighter than mine, long for a man and curled slightly at the ends. His skin was tanned, almost swarthy from the sun. Although I'm sure he'd shaved recently, light stubble appeared on his square jaw that made me itch to touch it. And his eyes - I felt as if they could see past every wall or defense I built to my very soul.
He climbed up on his horse and held out his hand. I took it readily, his strong grip easily lifting me up upon his lap. "Are you comfortable?" he asked.
His clean scent, something musky and spicy, swirled around me, along with the tang of leather and horse. Feeling his hard, unyielding flesh beneath my thighs and his heartbeat against my arm, it was a heady combination.
With his arms about my waist holding the reins, I felt secure and protected. I didn't understand why I should feel this way when I was filled with the silly cork. The man had done unspeakable--yet unbelievably pleasurable--things to my person and I felt protected. Was there something wrong with me or solely desperate to be away from my parents?
The horse slowly ambled out of town, leaving the town behind. "Your parents, they're...."
Cole left the statement hanging.
"My parents are very severe."
"Did they say something that bothered you?"
I swallowed down a lump of tears building at the tenderness in his voice. I'd never had someone be concerned for me before. "Nothing new or overly exceptional."
The wind picked up a curl and it got in my eyes. I tucked it behind me ear.
"Such as..." Cole prompted, as the horse plodded slowly over the summer grass.
He waited patiently. Oh, the man seemed to have the patience of a saint! I shifted in his lap, as if I were physically uncomfortable by the conversation, not just emotionally. "They assured me that you would beat me if I did not behave."
I felt the muscles in his thighs tense beneath me. "Do you think I'd do that?" he asked, his voice calm, but with a sharp edge to it.
I shrugged my shoulders. Would he hit me? He didn't seem the type, and I'd know as I'd watched him for years. I'd seen him with his brothers, with other townsfolk, with the horses. He appeared strict, yet kind. "I...I hope not."
"I will never hit you in anger. Spank you, perhaps. That depends upon you."
"I'm a strict man, Tessa. I will make demands of you that you may question, that you may not like, but you will obey. I promise, I will always see to you, cherish you, give you pleasure. I will never hurt you."