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“You are not just my wife, you are my world.”
Keith and Rose have been happily married for years, but when they begin their journey to build a family they are thrown into a tailspin of disappointment and they begin to lose each other and themselves.
After months of growing apart, Keith makes the decision to reclaim his wife and whisks her off to an exclusive BDSM resort. Rawhide Ranch had come highly recommended as a place for lifestyle couples to congregate and play out their fantasies. But upon arrival, they realize there is a lot more to the ranch than meets the eye.
Keith and Rose aren’t quite sure what to do about their discovery, but a vacation is a vacation and they decide to embrace the experience and all it has to offer. What they find opens up a whole new world and a journey they could have never foretold.
Rose sat at the edge of the exam table garbed in a hospital gown. Her feet swung back and forth while she hugged herself with one arm and chewed on the thumbnail of the opposite hand. Her eyes stayed glued to the door awaiting the news. After months and months of trying to get pregnant with medical help, she should be used to this by now, but she wasn't. Each time she told herself it was her turn. Each time she hugged the little human that she imagined was taking root in her belly. And each time she left with another gaping hole in her heart. Every visit ended with her having to acknowledge the defeat in her husband's face. He wanted so desperately to have a child, but her body was broken. He was saddled with a woman that could not fulfill his dreams of being a father. She could sense them growing apart. He wasn't interested in her at all anymore. If he had been paying any attention, he would have seen that she needed him to take command. Not sure if she could handle any more of these visits, she wished he would put an end to it all. She did everything she could to serve him, to be the perfect submissive, but carrying his child was all that mattered. Of course, he had never said any of that to her, but she knew her husband. He was unhappy, and it was her fault.
A knock on the door signaled the doctor’s arrival. Her always attentive husband was by her side before the door opened. How could she feel like he didn’t pay attention? Maybe he was as lost as she was and she was selfish with her thoughts. One look at the doctor’s face and her hopes were dashed. It was the same answer each time. Her body did not take the egg. Closing her eyes, all she could do was squeeze Keith’s hand and pray that something would change. She could not go on this way. It was slowly killing them both.
Swinging the racquet hard, Keith created a punishing speed for himself as he chased the ball around the court. His go-to for stress relief had always been racquetball. Something about the racquet swishing through the air, connecting with the ball, and sending it sailing into the walls was therapeutic, but even his favorite pastime was doing nothing to calm his nerves. Instead of the methodical sound of the blue rubber ball calming his thoughts, it felt like each reverberation was bouncing around in his brain. In his mental state, he didn’t even notice that his opponent had stopped playing and was standing out of his way until the ball finally got past him and was caught in the hands of the older man.
Jared, Keith’s friend and mentor, crossed his arms and raised a single eyebrow in silent question.
“Don’t look at me like that. I am not one of your subbies.”
The older man shrugged, looking completely unaffected by Keith's comment. “You’re right; you aren’t my type. What’s going on? “
Keith ignored the question in favor of quenching his thirst. “We done? Or do you wanna go another round?”
“Well, you played that last one alone, so you tell me?”
Keith sighed rubbing the back of his neck. He didn’t want to talk, but it would probably help, and if he knew Jared, the man’s intuition had already seen through the precarious hold he had on his nerves. He was so damn tired. Physically, mentally, and emotionally, he felt like the life had been sucked out of him. He was distracted all the time and everything he ever held dear was slipping through his fingers. Deciding the time had come to confide in his old friend, he dropped onto one of the wooden benches and took a deep breath. “Rose and I have been trying to get pregnant. It hasn’t exactly been a pleasant endeavor.”
“Then you’re doing it wrong,” Jared interjected with a wry smile.
Keith leveled him with a grim and unamused smirk. “We are not doing it wrong, dirty old man. My woman is plenty satisfied, thank you very much. I meant that month after month of negative pregnancy tests has been stressful. She's on edge. I'm on edge. It’s awful. Not to mention all of the money we've poured into fertility treatments. I want a family as much as she does, but something's gotta give. I feel like I’m losing her.” He slumped his shoulders in defeat. It was just too much weight, too much pressure in their relationship.
“What are you going to do?” Jared was a lawyer; he would lead the conversation in a way that forced Keith to come to his own conclusions. The man had his opinions, but he refused to push them on anyone unless he was expressly asked to.
“That’s just it. I don’t know. The only thing I know for certain is that we can't keep going on like this. The doctors aren't optimistic that anything will help us to conceive. We've talked about having a family since we started our relationship and now that looks like an impossibility. I’m at a complete loss on how to approach Rose. She is so … lost.”
“What are your instincts telling you to do?”
“I want to protect her from any more heartache, and the only way to do that is to put my foot down and say we're done. Maybe we try again in a year or two, but as of right now, I think we need to put this aside.”
“So, what’s stopping you from telling her that?”
His matter-of-fact tone made Keith want to punch him, but Jared's words were carefully chosen and with purpose. The most frustrating part for Keith was that he had no answer. The only thing stopping him was his fear of hurting his fragile wife, but he was more worried about what would happen if this behavior continued.
“You are the head of your household, right?” Jared’s knowing look told Keith he knew the answer already.
Keith was a Dom, he had learned this about himself very early on and had sought out a mentor. After a visit to a local kink club, he connected with Jared and began his journey. Taking charge of his life and the woman he loved was second nature due to his innate need to lead and protect. It was also a large part of the reason he had joined the police force. After years of Keith playing with different subs, Jared introduced him to Rose. The younger man had been skeptical at first. She was beautiful, confident, and the most submissive creature he had ever been given the honor to meet. The woman was too good to be true and it took him months of dating her to realize that she was exactly what she appeared to be—perfect.
Dates led to playing together and then to him disciplining her for an incident over a wine glass. With her bottom bright red, and tears in her eyes, he had gotten down on one knee and proposed. That was five years ago.
“She trusts you to be strong enough to make the hard decisions. She needs that from you. Are you strong enough? Do you have the courage to stand up and say no more? Do you have sufficient faith in your relationship to do that?”
“Of course, I have faith. It’s just not that easy.” The urge to slug the old geezer grew in spades.
“Do you have her best interests at heart?”
“You know I do.”
“So does she. She knows that you won’t let her down and that you always try to do what's best for her. She trusts you.”
Keith took a deep breath. He knew Jared was right, and maybe it was the exhaustion, but he was at a loss on how to regain control of his position in their family. At the moment, it seemed like an overwhelming and insurmountable task. “I would be open to any suggestions you may have.”
“When is the last time you two went on a vacation?” Crossing his arms, Jared leaned against the wall and waited for the response.
“Two years ago, we went to New York City, but the whole trip was a mess. Our flight was delayed due to crappy weather, then we both got sick and had to come home early.”
“You need to get away. Reconnect. Re-establish your love and roles for each other. Press the reset button and have a do-over. Have you heard of Rawhide Ranch in Montana? It’s an exclusive BDSM resort, and it's owned by a close friend of mine. He can get you past the extensive waiting list and push you through the vetting process. He owes me a favor.” Jared winked. He had a way of collecting favors from people.
“It might be exactly what we need to get us out of this. Make the call and I will talk to Rosie about it when I get home.”
“You’re a good man, a good Dom, and a good husband, and you have a good woman by your side. Don’t let anything get in the way of that.”
“Thanks, old man.”
“Watch it, young gun. This old man can still kick your ass. One more game, that is, unless you're tired.”
"You're on, Gramps."
Even though he still had a lot to think about, Keith felt lighter. Talking to his friend had helped immensely. The ideas he had been mulling over were finally clarified and he was ready to take back his life. He just prayed Jared's observations were correct and his little wife would know that his heart was in the right place.
Sweaty and tired from his extensive workout, Keith dragged himself home. Entering through the garage, he was assaulted by the smell of bleach. Prompted by stress, Rose was cleaning again. It was all she did these days, relentlessly cleaning and organizing their home, trying to bring control to her out of control world. After tossing his gym bag in the laundry room, he went in search of his wife.
She was on her hands and knees scrubbing the grout of their tiled entryway. Grout, he noted, that she had scoured the week before. He took a deep breath as he observed her actions. Her hands were covered in cracked skin from being subjected to harsh cleaning chemicals. Her muscles were tense, and she sniffled and wiped her face on her sleeve every so often. What she didn’t do was acknowledge him in any capacity. It was like he wasn’t even there. He didn’t try to stifle his deep sigh. How had he let things get to this point? He missed the bouncy woman that would greet him with an excited hug or the sexy vixen who would be waiting for him in tantalizing lingerie that she knew would not survive the removal process due to his impatience.
He cleared his throat, and Rose halted her actions to look in his direction. Her eyes were puffy and red from crying, and her face was pale and drawn from lack of sleep. Keith’s stomach clenched at the sight of this woman he barely recognized. This was his fault. He had failed her. By giving her space and letting her work through things in her own way, he had inadvertently abandoned her needs as his wife and his submissive. No more, he thought. This ends today.
Feeling empowered, he was prepared to handle the issue head on, refusing to come home to this sad sight any longer. “You just cleaned that, Rosie. The house looks wonderful. You have worked hard, and I appreciate you so much, but you’re done. Put all of the cleaning materials away and don't touch them again until I say otherwise.”
She sat back on her haunches and stared at him open mouthed.
“Don’t look at me like that. Do as you are told. I'm going to run you a bath, and we're ordering in for dinner. You and I need to talk.”
Rolling her eyes and shaking her head in disbelief, she ignored his instructions and returned to her work. “You can’t just walk in here and tell me to stop cleaning. That’s asinine. This floor is filthy. After this, I need to clean all the baseboards. We might need to get some paint to touch up all of the scuff marks.”
He accepted the responsibility for her inability to take him seriously, especially after months of allowing her to push him and get away with so much. He had expected resistance but he was as stubborn as he was impatient, and her bravado would only last so long before he won.
“Rose, what I said was not a suggestion. Put it all away. We are going to have a long talk tonight and set some things back to rights. If you don't obey, then we can start with a punishment and then we will get on with the evening I have planned. It's your choice.” Crossing his arms, he widened his stance and adopted the authoritative look that typically turned her into his wonderfully obedient little subbie. She didn’t even glance at him! Keith sighed heavily. He didn't want to punish her, but it appeared that it was his only option.
“Okay, babe. Just remember that I gave you a chance and you chose to do this the hard way.” Striding toward her, he scooped her off the ground and threw her over his shoulder.
“Put me down, Keith. I’m not in the mood.”
“For punishment? Neither am I, but I told you what would happen.”
She didn't even try to escape his hold which was not normal behavior and he almost faltered in his quest to stop and check on her. His wife was strong-willed and a fighter, and she normally wouldn’t just lay limp during a time like this. He had hoped that she would show some signs of her former self, but no such luck. He was going to have to push her harder.
“Okay, you win. I'll put the stuff away or whatever. Just put me down and stop acting like a cave-man. We aren’t playing tonight.” Her voice sounded bored and he was offended by her blasé attitude.
He stalked all the way to their bedroom. “Playing? No one said anything about playing. I have let you continue behaving this way for a long time, but it’s over now. I'm your husband and your Dom, and it's my job to keep you healthy and happy.” Setting her on her feet, he sat on the bed and pulled her between his knees. “I've failed in my duties to you and I’m sorry. Can you please forgive me?”
Rose stared back at him in disbelief.
He hated that she was so far gone that she didn’t even know how to react. Or maybe that was just her emotional state? Either way, he needed to follow through. It had been a while since he had spanked her, so he hoped it wouldn’t take much to bring the necessary tears which would start the road to healing. “You know how much I love you, right, babe?”
“Of course, I just ... Why now? What brought this sudden change on?”
“I played racquetball with Jared today.”
Her face scrunched up in question. “You play with him every week.”
“The stress was too much to contain today, and he picked up on it. We talked and he brought some things to light and made me realize I wasn't living up to my role as your Dom. He’s right. So tonight, that changes, and it starts with you going over my knee. Lose the pants and panties and let’s get this done.”
Rose’s eyes glistened with tears as she took a step back and slid her shorts and panties over her quivering bottom. Without bending, she allowed the clothing to slide down her body and puddle around her feet. “I’m sorry for not obeying. If you just give me another chance, I'll do what you asked. I promise.”
“I’m sorry too, but we both need this. If you didn’t agree, you would have fought me from the get go. You need to feel my hand on your bottom. You need it to help you release some of the tension that is threatening to snap you in half. We both need this to clear the air and start getting our life back. Come here.”
Rose took a slow step forward and placed herself where he indicated. Grasping her chapped hands, he cursed under his breath as he swiped his thumbs over the raw skin of her knuckles. “We've let our attempt to build a family tear apart what we so carefully built together. Tonight, we are going to get back to where we belong. Do you understand?”
Nodding, the tears spilled from her eyes. “But you wanted to be a daddy. We were going to have a big family.”
“I want you. Having children would have been wonderful, Rosie, but losing you over this issue would kill me. Do you understand that? You're not just my wife. You're my world.”