Set against the backdrop of the Thirty Years War, ANNE OF WULFSTEDT is an historical romance novella that tells the story of Anne, a lady of noble birth, orphaned, but now ward to Crown Prince Peter of Palatine. It is also the story of two friends, Anne and Constance, and the sacrifices that each makes for the other, painful though they may be. It is a time of political turmoil, and for headstrong and impetuous Anne and Constance both, a time when discipline is sometimes necssary to curb youthful excess and a tendency to meddle in affairs of state. Spankings and the birch rod were frequently the lot of ladies who disobeyed the dictates of the men responsible for them, whether noble or commoner, and our pair of childhood friends are no exception. This novella is 10,000 words in three parts and is sure to please the most ardent fan of historical spanking fiction.
ROSE RED tells the tale of Jack, an heir to the fortune of his Uncle Cyrus, a larger than life figure and lover of scores of women. But he is given a task as part of Cy's last will - find the woman Cy referred to as Rose Red. So Jack sets out to do so, but finds that Cy's role in the lives of these women was many things including friend, counselor, confessor, lover and frequently, disciplinarian. And it is up to Jack to tie up Cy's loose ends and give his beloved females Cy's parting legacy.
HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT is set in the South of the 1950's and is told in the form of a series of letters from a young woman to her best friend. When Vanderbilt coed Mary Beth Larson witnesses a crime committed by a prominent member of the Dixie mafia, she is placed in the protective custody of federal marshall Raylin Higgins. He hides her on his Aunt Jolene's farm where Jolene offers room and board to a number of young women. But Aunt Jolene has rules and very old fashioned methods for enforcing them. It's an educational experience for a Nashville society girl like Mary Beth, and marshall Raylin is determined to be part of her educational experience.
Anne of Wulfstedt
Northern Germany, 1630.
Palatine finds itself a nation besieged. The Holy Roman Empire and the Austrian Hapsburgs comprise the Catholic league and are intent on the subjugation of Germany. The king of Palatine is Frederick. He is old and depends upon his nobles, but they are fractious and hard to control. His rule thus rests upon uneasy alliances. His son Peter, the crown prince, will soon secede him, but now the ruling barons and their Council are at least equally powerful. Palatine is Lutheran and fears domination from Austria. But Swedish King Gustav has invaded Europe. The barons and Frederick wish to enter into a treaty with Gustav whom they see as a protector. But there are rumors that Gustav is financed by Cardinal Richelieu of France. This would not sit well with the Lutheran populace and such knowledge might be detrimental to Gustav. He wishes to keep the identity of his financiers a secret.
Peter, who, at 23 is a full grown man groomed both as a statesman and war commander, now more and more acts as proxy for his ageing father and represents him in the Council. He is smart, decisive and courageous and seeks to increase the power of the monarchy. Now however, his influence is limited by the barons and their Council.
Lady Anne of Wulfstedt is 17 years old. She is the daughter of Baron Otto von Wulfstedt who has died in the fighting against Tilly and the Catholic League. Shortly after his death her mother dies of disease and Anne, now an orphan, is made the ward of Peter by Frederick�s command. He has assumed the role of conservator of Wulfstedt until Anne becomes of age and completes her education. He thinks he may marry her someday, but for now she is his ward. Anne is beautiful, intelligent, and refined and she has feelings for Peter, too. But she is also willful and headstrong and Peter does not know quite what to do with her.
Constance Muller is a commoner. Originally the child of a servant in Otto von Wulfstedt�s household, she is now an apprentice to her father, a printer. This is a trade encouraged by Baron von Wulfstedt for his old servant Heinrick . So Heinrick, with the aid of Constance now runs a printing press and Constance is just returned from France having been educated there.
Peter, Constance and Anne all knew each other as children and played on the Wulfstedt estate together; although, as Peter became older he had other responsibilities as befitting his age, rank, and station. Constance and Anne are the same age and look almost as if they are twins. In fact, people who don�t know them well have trouble telling them apart. They are very close, like siblings. To Anne, Constance is her big sister in all but blood.
The fact that they look like twins invariably leads to girlish pranks. On one occasion Constance 13, and Anne, 12 years old, perpetrate a childish prank on a household servant. The prank goes awry, causing a precious vase to become shattered. Anne�s mother is informed. She is angry and vows to herself that this time the child will be punished. She instructs a servant to prepare a birch rod. Anne is to be whipped. She has not been punished physically since she was 6 years old and a nanny boxed her ears. She is terrified. Constance, who has escaped unseen, sees the switches being cut and knows what is about to happen. She fears for Anne�s delicate constitution, and that she cannot tolerate such a punishment. To save Anne from a whipping she steps in and declares that she, not Anne is solely responsible for the shattered vase. Anne�s mother, still furious, pardons Anne, but instructs a groom to take Constance to the stables and there to whip her soundly with a leather strap on her bare behind. Anne sees the head groom grip Constance by the arm and march her to the stables. She follows at a distance. The pair enter the barn. Anne stands in the yard, transfixed with fear for her friend. She soon hears the splat of leather on bare skin and her friend�s screams coming from behind the barn door.
She never forgets.
Jack was flattered but for the life of him he did not know why Uncle Cyrus had chosen him to be the executor of his estate. His Uncle Cy, a larger than life, gregarious bear of man was dead at fifty-five, practically in the prime of his life. Jack was aware that Cy had known that he had high blood pressure, and that he had made plans for this possibility, but still, the sudden fatal stroke had been a shock.
Cy had never married and had no children. Jack had filled part of that void. He�d been Cy�s favorite nephew, almost like a son. He�d spent summers and vacations with Uncle Cy, fishing the Yellowstone, hunting in the Rockies, mountain climbing in the Cascades.
But still, Jack had just graduated from law school, and for Uncle Cy to have entrusted this task to him when he was such a rookie---well, it was unexpected, to say the least, and a bit unnerving as well. He didn�t even know what to do. That�s why he was here at Conroy and Bailey, the law firm who would represent him in all probate matters.
He thought back to all those nights around the campfire. Yeah, Uncle Cy was a character. A rich entrepreneur from Seattle, never married, but quite the ladies man. He�d often seen Uncle Cy in the society pages, in the tabloids even, always photographed with some starlet or other hot young thing on his arm. It was a subject they�d talked about a lot.
Jack was a tall, rangy, good looking guy, but not particularly successful with the ladies. �I just don�t know what they want, Uncle Cy. Girls are a mystery and I�m sort of shy I guess. I try to be accommodating and a gentleman and all, but they seem to get bored with me or something.�
�It�s true, you should always be a gentleman,� Cy had said. �But women also like a man who is forceful, one who�ll take charge. They�ll try and push you around, act like spoiled brats, expect you to cater to their whims. Don�t do it. You�ve got to take a woman in hand.�
Jack especially recalled one night out under the stars on the Snake River. After a day on the river they were sitting around an open fire, passing a whiskey bottle back and forth. The conversation once again turned to the female of the species.
Deep down, you know what they want?� said Cy. Jack had said he didn�t know. �I�ll tell you my secret,� he said with a wink. �Most of them want to be taken in hand. They want you in control, setting limits, not tolerating foolish behavior, bad habits or tantrums. When the little darlings get too full of themselves, do you know what I do? I take them across my knee, pull their little panties down and spank their little derrieres for them. That�s what I do. And you know what? They like it.�
Then Cy had laughed heartily, tilted the whisky bottle back and had taken another big slug. Jack had been dumbfounded. �There�s even this one,� Cy continued, wistfully. �I call her my Rose Red. Because that�s what her bottom looks like after I�m done with it. And you know what?� Jack had shaken his head. �She can�t get enough. She likes to have her little caboose paddled until it is rose red and shining like a beacon. And then, my boy, she is an absolute wild woman.�
Jack listened in amazement. �Rose Red? Is that her name?�
�No, no. It�s just my secret nickname for her. Not even she knows that I call her that. It�s just the way I think of her.�
Jack had been stunned to hear this from Uncle Cy, but he never forgot it.
Jack came out of his reverie when a young woman approached him as he sat in the waiting room. She was about his age, medium height and pretty, with red hair and nice legs.
�Hi,� she said, extending her hand. �I�m Molly Burns. I�m a new associate here and they gave it to me to walk you through being an executor.�
Jack took her hand and shook it. �Thanks, Molly. I�m just out of law school, so I�m a rookie. I�m in your capable hands.�
�Well,� she laughed. �I�m new too, so we�ll learn together.�
She led him down a long hallway. Inside a conference room there was a box from which she took some papers and spread them out.
�This one is a bit strange, Jack,� she said. �There is the will, and then there is another document held by an escrow company with specific instructions. The will contains a number of specific bequests. Some are to people, some to charities and institutions, but there is one which is very odd. Cyrus Gordon gave the sum of $250,000 to someone he called merely, �Rose Red�. We don�t know who that is or how to contact them. The will leaves explicit instructions that his executor is charged with personally delivering the bequest to Rose Red. That means you, as executor, have to find this person.�
Holy crap, thought Jack. The woman Cy had talked about. But he�d never said who she was.
Hide in Plain Sight
June 15, 1957
They told me not to write but I�m writing anyway. We get to come to town on Saturdays and if I dress like the rest of them, in these long dresses and bonnets, I blend in and nobody can pick me out. These clothes suck. It�s some religious thing I guess. I even have to wear these stupid bloomers. Anyway, when nobody was looking I dropped the letter in the PO box. They say it�s for my protection, because of what I saw. I have to testify eventually, but until then I�m stuck out here where they can�t find me. So at least I�m going to write to my best friend. Just don�t tell anybody I did. I�ll get in trouble with Raylin.
You remember the story, I guess. I was with Jean and Sue and we had been downtown shopping. I left my purse in the store and had to go back. I took a short cut through the alley and that�s when I heard a gun go off and saw the guy who fired the shot and killed that man. They say he was a big time hoodlum in the Dixie mafia, whatever that is. Sorry that I sort of disappeared without telling anybody, but that�s why.
I�m here because of that deputy marshal. His name is Raylin Higgins and I hate him. That�s too bad because he is really handsome in that sort of rugged cowboy way. Gives a girl goose bumps, you know? But everything I want to do, he says no. No calls, no visits, not even letters. I can�t go home, etc, etc. Meanwhile he stays in a cabin nearby somewhere keeping an eye out while I stay here. Where is here? Well, I�m not supposed to tell, but it is a farm somewhere south of Nashville and it is the middle of nowhere. The farm is run by this woman Raylin calls Aunt Jolene. She is a big stout farm woman in her forties and has three daughters. Two of the girls are a little younger than me at 17 and 18. Kate, the oldest is 23. She also takes in boarders, like girls who are homeless. I think some state bureau or something places them.
The deal is, this woman is Raylin�s aunt, and Raylin told daddy that the best way to protect me until this whole mess is over with was to hide me in plain sight, that no one would look for me here and he�d guard the farm himself while I was there. The district attorney said ok, so here I am. And let me tell you, it is sticksville. Not only that, this woman, Jolene, runs this place like an army camp or something. I mean there�s all these rules. They are posted on a board in the kitchen and if you break one, a tick goes by your name. They cover everything from doing chores to keeping out of other people�s stuff to smoking, swearing---you name it. I don�t know what happens when you get so many ticks, but the girls, there are four others besides me, seem concerned about it. I�m not because, it doesn�t apply to me. Raylin argued with his aunt about this, but she finally told him that I�d have to obey the rules just like everyone else. Raylin said I was different, and he�d be responsible for me. I felt like a child, them arguing over me like that, and I gave them a piece of my mind. Jolene looked hard at Raylin and he took me aside and told me to behave. I told him this was not my idea in the first place to be out here in Dogpatch, but I�m not a child and not to worry. He let it go and went back to his cabin.
June 20, 1957
I do see Raylin regularly. He comes to supper. We talk about this and that. He�s not so bad when you get to know him, I guess.
Well now I know what happens when you get five ticks next to your name! It happened yesterday when me, Cheryl and Linda got into a fight. We were arguing over whose turn it was to clean the bathroom upstairs and I guess it came to scratching and hair pulling, at least between Linda and Cheryl. Aunt Jolene came running and pulled us apart. She sat us down and chewed us out and then announced that they, Linda and Cheryl, were each getting five demerits�that�s what the ticks are. Linda said what about me, but I don�t get demerits because Raylin fixed that with Jolene. They got real quiet then. I didn�t know what that meant until supper when Dot, Jolene�s youngest, whispered to me that they were due a �licking�. I wanted to ask her what she meant but then supper was over and we all went into the parlor.
Aunt Jolene pulled out a chair and sat down in it. She called Cheryl and Linda over and had them stand in front of her. She scolded them about the fight again and when she stopped, she turned to Kate her oldest and told her to go fetch �it�. I didn�t know what �it� was, but Cheryl and Linda looked at each other wincing at this news, and shifted from foot to foot. Finally Kate walked back in carrying this big black flat-backed hairbrush and gave it to Jolene. She tapped it in her hand and told Cheryl to go to the corner. I finally figured out that these girls were going to get spankings! This is something that never happened to me. Mommy and daddy have never in my life raised a hand to me in that way, but here was Aunt Jolene about to give Linda and Cheryl a real spanking.
it was everything expected and more. three different very good stories.
it was everything expected and more. three different very good stories.