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Bartering Innocence

By: Laurel Joseph
Published By: Blushing Press
Copyright: ©2018 by Blushing Books and Laurel Joseph
15 chapters / 61,000 words
Heat Level:
4.9 Out Of 5 (4.9 on 11)   |  Write a review
Price:
$3.99

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Only he can save her…  

John Jericho is looking for a bedmate when he rides into the chief’s encampment. Instead, he comes across a feisty redhead fighting with three Indian women. Immediately realizing the danger she is in, he intervenes to save her life.  

Susan is shocked when a white man suddenly orders her to cooperate with him. Distracted, she doesnt comply right away and he immediately delivers a stinging reprimand, soon followed by another when she still wont listen to him. She is grateful to him for rescuing her… until she hears the deal hes made. 

Susan belongs to John now, and will be sharing his bed through the long winter months to come… and there’s nothing she can do about it. 

Chapter One 

 

John was welcomed into the camp as usual, but he didnt let down his guard for one moment. As long as the braves respected him, he was one white man they welcomed as an equal. Several years before, John had rescued the chiefs only son. Since that time, he wandered in and out of the village as he pleased. 

John was here to trade. He was tired of spending the winter alone, and he wanted a warm, willing woman in his bed. There were always captives from other tribes for sale; for some hides and tobacco, he would have a nice warm body to share his bed through the long hard winter ahead. 

It was easy to spot the captives. Leather strips were attached to their ankles and staked to the ground, giving them just enough leeway to scrape the hides to begin the process of turning them into buckskins for clothing. It was hard work, as was grinding the corn into meal. John observed several women bent to their tasks, and while one or two seemed comely enough, he was looking for a woman with a bit more spirit. 

He heard a spurt of angry voices, and he turned to observe the commotion with interest. To his complete surprise, three Indian women were circling another woman, one who had flaming red hair. The redhead was holding a stick in her hand, and every time one of the women came too close, the redhead rapped her smartly. John grinned as he heard the clamor grow louder and louder, finding it amusing that the little redhead was effectively keeping the three other women at bay without doing any real harm to her opponents.  

John glanced around and saw that the redhead was providing a source of amusement for most of the camp, but he feared that amusement would soon fade to turn into indignation and anger. Once a few others decided to lend the three Indian women a hand, the redhead would wish shed never been born. All of a sudden, he spotted the chief riding into the camp. John abruptly realized the three Indian women were his wives, and that the redhead was more than likely his captive. He-Who-Wears-Red was known for his quick temper and John quickly decided to step into the fray to save the little redhead. 

He encircled her tiny waist from behind with his left arm and wrested the stick from her with his right hand. She turned into a spitting wildcat and started fighting him with everything she had. Settle down, woman. I am trying to save your life, he growled into her ear, keeping his voice little more than a whisper. Settle down, he said a bit louder, but she continued to kick, and John abruptly decided on a course of action that he hoped would satisfy the Indians. He dropped to his right knee, and then pinned her face down over his left thigh. His right hand found her wiggling bottom with a loud crack and the redhead gasped in outrage. The second smack fueled her temper, and the words spewing from her mouth would have earned him a soaping at his mothers hands. Stop with that language, he scolded, but she merely found a few more names to call him as he continued to spank her rounded backside. Ill toss up this rag and bare your hind, girl, he threatened her, then smiled in satisfaction when she immediately stopped cursing. 

Let me go, she pleaded. You are hurting me. 

A spanking is supposed to hurt, he replied. Now hush and take your punishment like a good girl. Im not stopping until you calm yourself. He thought he heard her whimper, and he decided that was the whole point. He wanted her to cry. He wanted her to appear humbled and contrite when he was finished. He was doing her a favor. A sore butt was a mild price to pay compared to any of the punishments He-Who-Wears-Red or his wives would administer. Finally, the fight went out of the young woman, and she started sobbing, then collapsed over his knee, no longer protesting. He gave her another dozen hard spanks, making them hard enough to be heard by those watching in amusement. You do as I tell you, girl, he warned harshly, then he lifted her off his knee to plop her down on the hard ground on her sore bottom. She gasped in pain and tried to get up, but John shook his head. You dont make it easy on yourself, do you? He flipped her over his knee again, and this time he tossed up the tattered skirt of her dress. She was wearing drawers that used to be white, and they were so threadbare he could see her reddened skin beneath the fabric. He reached for the waistband, only to have her suddenly stop fighting him. 

Please! Please dont bare me in front of them. Please? Ill be good, she frantically promised. 

One chance, girl, and that is all Ill give you. Start kicking, fighting, or cursing, and Ill bare you, then take a stick to you. Understand? He punctuated his question with a painful spank. 

Ow! Yes, I understand, she answered. I will be good now, I promise. 

You are going to get another fifty, and I want you to count each one, he said firmly. If you miscount, Ill start over. He brought his hand down on her right cheek, and she whispered the number. I want to hear you, girl. Well start again. She was crying hard by the time hed given her the first twenty, and by thirty she was sobbing too hard to be understood. He decided to help her out, and counted with her, giving her the last twenty on her sit spots. This time when he sat her down, she cried out, but she stayed in place. He stood, hand on his hips, and looked down at her. She was the perfect picture of a well-spanked female. 

He-Who-Wears-Red walked over and addressed him. John grinned, and then answered the man in his own tongue. 

Susan was scared. Shed been scared for the last week, ever since the Indians attacked their little wagon train.  Philip was killed, so was Mary Elizabeth and her husband, also the three men who worked for Philip. Her belongings were taken or destroyed, and she had nothing left but her very life. Shed been prodded, poked, slapped, and treated like the lowest slave by the three women her captor gave her to. At least she hadnt been raped by him, but shed seen him looking at her when the three women who shared his blankets were busy elsewhere. It was just a matter of time before he forced her down, and Susan was terrified that once he did that she would never be the same. The three women already hated her; they took every possible opportunity to humiliate her and remind her that she was their slave.  

Today shed decided not to take it any longer. When the youngest of the three yanked on her hair, shed lost her temper, grabbed a stick and went after her. The youngest wife had squealed in terror, and the other two women came to her aid, but Susan was fed up; she decided that all three of them were going to get a taste of her stick. They would either end up respecting her and treating her better, or they would kill her. At this point, she didnt really care. 

She watched warily as the Indian who captured her talked to the man whod spanked her. She had been shocked when the man spoke to her, and she could understand him. These Indians hated whites. But here he was, walking about their encampment as if he belonged. She tried not to get her hopes up, but maybe he would save her? Rescue her? She would offer to pay him to get her out of here, but all of her worldly possessions were gone. The money that Philip had was hidden in the wagon that the Indians burned. She had absolutely nothing. Not even her pride and dignity. Hed spanked her in front of the Indians. Shed cried, then begged him to stop, and knew that the three women would make her life a living hell from now on. She would rather die. 

John kept a watchful eye on the little redhead. She seemed lost in her own thoughts, and he couldnt blame her. He-Who-Wears-Red admitted that hed killed her husband and five other people before taking her captive. John realized she was probably grieving, but it really didnt matter. She wasnt a virgin, and she would keep his bed warm. She had enough spirit left to make it interesting to live with her. He could pretty much guarantee that she would give him an excuse to take her over his knee fairly often, and that suited him just fine. It was perfect in fact, and he willingly paid He-Who-Wears-Red what he asked, after a bit of haggling, of course. He didnt want to appear too eager, and He-Who-Wears-Red was anxious to have peace restored to his lodge. John didnt envy the man having three wives to keep happy. Finally, the bargain was struck 

He turned to the female and said, You are coming with me, girl. He held out his hand, wondering if she would take it willingly, or if he would have to drag her out of the camp kicking and screaming. It didnt matter to him. 

Susan looked at his hand, then put hers in his and let him pull her to her feet. He led her to his horse and mounted, then he pulled her up to sit in front of him. She cried out when her bottom made contact with the saddle, and then flashed him a dirty look when he chuckled. 

You have a fine temper, dont you, girl? he teased, waving goodbye to the Indians watching them leave. 

Im sore, she confessed, hardly daring to believe he was getting her out of here, and that she was rescued. 

Then youd best be watching that temper of yours, and that sassy mouth, he warned cordially. Ill not be so gentle if I have to take you over my knee again soon. She shivered, and he wasnt sure if it was his words, or the nip in the air. He reached behind him and untied the bedroll he carried when he rode away from his cabin. He took the blanket and wrapped it around her slender shoulders. Here. That dress of yours doesnt look very warm. 

Thank you. She pulled the blanket around her, surprised to realize that she felt safe. Susan had been wearing her oldest dress and shoes the day of the attack, then the Indians took her coat, hat, and scarf from her; they didnt care if she was cold or hungry. Now, she was saved, and wrapped in a nice, warm blanket. For the first time in a week, Susan closed her eyes and slept soundly. 

John felt the redhead slump and realized that shed fallen asleep. He eased her back against his body to make it easier to hold her and keep her from falling off his horse. Hed already noticed that she was much too thin, and he was pretty sure the Indians had only fed her enough to keep her alive. He wondered if she was grieving for her husband. Somehow, she seemed too full of spirit for that. Of course, she did have red hair, and redheads were famous for having a temper. John smiled as he recalled how shed fought He-Who-Wears-Reds three wives, holding them off with a stick and giving them the worst end of the confrontation. The girl had spirit, and he admired spirit in a female. 

* * * 

When Susan finally woke up, she was startled to find herself lying in bed with a man whose name she didnt even know. He had his arm wrapped around her and she wasnt about to tolerate that kind of familiarity. He wasnt her husband and he had no right to be in bed with her. Without giving it any thought whatsoever, she wiggled a bit until she could get some leverage against the wall of the cabin, then she kicked with all her might, sending the man flying out of bed to land on his butt on the floor. She felt a sense of triumph at his grunt of pain and nodded in satisfaction as she recalled how he had spanked her. It was only fair that he suffered too. But her bravado faded when he came up off the floor with an angry roar. 

Did you kick me out of my own bed, girl? John growled, and when he saw her turn her chin up in a gesture of pure stubbornness, he had his answer. You little hellion, he said in a threatening tone of voice as he climbed on the bed on his knees and grabbed for her. She backed out of reach, but he followed, snagging her wrist in his hand and pulling her toward him. 

Susan cried out in fear as the angry man hauled her over his right thigh until her head was dangling off the bed, while the rest of her was on the feather tick mattress. Dont, she pleaded as she immediately realized why she was in the humiliating position. Please dont spank me again. I am still sore from the last time, she begged. 

If you didnt want a spanking then you shouldnt have kicked me out of my bed, girl, John said matter-of-factly. There is no way Im going to permit you to behave like that and get away with it, best you learn it right now. 

She felt him turn up her skirt then, and to her complete mortification, he tugged on her drawers causing the threadbare fabric to rip, exposing her to his gaze. No! She tried to rise up, but when she couldnt, she lunged forward and would have cracked her head on the floor if his reflexes werent so quick. He caught her and pulled her back. She cried out in pain as his hand fell on her very tender bottom. Ow, she howled. Dont do this. 

You might as well settle down, girl, because you are going to get your hind set on fire for that bit of nastiness. I wont be kicked out of my own bed. 

You had no right to be in bed with me, she accused. You had your arm around me. 

Girl, I bartered with He-Who-Wears-Red for you. You will be spending a lot of time in my bed with me, he announced, continuing to spank her bottom, which was turning a bright red after just a few swats. 

No. I wont share your bed. You dont own me. 

Girl, I do own you and you aint going anywhere. 

Ouch. She tried to twist free. Stop this at once; I wont be manhandled, she cried out, his attitude fueling her temper. I will leave if I wish. 

No, you wont. He smacked her bare bottom again as she drummed her feet on the feather tick. You are going to settle down, girl, and pronto, or you wont sit for a week, he predicted. He gave her another powerful spank, then asked, Are you ready to say sorry yet? he demanded. 

Yes, she said immediately, thinking that she would say anything to stop the painful punishment. Im sorry. Please stop now. 

I dont think you meant that, girl. John promptly decided. I am going to have to see to it that you mean the words. 

No! she wailed as he spanked even harder, his hand landing on her sit spots and upper thighs, turning them as red as her bottom. Please stop. Please! Im sorry! She started crying. 

Ten more. Count, he ordered. 

I cant, she sobbed. Please, no more? 

They dont count until you start counting them, he warned. 

Damn you. One. I hate you. Two. Ouch! Three. Stop, please? Four. Five. OW! You need to stop; I cant stand this. Six. Please, please. Seven. Enough. Oh God, no more. Eight. You are worse than the Indians! Nine. Ten! Susan sobbed. When he lifted her onto the bed, she crawled into the corner, then pulled the quilt over her head, and gave him her back. 

Never do that again, girl, or Ill take my belt off. John hated hearing her cry like that, but he wasnt about to apologize. She needed a lesson, and he was going to start as he meant to go on. She would respect him in his own home, even if his home was just a simple one room cabin. It was where he lived; he’d paid dearly to get her out of that Indian camp and into his bed for the winter. She should be grateful to him; she wouldnt have survived the winter with He-Who-Wears-Red and his three wives. John waited until she cried herself to sleep, then he permitted himself to relax and go back to sleep. 

* * * 

Susan woke again, and she stifled a moan as she tried to move. She was extremely sore and putting any weight on her bottom was impossible. The man was still sleeping, but this time she wasnt going to kick him out of bed. No, she was going to try to rise and get herself out of the cabin, then find someone in the settlement to help her. She backed to the bottom of the bed, and quietly climbed over the footboard. Once she was on her feet, she found her shoes and headed for the door of the cabin. She let herself outside and looked around in dismay. The cabin was in the middle of nowhere, and she had no idea in which direction she should go to find help. 

Where do you think youre going? John demanded, standing in the doorway. He’d awakened the very second he heard the door of the cabin open and close. 

I was hoping we were in a town or settlement of some sort. I want to get away from you. Her green eyes were snapping with temper, and it was easy to see she was angry. You might have rescued me from the Indians, but I am a free woman, and I refuse to stay here with you as your bed warmer. She said the last two words with as much contempt as possible. 

Girl, there is no reason for you to be so riled. I bartered for you; its not like you aint been married. I dont plan to hurt you none, just keep warm through the long winter ahead. Its damn cold out here, so get your fanny inside and Ill show you where the supplies are to fix us some breakfast. 

I am not your slave, and I wont cook for you. Susan was highly insulted. I didnt exchange one form of captivity for another. You are a white man and you should know better. 

I grew up in Georgia, he informed her. My family owns a plantation there. Slavery is legal; whether you like it or not. When those Indians captured you, they made you a slave, and I bartered for you. You belong to me until I decide to let you go. I spent everything I had on you, girl, and I am not spending the winter by myself. It gets lonely up here. Now come on inside before I have to heat your backside again. He saw her eyes widen in fear, and she quickly obeyed him, although tears of anger filled those pretty green eyes. 

I hate you, she told him, meaning every word. 

You dont know me well enough to hate me, he calmly answered and then looked down at her, What is your name, girl? When she looked at him defiantly, he repeated himself, What is your name? 

Mrs. Philip Jamison. 

Not anymore according to He-Who-Wears-Red, he made you a widow. I wont call you Mrs. Jamison. What is your Christian name? She glared at him, and he shook his head. You do try a mans patience this early in the day before Ive even had a cup of coffee. Tell me, did your husband have to take a strap to you daily to keep you in line? 

No.  Philip never struck me, she denied, lying in order to hide her shameful secret. 

Well, that certainly explains why you feel so free to provoke me, doesnt it, girl? I am not a bit like your dead husband, he told her, his words soft as could be. If you dont give me your name now, I am going to bend you over and set your hind on fire to start the day. He looked at her, his dark eyebrow arching upwards. Well? 

Susan. My name is Susan, she answered. 

My name is John Jericho, Susie. He nodded. Now, lets see about some breakfast. Im hungry, and neither of us ate anything last night. 

Susan abruptly realized that she was starving. The Indians hadnt given her much in the way of food, and it had been a good two days since she was given anything at all, except for the water she managed to sneak when she wasnt being watched. She paid attention when John showed her where to locate food, and it wasnt long before she had bacon over the fire in a frying pan. Cooking over a fireplace was nothing new to her, and within a short time, their food was ready to eat.  

John decided to let Susan eat in peace, and he didnt make her sit down to do so. He knew she had to be sore from the spankings hed given her. He would normally see to it that she sat down to observe the proper manners hed been taught by his mother, however, this one time, he was going to let her take the edge off her hunger and enjoy her first decent meal in over a week. Once he finished, she was still eating and savoring every last bite, finally sipping her coffee slowly with her eyes closed. Hed run out of coffee the last winter he spent up here, and he knew what it was like to do without the strong brew. It pleased him to see her enjoying the simple pleasure and relishing every second of filling her belly. 

She finally stopped eating and looked at him sheepishly. He smiled and asked, Have you had enough now, Susie? If not, feel free to make some more. 

Thank you, but I am full now, she said, her cheeks turning pink 

No need to be embarrassed. I am aware that He-Who-Wears-Reds wives made sure you didnt get much to eat, and I know you didnt get any coffee in their camp. 

No, they only gave me something to eat twice. Her eyes filled with tears at the memory. I was starved, slapped, pinched, worked, and left tied to a tree outside at night to freeze. 

Was that the worst of it? he asked, looking at her meaningfully. 

If you are asking if I was abused as a woman, no, I wasnt. However, it was only a matter of time before it happened. The man who killed Philip and captured me was kept busy by his wives, or he would have forced me, she admitted. I was terrified, she whispered. 

He wont bother you now, Susie. 

My name is Susan, she scolded. 

I like Susie, he stated with a grin. 

Well, I do not. I want to go to a town or settlement, Mr. Jericho. I have family in Ohio that I can ask for financial help, so I can get home. 

Susie, you are staying right here with me this winter. You might as well accept that fact, or you are going to spend a lot of time over my knee getting your pretty little backside reddened. 

 

Sam on 06/28/2018 11:29pm
I started out not liking this book very much because of the way John treated Susan. It didn't take long before I liked him much better. This two characters each have struggles from their pasts that they work together to resolve. Another great book by this author.
I received an ARC.
rjr on 05/02/2018 11:58pm
Susie survived an Indian attack which killed her husband and was taken captive by them. After a few days of being treated very poorly, she rebels. At just that moment, John arrives in camp to trade with the Indians. He knows she will be severely punished for her revolt and buys her to save her, and to get himself a female companion for the winter. Susie is not going to accept this and fights him tooth and nail. John is harsh with her but they begin to find common ground. They both have reasons to be bitter and John has another life and mystery in his past to solve. This is an original plot with a good mystery, a good relationship story and is true to the hardships of the time. These two people will have to trust each other to survive and decide whether to trust again or to go their separate ways. I enjoyed g joining them on their journey.
Kitty Ranma on 04/30/2018 12:08am
Lots of fun, what to say without spoilers arrgg. Oh well I'll be short and sweet.
Reasons I enjoyed this book:
Happily Ever After, Romantic, Wonderful characters, Page-turner, Great world building, Easy-to-read, Entertaining, Action-packed Steamy, Funny.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
DB on 04/26/2018 02:41pm
I had read this book some time ago and enjoyed it then as much as now! John buys Susan at an Indian camp where he sees her fighting with the chief's wives and thinks they will probably kill her. She was taken captive by them when they killed all the people on the wagon train she was on, including her husband. John needs someone to warm his bed for the winter and thinks Susan would be perfect. He soon finds out she is not so perfect and is over his knee ALL THE TIME, sometimes getting spankings back to back! Being in the cabin with just the two of them her behavior was bad enough, then he took her home to his family and she got into more trouble!!! This was a great read, length was terrific and the story kept you turning the pages! 5 Big Stars
Pico1 on 04/22/2018 01:06pm

A story that is sweet and exciting %u2013with lots of problems along the way for John and Susan, as they develop their relationship amidst the stresses of first living alone in a western cabin during the winter %u2013 and later in meeting with their families. John is calm; Susan is feisty %u2013 and she spends a lot of time across his lap paying for the problems she creates for herself %u2013 but the spankings are always in a loving, caring way. Both characters are interesting and likable, and I enjoyed reading how they dealt with their many trials and tribulations.
Nancy Hughes on 04/21/2018 04:57pm
John saves Susie from Indians, who had killed her husband, and we're slowly starving her.
He expects her to stay with him through the winter, with total obedience. Why? Because it's dangerous, and he cares.
She is constantly disobeying, and John doesn't hesitate to spank. There is a lot of spanking in this book. There's also good writing, how two strangers, John and Susie, survive a severe winter. They need to rely on each other, and Susie learns 'trust' is so important.
Ajjmb on 04/20/2018 07:12pm
I really enjoyed reading Bartering Innocence. John is a very strict man. Sometimes I think he is overly strict with Susan. Susan, however, just doesn%u2019t seem to know when to quit pushing John. So, maybe she gets what she deserves. Their relationship is certainly tumultuous and yet it is quite the romantic story as well. John loves Susan so much he won%u2019t let her put herself in danger as she often does without thinking first. I adore this story and I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book.
JigsawGirl on 04/19/2018 11:23pm
The characters were well written as you were given a good sense of their personalities. The pace of the story moved pretty quickly. It was descriptive enough that you were able to get a good sense of the people, the homes, and the area.

Susie was uncontrollable. Completely. John spent the entire book with her over his knee. It never seemed to modify her behavior. Even when things got dangerous, Susie ran off half cocked. I liked John's family. Susie and his sister were a force to be reckoned with, along with his mother.

It would have been nice to have an epilogue after the mystery had been cleared up and things had settled down. It would have been interesting to revisit the whole dynamic after some years had passed.

I voluntarily read and reviewed the Advanced Reader Copy.
Jf12574 on 04/19/2018 08:42pm
Loved this story. A true new plot. Great characters that grow in a loving trusting way. You will enjoy this one!!
Lillie322 on 04/19/2018 07:16pm
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book. When Susan is saved from hostile indians by a mountain man, she learns quickly that he has a hand like a paddle and uses it liberally. She is a perfect choice to warm his bed through the winter. This is a nice long read. If you like lots of spanking, this is the book for you. Hand, strap, paddle, riding crop.
Tami on 04/19/2018 08:09am
Susan is a captive of the braves. When John enters the camp, he sees her fighting off three Indian women with a stick. He knows that this action can likely kill Susan and decides to rescue her by taking her for himself. Susan, at first grateful for her rescue even if he spanked her, soon realized that now she is supposed to warm John's bed. Susan is determined not to like John who likes to spank her at every opportunity, but the longer she is with John she realizes she might be attracted to him.

Bartering Innocence is a sweet spanking romance. There is little to no intimacy, nevertheless John and Susan's chemistry drew me in right from the beginning. I enjoyed this historical romp.

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