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John Jericho is fascinated when he rides into the Indian encampment to barter for a woman to keep his bed warm during the long winter and he spies a redheaded captive fighting with the three women who own her.
He is amused that she is able to hold them off, but is aware that if he doesn't do something to protect her, the Indians would soon be torturing her to death.
He picks her up, and drops her face down over his bent knee and proceeds to spank her. John warns the girl to be silent once he puts her down, but soon learns the female is feisty, and he is forced to give her another sound spanking before she will give in and behave herself.
Susan is shocked and shamed when the white trapper barters to buy her from He Who Wears Red. The Indian brave murdered her husband and gave her to his three wives as a slave, and Susan decided she would rather be dead than serve them another day.
However, the trapper offered rescue, even if he was foolish enough to think he could force her to share his bed. Susan soon learned she had no escape... and she would have to trust John to keep his word not to force himself on her.
Discovering Susan was still an innocent in spite of being married was a shock to John, but he figured he could persuade the feisty redhead to join him in bed... and while he was at it, he was going to teach her some manners!
John was welcomed into the camp as usual, but he didn't 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 Chief's only son, and 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, and 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.
All of a sudden, he heard a spurt of angry voices, and he turned to observe the commotion with interest. To his complete surprise, three of the 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 and turn into indignation and anger, and once a few others decided to lend the three Indian women a hand, the redhead would wish she'd never been born. All of a sudden he spotted He Who Wears Red ride into the camp, and 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'm 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 mother's 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. "I'll toss up this rag and bare your hind, girl!" he threatened her, and smiled in satisfaction when she immediately stopped cursing.
"Let me go!" she pleaded. "You're hurting me!"
"A spankin' is supposed to hurt!" he replied. "Now hush and take your punishment like a good girl. I'm not stoppin' 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, and 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 and plopped her down on the hard ground on her sore bottom. She gasped in pain and tried to get up, and John shook his head. "You don't 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 waist band, only to have her suddenly stop fighting him.
"Please�! Please don't bare me in front of them! Please!!! I'll be good!" she frantically promised.
"One chance, girl, and that's all I'll give you. Start kicking, fighting, or cursing, and I'll bare you and take a stick to you. Understand?" He punctuated his question with a painful spank.
"Ow! Yes, I understand!" she answered. "I'll be good now, I promise!"
"You're going to get another fifty, and I want you to count each one," he said firmly. "If you miscount, I'll start over�" He brought his hand down on her right cheek, and she whispered 'one'. "I want to hear you, girl! We'll start again." She was crying hard by the time he'd 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. She'd been scared for the last week, ever since the Indians attacked their little wagon train. Phillip was killed, so was Mary Elizabeth and her husband, and the three men who worked for Phillip. Her belongings were taken or destroyed, and she had nothing left but her very life�! She'd been prodded, poked, slapped, and treated like the lowest slave by the three women her captor gave her to. At least she hadn't been raped by him, but she'd 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, and they took every possible opportunity to humiliate her and remind her that she was their slave. Today she'd decided not to take it any longer. When the youngest of the three yanked on her hair, she'd 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, and 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 didn't really care.
She watched warily as the Indian who captured her talked to the man who'd spanked her. She was shocked when the man spoke 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 Phillip had was hidden in the wagon that the Indians burned� She had absolutely nothing. Not even her pride and dignity. He'd spanked her� in front of the Indians! She'd cried, and begged him to stop, and knew that the three women would make her life a living hell from now on. She'd rather die�!
John kept a watchful eye on the little redhead. She seemed lost in her own thoughts, and he couldn't blame her. He Who Wears Red admitted that he'd killed her husband and five other people before taking her captive. John realized she was probably grieving, but it really didn't matter. She wasn't 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. Was perfect in fact, and he willingly paid He Who Wears Red what he asked, after a bit of haggling, of course. He didn't want to appear too eager, and He Who Wears Red was anxious to have peace restored to his lodge. John didn't envy the man having three wives to keep happy. Finally, the bargain was struck, and he turned to the female and said, "You're coming with me, girl." He held out his hand, wondering if she would take it willingly, or if he'd have to drag her out of the camp kicking and screaming. It didn't 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, and 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, don't you, girl?" he teased, waving goodbye to the Indians watching them leave.
"I'm sore," she confessed, hardly daring to believe he was getting her out of here, and that she was rescued.
"Then you'd best be watching that temper of yours, and that sassy mouth," he warned cordially. "I'll not be so gentle if I have to take you over my knee again soon." She shivered, and he wasn't 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 doesn't look very warm."
"Thank you." She pulled the blanket around her, surprised to realize that she felt safe for the first time in over a week. The Indians took her coat and hat and scarf from her, and she was wearing her oldest dress and shoes the day of the attack; they didn't care if she was cold� or hungry. And 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 she'd fallen asleep. He eased her back against his body to make it easier to hold her and keep her from falling off his horse. He'd already noticed that she was much too thin and he was pretty sure the Indians 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 she'd fought He Who Wears Red's 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 didn't even know! He had his arm wrapped around her and she wasn't about to tolerate that kind of familiarity! He wasn't 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 and 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, and snagged her wrist in his hand and pulled 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. "Don't!" she pleaded as she immediately realized why she was in the humiliating position. "Please don't spank me again! I'm still sore from the last time!" she begged.
"If you didn't want a spanking then you shouldn't have kicked me out of bed, girl!" John said matter-of-factly. "There is no way I'm going to permit you to behave like that and get away with it, and best you learn it right now."
She felt him turn up her skirt then, and to her complete mortification, he tugged on her drawers and the threadbare fabric ripped, exposing her to his gaze. "No!!!!" She tried to raise up, and when she couldn't, she lunged forward and would have cracked her head on the floor if his reflexes weren't so quick. He caught her and pulled her back and she cried out in pain as his hand fell on her very tender bottom. "Owwwww!" she howled. "Don't 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 won't 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'll 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 won't share your bed! You don't own me!"
"Girl, I own you and you ain't going anywhere."
"Ouch!" She tried to twist free. "Stop this at once! I won't be manhandled!" she cried out, his attitude fueling her temper. "I'll leave if I wish!"
"No you won't." 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 won't sit for a week," he predicted. He gave her another powerful spank and asked, "Are you ready to say 'sorry' yet?" he demanded.
"Yes!" she said immediately. Anything to stop the painful punishment. "I'm sorry! Please stop now!"
"I don't think you meant that, girl," John promptly decided. "I'm going to have to see to it you mean the words."
"Noooooo!" she wailed as he spanked even harder, his hand landing on her sit spots and upper thighs and turning them as red as her bottom. "Please stop! Please! I'm sorry!" She started crying.
"Ten more. Count," he ordered.
"I can't!" she sobbed. "Please, no more."
"They don't count until you start," he warned.
"Damn you! ONE. I hate you! TWOOOO! Ouch! Three� Stop, please! Fourrrrrrr! Fiiive! OWWWWWWWW! You need to stop! I can't stand this�. Siiix. Please, please� Sevvven! Enough. Oh God, no more�. Eight� You're worse than the Indians! NINE! Teeeen!" Susan sobbed and when he lifted her onto the bed, she crawled into the corner and pulled the quilt over her and gave him her back.
"Never do that again, girl, or I'll take my belt off." John hated hearing her cry like that, but he wasn't 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, and he paid dearly to get her out of that Indian camp and into his bed for the winter. She should be grateful to him; she wouldn't have survived the winter with He Who Wears Red and his three wives. John waited until she cried herself to sleep, and 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 wasn't going to kick him out of bed. No, she was going to try and rise and get herself out of the cabin and 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 then 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 you're going?" John demanded, standing in the doorway. He woke up 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; it's not like you ain't been married. I don't plan to hurt you none, just keep warm through the long winter ahead. It's damn cold out here, so get your fanny inside and I'll show you where the supplies are to fix us some breakfast."
"I'm not your slave, and I won't cook for you!" Susan was highly insulted. "I didn't 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� and whether you like it or not, when those Indians captured you, they made you a slave, and I bartered for you, and now 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 alone. 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 eyes.
"I hate you!" she told him, meaning every word.
"You don't 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. Phillip Jamison."
"Not anymore, according to He Who Wears Red. He made you a widow� And I won't call you Mrs. Jamison. What is your Christian name?" She glared at him, and he shook his head. "You do try a man's patience this early in the day before I've 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! Phillip never struck me!" she denied.
"Well, that certainly explains why you feel so free to provoke me, doesn't it, girl? I'm not a bit like your dead husband," he told her, his words soft as could be. "If you don't give me your name� now� I'm 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, let's see about some breakfast. I'm hungry, and neither of us ate anything last night."
Susan abruptly realized she was starving. The Indians hadn't 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 wasn't being watched. She paid attention when John showed her where to locate food, and it wasn't 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 didn't make her sit down to do so. He knew she had to be sore from the spankings he'd given her, and he would normally see to it she sat down and observed the proper manners he'd been taught by his Mother. This one time, however, 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, and sipping her coffee slowly with her eyes closed. He'd 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'm sure He Who Wears Red's wives made sure you didn't get much to eat, and I know you didn't 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're asking if I was abused as a woman� No, I wasn't. It was only a matter of time before it happened, however. The man who killed Phillip and captured me was kept busy by his wives, or he would have forced me," she admitted. "I was terrified," she whispered.
"He won't 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!"