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anywhere else, the punishment starts over from the beginning, understand?”

She nodded.

Using the soft, frayed end of the old cotton rope, Colby swished it across her shoulder blades. He flicked it over the top of her arms. The ticklish bend of her torso. Trailed it up and down her spine softly, like a feather. He crisscrossed it over her legs. He performed the caress a dozen times, watching her squirm more thoroughly with every pass. Smelling her excitement with each pass.

Then he snapped his wrist and whipped the rope against her ass, each cheek, ten times in rapid succession.

Channing gasped.

He angled his face near her head. “Listen up. I’m not embarrassed by you.”

She didn’t answer.

Colby flicked the rope on each cheek again. “Repeat it back to me.”

“You’re not embarrassed by me.”

“Good.” He dragged the silky end of the rope down her butt crack.

“Say: I want you around.”

She hesitated.

Three whips this time. Her cheeks flexed. “I want you around. Say it.”

“You want me around.”

“You’re learnin’. Last thing. You wanna dress me down, do it in private.” Four sharp cracks.

Channing groaned.

“Say no backtalk.”

“No backtalk.”

“See? That ain’t so bad.” Colby whispered in her ear, “Tell me the truth. Don’t you like that little spark of pain with your pleasure?” He added five more strokes to each cheek.

Her gaze darted to the mirror and the stripes that’d bloomed on her flesh. Not ugly raised welts, just pink strips, which contrasted with her pearly white skin.

“Now, isn’t that pretty?” he murmured, skimming his rough palm over the quivering globes of her butt. “Warm. Soft.”

She whimpered.

“Ah, shug, I told you that you wouldn’t be cold for long. You feelin’

the heat yet?”

A tiny nod.

“You’ve been a good girl, takin’ your licks with no complaints. Let me take the sting away.” Colby slid her body down the table until the tips of her pointy-toed turquoise boots hit the carpet. “Spread your legs wide. I wanna see if your pussy is the same color as those lovely stripes on your ass.”

“What do you want me to do?” Trevor asked.

“Get that mirror to the right angle and make sure she watches everything I’m doing to her.” Colby dropped to his knees. He cupped her butt cheeks and looked his fill. The blood-darkened pink of the hood covering her clit peeked out from between her ruby-red pussy lips. The lighter salmon color of the opening to her cunt gave way to mauve of her puckered rosette. He closed his eyes briefly and inhaled the heady aroma of her excitement.

Then Colby buried his face into the paradise between her soft thighs.

Licking her sweet syrup, sucking her inflamed clit, losing himself and his anger in her taste and her feminine heat. He made soft humming noises against that little throbbing nub until she began to grind that warm wetness to into his face.

When he sensed the change in her breathing and the sudden tension in her muscles, he removed his mouth and pulled back, leaving her panting for more, hanging on the cusp of an explosion.

Their eyes met in the mirror. “I want you, Chan. I want you bad. I always want you. Say it back to me.”

“You want me bad. Please—”

He growled and smacked her ass. “Say it right this time.”

“You want me. You want me bad. You always want me.”

“Goddamn right. Don’t forget it.” Without looking away from her, he said, “Edgard. Drop your pants and move to the head of the table.”

Clank clank echoed as Edgard freed the metal catch on his big belt buckle. Then the tinny sound of a zipper releasing and the rustle of denim, followed by muffled footsteps filled the stillness.

To Edgard, Colby said, “Make sure she knows you want her, too.”


“Do it,” Colby hissed. “Suck him off, Channing. Make it good. Make me wish it was my dick deep in your mouth.”

She blinked at him twice before focusing on Edgard.

Edgard rubbed the weeping end of his cock over her lips, murmuring to her, threading her curly hair through his fingers. She opened and swallowed him in increments. Finally, Edgard’s rosy meat disappeared completely between Channing’s full lips, a second later that wet cock slid back out.

She was so fucking sexy Colby found it hard to breathe.

Edgard’s hips picked up a continual rhythm. He whispered foreign words to her, which heightened the intimacy of her moist sucking sounds and the stuttered male breathing clouding the small space.

Jesus. Colby didn’t want to watch. He wanted to participate. More than anything he wanted to go back and fix things so they returned to the way they were this morning. He sensed Trevor behind him, waiting for further instructions. Trevor knew the score, knew it was Colby’s show.

“Give it to her however she wants it, Trev. Just make it good for her, okay?” Colby adjusted his iron erection and turned for the door.

“What about you?”

“I’ll get the horses ready to load. We need to leave soon.”

Channing stopped and cranked her head around. “Colby?”

Colby locked his gaze to hers. “This is my punishment, because I want you like crazy, darlin’, and I’m walkin’ away with my cock tucked between my legs. I’m sorry. I never should’ve left you to fend for yourself, especially after the way Jared treated you. The last thing I am is embarrassed that you’re with me. I promise it won’t happen again. Have fun with these boys. Let them show you how worthy you are. I’ll see you later.” The door clicked shut behind him.

Half an hour later his hard-on still hadn’t deflated. It was going to be a long-ass drive to Greeley.

Chapter Eight

Colby drove. Trevor navigated. The traffic around Denver was a nasty snarl, so the mood inside the cab was subdued.

They pulled into another family-type “motor inn” and, immediately, Colby hopped out to take care of the horses. Edgard helped, leaving Channing and Trevor to check in. As soon as they had the keys, Trevor left her, too.

Once she’d unpacked, Channing realized all of her clothes were dirty and she set off in search of a laundry room. While the loads washed, she wrote in her journal, pouring out her frustration. With Colby. With Trevor. With Edgard. But mostly with Colby and his disappearing act today.

Yeah, she’d been furious with him for getting pissed off at her for something that wasn’t her fault. Then demanding her obedience. After he’d had her submission and had spanked her ass, licked her sex like a starving man, consequently turning her into a trembling pile of fuck-me-now pleading whimpers, he’d walked away. Walked away!

True, he hadn’t exactly left her high and dry. Trevor had fucked her thoroughly, making sure she came twice before he gave into his own needs. But it’d been just plain weird to give Edgard a blowjob. First off, he wasn’t circumcised. Second, he didn’t come in her mouth, but in his own hand. She got the feeling he was disappointed in her performance.

Like he expected…better. Like he couldn’t wait for it to be over.

Yeah. That’d give a girl a complex.

Oh sure, he’d whispered sweet nothings in her ear in that sexy Portuguese accent while Trevor nailed her from behind. But Edgard hadn’t kissed her. Or touched her body anywhere besides her face. Nor did he make a big deal about her breasts—most men went crazy kissing and fondling, sucking and biting her nipples. Since her hands had been bound, why hadn’t he helped Trevor get her off faster by rubbing her clit?

She knew if Colby had been in the room, his hands, his mouth, his cock—his undivided attention would’ve been all over her.

The rest of the interlude had scarcely lasted twenty minutes. Yeah, she’d enjoyed herself, and Trevor was a caring lover. But the truth was, she’d missed Colby.

What kind of idiot did that make her? They’d only been together two days and she’d already attached herself to him like one of those pesky sticky burrs that get caught up in horse’s tails.

And yet, she knew in her heart Colby had been mortified by his own behavior. Not the little whipping he’d given her, but letting her sit alone.

Not knowing that she hadn’t known any better and blaming himself.

The man was unbelievably sweet when he wasn’t being a pain in the ass.

The two loads spun and she tossed them in the dryer along with a perfumed dryer sheet. As she sat at the chipped Formica table, the words on the paper changed from angry to speculative—instead of writing about herself, she wrote about him. Them. The folks she’d come across in her travels, salt-of-the-earth types, so far removed from the salty-tongued people she’d grown up around.

Her mind drifted to a series of vignettes she’d tucked away in her subconscious. An older couple she’d seen in the beer line sneaking foamy kisses. A cowgirl hiding her tears as she currycombed and talked to her horse. The bruises on a youngster’s arm as he practiced bulldogging on his border collie. The broken look on a young cowboy’s face as he looked longingly at the steel gate separating the contestants from the wannabes.

Real life. Real people. Channing realized this sabbatical wasn’t about getting away from her parent’s expectations, acting the rebel, hiding for a time and then (grudgingly) accepting her destiny. This trip would be the defining point in her life.

The dryer buzzed, jarring her from her reverie. She looked around and smiled. Never in a million years would she have believed she’d experience a catharsis in a dingy laundry room in Colorado.

She folded her clothes and repacked them in her small rolling suitcase and dragged it back to the empty room. Ten minutes later she was still bored. No one told her she had to sit and wait for the trio to return. She was perfectly capable of finding her own entertainment.

After a quick fix of her hair and makeup, Channing ventured into the warm night. Traffic whooshed by. Instead of the heavy fumes of exhaust, she smelled pine. Muffled children’s shrieks ricocheted from the outdoor pool behind the motel office. Up the road on the left she spied a couple of fast food places…and the neon sign of a bucking bronc boasting an honest-to-God, Western honky-tonk.