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Katy Run Away

By: Maren Smith
Published By: Red Hot Romance Publishing
Copyright: � 2013 by Red Hot Romance and Maren Smith
5 chapters / 28,614 words
Heat Level:
4.3 Out Of 5 (4.3 on 21)   |  Write a review

Katie Furlow couldn't take it - not one more fight, not one more day, sharing her father's house with a man who was not her father. It was unbearable, and so she ran away, stubbornly determined never to go home again. That was a vow she thought she'd have no trouble keeping until the day Cal Beckton, a high-handed cowboy from her past, walked into the saloon where she worked and suddenly all hell broke loose.

From the moment Cal saw Katie kicking up her heels and flashing her bloomers to the hoots and hollers of a crowded dancehall, Cal's temper was stoked and his mind was set. By train, by stage, by any means necessary, he was going to take Katie home-where she belonged, where she'd be safe, whether she wanted him to or not, even if he had to drag her there by her ear. Even if he had to put her across his knee and paddle her backside raw! Unfortunately, it all proved to be a job far easier said than accomplished, and with a woman like Katie fighting him every inch of the way, Cal wasn't sure which might wear out first: her bottom or his hand!

Originally published on Discipline and Desire as "Run Away", this is a 5 chapter/22,363 word historical western novella that features spanking and romance. If you are at all bothered by heroes who don't think twice about turning their lady-loves bottom-up, then please don't buy this book.
For years, Katy had dreamed of the night when she finally ran away. She knew exactly how it was supposed to go. She�d planned it flawlessly, right on down to the clothes she�d wear and the horse she�d take. Unfortunately, none of this was happening as she�d imagined. For one thing, it wasn�t night at all. It was mid-afternoon. Every hand on the ranch was hard at work mending fences, mucking stalls, baling hay, and branding the early spring calves. Late in from the range, nine men sat at a long table in the yard, wolfing down their food. Downstairs, Cook and Nana Sue were chatting in the kitchen, cleaning up the remnants of the last meal and preparing to start on the next. Katy knew her mother was with them. She could hear the angry clatter of dish on dish all the way upstairs. And from across the yard, here came Clifton Sullivan, the man her mother had married only four short years ago. He had a fresh cut willow switch in one hand and already he was rolling up his sleeve.

Katy stood at her bedroom window, watching him come, bubbling with a frustration she couldn�t put words or voice to, and already halfway to tears. She was eighteen, but even she had to admit she deserved the whipping that was coming. She just couldn�t make herself stop. Not where Clifton was concerned and, apparently, not where her mother was concerned either. How had one silly disagreement turned so fast into screaming, slamming doors, and an explosive culmination in the kind of foul-mouthed name-calling that Katy had only ever heard the ranch hands utter, and then only when no one thought she was around to hear it!

Her mother had not deserved that. In truth, Katy had stood in shock, hardly believing she�d said it. At least until her mother fled the house in tears and then, sending herself to her room, Katy simply went upstairs to await the inevitable outcome. And here it came: Clifton�the object of that argument (and every distance-driving fight that had preceded it since she was fourteen)�bearing yet another switch. No, she knew she deserved what he was bringing, but as she watched her stepfather cross the yard, she also knew she wasn�t going to submit to it. Not to Clifton; not one more time.

Yes, she was sorry for what she�d said. No amount of whipping could make her feel worse, though she knew her stepfather was setting himself to try. She could see it on his face. The weariness of all the fighting. The anger rising in defense of her mother�something that should have made her happy to see�and yet she wasn�t, and she didn�t even know why. All she knew was that she couldn�t bear to live not one more day in the same house with him, a man who had done everything he could to get along with her. A man who obviously loved her mother and who ruled her father�s ranch with a firm but fair hand. A man who was about to come charging up the back steps to her bedroom and lay that switch into her until he�d worn both it and her to a nub.

If Katy let him, but she couldn�t.

She wouldn�t.

Her feet began to move, and before Katy had realized she�d taken a single step, she had her valise out from under her bed and she was stuffing it with a frantic hodge-podge of mismatched dresses, stockings, bloomers and shawls. By the time Clifton�s heavy footsteps came tromping across the back porch, she had her valise in her hand and her bedroom windowsill thrown all the way up. Her stepfather was coming through the kitchen when she crawled out onto the porch roof and, something she hadn�t done since she was a little girl in braids, she hiked her skirts all the way up to her knees�never mind the farm hands�and shimmied right on down the corner post. While her stepfather was climbing the stairs to her room, she was hightailing it all the way down to the barn.

Nine fresh horses were saddled and waiting for the hands just now finishing their meal. Katy didn�t think twice, she just took one. By the time her stepfather realized she was gone, she was riding, the wind whipping through her long, golden hair, hell bent for freedom.

Clifton yelled after her, but Katy had no intention of stopping.

Knowing she would be expected to flee to Stillwater where she had friends and maybe even sympathy waiting for her, Katy rode all through the day and went to Culver instead. She stabled the horse at the livery with pay and instructions that it should be returned to the ranch. At the bank, she withdrew a little money from her family�s account. Not a lot; she wasn�t a thief. Just enough to buy passage far away from here. She was thinking stagecoach, but the train was in town and just gearing up to pull out of the station again. It took nearly every penny she had, but she bought a one-way ticket from Culver, Wyoming, all the way to Dustwallow, Utah, where rails on to California were still being hammered down.

Valise firmly in hand, Katy set out for a new life and she never once looked back.

* * * * *

Dustwallow was a boomtown, flush with silver and miners and all the varied amenities that just naturally sprang up around large congregations of hard-working men and the companies that employed them. There were six saloons, eight bawdy houses, two churches, one schoolhouse (albeit still being built) and one dancehall that even at ten on a Thursday morning was spitting out the sort of raucous piano music that young women of Katy�s secluded upbringing didn�t often come in contact with. From across the muddy street, it kind of made her ears hurt, truth be told. And so, across the street became about as close as Katy decided she need come to such an establishment.

She took a room at a boarding house, sharing a cramped attic bedroom and its only bed with a sweet old woman, who wore the wrinkles of no less than sixty hard-won years and who came to bed that first night smelling of liniment and too much cooking sherry. She also snored, but neither beggars nor runaways could afford to be selective, so she closed her eyes and did her best to sleep. The next morning, Katy paid all but her last three pennies for a simple biscuit breakfast in the diner next door. Then she got down to business.

Neither the mercantile nor the market were hiring women. Two well-to-do ladies had advertised for a maid, but unable to provide references, Katy was not interviewed long by either household. She glanced at a saloon once, but only once, and then she got a job.

Father Yiang Hui spoke broken English, but when he smiled, laugh lines crinkled the corners of his eyes. He and Mother Yiang Yunhe ran their laundry service out of a building on the very edge of town, not far from the train station where those miners unlucky enough to outnumber available beds in the bunkhouses pitched their tents. It was a muddy, smelly, miserable place to be, but there was no shortage of dirty laundry or men willing to pay to have someone else do it for them.

The Yiangs hired Katy the moment she asked for work, and then they took her to hell. There was simply no other word Katy could think of to describe the misery of that back laundry room. With two cauldrons of bubbling clothes going at all times, even with doors and windows thrown wide open, it had to be at least ten degrees hotter in the building than the baking weather outside. Katy broke a sweat just walking into the room. Then she broke her back and every one of her fingernails, hunched over the washboard next to Mother Yiang, scrubbing shirt after shirt, after pants, after underjohn all day long. She washed, she rinsed, she nearly caught her skirt on fire stirring clothes in the cauldron, and she washed some more. When the sun went down, Father Yiang lit the lamps and they kept right on working. She lost track of how many loads she ran through the wringer and hung up on the crisscrossing lines outside.

By ten o�clock that night, when the last shirt was hung and the cauldron fires extinguished, Katy could barely lift her arms and she was so tired, she was almost on the verge of tears. She walked back to the boarding house, her daily wage�a hard-earned thirty-five cents�in her pocket, so stiff and sore that it hurt just to crawl into bed. She cried a little, but the minute her head sank into the pillow, she was asleep, and the following morning at six o�clock, she got up and went back to work. After a full day spent hunched over cooking cauldrons, alternately stirring laundry and scrubbing her knuckles raw against the washboard, she could barely stand up straight.

On the third day, her fingers cracked and bled, and Katy felt broken. When Father Yiang called a stop for lunch, Katy sat gratefully in the shade behind the building, her back leaned up against the wall not far from the open rear doors, where she could keep a weary eye on the lines of flapping laundry and the gathering clouds that suggested it might rain.

From here, she could see a chow tent set up in the midst of the miner�s impromptu town addition. She could smell the food cooking, too, and it smelled wonderful. Her stomach growled, but she had left all the money earned yesterday carefully tucked into her luggage. She was going to need every penny at the end of the week when it came time to renew her room at the boarding house. And she was tired, so bone wearily exhausted that even what few steps it would take to carry her the two-buildings� distance from here to there was more than she wanted to try. Already she didn�t know how she was going to get through the rest of today.

Blinking back tears, she sat where she was, content to rest and to watch as people moved through the slop line and found places to sit at one of three long wooden tables. The food must have been good. It wasn�t just miners finding seats at those tables. Several well-dressed town folks were gathered in loose groups among them, and there was someone else, a flamboyantly dressed young lady sitting by herself at the end of a secluded table. Her lace and blue satin dress barely covered her knees. Her black-net stocking-clad legs were crossed, one foot lightly kicking out of shade into the sunlight. Her arms were scandalously bare, all the way up to her shoulders, and her cleavage was shockingly exposed, the pale swells trimmed in black lace. Her dark hair was done up in fat curls, pinned back at her neck and decorated with two fat, fluffy feathers, and Katy had never in her life seen anything like her before.

She was also staring across the yard and straight at Katy. When she saw that Katy had noticed, she smiled and beckoned with two fingers.

Tired as Katy was, her stomach rumbled again. Her mouth watered. Every part of her body cried out as Katy climbed to her feet and limped toward the chow tent. It felt at least ten degrees cooler when she passed under the flapping edge of off-white canvas and into the shade beneath.

�Hey, baby girl,� the scandalous woman said, her voice a little high and squeaky, when Katy approached her table. �You look so tired. Hungry, too. Set, set! Set yourself on down. �Les, of course, you think I�ve got something catchy and wrong.�

Though her smile didn�t diminish, something turned hard and daring in the young woman�s dark eyes. Katy didn�t sit; it felt more like a collapse. Some of that hardness melting from her features, the dark-haired woman pushed her half-empty bowl of stew across the table. Katy didn�t argue. Her stomach rumbling loud enough to broaden the other woman�s smile, she pulled the bowl toward her and dug in. She knew she was hungry, she just didn�t know how much until that first savory mouthful of potato and barley and big chunks of stewed beef crossed her tongue. She stuffed her mouth�one, two, three bites�and when nothing more would fit, she chewed, hiding behind a trembling hand because her lips couldn�t quite close until she partially swallowed.

Chin propped against one fist, the woman smiled again. �Yeah, I remember being like that, too. The Yiangs is nice people. Good people. But all that warshin� is hard, hard work. And it don�t pay for piss, much less bed and board. You roomin� with them?�

Having just stuffed another spoonful in her mouth, Katy shot her a guilty look across the table. She was eating like a pig. She tried to slow down. She tried to sit properly upright, despite her aching back, and swallowed repeatedly until her mouth was empty enough to talk. �I�m renting at Miss Bailey�s.�

�Miss Bailey�s?� Eyebrows arching, the young woman snorted. �Baby girl, you can�t make your weekly working laundry. The Yiangs is nice, but they will dock you for scorching a shirt or being late. First time that happens, you can kiss Miss Bailey�s goodbye. And how you going to eat? You ain�t making, what? Forty cents?�

Her spoon scraping the bottom of the now empty bowl, Katy couldn�t meet her eyes. �Thirty-five.� She could cheerfully have finished off two, even three more bowls, despite feeling what she�d already eaten sitting in the pit of her stomach like an indigestible rock.

�Baby girl, ain�t you got no folks you can ask for help?�

�No.� Katy lifted her chin, stubbornly refusing to meet her eyes or to consider going home again. She didn�t think she could stomach what was waiting for her there any more now than she had the day she�d left. What had that been, only a week ago? Right now, it felt like forever. She felt a stab of guilt, wondering if her mother was worried about her.

�Well.� The woman tsked. �You ain�t gonna make it working other folks� dirty warshin�. You need a better paying job.�

Katy shook her head, the thin set of her shoulders slumping as she admitted. �It�s the only thing I could find.�

The other woman blossomed into another grin. �You ain�t looking right! The Abilene�s always looking for dancers, and with all that pretty blonde hair and blue eyes, baby girl, there ain�t no way Big Benny�d say no to you.�

Katy recoiled. Her gaze dropped to the empty soup bowl on the table in between them, and she was instantly ashamed of that knee-jerk reaction. �I�I can�t. I�m�not like�that.�

�That?� The other woman arched an eyebrow, but didn�t lose her smile. �Honey, Abilene�s ain�t no whorehouse. We cater to the fellas, but we don�t sleep with them. We just dance for �em and with �em, give those hard-working boys something pretty to look at and soft to hold when they come rolling inta town with their pockets all full and jangly. Maybe it ain�t proper, but it ain�t spreading our legs either. And I�ll tell you something else, baby girl. It ain�t thirty-five cents a day.� Folding her lace-gloved hands over the table, she leaned in close to Katy. �I made sixteen dollars last night alone.�

Katy�s jaw dropped.

�Yes, ma�am. Sixteen dollars and I ain�t even whoring.� The young woman smirked, her dark eyes shining. �I got me an account down at the bank. Nine dimes out of ten, I put it straight to savings. A girl�s got to be smart about these things. I�m pretty nuff now, but looks don�t last forever. I figure, six more years of this and then I�mma retire, get me some fancy dresses, move someplace nobody�s ever heard of, find me a nice man what�s half billy goat in bed and raise us up a passel of kids on a real live ranch with mustang ponies and a white picket fence. Yes sir, that right there�s my ten-year plan and it suits me right on down to the ground. But what about you? Ten years from now, what do you want to have? A place of your own? A family? A man what knows there�s more to you than a slap and tickle �twixt the bedsheets?�

Katy stared at her, unable to think about anything but her bedroom back home, Nana and Cook laughing in the kitchen, the smell of hotcakes rising up through the floorboards and the low of cattle calling in the distance.

�You tell me, baby girl,� the woman across from her smiled again, a little sad and a little knowing. �How you gonna get any of that scrubbing other people�s muckups for thirty-five cents a day?� She shook her head, groaning a little as she reached for Katy�s hands. �Look at your poor fingers. How long before you think all the rest of you is gonna look just that red and raw and broken?�

The two women looked at one another; one lost and one commiserating.

�A ten-year plan; that�s the ticket to a better life.� Knocking twice on the tabletop, the satin-dressed woman stood up. �Think about it,� she said, and then she walked away.

Katy sat at that table for a long time, until she heard Father Yiang angrily calling her back to work. When she tried to stand up, her body hurt almost worse than when she�d first sat down. And because she was late, at the end of her third day, instead of thirty-five cents, the Yiangs only paid her twenty. Neither one of them spoke to her, not even to say goodnight. It would be days later before Katy thought to wonder if that were because they�d already known she wouldn�t be back.

She spent her last night at Miss Bailey�s sharing a bed with that snoring, old woman, and the following morning she packed up her few meager clothes and walked down the street to Abilene�s. She didn�t look back that time, either.
gail on 09/21/2015 02:26pm
enjoyed this story very much,,, lots of stern voices and spankings but a story to go with it,,,
Denise on 03/27/2015 04:37pm
I thought this was done well. I would have liked it to be longer, to see the resolve with her mother. The girl has spunk, that's for sure. Would also like to read about the robber. I think he was a good guy, there's a story here. I didn't think she was spoiled though. Still, would like to know what was to happen.
Krista on 04/08/2014 04:35pm
Fabulousness, as usual! Maren always knows how to set the story. I loved this Western and it makes me wish she had many, many more! I loved how feisty Katy is, and how Cal keeps chasing after her. :) Very Nice. The last line made me laugh, too: "Shotgun optional." :)
Connie on 02/08/2014 03:31pm
I have really like the books by Maren Smith I have read and enjoyed this one as well. Katy is so unhappy with her mother and stepfather she can't stand it. Her stepfather is a good man and treats them well, but she just can't stay. She gets a job as a dancer in a dance hall and gets caught by Cal, he and his father are old family friends. Cal is determined she is going home and she is equally determined she isn't. Battle of wills. Who will win?
lana on 02/04/2014 02:42pm
Love the western. It didn't turn out the way you would think it would. It makes it very interesting. Very cute little story with a sassy a girl and a dominate sweet cowboy..there slow growing love was sweet and real
Hillary on 01/07/2014 10:31pm
Katy run away is a fantastic spanking story from the old west. Here is your true cowboy love story! Sparks fly in this exciting tale of run away Katie and the hot cowboy who stumbled upon her and because of his past relations takes it upon himself to remove her from the horrible situation she had unknowingly landed herself in. You will live this title!
Mattie on 01/05/2014 10:15am
Katy is a very strong willed woman but she is no match for Cal. I love the way Cal has to keep chasing Katy down and how they fall in love. Cal is a great guy and Katy is lucky to have him.
DAWN on 12/30/2013 10:40pm
loved this story Hope you make a sequel would love to hear more about these two
Angie on 12/27/2013 11:24am
Katy was still trying to deal with the death of her father. Cal found Katy and thought he was helping her. It was interesting how Cal and Katy dealt with each other.
KArc on 08/02/2013 10:07pm
This is a good story that starts off about a young girl trying to survive on her own. At first it seems that she has just pulled a childish stunt of running away, but I thought the author did a nice job of giving Katy some very good, heart breaking, yet intelligent reasons for leaving her home. Cal just happens to be passing through her town and recognizes her as the daughter of a man he had tremendous respect for. He will not let her continue to live the life she is living and decides to bring her home. Katy's escape attempts are surprising and fun. Cal's response isn't surprising and certainly isn't fun for Katy but those spankings make her stop and think about her life and how she wants to live it.
Arleen on 07/30/2013 04:44am
This was a great western historical. The story was entertaining and I loved Katy's feisty attitude. I would have given it a 5 star rating except for the fact that I didn't find the hero as believable because of his extreme actions when he hadn't seen Katy in years. That said I did enjoy the book. If your looking for a hot romance it is a good light read.
JK on 07/25/2013 09:13am
Very enjoyable story! I liked everything about it, but just wished that it had been longer. I would have liked to see how their married life would come together! Excellent job though and way to keep us wanting more!
Jaycee on 07/18/2013 01:53pm
Very cute, fun western story. Maren Smith never fails to write a bad story. Like many others, I only wish that it had been longer. And perhaps that Cal had shown a little more care for Katie after such hard spankings with his belt. Of course, she really did deserve every one of them - I loved her spirit and the inventive ways she tried to escape. Life would never be dull with Katy around!
Miss contrite on 07/15/2013 07:37am
I really liked this book I agree I'd like a sequel. Maren Smith is an excellent writer I wish she would write more westerns. The scene with Cal as he finds katty is funny and her constant attempts at escape are grt I highly recomend this book
DNF on 07/15/2013 04:49am
This is a very nice romantic story, but it is too short, I hope there will be a sequel where Katy meets her parents.
Adele on 07/11/2013 02:38pm
I enjoyed this book very much. I could feel the shock Cal fekt when he found Katy working in a dancee hall. And how Katy was willing to subject herself to the bandit to keep Cal alive. Warm loving and in it's way funny.
BL Froman on 07/09/2013 11:45am
While I enjoyed this story, it was very short, it had the feel of more of a good lead up into a story then anything else. I liked the characters, but they didn't seem to really get fleshed out before the story ended. That said, it was an enjoyable read and the situations where entertaining to read.
KatD on 07/09/2013 04:03am
Was Ok
ET on 07/07/2013 08:47am
This is a very good story that I don't have to waste my time retelling here. Suffice it to say that it provides plenty of adventure, good characters and character development and plenty of spankings. There's a good love story too. My only complaint was that it was just a little too short. But then again, that's Maren Smith's trademark - she always leaves you wanting more.
Evelyn on 07/06/2013 03:44pm
Cute western about a girl who leaves home but finds out that it is not as easy as it seems when a cowboy follows her from home determined to bring her back no matter how many times he has to spank her to do it.
Alicia on 07/06/2013 02:22pm
Sweet and short western about a young woman who runs away from home but realizes she might be in for troublew when a cowboy from her past shows up determined to bring her home.

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