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When Amanda Wyld tumbles one hundred years through time, she lands in west Texas on the property of handsome, protective, Tom Thornton.
The year is 1883, and a range war rages as barbed wire divides open land into pieces. These illegal fences are forcing ranchers to cut the wire to get their livestock to water. Guns blaze and tempers fray as men and women fight for their homes and their land.
Tom does not need or want the responsibility for the young woman he rescues from the range, but they soon find themselves falling hard for each other. Her modern attitudes lead Amanda to put her health and safety in jeopardy, but Tom will teach his woman the dangers of his time and the importance of obedience – over his knee, if necessary. Can a twentieth century woman live, love, and thrive in a nineteenth century world?
Publisher’s Note: This time travel love story contains scenes of domestic discipline and explicitly described sexual encounters.
“Get out and stay out, Tyler Manning!” Amanda Wyld slammed the door behind her lying scum of an ex-boyfriend—the nerve of that man. She had waited for him and waited for him in high school and watched as he dated every blond, bubbly, busty cheerleader—the three Bs all men seemed to crave. And now this, this humiliation. She hated him. She wanted to hate him. She wished she could hate him.
She had loved him with hot, secret passion from afar as he made the winning touchdown. She had loved him silently from the grandstands as he stuffed the basketball through the net. She had loved him as he swung his bat and sent the white sphere sailing over the fence.
Then, two years after graduation, he bumped, literally bumped, into her. As her face hurtled towards the sawdust covered floor of the local tavern, strong arms surrounded her and pulled her upright with her back firmly planted against a muscled chest and a strong, warm arm wrapped around her middle like an iron band.
“Fancy meeting you in a place like this, Amanda,” he said, his voice low, luscious, rough.
Of course, he had known who she was. Their ranches shared a border and a source of water. Water more precious than gold in the dry west Texas they called home.
“Hello, Tyler,” she squeaked his name like some sorry ass mouse, but this was the stuff of daydreams.
“Well, darlin’, since you’re already in my arms, I think we should dance.”
Two months of exhilaration followed as her fantasies became reality. Slow dancing with her face buried in Tyler’s muscled shoulder. Pushing her porch swing with one foot while he held her hand firmly on his bulging thigh. Gazing into his sapphire eyes as they shared pizza, beer and kisses that sent hot, wet heat to her untried female center. Lordy, Lordy!
Amanda had gone early to surprise Tyler at The Dusty Trail where they planned to dance, drink, and shoot a little pool.
Well, hell, the surprise was on her. Tyler’s long body had loomed over Missy Hart, a three B ex-cheerleader. He had her pinned in the corner with a hand on either side of her head. Every so often, he dropped a kiss on the top of her golden head, her cheek, the side of her neck.
Taking advantage of his absorption while he made a small meal of Missy’s ear, Amanda slipped close enough to hear the nature of sweet nothings he was pouring into that dainty appendage.
“Missy, sweetheart, you know I love you. Baby, don’t be mad. Daddy said I need to get Amanda to fall in love with me. Poor kid, she’s been in love with me most of her life. I’ve seen her mooning around, so it’s been plumb easy. With her parents’ passing, she and her sister inherited that ranch. Her sister’s gone off to be a doctor in Dallas leaving Amanda alone and in charge. We want that land and the water rights that go with it.”
“What about us, Tyler?” Missy whined, her lower lip caught between her perfect teeth.
“Can you be patient? Can you wait for me?” He rubbed his thumb gently over that luscious lower lip. “I’ll marry her, and once we have control of all those lovely assets,” he moved his hand lower and patted her bottom in a gesture of male possession, “once we have those assets, I’ll be free to do as I please. We’ll be together yet, sweet pea, you just need to let me take care of this little piece of business. That’s all it is to me. Business. Can you do that for me? Wait just a little while? She’d marry me tomorrow if I asked. It won’t take long.”
“Marry you tomorrow?” Amanda growled through gritted teeth. “I’ll marry you on the twelfth of never and not one second before.” She slammed the door to the roadside tavern and drove hard and fast to her ranch, gravel shooting from her spinning tires. Tyler’s truck remained stuck in her rear-view mirror. Their car doors flew open simultaneously as both vehicles came to a skidding stop.
“Amanda. Listen to me. I don’t know what you think you heard, but Missy doesn’t matter to me. It’s only you, baby.”
“Me, my ranch, and my water. You’re a skunk, Tyler Manning. I can’t believe I fell for your lies.”
“Not lies, Amanda. Give me a chance to explain.” He had followed her up the stairs and into the house.
“Nope.” She turned and pushed against his chest. He backed up with his hands raised in pantomime surrender. “Get out and stay out, Tyler Manning.” The door slammed. Slammed shut on the one man she had ever wanted.
She would never trust another man—never. The ranch, happy memories of her mom and dad, the occasional visit with her sister, would be enough. She didn’t need a man or the heartbreak and humiliation that came with one.
Tears left salty tracks trailing down her cheeks. “God damn it all to hell. A Wyld doesn’t sit around crying and feeling sorry for herself.” She missed her mom and dad. For the millionth time, she cursed the drunk driver who took them from her and left her alone in this big old house. She could live in Dallas with her sister, but the big city was not for her. She needed country air and wide-open spaces.
Making her way down the hall towards her room, she stopped at the old sepia photo hanging on the wall. A tall, handsome cowboy stood behind a woman sitting on a chair with a baby on her lap. His hand rested protectively on her shoulder. A small boy, maybe two or three, leaned against his mother’s knee with his chubby hand resting on her thigh. They gazed direct and straight-faced into the camera. She was named for this pioneer relative, and they shared an uncanny likeness.
“Well, many times Great-Grandma Amanda, I’ve been skunked by a sidewinder. I probably should have known better.” She gave a less-than-feminine snort. “Those Mannings have always been short on respect and long on dishonesty.”
The house was suffocating, hot, unbearable. Every echoing footstep mocked her isolation and loneliness. Her hand moved to turn on the air-conditioner, but coming to a quick decision, she gathered her sleeping bag, the backpack of camping supplies she kept at the ready, pulled a bottle of water and an apple from the refrigerator, and headed out the door. She would spend the night next to the creek Tyler was willing to marry her for. The irony was as sweet as the water flowing between those dusty banks.
Leaving her car parked at the side of the road, Amanda slung her pack over her shoulder and walked the half a mile to her favorite spot. She pulled off her too brief denim shorts and looked in consternation at the red thong covering her private parts. Damn that man. She did not dress like a two-bit hooker. Wanting to compete with the three B cheerleaders, she had ventured into the only fancy lingerie shop in town to buy the uncomfortable scrap of red nylon, cut her pants off at the crotch, and hoped Tyler would drool at the sight. She cringed at the thought that she had intended to let him seduce her that night. She would give him her virginity in a spontaneous, carefully planned scene—as if that made any sense.
Lying snug in her sleeping bag, Amanda gazed up at the night sky. What a sight. Meteor showers burst overhead like the Fourth of July and an occasional shooting star swept across her vision with a light so bright she closed her eyes. The final explosion sent a stream of sparkling light hurtling toward the ground. Struck by lightning, she had heard of. But struck by a meteor shower? However unlikely that sounded, she closed her eyes.
The light burned a trail across her closed eyelids. Hot damn! What a strange night. Amanda slowly opened her scrunched-tight eyes. She was a little afraid her vision might have suffered from the intensity of that final flash. A soft sigh of relief eased past her lips as the world regained focus only to be replaced by a scream and a shout.
“Who the hell are you?” she demanded of the cowboy striding towards her. Her insides shivered. The large man whose long legs swallowed the distance between them looked very real and very angry.
“Who am I? Who are you, and what are you doing on my land?”
“Your land? This is the Wyld One Ranch and you are trespassing. I will ask you only once to get off my property before I phone the sheriff.”
“I don’t know what you are up to, missy, but it’s dangerous for a woman to be out here. Where are your menfolk?”
“I don’t need a man to take care of me. I can take care of myself, and I want you off my ranch.”
“We both have to get out of here. I just cut that fence so my cattle can get to the water, and Manning has hired guns on patrol with orders to shoot on sight.” He tilted his head and listened to the night. “Riders are coming. Manning’s men or Indians. Either way we don’t want to be out here.”
“Indians? Are you crazy? I’m not going anywhere with you. Who are you anyway?” Amanda scrambled like a crazed crab out of her bag and moved away from the towering block of male muscle.
The cowboy’s eyes were fixed on the scrap of red fabric pretending to cover her mound. She spun around only to realize the view from the back was infinitely worse. She heard a strangled groan emerge from the man’s throat.
“Get your clothes on. I’m not leaving you out here alone.”
“My car is parked by the road. I’ll drive myself home, and we’ll both be happy.” She pulled her shorts up and was in the process of stamping on her second tennis shoe when she felt herself being lifted from the ground.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. There is no road, and I don’t know what a car is, but we have to move.” He strode toward his horse, Amanda dangling like a child from his bent arm.
“My pack! Let me get my pack!” He lowered her to the ground. Amanda snagged the pack and took off running for the road. She stopped and looked around. Where was the car? Turning in a circle she searched for the road. The familiar creek murmured nearby, but there was a barbed wire fence with a section cut away where yesterday there had been nothing but pasture.
The big cowboy caught her once more around the waist and lifted her from the ground. “I’ve had enough trouble from you, little miss. We have to move.”
Amanda struggled and squirmed and twisted and turned, but his arm held firm.
“Stop that wiggling.” He took another long stride toward the horse, but Amanda continued to work for her freedom. “I said stop!”
He swung her body forward until she rested across his thigh. Amanda continued to thrash. She needed to get away. This man, this night, nothing was right. All thoughts were driven from her head when she felt his hard hand connect with the soft flesh at the back of her thighs. Smack! The searing heat spread like fire only to be followed by a second and a third well-placed spank.
“Stop that! What the hell are you doing?” Amanda shrieked.
“Settle! We have to get out of here or we’re dead.”
He stood and Amanda once again dangled against his side as he approached the horse. He lowered her to the ground but held firmly onto her upper arm as he pushed her backpack into his saddlebag. He threw Amanda facedown over the saddle, mounted behind her, adjusted her over his thighs and held her securely with one hand. Gripping the reins with his free hand, he turned the horse and kicked him into a gallop.
“Stop right now, you son of a bitch! You can’t just throw me over your horse. Put me down.” Amanda twisted to get a look at the man who had kidnapped her. He was handsome—holy cow, you had to give him that. His shoulders were broad and his jaw looked chiseled from a block of granite.
“Ladies don’t swear,” he released her long enough for his palm to connect three times with the tender flesh between her bottom and her thigh. “I’m trying to save you.” He slowed the horse to a walk. “I reckon we’re far enough away to slow down a bit. Now, if you keep fussing, I’ll keep spanking. If you can mind your manners, I’ll let you sit. You just keep this in mind, you might be enjoying the spanking less than I am.”
“You bastard…let me…”
“I told you, ladies don’t swear, and I don’t like to hear such talk about my mama.” His hand swung back and connected with stinging swats to her thighs, her cheeks, the space in between. She could not move far enough to avoid the punishing palm. Her resolve melted with the heat rising from her painful rear. Tears fell as she accepted her helplessness and ceased to struggle. Damn that hurt!
“There now. You’re all right. We’re safe now.” The palm of his hand stopped swatting and began rubbing her back and patting her inflamed bottom. “We’re almost back to my house. Would you like to sit up? Can you behave?”
“Yes, let me up.” She managed to grunt the words. Bouncing on her stomach hurt. Her bottom throbbed and felt swollen to twice its size, but sitting had to be better than lying with her head hanging toward the hard Texas dirt.
He pulled her to a sitting position, and Amanda gasped as her hot bottom rubbed against scratchy denim. They rode silently for a few minutes as Amanda scanned her surroundings. She needed to figure out where she was and find a way home.
The area was familiar, but startlingly not. There were no roads. There were no headlights casting yellow beams. There were no telephone poles with loopy wire strung between. There was no glow from the lights of town. There was an eerie, densely dark night. There was a big cowboy straddling his horse behind her. There was the large hand snugly spanning her middle. There was the throbbing pain of her punished bottom.
“Now, little darlin,’ we’re going into the house, and you can tell me why you think it’s a good idea to go camping alone, nearly naked, in the middle of a range war.”