The Demure Bride(9)

By: Joannie Kay

"In Boston you aren't out on open range and there are people all over the place to ask for help. Out here you do what you need to do to help, and that is what Rob did. You owe the man a sincere apology, Amanda. I expect you to fix a nice company meal and behave tonight. Don't think I won't take you from the table and tan your hide if you act like a spoiled brat!" he threatened.

Amanda was quiet all the way home. Sitting on the hard seat of the buggy was extremely painful on her tender bottom... and she couldn't help but wonder if her parent was right. Was she wrong to strike Robert Thorne? In Boston it would have been expected, but things here were so different. When they finally reached the ranch, Amanda was relieved to jump down from the buggy. She headed for the house but Matt called to her and she turned to face him.

"Best you fix a decent meal, Mandy, and behave yourself tonight." He turned then and walked off, his meaning very clear to the pretty redhead.

Mandy walked inside and hurried upstairs to rub more of the salve on her aching posterior. She had lied to her father, wanting his sympathy; she only had two red marks on her bottom, but she was very tender and sitting was a constant reminder that she'd been soundly spanked twice! She wasn't going to do one thing to earn another... And all it would take was careful planning. First things first, she said as she put on an older dress and an apron. She went down to the kitchen and said with a smile, "Goldie, we are having a guest for dinner tonight and Papa expects me to do all of the cooking. The house is clean as can be, so why don't you take a day off and go and visit with your sister in town?"

Goldie looked at her in surprise, but then smiled and nodded. She left without saying goodbye.

Amanda went to work, a wicked smile on her face...

Chapter Three

Robert Thorne shaved carefully and put on a suit before leaving for the Circle C Ranch. The evening promised to be entertaining, and he grinned in anticipation as he mounted his stallion. Miss Amanda Chambers was full of spirit and he could not help but wonder if she would bring all that fire and passion to bed with her, not that he was likely to bed her anytime in the near future. She was thoroughly angry with him for turning her backside up for a solid thrashing, even though she richly deserved the chastisement. His fingers went to the red mark that she left across his cheek with the little riding whip she persisted in carrying when she went riding. It was still very tender, and shaving over the area had been tricky and somewhat painful. Hopefully her posterior was sporting a few matching marks that ached when she tried to sit her chair. While it certainly was not considered gentlemanly to manhandle the fairer sex, the hot-tempered redhead had earned every stroke he administered, and he was no sorrier for spanking her than she was for striking him.

Yes, the evening ahead would prove amusing. He was fairly certain that Miss Chambers would not be able to resist retaliation of some sort, and he was prepared for an ill-prepared meal at the very least, and barely concealed sarcasm that would pass her father's attention. Rob was still very surprised to learn that morning that Matt Chambers had given his daughter the spanking she deserved for trying to jump her skittish little mare. He'd heard from the well-meaning gossips in the area that Matt had a blind eye for his girl, but in truth, he was trying to make up for not being involved at all in his daughter's upbringing. Rob liked Matt Chambers, and to be honest, he found it hard to believe his likeable neighbor had such a spoiled brat for a daughter.

Rob chuckled out loud, and nudged his stallion to a faster pace. He was looking forward to the prospect of matching wits with the little redhead, even if the meal was totally inedible.

* * *

"Somethin' sure smells good, girl!"

Matt Chambers came into the house by way of the back porch and the kitchen, and Amanda knew her father was checking to make sure she was doing as he ordered, preparing a 'company meal' for one Mr. Robert Thorne. Her bottom was still very tender from the spanking Matt gave her on top of the thrashing the despicable Thorne administered yesterday, and Amanda was careful to smile and say, "I made fried chicken, Papa."

"Well, now, that is real special." Matt nodded proudly. "I'm sure that Rob is gong to appreciate a good meal. Where's Goldie?" he asked curiously.

"I gave her the day off to go into town and visit with her sister. She won't be home until morning," Amanda replied. "She works hard, Papa, and since you wanted me to do the cooking myself, there was no reason for her to stay."

"That was real nice of you, Mandy. Goldie is a fine woman, and sometimes I forget to tell her it's okay to take off now and then." He looked her over head to toe. "You'd best go change into one of them pretty dresses you got, honey. You look a bit messy," he said without a bit of tact.

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