As Richard watched him walk away, he had to fight the desire to run after him, tackle him, and punch him square in the nose, but outside of a few boyhood scrapes, he’d never actually done such a thing, and there was nothing to be gained, except perhaps a bloody nose of his own.

“You beast, you absolute beast,” Scarlet howled, grabbing his attention. “Who do you think you are, swanning in here like that and breaking us up?”

“I’m the best friend you have, and I just saved you,” he said, moving towards her. “You should be thanking me, and what is that smell?”

“Thanking you? Thanking you?” she shrilled, ignoring his question. “I was having a marvelous time. Amir…”

“Amir is nothing but a cad who was seducing you. How can you not see that?”

“You’re wrong about him, and I hate you.”

“That’s it,” he growled, reaching down and grabbing her wrist. “You’re such a know-it-all, and such a child. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

“What are you doing?” she shrieked, struggling against his hold.

“Exactly what I told you I would do if I caught you in a situation like this,” he exclaimed, and dropping on to a nearby bale of straw, he yanked her over his lap.

“Stop it right this minute,” she wailed. “Stop it, stop it. I’ll tell mamma.”

“Then I will be forced to explain my actions,” he threatened, attempting to pull up her dress, “and I don’t think you would want me to do that.”

“I hate you, Richard Portman, I hate you.”

“So you said, and you’re about to hate me even more,” he declared, finally managing to push her dress and petticoats up to her waist. “Just be glad I’m too much of a gentleman to pull down your drawers and bare your bottom.”

“You are no gentleman, and I cannot believe you would even suggest such a thing!”

“And you, Scarlet Fairfax, at this very moment, you are no lady,” he scolded, “but a foolish girl who needs a solid spanking/”


“Yes, and here it comes!”

Raising his hand, he let it fly with a hard slap, landing it against the center of her right cheek, bouncing it immediately to its twin. Scarlet squealed, and kicked, and lifting his leg he placed it firmly behind her knees.

“I’m not surprised you’re fighting me, but it will go better and be over faster if you don’t.”

“I will never, ever, ever, speak to you again,” she shouted, wriggling profusely as she turned around to glare at him over her shoulder.

Ignoring her, Richard began smacking her in earnest, traveling his flattened palm over every inch of her behind, and when he landed several hard slaps on her sit spot, she yowled even louder, but hers wasn’t the first young woman to feel the sting of his discipline.

Two of his female cousins, twins, had turned rebellious, causing their widowed mother a great deal of grief. Richard had been visiting at the time of one of their more troublesome antics, and had, without thought, given them both a trip over the back of the sofa. The quick, sharp chastisement had settled them down for some time, and their mother finally had a weapon. Misbehave, and I’ll call Richard to sort you out. Spanking Scarlet, however, was having a distinctly profound affect on him, one that hadn’t happened when he’d disciplined the twins.

Punishing them had been clinical; they’d been wicked, so they were dealt with, but as his hand rained its stinging slaps on Scarlet’s beautiful bottom, he found himself growing uncomfortably warm, and an energy was surging through his loins. As he dispatched the last few blows, making them extra hard, he had an overwhelming need to comfort her, then hold her in his arms and kiss her passionately.

“There,” he declared, unable to resist rubbing his hand over her cheeks, “you’re done. Don’t let me catch you doing such a thing again.”

“Just let me up,” she said breathlessly, “for goodness sake, let me up!”

“Calm down. This will help soothe the burn.”

“I don’t want you to soothe the burn.”

“If you don’t settle, Scarlet, I shall spank you some more. I’m shocked that you’re still such a spitfire. Take a deep breath and see the truth about this. If he had been successful, you would-“

“I don’t want to listen to anything you have to say,” she groaned, “please, just let me go.”

Shaking his head, he moved his leg and set her free, and crawling off his lap, she hurried a few steps away, rubbed her backside for a moment, then attempted to straighten her clothes.

“I would be grateful if you did not attempt to talk to me for the rest of the weekend,” she said, running her hands over her disheveled hair, “and then never again!”