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Of All the Luck! by Joanne Locker is a completed story. It is ten chapters in length and is currently available in its entirety in the Members' Area of Bethany's Woodshed. It is available both as an "HTML" file for online reading, as well as in a downloadable PDF format. It is also available as a file that can be transferred to your Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, or Apple I Pad, as well as other brand eBook readers. Each completed book that you obtain as a member of Bethany's Woodshed is yours to keep, even if you are no longer a member.

Of All the Luck! completed on Bethany's Woodshed in April, 2012, and will remain on Bethany's Woodshed until at least October 2012.

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Chapter One


 

“You!” 

There was nothing but contempt in the word and if he hadn’t been bleeding to death, he would never have pushed past Victoria Conway and into the secluded cabin.  Hell, he didn’t know who this cabin belonged to.  He saw the light, and knew that if he did not get help, and soon, he was going to bleed to death and never be able to clear his name.

“What the hell are you doing here, Griffin?” Victoria demanded, crossing her arms over her breasts in a protective manner.

“Bleeding to death in case you haven’t noticed, woman!”  He used the one word guaranteed to spark her temper as no other.

“I am not your ‘woman’!” she retorted.

“I’m not your man, either, but you are going to help me, Victoria.  Move your butt and get me a clean towel I can use to stop this bleeding.”

Victoria glared at him, but the pain reflected in his dark brown eyes and the too pale complexion told her he was not exaggerating.  Griffin was bleeding to death and if she did not act quickly, he could possibly die.  She ran to the bathroom and returned with a white towel that she used to apply pressure to the wound that was bleeding from the front and the back.  “Is this a bullet wound?” she asked, her voice shaky.

“Yes.  It went clean through, which is a good thing.”  He heard a commotion in the distance.  “Damn, they’re going to be here in a few minutes.”

“What did you do?” Victoria asked, looking at him warily.

“Not what they think I did, Victoria.  I look guilty, but I’m not.  I swear that to you.”  His brown eyes were earnest.

“Come with me,” she ordered, and led him into her bedroom.

He barely had time to take note of the feminine details of the room before she was shoving aside a bookcase with relative ease and opening another door.  “No one knows this room is here but me.  Bar the door, and stay put.  I’ll handle the rest.”  She turned to leave, but Griffin grabbed her with his good arm and hauled her to him and he kissed her, hard.  Possessively.  Victoria felt her knees weaken, but she pushed him away.  “Never again in this lifetime, Griffin Conway!” she declared, and then shut the door on her ex-husband.  Victoria moved the bookcase into position, and went to check for any evidence that would give Griffin away.  He was many things to many people, but he would never lie to her.  If he said he was innocent, then he was innocent, and she was willing to stake her life on that.

The pounding on her door came all too soon for Victoria, but she put a smile on her face and answered.  “My goodness, Sheriff!  Must you pound on the door like that?”

“Ms. Jones, we are looking for a fugitive and we believe he could be here.  May we come inside and search?”

“I assure you, Sheriff, that no one besides me is here.”

“He could be holding a gun on you, ma’am.  We really do need to have a look around.  We saw traces of blood on your front porch.”

“Oh, drat, I never thought to check for blood outside.  Charlie hurt his foot earlier.”  As if by magic, the black cat came running from the kitchen, a bright white bandage on his foot, and he was limping on three feet, and favoring his injured paw.  “I’ll have to scrub that before I end up having to repaint the entire porch!”

“May we check inside, Ms. Jones?” the Sheriff asked again, although he’d lost his self-assured attitude.

“Well, I guess, but don’t any of you men go near my computer.  All my work is on there and I don’t allow anyone to read anything until it is published!”

“We won’t go near your desk, ma’am,” the Sheriff promised.  It was plain as could be that there was nothing in that area of the room that was of interest. Her desk was in front of a large floor to ceiling window, and since everything was wireless, the opening under the pretty desk was open.  No one could hide there if they wanted to!  The kitchen area was quickly searched, as was the screened in back porch.  The guest room and bedroom were also searched, and the Sheriff was red-faced when he said, “Thank you for cooperating, Ms. Jones.  You be sure to keep your doors locked up tight, and you call 911 if anyone comes knocking.  This Smith fellow is armed and dangerous.”

“What did he do?” Victoria asked curiously.

“He killed three men in cold blood.”

“Are you positive?  Were there any witnesses?”

“No witnesses, but we received an anonymous tip from a female caller.  You remember, now, don’t open your door to no one.  You call us instead.  We tracked him into the woods around here, and with there not being too many houses, he has to turn up somewhere for help.  He’s got a bullet in him.  If you want, I can station a man outside?”

“I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on my writing if you did that, Sheriff,” she told the truth.  “I will lock my doors and set the security system.  It rings into your office if there is a problem, so I should be safe enough.  Besides, who is to say he didn’t have a car parked somewhere in the woods and he is long gone by now…?”

“She’s right, Sheriff.  And she should know.” 

The Deputy was a young man, and Victoria knew at once that he was an avid reader of her mysteries. She flashed him a smile. “Thank you, Deputy.  You read my books?”

“I sure do, Ms. Jones,” he said as his face turned red.

“I’ll make sure you get a signed copy of my new release when it comes out next month,” she said graciously, smiling.

“Thanks, Ms. Jones,” the Sheriff grumbled as he rolled his eyes expressively.  “That’s all we’re going to hear about for the next month!” he complained as he looked at his besotted Deputy.

Victoria laughed, and then watched them leave, positive she’d convinced them that Griffin was no longer in the area.  She gave them plenty of time to leave, and then she stepped outside to make sure and positive that the Sheriff hadn’t left one of his men behind in spite of her protests.  She saw no one, and then returned to the house.  She locked the door, set the alarms, and then picked up a remote and closed all the drapes in the house, ensuring complete privacy.  Then, and only then, did she go and move the bookcase to check on Griffin.

“Open up, Griff,” she called out.  She heard the heavy bolt on the door slide to allow the door to open.  “You’re in bad shape, Griff,” she stated.  “Let’s get you into bed and I’ll dress that shoulder and get some broth in you, and give you something for pain.”  She helped him into the spare bedroom and got him on the bed, using every bit of her strength and his.

“Victoria, call Xavier,” Griff ordered.  “Don’t trust anyone else.”  He promptly passed out cold.

She made a face and decided not to make the call.  The last flipping person on earth she wanted to speak to ever again was Xavier.  Victoria did not stand on formality.  She’d been married to Griffin Conway for two glorious years before all hell broke loose in their relationship, and she’d seen him naked countless number of times during the period of her life she referred to as ‘off limits’.  Victoria wasn’t shocked that he wore no socks with his loafers, or that he was ‘commando’ when she undid his belt and pulled off his expensive jeans.  Taking a small amount of malicious pleasure in the act, she used scissors to cut off his equally expensive shirt.  It had a hole in the arm anyway, and with the blood stains, she knew the picky Griffin wouldn’t even keep it as a rag.  Victoria pulled a sheet and blanket over his magnificent lower half, and then tended to his wound with expertise born of experience.  It wasn’t so bad and only required a few stitches on either side of his arm.  As far as she could tell, there wouldn’t be any permanent damage.  Griffin was lucky, as usual.  Once the bandage was in place, she turned the lamp low and left him to sleep.  When he woke, he would be hungry.  She put beef broth on to heat.  It would help him rebuild the blood he lost.  She also found some pain medication he could take, unless he was in one of his stubborn moods.

He roused a bit later, just enough to whisper her name and swallow some of the broth she insisted he drink.  She offered him the small pill, and of course, being Griffin, he refused.  When he was complaining a bit later, she gave him more broth, with the pill dissolved in the broth.  This time he slept restfully while she kept watch.

There wasn’t much on the news.  No details at least.  Just that a man by the name of Harlan Smith was wanted as a suspect in the death of three tourists.  Anyone who knew the whereabouts of Smith, or who witnessed the deaths, was asked to call the Sheriff’s office.  Victoria knew there was more to the story.  There was always more to the story when Griffin was involved.

She checked on him often, noticing the way his dark hair still fell over his forehead while he slept.  He looked much younger than his years when he was sleeping, and she suspected that had to do with his eyes… eyes that had seen too much in his lifetime.  His hands were still the same; large, straight, tapered fingers… often gentle and making her body come to life with pleasure so intense it was almost painful, and sometimes those hands could be hard… when he spanked her!

Victoria felt her cheeks turn red as her thoughts went to that particular subject!  Griffin Conway believed in spanking.  He informed her of that fact in the most elemental way while she was over his knee learning firsthand what happened when you didn’t obey the man instantly.  They were on a mission together, and she was new and very green, and it was his job to offer training.  The mission was supposed to be simple… pose as a married couple, get the information required, get out.  Only something went wrong and their cover was compromised.  Griffin told her to run, and she didn’t.  She stayed by his side to fight with him, and even though it was her opinion that she’d saved his life, Griffin did not see it that way.  Once they were debriefed, Griffin offered to take her home.  Like a fool, she agreed.  The scene was still fresh in her memory as if it happened yesterday:

At the door of her apartment, Griffin took her elbow and gently pushed her inside before locking the door and turning to face her.  Like a little romantic idiot, Victoria assumed that Griff intended to make love to her, and she was trying to decide whether or not she was going to permit that to happen.  Before she could open her mouth, he pulled her across the room to her sofa, where he took a seat and then jerked her face-down across his lap!

“What are you doing?” she squealed.  The position was not the least bit romantic in her eyes.  “Griffin?” she protested as he pushed up her skirt.  “No!  This is not cool!”

“I agree.  You will not feel ‘cool’ by the time I am done with you, little girl!”

She gasped in stunned disbelief as her whisked her panties down past her knees.  “Griff—IN!” she ended his name on a shriek when he gave her rounded rump a firm spank.  “Ouch!  What are you doing?” she demanded.  He spanked her a second time and she gasped in outrage.  “Oh no!  You are NOT spanking me!”

“I believe I am spanking you, Victoria Sage, and what’s more, I intend to keep right on spanking you until you learn a valuable lesson!”  Griffin suited actions to words and kept right on spanking her cheeks until they felt like they were on fire.

“Stop!  You are hurting me!” she protested, tears stinging her eyes.  “Please, Griffin!  Stop, or I will have you arrested.”

“Now, you shouldn’t have said that, honey.  That means you aren’t the least bit sorry yet…”  He spanked even harder and this time it was her upper thighs and the area between her bottom and thighs that were his target.

Victoria squirmed and kicked.  First one shoe went flying, narrowly missing the television, and the second shoe hit a vase containing silk flowers, knocking them off the table where they normally sat.  “Stop!  Please!  Why are you doing this?” she asked, hurting physically and emotionally.

“Because you disobeyed me, little girl.  You were told to get out of there, to run.  You did not do as you were told.”  He spanked again, this time really hard.

Victoria cried out in pain.  “I couldn’t leave you there alone, Griff!  There were four of them!”

“Precisely.  I had to worry about you while I was fighting.  You disobeyed me, and I won’t have that in a junior partner, especially one who is female.”

“That is chauvinistic!” Victoria informed him.

“That is me.  I am a man; you are a woman.  Man protects; woman obeys… or gets a spanking!”

Victoria was flabbergasted, but he kept right on spanking her inflamed backside until he forced an “I’m sorry” from her, as well as a promise “to obey in the future.”  Only then did he stop and promise her that he would use a paddle if there was ever a next time.

Victoria swallowed hard and recalled several other times that the man had felt she needed a damn good spanking.  The worst of all was the time she felt she needed to get away from him for a few days.  She left a note for Griffin, but to this day she didn’t know what became of it.  Griffin claimed there wasn’t a note, and he went crazy searching for her, wondering if one of their old cases had found her and taken her away to hurt her.  He searched and searched, and all the while she was merely at a luxury spa spending a week being pampered.  She came home, and Griffin was beyond angry:

“I cannot believe you would go away without telling me, Victoria.”

“I left you a note, Griff,” she argued.

“Then where is it, young lady?” he demanded.

“I don’t know.  I put it on the bed, on your pillow.”

All the fear of the last few days erupted at once into a very angry and irate man.  Victoria tried to grab her keys and run, but Griffin was too fast for her.  He caught her, pulled her over to the bed, and threw her face-down on the white comforter.  He took the round wooden paddle from the nightstand and bared her, and then paddled her as if saving her life depended on making sure she could never sit again.  Victoria sobbed and begged him to listen to her… to stop… but he didn’t… Not until she was bruised and swollen.  Even then he refused to apologize, and she quietly packed a bag and left him.

That memory was a painful one.  She divorced Griffin in spite of all his attempts to reconcile with her.  She moved away, halfway across the country, and she legally changed her name from Conway to Jones.  There were hundreds of Victoria Jones across the country, and she did not want him to find her.  But, somehow he had, and she was sure of one thing… She still loved Griffin Conway!

Griff woke instantly and listened cautiously.  He knew he was not alone in the room, but the deep, even breathing told him the other person was asleep, and he knew that breathing as well as he knew his own.  He opened his eyes and spotted Victoria immediately.  She’d fallen asleep in the rocking chair that was only a few feet from the bed.  He was also positive he did not want to startle her.  Victoria had an itchy trigger finger and he would bet a million dollars she had a gun hidden beneath the blanket she was using to keep warm.  He carefully moved his left arm and found it wasn’t nearly as difficult to move as he thought it would be.  It would hurt like hell if he got into a fight, but he wasn’t completely helpless, either.

He was thirsty… and suspected the taste in his mouth was from the pain medication Victoria slipped into the broth.  He would raise hell with her for that one as soon as he was able.  He needed to be able to protect her, and how could he do that if he was drugged!  The woman never did know when to obey him.  He looked at her again and felt his heart ache.  He’d driven her away with his rage.  He’d felt justified in whaling her proper for the stunt she pulled and then for lying about leaving him a note… until he found the note behind the bed when he moved from their house.  By then it was too late to tell her he was a damned fool.  She’d simply disappeared, and he learned then that she was good at hiding.  Of all the cabins in the world, it was just his luck to stumble across Victoria’s.  By the time he finished this mission and cleared himself with the locals, Victoria would be long gone again, unless he kept her cuffed to his side.  Slowly, a plan began to take shape.  When Xavier got here, he would ask his help.

Griffin liked having a plan, and he went back to sleep, determined not to let Victoria escape him again.

********************

Morning arrived and Victoria was worried when she realized that Griffin hadn’t awakened during the night.  She pushed her blanket aside, and tucked the gun into the waistband of her jeans, pulling her sweater down to hide it.  Her security system was top of the line, but she knew for an absolute that if someone was determined to get inside, they would.  She would shoot first and ask questions later if necessary in order to protect Griffin.  She moved to stand beside the bed and gently placed her hand on his forehead to make sure he wasn’t feverish.  To her relief, he felt normal.  He also opened his dark eyes at her touch.  “Good morning,” she said.

“Good morning, beautiful lady,” he replied, and for a few seconds it was as if the separation and divorce never happened.

“How is your arm, Griff?” Victoria asked in a crisp tone.

“Hurts, honey,” he whined just a bit, courting sympathy.

“I have pain pills,” she said, her blue eyes full of that sympathy he yearned for.

“I need to be alert, Victoria.  Please do not drug me again.” 

He made the order sound like a request, but Victoria immediately realized he knew what she’d done.  “You were in so much pain, Griff.  I just wanted to help you.  I know I went against your wishes, but my intentions were the best.”

“I know that, honey, and I’m not angry… this one time,” he said with a smile.  “Do you think I could have some real food this morning?”

“If you will promise me you’ll stay in that bed, I will bring you breakfast… along with more broth.  You really need that because of the blood loss, Griff,” she added when he wrinkled his nose in distaste.

“I’ll drink it down like a good patient, Nurse Victoria,” he answered, then winked at her.  Victoria blushed a fiery red, and he chuckled.  “You were so soft and sexy,” he said in a hoarse whisper, wondering if she noticed the sheet and blanket covering him was suddenly ‘tented’ in a most embarrassing and manly manner. 

“I’ll get your breakfast,” she murmured and then took off, practically running to escape the bedroom and those knowing dark eyes.  Once she was in the kitchen, Victoria put her hands on her cheeks and they felt hot to the touch.  She well remembered that night.  They were role playing, something they both enjoyed, and she’d dressed as a nurse in an extremely short white uniform that was low-cut in front and most of her boobs were on display in the white, lacy, push-up bra she was wearing.  Her white heels were four inches high, and her nylons had elastic tops that gently hugged her thighs.  The panties she wore matched her bra, and the little cap on top of her head bobbed up and down as she ‘cured’ him of his ailment, a constant swelling that seemed to come back several times through the evening, with Nurse Victoria getting more and more creative in her attempts to help her patient with his ‘problem’.   For some reason she couldn’t explain, she’d kept that costume… along with several others.  But, she wasn’t going to let Griffin know about that!

Victoria gathered her thoughts and quickly put bacon on a tray and placed it in the oven.  She’d learned it was the easiest way to make bacon, even though it took a bit longer than using the microwave.  While that was cooking, she peeled some potatoes and shredded them, added fresh onions, and then put the hash browns on to cook.  She broke some eggs into a bowl, and melted butter in a skillet.  When it was ready, she added the eggs and cooked them until they were light and fluffy.  The toaster popped, and she lightly buttered the pieces and added strawberry jam to Griffin’s.  She poured juice, and then took out the bacon and put it on paper towels to drain off the excess grease.  She filled their plates and then picked up the heavy tray and headed for the bedroom.

“Now this looks like the best food I’ve had in a very long time,” Griffin said truthfully.  He accepted his plate and managed quite well with his right hand.  “This is so good, honey.”  She’d even remembered to put strawberry jam on his toast, even though she detested jam of any kind.  “I’m surprised you keep it on hand,” he made the mistake of saying.

“I do have guests occasionally, Griffin.  You aren’t the only person in the world who eats jam for breakfast.”  She watched the brown eyes turn almost black and knew exactly where his mind had gone in that instant.  He was wondering if she’d been with other men, or was even seeing anyone else.  She wasn’t, but it wouldn’t hurt to let him think otherwise.  With his sexual appetite there was no way he hadn’t filled his bed with countless women, just as he did before they discovered each other.

“Don’t use jealousy on me, honey.  I couldn’t handle it,” Griffin said honestly.  “I know you aren’t the type of woman to sleep around, and if you were involved with someone else, I would know.  You aren’t.”  He said it so simply and so factually that she wanted to smack him!  But in the next breath he added, “There hasn’t been another woman since you left me, Victoria.  There isn’t another woman who could ever take your place.”

She was stunned by the admission, and the knowledge that Griffin was telling the truth.  Before she could say anything else, however, he changed the subject in typical Griffin Conway fashion.  “When is Xavier going to get here, Victoria?”

“I didn’t call him!” she announced, turning her chin up in pure stubbornness.  “I don’t want Xavier in my home!”

“You know what happens when you don’t obey me, little girl!”