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Chapter One


“Wake up, Princess.”

Aaleigha felt a none too gentle tap on her shoulder, and suddenly she was awake after what had felt like a restful afternoon’s nap.  She sat up, gratified to look around and see that everyone else was up and staring back at her, with the expected exception of Qez.  She didn’t even need to ask.  Workaholic Qez was probably the first one up, and she’d bet her life that she was already in her chair, making sure they were on track for orbit, having awakened Wynn, who more than relished the opportunity to awaken her boss.

“Wow, Princess, you’re hair’s down past your butt!”  Envy shone through her statement, no matter how hard she tried to conceal it.  Her own thick mass of red hair, which had been as closely cropped as Aaleigha’s, had only grown to her shoulders.

Frowning at the repeated use of that hated nickname, even though she did her best not to react to it, she realized that Wynne was right – what had been a short bob when she’d gone to sleep was now a mass of silvery blonde waves long enough to become entangled in all of the equipment that surrounded them.  Crap, she was practically going to be stepping on it when she walked!

Unfortunately, there wasn’t time to deal with it right now, but as soon as they docked on Earth, her first order of business was to go see Diana and get this mess taken care of.  She much preferred a nice, short cut that didn’t get in the way of her work - something where she could hop out of bed in the morning, run a comb through it and get on with her day.  Not for her all of that fussy and primping before the mirror crap.  She had work to do.  Anybody who didn’t like it could kiss her perfect round -

“Aaleigha,”  Qez had known her commanding officer long enough that she was well beyond the nickname stage.  Hell, before the Matisse family got into world politics and left the sticks where they’d grown up together, their moms had been best friends.  They were born within a month of each other, had been bathed together, potty trained together, and were more like sisters than just best friends.  They had all the dirt on each other they would ever need to keep each other in line, although it would never enter either of their mind to us it.  “We’re orbiting Earth, but I think there’s something you should take a look at.  I gotta feeling something’s . . . well, something’s just not right.”

Well, at least one member of the team used her given name.  Of course it was Qez, who recognized – without having been told - exactly how much the nickname annoyed her.  Aaleigha couldn’t help that she was the daughter of the current leader of the Planetary Council of Nations.  But she wasn’t a princess.  Well, much of one, anyway.  She’d worked just as hard as the rest of them to earn her place in this program – probably harder, because of the inherent prejudices against her as the eldest daughter of the sitting President.

Hadn’t she done her time in the Women’s Missionary Program, just like everyone else?  She didn’t use her mother’s influence to get out of it, unlike a lot of the women who’s mother’s held positions that were much less prominent than hers.  A year out of her life – forestalling her precious studies - for her planet, and her planet’s brave veterans?

Well, one veteran in particular, anyway.

The thought of him, and what he’d done to her – even now, years later – made her body shudder with pleasure, but her mind recoil from those raw memories as if she’d been burned.  She’d never spoken to anyone – not even Qez - about her time with Fist.

And she never intended to.  That part of her life was over and done with.  She’d locked it away from everyone, most especially herself, considering how she’d acted.  Thankfully, she never had to see him again.

“The ship automatically began to signal Earth that we wanted to land when we approached Earth came out of stasis, but they have yet to respond.  I know they’re receiving our signal, but why haven’t they responded yet?  Something’s wrong, I know it.”

“Anything more than that?  We’ve gotten all the right readings, though?  All the correct codes and signals?”  Qez nodded.  She wasn’t trying to downplay Qez’ feeling; just the opposite.  Leigha had learned to trust her friend’s hunches.  They had a nasty habit of turning out right.  But just as she was going to put the ship on yellow alert, they were hailed by CenComStat, and she breathed a sigh of relief.  She knew that there was nothing they all wanted more than to plant their feet on firm ground for the first time in a very long while. 

And, not that she was going to admit this to anyone else, she wanted to hug her mother.  Not even, necessarily, in that order.

“CenComSat to Ta Suil.  CenComSat to Ta Suil.  Acknowledge.”

Qez didn’t immediately move to answer them, and Leigha nudged her a little.  Qez turned in her chair, looking up at her friend.  “I don’t have a good feeling about this.  I still say something’s wrong.”

Leigh dropped into the chair next to Qez.  “Well, now that we’ve made contact, I don’t want to show our hand by going into alert status.  And it would look a bit suspicious if we pulled up and out of orbit now.  I’m going to issue stunners to everyone, and let them know to be on the lookout for anything unusual when we land.”

“I guess that’ll have to do,” Qez turned back to her station and Aaleigha knew she was far from happy with that solution.  She could hear her acknowledging the hail, and did have to admit that the female voice on the other end did have a certain tense edge to it that she couldn’t quite explain.  Aaleigha calmly and quietly distributed the stunners, which everyone tucked under their uniforms, then before everyone buckled themselves in for the landing, she spoke to the two of them.

“I don’t want to alarm anyone, nor do I want to dampen anyone’s joy at our homecoming.  But let’s just keep our eyes and ears open for anything unusual, huh?  I, for one, can’t wait to see my parents again, and I know you guys feel the same.  I’m sure they’ll all be waiting for us, and we have good news to report, too.  So let’s just get this baby on the ground, and we’ll deal with whatever happens as a team, from there.”

“Yes, Ma’am,” the other two voices chorused, and then their well oiled machine kicked into gear, and they landed the big bird like they were setting a marshmallow down on a cloud, with very little help from ComSat, which was rather surprising, since they were usually the worst of control freaks about their equipment.

Once they were all unbuckled again and assembled at the door, spruced and spiffed up to meet their families, stupidly nervous at doing so again after fifty long, lonely years in space.  Commander Aaleigha Matisse, first, Lt. Commander Qez Nguyen behind and to her right as her second, and Lt. Commander Wynne Bouvier to her left.

As the main bay doors opened, Aaleigha surged forward, a huge grin on her face, certain that her Mom would be the first person she saw, dying for one of her all out, nearly rib-cracking hugs – too hell with any press that might be there – and anxious to tell her about the success of her mission.

But it wasn’t her mother’s happy, smiling face she saw.

It was his.  And he was wearing a big, shit eating grin. He didn’t bother to wield a gun, almost as an insult to her, as if he didn’t feel she was enough of a threat to warrant one.  But the men behind him were packing enough firepower to blow the ship and everyone surround it off the face of the planet.  It was just the three of them.  Who the hell had he been expecting?  An armada?

She, as well as her two shipmates, was immediately surrounded by a huge group of his stunner toting goons, aided by an equal number of just as shabby looking bots, who were at least as well armed, if not better.

As if that wasn’t enough, just beyond Fist’s broad shoulder, well within in her peripheral vision, of course, where he had made damn sure she could get a look at them, her mother, and her little sister, Illiyana, were also being held at stunpoint, both of them looking absolutely terrified.

Aaleigha had never seen her mother looking frightened before.  And dear God, she was crying!  It knocked Leigha’s confidence down a peg or twelve.  She’d been telling herself that things couldn’t possibly be as bad as they looked, but she guess that they could, and they were, judging by the look on her mother’s face.

Fist, in all of his six foot whatever, broad as a barn glory, looking as mean and ornery as always, stepped forward to greet her from a row of mega-stunner toting drone bots.  He looked as unkempt and unapologetic about it as always.  He strode up to her as if he owned her, which had been his attitude from their beginning, a cheroot still smoking between the index and middle finger of his right hand, despite the ban on smoking that had been in existence for centuries now.

He didn’t stop advancing on her until they were literally toe to toe.

Aaleigha knew better than to back down to him.  That would be what he wanted.  She wasn’t sure what was going on here, but she knew she wasn’t about to bow down to him, regardless.

“Lovely to see you again, Princess.”

That deep, hoarse voice scraped along the insides of her ears, over her nipples, bringing them to immediate attention then skirting swiftly down to caress the center of her desire as if he’d never, in fact, left it, luxuriating there like a physical touch, along with the familiar smoky, leathery, manly scent of him.

She raised her bright blue eyes to meet his stormy, gray ones, and she was lost, immediately carried back into those long suppressed memories and forced to relive every painful, wonderful moment of them.



The Wars had barely come to and end, and Earth was devastated both from the effects of a tragic chemical accident as well as years of strife amongst its people.  It had become a dry, barren place, much like the wombs of many of its women.

Over the last centuries, a drug had found its way into the planet’s drinking water that had caused an imbalance in the population, poisoning most of the water on the planet, except for that in the deepest of aquifers, which had the already volatile world becoming just that much more explosive as another precious resource became scarce or none existent.

The most pronounced effect of this chemical was that - even as medical advances were made and people lived longer – women consciously chose to have fewer babies, and even there were more female babies born than males.  It was gradual at first, before becoming exponentially more pronounced, and it was that slow, creeping nature that allowed a kind of benevolent matriarchy to take hold, and the cultural and political changes wrought were tremendous.  Nearly every nation on Earth, as it slowly became more and more completely dominated by women, became more socially liberal, while maintaining a moderate or conservative fiscal outlook, and each nation, again, almost unanimously, began to eschew all things military that didn’t have to do with gaining access to the few remaining pure water sources on the planet.

That was to become their downfall.

As fewer and fewer men were born, glass ceilings and old boys’ networks were shattered by attrition. As women had been eons ago, men were relegated to positions where they were most needed – generally the military, and where their natural upper body strength and aggression was highly prized.  Other than that, they were largely treated almost as prized thoroughbred studs, not that the majority of them objected.

But there were still pockets of resistance from males everywhere – men who weren’t any too interested in giving up their freedoms, but the majority of the planet – its population greatly reduced – had united under President Matisse.  The soldiers that had been a part of the worst of the Water Wars had come home and were being treated as heroes – although ones whose power and influence were greatly reduced.  They could not vote.  They could not hold office.  They were not allowed – once discharged from the military – to own guns or weapons of any kind, and lived on government owned bases that were – particularly by the standards of the day – a veritable paradise.

A culture of selflessness was encouraged among the young women of the privileged class, so much so that it was essentially compulsory to complete a year of missionary work among the veterans before proceeding to one’s college of choice.

No one tried to weasel out of that duty – least of all the daughter of the President.  It had never entered Aaleigha’s mind for a deferment of that obligation.  Quite the opposite instead.  At eighteen, she looked forward to getting out from under her mother’s watchful eye.

So, after a small celebration on her eighteenth birthday – large, raucous celebrations were considered gauche in this time of need - August fifth - she was whisked away and put to work.

Aaleigha had come prepared to work hard.  She’d never shirked from any duty put before her; her mother would never have allowed that.  If anything, Sorrel Matisse was harder on her daughter than any teacher or professor ever would be.  Nothing but perfection was acceptable, and Leigha had never been given any sort of privilege for being anyone’s daughter.  And that was a good thing, because, after two months of orientation and training at a centralized location in what had been Germany, she was being put to the test here, at Hawkings Air Base, in the middle of what had once been the American bread basket but what was much closer, now, to a desert climate.  She was expected to do the most menial of tasks – emptying bed pans and pee jars, mopping floors, and cleaning up vomit, and she did it all without one word of complaint.

But what she’d wanted to do was to get to know the soldiers.  She’d studied all about the wars and the brave men who fought them.  How they often didn’t have the right equipment, certainly nothing like the stunners that the soldiers guarding her mother brandished, and the ragtag lot of them fought hand to hand, pitting their wits and knowledge of the terrain against their enemy’s.

The best of the bunch, hands down, was Colonel Auz “Fist” Nolan, a man who was said to have killed thousands himself, with just his huge hands, hence the nickname.  He had hands like hams, and it was rumored he could knock almost any man down with just one punch.

He’d come back from the wars a broken man, one leg badly gimped, a full, angry scar from temple to naturally clefted chin, and flat out refusing medical treatment.  He even eschewed living on the grounds of the compound, although rumor had it that the house they were going to give him was nicer than the base commander’s.

Instead, he’d chosen to live in some ramshackle old house not far from the base, and they even let him do it.  He was that much of a hero that he could get away with thumbing his nose at the system, telling them where he was going to live when no one else could.

Aaleigha wanted to meet him.  Just once.  She’d not used her mother’s influence to get out of her mission, but she had done it to be tasked to where Fist was.  She knew it was a stupid, schoolgirl crush, but she had to meet the man.  She’d do anything she had to to do it.

And she wasn’t above a bit of subtle manipulation, if that was what it took.

Despite her original intention of getting to meet the fabled Fist, the reality of the deplorable conditions the rest of the men were in took precedence over her own wants and needs, and, in the six months since she’d been stationed there, she’d been so busy that she hadn’t had much of a chance to notice anything about where he was or how she might get to him.  She’d simply fallen into an exhausted sleep on her tiny cot every night, and awakened early in the morning to start the whole routine again.  She lost a tremendous amount of weight, enough that her superiors forced her to cut back her shifts and take some time off.

That gave her the opportunity she needed to notice that, once a week, two missionary girls – always two different girls, for some reason, she noticed - went off-base, up into the surrounding hills, on horseback.  Gas was in short supply, so any short trips were made by donkey, mule, or horse.  A little sleuthing proved her hunch correct.  They were taking supplies to Fist.

She noticed that the horses usually came back first, the girls following them, looking as if they’d received the fright of their lives.

Aaleigha presented herself to her Precept, the woman who gave her her assignments, and asked to be reassigned to that detail, putting just enough emphasis on her request that the woman knew that it was much more than that, and hating every minute of what she was doing.  This wasn’t at all like her.  She hated doing things like this, and she knew that if her mother found out about it, she’d be hauled back home in disgrace in a nanosecond.  She was going to have to walk a very fine line.

Leigha was very pleasantly surprised, however, when Precept Fowler, who had struck her as a very no nonsense woman, and quite likely to call her on her charade, agreed to let her go.  But there were, of course, conditions.  She could only go once, and then only with another missionary. 




Aaleigha didn’t sleep at all the night before she was to meet Fist.  She knew the girl that was accompanying her didn’t feel the same way at all.  Jenny Thomas was fresh off the farm, well, what passed for a farm nowadays, anyway – blonde, blue eyed and buxom, and not a brain in her pretty little head.  She hadn’t even heard of Fist.  Aaleigha couldn’t believe that there was someone on the planet who was that badly informed.

Still, it meant that there wouldn’t be any competition for his attention, and that was good, as far as she was concerned.  They loaded up the cart and packs and headed up into the hills, following the map that Precept Fowler had given them.

They found the house with no problem, although there didn’t seem to be anyone home.  It was in a terrible state of repair, and Aaleigha, frankly, was indignant for him that the government apparently hadn’t made even a cursory attempt at rebuilding the place for him.  She saw the well and bucket, as well as the outhouse, and realized he had neither running water nor a working bathroom in the house.  He should at least have had decent living conditions.  He’d earned much more than that.  Perhaps she could convince him to move onto the compound, or maybe talk to someone on the base about having the place fixed up.  She couldn’t believe that a man that had done so much for them was living in such squalor.

Aaleigha slipped down from her horse, then helped Jenny down from hers.  “Colonel Nolan?  We’re here from Hawkings with your supplies –“

He appeared from nowhere, grabbing Jenny from behind and holding a knife to her throat.  “Ah, two new victims.  I could slit your throat before your partner there could do anything about it, you know, and you’d be dead before you hit the ground.” 

He turned her loose without so much as a nick, but that was all it took for Jenny to turn tail and run back down the path they’d just come up, kicking up dust behind her.

And then that behemoth of a man turned his attention to her, drawing himself up to his full height and putting his hands on his hips, so as to appear even bigger than he already was, like a bear rearing up on his hind feet, deliberately trying to frighten her.

She tucked her chin to her chest and raised her eyebrow, putting her own hands on her hips and drawing herself up to her full height of five three.  “That really wasn’t very nice of you to do.  Well?  Are you gonna put a knife to my throat, too?”

“That would hardly work, now, would it?  You’d be expecting that.”

Aaleigha snorted, turning her back on him and taking the pack off her horse, shouldering it herself, even though it was nearly half her weight.  “That’s a wonderful welcome for people who are bringing you supplies that, by all rights, you should be getting yourself if you lived where you’re supposed to.”  She walked towards him, showing absolutely no fear, as if she was approaching a wild animal.  “Where do you want this?  It’s flour and sugar, I believe.” 

“Inside, in the bins in the hoosier to the left of the stove,” he answered matter of factly, giving her a considering glance.  He didn’t think he’d ever been dressed down by any off the little missionary girls who’d brought him his supplies.  This was a novelty.

And this girl looked somehow strangely familiar, too.

Aaleigha had no idea what a hoosier was, but she figured she’d work it out, and she wasn’t about to show any weakness to this man at all.

The screen door had several large rips in it, and might as well not have been there at all.  The inside door, though, was so heavy she could barely move it at all.  Who was he expecting to need to keep out?  The Huns?

Despite how the outside of the house looked, which was disreputable at best, the inside was immaculate.  Orderly, even.  It was an adobe house, about twenty degrees cooler than the temperature outside, and one of the most amazing things about it was the huge collection of books.  Actual hold in your hands books.  The walls were lined with them, floor to ceiling on both sides, all through the living room, which lead to the kitchen.  Aaleigha had never seen so many books in all her life.  Very few people had them any more; most books – such as there were - were on computers – certainly not printed on paper from one of the precious few trees.

There was a cabinet that looked like another stove next to the stove itself, and she opened a door and found a bin full of flour, realizing it was the hoosier of which he spoke, so she set the flour and sugar down on the counter, turning to go collect the rest of the supplies.

Somehow, he was right behind her, though, and she bumped up against him, full body, entirely defenseless against him because she’d had absolutely no idea he was even there.  How such a big man with a debilitating limp had managed to move so quietly, she’d never know.  One big arm shot out to keep her from falling back, then contracted slowly, inexorably, pulling her tightly up against him. His head tilted so that their noses wouldn’t collide, and before she realized what he intended to do, his lips settled onto hers, twisting firmly until she could do nothing but open her mouth for him then probing possessively with his tongue, the thick fingers of one hand creeping into her short hair, holding her still when she would have pulled away.

The other hand spread wide over the middle of her back, then, ever so slowly, as if savoring every inch of its journey, landing on her bottom and squeezing possessively.

And try as she might, Aaleigha soon came to the alarming realization that she couldn’t get away from him.

She was alone up here, with a man who was about two and a half times her size, inside his house.  Although the thought of rape had foolishly never entered her mind before, warning bells, sirens, flares and alarms were going off inside her head right now, when it was too late to do anything about it.  He was making his intentions pretty clear.

When he nibbled his way to her ear, and she brought her hands up to his shoulders, trying to push him away, saying, “You can’t do this!  My mother is the President!  You’ll be executed –“

She was entirely unprepared for the way he drew back that hand that had covered the entirety of her bottom and then brought it down again on her backside.  Spanking had long since been outlawed, and no one had ever even so much as yelled at her in her life, much less ever spanked her. 

It hurt!  Her bottom stung badly, especially when he hauled off and smacked her several more times, all the while dragging his stubbly face over the tender skin he’d managed to expose by opening the first several buttons of her blouse, granting him access to the front clasp of her bra, which he opened masterfully, with one practiced flick.

Fist bent her back over his arm, holding her still, forcing her now naked breasts into wonderful prominence, torturing them with the stubble of his two day beard, then soothing them with lips and tongue.  Her nipples were soft berries that he coaxed into hard peaks, suckling them strongly into his mouth all the while flicking them with the tip of his tongue and reveling at the sounds of her heaving breathing.

His mouth and teeth were against one already worried nipple when he growled, “I don’t think, little girl, that you’re in any position to threaten men, and I don’t give a damn who the fuck your mother is.  I see what I want, and I take it.  But you, you want disciplining, first and foremost, Princess.  I can see that in your eyes.  No one’s bothered to do that for you, and you need it, whether or not you know it.”  Fist brought her small hand to the bulging front of his camouflage pants to feel the seething hardness there, not letting her withdraw her hand when she would have. 

Then, suddenly, he pulled her up and let her go, leaving her standing there, half naked in the middle of his kitchen, but only for a second, long enough to tug her into the living room.  She was amazed at the end of his diatribe when he had maneuvered them into his living room, she found herself tipped head first over his lap.

“What are you doing?” Aaleigha squealed indignantly from her ignominious position.

He’d made short work of the uniform khaki’s the missionary girls wore, as well as the sensible white cotton panties that now framed her knees.  “I’m going to give you the spanking you crave, Aaleigha.”

“How did you know my na – yeow!”

He answered her question as he continued to roast her bottom.  “You said you were the president’s daughter – not that I hadn’t already recognized you.  No more questions.”

“But- “

“No. More. Questions.”  He emphasized each word with a very hard slap, then continued with the spanking, changing rhythms so that she had no idea what to expect or when to expect it, alternating locations – switching cheeks and backs of thighs – listening and watching her reactions closely.  She was resisting, as he’d assumed she would.  This girl would not be an easy nut to crack.  She was a princess, as much as she might fight the title.  She was used to getting what she wanted, issuing orders, or manipulating her way into getting her way.

Well, she’d find that he was one person where none of that would work.

So Fist simply continued to swat that beautiful bottom.  In one way, he hated to do it.  Her rear was gorgeous and needed no such decoration.  In other ways, it was definitely improved – and so would she be – by the deft – and frequent - application of his palm to her rump.

Eventually, after a long while – long after he knew that whoever her Precept was, and he guessed it was Fowler, the most mother henish of them all, would be worried about her, especially since Jenny had hopefully already long since arrived back – he heard her begin to cry.

“Please, stop!  You’re hurting me!  Stop!  O-w-wow-ow!”

That was what he’d been waiting to hear.  But he didn’t stop there.  Not quite yet.  In his opinion, especially since she was so stubborn, she needed to be brought beyond that stage.  Hell, he knew that, in reality, this was a scene that would need to be repeated often, although there was little likelihood that it would.

But he felt like indulging himself, damn the inevitable unpleasant consequences.  He was sure there would be some.  She certainly wouldn’t keep this little incident to herself, and he’d bet he’d be getting a visit from some top brass asshat who’d be after him to toe the line.  They’d take something more away from him, and he’d have to show them that that wasn’t how he worked.

Maybe he’d kidnap her.

Now there was an interesting thought.

She just might be worth the trouble.


But he doubted it.

Females rarely were.

Finally, when he thought she had had enough, he let her up.  Normally, he would have held her for a bit, reassured her, perhaps even made love to her.  But none of that was possible, so he simply walked away from her to unload the cart and animals himself.

Stunned and more than a little, Aaleigha nonetheless took no more than a few seconds to arrange and collect herself again, then joined him, saying nothing about the incident.

They had it unloaded very quickly, and he had already tucked his list of supplies for next week into her horse’s saddlebags.  “Leave,” he commanded, turning to go back into the house.

He’d only taken a few steps when he felt her tap him on the shoulder.  As much as he wanted to ignore her, he turned around to face her, instead, for some reason.

Aaleigha held out her hand.  “I just wanted to thank you for your service, Colonel Nolan, Sir.”

Fist didn’t know what to do with that.  She sounded sincere, even though her butt must’ve been burning a hole through those demure khakis.  He took her hand and shook it, saying, with mock politeness, “You’re welcome, Princess,” then turned it palm up and planted a warm, wet kiss in the middle of her palm, tickling it with the moist tip of his tongue and winking audaciously at her before turning around to go back into the house and deal with the supplies.

Aaleigha floated back down the hill to the base where the Precept had just about laid an egg for worry of her.  Jenny had found her way back alone full of overblown stories about what had happened to her.

She gave her Fist’s supply list for next week, which the Precept pocketed without looking at and followed Aaleigha to her room, badgering her with questions.  “Are you all right?  Did that man touch you?  I’ll have the MediTechs come and see you –“

Aaleigha was at the door to the tiny eight by eight room - that closely resembled the cells in cloisters of old - that was her home for the remaining months of her stay.  She turned to the older woman and said in a calm, quiet voice, “He caught Jenny unaware.  Jenny has no education or appreciation of what this man has done for the world, and was entirely unprepared to meet him.  He and I unloaded his supplies and I thanked him for his service.”  She folded her arms across her chest and asked, full of indignation for Fist, “Why is it that he lives in such a hovel?  Why hasn’t the Base Commander sent a crew of repairmen or, at the very least, bots up there to fix up that house of his?  Do you know he doesn’t have running water or an indoor bathroom?”

“I know nothing of the sort,” came the starchy reply.  “What I do know is that he was offered perfectly wonderful house on this base that he refused to set foot in.  Apparently he prefers to live like the animal that he is rather than in a more civilized manner here with the rest of us.  Thus, he can take what he gets.  The Base Commander has more important matters on his plate than one surly, disgruntled veteran –“

Leigha gasped.  “How can you say that after all he’s done for us?”  She colored, realizing she’d revealed entirely too much about how she felt about Colonel Nolan.  “After what they’ve all done for us?  Nothing is too much for any of them, I feel,” she ended weakly.

Still, she wasn’t to be outdone.  “I am going to take the opportunity to bring his supplies again next week.”  Leigha was careful that her last statement was just that – a statement – not a request.

Precept Fowler drew herself up straight. “I’m afraid that’s impossible.  No missionary goes up there twice.  That’s the rule.”

Leigha raised her eyebrow.  “Well, then perhaps there needs to be an exception to that rule.  I’m not some silly girl to be frightened by him and go running down back down the hill and blabbing to my parents.”  She could see by Fowler’s expression that her remark had hit home.  So that was what had happened when other girls had gone up there repeatedly in the past.  He’d harassed them, and they’d run crying to their sometimes influential parents.  “Thank you for walking me to my room, Precept Fowler, but, if you have no more duties for me, I’m feeling a bit tired.”  Without giving the woman a chance to agree or disagree with what she’d said, she ducked into the relative safety of her room.

Aaleigha leaned back against the door, replaying the scenes with Fist over and over in her mind, careful not to press her bottom too hard against it, lest it start to throb all over again.

He’d spanked her!  She couldn’t even think past that.  It had hurt horribly, and yet . . . she couldn’t help but also think of the way he’d kissed her when she collided with him at the hoosier, and how his mouth felt on her nipples and the two combined in her head, then settled between her legs, making her hand glide down her stomach to that particular area as she slid herself down the door and rubbed the heel of her hand against her mons for the first time in her life.

But she did no more than that, not really knowing how to do anything more than that.

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