Liam froze. “Sandra?”
He stepped forward. Was she real? Was Matt right and he’d lost his mind? Could he be hallucinating? She looked like Sandra. A grown up and even more beautiful Sandra with her long dark hair and big brown eyes. She just looked at him, her expression unreadable.
Was it her, or was it just wishful thinking on his part? He could see the uncertainty on her face as she pressed back against her car. Was she a stranger who thought he was crazy? But no, she’d known his name. It had to be his Sandy. For the first time since his injury, he felt something stirring inside him. Desire. Need. Want.
He stepped forward again and reached out a hand. Before he could touch her and be sure she was real, the sound of car tires on gravel caught both their attentions.
The sheriff stepped out of his car and shut the door. “Everything okay over here?”
“Dace?” Liam felt a stab of jealousy at the happiness in her tone. His budding arousal shriveled up as she shrieked with happiness and threw herself into the sheriff’s brawny arms. Liam felt a sudden urge to punch his friend in the face.
“Sandy! You made it! And you made damned good time!”
“Well, I was coming home to Satisfaction. I stopped once for lunch, but now I’m starving. Candy at the Diner?”
“Of course, and she and Noah are cooking up a storm.”
Did everyone but me know she was coming home?
“How is he? I’m dying to try his restaurant. I hear it’s divine!”
“Yup. Rumor has it that he might be getting a Michelin star! But don’t ask him about it. He’s scared to jinx things.”
“A Michelin star? Wow! I’ll bet Tanner is just as thrilled as if he’d done the cooking himself!”
“Don’t you know it! But I’ll leave the rest of the gossip to Candy. She’ll sic her two secret agents on me if I spill all the beans!” Dace looked over at him. “Hey, Liam. Do you know our Sandy? Be sure to come by the diner later. We’re having a big welcome home for her!”
A party? For Sandy? And everyone knew? Did his brothers? Had they been hiding this from him? He felt sick to his stomach.
“I just stopped because I saw her car and thought she might be having car trouble.”
“That is so sweet, Liam. I was just having a little bout of nostalgia. It’s been a long time since I’ve been home.”
“Oh, well, then, I’ll be going.”
He turned to walk back to his truck and was surprised to feel a hand on his arm. He paused. “You’ll come to Candy’s tonight, won’t you?”
“Uh, I’ll try. I’ve…I’ve got to go.” And then he fled. Fled. There was no other word for it. He was a coward, and he fled the scene without a backward glance. He had to get home where he could be alone and process what he was feeling.
Liam looked down at the luscious ass pointed up at him. It had been too long since he’d been able to administer a nice, hard, bare-bottomed spanking to a bratty sub. The fact that it was Sandra draped across his lap did things to him that he didn’t want to analyze.
He ran a hand over the left cheek, which still held a touch of warmth from his earlier swat. It would be hot and red by the time he was done. He reached between her thighs. She was already wet. Oh, God. Her body was readying itself for him to fuck her.
How many hundreds of times had he fantasized about being inside her? Not just when he was a teenager but later, when he bunked alone in war zones. Other men thought about their wives or sweethearts. He dreamed of his sweet and innocent neighbor, too young for him to have such thoughts about. And as he grew older and was introduced to BDSM and discovered, no, began to understand his need to dominate and control in the bedroom, he’d tried to forget her. Someone like her would never be interested in a man like him, not once she knew his kinks, but here she was, half naked and draped over his thighs like an offering from the gods.
He still didn’t believe that they could have anything lasting. He’d seen too much death and devastation. He still had nightmares. She deserved a better man than he was, someone who was whole both emotionally and physically. His brothers, yes, they would be perfect for her. He’d do everything in his power to make that happen, if that was what she wanted. But then he’d walk away and take his darkness with him.
But he was going to have this one memory that would keep him warm at night, as he grew old, alone, living with the memory of the woman he had always loved.
Swat. He brought his hand down hard on her left cheek, the one he’d already spanked. He was rewarded with her sharp shriek, followed by a moan of pleasure as he caressed the skin he’d just struck. He did it again and again. In total, five strikes to the same cheek. She was trying to wriggle. He burrowed his hand between her legs, two fingers pressing into her slippery depths. He felt her pussy contract as if it were trying to milk his digits.
“Stop moving, subbie. Take your punishment! Do you want me to tie you in place, or would you rather I just take off my belt and teach you a proper lesson in respect?”
For a second she went completely still, everywhere but her pussy, which was clamping down hard now.
“Oh, so you like those suggestions. Which one was it that you find so exciting? Is it the idea of being tied, or is it the idea of getting a belting?”
He chuckled. “I like honesty, but what kind of Dom would I be if I allowed a submissive to distract me from a punishment, which, by the way, has doubled because you didn’t keep still and take it like a good girl.”
“I’m sorry, Sir.”
“Not as sorry as you will be. Now, once the punishment resumes, you’ll be on voice restriction. You may make sounds of pleasure or pain, but no words except your safeword, although I’d be very disappointed if a simple spanking caused you to use it. Do you understand, Sandy?”
“Excellent, I’ll resume. And no more wriggling!”
He made sure she was holding on and then gave her five quick, hard swats to her other cheek. She moaned but held still.
“Very good girl!”
He finished the spanking quickly but not easily, as he gradually increased the intensity as well as the speed of the swats, this time, alternating cheeks until he was done.
“There, all done. How are you, subbie? You may speak.”
“Good, Sir. Very, very good.”