Her Cowboy's Discipline Collection


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Enjoy these oldies but goodies from Amazon best selling author, Joannie Kay writing as Laurel Joseph. For your reading pleasure, we’ve put together three stories of feisty women in the old west and the men who love them. We’re certain you’ll love reading all about how these couples fall in love and work out their relationships with some old fashioned discipline!

The Naughty Schoolmarm: The new schoolteacher in Cartersville is hiding a big secret. She has run away from home, after her father and ten brothers tried to choose a husband for her. She knows it is only a matter of time before they find her, although they may not recognize their sister in a dress! Can she convince them that she means to stay in her new town and marry her handsome, single father, rancher? Tanner’s first wife was also a red-head and he knows just how to handle his naughty schoolteacher!

The Reluctant Bridesmaid: George Connally hires a detective to bring home his daughter, after she refuses to participate in her younger sister’s wedding. Sarah Jean has been driven from her home on the family ranch by her sister Susie’s constant efforts to torment her. She’s started a new life and is supporting herself without any help. She sees no reason to come home to suffer her sister’s manipulations, which their doting father doesn’t recognize. Former marshal turned detective, Daniel, has his hands full trying to walk the line, getting Sarah Jean home without resorting to kidnapping and then making sure she’s not subjected to sisterly abuse. Meanwhile, Susie’s fiancé, Cal has had his eyes opened about her expectations for their wedded life, and he needs to make sure she understands that he’s not going to be the biddable husband she assumes.

Upholding the Law: Mackenzie is shocked to discover a group of her neighbors about to hang a man on her ranch. She quickly puts a stop to the lynching, and has her ranch hands escort the men off her property, while she offers first aid to the badly beaten victim. She discovers hidden documents that show he is a marshal, undercover to investigate and put a stop to the rustling that has plagued the area. She takes him home in order to protect him from the vigilantes while he recovers from his injuries. JC was barely conscious when Mac’s shot severed the rope just in time to save his life, but even then, he thought she needed a trip over her man’s knee. What was the tiny woman thinking to take on a group of men intent on murder! Later, as he watches the young widow face down the leaders of the lynch gang and the crooked sheriff when they come to arrest him as a horse thief, JC starts to lose his heart to the spirited red-head. But he knows he’s going to have his hands full; Mackenzie intends to trail behind JC and keep him safe, as he finds the rustlers and puts a stop to their crimes. Will the marshal make it clear that his word is law when Mac is used to running her ranch?



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Published 04 June 2020
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PETTICOAT PRESSPublished by Petticoat Press
An Imprint of
ABCD Graphics and Design, Inc.
A Virginia Corporation
977 Seminole Trail #233
Charlottesville, VA 22901
All rights reserved.
No part of the book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and
retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The trademark Blushing
Books is pending in the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Laurel Joseph
Her Cowboy’s Discipline
EBook ISBN: 978-1-948045-40-7
Cover Art by ABCD Graphics & Design
This book contains fantasy themes appropriate for mature readers only. Nothing in this book
should be interpreted as Blushing Books' or the author's advocating any non-consensual
sexual activity.C O N T E N T S
The Naughty Schoolmarm
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
The Reluctant Bridesmaid
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Upholding the Law
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Laurel Joseph
Blushing Books
Blushing Books NewsletterTHE NAUGHTY SCHOOLMARM
By Laurel JosephPublished by Petticoat Press
An Imprint of
ABCD Graphics and Design, Inc.
A Virginia Corporation
977 Seminole Trail #233
Charlottesville, VA 22901
All rights reserved.
No part of the book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and
retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The trademark Blushing
Books is pending in the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Joseph, Laurel
The Naughty Schoolmarm
eBook ISBN: 978-1-62750-192-7
Cover Art by ABCD Graphics & Design
This book contains fantasy themes appropriate for mature readers only. Nothing in this book
should be interpreted as Blushing Books' or the author's advocating any non-consensual
sexual activity.CHAPTER 1
t was only the second week of the school year, and Nettie could tell that theI children were anxious for their day to be over so they could be outside. Their
attention wasn’t on the arithmetic problems she’d given them to copy to do for
homework, but on the sunny fall day that was exceptionally beautiful. She certainly
understood that. She felt the same way! “Chester, bring your paper here, please.”
The little boy looked at her in horror. “I ain’t got ’em done yet, Teacher.”
“I don’t expect you to have them all done, Chester,” she said with a smile. “Please
bring me your paper.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He got up and hurried to her desk.
Nettie looked at his paper, and saw that he’d copied all his problems correctly. “Very
good, Chester. You may gather your things and leave for today.”
He was happy, and he hurried to do as she said. “I’ll wait outside for you, Jerry,” he
told his younger brother, who was still furiously copying the problems he was assigned.
Nettie continued to call on the children, one at a time, and if they were finished
copying the problems, she released them. If they weren’t quite finished, she sent them
back to their desks to finish. Within a very short time all of the children were gone for
the day. Nettie stood in the doorway for a few minutes, breathing in the fresh air and
enjoying the warm breeze. After a bit she gave herself a mental kick and then she
turned toward her desk and went and sat down. Nettie had papers to grade, and since
she tried to set a good example for the children by doing her ‘homework’, she sat at her
desk and graded spelling tests. Most of the students did well, but one little boy
obviously hadn’t studied for the test. He’d only spelled one of the new words correctly,
and it was a pattern she was seeing repeated over and over in the last two weeks. It
was time to talk to his parents before it became a pattern that couldn’t be reversed for
the school year.
Nettie took out the small wooden file box where she kept a card on each student,
their name, address, birthday, grade and other information that was pertinent. She
found Scotty Greene’s card. He was ten years old, but only in the third grade. He’d
been held back at least once. There was only one parent listed. Nettie decided therewas no time like the present to talk to Mr. Greene. She packed up the rest of the papers
and put them in the new small satchel she’d purchased for her teaching job. Once that
task was completed, Nettie took her bonnet off the hat tree and put it on over her red
hair and tied the ribbons under her chin. Even in this western town the proprieties must
be observed. As the schoolteacher, she was under close scrutiny all the time, and
since she wasn’t from around here, people examined everything she did and offered an
opinion, whether it was asked for or not.
She made sure the door to the schoolhouse was locked, and then she walked to the
livery and asked Mr. Watson to prepare a buggy for her. She would rather don a pair of
pants and ride as she normally did, but she didn’t want to shock the townspeople who
barely knew her.
“It’s shore a nice day to go fer a drive, Teacher. Do you have any idee where yore
goin’?” the older man asked. “It ain’t safe fer you to go too far northwest. Them Utes is
actin’ up,” he warned her.
“I will be very careful, Mr. Watson, and I do appreciate your concern,” she answered
politely. It was none of his business where she was going, but she wasn’t looking to
make trouble for herself, and she didn’t want to get on the bad side of anyone in town.
She knew that Mr. Watson was respected by everyone in town, and that meant she
needed to behave and tell her temper to stay hidden.
Within minutes she was on her way out of town, enjoying the warm breeze. There
wouldn’t be too many more warm days before autumn arrived, and then winter. It was
nice to enjoy this day while she could. Nettie hated winter and snow and she always
had. At least this year she would have a roof over her head and food to eat. Teaching
school was preferable to living at home with all that her Papa expected of her. Nettie
loved living on her own, but she had to wonder how long it would last this time? Of
course, anyone who knew her well would never expect to find her teaching school.
It wasn’t that she didn’t love children; she did! But teaching school required wearing
a dress all the time and behaving like a lady, and that was definitely not the way Nettie
normally behaved! She was raised on a ranch with ten older brothers. She could hold
her own with any one of them, but now that her father and older brothers realized she
was grown, they wanted her to be a lady, and get married! In fact, they wanted to pick
out her husband, and they scared off anyone else that she might show an interest in.
Nettie was sick and tired of it, so she left… for the third time. Each time they managed
to find her because she didn’t go far enough to evade her father’s long-reaching circle
of family and friends. The last time, her eldest brother, William, was the one to locate
her and he took her home, kicking and screaming. Her father locked her in her room for
a week and threatened to blister her butt good if she ran away again. She tried telling
him how she felt, but Bill Mientkiewicz felt he knew what was best for everyone within
his domain, including his two married sons and their wives. The last time that Nettie
cooked a dinner for her entire family, sans help from her sisters-in-law, she was urged
by her parent to go upstairs and change into something pretty for the occasion. Nettie
rolled her eyes, but she knew her father would rant on the subject until she did as she
was told. When she came back down, it was to learn that there was one guest for
dinner, the town’s new minister for the new church her father and brothers built. She
didn’t like the man, but her Papa had his mind made up. He wanted her to marry the
minister, and he didn’t want an argument from her. If the man asked her, she was tosay yes! He wanted her married and settled right there at home. Nettie set out on her
own again that very night, and she didn’t stop until she heard about a teaching position
opening up in Cartersville.
Nettie explored the area around Cartersville before she ‘arrived’ in town to apply for
the position, so she knew pretty much where she was going. Nettie wasn’t afraid of
running into Utes. So far they were sticking farther to the north than she intended to
drive today. Today she was concerned with one thing- talking to Scotty Greene’s father
to learn what the problem was with his son. She understood the need to try and keep
up with the never-ending chores on a ranch, but not at the expense of a child’s
education. Scotty would need to be able to read well, spell well, and do arithmetic if he
was to take over the ranch his father was building. If his father didn’t feel he could give
the boy the necessary supervision and study time, then she would offer to tutor Scotty
after school. The only difficult thing about that was that the other children would tease
him and call him names such as ‘teacher’s pet.’ She’d seen that before when she was
a student and Wendell Holmes had trouble with his reading and spelling. He finally quit
coming to school, thanks to her brothers and some of the other kids.
Nettie easily found the ranch she was looking for and as she approached the
buildings she noticed how neat and orderly everything looked. Scotty’s father obviously
took pride in his ranch. She spotted a man in the corral, gently putting a saddle to a
skittish horse for the first time. He was doing everything right… until an Indian leaped
over the corral fence behind him, his knife drawn. He crept closer and closer, and when
he let out a warrior’s cry and prepared to leap on the man that Nettie assumed was
Scotty’s father, Nettie fired a shot and the brave fell to the ground. She quickly looked
around, jumping down from the buggy so she could fight better if she had to.
September 1874
BILL MIENTKIEWICZ SLAMMED his fist on his large desk and roared, “Someone has to know
where that girl is!”
“Pa, you need to calm down.” William was the only one of his brothers who could
get away with saying something of that sort to their parent without getting smacked.
“We’ll find Annie,” he insisted.
“I’m afraid that something bad has happened to her,” Bill admitted, shocking his
sons. “She’s been gone for weeks now, and not a word! That’s not like our Annie.”
“Pa, Annie was mad as hell when she rode out of here, that’s for sure and certain.
She didn’t like that Preacher.”
“I know that now, Rob,” Bill answered. “We sent him straight to prison when we
learned what he was, didn’t we?”
“Sure, but Annie doesn’t know that,” Rob said gently.“How can we tell her when we can’t find her?” Bill demanded. “I tell you, if that girl is
still alive when we find her, I’m going to whale her into next week!” It wasn’t an idle
threat, and his sons squirmed at the thought. They’d all been taken to the woodshed at
one time or another, and knew that their Pa wouldn’t hesitate to take a stick to Annie’s
backside if he was provoked enough, and the man was certainly provoked!
“I have a suggestion, Pa.” Chad decided there was nothing to lose by speaking his
mind. All of his brothers and his father turned to look at him.
“Speak up, son. I’m willing to hear you out,” Bill replied, even though Chad was the
youngest of his ten boys.
“I think we should ride out and look for her. If we go in different directions, one of us
is bound to find someone who has seen her, and then we would know where to start.”
“Are you still thinking that she went north, Chad?” William asked thoughtfully. “You
know how much she hates the cold and snow.”
“Annie was upset when she left, and my guess is that she is doing just the opposite
of what we would expect her to do. The last time she only went a few counties away
from home. I think she knew it wasn’t far enough, so she went farther. She’s hoping it
will be far enough that Pa’s name won’t mean anything to anyone.”
“You have a point, boy,” Bill said. “Let me sleep on it tonight.” That was the signal
that their Pa wanted to be alone to think. They all got up to leave the very masculine
study, but Bill stopped them. “William, Rob, are you two boys positive that Annie hasn’t
written to either of your girls? I know how much Annie loves them both.” Bill gave them
a look that seemed mild enough, but those sharp green eyes missed nothing, and he
was looking for any sign of deceit from his two oldest boys.
“I asked Lori, Pa, and she said she didn’t have a clue where Annie was,” William
answered his father.
“Neither does Katie, Pa,” Rob echoed his brother. “I’ll ask her again tonight, just to
be sure she isn’t keeping secrets from me.”
“Do you think she would do that?” Bill asked, shocked.
“She might… if Annie told her to keep it a secret,” Rob said sincerely. He wasn’t
about to lie to his father. His wife was a regular handful at times, and he used the palm
of his hand to deal with her when necessary.
“Would Lori keep it secret?” Bill asked of William.
“I didn’t think so, but now I don’t know,” William said as he looked at Rob. “I’ll talk to
her, Pa, and she’d damn well better hope she isn’t keeping Annie’s whereabouts from
us and letting us worry or I’ll give her to understand that isn’t going to fly in this family.”
Chad snickered, and soon the rest of the single brothers were laughing.
“You boys just laugh. You’ll find out what it’s like one of these days, and all I’m
going to say is: hand to bare butt. Works every time,” Rob said with a grin as he and
William left the house to return to their own homes.
William waited until they were well out of hearing before asking, “You spank Katie?”
William was shocked and it showed on his face. “Doesn’t she throw a fit?”
“She can throw all the fits she wants to throw. If Katie goes out of her way to earn a
sore butt, then she gets the sore butt. Don’t tell me you’ve never put Lori over your
knee?” he asked his brother.
“Never needed to,” William said defensively, but he knew it was a lie. His Lori was
moody and he never knew what mood she would be in when he came home for theday. He’d considered spanking her one time, but was positive she would run home to
her mother, screaming bloody murder. In this matter, his brother was the one with more
experience, and he wondered if he had the right of it.
“You should give spanking a try sometime and put a stop to Miss Lori’s spoiled
behavior,” Rob said seriously, and only for William’s ears. “The making up after is worth
the pain a spanking causes you.”
“Causes me?” William asked with a grin.
“She gets the physical pain, and the dent to her pride. We get the pain of hearing
her cry and knowing it is because of the pain we are inflicting. That part is difficult,
brother. She is going to fuss and threaten you with everything under the sun; the secret
to handling all that garbage is not to stop until she says ‘sorry’ and means it. It is a firm
expression of love, and it works, believe me.”
William nodded, and then headed his horse for the little house his father and
brothers built for him on a small patch of the ranch they all loved and called home.
TANNER GREENE HAD WHIRLED at the sound of the Indian’s battle cry, only to see him fall to
the ground dead from someone’s shot. He didn’t waste time wondering who fired;
instead, he leaped to the fencepost where his gun and holster were, and he grabbed
his weapon, immediately crouching and slowly turning, looking for other Indians. He
didn’t spot anyone, but his son came running out of the barn to see what was going on.
Tanner ran to scoop him up in his arms, shielding him with his own body, and
constantly looking around him for more Indians. He spotted the beautiful young woman
standing beside the rented buggy from the livery stable and called out to her, “Come
with me right now, young lady! I want to get you and Scotty out of sight!” Certainly she
wasn’t the one who fired the shot that killed the young brave and saved his life?
“I don’t think there are any others.” Nettie didn’t take offense at his attitude. It was
obvious that he was the type of man who took charge, and he didn’t want to see her
hurt, even though he wasn’t aware who she was.
“Teacher, listen to Pa!” Scotty called to her. “There’s bad Injuns here! I want you to
be safe, too!”
“I’m okay, Scotty,” she answered, trying to calm the child as she followed and
entered the barn with her student and his father.
“You two stay right here, out of sight, while I go outside and look around. Don’t
come outside until I tell you it’s safe.” He looked at the gun in Nettie’s hand and
abruptly realized she was the one who saved his life. “Nice shot," he said. "Thanks.”
Nettie nodded, knowing full well that it took a big man to thank a woman for saving
his life. She wasn’t about to tease him, knowing that his pride was hurting. “You’re
“Will you please stay here with Scotty while I look around?” he asked, wording his
order from a few seconds ago differently.
“I’ll keep him safe. Be careful,” she added as he left the barn. He gave her a nod,and then slipped outside. “Scotty, I think you should hide in one of the stalls. You’ll be
safer there. I’m going to go outside and watch your father’s back.”
“He’ll be mad at you, Teacher!” the child protested. “He might spank you and you
wouldn’t like that at all!”
“I’ll be okay, Scotty. I admire you for obeying your father, but I am an adult, and I’ll
survive his temper. I want to make sure he is safe, too. You stay put, and if something
happens, hide under the straw until they leave. Okay?”
“I will,” he promised. “Be careful. Injuns are mean to women.”
“I know, Scotty. I promise I’ll be careful.” Nettie hurriedly slipped out the barn door
and looked around. She spotted Scotty’s father checking behind the house. She swiftly
ran to where she could watch his back, and she kept a wary eye on her surroundings.
Scotty’s father was a handsome man, and he made her think thoughts that would
horrify the men in her family. His pants rode low on his hips, and when he knelt on one
knee to check for tracks, she loved the outline of his backside and thighs in his
wellworn pants.
He then checked inside the house, and when he found nothing, he walked toward a
wooded area a ways from the house. It would be the ideal place to leave a horse, and
Nettie followed at a distance, hoping she was close enough to get off a good shot if
other Utes attacked Scotty’s pa. It didn’t take long for him to find a single pony waiting
patiently for its owner to return. He released the animal, gave it a hard slap on the flank
and watched the poor animal start running.
That was when he spotted Nettie, and she could immediately tell he was angry,
even though he hadn’t said a word to her… yet!
LORI MIENTKIEWICZ LOOKED up when she heard William’s boots on the front porch. She
loved her husband, but the man was infuriating most of the time. She hated that he was
always at his father’s beck and call, but William told her it was his job, and his father
was also his boss. If he didn’t work, he didn’t get paid. Every time she spent so much
as a dime, he acted as though it was the end of the world. At times she wondered why
on earth she’d married the handsome man. If only things were different… She felt
restless, and she felt like crying all the time. One glance at William and she could tell
that he was in one of his moods.
“Lori, I’m going to ask you something straight out, and I expect an honest answer
from you, hear me?” William asked after kissing her on the cheek and telling her that
whatever she was cooking smelled wonderful.
“I try to be honest with you all the time, William,” she answered. “What do you wish
to ask me? I’m not pregnant, if that is what you want to know.” They argued about that
endlessly. He wanted children, and she wanted to wait for a couple of years. She didn’t
want to be like her mother and lose her figure.
William was immediately irritated. He knew how she felt about children, and he kept
trying to change her mind. His brother’s suggestion might work for some things, but hewasn’t going to force himself on Lori and make her bear his child, simply because he
was stronger and could take advantage of her that way. No, she kept track of the time
of the month, and she was careful not to let him touch her when she was supposed to
be fertile. So far her plan had worked, much to his disappointment.
“I wanted to ask you if you’ve heard from Annie since the last time I asked you?”
“Don’t you think I would have told you?” she demanded, turning her back to him so
that she could stir the venison stew on the stove. She checked the biscuits in the oven,
and then announced, “Wash your hands; I’m going to take up.”
William knew he’d angered her, but this time he was not going to put up with it. “Lori,
I’ve about had it with your moodiness. Half the time you act like a spoiled brat, and it
stops as of right now. I treat you with respect, and I expect the same respect from you.
My family is worried sick about Annie, and it is rude of my wife to act like I’m crucifying
her for asking a simple question. Enough of the attitude, Lori, or I’m going to see to it
you regret behaving like a pain in the butt.”
“How dare you talk to me like that!” she screamed at him.
“I’m your husband, Lori.”
“I won’t be scolded like a child!”
“Perhaps you would rather I spanked you like a child?” he asked, taking a step
toward her.
Lori backed up to the table and then reached for the journal she’d been writing in.
Without thinking, she picked it up and threw it at her husband, trying to stop his
approach. A letter flew out and onto the floor, and she knew the very instant that it
landed face-up that William would recognize the handwriting on the envelope… Of
course he did, and his furious green eyes leveled on her as she scrambled to pick it up.
He managed to reach it before she did, and it took him all of two minutes to read the
brief note inside. His eyes met her once again, and she knew that she was in big
William was furious, and he remembered Rob’s advice and decided that it was high
time he took his wife in hand. He backed her against the table and then pulled out a
chair and sat down before reaching for her.
“No, William!” Lori protested, trying to pull free of the grasp he had on her wrist. She
tried to dig in her heels as he pulled her closer, but it didn’t work. “I mean it, you
overgrown, arrogant bully! Let me go!” She screamed as he pulled her down over his
knees and started spanking her. His hand was hard, and he was spanking her like he
meant it. Lori hadn’t been spanked since she ran away from home when she was ten
years old! Her Pa had given her a few half-hearted swats, but William was intent on
punishing her. “Owwww! Stop!” she yelled.
“Stop? Not on your life, Lori Mae Jones Mientkiewicz! You’ve earned this spanking,
and I intend to enjoy every last smack. In fact, I think I’ll enjoy it a whole lot more if I
bare your cute ass so I can watch it turning red!”
“Nooooo!” she pleaded with him as he flipped up her skirt and petticoats. Lori tried
to wriggle off his lap, but William held her down and jerked her drawers down to her
knees, breaking the ribbon that held them up. “Stop, please, honey! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!
Annie asked me not to tell any of you!”
“And you let us worry all this time?” William demanded angrily.
“I thought I was protecting Annie from all of you. You men are so bossy you don’teven listen when Annie tries to tell you something! Owwww!” She kicked her legs as he
continued spanking her bared bottom. “You’re hurting me, William!” She burst into tears
as he ignored her cries of pain in favor of doing his best to make her sorry for the worry
she’d put his family through. Finally, her pride gave over and she stopped struggling.
“I’m so sorry!” she claimed, sobbing so hard it was difficult to understand what she was
William nodded in satisfaction. “Never lie to me again, wife.”
“I won’t, honey. I’m so sorry; please forgive me!”
William gently lifted her and then sat her on his right thigh, holding her as she cried
against his chest. “I do forgive you, sweetheart. This is all over now.” Lori cried a bit
longer, and finally quieted. “There, that’s better now. Why don’t you go and lie down for
a while, and when I get back from telling Pa that Annie is okay, we can eat… and talk.”
“You aren’t going to spank me again, are you?” she asked tearfully.
“Not for this,” he replied, kissing her tenderly. “I do love you, Lori.”
She watched as he rode away from their little house, and then she smiled as she
rubbed her stinging backside. Lori suddenly knew what she’d needed from her husband
but couldn’t put into words. She didn’t like the fact that William permitted her to walk all
over him… Now she knew that he wouldn’t, and she felt safer than she had since they
married.CHAPTER 2
anner Greene was shocked, and then angry, to see the pretty redheadT standing there after he told her to remain in the barn out of sight. If not for the
fact she was Scotty’s teacher, he would haul her over his knee and spank her twelve
ways to Sunday! But, losing his temper with her would not be wise; she could take it out
on his son, and he didn’t want that. “I thought I told you to stay in the barn with Scotty,
Miss?” His face turned red. “Ma’am, all I’ve ever heard Scotty call you is ‘Teacher’,” he
“My last name is difficult to pronounce, Mr. Greene. It’s Mientkiewicz,” she said, and
then laughed at his expression. “I prefer Teacher or Nettie,” she insisted. “Where do
you think that Indian came from? Mr. Watson at the livery said they weren’t this far
south. Do you think he was alone?”
“I hope he was alone. You should have stayed in the barn. What if I’d caught just a
glimpse of you and then shot?”
“I would have hit the ground, hopefully in time not to get hit,” she answered. “Believe
me, I was watching for that as well as for Indians.”
“You can thank your lucky stars that you don’t belong to me, young lady.” His mouth
just had to scold the pretty woman. “You have no idea how badly I want to turn you over
my knee right now.”
“Oh, I think I do,” she said with an unrepentant grin. “I’ve heard that same threat
from my Papa and brothers many times over the years.” When he continued to look at
her in frustration, she said, “We need to go back for Scotty. He was afraid for you,” she
He nodded, and followed as the pretty teacher led the way to the barn. He couldn’t
help but notice that she had a nice figure to go with her beautiful green eyes and red
hair. He hated the fact she was wearing a bonnet and he couldn’t see her hair, but he
knew how the women of Cartersville were. They would attack her and do their best to
get her fired if she didn’t dress like a prim and proper lady all the time... even if they
didn’t! Tanner and Nettie entered the barn, and Tanner was terrified when he didn’t see
his son right away.
“Scotty, you can come out now,” Nettie said softly, her voice soft and melodious.
Scotty flew out of the straw in the first stall and came running to Nettie. He threw his
small arms around her, and said, “I was scared, Teacher!” He burst into tears, and
Nettie hugged him.
“You’re safe, Scotty. There was only the one Indian. I think he was planning to steal
the horse your Pa is breaking to saddle,” Nettie explained, hoping to reassure the little
boy. “You were very brave to hide yourself and stay right there.”“I was scared, ‘specially when the barn door opened.”
“Yes, I’m sure you were, but most brave men are afraid. It is smart to be afraid
sometimes.” She told him what she’d heard her own father say to her brothers.
“Is that right, Pa?” Scotty asked, looking up at his parent.
“Sure it is. I know I was flat out scared when I heard that Indian yell. He would have
killed me if not for Miss Nettie.” He looked into her beautiful eyes and said, “Thank you
for saving my life, Miss Nettie. Where did you learn to shoot like that?” he asked
curiously, looking down at her and thinking she was very tiny, and very, very pretty.
“I grew up on a ranch, and I have ten older brothers, Mr. Greene. I learned a lot of
things not considered proper for a woman to know.”
“Please call me Tanner. Again, thank you: I’m all Scotty has.” It made him emotional
to think of his son all alone in the world.
“I’m happy I was in the right place at the right time, but I would like to ask that we
keep this to ourselves, please? There are some who would find fault with a teacher who
packs a gun in her bag.”
“Scott, did you hear your teacher? She doesn’t want you talking about this to
anyone. Understand?”
“Yes, sir. I won’t say nothin’, Teacher.”
“Anything,” Tanner and Nettie both corrected at the same time, and then smiled at
each other.
Nettie was used to men, but this man was handsome in a rugged sort of way. His
dark hair was streaked with lighter hair, bleached by the sun, and his eyes were a
bright blue. He was tall, and well built. He filled out his shirt with broad shoulders and
muscles. Nettie never reacted like this to a man and she wondered what was wrong
with her!
“Son, would you take your Teacher inside to have a seat while I deal with burying
that Indian?” He needed to take care of burying the young brave before others came
looking for him. He didn’t want to put his son in danger.
“We’ll wait inside, Mr. Greene,” Nettie promised.
“Call me Tanner, please.” Tanner turned and hurried off to take care of the
unpleasant task. He couldn’t help but wonder what the brave hoped to prove by killing
him. Perhaps Miss Nettie was right and he was interested in Mercury? He dug a grave,
planning to cover it with branches so that it couldn’t easily be found. While he worked,
he couldn’t help but wonder why Miss Nettie was here. No other teachers had found it
necessary to come all the way out here to pay a visit. He would certainly ask her as
soon as he finished his task. He hoped that Scott was minding his manners.
Nettie had to smile when she saw the house. The parlor was very neat, and she was
certain that Scotty and Tanner never set foot in there… unless it was a special
occasion. There was a fine layer of dust on the furniture, and not much in the way of
womanly touches. “Scotty, I’m betting that you and your Pa sit in the kitchen most of
the time, right?” she asked.
“Yes, ma’am.”
“That’s what I’m used to as well. What do you say we sit out there?”
“Okay. Pa has stew for supper… again. He can’t cook much, but don’t tell him I said
that. He’s got too much to do to study a cookbook. But I sure would like some
chocolate cake once in a while.”Nettie smiled. She’d heard her own father say the same thing. She took off her hat,
put it on the back of a chair and said, “Let’s see what I can do about that. Your father is
going to be busy for a while, and if you have the ingredients, I’ll bake a cake for you.”
Scotty was all excited, and he showed Nettie where everything was located, and
within just a few minutes, she had the cake pans in the oven.”
“Do you know how to make the frosting for on top, Teacher?”
“I sure do, but we’ll wait until the cake comes out of the oven. It will need to cool
before we frost it.”
“Can you make biscuits?”
“I sure can; would you like me to make you some of those, too?” she offered,
smiling at Scotty.
“Yes, please!” he answered, then clapped excitedly. “Pa will be so surprised;
chocolate cake and biscuits in the same day!”
Nettie removed the cake from the oven and then slipped the biscuits in to bake. She
was busy making frosting when Tanner came inside. She gave him a big smile when he
looked at her in surprise.
“Pa, Teacher is making real frosting for the cake, and we have biscuits in the oven.
Don’t that sound good?” he asked excitedly.
“Son, you were supposed to take your Teacher to the parlor, not put her to work in
the kitchen!” Tanner was so embarrassed he didn’t know what to say to the woman.
“Don’t blame Scotty, Mr. Greene. It was my idea to sit out here to wait for you, and I
offered to do the baking. I love baking.” She took the bowl of icing and started covering
one layer of cake.
“What brings you out here today, Miss Nettie?” Tanner asked, anxious to get
answers. The redhead reminded him of Scotty’s mother. She had the same red hair,
but Rebecca’s eyes were brown, not green. Becca was much taller, too. “Has Scott
been giving you trouble at school?” If he were up to mischief, he would have to take the
lad to the woodshed, much as he hated the thought of tanning him. Still, he couldn’t
permit him to misbehave at school.
“I wanted to discuss Scotty’s grades with you, Mr. Greene.”
“Tanner,” he corrected her again. “What’s wrong with his grades? It’s only the
second week of school.”
“Precisely. We are going over basic things in arithmetic, and Scotty isn’t doing well
with his multiplication tables. In spelling, he only had one word correct out of twenty on
the test I graded after school today. Last week was the same.”
“Son, what do you have to say for yourself?” Tanner asked, perplexed. When the
boy didn’t answer, he reached out and gently tipped Scotty’s face up so he could see
his face. “Answer me, son.”
“I don’t want you to be mad, Pa,” Scotty said, his eyes full of trepidation.
“I’m not mad. I want to understand what’s going on. We studied those spelling words
and you did a wonderful job spelling them for me. So, what happened?”
Scotty’s face turned red. He squared his shoulders and said, “I forgot.”
“Son, you know that lying to me will earn you a tanning faster than anything else you
can do. Your teacher came out here to find out what’s going on with you, and you owe
her a truthful answer. Now speak up and no more of your nonsense unless you want a
hiding here and now.” Tanner didn’t like to punish his son, but he would if he had to.“Scotty,” Nettie spoke gently, as she put the last swirls of frosting on the cake. “I
won’t be upset with you, I promise. I’m not here to get you into trouble with your father,
but to find out what I can do to help you. These subjects are very important when you
grow up. If you sell cattle, you will need to know the price, and be able to figure out your
profit. You’ll need to know how much to put back into the ranch, and what you can
afford to use for living. It’s hard to do that if you can’t do your math well. And spelling?
How are you going to write business letters if you don’t know how to spell?”
“Yes, ma’am,” Scotty replied, not looking at her. His face was red, and a dead
giveaway that something was bothering him.
“Son, why are you pretending not to know how to spell and to do your sums?”
Scotty’s face was a bright red, but he finally spoke up. “I wanted you to meet
Teacher, Pa.”
“What? I don’t understand, son.”
“I loved Ma, but she’s gone on to Heaven, and we are here eating your cooking, and
trying to do things we don’t know how to do. I’ve looked around for a new Ma for you,
Pa, and I picked Teacher. I figured if I messed up bad enough, you’d have to talk to
her. Don’t you think she’s real purty?” he demanded hopefully.
Tanner knew his face was as red as his son’s. He could see that Nettie was
shocked and embarrassed, too. “Scott, you need to finish your chores. Say goodbye to
Miss Nettie, and get to work. We will be discussing this later.”
“Are you going to tan me, Pa?” Scotty’s lower lip trembled.
“No, but we are going to have a good, long talk.”
“Yes, sir. Bye, Teacher,” he said, then ran off.
“Miss Nettie, I am so sorry Scotty put you in this position. I didn’t realize he was so
lonely without a mother.” He knew his face was red by the way it burned. He didn’t have
time for socializing. The ranch kept him busy, and if that wasn’t enough, he did their
laundry, cleaned, and did all the cooking, too.”
“There is no harm, Tanner. In a way, I am flattered.”
“You are being kind. Thank you.”
“I’ll get on back to town, and I’m sure I’ll see an improvement in Scotty’s grades,”
she said with a smile. “The biscuits will be finished baking in about ten minutes.”
“Would you like to stay to supper?” he offered. After she made the biscuits and
dessert, he had to invite her!
“Not tonight,” she answered. “You need time alone with Scotty.”
“Perhaps we should ride along with you to make sure you get back to town safely?”
“No, that’s not necessary. If anyone else was with that brave, we would know it by
now. I’ll be just fine.”
“I’m not sure about that.”
“I’m sure,” she said quietly. “I can take care of myself.”
“Not against a group of Indians,” he dared to argue with her.
“Mr. Greene, I’m a lot tougher than I look. Please don’t worry about me.”
“Young lady, are you always so stubborn?” Tanner demanded, looking down at her.
“What do you mean?”
“I’ve asked you several times now to call me Tanner. And, I don’t think it is safe for
you to head back to town alone. So, stop fussing at me. We’ll eat a bite, and then go
back to town. I need to report this incident to the Sheriff just in case there is something