This short novella brings back beloved characters, Finn and Emma, from Operation: Spank Me.
Alive when he should be dead, Finn Coleman refuses to take life for granted. Preparing to marry the love of his life, Emma, Finn must first make amends with the stubborn, cold-hearted old man who raised him. When Finn and Emma travel to his childhood home in Texas to visit Granddad, they are shocked to discover he is now a happy, smiling man. Will this make it easier for Finn to repair his strained relationship with Granddad? And will facing the past help Finn’s future with Emma whose own secret anguish, fear of losing Finn, has her holding back her heart?
“I swear, Finn, if you don’t relax, you’re going to make me even more nervous than I already am,” Emma complained from the passenger seat of their rental car.
“Sorry, honey,” Finn sighed, his large body squished behind the steering wheel. “Just remember, Granddad can be pretty prickly so don’t take anything he says personally.”
Emma smiled, anxious to meet Finn’s Granddad–finally! “Sounds like the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.”
He shot her a hard glare that she ignored, having grown used to his hard-ass ways over the past months. At six feet three inches tall with wide shoulders and muscular arms, Finn’s appearance should have been menacing. But the love in his serious blue eyes couldn’t be mistaken.
“Face it, Finn. If I can live with you, I can certainly handle Granddad.”
“You need a spanking,” Finn replied with a curve of his lips, flexing his hand against a muscular thigh. He’d been so serious since they landed at the airport an hour ago, it was nice to see him smile.
It never ceased to amaze Emma how much the threat of a spanking thrilled her and set off delightful fireworks deep within her belly. Seeing him rub his palm against his thigh had her pussy convulsing with urgent need for intimate attention.
“We’re here,” Finn announced glumly, turning into a ranch entrance framed with massive concrete pillars that connected to a log fence. A gigantic slab of wood engraved with “Cattleman’s Ranch” rested across the pillars.
Finn drove down a long, dusty dirt driveway lined with sprawling oak trees that looked hundreds of years old. Their gnarly branches provided much needed shade from the bright Texas sun and pointed the way toward the biggest house Emma had ever seen.
“You grew up here?” She swallowed hard. “This is your ranch?”
“Sure is.” Pride covered Finn’s face, his bright blue eyes flashing heat as he snuck another peak at her breasts in the cleavage-bearing sundress. “Have I told you how much I love that dress on you?”
“Only through the entire plane ride.” She couldn’t help but laugh, enjoying how he still looked at her like she was the only woman in the world. “Wow. This place makes my land in Vermont seem so small.” A pang of homesickness hit her when she thought of her horses and award-winning roses. But this trip offered a much-needed vacation. Her neighbors would all pitch in to keep her small farm running while they visited Finn’s grandfather.
Finn parked alongside some pickup trucks in front of the house, killed the ignition, and stepped out to stretch before walking to Emma’s side and opening her door. Emma’s belly filled with excitement at meeting her future grandfather-in-law. With their wedding only weeks away, she was glad they could meet ahead of all the excitement and festivities.
“I’ll get our bags in a bit. Let’s get out of this heat. No sense putting off meeting the grumpy ol’ man.”
Emma slapped his arm. “Stop it. Granddad can’t be all that bad.”
“Try living with him,” Finn complained. “After this week, babe, you’ll see exactly what I mean. You’ll be glad we live two thousand miles away in Vermont.”
“Just remember what I said. Be the bigger man, no matter what. And be sure to invite Granddad over any time he wants to visit.”
Finn looked at her like she had three heads. “The hell I will! Besides, the stubborn ol’ fool doesn’t like to travel. He says the state of Texas is big enough to keep him busy.”
“Finn!” She didn’t have a chance to say more as they ascended the granite steps. The massive wooden front door opened and a tall, elderly man faced them, smiling and slapping at his leg.
“Well, hello there, folks. Damn fine to see y’all. Get in here out of the blasted heat,” Granddad said, his deep voice full of authority. His pale blue eyes and short silver hair were a big contrast to Finn’s short black hair and deep blue eyes, but there was no mistaking the family resemblance. Both men, separated in age by decades, were tall, muscular, and devastatingly handsome.
Finn tugged Emma’s elbow and guided her into the coolness of the house. “Granddad, want you to meet my fiancée, Emma Shields. Emma,” Finn continued, clearing his throat, “meet Granddad.”
“Jaxon Coleman, ma’am. Welcome to Hellcat, Texas, and Cattleman’s Ranch.” He grasped her hand in a firm handshake and pulled her into a bear hug. His large body swallowed her up in a warm embrace. Her heart swelled with love. Releasing Emma, he covered her hand with his. “Folks call me Jax, but you can call me Granddad. Always wanted a granddaughter.”
“Like hell. You hated kids,” Finn complained, standing with his feet apart and arms crossed, as if he expected a confrontation.
“Nah. You were just hell bent on seeing how fast you could drive me crazy. Now come here and give Granddad a hug.”
“What?” Finn’s eyes widened and he looked uncomfortable when Granddad embraced him, slapping him hard on the back a few times.
“Christ, boy, haven’t seen you in forever.” Granddad ended the embrace and just stared at Finn for a long moment, keeping his hands on Finn’s upper arms. “You all healed now from almost getting yourself killed?”
Emma shuddered at the mention of Finn’s back-from-the dead incident during his last deployment a few months earlier. He’d saved his team of Navy SEALs by tackling a terrorist bomber and falling into the sea and presumed dead. It was the worst time of Emma’s life. Having the military inform her that he’d been killed in action had been too much for her heart to bear. If it weren’t for her horses, then Emma would’ve died of a broken heart.
“Yes, sir,” Finn replied. “Other than adding a few more scars, I’m completely healed. And it’s all thanks to my personal nurse, who refused to let me lift a finger unless the doctor put it in writing.”
“Oh, really now, Finn,” Emma said with a smile, even if she really wanted to clobber him. “I don’t think Granddad needs to hear any complaining from a grown man who should be grateful he’s walking around at all.”
Granddad hollered and laughed hard. “Hot damn, boy! You’ve finally met your match. Emma, dear, you give him all the hell he deserves and don’t take any of his crap. Unfortunately, us Coleman men tend to be thick-headed. Well, until we’re straightened out, that is.”
“I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to finally meet you, Granddad.” Emma shot Finn a warning glare for making his grandfather out to be such a mean, cold-hearted man when he clearly wasn’t.
“I’m sure Finn filled you full of stories on how we don’t get along like we ought to. And he’d be telling the truth. But you both have my word that I’m a new man. I’ve seen some hard times, but it felt like my heart was ripped from my chest the day I got the visit from your commander that you were killed.”
Emma’s throat tightened with emotion. Finn’s usual hard stance was wavering, his eyes fixated on the old man. Oh, how nice it would be for these two bull-headed men to finally get along. She placed her hand over her heart and enjoyed the moment, missing her own father so much more. But he was traveling with her step-mom and she’d have to wait until the wedding to catch up.
Granddad shook his head. “Goddamn it, boy. You nearly sent me to an early grave. But I never doubted you were alive. Never doubted.” He faced Emma. “You see, dear. He had spoken of you…well, there was no way he wouldn’t do everything in his power to come back to the woman he loved. I know how stubborn he can be and, by God, it was one of the only times I’ve been grateful for that stubbornness.”
Finn cleared his throat. “Sorry, ol’ man, to put you through that. But I’m here now, healed real good, and planning a wedding.”
“Ah, who’s planning a wedding?” Emma asked, her hands on her hips.
Finn rolled his eyes and grinned. “You are, dear. I just stay the hell out of the way until you need an opinion on cake or lettering on envelopes. But I don’t know why she even asks because she’s already made up her mind.”
Emma opened her mouth to say something, but Granddad took her hand and spoke.
“Now, Emma, I must warn you, although I’m quite sure you already know. Us Coleman men are pretty good about sticking our foot in our mouths. Got to give Finn a little room to adjust to being with someone. He’s so used to being on his own and all.”
Finn smiled. “Believe me, Granddad, she’s used to me by now.”
By 0317irish on October 27, 2013 on Amazon:
Loved the characters. Really appreciated reading more about this great couple. It was fun seeing where he had come from.
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