March Growth

(4 customer reviews)

She needs a Dom to teach her not to feel shameful for her impure thoughts. 

Marilyn has hated herself for being kinky since puberty, and she avoids thinking about it as much as possible by throwing herself into her schoolwork. Over the years, she has come up with several methods of punishing herself for the kinky thoughts that go through her head, because she believes they are sinful. All of that changes when Marilyn’s mother cajoles her into doing some volunteer work on campus, where she meets Ford.

Ford, the volunteer coordinator, is friendly and outgoing, and Marilyn is shocked when he expresses interest in her. Marilyn finds herself attracted to Ford’s natural dominance. But having a dominant boyfriend only brings her kinky thoughts to the surface, and then those thoughts make her want to punish herself more often.

Will Marilyn be able to keep her shameful secrets from Ford? And if she can’t keep her secrets, will she lose him forever if he finds out?

Publisher’s Note: This sweet romance contains depictions of self-harm, domestic discipline, and power exchange.

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Sample Chapter

“Get over my knee,” the very large man ordered while glaring at Marilyn.

She shivered with desire and took a tentative step toward him.

“I am going to paddle your ass,” he added, reaching out to grab her wrist.

Before he could touch her, Marilyn’s alarm clock blared, startling her awake. Groaning, she rolled over, turned the alarm off, and lay in bed for some moments while the ever-present internal self-recrimination reared its ugly head after having had the night off.

Marilyn heard her roommate Jade getting up and heading to the showers down the hall. Their little dorm room didn’t allow for much privacy, and Marilyn was glad to have a couple of minutes to herself. She felt like crying, but she didn’t deserve that kind of release. What she deserved was punishment for yet another sinful dream. Sighing, she pushed the covers off and pulled her journal out from under her mattress.

The journal wasn’t fancy, just a notebook with a pen stuck in the metal spiral. But looking ‘normal’ was part of the disguise. It was actually a record of her sins, her punishments, and her thoughts on both. The thing was half full, and they still had four months to go before the school year was over. Her parents would be incredibly ashamed if they knew. She was doubly ashamed of herself for being sinful in the first place and for keeping her sins a secret from her parents.

She opened the journal and wrote:

Monday March 2nd – Had another dream where the threat of getting spanked made me disgustingly turned on. I know these thoughts are sick and wrong, and yet they come back again and again, no matter how much I pray for them to go away. After I wash my hair in the shower this morning, I will stand under freezing cold water for a full sixty seconds as punishment.

Closing the notebook, Marilyn sighed before putting it away and getting out of bed. She gathered her clothes and shower caddy before walking down the hall to the showers. Luck was on her side, and there was an empty stall when she arrived. She put her clothes on the little bench next to the shower, turned the water on to let it get warm, and took off her pajamas. Stepping into the blissfully warm water, she closed her eyes and just let the warmth envelop her body for a few moments. After letting herself have a moment of comfort and contentment, she quickly washed her hair and body, rinsed thoroughly, and glared at the temperature knob. Taking a deep breath, she clenched her jaw, reminded herself that she deserved this for her disgusting thoughts, and turned the water to its coldest.

Willing herself not to whimper as the frigid water hit her skin, she started counting in her head and mouthing the words as she thought them to be sure she didn’t go too fast. One thousand one, one thousand two… As she counted, she turned around and around to ensure her entire body was blasted with the icy cold. Her body started to shiver almost immediately, and she purposely shoved her head under the spray before she lost her nerve. One thousand nine, one thousand ten… Even though she never wanted to think about it again, she made herself picture her dream to help her body connect her horrendous thoughts with the painful cold she was experiencing. Her stomach fluttered, and her clit pulsed when she brought her dream back into the forefront of her mind. If the little showerhead wasn’t stuck to the wall, she would have taken it down and sprayed the water directly on her troublesome clit, but since she couldn’t, she forced her head under the spray again and left it there to try freezing those thoughts away. Thinking about punishment was fine, and thinking about getting spanked for punishment was fine, but having those thoughts turn her on, was absolutely repulsive. One thousand thirty-three, one thousand thirty-four… Soon her entire head ached, and she was in too much physical discomfort for her sinful thoughts to affect her body any longer. One thousand fifty, one thousand fifty-one… For the millionth time in her life, she wished to be normal. If she was normal, the thought of kissing a boy and having his hands gently touching her wouldn’t leave her with an empty feeling of nothingness. One thousand sixty.

Her hand shook violently as she pushed the knob in, turning the water off. The lack of cold was a magnificent relief. By the time she was fully dressed, her shaking had almost completely subsided. She stepped up to the row of mirrors and took a good look at herself while plugging in her hairdryer. Her skin was always pale, but after the cold shower, her lips had lost some of their usual light pink tone and nearly matched the cornflower blue of her eyes. Thinking that she looked a bit like a corpse, she started to dry her light orange hair. By the time it was dry, the warm air had brought the color back to her cheeks, and she appeared normal. But, like her notebook, looking ‘normal’ was just a disguise.

Unable to look at herself any longer, she picked up her things, went back to her room, and got ready to go to class. At least during the day, she was free from her sinful thoughts. She was studying to become an accountant because numbers never let her down. There was always a right answer, everything added up both literally and figuratively, and she’d always found complicated math problems an enjoyable challenge that helped her escape other thoughts. Sometimes she felt like numbers were the only positive in her life, and she would be forever grateful that God had gifted her with a brain that could calculate things quickly and correctly, as well as understand the numeric big picture when a problem presented itself.

She walked from her dorm, Monroe Hall, to the small cafeteria across the street. After a quick breakfast of oatmeal to help warm her from the inside, she rushed to the Technology Center where most of her classes were held.

Before arriving, her phone rang. Groaning, because she knew who it was without looking, Marilyn dug the little flip phone from the front pocket of her backpack. She leaned against the wall of the hallway to answer it. Other students gave her odd looks for her outdated technology, but it was the only phone she could afford.

“Hello?” she answered.

“Hi, Mari, honey, it’s Mom.”

“Hi, Mom, I’m on my way to class. I’ve told you that Monday mornings aren’t a good time to call. You should call me tonight after dinner.”

“I know, baby, but I get so busy with the little ones that I forget until they’re in bed, and then it’s too late.” Marilyn was the oldest of eight kids. People often made jokes about her parents not believing in birth control, but the truth was that her mother just loved children and couldn’t get enough of them.

Sighing, and giving up on the long-standing argument, Marilyn said, “What’s up, Mom?”

“I saw online that the ASCA group did another volunteer project this past weekend, and I was wondering if you’d gone to that.”

Marilyn put a hand on her forehead and tried not to be annoyed. ASCA stood for ‘Associated Students for Christian Activities’, and Marilyn had only joined the group to appease her mother in the first place. “Mom, I really don’t have time for that.”

“Now, Mari, you know your father and I worry about you being alone all the time. Portland is the center of sin and debauchery in Oregon. You need wholesome friends.”


“I know, I know. You’ve told us it’s not like that, but that’s because you’re naive. Your father and I are so proud of all the hard work you’re putting in, but you’ve got to balance your academics with your moral wellbeing.”

“I go to church every Sunday, and I go to the ASCA meeting every Friday. I don’t have time to volunteer and get my homework done.” That wasn’t actually true, but going to church and the ASCA group was enough to make her feel like a fraud; she didn’t need to add volunteering on top of that.

“Please, Mari. Just try it out once. I know there are going to be all kinds of nice Christian people you can meet there. You should be making friends, not just doing school work all the time. I’d feel so much better if I knew you had a close friend you could depend on.”

And just like that, her mother won. She was the sweetest, kindest, most loving person Marilyn knew, but as she’d gotten older and had more experiences away from home, it became clear her mother had an irrational fear of the world at large. Yet knowing her mom was wrong, didn’t make it any easier to say no to her. Marilyn hated the thought of worrying her mom, or making her feel bad, so she often gave in to her demands, even when Marilyn knew they were a little ridiculous. “Okay, Mom, I’ll go to the next one.”

“Aw, sweetheart, thank you. You’re going to have a wonderful time. I just know it.”

“I’ve really got to go to class now.”

“Okay, I’ll talk to you soon.”

“Tell everyone I love them.”

“I will. Bye, sweetheart.”

“Bye.” Marilyn hung up and just stood there for a couple of seconds feeling slightly homesick for the small-town life of John Day, Oregon where she’d grown up. But it wasn’t the small-town life she missed, what she actually missed was her pre-puberty years when things were simple and she didn’t have to live with the constant guilt. Back when her fascination with other kids getting spanked, and with spanking in cartoons and books, didn’t register as wrong or even unusual to her young mind.

Shaking her head, she put the phone away and rushed to class.

* * *

Usually when Marilyn went to the Associated Students for Christian Activities meetings, she got there right on time, sat in the back of the room, never commented unless directly spoken to, and then left the instant it was over. She’d been a member of the group for almost six months now, but she’d put effort into staying anonymous. Thankfully the group had hundreds of members rotating in and out of meetings, so as long as she sat in a different spot at each meeting, it wasn’t too difficult to be effectively invisible. But signing up to volunteer for an activity was going to make her anonymity much harder to maintain.

Friday afternoon, Marilyn arrived early for the ASCA meeting, hoping to write her name on the volunteer sheet without anyone noticing, but unfortunately, her plan backfired. When she stepped into the large conference room, there was only one other person in the room, and he was setting out the volunteer sheets on a long table that had been set up against the wall beside the door.

He smiled and held his hand out. “Hi there. I’ve seen you here a few times, but we’ve never been introduced. I’m Ford.”

Barely grasping his hand in a limp-wristed shake, she smiled and said politely, “Marilyn. Nice to meet you, Ford.” Though they’d never been introduced, she knew who he was. He was the club’s volunteer coordinator, and he was hard to miss. He had black hair, piercing blue eyes, and skin so tan, he could almost be described as brown. He was tall, muscular, and had huge hands, which Marilyn had always noticed and appreciated for reasons she’d rather not admit. He often wore cowboy boots, jeans, and a button down plaid shirt, which made her think of a modern-day cowboy without his hat. She always tried not to stare at him and purposely avoided sitting beside him, because he was outgoing, talkative, and friendly. She actually had a hard time believing that he recognized her and remembered she’d ever been there.

“I’ve been meaning to ask you if I smell,” he said with a dazzling smile.

“What?” she asked softly, not sure how to respond to such an outlandish question.

He winked and said, “Because you never sit by me, even if there are empty chairs on both sides.”

Blushing at having been called out, she shook her head and said, “Oh. No, you smell just fine… I mean, that’s not… Well, I just know that you like to talk,” she finished lamely and shrugged.

His eyebrows went up in surprise, and then he laughed loudly before he said, “I didn’t think you were actually avoiding me. I was just joking.”

“Oh.” Her face was so red, she could feel the heat radiating. “Sorry.”

“Nah, don’t be. I do like to talk. Tell you what. If you’d do me the honor of sitting by me during today’s meeting, I promise not to talk to you unless you say something first.”

There was no polite way to say no, especially after admitting that she’d been purposely avoiding him.


“Yeah?” he said hopefully.

She nodded and then looked at the volunteer sheet. “What’s the project for tomorrow?”

“We’re going to Davis Park downtown to clean up some flower beds for spring and plant some bulbs. Lots and lots of iris bulbs.”

“Can I sign up?”

“Of course.” He found the correct clipboard and handed it to her along with a pen. “I’d love to have you join us.”

She scribbled her name on it and returned it.

He pointed to another sheet of paper on the table and said, “That one is for people who need a ride. Some people like to drive their own cars and meet us there, and other people prefer taking the bus with the group. We’re going to meet here in the conference room tomorrow morning at eight. The bus leaves at eight thirty.”

“I don’t have a car, so…” She put her name on the bus list. Once that was done, she awkwardly looked around at the chairs and mumbled, “I guess I’m going to go sit down now.”

“Sure thing,” he said and went back to work setting out the cookies and drinks for after the meeting.

By the time he was done setting up, several other people were milling around choosing seats. Marilyn had taken out a notebook to look busy and avoid friendly conversation. She was pleased to be on the volunteer list already, because now she wouldn’t have to talk to anyone else who was signing up once the meeting was over.

While she was staring at her class notes for Business Law, Ford walked up and plopped himself in the chair next to hers. Her body stiffened, but true to his word, he said nothing and simply got out his phone and started checking his texts.

As they sat together in silence, she started to relax. A few people said hi to him as they walked by, and while he said hello back, he made no effort to introduce her. When the Association’s current president, Kendra, arrived, Ford got up to talk to her but left his phone on his chair. He didn’t ask her to watch it for him or say anything to her; he just left it there.

Marilyn knew she probably should feel uncomfortable, or at least odd, with the unusual behavior, but she felt only relief. It was wonderful not to be coerced into a conversation she didn’t want to have.

After discussing things with Kendra, Ford came back to his chair, grabbed his phone, and sat back down. Marilyn smiled to herself but kept her face aimed at the notes she wasn’t reading.

Over the next forty-five minutes, Kendra led the meeting. Their group was generically Christian, but no particular sect. They started with a prayer, then Kendra picked a passage from the book of Revelations and talked about it before asking others to share their understanding of the passage and what it meant to them. Then it moved on to events around campus and a lengthy discussion on various volunteer projects available. The meeting ended with another prayer, after which most of the crowd hung back visiting and snacking for the next fifteen minutes, but Marilyn never stayed for that.

As soon as the meeting was over, Ford stood, but before he could step away, Marilyn said, “Thank you.”

He turned to her with a smile. “Was that directed at me, or are you just glad I’m leaving?”

She stood also and forced eye contact. “Thank you for sitting with me and not pushing me to talk.”

“You’re welcome. I hope we can do it again sometime.” He gave her a nod and went to grab a cookie.

* * *

On her way home, Marilyn’s thoughts centered around Ford. She’d never given him much thought before, but it was difficult not to think about him when he’d gone against his natural instincts to make her happy. She couldn’t remember ever seeing him with someone who could have been a girlfriend. He had plenty of friends, both male and female, in the group, but no one he sat with regularly, and he didn’t hold anyone’s hand or put his arm around anyone. And she had seen him nicely turn down a girl from the group named Ava when she’d asked him out. But Marilyn didn’t think that one really counted. Ava flirted with every guy she met.

Strangely, Marilyn felt like her behavior and mannerisms were the polar opposite of Ford’s, but with the same end result of no close friends, platonic or otherwise. She’d never had a boyfriend. In high school, she’d told people her parents didn’t allow her to date, but the truth was that she knew dating would be problematic. The nice guys she met in church, who her mother pointed out, left her feeling empty. The boys who sent thrills through her were the violent macho jocks, the rodeo stars, and the motorcycle riders. But she knew that appeal was all tied into her sinful thoughts. She preferred those men over nice, normal men because she could picture them losing their temper and tossing her over a lap. Nice guys, like Ford and the boys she’d gone to church with, wouldn’t hurt a fly. They would treat her with love and kindness, and she would grow to hate them for it and hate herself for not appreciating their love. And of course, she knew that there were men out there who would enjoy spanking her, but that was repulsive.

She’d made it to Monroe Hall and saw her roommate Jade standing by the elevator. Jade waved and held the sliding doors open for her.

“Hey, Marilyn, how was your group?” Jade asked.

“It was good,” Marilyn answered, knowing that Jade wouldn’t ask any more questions if she didn’t offer more information. The reason they were such good roommates was because neither one pried into the other one’s business. They both enjoyed their privacy.

“How was your day?” Marilyn asked.

Jade groaned. “My Anatomy professor gave us a surprise exam today. I think I did okay on it, but I figured I’d be done with pop quizzes after high school.”

Marilyn nodded with sympathy. “I haven’t had any yet.”

They got to their floor, and Jade unlocked the door to their room. They both put their coats and backpacks away.

“What are your plans for this weekend?” Marilyn asked, already knowing the answer. For the past two months, Jade had spent at least part of every weekend with her boyfriend Danny. He was a cop and they’d met back in January when Danny was called to the scene after Jade had been attacked. Since then, they’d spent all their spare time together.

“I’ll be going over to Danny’s house tomorrow morning, and I’ll probably stay there until Sunday night. You don’t mind being alone, do you? I could come home late Saturday, when he leaves for the night shift, and sleep here with you.”

Marilyn shook her head. They’d had this same conversation a few times now, and her answer was always the same. But she supposed she should be grateful that her roommate cared about her feelings. “No, it’s totally fine. I enjoy having the place to myself once in a while.”

“Okay. But if you ever need me to come home, just call and I’ll be back in a flash.”

Marilyn smiled. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

“What about you?” Jade asked. “Any plans?”

“I signed up to do some volunteer work at a park tomorrow morning with the ASCA group.”

“You did?” Jade sounded shocked.

Marilyn nodded.

“That’s great!” Jade gushed. “That’s your church group, right?”

“Yeah,” Marilyn agreed, because it was easier than trying to correct Jade and explain.

“Sweet. You’ll have to tell me all about it on Sunday.”

“Sure,” Marilyn agreed, but she doubted either of them would bring it up again.

Jade flopped on her bed and opened her laptop. “Dinner in an hour?”

“Yep.” Marilyn opened her laptop as well. It was an old clunky thing that her parents had bought used when they found out she’d gotten a full scholarship to Northern Oregon University, but Marilyn was grateful to have a laptop at all.

She looked up the park where they’d be planting bulbs. Then she looked on the ASCA site and clicked on the ‘about us’ button. Each student who helped organize things was recognized, and she quickly read the little blurb about Ford. He’d grown up in Woodburn, Oregon. His parents owned a nursery that sold plants all over the Pacific Northwest. He was an only child, and he planned to take over the family business someday. He was a Sophomore at NOU, getting his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management.

Marilyn stared at his picture for a few minutes. He was certainly handsome and plenty big enough to manhandle her if he wanted to, but he was also much too nice to ever consider spanking anyone. She bit her lip and thought about his hands. One open palm could probably cover her entire ass in a smack. Shame washed over her as she realized she was turned on just by the concept of him spanking her. Her thoughts were utterly unacceptable and needed to be dealt with. She got up, went to her closet, and got out her quickest and easiest punishment device: an excessively tight zip up spandex girdle. When she wore it before a meal, she simply couldn’t eat very much.

After going to the bathroom and forcing her already thin waist into the constricting fabric, she went back to her computer and tried to get some homework done while her waist protested. Before dinner, she’d wrap a belt around her waist, also, and cinch it in as far as it would go. Dinner would be quite unpleasant, and she wouldn’t be able to eat more than a cup of soup, but she deserved to go hungry. After dinner when she took the makeshift corset off, she could drink an extra glass of water to offset the hunger pangs.

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4 reviews for March Growth

  1. Rhea

    March Growth is the story of a shy young christian woman’s journey from despising herself because of her kinky nature to acceptance of her sexuality so to speak. This book has a good plot with deep emotional issues in the center and a good point that sexuality doesn’t define you as right or wrong, good or bad. I normally love Jenny Plumb’s books, but the religious aspects of every level of this story was over the top, and too much in my opinion and I didn’t really connect with either of the characters. That’s not to say that I regret reading it, it’s just not a book I will return to. All in all it’s a good story with an important message and a very beautiful and meaningful ending.

    I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  2. Hope W

    Marilyn, a young woman raised with religion in her life, had trouble accepting her kinky nature. She decided that it was her job to punish herself for any sins she committed. Her punishments went from mild to extremely harsh. Feeling that she had no one to talk to that could possibly understand her feelings of shame, she withdrew farther inside of herself. Then she met Ford. He instantly had feelings for her and knew he would find a way through her shell. Ford was strong, kind, and outgoing. He had a special way about how he approached Marilyn. But when he does, their love story really begins.
    This author formed these characters and told their story in a unique way. While she uses religion in their story, it is more a story of learning to accepting ones feelings and find love with someone who understands them and is compatible. She includes various punishments, but also explains where they come from and how they either harm us or help us. While the author brings back a couple of characters from previous books, they are explained and allow this book to be read as a standalone story or part of the series. Overall I liked this story and recommend that you give it a try and enjoy Ford and Marilyn’s journey of discorvery along with them. I voluntarily received an arc copy of this book.

    I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  3. Redrabbitt

    I enjoyed this third book by Ms. Jenny Plumb in a new series, Campus Life. While this is a series, it will read well as a stand-alone but will have also have a cameo appearance of Danny and Jade from book one, January Ice. The story will revolve around two students, Marilyn and Ford, who will meet at an ASCA, Associated Students for Christian Activities.

    I’m going to start and say that I applaud Ms. Jenny Plumb for such an honest, in-depth, and rarely discussed truth of some Christians upbringing, stigmatism, ingrained indoctrination, and emotions. As a Christian, raised with strict beliefs, this story hit home. The angst, the confusion, the uncertainty, and the self-loathing for feeling sexual, it is all addressed, and in such a way, it makes you understand, you aren’t sick, a freak, or unbalanced, you are normal. The basis of the story is that religion is never the issue or the story preachy in any way.

    The story will have Marilyn’s mother questioning why she hasn’t been actively involved in any volunteering with ASCA until Marilyn acquiesces and agrees to do so at the next meeting. She will meet Ford, who is the opposite of her, outgoing and sociable. While Marilyn volunteers, she keeps to herself as much as Ford will allow. The project goes well, and a new one at school will have her making excuses that he won’t accept, and states so openly. Ford is blunt but kind, and Marilyn needs someone like that in her life. But this story has a dark side, one of self-harm, self-punishments, and feelings of disappointment and depravity. It will have frank, honest discussions about being a Christian and sexuality, and what is a sin or not a sin.

    “He wants someone normal. I’m not normal, and I’ll never be normal. I’m broken on the most basic level there is, and there’s no cure.” –thoughts of Marilyn

    “I’ve read about self-harm, so if you think I couldn’t understand, you’re wrong. So, what is it going to be? Are you going to show me, or am I calling for help?” –Ford

    The story will be two Christian people together, each raised differently, yet there is a bond, chemistry between them. I will say that the story brings out the importance of the right and wrong way between a couple entering a BDSM or D/s DD relationship. With the help of friends, they will navigate the waters, and Ford will be there for Marilyn, taking over the discipline that she has been inflicting upon herself. Rules will be established, punishments agreed upon, and accountability for actions—“it’s hard to change years of programming.”

    “From now on, I want to be your safety net, and that transition will be a lot easier if you don’t have a backup. Where do you think our relationship is headed, Marilyn? Marriage is the end game for us, but we don’t know each other well enough to take that step yet.”

    As their relationship progresses, Marilyn learns to trust Ford and knows that she also has Jade and Danny to talk to. As spring break approaches, Ford convinces her to stay at school rather than go home to her family and revert back to her self-harm. A trip to his church on Sunday will be an eye-opener that God created her just the way he wanted her, and there is nothing wrong with a Christian having sexual desires, even if they may seem kinky.

    “It’s not your place to dictate God’s plan for you. It’s your job to accept it.” –Pastor Lilah

  4. BlueDiamond

    ‘March Growth’ is a captivating story about a young woman’s self-discovery and the alpha male who helps her along on her journey to accept her true self without living in shame of her secret desires as they establish the parameters of living a kinky lifestyle into their relationship. I loved the college-town setting. The plot line has lots of action that makes this book hard to put down.

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