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This steamy collection includes six novellas by six different authors. The perfect collection for a cold, winters night. Curl up and enjoy the following:
The Spanking Experiment: A Love Multiplied Novella ~ by Rayanna Jamison
A Prairie Promise by Libby Campbell
Joining of the Clans by Mira Brooks
Until You by Measha Stone
Claudia's Revolution by Adaline Raine
Freezer Burn by Susannah Shannon
Publishers warning: each novella contains adult themes and domestic discipline, please do not purchase if this offends you.
*** Currently available exclusively at Amazon ***
The Spanking Experiment by Rayanna Jamison
Aurelia Black grew up in a home where her father routinely employed a firm loving hand to keep his many children, and their mothers in line. Her brainiac husband Troy grew up in a home where the same methods were used, in a not so loving way. When he married Aurelia, he vowed to be a different kind of man than his father was. He would never lay a hand on his wife, domestic discipline community or not. Their marriage is a good and equal one, but when Troy finds out that his wife actually wants to be spanked – so much so that she often acts up in front of her father to achieve the same end result, will he be able to set aside his past, and step up to the plate?
The truck rolled over a pothole on the old dirt road and Aurelia hissed as she was jostled in her seat. “Troy! Be more careful! I’m sore!”
The reference to his wife’s freshly spanked bottom annoyed him more than it elicited sympathy. “Why do you do this? Every time we go to your parents’ you act like a spoiled child, even though you know exactly what will happen. It’s the same thing that always happens!” He was embarrassed just thinking about it.
“You mean me getting spanked?”
Troy took his eyes off the road for only a split second – long enough to shoot his beloved wife a look that was a mix between disbelief and complete and utter annoyance. “Yes, that. You know exactly what I mean. And yet, the minute we walk through the door of your parents’ house you turn into an absolute brat. And the day ends with you in your father’s study and me listening awkwardly from the living room, while the rest of your family glares at me as if I’m the one in the wrong.”
“You mean you listening to me getting spanked,” she said the words slowly and deliberately. “Say it, Troy. Stop pussyfooting around and say what you mean. You don’t like listening to your wife getting her bottom spanked.”
He ignored her, pointedly, and she let out a loud guffaw, as she gaped at him. “Good lord, Troy! You can’t even say the word, can you?”
Sighing with exasperation, he pulled the truck into their driveway, and twisted the key to shut off the engine, before turning towards her. “Of course, I can say the word, Aurelia. I went to an Ivy League school and I have an extensive vocabulary. Do not be ridiculous.”
“Then say it, Troy. Because, as you so kindly pointed out – this is not the first time we have had this conversation, and I do believe I’ve never heard you say it. So, Mr. Ivy League, if you have a problem with something, the best thing to do is express yourself in a clear and concise manner and begin working towards a resolution.”
The sentence was one that he said to her often. In their home, and their marriage, they resolved their issues with rational discussions between two adults. Which was what made it so completely mind-blowing to watch her morph into the spoiled rotten nasty teenage girl she had been in high school, the second they stepped through the door of her parents’ house.
“Fine,” he growled, knowing when he was stuck. “I do not particularly like hearing my adult wife get her bottom spanked, which I’ve told you before, many times. Maybe not in so many words, Aurelia, but you know how I feel, and yet, whenever we go to your parents’, you turn into a whole different person.”
“I’m the exact same person, Troy. You just don’t see it at home. You have serious blinders on when it comes to me and my behavior.”
He had no response for that, and he felt like this conversation was going nowhere fast. Shooting her a look of disbelief, he sighed. “Maybe there are things I let slide, but you’re a good wife, Aurelia – until we go to your parents, and you know what will happen. It happens every single time. So, why? Why do you behave like that?”
“Are you serious, Troy? You really don’t know? You haven’t managed yet, in all these years to put A and B together and come up with C?”
He stared at his wife, completely baffled. “No Aurelia, I can honestly say that I certainly have no rational idea why you would start a food fight with your sister at Christmas dinner.”
The look she shot him was one of pure disgust, tinted with a hint of embarrassment, causing him to be confused even further. Crossing her arms over her chest, she turned to stare out the window.
“Ria.” Troy sighed, tapping his wife on the shoulder, trying to get her attention to continue the conversation. “Ria, I feel like I’m missing something big here, and you won’t tell me what it is. So I’m going to ask one more time. Why is it that you act up so much at your parents’ knowing full well how the night will end?”
She turned and glared at him again, and his heart sank. “Are you mad at me? Is this some kind of test where all these years I was supposed to step in and attempt to protect you, and I keep failing the test? I can’t pass a test I don’t know I’m taking!” He didn’t add that her father was a force to be reckoned with, and it was a test he couldn’t have passed if he tried.
That finally elicited a giggle from her and she turned back to him, unbuckling as she scooted across the bench seat, laying her hand on his thigh, and looking down at an imaginary spot on the upholstery. “No, Troy, you’re not failing a test. Well,” she corrected, “not that test anyway.”
“I don’t understand.” He wanted to, but he just didn’t.
“I know.” Ria’s sigh was long suffering, as she wrung her hands together, refusing to look at him. “I act up at my parents’ because I don’t get spanked at home, and as stupid as it is, sometimes I just miss it. And I guess I have this fantasy in my head that since it bothers you so much when my father does it, maybe that you’ll step in and spank me instead so he doesn’t have to. It sounds stupid. It is stupid, I know it is. I’m really sorry, Troy. I won’t do that anymore. I promise.”
There wasn’t a single thing she could have said that would have shocked him more. He stared at her dumbfounded, as his mouth and mind struggled to form coherent thoughts. “You miss being spanked? But… but… you’re a married woman.”
“Yeah, I’m a married woman living in a town where every other married woman gets spanked.”
“Exactly. And it’s a bit archaic, is it not? I assumed you would consider yourself lucky to be married to me.” Even as it came out, he chuckled to himself at how cocky it sounded, and Aurelia laughed too.
“I am lucky to be married to you. But it’s not because you don’t spank. That’s actually your one downfall.” She said it with a smile, and he could see that it was meant lightheartedly, but the truth hit him like a ton of bricks right in the gut.
“You… wish I spanked you? But… for what?”
The look she gave him spoke volumes. “Troy, can we just go inside? I’m sorry I brought it up.”
She hadn’t, he had, but that didn’t really matter at the moment. His world had spun on its axis and everything he had believed about the way he ran his home had been shattered with a single sentence. Still, Aurelia was right – there was no reason to be having this conversation sitting in their driveway. Casting one last look of disbelief in her direction, he hopped out of the truck, walking around to her side to open the door for her. He offered his arm, as he always did, and she took it, but didn’t even look at him as they made their way inside.
As soon as the door closed behind them, she made for the stairs.
“Aurelia. Stop.” His voice possessed a firmness he didn’t even know he had, and to his surprise, it stopped Aurelia in her tracks. Her eyes were full of expectation when she turned to him.
A Prairie Promise by Libby Campbell
Surfer Kylie Sandford has always spent Christmas around someone’s pool or on the beach in her native Australia. When she spends Christmas in Canada, her handsome next door neighbor, Will Reimer, becomes a self-appointed guardian and guide to the frozen white north. When Kylie flaunts his rules, she finds a white Christmas comes with a red bottom.
“Oh calamity!” Kylie stood back and kicked the locked door, as if it was willfully refusing to open just to frustrate her. She’d adopted the expression oh calamity from a book she’d read recently and was using it to try to tone down her profanity. But it wasn’t as satisfying as true swearing. It was like light beer and skinny lattes – a poor facsimile for the real thing.
“Oh fucking calamity!” she shouted and gave the house next door a quick guilty look. The lights were on and that meant the charming Will Reimer was home, preparing a turkey dinner for her and four other friends, all of them, except Will himself, transplants from faraway cities. Will called it his Orphans and Strays Christmas Dinner and everyone had been assigned a dish to bring. Kylie was responsible for dessert, but that was on the other side of the locked door.
This was no time to be proud, she decided. She’d locked herself out a couple of times before and Will had the spare key. Only now, she was going to have to listen to another one of his lectures about taking more care before she left the house.
You’re not in Australia any longer and when you step into the subzero cold of the Canadian prairies, you better have your act together. Yada, yada, yada.
She followed the path he’d shoveled between their two houses, bending her head into the wind. She wanted nothing more than a hot bath after her long run, but now she was going to cop a blast from Will, her self-appointed guardian.
Running kept her sane in this frigid climate. Being stuck between four walls made her twitchy, like a tiger trapped in a cage. When she was twitchy, her impatience to escape the four walls made her forgetful and careless. Will knew that and had suggested that instead of just throwing on her running gear and bolting out the door, she stop and think about the environment she was stepping into. She could ignore the prairie winter but it wouldn’t ignore her, he’d said. It was a difficult adjustment for someone who lived a block from one of Australia’s finest beaches. When she wanted to catch a wave at home, all she had to do was slip on her bikini, cover it with a rash vest, and pick up her board. On the other hand, she was only in Canada for six weeks and maybe Will was right and she should be a little more careful.
At the front of his house, she stopped for a moment to admire the winter wonderland he’d created in his yard. She’d never seen ice castles or light displays like the ones in Edmonton. Back in her native Sydney, some people put up Christmas lights but it was sweltering hot and humid and didn’t get dark until 9:00. So, they weren’t as dramatic as they were in the land of snow and ice. Snowmen didn’t make sense in a city that never even saw frost.
As a high school teacher with a long summer break unfolding in front of her, she had wanted to do something different this year. Then she got Aunt Nell’s email asking her if she’d like a cold Christmas for a change. Nell and Nick were heading home for the Australian summer and their house would be empty. The invitation was too perfect to refuse. She didn’t know there would be a perfect next-door neighbor thrown into the bargain – an athletic, dark, and handsome, but rather bossy, next-door neighbor.
She’d arrived mid-December and Will’s yard was already decorated. A family of silver deer grazed his front lawn, arranged in front of a small forest of brightly lit trees. A snowman perched on his front porch and strings of lights lined the driveway, the outside of the house and all the windows. Big evergreen garlands were wrapped around the porch railings. Recently he’d added a laser projector that wrapped the whole house in a kaleidoscope of swirling stars. It wasn’t the most elaborate light display around, but he was probably one of the few bachelors who decorated his house so extensively. She didn’t know any single guys in Australia who owned any Christmas decorations, let alone put up a tree.
The day she’d arrived, her aunt and uncle had invited Will over for coffee so she could meet him. Will was a prairie boy, born and bred, and could help her with anything she needed to know. Plus he was a builder and if she had problems with the house, Will could fix anything – maybe even climate change.
Kylie had looked up at the broad-shouldered man and tried not to gawk at his elegant face. He had cheekbones like granite and wide blue eyes that seemed to be always smiling, long dark hair curled around his ears and over his forehead. He could fix me she thought but smiled politely and said, “G’day.”
Will had handed her a business card with his cell number on the front and landline number scribbled on the back. “Call me anytime,” he said, tipping his forehead so close to hers she could smell the cold, outdoorsy scent of him. “I’m always available to help a damsel in distress.”
She’d blushed furiously at his open flirting.
Will laughed and straightened up. “Some of my friends are coming over tomorrow night for a tree-trimming party. Want to join us?”
Kylie had never heard of a tree-trimming party but she had no plans after driving her aunt and uncle to the airport and dreaded being on her own in that frozen city.
“Love to,” she’d said.
As she and her aunt hugged goodbye at the airport, Nell whispered, “Will’s a great guy, perfect for you. Much better than that surf bum you left behind. But be careful, he’s had his heart broken recently and, like you, his wounds are still fresh. Don’t become his rebound love and don’t let him become yours.”
Kylie assured her aunt that she knew exactly what she was doing. What could happen in six weeks anyway? She drove home, took a long soak in the big clawfoot tub in the renovated Craftsman house, and thought about the way Will’s eyes had drilled into her when he invited her over. At the memory of his beautiful smile and gravelly voice, the heat of the bathwater rose five degrees.
She pulled on leggings and a close-fitting tunic that showed off her toned figure and meandered over to Will’s place, a little earlier than the appointed hour. The smile that lit up his face when he greeted her made her happier than she’d felt in months. She followed him into a house that was even more beautiful on the inside than it was outside. It looked like a magazine spread with a huge fireplace in the living room, surrounded by three comfy sofas arranged in a horseshoe. Soft lighting from rows of wrought iron light fittings made the room cozy and welcoming.
“I’m a builder and this is my showroom,” Will explained. “When people ask for references or want to see my work, I often invite them over. When we’ve got more time, I’ll show you the before, during, and after pictures, if you like. I have hundreds of them.”
“I’d love to see them,” Kylie said with genuine enthusiasm. She’d always wanted to renovate a house, but didn’t know where to start. Maybe she’d learn something.
“This place was built in 1912. When I got it, it was falling down. I jacked it up to put in a basement, shored up the outside walls, gutted it and rebuilt it from the inside out. It was a part time project that consumed my life for about two years. This is my favorite room…” He led her into the kitchen. “There used to be a separate kitchen and dining room, but I’ve combined them into one big space.”
Joining of the Clans by Mira Brooks
Tradition stated that Campbell daughters married on New Year’s Eve of their eighteenth year. Annalise Campbell hadn’t heard anything about her pending marriage until a surprising toast. Then a chance meeting with her betrothed has her contemplating who might be able to help her avoid the marriage. When an opportunity arises, she flees, but her actions could cause a war between Clans Campbell and Mackenzie. Will she be the first Campbell in three hundred years to flout tradition?
It was tradition. A stupid tradition that Clan Campbell had done for more than three hundred years, Annalise mumbled walking through the great hall of her father’s castle. Laird Aleck Campbell, 7th Earl of Argyll, announced before everyone in the supper hall that evening that this year Anna was eighteen, and tradition was that daughters of Campbell lords were married off on December 31st, New Year’s Eve, once they reached the age.
It was something she had been well aware of for more than six years, when the betrothal contract was signed between her and Kenrick ‘The Falcon’ Mackenzie, the eldest son of Laird Colin Mackenzie, Earl of Seaforth, and a known warlord in his own right. The betrothal had been conducted by the two chieftains at the Mackenzie’s Brahan Castle, but Anna was too young at the time to accompany her father. It formed a strong bond between the clans, one that had been desperately needed in the recent uneasy times when the English were often aggressors. All too frequently, Scotland’s streams ran with the blood of both countries’ young men, and the chieftains, for a change, were aligning themselves together against their common enemy.
The Campbells were one of the richest and most feared clans, known for their ruthlessness and fearlessness when it came to battle. The Falcon had a similar reputation. It made Aleck proud, that his daughter would be on the arm of such a powerful warlord, and more so that such a strong force in Scotland would be his son-in-law. Together, Clans Mackenzie and Campbell would be a cyclone of destruction. Two super powers, converging in one of the greatest betrothals either family had ever seen. Family meant everything to the Scots, and this marriage would bring a lot of comfort to both clans’ people.
Kenrick obtained the name of The Falcon early. His strategies and lethal notoriety for winning became more legendary every passing season. Like the predator, he would swoop in on his enemies and capture or kill them before they even realized he was upon them. He was called a myth in the highlands. A shrewd, calculating giant who took into consideration every possible avenue a tactic might have in failing, before executing. His father was older in age, so once Kenrick reached maturity, he was sent out as his father’s enforcer. He crushed his enemies, and made countless men cower at the thought of facing his wrath.
Annalise had known for some time that the announcement would be coming. She was just unsure of when. As December set in, and the house was being decorated in the festive trees, furs and rushes, she had almost given way to hope that her father had forgotten the betrothal and she would be free a bit longer.
She had heard whispers about The Falcon, especially in the village. Everything she heard was about his ruthlessness in battle, and how he had been leading an army around the border. Normally, whenever his name came up around her, people changed the subject. It was public knowledge a betrothal between the couple existed. Unlike them however, the thought of the union was not a cause for celebration for Anna.
The sweet smell of cider was in the air, a true hint that Christmas was upon them. The next morning would be Christmas Eve, so she knew she had to get to see Marisol either that evening or the following morn. It was just her luck that her lavender oil ran out just as she was beginning the next set of candles. Her mint was also running low, and she still needed four more bars of soap for her brothers’ gifts.
When she took her seat, a servant filled her goblet. Aleck clinked his glass and raised it in a toast. The hall went silent, as many pairs of eyes raised to their chieftain. It was the Christmas celebrations, and for twelve days before and during Christmas, the clan gathered to give thanks and praise as a unified family. Respected friends from the village were also invited to attend. The Earl of Argyll was kind to those loyal to him, and put on a spectacular feast.
“I have received word that The Falcon and his men are descending upon our fortress, and I am expecting them within these next celebratory days. The wedding of my daughter Annalise will be taking place as tradition has dictated, on the 31st day of December at midnight. Clans Campbell and Mackenzie shall be celebrating the new year with a new family, and peace. It is my command that everyone, who is able, be in attendance and share in the merriment. Subhachas.” The old man looked jovial, as he winked at his wife and avoided eye contact with his daughter.
Annalise nearly choked on the tender venison, when her father made the announcement. Her eyes went wide as the hundred clansmen, and women all raised their glasses in respect to honor her and their father. They looked happy for her, even though she was very far from cheerful at the prospect. She wasn’t foolish enough to make a scene, but she was defiant enough to not raise her glass as propriety had dictated. Trying to smile, despite her shock, she wouldn’t dare make eye contact with her brothers.
A dreadful knot formed in the pit of her stomach, as she glanced around at the hopeful faces of her people, and she wanted to make them proud. A sheen of tears formed in the corners of her eyes as she fought the urge to run from the room, and the castle, to a safe haven.
The fact she failed to salute did not go unnoticed, and her mother kicked her beneath the table of the large dais. Rosalyn Campbell looked the part of countess, and wife of the laird. She was beautiful, with blonde hair and sky blue eyes. Her limbs were long and delicate, evenly proportionate of her height. Her rich emerald green gown was decorated by a wrap made of fox tales and a diamond broach clasped around her slight neck.
Rosalyn was treated like a queen by her clan, for her gentle nature and compliant respect. However, Aleck and she often had their fair share of disagreements in private. Their bond grew stronger over the years, a united front at all cost, even at times of disagreement.
She had given her husband four living sons and a daughter, earning her the respect of the clan, and the gratitude of Aleck. She was nearing forty-five, but aging gracefully, with only a touch of crow’s feet about her eyes.
In her mother’s presence, Anna felt like a servant. She was shorter, with unruly curly red hair. Her eyes were green, and she had freckles about her cheeks and nose. She was the only one in her family to barely make five feet tall, which made her look like the runt of the litter. Her brothers were all exceptionally tall, like her father. So, they nicknamed her Sprite, something she had resoundingly lived up to. She was mystical, unpredictable and abnormally fast for a short girl.
Rhett, her brother closest in age, had started the term Sprite, when he began learning about the fairies and sprites in the highland legends, tiny little women creatures with fierce tempers and sharp teeth. Anna was a force to be reckoned with when she was cornered, priding herself on not being the spit of her mother. In her own opinion her mother was weak, conceding to her father’s whims like a common lap dog. However, her youth allowed her the naivety. The boys learned the hard way that she would claw or bite her way free of them, if they got too close.
Anna ignored her mother’s discrete reprimand, and focused more on the words her father was saying. If she was lucky, a huge snowstorm would trap the brute and his crew of barbarians high in the hills until late spring. Then she could enjoy the holiday season, and not have to worry about finding herself in The Falcon’s clutches.
Until You by Measha Stone
Jade and Garrick have been friends for years. While neither of them want to be in the friend zone, they don’t seem to be able to get out. Until Garrick decides it’s time to take the reins and show his girl what she’s been longing for all along – dominance. His dominance, to be exact. But moving from friends to lovers is tricky, and Jade has her fears. Garrick needs to push her past her worry without losing her all together.
“I’m not even sure how you talked me into this.” Jade pulled the hem of her too-short skirt down in a sad attempt to hide her thighs from the Uber driver who continued to eye the two of them through the rear-view mirror.
Carissa stuck up her middle finger at the reflection of lust-filled eyes and waited until the man looked away before turning in her seat to address Jade. “Look. You’ve been talking about this club for the longest time, we’ve always promised each other we’d go, tonight’s perfect. It’s a holiday party. It will be casual, no pressure. I swear it.”
“You say this as though you’ve been there before.” Jade cocked an eyebrow. It wouldn’t be the first time Carissa forgot to mention she’d scoped out a place before dragging her along.
Twirling one long red curl around her finger, Carissa bit her lower lip. “Well, maybe.”
Jade sighed. “That little girl act doesn’t work on me, Carissa. I’m not into age play, and I’m not into topping.” But it didn’t stop her from patting her friend on the head and giggling along with her. “Okay, so you’ve been there. It’s not too stuffy? I mean, I’m not sure I can handle high protocol yet. I don’t know anything about that.” Jade knew enough about the kink world to know she badly wanted in, but as to particulars, she hadn’t a clue.
The idea of a strong man taking her to task, keeping her on the straight and narrow, calling her on her bullshit – her girly bits tingled just at the thought. But it wasn’t just the discipline; it was everything. Giving over control, being able to trust one man with all of herself? Her past history with men would make most women run from the idea, but she knew if she just found the right one, the right guy, she’d be able to find safety in his hands.
“Nothing like that. Well, I guess if you’re into that, then you’ll find the guy that’s into that. I keep telling you, this isn’t a one size fits all thing.” Carissa brushed her hair off her shoulders, showing off her perfect posture and dusting of freckles on her creamy skin. Jade’s olive tone would never allow such a beautiful display, nor would her less than ladylike posture. Too many years of trying to hide her bosom from classmates had created the horrible habit of slouching to hide her parts.
Jade plucked her cell from her purse as it began to blare into the car. “Just Garrick,” she said and swiped to see his message. She’d met Garrick freshman year of high school, eight years later they were still close friends – no matter what Jade wanted otherwise. He’d never understand her desires, and he sure as hell wouldn’t see her as anything other than the girl who had tutored him out of a D in chemistry.
What are you up to tonight?
Out with Carissa.
Just out. Why?
It’s really cold tonight. Didn’t forget your jacket, again, did you?
Jade sighed. Of course, she’d forgotten it, at his house last time she’d stopped by after another double shift at the hospital looking for a cold beer and a warm couch.
I’ll pick up this weekend.
Just out with Carissa, nowhere special?
“He’s getting creepy in his old age.” Carissa pressed her shoulder against Jade to get a look at her screen.
Jade shoved her off. “You know how he is.”
“Yeah. I do – bossy and over protective. Would make a great Dom if he had any clue.” Carissa had the mistaken idea that everyone would fall into either being a submissive or a dominant if they only opened up their eyes and saw the world through her eyes.
Jade tapped a few more messages to Garrick, evading his prying questions and not giving any direct lies. She hated lying, especially to Garrick, but no way would he understand this – and she didn’t want to hear any more safety lectures from him. The last time she’d mentioned signing up for a dating service, he went on for almost an hour, and in the end, demanded he vet the guys for her. She’d decided to take down her profile and save herself the lectures.
“We’re here!” Carissa announced in her singsong voice and clapped her hands. “Go on.” She gave Jade a shove until she opened the door and scooted out. She heard Carissa reprehend their driver for getting all handsy with his eyes before slamming the door.
“In his defense, this dress you gave me is a little hard to ignore.” Jade pulled down the hem of the spandex one piece, while yanking up the neckline. December wasn’t exactly warm in Chicago, and the chilled breeze drew her nipples to stand fully erect, giving everyone in eyeshot a perfect view. She yanked her jean jacket around her tighter, trying to fight off the cold and failing miserably.
“It’s warm inside, let’s go.” Carissa gave her a little shove and pointed at the entrance to Dark Lace, the newest BDSM club to hit Chicago. Memberships didn’t come easily, and any messing around with the rules got a member banned. It was one of the safest places for those new to the scene to play and meet people, which is what drew Jade to begin with. She and Carissa had received their membership acceptance only a week ago, which meant Carissa missing her morning shift on Friday, had more to do with her Thursday night escapade than the migraine she’d called in with.
“Why didn’t you just tell me you were coming here?”
Carissa didn’t need to ask what she meant by her question. “I knew you’d feel better if one of us knew what we were walking into, and you never go out on work nights.” Linking her arm through Jade’s, she walked them to the door. “Now, get ready, because your holiday season is about to light up!”
* * *
Garrick stretched his back and took another look at his phone. She was lying. She’d completely avoided his questions.
Something was going on with her lately. The string of men she’d brought home recently, the Internet profiles – the girl looked in all the wrong places. A woman like Jade didn’t belong on Bigger Fish or any of those dating sites. She didn’t need to fill out five hundred questions to know who would match up with her. She only needed to ask him, and he’d tell her. She needed someone who would take her submissive side, that little bit of her she tried desperately to hide from him and everyone else around her, and draw it out.
He wanted to tell her, to show her, but if he brought up sex, she clammed up and changed the subject. He would consider her a prude, except he’d borrowed her laptop a few times to check his email while hanging at her apartment. The woman didn’t know the first thing about hiding her history, or at least closing the browsers before offering someone the computer.
Of course, he’d never tell her what he saw. Although it took more power than he would have guessed he had to keep from tearing the thing in half when he saw her half filled out profile on Collar-Me. No fucking way that was going to happen. If she was going to become active in the community, start actually searching out what she wanted, she wasn’t going to start meeting up with random guys from the Internet.
“She here yet?” Jamison slid a beer onto the table and took a seat.
Garrick shook his head. “Nope. And according to her, she and Carissa are just hanging out tonight, going nowhere special.” He all but growled with his annoyance. He’d known her since before her first acne break out, had nursed her through her parents’ divorce, her father’s remarriage and her own broken hearts, but she couldn’t confess to this part of her – the truth of her?
Claudia’s Revolution by Adaline Raine
Claudia Burke prides her twenty-nine year old self on always knowing about the latest gossip in her community. She also strives to keep up the appearance of a well-to-do housewife until she has lost her sense of self, and becomes a snobbish clone like the other women who reside in her upscale neighborhood, Lilac Meadows. Her tragic past creeps up after she gets too tipsy on New Year’s Eve with her best friend, and the truth reveals itself. It will take more than just material objects to help Claudia accept her grief, and move through it.
At thirty-one years old, Logan Burke is one of the youngest pilots for Prime Airways. Exciting as it is, being an airline captain results in adjusting to an ever-changing schedule. He offers to work during the busiest time of the year to bring in a nice bonus, but it keeps him away from his wife during the holidays.
Logan returns early to surprise his wife, but has been thinking about their recent struggles while he was away. With two full weeks of down time before his next shift, there will be plenty of time to explore their most carnal desires, as well as set rules and dish out consequences.
Will this new revolution change their relationship for better or for worse?
“Things are really different around here. I’ve never seen Molly Humperdink wear the same dress twice.” Claudia Burke sipped the rest of her drink down. “Oh! And Mrs. Briarcliff gets her gray hair dyed every other Friday. Who has the time to sit in the salon that much? But listen, she gets it done in the most beautiful shades of red. The natural white and gray come out like highlights when her colorist is done. Oh! And Bunny—”
“Bunny!” Hayley Hendrix, her best friend of fifteen years, screamed with laughter. “No! No way. You actually know someone named Bunny?”
“Where do you think we live – LA?” Claudia set her glass on the coffee table, being sure to use a coaster. “Bunny is Mrs. Drexel’s cocker spaniel. She got out last week.”
Hayley blew raspberries at her while she smacked her with a pillow. “Why do you even care about the idiots in your neighborhood? They’re all so freaking posh. They can’t even stoop down to pick up their own dog’s shit.”
“Hayley!” Claudia tugged the offending pillow out of her best friend’s hand and threw it at her. “I understand why you are saying that, but some of them are nice. Besides, Ms. Hayden down the block is allergic to doo-doo.”
“Oh my god, CJ! You don’t curse anymore?” She shoved Claudia’s shoulder. “Are you becoming one of those desperate housewives?”
“Silly,” she clucked her tongue, “Desperate Housewives is a fake show. You’re confusing a sitcom with reality TV. I’d belong to the Real Housewives of Lilac Meadows.” She rolled her eyes at the childish nickname then flipped her long auburn hair over her shoulder. “Anyhow, I’m Claudia now.”
“Gag me!” Hayley reached for the bottle of champagne and poured them each a glass. It was the second bottle, but neither of them had plans. Anyhow, her husband Chase had promised to pick her up around two in the morning. “You’ll always be CJ to me. Anyway, there is something else. We haven’t done our lists yet.”
“I don’t think we need to do that this year. I mean, honestly, I never follow through.” Claudia admitted sheepishly. “And you live so much closer now. We can actually get together on the regular.” Her best friend recently moved to the next town over due to a change in employment. Hayley and her husband Chase both accepted new jobs with higher salaries on tips and recommendations from Logan. It proved to be a good move all around. She needed her friend more than ever, but the past few years increased the thickness of her skull it seemed, and admitting it would be harder than mastering a skill.
“Come on! It wouldn’t be right if we break tradition. It’s New Year’s Eve. The literal eve before the next year.” Hayley scrunched up her nose, then nuzzled along her friend’s shoulder. “Can we at least snuggle like we used to?”
“Gross! What if you have a cold or something?”
“Wow! Moving into this development has really warped your brain. We used to snuggle all the fucking time.” Hayley blinked away the traces of a tear, then got to her feet. Something deeper than the rude comment caused the reaction. “I’ll be back in a second. Maybe Chase can pick me up early.”
Horrified, Claudia watched her best friend disappear down the hallway. Seconds later the bathroom door closed, and it cemented her isolation. Drat. She had changed, and not for the better. She focused so much of her energy gossiping about the ladies around town that she didn’t notice the other subtle changes. The two of them had been friends for over fifteen years!
Hayley didn’t deserve that. She was the one friend who stuck by her through all the craziness over the years, the bad and the awful, and who cuddled her without shame during all of it. Why had she reacted like that? What was wrong with her? Giant tears pooled in her eyes, then dripped down her cheeks. She needed to make it up to her best friend. One full year proved to be too long a time to go without seeing one another, and worse still, her behavior was less than stellar.
“Don’t call Chase!” Claudia got off the couch and rushed down the hallway. She flung open the door without knocking, a best friend only privilege, and stepped inside. Hayley sat perched on the elaborate garden tub with one elbow on each knee. She looked up as Claudia approached, then slowly got to her feet.
“Please don’t call him! I’m sorry. You’re right about the lists. Come on.” She grabbed her friend’s hand. “Look, I’ll heat up leftovers! Then we’ll drink the rest of the Veuve Clicquot Rose and snuggle on the couch! Please, Hayley? Don’t go home yet. I’ve really missed you.”
“Maybe you should make the first thing on your list a note to Logan, begging him to address your awful behavior.” Hayley pulled away her hand then brushed it across each eye, catching the tears. “I mean seriously. Chase has taught me a thing or two about that.”
“What do you mean?”
“Never mind.” Hayley tugged a washcloth off the towel rack, probably intending to wet it and press it to her eyes, but Claudia snatched it away. “For fuck’s sake! What did I do now?”
“No, no! Those are just for decoration.” She fixed the fluffy teal cloth back on top of the dark brown and white ones with a satisfied sigh. Then a pit of ice formed in her belly. Crap. She’d inadvertently turned into one of the snobbish drones like the women in her neighborhood right down to the decorative towels. “That was a crap move on my part. You didn’t do anything wrong. Let me get you something to wash your face with.”
“Yeah. Thanks.” Hayley watched as she scoured the bathroom, but didn’t offer any more on the subject after the scolding.
If anyone ever spoke to her like that she would certainly tell her a thing or two. But Hayley never got confrontational with her. Her friend seldom got angry at all. She also didn’t cry often, and to see tears because of her terrible attitude really needled Claudia.
She forced her energy into finding a regular washcloth and her favorite calming cleanser. She handed both items to her friend. “Remind me what Chase knows about.”
“If I snapped at you the way you snapped at me and my husband found out about it? I’d have one hell of a sore ass.”
“He hits you?” Claudia pressed a hand to her stomach, but something way back in her brain shifted, prompting a memory. Chase didn’t hurt her best friend, not purposefully, but he absolutely spanked her when she broke a rule or disrespected him. How posh-addled had her brain gotten? She’d forgotten important details about her friend’s life and relationship!
“Oh yeah he does, but only on my ample butt!” Hayley wiggled her hips from side to side. “You knew this already. We’ve been in a different sort of relationship since our courting days.” She snorted at her choice of words.
“I’m sorry. You’re right, I did know, and I can’t imagine what’s wrong with me tonight.”
“Well, we used to spend hours on the phone. At least after you first moved away. Then Chase and I came to visit about a year ago during the summer. Since then we haven’t talked a lot.” Sadness filtered into her tone as she set to washing her face. “What happened CJ? Why did you pull away from our friendship? Do you think you’re too good for me now?”
Freezer Burn by Susannah Shannon
All her life Lucy has dreamed of being spanked, but she’s never had the courage to share her desire with anyone. After striking up an Internet friendship with the blogger of The Well-Spanked Feminist, she has finally gained the courage to tell her husband. But before she can, a sudden job opportunity has uprooted the couple and, with one week notice, sent them to live in Sweden the day after Christmas.
As Lucy enjoys the challenge of living in a very different environment, she’s trying to figure out how to open the conversation with her husband. After consuming way too much wine at the home of Nick’s new boss, Lucy is presented with the perfect opportunity to confess her needs. Will she be able to follow through? How will Nick react?
Email from email@example.com
Hi Nicole, we are here! It is so beautiful. I couldn’t figure out what the awesome smell was and it turns out it is Scandinavian air. We got here late last night, and Nick has already gone into his new office. I am puttering around putting things away. Our house is tiny and so cute. You get a real feel for the Swedish aesthetic, nothing wasted, pristine, simple… a real consciousness of the interconnectedness of the globe. It’s such a privilege to get to experience this way of life.
The furniture we purchased had arrived, but our bed’s too big to fit into the bedroom! Apparently no one here has ever had a king sized bed. The movers had left the pieces of the frame in the middle of the living room and plunked the mattress into the tiny bedroom – the edges curled up since the mattress was bigger than the floor. I had to crawl all over it to put sheets on. We were too tired to even think about doing anything with it. It was a little bit like sexy camping.
Today I will go to a store and buy us a smaller bed! Not at all sure how we’ll get the mattress out of the house. I think it’s a lesson in culling our materialistic American way of life, refreshing really.
As to the other thing, no, I have not. It took me months to get my nerve up. I had read your blog over and over and over. I had printed out “How to ask for the spanking you crave” I had practically memorized that thing – be loving, respect limits, discuss, discuss and discuss some more. I was ready: wine chilling, speech about trust and authority, and love and accountability, and sexiness and love...
Then he walked in the door, saw the lit candles and said, “Oh, you already know about the job offer.” We had ten days to get moved from the USA to Uppsala. It was not the time to bring this up. “The visa’s arrived. What’s the exchange rate from dollars to krona? Your mother called to beg us not to move the day after Christmas, and oh, by the way, would you pin my wrist in my back and spank me until I cry?” seemed like a really, really awkward conversation to start. I will, though, I promise.
Lucy put down her laptop. She had been sitting cross-legged on the mattress that engulfed the ridiculously small bedroom. Since the room lacked overhead lights, she had balanced a table lamp in the doorway with a long extension cord and had sort of leaned into it to get enough light to see. December in Sweden was not a bright affair, apparently. It was an awkward and persnickety way to send an email, the laptop careened perilously on her knees and her fingers kept hitting the wrong keys. She crawled off of the mattress and out the bedroom door.
The rest of the house was much more to her liking. The ceilings were high and there were a lot of windows. Apparently, the Swedes just didn’t care about bedrooms. She started coffee.
Nick’s new associate, a woman named Astrid, had stocked the kitchen with coffee, milk and sugar. Everything had been arranged by the company Nick was working for. Lucy was going to get them both settled and then get back to her work as an actuarial freelancer.
Emboldened with kaffe – she had to admit Swedish coffee was pretty terrific – she went to get a shower. She stood in the doorway, and completely baffled, took sip after sip of her coffee. The showerhead cascaded from the ceiling in the corner. There was no barrier of any kind; the drain was simply in the middle of the floor. A pedestal sink with a mirror over it ran along one wall. The toilet was in its own small room across the hall from the “shower room” – no bathtub in sight. Either the whole room was the shower or the shower had a sink in it. No counters, no cabinets. Where the hell did you keep your towels? You couldn’t even close a shower curtain and hide your wilting soap, scabby razors and half empty bottles of shampoo. The Swedish aesthetic apparently ruled out ever being sloppy. This might be a long year.
After taking a hesitant shower under a dribble of water – she simply could not stand the idea of the entire room getting splashed – Lucy scrounged through a suitcase for a clean pair of jeans. She sat down on the mattress and her attention was drawn away from getting dressed.
She lay back, imagining Nick saying, “Come here, baby doll.” She imagined herself hesitating and, as her fingers began to stroke between her legs, she imagined him firmly yanking her across his lap. She imagined the spanking building to a fevered pitch while she wriggled and cried and begged for mercy. Her palm pressed against her mound as her breath began to become labored. She imagined his hand being implacable as he enacted a thoroughly deserved punishment. Her need exploded within her and she stilled while her climax washed over her. She lay for a few minutes and then got up and yanked her jeans on.
She was unsure of what she needed to do first. There were built-in closets in the bedroom, but she couldn’t open them because the mattress had the doors wedged shut. So, no putting clothes away yet. While her hair dried, she slurped more delicious coffee.
The darling house was very small. The front door opened into a “great room” which was sort of like using the term “jumbo” to describe shrimp. It did offer built-in bookshelves that ran the length of the room. The far end housed the kitchen. There was an island that would serve as their dining table and workspace. Shelves ran around the room a few feet below the ceiling. Lucy would have preferred storage that wasn’t quite so visible.
She shook herself, she felt surprisingly brisk considering how little sleep she had gotten the night before. She would focus on getting cute dishes and platters and simply make a point of staying on top of the housework, easy peasy. Her hair was reasonably dry, so she zipped herself into her warm down coat and headed outside.
It was freezing. She turned around and grabbed a hat and gloves. It was too cold to care about what you looked like. Within the first block she was rethinking the wisdom of walking the eight blocks to Ikea.
She noticed several signs that seemed to be advertising fireworks, which seemed at odds with all of the Christmas decorations that were still very much in evidence. Eventually, she found a bilingual sign. “Nya år fyrverkerier till salu” the sign said, thankfully then repeating in English: “New Year’s Fireworks for Sale”.
Signs aside, the city was still decorated for Christmas. Swags of greenery festooned buildings, candles filled most windows. There were also, almost everywhere she looked, goats. Goats the size of horses made of straw, smaller goats of wood painted candy apple red, window displays made of stuffed goats, and even the sawhorses that blocked off traffic were decorated to look like goats. She ducked into a cafe with “Kanelbullar” on the sign. She found a spot by the window and opened her laptop. As soon as she had a signal, she googled “Sweden Christmas goats.” There was a veritable cyber gold mine of information.
Her search yielded pages upon pages. In Sweden goats pull Santa’s sleigh, she learned, and most towns have enormous straw goat displays, that she was sobered to learn, are inclined to catch on fire. The actuary within her did a quick calculation of danger posed to towns by giant straw goats. Not good. She wouldn’t approve an insurance policy for any such thing. Luckily, or not, she supposed, depending upon your point of view, Scandinavia hadn’t embraced defensive risk management. They seemed to embrace the flaming mammals of potential death in their town squares. She redirected her focus to the subject at hand – goats. In a land that was home to vast numbers of actual real life reindeer, what did they use to symbolize Christmas/Jul? Goats. Well, that was a new one, she thought. She paused to watch the passersby.
She glanced around to make sure that no one could see her laptop screen over her shoulder. She went to the blog she had spent much of her time on over the last six months, The Well-Spanked Feminist.
Lucy reread one of her favorite posts, “Why would a strong woman want this?”
Because we are wired this way. Because being held accountable makes us feel loved. After a spanking we feel our own feminine power in a profound way. Because we want to become our best possible selves. Because we feel that submitting to our partners makes them be their best selves too.