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Clint Carpenter's calm, organized life changes suddenly when his car is broadsided by a lady who was talking on the phone and missed a red light. He isn't hurt, but he can't get Mandy Meadows off his mind. When they run into each other again, they are on foot this time. She had earphones on and wasn't watching where she was going. The change in her attitude surprises him. Instead of the sweet little lady he met after the car accident, she is an obnoxious brat. Fortunately, Clint has just the solution, even if Mandy doesn’t quite agree.
It becomes clear to him she is experiencing a rough patch in her life and needs some help, and he is sure he can provide that help. Now he just has to convince her to allow it. The more he is around her, the more intriguing he finds her, and wants to get to know her better. She is a stubborn little thing, however, very independent, and not too eager to take help from anyone, especially a man who occasionally thinks the help she needs is a trip over his knees. When she keeps finding herself in trouble, though, and he is there to rescue her, she starts seeing him differently.
Publisher’s Note: This book was previously published under the title ‘The Accident.’ It contains elements of power exchange and domestic discipline. If these offend you, please do not purchase.
“Are you okay, Mr. Carpenter?”
“I’m fine, Jenna.” Clint looked past his secretary at the group of people assembled, all listening intently. They were all his employees, but he got along well with all of them and considered each one his friend. “I appreciate your concern, but let me assure all of you, I am fine. My car not so much, but I’m fine.”
Penny, the receptionist, sighed. “But I loved your car.”
The group collectively laughed as Clint nodded. “I rather liked it, as well.”
Jenna asked the question that Clint thought likely was on everyone’s mind. “So what happened? All we know is what you said when you called; that you were in an accident and would be late coming back from lunch.”
“Simply put,” he explained, “a lady was talking on her cell phone and ran a red light.”
Sean, one of the first people Clint hired when he started his company, looked a bit relieved. “So she was cited for the accident then?”
Clint nodded again. “I assume so. She was very apologetic to me. Told me she just wasn’t paying attention to the light.”
“So, are you going to sue?” Sean asked.
Clint just laughed. “No, I’m not going to sue. Well, I guess I should add a proviso there. Assuming her insurance company pays to fix my car, no, I’m not going to sue. It was an accident, and she apologized. That’s it.”
They all talked a few more minutes about how the accident happened and about the condition of his car. Once he convinced them all he was indeed okay, several went out to the parking lot to look at his car, and then they all got back to work.
Clint went to his desk and did some reflection. He was having a difficult time getting the other driver, Miss Mandy Meadows, out of his mind. She was a beautiful young lady, rather petite at just three or four inches over five feet, but had a big personality. She had curly blonde hair that fit her perfectly. The curls bounced when she moved her head, which drew your attention to streaks of a reddish blonde that ran through it, highlighting the curls. He’d bet money the streaks were natural. They sure didn’t look like they came from a bottle, and the tiny red mixed into her pretty blonde hair, fit perfectly with her sparkling eyes that seemed to contain a certain amount of mischief.
She was pretty all right, but it was more than that. She was very intriguing. Maybe it was the bit of mischief he saw in her eyes; he wasn’t sure. There was something about her he couldn’t put his finger on, though, and that something was what kept her on his mind. She’d been very polite when they met, but he’d felt a tingle when they shook hands. She’d shivered, which made him wonder if she’d felt something, as well.
It was as if he felt some kind of pull, like he was being drawn to her, but he had no idea why. He’d never experienced anything like it before. He felt an overwhelming urge to protect her, but he didn’t know what he was supposed to protect her from. He had noticed she didn’t wear a wedding band.
Sitting at his desk, he thought back to the accident scene and the conversation he’d had with Officer Sherman, who was the officer who’d taken Clint’s statement.
“Would you like a copy of the accident report sent to you once it’s typed up?”
“Will the other driver’s phone number be on it? I’d like to be able to giver her a call and be sure she’s doing okay.”
Officer Sherman looked up at Clint with a bit of a smile on his face. “Maybe you could ask her that over dinner some evening?”
Clint’s eyebrows shot up, but he returned the officer’s wry smile. “Maybe.”
“Yes, it will be on the accident report. Since you’ll have it then anyway, let me give it to you now.” He handed Clint his card with her phone number on the back. “Good luck.”
“With the dinner invitation, or getting my car fixed?”
Officer Sherman chuckled. “With both. That was a nice car you had, and she looks like she’d make a nice dinner companion.” With that, he walked back to his cruiser, smiling.
Thinking back on that conversation now, Clint smiled. He would definitely call her in a day or two to check on her. If she seemed receptive, he’d ask her out to dinner. She was the first lady who had him so intrigued, and the first lady he felt protective of, and, that in itself, warranted getting to know her and see what came of it. He took out the card Officer Sherman had given him and programmed her number into his phone.
Having made his mind up about that, he was ready to get back to work himself.
However, Penny buzzed in just then. “You have a call, Mr. Carpenter. An Officer Hamlin is on line two.”
Clint was a bit surprised. That was the lead officer at the accident scene. “Thank you, Penny.”
He wondered what the officer wanted, if they’d forgotten something. “Good afternoon, Officer Hamlin. What can I do for you?”
“I’m sorry to bother you, Mr. Carpenter, but I have a couple follow-up questions, if you have a minute.”
“Sure, go ahead.”
“Just to confirm, you had a green light, and you were going about twenty to twenty-five miles per hour through the intersection today; right?”
“Do you have an estimate of Ms. Meadows’ speed, or know of anything that may have distracted her?”
Clint was curious now. “I’d guess she was probably going thirty-five, give or take. Why?”
“Well, when Officer Sherman was taking your statement, another officer was talking with Ms. Meadows while I was looking at the physical evidence and taking a few pictures. When the officers gave me your statements, I read yours first, and it seemed to fit with the evidence. I heard you mention that she apologized to you after the accident, so I proceeded with the assumption that she ran the light, and thus caused the accident. But it seems she claims she had the green light, and you were traveling at a high rate of speed. Now, the evidence—”
“She said what?” Clint was shocked. She had apologized to him right after the accident. How could she now be trying to blame him?
Officer Hamlin laughed. “I think your reaction just told me what I wanted to know. The evidence is supporting your story, but I felt I should talk to you again to be sure. Thank you for your help.”
“Oh, no problem,” Clint assured him. “But I guess after hearing this, I feel I need to ask, what happens now?”
“Well, we’ll investigate a little further, try and find any witnesses or cameras in the area, but unless we find something to support her story, she’ll be cited for running a red light. The evidence as I’m seeing it all points toward that.”
“Okay, thank you, Officer. Will you please keep me informed?”
“Absolutely,” the officer responded. “If anything happens to change our findings, we’ll let you know. If you think of anything that may help, give me a call. Otherwise, she’ll be charged and you should be hearing from her insurance company.”
Clint thanked the officer, and sat back to think again, to ponder this latest turn of events. He had no idea he’d been thinking as long as he had until Jenna came in to ask if he wanted anything else before she left for the day. Since he obviously wasn’t accomplishing anything here, he decided to go home as well. He got his briefcase, put a couple contracts he needed to look over in it, and followed the last of his co-workers out the door, locking up as he left.
Clint was still thinking about Mandy as he headed toward the parking garage. As he approached the corner, a lady wearing headphones came bounding around it, walking smack into him. He instinctively reached out to catch her. Before he could say anything, she pulled her arms away from his grasp and growled, “You should watch where you’re going, asshole.” Then she looked up at him, and they both froze.
Clint couldn’t believe it. It was Mandy Meadows. His eyes narrowed, and he gripped her arm a bit tighter and turned around and headed her back toward his office. She was fighting his grasp, trying to pull herself loose from his hold while he opened the door and led her into and through the reception area, and straight into his office. There he sat down on the couch, pulling her down with him, before letting go of her arm. They both sat there staring at each other for a minute.
Clint had so many things going through his mind he didn’t know what to ask first. And he was not too impressed with her attitude at the moment. This was not at all the lady he’d talked with after the accident. He finally asked, “Who’s the real Mandy Meadows; the lady I enjoyed talking with this afternoon, or the rude little thing sitting in front of me right now?”
He watched her eyes closely and somehow felt sorry for her. Initially, he saw anger in those eyes, then confusion, mixed with sadness. Finally, he felt that she needed his arms around her and to be told everything would be okay. But he needed answers first. Then he could try to figure out if there was something he could help her with.
Mandy put an abrupt end to his thoughts when she answered. “Who the real Mandy Meadows is is none of your damn business!”
Without stopping to think, Clint instantly picked her up and effortlessly put her over his knees. The look on her face as she’d answered him had been rather smug, like she was proud of herself, but when he looked at her face as she lay over his lap, it displayed pure shock. He started lifting her skirt and she quickly recovered, finding her voice. “Hey, what are you doing, you pervert? No, don’t. You can’t do that! You stop this instant!”
Clint was amazed. How could the sweet little lady from this afternoon have turned into such an ill-mannered brat? He wanted to talk with her, but first he had to teach her a lesson. He felt sure a few well placed swats would improve her manners tremendously, and then they could talk. While he was upset with her, he was also in awe. She was a petite little thing and cute as a button.
“Yes, I can do this,” he disagreed. He pulled her panties down to her knees in one swift move, and had to take a moment to catch his breath. She had the cutest little butt he’d ever seen. It was perfectly rounded, and just made for a good spanking, which was exactly what he felt this feisty little minx deserved. He drew his hand back and brought it down in the center of her bare bottom. She screamed as he landed a heavy swat on her right cheek, following it up quickly with a matching swat on her left cheek.
Clint watched as the ill-mannered little beauty over his knee was gasping, trying to catch her breath. When she was able to suck in a breath and let him know she wasn’t happy, he ignored her high-pitched scream and continued spanking her, falling into a pattern of right cheek, left cheek, occasionally landing one in the center.
Her reaction was shocking to Clint. As soon as he’d started the spanking, she’d started yelling. She started out by demanding him to stop immediately. When she realized that wasn’t working, she tried cursing, which he answered with a few harder swats. What he was most interested in, however, was her squirming. He’d never seen a lady wriggle, squirm, and shimmy as much as she was. Watching from his vantage point, he had to smile. She was absolutely adorable. He wanted to stop and pull her into his arms and kiss her, but he knew he had to finish his mission, so he kept spanking. She kept wriggling, squirming, and yelling, until he finally watched her settle down, lying on his lap, exhausted.
He quit spanking and started rubbing his hand lightly over her bare bottom. “Are you ready to lose the attitude and talk to me yet?” When she didn’t say anything, he tried to explain his mission. “I want to know what’s going on with you. I very much enjoyed talking to you earlier today and planned on asking you to dinner. I wanted to get to know you. Now you’re acting like a rude, spoiled brat, so which is the real Mandy?”
Mandy was still trying to catch her breath, so he went on. “I have a feeling something’s wrong, Mandy. If there is, tell me about it. I might be able to help you.”
Mandy was trying her best to absorb all this. She had spent the afternoon thinking about the incredibly handsome hunk she’d run into earlier today. She’d felt a shiver go up her back when he gently took her arm to help her out of her car, and she was trying to decide what it was about him that had her so off kilter. She’d gone for a walk, hoping to figure her feelings out, when she ran into him. During her walk, she had realized that it wasn’t just his looks that attracted her, but the way he handled the situation. He seemed to know what needed to be done, and did it, with no hesitation. He was so self-confident, but yet, extremely kind.
Now, she was rethinking the extremely kind part, though. She couldn’t believe what he’d just done, or how much it hurt. But he had said he thought she had some kind of problem and wanted to help. How did he know something was wrong? Lately she didn’t seem to be able to control anything about her life, including how she acted. She found herself doing things that were not like her, and things she wasn’t proud of. So in a way, she didn’t know which one was the real Mandy Meadows, either.
She was so confused. She knew she should hate him for what he’d just done, but, somehow, she didn’t. In fact, for some reason, she still felt attracted to him.
And did he just say he was going to ask her out? He was still rubbing the sting out of her bottom, which was very calming. It dawned on her now, now that he was helping her calm down, what it was about him that she was so attracted to. He was extremely authoritative and masculine. She was really attracted to that, though she hadn’t realized it before. This realization came as a surprise to her, and she was lost in her thoughts. When he cleared his throat, it got her attention.
“I’m waiting, Mandy.”
Startled, she couldn’t remember what his question had been and looked up at him with a sheepish look. “What?”
She heard Clint sigh. “I’m not sure if you plain weren’t listening to me, or you’re refusing to answer, but neither one is acceptable. Let me try again to inspire you to talk to me.” With that, he began spanking her again.
Mandy shrieked and instantly began struggling again. She desperately wanted to end the pain he was inflicting on her rear. Her bottom felt like it was on fire. She couldn’t remember ever being in that much pain in her life. She screamed, hoping to get him to stop. “Ow, please, stop. Okay, I’ll talk. Just please stop!”
Thankfully, he did stop, although he didn’t let her up yet. She was lying over his lap, trying to catch her breath, and he once again gently rubbed her back and bottom while she calmed down.
Mandy felt his strong arms wrap around her, and felt the gentle way he picked her up and sat her down on his lap. When he gently laid her head against his chest and started running his fingers through her hair, she lost all her resolve to be strong, and started crying again, although she wasn’t really sure why she was crying at this point. All she knew was she felt very safe and secure wrapped in his strong arms, and his voice was so soothing. He seemed so confident, so sure of himself, and that was somehow reassuring to her.
She leaned back and enjoyed the peaceful feeling she was suddenly experiencing. She didn’t understand it, but she was afraid to move, afraid she’d lose the magical feeling. He didn’t seem to be rushing her, and she was glad.
She gradually calmed and was so confused about her feelings, that she almost didn’t hear when he started talking to her again. “Mandy, are you ready to talk to me yet? I’d hate to have to start that spanking all over again, but I can.”
“No,” she quickly replied, “please don’t. I’ll talk to you now, but can I…” She trailed off, obviously wanting to ask him something, but not quite sure if she could.
“Can you what?”
“Can I stay here, in your arms?” she asked shyly, burying her head in his chest.
“I’d like that myself,” he admitted. “As long as you’ll talk to me now, we’ll keep you right where you are.” She cuddled up a little closer into his chest, and he leaned down and kissed the top of her head. “Now, tell me which is the real Mandy Meadows?”
She sighed, and hesitated a moment. He gave her some time, and she finally started what felt like a confession. “I’d like to say the one you met this afternoon is, but lately I’m not sure.”
Clint could tell this was not easy for her, and he waited patiently. Eventually she continued. “Lately I find myself losing my temper and snapping at people, like I did to you when I ran into you a few minutes ago, and I’m not really sure why. I mean—”
When she stopped again, Clint coaxed her on. “How do you feel when you snap at someone?”
She answered quickly, with no hesitation whatsoever. “I hate it. I just don’t know what comes over me.” She paused a minute, then started crying again, putting her face in her hands. “My life’s just a mess right now. Everything’s falling apart.”
Clint tightened his arms around her, trying to comfort her. “It’s okay, sweetie. We’ll figure it out together and get it fixed. It’ll be okay, you’ll see.”
Clint was surprised when Mandy seemed to study his eyes a few moments, then cuddled into his chest again. He was encouraged by the way she seemed to have accepted him, cuddling up to him like she was. He had been afraid the spanking would scare her away from him, but it seemed to have actually calmed her some. In fact, it seemed to have brought the sweet lady he met this afternoon back.
She felt so relaxed lying against him he wasn’t about to end it, so he just held her a few minutes. He studied her face while she sat there. She looked confused, bewildered, like a little lost puppy. Now he was sure something was wrong somewhere in her life, and he desperately wanted to help her fix it. Finally, he decided it was time to address the problem. “Mandy, something’s changed in your life, something that’s changed your behavior. Do you have a new job, have you had any traumatic events, lost a loved one or something?”
He waited a while to give her time to answer, but when none was forthcoming, he reached down and took her chin in his fingers and lifted it up so she was looking at him. “Mandy, we’ll fix it, but you have to talk to me. I’m not running away. Talk to me so we can get you back on track.”
He watched as she fought back tears and hid her face in his chest again before eventually answering. “But I don’t get it. Why would you care? Why would you want to help me after the way I’ve treated you?”
Clint pulled her chin up to look into her eyes again. “Maybe for the same reason you didn’t slap me in the face and run for the door after I spanked you; I don’t know. Listen, I already told you, Mandy, I enjoyed meeting you and talking this afternoon. I had already decided I was going to call you and see if you’d have dinner with me. I still want to have that dinner. I want to get to know you.”
He could tell she was considering what he’d said, but then she frowned and shook her head. “Yeah, right. You’re probably just saying that. I don’t deserve someone like you helping me. I think—”
“Hold it right there, young lady. One thing I will not stand for is you putting yourself down in any way. If I ever hear you do that, you’ll find yourself over my knee again, and really quickly. Do you understand me?”
Clint tried not to smile at the shocked look on Mandy’s face, or when she agreed immediately. He wanted to be sure there was no misunderstanding, so he reiterated what he’d said. “I’m not just saying that. One thing you’ll discover about me, Mandy, is I will not lie to you. I told you I planned on calling you, and I meant it. Here, I can show you my cell phone, if you want. I’ve programmed your number in already.” He made sure she saw her number in his phone.
He saw the surprised look on her face. “Like I said, I will not lie to you, and I’ll warn you right now, I will not permit you to lie to me anymore. That’s something else that will get you spanked really quickly.”
Mandy looked overwhelmed. Suddenly, it was like a dam burst. “Wait a minute. You’re telling me all these things you will and won’t do, or won’t allow me to do, like you’re going to be sticking around. Why would you—whoa, wait a minute. Were you just talking about spanking me again? Are you kidding? My butt still burns like crazy! I mean, I’ll admit, I feel more content and peaceful right now than I have in a long time, although I have no idea why, but you can’t seriously be thinking about spanking me again.”
As soon as she said that, she covered her mouth with her hand and her face turned red as she turned and looked to the side. “I can’t believe I said that out loud.” He felt her stiffen, and she dropped her eyes to the floor and tried to get out of his lap.
He couldn’t stop the smile that spread over his face while he tightened his grip on her, holding her firmly in his lap. He knew she’d just inadvertently let him have a little glimpse into her heart, and he was ecstatic to hear she felt content and peaceful. He didn’t want to embarrass her, though. He gently rubbed her back, holding her tightly, and spoke softly. “Mandy, thank you for talking to me. It seems to me you have a problem or two in your life right now, but I really do want to help you. And I’m really glad you feel content and peaceful. Let’s see if we can’t get you feeling that way all the time.”
He felt her relax a little, and he reached up and gently laid her head back against his chest. He was rubbing her back and smoothing her hair to help her relax while he held her in his arms. He kept talking to her softly, feeling her slowly relax against him. He waited until he believed she felt more at ease before speaking seriously again. “To answer your question, I do plan on sticking around. How else am I going to take you out to dinner and get to know you?”
She tentatively looked up at him and a small smile appeared. “Really?”
He smiled as he nodded. “Really.” But, as she rested her head against him again, he added, “I was also serious about spanking you again if I need to.”
Her head popped back up and she looked at him incredulously.
He remained calm as he explained further. “You have to understand, Mandy, that I intend to help you, but you have to work with me. I have to be able to trust you, trust what you’re telling me, so honesty is vitally important. I will never lie to you, and I can not and will not allow you to lie to me again.” He knew she was listening, so he forged ahead. “Do you understand, Mandy; if you lie to me again, you will be spanked again?”
“Wait, what do you mean again? What makes you think I’ve lied to you?” she insisted, with her hands on her hips.
“Whoa, little lady, calm down.” He chuckled. What a feisty little thing she was turning out to be. He took her hands off her hips and put them back on his chest where they had been. “Don’t get yourself so worked up, and watch your attitude. You apologized to me right after the accident and told me it was your fault, but that’s apparently not what you told the officer, is it?”
Mandy seemed to think for a moment, then dropped her head. When she seemed to realize he was waiting for an answer, she slowly shook her head. “No.”
“So you told me one thing and told the officer the exact opposite. Do you still want to get all huffy and put your hands on your hips defiantly and tell me you didn’t lie today?” She shrugged her shoulders, but didn’t say anything. Clint wasn’t going to allow her the luxury of not answering, however, since she’d questioned him. “Well, which is it; did you lie or did you not lie about the accident?”
Evidently realizing he wasn’t going to let her off, she shrugged again and spoke softly. “Yes, I lied. I’m sorry, Clint.”
Clint had been determined to make her admit she’d lied, but had no interest in pursuing it beyond that. He did not want to make her feel bad right now, just to admit her error. Having done that, he tried to encourage her. “Thank you for admitting that, Mandy. Now we can work to be sure it doesn’t happen again. So, getting back to any changes in your life, can you think of any?” She sighed, and he watched her facial expressions. “Tell me all of the recent changes, sweetie. We’ll sort it all out together.”
Clint watched Mandy closely. She had a look of confusion in her eyes. He was sure she was about to ask a question, but hesitated, and, ultimately, just sighed. She then took a deep breath, and recited her recent life’s changes. She explained how she wanted to be a writer, but just starting out, she couldn’t make a living at it, so she’d taken an office job to pay her bills. With the struggling economy, her company had not given any raises for two years. They were now cutting back on everyone’s hours. She had been cut to only twenty-eight to thirty hours a week. She’d cut back on expenses more and more, but was now having trouble paying her rent.
She had tears in her eyes at this point, and Clint pulled her closer to him, wrapping his arms around her again. “Have you been able to use any of your extra time to write more?”
She frowned, but answered. “I’ve tried, but I haven’t been able to sell much. Not as much as I need to, anyway. My writing hasn’t been very good lately, so I’m not surprised when I get a rejection letter any more. It’s just another one of my failures.”
Clint immediately flipped her over his knee and gave her bottom half a dozen solid swats. He stopped spanking, but held her there while he addressed her in a calm manner. “Do you want to put yourself down some more, or are you done now?”
Mandy struggled to get her breath back. He realized he had her over his knees before she even knew what was happening. As soon as she could catch her breath, she managed to answer, but only in a whisper. “No, I’m done now, thank you.”
Clint chuckled and smiled. “Good, I’m glad to hear that.” He gently pulled her back up onto his lap and back into his arms. He held her while she calmed, waiting until she was breathing better before he went back to addressing her problem. “I assume you’ve looked for a better job, but haven’t found anything?”
She nodded. “There’s just nothing out there right now.”
He nodded, then changed directions. “So, why did you blame the accident on me?” He could see she was upset at the question, so he patiently waited for her answer. She opened her mouth, but apparently changed her mind. After doing this a couple times, he tried to encourage her. “You can tell me, really.”
Finally, she looked up at him with a helpless puppy dog face. “I don’t know how to tell you without ending up with a sore butt again. It already hurts really bad.”
He had to chuckle. “We all make mistakes, and you can tell me about yours. I just don’t want to hear you putting yourself down, like calling yourself a failure. Does that help?”
He watched her think for a few moments before nodding slowly. “Yeah, I guess it does. Okay, so how do I explain this? I’ve made more than one or two mistakes driving lately, and I was a little concerned about—”
When she hesitated, he tried to help. “You’ve been driving carelessly and are worried about insurance premiums going up, getting too many points on your license and having it suspended?”
“It sure sounds worse when you say it.”
“Which of those things is more of a concern? The higher insurance rates, or losing your license for a while?”
“Well, losing my license would be devastating. But with my hours being cut, money’s already terrifically tight. I don’t know how I’d ever be able to pay the premiums.”
Clint just nodded. “Mandy, I saw several bags from the mall and a new television set in your car today. Why does it look like you went on a shopping spree if you’re having financial problems?” He watched her face and saw a streak of guilt. When she hung her head and didn’t answer, he slid his hand down and patted her bottom. “We’ll come back to that later when we set up your budget. Is your rent current, or are you on the verge of being homeless?”
“It’s paid up until the first of the month. I could have a problem then, though.”