|Your cart is currently empty|
Penelope Frost can take care of herself. A popular, successful photographer with a smart mouth and a hot temper, she’s learned the hard way not to rely on a man. Her ex, a man she thought she could trust with her innermost desires, abused more than her trust. Eventually, she puts that behind her and begins dating again, focusing her attention on safer, less controlling men. But even if she won’t admit it to herself, she still craves the attention of a dominant man.
When her friend Elisa finally convinces her to go on a blind date, Penelope meets Eric Calloway. Despite the promises she’s made to herself, she can’t ignore the desires he brings to the surface. The ultimate stereotype of tall, dark, and handsome, Eric is also the perfect balance of dominant and understanding. She reluctantly gives in to his advances, and they start slow, with Eric letting her set the boundaries. He is determined to help her embrace who she really is. Deep down.
When her dangerous ex realizes that he has no power over Penny anymore, that she has finally moved on, he is not happy. To what lengths will he go to reassert his hold over her?
To heal, Penny must first learn to trust again, but it won’t be easy. Can Eric’s patience hold while Penny finds her way back to her true self?
Publisher’s Note: This steamy romance contains explicitly described love scenes between a dominant man and submissive woman.
Leaning back against the bar, Eric Calloway took a long, slow pull of his beer as he looked around the restaurant. He was supposed to be meeting his buddy, Paul, for a double date. He snorted loudly, earning him a reproachful look from the woman two seats down at the bar. By way of apology, he tipped his beer bottle towards her and grinned.
A blind double date. What had he been thinking? You were thinking that it’s been too long since you had a woman over your knees , he reminded himself. Having friends that shared his interests sometimes came in handy. Paul, or rather Paul’s sweet, bubbly wife Elisa, had been picking at him for months to meet her friend, Penelope.
Glancing back towards the front door, he spotted Paul holding the door open for a gaggle of older ladies. He couldn’t quite hide his smirk as the women smiled flirtatiously and giggled as they walked by. He could practically hear them cooing over him. “Oh, what a sweet young man. His mama raised him right.” If they only knew.
Directly behind the gaggle was Elisa, doing her own exaggerated impression of the ladies who had so shamelessly fawned over her husband. Paul leaned down and whispered something in her ear that caused her to blush a pretty shade of pink as she shook her head vehemently. From across the room, he saw her mouth form the words “No, sir.” Something that he didn’t quite recognize as jealousy twisted in his gut.
Then she walked in and even the remnants of jealousy quickly fled. Tall, possibly as tall as his own six feet with the heels she strode in on, she was a knockout. Dark brown hair with hints of red and gold woven throughout bounced in wild curls around her face. And oh man, what a face it was. If he was the type of man to use phrases like porcelain skin, that was exactly how he’d describe her. When she turned her head and pinned him with wide, expressive eyes, he couldn’t make out their color but he could see the challenge in them. Pushing away from the bar, he kept his gaze locked on hers as he made his way over to them. Much to his surprise and delight, the haughty challenge never wavered and she didn’t look away.
“Hello, gorgeous.” Amusement joined the challenge in her eyes—he could see that they were a sea glass green now that he was up close and personal—and her mouth tilted up in a slow smile of feminine appreciation.
Before she could answer, Elisa practically squealed with excitement. “Eric! You’re here!” She threw her arms around him and squeezed. Pulling away, she grinned up at him. “I see you’ve met Penelope. Penny, Eric. Eric, Penny.”
“Nice to meet you, Penny.” When she slid her hand into his offered one, he felt himself stiffen at the softness of her skin. Surprise flitted over her features when he lifted her hand and pressed a gentle kiss to her knuckles in lieu of the more formal handshake she’d obviously been expecting. “It must be my lucky night,” he quipped with a wink.
She rolled those clear green eyes and it was all he could do to not pull her across his knees right there in the little waiting area of the restaurant. Instead, they turned to follow the hostess, and he contented himself with the vision of her high, round backside encased in snug denim. Thank you, Elisa.
Penelope Frost studied her date for the evening from across the table as he chatted with Paul and Elisa. She had begged, wheedled, and tried to bribe her way out of the evening, but Elisa was having none of it. Her tiny bestie had laid on a guilt trip that would have made any Catholic mother proud and in the end, Penny had agreed. If nothing else, she could have one night of fun before returning to her self-imposed hiatus from dominant, and domineering, men.
“So, Penny, what do you do for a living?”
Eric turned slightly and pinned her with those deep brown eyes again. Who knew brown eyes could be so incredibly sexy? But then, there was little about her date that wasn’t. He stood an inch or so taller than her in the four inch heels she was currently torturing herself with, and being eye to eye with him was definitely not a hardship. He was more filled out than Paul, who had a lean, runner’s body. She could picture Eric on the cover of a calendar full of half-naked firemen or running down opponents on the football field. His nose was slightly crooked, making her wonder if he’d broken it at some point, but the slight flaw only increased his appeal.
Before she could answer his question, Elisa chimed in. “Penny is the world’s best photographer. Seriously, she’s incredible. I wanted her to do our wedding but…” she trailed off, shooting Penny an apologetic glance. Penny groaned inwardly and prayed Eric wouldn’t voice the confusion written on his face.
“Best in the world might be stretching things. Certainly the best in a hundred-mile radius,” she joked, hoping to distract from the awkward moment.
“What’s your favorite thing to photograph?” Eric asked, his genuine interest in her work chipping away at her resistance towards the evening and towards him.
“Newborns. They’re so tiny and they basically just sleep through the whole thing. And I get some great shots when they end up peeing all over the person holding them,” she added with a grin.
Eric looked surprised for a moment and then let out a deep belly laugh. “You’ll have to show me some of those one day. I bet they’re incredible.”
“Well, let’s see how this date goes and then we can talk about showing you my etchings,” she replied with a wink, eliciting yet another deep laugh. “Elisa tells me you own your own business?”
“That I do. I own a few small sporting goods stores, and I also have a few people who work for me giving private coaching lessons.”
Oh God. Not a jock. She prayed for strength. “Oh wow, that’s really impressive. What sports do you coach?”
“I have a few people on staff for football, one each for baseball and softball and another for golf. We’re looking to branch out into tennis and lacrosse soon, but I haven’t found anyone I trust for those positions as of yet.”
“I have a niece who plays softball. She’s pretty good. You should give me your business card to pass on to my brother.”
“Of course.” Eric smiled at her, the simple gesture causing butterflies to dance in her stomach.
Eric struggled to concentrate on the conversation at the table throughout the evening. Penelope was watching him with a look in her eye that had him ready to take her right there on the table. Elisa had told him that she was perfect for him, and he was finding it hard to disagree at the moment. While he wanted someone he could turn over his knee whenever he wanted, he also loved a woman who stood up to him and looked him in the eye. So far, he was getting all of that with the brunette bombshell sitting across from him.
So what was the catch?
The next day, a bouquet of wild flowers arrived at Penny’s apartment. The accompanying note said: Hey beautiful! Saw these and thought of you. Can I take you out Saturday night? Call me ;)
Penny paced her apartment, reading and rereading the note. She had enjoyed their date, but she’d promised herself it was a one-time thing. On the other hand, she had this itch she couldn’t seem to scratch, and here she had a man who presumably knew the ropes who could help her fill that need, even if it was only for a night. Or two. Maybe.
Annoyed with herself, she picked up the phone and dialed the number Eric had punched in the night before. “Saturday works for me. Pick me up at seven?” she said when he answered.
“Wait, who is this? Jolene?” The teasing voice that came through the phone had her laughing in spite of herself.
“Jolene can take herself out. You sent me flowers, so I’m letting you buy me dinner, too.”
“Sounds like a plan. I’ll see you Saturday, then.”
Saturday rolled around and Penny was busy pulling every outfit she owned out of her closet and trying it on. She finally settled on a pair of jeans that hugged her ample curves in a way she knew could stop traffic, and the teal sweater her mother had given her last year for Christmas. Just as she was putting the finishing touches on her makeup, there was a knock on the door. Sliding into her favorite pair of red patent leather pumps, she took a deep breath and answered the door.
The low wolf whistle Eric let out when he saw her made every moment of preparation worth it. “I owe Elisa so big,” he said, grinning at her.
“Oh you have no idea,” she purred, closing the door to the apartment behind her. Eric offered his arm with an exaggerated gesture that made her giggle and they made their way to the parking lot.
They stopped in front of a snazzy, red, two-seater and Penny couldn’t stop the laugh that bubbled up in her throat. Eric just grinned and shrugged. “Everyone needs a vice, right? Fast cars happen to be mine. Well, one of them.” The look he sent her flooded her pussy with heat. He held the door open for her and she slid in, admiring the interior of the sexy little car.
“So where are we going for dinner? I could eat a horse. I was so wrapped up in finishing this wedding I shot a few weeks ago, I don’t think I’ve eaten anything,” she laughed.
For a moment, Eric looked like he wanted to say something, but the moment passed and he shot her a cocky grin. “What are your feelings on Indian food?”
Penny wrinkled her nose. “I love it but there’s nowhere around here to get good Indian. Has it slipped your mind we live in the backwoods of Tennessee?” Backwoods may have been exaggerating a bit seeing as how they were within driving distance of Knoxville, but still.
“I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised,” he responded cryptically.
By the time they pulled up in front of the restaurant, she was beyond curious. When they walked in, she was immediately taken in by the scents permeating the air.
“Oh my God,” she groaned. “Real Indian food. It smells amazing. I haven’t had any since I was in New York.” Eric pulled a chair out for her when they reached the table, charming her further.
“You lived in New York?” he asked as they settled in.
“For about a month. I have a cousin who moved there years ago and she let me crash there for a while after my junior year of college. Have you ever been?”
“Once, for a few days at a sporting goods convention. It was fun, for a short time. But I don’t think I could live there.”
Penny grinned. “I wanted to, but this is home. I missed my family like crazy when I was there. And I wouldn’t give up the life I have here for all the bagels in New York. I don’t think I would be as fulfilled with my work there. I love the intimacy of the south, even with perfect strangers.”
The waiter came and took their orders and brought them the wine Eric requested. Penny mused as she studied him. More to you than just the good ole boy jock, isn’t there? When the waiter left, Penny leaned forward conspiratorially, prompting Eric to mirror her.
“So. How did you realize you enjoy turning women over your knee and paddling their backsides?” she asked.
If Eric was taken aback by the question, he did a good job of hiding it. “I think it was something I always knew. I’ve had an itchy palm since I decided I wanted to get my hands on Susie Palmer in sixth grade,” he grinned. “I didn’t really do much about it until high school, when the same Susie Palmer placed herself over my lap in the back of my pickup truck when we were sixteen. And you?”
Penny shrugged. “The usual. Watching Ricky turn Lucy over his knee while watching late night reruns set me off, even before I really knew what it meant. I experimented some in high school and then a lot in college. I’d like you to spank me tonight,” she added, taking a casual sip of her wine.
This time she was rewarded with a single raised eyebrow. “I would very much enjoy that. Any preferences?”
She took another fortifying sip. “Leather. Belt, tawse, certain whips. I have a variety at my place.” Her heart was hammering now, but she refused to let him see her nerves. For one night, she was going to take what she wanted. She was going to put aside her fear and live.
“I can definitely get on board with that. Are you sure about this? I’m in no hurry if you want to take things slow.”
Penny shrugged, hoping the gesture came off as nonchalant. “Elisa and Paul are my oldest friends and they’ve known you for years. I trust them, so I trust you.” Well, trust may have been a strong word, but it was close enough for one night.
“Okay then. That’s good enough for me.”
Back in Eric’s little red car, they flew down the interstate towards her apartment. Penny lightly ran her hand up and down his thigh, delighted by the warning growl he gave her. It had been so long since she’d really let loose and enjoyed herself with a man.
Eric risked a glance in her direction and caught her smug smile. “Little girls who tease get their backsides paddled,” he warned.
Oh yes. Please. Penny slid her hand higher up his thigh until she reached the bulge in his pants. “A spanking? Me?” she asked with feigned innocence.
Eric barked out a laugh. “If anyone has ever deserved a spanking, it’s you, my bad little Penny.” He pulled into her parking lot and threw the car in park, reaching for her.
“If you want to spank me, you’ll have to catch me,” Penny teased. With a loud whoop, she threw open the door and raced towards the front door of her building.
For a moment, Eric could only stare at her retreating backside. At some point during the ride, the little minx had slipped off her heels and was now running barefoot across the parking lot. Pulling the keys out of the ignition, he took off after her. Unfortunately for her, his years of training paid off and he caught her just as she was unlocking the front door. Scooping her up, he threw her over his shoulder, smacking her denim clad bottom as he walked down the hall towards the elevators.
Eric pushed the button for five and took a step back. “Now, how am I going to spank my bad Penny when we get to her apartment?” he wondered aloud.
“You wouldn’t use your belt on me for such a little thing, would you?” The breathy quality of her voice told him that was exactly what she wanted.
“Oh, I think the belt is perfect. You were a very naughty little girl.”
He felt her sigh over his shoulder. “If that’s what you think is best.”
Eric grinned as the doors opened on her floor. He was going to send Elisa the biggest bouquet of roses he could get his hands on in the morning.