Please welcome Ruth Staunton to my blog today! She's here with an excerpt from Unexpected Surprises, her story that appears in Love in the Rockies: A Corbin's Bend Valentine's Day Collection along with stories by Constance Masters, Kate Richards, Kathryn R. Blake, Etta Stark, and Thianna D.
In Corbin's Bend Valentine's Day isn't always hearts and flowers...
Unexpected Surprises excerpt:
Lainie told a little lie, which started off their Valentine’s Day celebration on the wrong foot. Now that the spanking portion of the evening is over…
Grant watched the Lainie disappear into the bathroom. When the door clicked softly shut behind her, he exhaled heavily, running his hands through his hair. That was horrible. He knew it was what needed to be done. He wouldn’t hesitate to do it again if he needed to, but he hated making her cry like that. Even knowing that she deserved every bit of the spanking she got, it twisted him in knots to know that he was the source of her tears. He was beyond glad that it was over. Now he was going to do everything he could to salvage what was left of this night.
He took the paddle back into the office and put it away. That part was over. He wanted it behind them, not still lying around where both of them would think of it every time their eyes fell on it. Coming back into the kitchen, he washed his hands and set the table back to rights. Then he took their food out of the oven, carefully unwrapped the carryout containers Matt had packaged them in and plated them up carefully, trying fervently to remember what Matt had told him about presentation. It probably wouldn’t matter at this point, but he still wanted to make it special if he could. He set them out carefully in their appropriate places on the table, taking special care with the delicate dishware. He added the wine he had left chilling, filling both their glasses. Heaven knew they both needed to relax and calm down. There had been quite enough emotional upheaval. Finally, he lit the candles in the center of the table and killed the overhead lights.
The candles were flickering merrily, glinting off their wine glasses and Lainie’s grandmother’s good china. Lainie paused in the doorway. Her eyes were still bloodshot and swollen, and her face was blotchy, but she was mesmerized. “It’s beautiful,” she said softly.
He crossed over to her and kissed her gently. “So are you.”
Lainie snorted. “I’m a mess.”
“Not to me,” Grant insisted. He tilted her chin up, dropping small kisses on both eyes and then her nose before claiming her mouth with his. It wasn’t a gentle kiss. He wasn’t sure he could’ve been gentle if he wanted to be. It was demanding, possessing. She was his, and he meant to make damn sure she knew it, marking her with his mouth every bit as much as the paddle had.
They were both breathless when he broke away. He ran his tongue over his lips, tasting the mint of her mouth wash, the slightly fruity tang of the lipgloss she favored, the slightest hint of salt from the tears that had dried on her face, and underneath it all, the unique and indescribable flavor that was simply Lainie. “Even like this you’re beautiful to me,” he went on when they had both caught their breath. He ran a finger gently down her cheek, tracing the path where the tears had been. “There’s so much trust in this, knowing that you’ll submit to me even when it’s something neither of us really want to do, even when you know it’s going to hurt. The fact that you give me that, it’s amazing. There’s nothing ugly about these tears.”
Lainie lowered her eyes, blushing like a schoolgirl. It was so cute he wanted to gather her up in his arms and cuddle her. Knowing where that was likely to lead, he resisted the temptation. Instead, he guided her over to the table and pulled out her chair for her. Lainie hesitated, clearly not at all keen to sit on an unforgiving wooden chair only minutes after a close encounter with a paddle. Grant sympathized, he really did, but to his way of thinking that was part of the consequences. He wasn’t yet prepared to alleviate them. In might not be pleasant, but it would be a pointed and poignant reminder. If that meant they didn’t have to go through this again anytime soon, he was all for it.
Lainie cast him one long pleading look. When he didn’t grant her a reprieve, she sighed heavily and lowered herself gingerly into the chair. She whimpered, drawing one leg up under her to help keep her backside off the seat. Not without sympathy, Grant let that go without comment and carefully pushed her chair in for her.
“This looks wonderful,” Lainie said, indicating the food.
“I’m sure it will be,” Grant said. “I’ve never had anything Matt made that wasn’t. At any rate, it will be worlds away from anything I could’ve done. I figure that’s one of the perks of having a good friend who is a chef.” He glanced over at her with a wry grin.
“It does have its advantages,” Lainie agreed, tasting her wine. “I happen to know you can cook though. I remember when you still did it regularly.”
“I can grill,” Grant corrected. “That’s different. If it had been in the summer I would have been glad to demonstrate my skill, but grilling isn’t exactly compatible with February in Colorado.” That was one of the things he missed about living in North Carolina. There he had been able to grill nearly year-round except for during a few scattered cold and snowy periods. That one regret paled in comparison to what they had found in Corbin’s Bend, however. He wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Unexpected Surprises blurb:
For their first Valentine's Day in Corbin's Bend, Grant Taylor is determined to do something special for his wife Lainie. Lainie,however, has plans of her own. As a middle school teacher, she has volunteered to help plan and chaperone the Valentine dance that is being held for the middle and high school students.
When Grant hears this, he insists that she is working too hard and needs to cut back on the things she has committed to, the first and foremost being the Valentine's Day dance. Lainie insists that she can't do that and finally he reluctantly agrees to let her work part of the dance and then come home.
Under extreme protest, Lainie agrees, but when the time comes to admit to her supervisor that she can't chaperone, she changes her mind and decides Grant is being unreasonable. She determines to chaperone the dance anyway and deal with Grant later. Unfortunately, Lainie's plan doesn't work out quite like she intended it to and she is in for quite a few unexpected surprises.
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