Anneka’s Atonement

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Sample Chapter

Anneka Chalmers is British, blonde and beautiful. At forty, she was on top of the world. She’s sold two major paintings and had contracts for more. But three years later, she’s in trouble and can’t see her way out. While she is bursting with ideas, nothing takes form when she tries to paint. She’s spent her advance, and is about to go home to her parents when her brother, Calum, asks her to come visit him in New Jersey. She accepts, hoping he’ll have some ideas. And Calum does have a solution. It involves another artist: handsome Luke Stobe, half Italian, half Puerto Rican and adopted All-American. He’s got some ideas for her concentration problems, and they involve a paddle, his competent hands and her derriere.

Luke’s devoted attention to her backside may solve one of her problems, but there is another. Somehow she’s lost her heart to this attractive man, and he’s twelve years her junior.
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Sample Chapter

Chapter One

"You’ve set me up on a blind date?" Anneka Chalmer asked her brother, Calum, as they drove away from the train station through the bright chilly mid-May late afternoon. "I don’t believe how American you have become."

"Relax." Calum laughed. "Luke is about ten years younger than you. I just invited you so he’d had someone to talk to. He’s an artist, too. When I told him that Polly and I were going into New York to see the Crumb’s exhibit, he asked if he could tag along. Polly and I will be too absorbed in each other to give poor Luke the time of day."

"Well, I do want to meet your new girlfriend, but I’d think that after two months or so you’d have stopped making goo-goo eyes at each other," Anneka admitted, pulling her thick silver streaked, gold braid free from where it was trapped between her back and the seat, and over her shoulder, where it hung to her waist. "And I was hoping that when I came to visit you this time we’d do touristy things. But won’t Polly have her children with her?"

"They are spending the weekend with their father," Calum explained. "And really, they are well behaved."

"It’s not that. I just thought that she’d be busy looking after them, and you and this Luke person would chat, and I’d be the wallflower."

Calum laughed again. "My dear Annie, whatever else you are, you are not a wallflower."

"Even at forty-three?" Anneka couldn’t help teasing her brother.

"You have never looked lovelier. Remember, you were a gawky teenager. You didn’t really start blooming until you were thirty."

"There is no one like a brother to tell you the truth," Anneka said huffily. "I won’t mention that you had spots when you were twenty."

"Did not!"

Anneka refrained from smirking. She was not going to start squabbling with her brother as if he were five and she was three again. Truth to tell, she could not remember when Calum had outgrown his pimples. "Tell me about Luke’s work."

"He creates kinesthetic sculpture. He’s very secretive about his work. I share studio space with him in his barn, and aside from the fact that birds are involved, I have no idea what his latest piece is."

"What happened to the space at the MMA place? Where that girl so rudely hung up on me."

"Oh, that. It didn’t work out." Calum changed lanes, then changed back again.

"I can imagine. And I’m being a bad auntie. How are Alec and Will?"

"Last I heard, thriving. I used to keep track of them via their Facebook pages, but this last year or so, they’ve decided it’s pass?. I don’t know what they do for social media now."

"That makes me feel old."

"Annie, is something wrong? That’s the second reference you’ve made to being old."

"No. Yes. I’m still not working on my art. That contract for the other four paintings is hanging over me. What if I turn fifty, and I haven’t painted again? I’ll have defaulted on the advance I’ve already spent!"

"Well, that gives you a seven year deadline to get going again."

"Oh, humph. I’m going to see if I can have a little rest before we get to your flat."

"Of course."

Anneka closed her eyes and tried to drift away. Rather than continue this unsatisfactory conversation with Calum, she feigned sleep, but really her mind kept churning up ideas for painting and rejecting them, just as it had since her big sale several years ago. But she wondered why Calum had been so insistent she come for this visit.

"We’re here."

Somehow, Anneka had fallen asleep on the drive. "Oh, I feel as if a thousand camels bivouacked in my mouth." She rubbed at her eyes.

"As soon as we are inside I’ll make you a nice cup of tea."

"Glad to see you are still British," Anneka said as she hauled herself out of the car "I’ll take one of the bags, if you can manage the other two. If not, I’ll make a second pass."

"No worries, I have them. Let me go first; I have the key."

"Right."

As soon as Calum opened the door, Anneka pushed passed him and flopped on the chesterfield. "I am so sorry, but I can not move. I really don’t travel well, even when it’s just a short jaunt from Boston. And yesterday was hell, writing a couple of recommendations for people applying for jobs, getting in my grades. The train was horrible; I had to stand once I changed in New York. This is worse than jet lag. I don’t think I got to bed before three am, and then, rather than a leisurely trip into the train station after packing, I had to run around the college. I barely made my train. And I think I am rambling."

"As soon as you have drunk your tea and had something to eat you must go to bed." Calum stepped over the bag she had dropped and went to put on the kettle.

"Speaking of sleeping, Calum, I’m really not happy about putting you out of your bed. I can sleep out here. I don’t think this chesterfield is long enough for you."

"Annie, your choice. You take the bed or I book a hotel room for you."

"I don’t want you to spend the money, and I can’t afford it."

"Then you take the bed. Do you want a ham sandwich?"

"Heavenly."

As she ate and drank Anneka tried to focus on explaining how much better their father was doing after his stroke five months ago. She’d been in Wales just the past month. Phrases like "Increased hand strength?" and "…limited range of motion improving…" tripped off her tongue.

Calum grinned at her. "Can he smile with both sides of his face again?" he asked.

Anneka had to laugh. Their father had shown a side they hadn’t known existed. He was vain and he’d refused to go outside when half his face wouldn’t move with the other half of his face.

"Well, yes and no. It’s less noticeable now, but that’s because he’s learned to hold the left side of his face stiffly to match the right side. His left leg is moving better and the doctor ordered him to walk every day with Mum out in the streets. Dad tried to go to the orchard, instead, and of course, fell. On the soft grass, fortunately. Dr. Reese told him off comprehensively and Dad’s started to walk in the village."

"What about work?"

"Well, he’s working. Audrey and Mary have to keep reviewing and fixing it. He doesn’t have the concentration back yet. And it looks like some of the mathematical skills are gone. Dr. Reese thinks they will become available to him again, though."

She suddenly yawned and blinked hard. Calum laughed and said, "Bed!" and pointed the way. She stumbled into the bedroom and collapsed on the king-sized bed. She was vaguely aware of her brother, chuckling to himself, as he pulled off her boots and took a blanket from the closet to cover her.

***

Anneka awoke in a panic, with no idea where she was. Then she realized the room was lit by early morning sunlight streaming through the gaps in the curtains. She was in her brother’s flat in New Jersey, and later today she was going to meet his new girlfriend. The first one he had actually called home just to say that he was going out with someone since the divorce. She stretched luxuriously, then climbed out of the huge bed and went to where Calum had left her bags by the door. She pulled out black leggings and a tunic in a luscious silk print. The peacock feathers on a sage green background had been just the thing for her coloring and she’d kept the design of the tunic simple, to highlight the artistry of the print. She hurried into the bathroom and washed up and followed her nose to the scrambled eggs Calum was just finishing cooking.

"What time is it?" she asked.

?"It’s tomorrow," he said with a laugh.

"Yes. I gathered that. I asked what time. Can I set the table?"

"Cutlery’s in this drawer." He tapped the one next to him. "So, feel up to New York City today? And it’s seven am."

"I feel up to anything! Except painting," she added darkly.

"You know, Annie, I have an idea that might help you. I’ve been rather worried at your drifting like you’ve been doing." Calum slid the eggs onto her plate and added two pieces of toast, then pushed the butter dish over.

"You do? What?"

"It’s still percolating, I’m working on some of the permutations. I’ll tell you later."

"What?" Anneka persisted, but the look on Calum’s face told her she never pry it out of him until he was ready to tell her.

"As soon as we finish breakfast we need to go to Polly’s. We’re taking her minivan into the city. Luke is meeting us at Polly’s and we’ll drive in together and have lunch before we take in the Crumb exhibition. Early supper?Americans eat before the show?and we go to ‘Les Miserables.’"

"That’s quite a day you have planned." Anneka finished her breakfast. "Do I have time for a second cup of tea?"

"If you are quick. It’s part of Polly’s birthday treat."

"Wouldn’t you rather spend time alone together? You’ve only been going out two months."

"Well, it’s more like four. I’ve known her since November, and we started to date in January and it’s April now. But we are going to have dinner, just the two of us, on her actual birthday which is Wednesday week. And then on the Saturday after, lunch with her children and mother-in-law."

"And her husband?" Anneka asked archly.

"Her ex-mother-in-law. She’s divorced."

"Friendly sort of thing, like you and Chessie?"

"Not really, but Sharon, the mother-in-law is a treasure, and stood by her wronged daughter-in-law and grandchildren. Come on, get that tea down you."

***

When Anneka had imagined Polly, she’d expected a tall woman in towering heels and haute couture. But the woman who hurried out of the house to meet them was tiny. She was wearing a nice pair of loden green wool slacks, with a cream blouse and a green and chestnut patterned argyle vest over it. The neat half boots with their kitten heels looked supremely comfortable for wandering around a gallery, and yet nice enough for the theater. She had lovely dark red hair in riotous curls, and a generous, happy smile dimpling her freckled cheeks. "So glad to meet you," she told Anneka as she hugged her.

"Naughty Calum hasn’t told me nearly enough about you," Anneka said. "I’m looking forward to getting to know you."

"And I, you," Polly replied.

"And Calum," she continued, looking past Anneka. "I had the best visit at the hospital yesterday. You know how it kept being put off and put off, until I thought they really didn’t want me for the position of librarian? I can’t wait to tell you all about it. But first you need to back your car out so I can get the van out of the garage. Once I have it on the street, you can put your car in there if you like."

"I’ll park the car on the street," Anneka offered. "That way you can tell Calum all about it. I can see you are bursting. And then you can tell me."

"Thanks."

Calum tossed her the keys. Anneka pulled the seat forward. She was five seven, unlike her much taller brother who topped six four. She adjusted the driving mirror. She had never been in a left hand drive car before. In Boston, working on her green card, public transit had been perfect for her use. It was odd to be doing everything with the wrong hand and foot, but she started the car, backed it down the drive, and braked at the street. She looked right, left, right again in the mirror and started to back out, turning as she did.

There was a screech of brakes, a squeal of tires, and then a thump and the car hopped and shook. Moving automatically Anneka turned off the engine and leapt out of the car, running around to the back. She saw a motorcycle on its side, wheels spinning, and a figure sprawled on the curb. Stay calm, she told herself. The rider was a man, dressed in black leathers, still wearing his helmet, gasping for breath. She could see no blood. "Lie still," she told him. "I’m going to call 9-9-9."

"It’s 9-1-1," he said in a choked voice. "And I’m fine."

"Stay still. You could have ruptured your spleen."

"Are you a doctor?" A hand came up to push the helmet away.

"Don’t do that," Anneka snapped. "You could have a broken neck. And my mother is."

"I think I’d know if I had a broken neck. But what the hell did you think you were doing, lady? If I hadn’t ditched the bike, you’d have run into me."

"That doesn’t change the fact you need to lie still. People don’t know when their neck is compromised. It can take up to seventy two hours for the symptoms to show up."

"I’ll make a deal with you, lady. I’ll lie still and let you call the paramedics if you agree to answer to me later for your careless driving."

"Of course. Anything. Just don’t move."

It was hard to see if he was bleeding as he was dressed head to toe in black leather, but if he could talk that clearly and that easily, his breathing and airways were not badly compromised.

"Can you at least open my visor so I can see who tried to run me down?" he asked sarcastically.

"All right." Careful not to jar his head, Anneka lifted the visor. She looked down into a pair of warm hazel eyes. She had the impression of dark eyebrows, olive skin. He gasped a short intake of breath, with a sound like he had been winded and then said, "You are the one!" He closed his eyes.

The words made no sense. Anneka wondered how badly he had been knocked on the head. "Don’t move!" she repeated, and bolted from Polly’s house, taking the three front steps in a single bound. "Calum," she called as she threw open the front door. "Call an ambulance. There’s a man outside come off his motorbike. I need a blanket for him. And you come sit on him so he won’t keep trying to move!"

"Luke!" Calum rushed passed her as Polly lifted the handset of the landline. Anneka took a rug off the chesterfield and hurried after him.

The man hadn’t moved. She could hear his voice, "?don’t care if she is your sister; she’s a menace. And I’m going to teach her a lesson."

"Funny you should mention that," Calum said, then looked up as Anneka approached and put the blanket over the man. "I see you’ve met Luke," he said to her drily.

It turned into a very long day. The police and first responders arrived. Eventually, Anneka was given a ticket and Luke was loaded into the ambulance, strapped to a backboard, over his strenuous protests. Calum went with him, riding shotgun. Once the police finished their report, they obligingly dragged the damaged motorbike into Polly’s garage.

"Come inside," Polly said to Anneka as the police finally pulled away and the neighbors wandered off on their own concerns once more.

Anneka looked after the departing police car. She remembered Luke looking up at her and the words, "you are the one" echoed in her head. The one what? How very odd.

"Calum has taught me to make a decent cup of tea."

Anneka shook off her distraction and smiled down at Polly. "Thank you. I confess I’m a bit shaken."

"Let’s sit in the kitchen and have some tea. It’s nearly ten now. I don’t expect we’ll see the men much before two."

"Is Casualty likely to be crowded?"

"Casualty?" asked Polly, running water into the kettle and setting it on the stove.

Anneka took a seat at the kitchen table. It had blue onion placements at the six places, and a pink hyacinth past its best in a hand painted pot with ‘I love you Mom’ in stenciled lettering on it in pride of place in the center of the table. "You call it the emergency department, I think," she ventured.

"Yes, we do. He’ll need a CAT scan I expect, or x-rays. I know from experience with my children that they are always slow on the weekends."

"Perhaps having Calum there will help. He is employed as their photographer."

Polly shook her head. "The hospital is part of an enormous health complex in this state. They’re attached to Rutgers Medical School. Any try at nepotism in the ED would be severely frowned on. It’s all triage and order of arrival."

She fiddled at the counter and stove for some minutes as Anneka relaxed in the cheerful atmosphere. "I’m going to make myself some coffee," Polly said. "And I have chocolate cake. It’s good to have something sweet after a shock."

"I think we are going to be friends," Anneka said impulsively.

"I hope so. I’m predisposed to like you, you know. You look a lot like your brother, though your eyes are a? warmer blue. His are so dark and romantic! And you sound so alike. That subtle Lowlander accent. It’s very attractive. I’m very fond of your brother. In fact, I love him. And, yes, I have told him so."

"Good, because if you hadn’t, I’d have given it away. I know he’s smitten with you, and I so want him to be happy."

"So do I." Polly poured boiling water into a rose covered teapot and set it before Anneka, then added a matching cup and saucer, the milk jug, a sugar bowl and spoon. "Have I forgotten anything? Calum gave me a tea set as a late Christmas present. He said it was a self-interested present, and also gave me a very nice gift card for Amazon."

"You have remembered everything. And that sounds very like Calum. He likes his creature comforts. And his books. I can’t imagine him forming a relationship with a woman who didn’t read. So, do you want to know all the dreadful things he did as a little boy?"

"Of course."

They both laughed.

"The very worst thing he ever did was to put frog spawn into our brother Lars’ tapioca pudding. He was paying Lars back for something, I can’t remember what."

"Oh, gross. I need some cake to get the imaginary taste out of my mouth." Polly cut them each a generous slice.

"This is delicious. I love the mousse filling and the mocha icing. Did you bake it?"

"Yes. Thank you." Polly beamed with pleasure. "Do Lars and Calum get on now?"

"Very well. As boys, five years was an insurmountable gap. At forty-five and fifty, it’s nothing. By the way, do you know how old Luke is?"

"Thirty one. He just had a birthday. Why?"

"Well, I have this strange feeling that Calum is up to something. He arranged this day out together, and then this morning he was going to tell me something, but suddenly went poker faced. And then just now, when I pulled up his visor, the first thing Luke said was, you are the one; it was eerie. I thought he was concussed, but now I’m wondering. What is going on? Calum can’t be trying to set me up with a man twelve years my junior, can he? Do you think Calum talked about me? Built me up as some sort of wonder woman, and neglected to mention that I’m older, by a lot, than this Luke is?"

"Oh, that."

"Oh, what?" Anneka scraped the last bit of icing off her plate and looked quizzically at her hostess.

"I’ll let Calum tell you."

"You are blushing."

"Yes," Polly said matter of factly. "Redheads do that."

"Oh, phooey, you aren’t going to tell me anything, are you? Well, tell me how you and Calum met. I doubt there is anything in that to make you blush."

Polly choked on a sip of coffee. "Through mutual friends," she spluttered.

"Are you all right? Do you need some water?"

"No, no. I’m fine. Just went down the wrong pipe." Polly grabbed a tissue of the counter and dabbed her eyes. "Tell me about you. I take it you aren’t married or you wouldn’t think your brother was setting you up."

"Single. Never had a serious relationship. Something about seeing your adored brother married and trying to cope with two children under two by the time he is twenty-two makes you a bit cautious. And then, suddenly, it was too late. All the good ones were taken. But I have a full life, a good life. Lots of friends. Loving family."

"And your art," Polly said. "I so admire creative people. I can’t draw a straight line."

"Hmm." Anneka poured herself a second cup of tea. "Truth to tell, Polly, I haven’t painted a stroke in years. And I haven’t drawn much either."

"What happened? Do artists get artist’s block the way writers get writer’s block?"

"Sometimes. In my case, I was more or less making a living with commercial art, helped by the fact that I didn’t have to rent studio space, and when I didn’t have money for food I could put my feet under my parents’ table. And then I painted two large canvases, and my agent sold them for a small fortune, well, enough to live on for a couple of years. And as soon as she told me this was the gateway into the big time, that she’s sold four more canvasses on spec, and I signed the contract, I thought, what if I never paint again? And suddenly all the good ideas were gone. But I had already signed a contract for more pieces, and I can’t seem to start them. Nothing’s right!"

"How terrible."

The phone rang. Polly answered it. "Yes. Good. Oh, no. I’ll tell her. Thanks. Love you. Bye." She hung up. "That was Calum. The hospital thinks Luke is fine. Just a bruise on his hip and one on his shoulder. But they want to run a few tests, and, as I feared, they are backed up. A bad accident on Route One. Oh, and a lot of people who were at a church social last night. A potluck, Calum tells me. Half of them are in the ER, losing their guts at both ends. It must be a total madhouse. We’ll be waiting a while. Maybe another four or five hours."

"Oh, dear, I hope everyone will be all right. But I’m glad Luke isn’t badly hurt."

"Me too. They are going to be hours yet. Would you like to go for a walk?"

"Yes, and then perhaps you could show me where you work. I love libraries."

Polly smiled. "And if the men take too long to come home, we’ll go shopping and make an emergency stew. Actually, that’s a good idea. If we don’t eat it today, I can still freeze it for lunches and things."

***

Anneka spent the rest of the day trying to distract herself by paying attention to her hostess. They walked in the Town Center Park and toured the library where Polly worked while attending library school at the state university, and then stopped by the grocery store to pick up what she called "emergency stew supplies."

"It’s this really tasty stew that can be started early and tastes good no matter how long it’s been in the crock pot."

Anneka found watching her hostess move surely around the kitchen an odd experience. She’d never much liked cooking and had learned under protest. Mostly she boiled noodles or opened a can in her little flat. When she was put in charge of slicing up the vegetables in thin sticks she managed quite well. Cutting the veg wasn’t cooking, per se, she told Polly, who laughed and laughed at Anneka’s stories of her cooking misadventures.

"Having kids makes cooking a real adventure. They don’t like the stronger tastes adults like, so one has to compromise. Having a sulky husband who never knows what he wants, but it isn’t what’s on his plate, is even worse. One learns under those circumstances."

"There are advantages to not being married, I suppose," Anneka joked.

"True," said Polly wistfully, "but I think there are advantages to being married. You just need the right husband."

12 reviews for Anneka’s Atonement

  1. Tiff

    Author done an amazing job with the book, had awesome age play scenes, and while I am not usually a fan, I must admit that the book great. I noticed ZERO misspells, mismatched scenes, or typos! Great Read!

  2. Tiff

    Author done an amazing job with the book, had awesome age play scenes, and while I am not usually a fan, I must admit that the book great. I noticed ZERO misspells, mismatched scenes, or typos! Great Read!

  3. Elaine Lara

    This book was interesting and I thought the characters were believable. The domestic discipline aspect was intriguing.

  4. Elaine Lara

    This book was interesting and I thought the characters were believable. The domestic discipline aspect was intriguing.

  5. Sandra King

    A very good, well plotted book with great characters. I love the storyline of an artist who is blocked, then becomes very creative with the help of a fellow artist and friend of her brother\’s. The way they meet and the discipline that follows is very well done. All of this leads up to a love that grows from their friendship. We get a small glimpse of the work the H is really involved in, a mystery in the making for a future book?

  6. Sandra King

    A very good, well plotted book with great characters. I love the storyline of an artist who is blocked, then becomes very creative with the help of a fellow artist and friend of her brother’s. The way they meet and the discipline that follows is very well done. All of this leads up to a love that grows from their friendship. We get a small glimpse of the work the H is really involved in, a mystery in the making for a future book?

  7. Suemlando

    This book is unique in that it starts with strictly a DD relationship to help Anneka return to her art and then becomes sexual. Not only that but her disciplinarian is 12 years her junior. Also I recommend you read Polly\’s Penance as if though both are standalone books this has Anneka\’s brother\’s story line and he is the one whom sets up the DD situation.

  8. Suemlando

    This book is unique in that it starts with strictly a DD relationship to help Anneka return to her art and then becomes sexual. Not only that but her disciplinarian is 12 years her junior. Also I recommend you read Polly’s Penance as if though both are standalone books this has Anneka’s brother’s story line and he is the one whom sets up the DD situation.

  9. Lily

    Annekas Atonement was a delightful read. I was particularly fond of the main characters with they\’re little quirks and sayings. Anneka was a refreshing break from the usual female lead, being in her 40s, from over seas, an artist struggling to find her way in life. Enter her brother, his girlfriend and their friend, all of which engage in aspects of domestic discipline both personally and professionally. Together they support and lean on each other to find their way, with of course a few bumps and spanks along the way.

  10. Lily

    Annekas Atonement was a delightful read. I was particularly fond of the main characters with they’re little quirks and sayings. Anneka was a refreshing break from the usual female lead, being in her 40s, from over seas, an artist struggling to find her way in life. Enter her brother, his girlfriend and their friend, all of which engage in aspects of domestic discipline both personally and professionally. Together they support and lean on each other to find their way, with of course a few bumps and spanks along the way.

  11. stats23

    Anneka’s Atonement (or how the artist found her motivation), by Breanna Wallace, centres around four key characters, Anneka, her brother Calum, his girlfriend Polly and his friend Luke. Calum and Luke work for a company specializing in personal discipline, of the spanking variety, called Mackleworth’s Motivational Academy (MMA). Outside of their work (?) Calum plays matchmaker between Anneka and the much younger, by 13 years, Luke. Without giving away the entire story, suffice to say that friendship/spanking blooms and romance is not too far away. A good story, with well rounded (and spanked) characters. Certainly well recommended.

  12. stats23

    Anneka??s Atonement (or how the artist found her motivation), by Breanna Wallace, centres around four key characters, Anneka, her brother Calum, his girlfriend Polly and his friend Luke. Calum and Luke work for a company specializing in personal discipline, of the spanking variety, called Mackleworth??s Motivational Academy (MMA). Outside of their work (?) Calum plays matchmaker between Anneka and the much younger, by 13 years, Luke. Without giving away the entire story, suffice to say that friendship/spanking blooms and romance is not too far away. A good story, with well rounded (and spanked) characters. Certainly well recommended.

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