Susan Shaughnessy stretched and yawned, nestling her bare toes under Marcus McCarthy’s firm thigh. ?Taking a mimosa from his hand, she smiled like the cat that ate the canary before taking a sip.? The past month had been an unbelievable ride, and were it not for Kelsey Reed, her best friend sitting across from her with a slightly panicked look on her face, she would have thought it was all a dream.
A month ago, Sue was working for a messenger service, riding a deplorable bike and hating every minute of it.? Barely making enough money to keep a roof over her head, she hocked just about everything she owned, including her grandmother’s silver, which almost broke her heart.? Thankfully, that silver was now riding in the trunk of a huge, shiny black limo, courtesy of one Marcus McCarthy, best-selling author and client of the very elite matchmaking service, Sugar Babies, Inc.?
Susan never even suspected such an organization existed until that fine summer day when she rode her bike smack dab into Sam Barringer, the CEO and owner.? After helping her to her feet, cleaning the blood from her arm and gathering her spilled packages, Sam gave her his card. At first Sue had no interest. The only thing she was concerned with was getting back to work before her dickhead of a boss fired her. But three days later she changed her mind. ?Returning to the depot, soaked to the skin and shaky from skipping lunch, the asshole had the nerve to dock her pay for damages to the piece of crap he called a bike. At that point, her Irish temper got the best of her and she told the jerk where he could stick the bike and his job, in very graphic terms with a few finger gestures added for good measure.? Stomping off into the rain, she heard him yelling after her that he wanted her uniform back, so she kicked the first bike in a long line of bikes and sent them all toppling, one after the other with a satisfied grin on her face.? Asshole!
Ending up at the park, Sue chose a bench that was totally unprotected from the rain, glad that no one looking at her would see her tears.? Basically, she was out of options.? Her rent was only paid for two more days and after that, she would be out on the street.? She had four dollars in her pocket, no friends she could put the touch on and parents who could hardly make ends meet now.? There was no way she would even let them know the dire straits she was in; her father’s heart couldn’t take it.? Pulling the wet card from her shirt pocket, Sue could just about make out the number.? Sam Barringer had seemed like an honest guy, and he did tell her he could find her a job, one she wouldn’t be fired from, although that seemed a little far-fetched considering she’d never been able to hold any job for more than three months.? Then again, she thought, what did she have to lose?
It was less than twenty-four hours from the time she placed that first call until she found herself in a suite in one of the best hotels in the city.? Besides that, she had unlimited access to hotel services and availed herself of the spa, the beauty salon and room service.? The next day she got a roommate, Kelsey Reed, a sweet young thing trying unsuccessfully to conceal a hideous black eye.?
Kelsey, formerly a waitress for some guy named Fat Rusty, was in even worse shape than Susan.? She had been abused and nearly raped by her boss, and when Sam appeared out of the blue, offering her an escape, she took it.??
The rest seemed like a dream to Susan, and possibly somewhat of a nightmare for Kelsey, if the expression on her face was any indication.? Sugar Babies was an exclusive matchmaking company that arranged meetings and possible matches between men and women, paying attention to certain specific needs.? Their clients ranged from the merely wealthy to filthy, rotten, obscenely rich, and Susan figured Marcus was somewhere in between.? That was fine with her, she thought with another grin.? He was tall, dark and handsome, with the most beautiful blue eyes she’d ever seen.? Their attraction for each other had been instantaneous, and there was no denying it.? She found him sexy as hell, smart and amusing. Thankfully he appreciated her brand of humor, along with her perfect ass of course.? It was what he wanted to do with that perfect ass that worried her a little.? Marcus had a fetish, for spanking.? He also wanted her body, in every way possible.? That part was frosting on the cake, as far as Sue was concerned.? That man could soak her panties with just a look and she was so looking forward to fucking his brains out for the next twelve months.
The spankings, um, not so much, although he had described, in detail, that there were many kinds of spanking and he intended to try them all.? She had to give him credit; he was totally honest about what he wanted: a long-term relationship where he was the undisputed head of his household.? He was a busy, focused man and he had no intention of wasting months courting a woman to have her run home to her mama the first time he disciplined her.? And he would discipline her. He’d already demonstrated his determination, and Sue had the sore bottom to prove it.? All she’d wanted to do was seduce him, kind of try him out for size before she signed a contract that would give him rights to her body for the next year.? She’d teased and pleaded to no avail.? Marcus remained firm, no making love until the deal was made and they got to his mountain lodge in the Adirondacks.? In a blatant attempt to change his mind, Sue had begun pleasuring herself, right in front of him.? Apparently that was not going to be allowed, ever, because it had earned her a trip across his lap and a painful one at that.?
Sue sighed, wiggling her toes, and a slight pout came to her lips just thinking about his edict.? It was a shame really, because previously she frequently enjoyed quite a good time all by her lonesome. Oh well, for twelve thousand dollars a month, which was now her personal allowance, she figured she could control herself, or be very, very quiet if it turned out he wasn’t the man she thought he was.? Either way, she would be smiling all the way to the bank.
“You’re pretty quiet, Red,” Marcus observed, interrupting her thoughts.? “Everything okay?”
“Things would be better if you hadn’t taken my shoes,” she informed him coldly as she pulled her bare feet free and wiggled her toes at him.
Marcus laughed.? “It’s not like I didn’t warn you.? It was your choice to meet me this morning wearing those dangerous stilettos, even after I forbade it.? You’ve nearly broken your neck a number of times in those things and we’re going to an isolated lodge, not the Hamptons.? Maybe next time you will realize I mean what I say.”
“Well, just what am I supposed to wear when we get there?” she snapped.? “Do you expect me to walk around barefoot?”
“I expect you to wear sensible foot ware,” he answered calmly.
“Yeah, well if I were a sensible kind of girl, I wouldn’t be on my way to God knows where with a man who wants to spank my butt on a regular basis.”
“Good point, Red,” Marcus agreed smiling.? “That’s actually one of the things I like best about you.? You’re going to need a lot of guidance,” he teased.
“I guess that’s one word for it,” she groaned.
Kelsey watched the exchange with trepidation.? She was certainly glad that she ended up with Marcus’ twin brother.? While identical in looks, they had totally different natures.?? Marcus was a bulldozer in getting what he wanted, where Ty was much more reserved.? A veterinarian, he was kind and gentle, soft-spoken and caring; a perfect match for the tiny blonde with the face of an angel.? Kelsey wished she could be more like the feisty, green-eyed redhead across from her.? Then at least she wouldn’t be so frightened she could hardly speak.? What if she’d made a mistake and Ty turned out to be more like Marcus that she’d thought? They were twins after all.? Or what if she fell in love with him, admittedly she was halfway there already, and he decided at the end of the year to terminate their contract?? Sure, she had five thousand a month to put away and she vowed to be very careful to spend as little as possible, but could she survive another loss?
Seeing Kelsey’s fear, Ty slipped an arm around her and nestled her head on his shoulder.? He was crazy about her and it worried him that she might change her mind.? He had no intention of doing anything she wasn’t agreeable to and at this point he just wanted to hold her.? The poor thing had been through more than he could probably imagine.
?Susan took matters into her own hands and scooted across the wide seat, planting her butt on Marcus’s lap.? Wiggling around until she was perfectly comfortable, her short skirt hiked up past mid-thigh, she put her hands on his face.
“Come on,” she said grinning as she felt him harden beneath her.? “We’re scaring the kid,” she whispered, her lips almost touching his.? “Give me a kiss, and make it good.? I might forgive you for stealing my shoes.”
“I did not steal your shoes.? From the moment you signed on the dotted line, your safety became a priority with me.? I have asked you on several occasions not to wear such high heels and on at least two of those I have saved your pretty little ass from a serious fall.? No, don’t bother pouting,” he advised, slipping a hand into her thick red hair.? “It only makes me want to spank you more than I already do, so suck that lower lip right back in,” he told her, pulling her mouth to his.
In the blink of an eye, Susan went from thinking about the several pairs of gorgeous stilettoes she had hidden in her luggage to wondering what he looked like naked.? His arms were strong as they held her tightly against him.? The thighs under her were rock hard along with another extremely important part of his anatomy.? Lust, dark and sweet, rushed through her.? Her nipples became hard little beads against her lace bra.? Slippery honey leaked from between her legs as her heartbeat accelerated.? His tongue fought hers for superiority and won as his large hand slipped up her bare thigh and stroked it gently, inches from where she needed it most.? Susan was so far gone she never even heard Ty’s discrete cough, but Marcus did, releasing her lips.? Still holding her head in place he stared into her cloudy eyes and felt her tremble.? It was the self-satisfied expression on his face that snapped her out of her hormone-induced haze, and she pushed his arms away and scurried back onto her side of the seat.
“How much farther?” she demanded, smoothing her skirt and sending Kelsey an apologetic grimace.
Marcus threw his head back and laughed as Ty tried not to smile.
“About another two hours,” Ty replied.? “Why don’t we have some breakfast?” he suggested pulling a picnic hamper out of a side compartment.? Handing Kelsey four plates he unpacked croissants and an assortment of pastries as well as a thermos of coffee.? Several containers held jams, butter, and fresh fruit as well as flavored creamers.?
Marcus handed Kelsey a glass of orange juice and poured coffee for him and his brother.? Susan held out her glass requesting all champagne this time, but he ignored her and made her another mimosa.?
“What gives?” she asked, peering into her flute with a pout.
“Orange juice is good for you,” Marcus replied.? “I told you I believe in eating a healthy diet.”
“Champagne is healthy,” Sue challenged.? “It’s made from grapes.”
“Regardless, alcohol is not particularly healthy.? Don’t think for a moment, Miss Shaughnessy, that I haven’t noticed your penchant for it.? That’s something we will be working on.”
“It’s funny, I don’t remember that being in the contract?” she drawled, tipping her head to one side.
“Alcohol consumption would fall into the ‘health and well-being clause,’ I believe,” Marcus responded firmly.? “I intend to take very good care of you, Red.”
“For some reason that worries me,” Susan admitted with a hiccup.
“It should,” Marcus replied, grinning.
“Will we be stopping at the lodge?” Kelsey asked, nibbling on a pastry.
“Not today,” Ty replied.? “I thought it best if we go directly home so you can get settled in.? I have to check in with my service and take care of a few matters.? After that I’ll show you around the area.? I believe Marcus and Susan have some plans of their own,” he grinned, patting Kelsey’s shoulder.?
Marcus smiled and Susan squirmed on her seat, trying not to overthink the possibilities.? She wanted this man, and truth be told given the opportunity, she would be in exactly this same position even without the contract.? He kept her on a slow simmer all weekend.? The tiny orgasm he’d given her in the diner with just his kiss and his hot whispered words in her ear was shocking.? Sue was no virgin, nervously waiting to be seduced, yet this man made her feel like a sex-starved wanton.? Granted, it had been a while.? A dry spell was how she chose to think of it, but no one had ever been able to reduce her to a quivering mass of need with just his words and a light touch, she thought, trying to control the tremors in her tummy.?
Marcus was a powerful man, physically and professionally.? He was used to calling the shots and Susan had a rebellious streak a mile wide.? She had always been impulsive and usually made up her own rules as she went along.? Basically she was a sensualist.? If something looked good, smelled good or felt good, she was all in, savoring every sensation until the last possible moment.? Sue wasn’t very good with the word ‘no’ and she knew it.? With her beauty, charm and quick wit she’d been able to wheedle her way around most of the male gender in one way or another.? If that didn’t work, her temper was often enough to intimidate a large portion of the male population.? Looking at the man beside her, she had some serious doubts regarding how effective her skills would be.? Marcus was dominant and she was about as far from submissive as a girl could get.? Had she been thinking clearly, had he not kissed her and stated his desire for her so unashamedly, she might have been able to make a much more suitable match, someone generous and easily controlled.? Sue didn’t have a lot of experience with men like Marcus.? As a rule she steered clear of bossy men who towered over her.? She much preferred the smaller, less opinionated version, although she seldom kept them around for long.? Happiness was elusive and temporary.? No relationship she ever had lasted longer than a few months, apart from her parents and a couple of friends from school who she’d lost contact with.? Sue figured she just wasn’t a keeper.? She always tried to be the dumper rather than the one who was dumped.? If she sensed the inevitable coming she acted quickly and decisively, walking away with her head held high. ?Now she was committed to a full year with this man and while her body pulsed in anticipation, her heart trembled in fear.? At the end of a year, he could toss her away like last week’s garbage.? If she weren’t careful, even the money wouldn’t compensate for that.
The limo pulled up to a much grander estate than Kelsey imagined.? The house was hidden from the road with a long drive through thick foliage.? Breaking into the sunlight, both girls gasped at the magnificent lakefront property.? The house itself was pristine white with blue shutters.? Two stories high, there were points where they could look straight through the house to the lake beyond.? A large barn and several smaller outbuildings were situated at the outskirts of the manicured lawns.?
“I thought you said you lived in town?” Kelsey asked, awestruck.
“This is in town, or nearly,” Ty replied smiling as he opened the door.? “It’s all relative.? My practice is a few miles up the road.? It’s close enough to be convenient, but I like my privacy.? Later I’ll take you around so you have a general idea of where we are in relation to town and Marcus’ place.? Would you like a few minutes to say goodbye to Susan, Sweet Pea?” he asked gently.?
“Yes, please,” Kelsey whispered.
“I’ll give you a hand taking in Kelsey’s bags,” Marcus offered, getting out of the vehicle.
“Are you going to be all right?” Susan asked shifting over to Kelsey’s seat and taking her hand.
“I think so,” Kelsey answered, squeezing tightly.? “I mean Ty’s great, isn’t he?” she asked hopefully, raising her blue eyes to Susan’s.
“He’s perfect,” Susan assured her with a laugh.? “He’s sweet and kind and sexy as hell.? The house is beautiful, and I know he’s going to take good care of you.? Did you bring your movie?”
“It’s packed, but I’ve watched it so many times I think I have it down.? I may never be able to watch a Meg Ryan movie again after this.? Are you sure normal women make that much noise when they? you know?”
“I don’t know about all women,” Sue answered thoughtfully, “but based on my personal knowledge I think it’s pretty close.? Ty will think he’s a master stud if you can pull it off, and hopefully, in time, you won’t have to worry about faking it.”
“I’m not holding my breath for that,” Kelsey replied.?? “I just want to please him, and as long as it’s not too painful, I should be good.”
“Kelsey, before they come back I want to ask you something. Do you think you’ll be doing the grocery shopping?”
“I don’t know, maybe,” Kelsey replied.? “We haven’t really talked about it. Why?”
“Well, Marcus is planning to starve me with healthy foods, and I think he said something about the housekeeper doing the shopping.? I was wondering if you would mind picking up some of my favorites and stashing them for me, just in case?? At least then when I come over I can get my Cheetos fix,” Susan said grinning.? “Unless you’re worried about getting in trouble?”
“No, that should be all right.? Ty never says anything about what I eat, and besides, he’s not really a spanker like Marcus.? I’ll figure something out.”
“Thanks, Kels, I appreciate it.? I’ll call you as soon as I can,” Sue promised just as the men returned to the car.? Kelsey got out, and Ty took her hand, leading her into the house.
Susan stayed where she was, across from Marcus, until he snagged her wrist and pulled her over and onto his lap.? Burying his face in her hair he sighed, his arm firmly around her.
“Ah,” he sighed, breathing in her fragrance.? “Alone at last,” he whispered approvingly.
“All right Snidely Whiplash, take it easy,” Sue replied.? “There’s still the driver, you know.”
Marcus laughed, sliding one hand down and massaging her bare foot gently.? Working his way back up her leg, he pushed her short skirt out of the way as he stroked her delicate skin.?
Sue squirmed as he lingered at the inside of her thighs, her stiff back relaxing in pleasure, despite herself.? When his large hand moved higher, cupping her firmly, she moaned in delight.
“You’re wet,” Marcus groaned.
“Whose fault is that?” Sue asked, her breathing rapidly accelerating.
“Mine, I hope, and I intend to keep you that way, wet, hot and needy.? How do you feel about going commando?” he teased, lightly stroking her clit through her panties.
“That is exactly the kind of question you ask when your hand is not buried between my legs,” she gasped.
“But you’re so such more malleable this way,” Marcus replied, smiling as he bent to kiss her neck.
“Exactly,” she agreed, her thighs falling farther apart as she arched into his hand.? “It’s an unfair tactic,” she panted, loving the feel of his erection pressing against her ass.? “You just think it will be easier to spank me without panties.”
“Red, any spanking you get from me will always be on your bare ass,” he laughed. “Panties are a minor inconvenience, easily remedied.”? As if to prove his point he slipped his finger under the edge of her panties and gathered her moisture, rubbing it over her clit in slow circles.
“Marcus, please,” she begged as her head fell back, exposing more of her neck to his kiss.? Her hips arched, trying to steer him inside her, but he wouldn’t be rushed, and in fact lessened the pressure as she pushed against him.
“Settle down, Red.? We’ll be home soon,” he breathed into her ear.
“Fuck you, Marcus,” she growled, sitting up and grabbing his shirt in both hands.? “You started this fire and you damn well better be good at putting it out.”
“Such language coming from such a delicate little thing,” he laughed, pulling his hand out of her panties, giving her one final pat as the driver turned off the road.
He wasn’t kidding about the mountain lodge.? It seemed they went uphill for a long time on the winding driveway.? Suddenly they broke through the trees and Sue stared in absolute amazement at the huge log structure. ?The entire front was a wall of glass reflecting everything back at her.? A wide porch spanned the front and wrapped around and the side of the lodge, and Sue could see a huge in-ground pool with a rock waterfall on one side.? The place was enormous and she stood outside the limo in her bare feet, frozen in awe.
Marcus was pleased with her reaction.? He’d designed the entire lodge himself and despite the rustic look, it had every comfort known to modern man.? He left Susan standing there while he and the chauffeur carried the luggage into the foyer.? Returning quickly he bent and tossed her over his shoulder, carrying her into the house like he was a marauding warrior, giving her a crisp smack on her butt.
“Come on, Red,” he said grinning when she squealed.? “Come see your home for the next year.”
“That’s nice, Marcus, real nice.? Thanks for embarrassing me in front of the driver,” she hissed.
“Johnson?? He’s been my driver for several years now and is the soul of discretion,” he assured her, kicking the wide door closed and setting her down.?
“That’s beside the point.? I’ve known him for all of five minutes and I don’t like?”
Sue’s voice fell away as she turned and looked into the great room.? The outside wall had a natural stone fireplace big enough for her to stand in, the chimney exposed all the way to the rafters which looked to be more than two stories high.? At the far end there was another wall of windows, matching those on the front, and the lake glistened in the sun.? Taking her hand, he pulled her to the glass and opened the sliding doors, stepping out onto the back deck.?
“See that white house?’ he asked pointing across the lake.? “That’s where Ty and Kelsey live.”
“Do you have a boat?” she asked, thinking it would be much easier to see her friend whenever she wanted if she could cross the lake that way.
“Several, but there are no motor boats allowed on the lake, and believe me your perception of the distance is deceptive.? I’ve rowed it many times and it’s farther than it looks from here.”
“Oh,” she said softly.? Guess speeding across the lake to visit Kelsey and getting her junk food fix was out of the question.?
“Do you want to see the rest of the house?” he asked.
“Yeah, sure,” she replied as he led her from the room.
His office was on the first floor, at the opposite end of the house, the window facing the lake.? It was comfortably furnished with oversized everything, including the desk.? The walls were lined with bookshelves and there was a small fireplace on the outside wall.? The mantle had several framed pictures and Sue studied them.? There were pictures of two small identical boys with what she assumed were their parents, and another with an older couple, grandparents probably.? A picture of a beautiful blond woman caught her attention and she picked it up for a closer look.
“Who’s this?” she queried looking at Marcus as he shifted through several papers on his desk.
“That’s Bianca,” he replied looking up to see what Sue held.
“Who is she?”
“She was someone very important to me, once upon a time.”
“Where is she? What happened to her?”
“She lives in France with her husband,” he answered, leaning against the desk, his arms crossed over his chest as he studied her reaction.
“So you didn’t stay together? why?”
Marcus sighed and ran a hand through his hair as he turned to face the windows before he answered.
“I loved her, but I couldn’t make her happy.? She didn’t understand what made me tick, couldn’t accept some of my proclivities,” he stated with a grimace.? “It would never have worked out.? For a while I thought I could live her way, but as time went on I became more and more frustrated and she became more unhappy.? She knew I wasn’t satisfied and she’s a beautiful woman. It was difficult for her to understand why her beauty wasn’t enough.”
“Did you spank her?”
“I did, several times in fact.? She couldn’t or wouldn’t accept that it’s part of who I am.”?
“Is that why you turned to Sugar Babies?”
“Partly,” he answered truthfully, turning back to look at her.? “I went there on a whim.? Sam has been after me for a long time, but I never really had any intention of finding a woman that way,” he said, chagrined. ?”It just seemed wrong, as though I would be purchasing what I want instead of developing a relationship with someone who understood the dynamics of what I need.”
“Then why did you go?”
“I was bored and agitated.? Ty and I were in the city on business and planned to head home on Saturday.? Then I saw you in that bookstore and became? fixated, I guess.? I could still smell your perfume, feel you pressed against me when I went to bed that night.? I couldn’t settle down and get you out of my mind.? I told myself it was just a chance meeting, that you were nothing to me and never would be, but I couldn’t stop thinking about you.? How you looked, your pretty mouth sassing me, your ass in those tight jeans,” he grinned, “And of course those ridiculous shoes.? I worried whether you made it back home that night, never realizing you were staying at the hotel.”?
“The next night I found myself back at the store, describing you to the night manager, but no one knew who you were.? I tried pushing you out of my mind. After all, I had no idea whether you were married or attached.? At one point I actually thought about hiring a private detective to find you, but I realized that was just plain insane.? I didn’t even know your name.”
“Friday I ran into Sam and he invited me and Ty to the party.? I went out of sheer curiosity, thinking it might be amusing, and there you were, doing what you do best, arguing with the bartender and looking so tempting,” he smiled.? “It was all I could do to control myself.? I wanted to scoop you into my arms, find an empty room and ravish you, but I couldn’t.? I ran the risk of scaring you away.”
“I don’t scare easily,” Sue replied, setting the photo down.
“I know, it’s part of your charm,” Marcus agreed.? “Did you think about me, after that night we met?”
“I did,” Sue admitted, “but mostly it annoyed me.? I’m not the type to spend much time mooning over some man I’d probably never see again, but you intrigued me.? It’s not every day that a total stranger tells you, ‘you need a spanking.’? It’s not something I’ve ever thought about incorporating into my sex life.? I tried to remember your voice and convince myself that you were teasing, but in my heart I knew you weren’t.? Then before I knew it I began to wonder if you were right. Crazy, huh?” she grinned.? “My whole life has been sort of a roller coaster and I’ve just been along for the ride.? My parents tried to cur