6/28 Saturday Spankings
Oh my goodness, I haven’t done one of these in such a long time. The last two months have been so crazy!
This week’s Saturday Spankings was supposed to be rather specific. The authors contributing to the 2014 Sci Spanking Blog Hop were given carte blanc to completely disregard the 8-line restriction to showcase their 2k blog hop submission. However, most of those authors were using submissions from much longer stories. I didn’t. There is no longer story to ‘Oh, What the Hell’. I did this piece specifically for Sci Spanks because I don’t have a soon-to-be published spanking sci-fi/fantasy story coming up any time soon. What I do have, is the 8th book in the new Corbin’s Bend series coming up and I am going to post the very first sneak peek into this story for you here today. And because the 8-line word restriction has been relaxed, it’s going to be a really good preview.
For those of you who haven’t yet entered the super-free, super easy to read Sci Spanks Blog Hop–guys, you still have time. You have until midnight tomorrow to leave a comment on each. All you have to do is read and comment, and you will be entered to win over $1000 in prizes.
Here is the link if you want to start your Sci Spanks Blog Hopping fun with my story (you know you’re curious), and if you’ve already finished the Sci Spanks Blog Hop, then read on, my friends, because here is the very first sneak peak for Corbin’s Bend #8, Last Dance for Cadence.
The ad read: “Full-time housekeeper/nanny position. Live-in preferred. References and experience required. Salary negotiable. Apply in person.”
Cadence Westmore knew she wasn’t qualified for the job, but for a paycheck and an apartment, she was determined to apply. As an ex-dancer with two bad legs and no experience with children, she expected to be turned down. What she didn’t expect was the instant attraction she felt when Corbin Bend’s resident doctor took her in his capable hands.
A widower with three boys to raise, Dr. Marcus Devon knew he needed help. But he also knew Cadence Westmore was the last person he should hire. Still he gave her the job, opening his home and his life to a woman as stubborn as she was lovely, and as determined not to need him as he was to make her his. She was her own worst enemy, pushing herself to exceed her wounded body’s physical limitations until the doctor finally stepped in to apply some good old-fashioned bare-bottom medicine. The more she rebelled, the more he took her across his knee until at last Cadence realized if she wasn’t careful, she just might lose everything all over again.
* * * * *
This is the first meeting between Cadence and Dr. Marcus Devon. She has just arrived to apply for the job of nanny/housekeeper, when one of his young sons popped out of a bush with a squirt gun. The surprise of getting shot in the chest caused her weak leg to buckle, and here we go…
“I’m okay,” she stammered, and even tried to smile but the effect was ruined by the single traitorous tear that escaped over her lashes and rolled down her face. That tear was the young boy’s undoing. He began to cry now too.
“I’m so sorry,” he squeaked, which was when the front door suddenly flew open and a tall, dark-haired man, dressed in simple beige slacks and a neatly tucked white shirt, the sleeves rolled partway up his arms, stuck his head out.
“Daniel, what—” He stopped when he saw her, the squirt gun lying forgotten on the cobblestones, and the pattern of water saturation on her dress and dripping from her face. His face paled.
“I’m okay,” she tried again, but he was already charging down the steps, pushing past the young boy who, when hovering just behind the man, stood as a miniature mirror image of his father.
“What did you do?” the man accused, dropping to his knees beside her.
“We were getting Buddy,” the tearful child moaned. “I thought she was Buddy.”
“It was just an accident,” Cadence said, swiping all evidence of that tell-tale tear from her cheek. “I fall all the time. It’s no big deal.”
Sometime in her fall, the skirt of her dress had hiked up above her knees, showing all her scars and the ugly bumps where the pins in her legs pushed up her skin. She tried to smooth it down, covering her legs, but the man dodged her hands. His were sheer gentleness when he touched her knee, at once every bit as professional as the doctor she suspected him of being. His next words confirmed that.
“Do you hurt anywhere? Is anything broken?”
The soft rasp of his fingers and palm as he felt his way to both ankles made her whole body tingle in a way she hadn’t felt in a long, long time. She shook her head slowly. “No, I’m fine, really.”
“Can you stand?” He shifted his weight, squatting first before he rose, reaching for her hands to help her up.
“Yeah, sure.” She waved his urging hands away, embarrassed now because she knew her aching legs were going to make her look so incredibly feeble in the struggle to get up again. “Just…just give me a minute. I can do this.”
Dr. Marcus Devon turned to his son, Daniel. “Get the door for me.”
The next thing Cadence knew, he was gathering her into his arms. “Oh, wait…no!”
Her protest became a shriek when her butt, feet and hands lost contact with the ground. She grabbed involuntarily, clinging to shoulders that felt far too masculine and strong to belong to any simple country doctor.
“I’ve got you,” he soothed, striding after his young son. Even with her in his arms, he climbed those three stairs with far less effort than she would have done. It wasn’t fair, and yet at the same time, it was hard for her to summon any hint of bitterness when every breath she took was laden with the scent of heady spice cologne, clean soap, and him. She almost closed her eyes. It took everything she had not to curl into him and just…breathe him in.
“Close the door, Daniel,” he said, turning sideways with her as he crossed the threshold. “And then, young man, you’ve got five seconds to get to your room. I’ll be up as soon as I can, and you’d better believe we’re going to talk about this.”
The look on that little boy’s face as he watched his father carry her into his office haunted her. He looked so worried, and it didn’t even seem to be for himself. Cadence couldn’t help but interfere. “It was an accident. It wasn’t his fault. Honestly, I fall all the time.”
“He knew better,” Marcus said, clipped. He set her down to sit at the foot of his examining table. “They’re not allowed in the front yard during working hours any more than they’re allowed in the living room. So naturally, the more off-limits it is, the more they gravitate toward it. Stop,” he said, when he tried to raise her skirt up over her knees and she immediately grabbed and tried to smooth it back down. His dark eyes met hers, so intense at first, before softening just a bit. “Stop, please. Allow me.”
A funny tingling sensation fizzled up and down her legs. The last thing in the world she wanted him to see was her scars, and yet, in that silent tug-of-war of wills that followed his request, it was Cadence who yielded first. She let go of her skirt and that tingling spread through her like wildfire when he raised it. His touch was nothing but professional and respectful as he folded back the cloth only high enough to see the lines of old damage done.
“What happened?” he asked.
“Car accident. Someone hit the gas instead of the brakes and I got caught between the bumper and a building.” Cadence tried to shrug it off. “I survived.”
“I’m surprised you’re able to walk without a cane.”
A pang of conscience thumped inside her chest, but Cadence swallowed it back. She’d rather be dead from a broken neck then to let people think her weak or crippled. “I get by fine without one.”
When he raised his eyebrow, she raised her chin.
“You’d rather fall?” he asked, so calmly, still professional and yet with a note of something else that tremored through her in those same tingling waves that now felt amplified by the sternness of his tone.
It made her feel oddly breathless and defensive all at once. “Not to be rude, Dr. Devon, but that’s my business.”
He continued to hold her gaze for several seconds longer. This time, he looked away first, albeit only long enough to hook the clipboard of blank forms off his desk. Still, she counted that as a victory…for all of three seconds.
“I don’t believe we’ve met before.”
“No, I arrived last night. I’m staying with my mother, down the street.”
Clicking a pen open, he began to fill out the form. “And that would be?”
He looked up at her. “Cecily?”
“No, I’m Cadence.” She tried to laugh, but it came out falteringly. “The unofficial daughter.”
“What brings you to Corbin’s Bend?”
She rubbed her hands over the bumps of the pins in both knees. “Just visiting.”
He looked at her again, another long speculative look, before dropping his gaze back to his form. “What’s your last name, Cadence?”
Oh God. He thought she was here for an appointment. She cringed. Like she could afford the bill.
“Westmore,” she offered, helpless to figure out how to segue the conversation into why she’d really come and why a woman who had to be carried into his medical office should be considered the best person for the job of taking care of his house and children.
“What brings you to see me, Miss Westmore?”
And there it was, the perfect segue laid out for her as if it were a mercy present. The cause already felt lost, but Cadence took it.
“The job you advertised.”
His pen stopped writing, hovering over his page for a full second or two before he looked up. He didn’t look at her though. He looked at her legs.
Sometimes it was a good thing to brace one’s self for disappointment. It kept failures like this from cutting quite so deeply.
Cadence met his eyes, when he finally raised them to hers, solidly and without blinking. “I can clean a house, Dr. Devon. I can cook. Good, decent, healthy meals. I can make beds, wash clothes, pick up toys. I’ve got a driver’s license and my own car. I’m responsible and dependable.”
He tried to hold up his hand. “I’m sure you are,” he demurred, but already he was looking at her legs again.
“I am not my legs, Dr. Devon.” It was a curious mix, this inner turmoil of desperation and pride. Both combined to make her voice sharper than she intended. Certainly, it was sharper than a woman in need of a job should ever use when talking to her prospective employer.
“I don’t mean to be offensive,” he said, quietly, evenly. “Look at me.”
Angrily, she looked everywhere but, until he took hold of her chin, pinching lightly between two fingers as he turned her back to face him.
“I don’t want to offend you,” he said again, even softer than before. “But I know my boys. They’re good kids, but they are rambunctious and active and I don’t think you could keep up with them, not without hurting yourself. I don’t—” He stopped, his breath catching with a slight hitch of frustration, probably because in spite of the fact that she never cried, she could feel the sting of very real, very hot and embarrassing tears, filling up the back of her throat and leaking into her eyes. “I’m sorry,” he finally said. “I really am, but this is not a good fit for my family.”
“Okay.” Cadence stubbornly blinked back the tears. She managed a smile, tried to make it one of her brightest. “Couldn’t hurt but to try, right?”
She got down off the exam table, evading his steadying hand when she wobbled, both knees screaming at the suddenness of having to take her full weight. They were going to scream even more during the long walk back home to Venia’s. Thirteen houses. It may as well be a thousand. How was she going to survive that distance?
The same way she survived everything else. One step at a time, teeth gritted, eyes staring straight ahead.
“Let me drive you—”
Oh, she must really look feeble. She almost laughed, except that might have come out sounding bitter and that just smacked too close to weakness. “No, thanks,” she said tightly, forcing the cheerfulness as she limped toward the door. “I can walk.”
He made another soft, puffing sound. The sort of sound a man made when he didn’t know whether to be amused or annoyed. “It’s not a bother,” he called, trailing behind her.
“Neither’s walking.” Stepping out onto the porch, she tried to close his front door behind her, but he caught it and followed her outside.
Cadence kept her head up and struggling to control the limp, which hurt like hell, down each descending stair of those three stone steps.
“Are you always this stubborn?” Marcus asked. She shot him a withering look over one shoulder. Arms folded across his chest, he had propped one broad shoulder again a front porch post while he watched her go. His eyes were sparkling. Apparently, he’d settled on amused over annoyed. Already one corner of his mouth was losing its fight with the smile he was trying halfheartedly to hide.
That smile was her undoing. Her own annoyance erupted, surpassing all her best intentions to just leave and leave gracefully. “No, sir. As it so happens, this is my good girl behavior.”
Just what every good employee ought to say to her boss. Shaking her head at herself, wishing she could just learn to bite her tongue, Cadence headed for home. She was mere steps from the end of the driveway when the doctor called out behind her, “How long are you ‘just visiting’ for, Miss Westmore?”
“As long as I jolly-well feel like it, Dr. Devon!”
“And if I hired you?” he called out.
That stopped her. He had to be playing with her. He just had to be. Except that when she turned around, here he had sauntered up the driveway after her, arms still folded across his chest, his dark eyes still dancing with all the amusement that he no longer bothered to hide.
“Well?” he asked, not stopping until he was standing directly in front of her and they were face to face. “How long would you stay then?”
He couldn’t possibly be hiring her. He…he just couldn’t.
She stared at him, trying hard not to get her hopes up. “I would stay as long as I had a job.”
They stared at each other then, in the wide open of his driveway with her clothes still soaking wet and his expression still amused, yet oddly closed. He considered her quietly and for so long that she almost turned and just started walking again.
“Can you start tomorrow morning, seven o’clock?” he finally asked.
Her heart faltered, stumbling in her chest. The resuming beat felt as hard as a physical blow.
She was going to cry.
Except Cadence never cried.
She nodded once. Chin held high, both legs screaming in pain, she turned and walked away.
* * *
He was out of his mind.
Marcus watched the woman he’d just hired limp off down the road, and there was just no doubt about it, all the wrong parts of him had been involved in giving her the job. She was entirely wrong for the position. Of course, of the four women who had applied, she was the best interviewee, bar none. At barely eighteen and soon to be out of high school, Bethie Ann had been too young. Agnes Hasselhoff, at eighty-two, had been too old and, as Buddy had loudly proclaimed before Marcus sent them all outside to play, smelled funny. A few years younger than himself, Carla Methon was just fine age-wise, but she was less interested in the job than she was in Marcus himself. Two months ago, she’d been far more subtle about her seductress intentions. These days, just walking into the same room with her made him feel like a prize piece of meat on display. Carla was a lovely woman. He should have been flattered by her persistence, but he just…wasn’t.
And now there was Cadence Westmore, the ‘unofficial’ daughter of Venia Varner, just down the street. He knew Venia. Had been friends with her for years now, practically from the moment he’d come to Corbin’s Bend.
It would have been so much easier to say no to her, but then…that lift of her chin, that stubbornness, that sass…
This is my good girl behavior…
His palm had itched. For the first time in years, his palm had actually itched.
That more than anything else—her physical limitations, her lack of experience—practically shouted that she was the wrong person for the job. The last thing he wanted was to be physically or, worse, intellectually, attracted to his children’s nanny.
Her good girl behavior.
God help him.
* * * * *
Due out July 23rd! And once more, don’t forget to check out the other amazing authors participating in this week’s Saturday Spankings!