Can Charlotte trust the charming man she’s met on the internet?
It’s 1999 and Charlotte and Connor have just got the internet at home. One night, Charlotte comes across an intriguing forum. It consists mostly of women posters whose husbands discipline them when they misbehave. In other words, they’re living Charlotte’s dream!
Charlotte’s marriage is in trouble. Work and family pressures have pushed her and Connor apart. The forum posters claim domestic discipline makes marriages closer, more intimate, that passion is through the roof. Charlotte wonders whether introducing the old-fashioned discipline she yearns for can bring her and Connor closer together too.
But Connor doesn’t take to the lifestyle and the failure frustrates Charlotte and drives them even further apart. In desperation, she seeks out a disciplinarian through the forum to satisfy her needs. He seems caring, thoughtful and is willing to take things slowly, allow time to build trust.
But there’s a missing backpacker who just might have a connection with the same disciplinarian.
Can Charlotte trust this charming man she’s met on the internet? And how will it affect her marriage to Connor?
Will Charlotte ever getthe loving discipline she craves?
Publisher’s Note: This book contains disciplinary scenes. If this is offensive to you, please do not purchase.
Interview with Bethany Leigh
It’s almost two years since your last book with Blushing Books was published. What have you been doing since then?
I stopped writing spanking romance because I was out of ideas. I’d just taken on a new job when my last book was published and I was involved with various creative projects through that role. I contributed stories to the 12 Naughty Days of Christmas anthologies in 2016 and 2017, but other than that, didn’t even think about spanking romance. Well, not until I was on vacation and read a bunch of romantic suspense novels, and wished there was a bit of kink among all those kissing scenes. And then I started writing Groomed.
What is Groomed about?
It’s a domestic noir thriller set in the world of spanking forums at the turn of the 21st century. I’ve dubbed it ‘domestic discipline noir’! Back then, many spankos opened up about their kink for the very first time – to complete strangers online, on various forums and message boards. In Groomed, Charlotte becomes increasingly fascinated by the domestic discipline lifestyle and increasingly envious of the forum posters who are spanked by their husbands, something she can only fantasise about. She finally plucks up the courage to tell her husband she wants a DD marriage, but when they try it, it’s disastrous. Frustrated, she seeks out a disciplinarian via the forum. The disciplinarian who contacts her is charming and thoughtful – but there’s a missing backpacker who might have a connection with him. Can he be trusted?
Why did you write Groomed?
I’ve had the idea for a very long time but it took a while for the story, and particularly the characters in the story, to develop. I found it interesting that at that period in time, so many women opened up about their kink not to their family or friends, but to complete strangers on the internet. The idea of ‘stranger danger’ and vulnerability within online spanking circles was something I wanted to explore.
I also wrote the book because there was – and still is, to an extent – a rose-tinted view of DD out there. Those who practise it talk only of the greater intimacy, the trust, the amazing sex. This can silence people who are struggling with it. Maybe it’s causing increased friction, maybe one partner’s doing it reluctantly, frustrating the other. I tried DD for a short while and discovered it wasn’t for me – spanking is part of my life, but it’s fun and it’s my equivalent of a massage in that it provides stress relief. But when DD didn’t work I was devastated, because I felt like a failure – it works for everybody else, why not me? I felt like the ‘failure’ isolated me from the spanking world, that I didn’t belong. So I wrote this book partly to say that wherever you are on the kink spectrum, that’s okay, you can find your way.
Groomed is about relationships rather than romance, and Charlotte and Connor are as far from being a sub and dom as it’s possible to be. But the book is about spanking and having your needs met, so I hope readers will enjoy it.
What other books have you written?
I had five books published by Blushing Books a couple of years ago. Freedom is set in an alternate Edwardian universe and is about a group of women campaigning for women’s rights. Betrothed is a prequel in the same universe. At Dead of Night is a ‘crimeance’ novel about a PI in a DD relationship who is investigating the murder of a member of her local church. A Cure for All Ills and Are You Sitting Comfortably? are anthologies of short spanking stories.
What is ‘crimeance’?
‘Crimeance’ is a mixture of crime and romance. A bit like romantic suspense, where the relationship develops alongside the investigation into the crime.
What are you currently working on?
I have a historical ‘crimeance’, Her Convict Constable, coming out with Blushing Books later this year. It’s set in Australia during the convict era. I’m currently working on ideas for a couple more books in this series.
Thread: My worst spanking
Panda: What was the worst spanking you ever got from your husband? The worst spankings (there were several of them but they were all because of the same thing) I ever got from Hayden happened during our first Christmas after we were married. As you know, I was still struggling with bulimia when we married, and Hayden was trying to help me recover in his inimitable way!
Well, you know what Christmas and the run-up to it is like. All those work functions! Not to mention family dinners. Our calendar was chock-full of parties and dinners, and I was dreading it. The pressure to eat, having to control myself around so much tempting food, all the guilt about whether I was eating too much or too little. Of course, it would have been best to confide in Hayden, tell him I was finding it difficult. But no, of course, like always, I wasn’t very good at being sensible.
I managed the first function (his cricket club barbecue) okayish. I ate more than I was comfortable with, but I didn’t starve myself before or after and I didn’t purge. But my body felt uncomfortable and when we attended the second party (my work party) I couldn’t carry on eating that way till after Christmas. I’d blow up like a balloon!
So I skipped breakfast and lunch on the day of the work function. And fortunately it was a buffet, so I filled up my plate under Hayden’s eagle eye, then circulated, pretending to eat. But when I thought Hayden wasn’t looking, I deposited the contents of my plate in a nearby rubbish bin.
You guessed it. I’d only *thought* Hayden wasn’t looking. Turns out he’d been surreptitiously keeping an eye on me, suspecting I might be up to my old tricks.
He came over to me, touched me lightly on the arm, and said, “I think it’s going to be warmer tonight than we expected,” which is his code for, “When we get home tonight, I am going to warm your bottom.”
And, boy, did he. As soon as we got back (after midnight), he told me, “Get ready for bed and I’ll see you in my office in ten minutes.”
He looked and sounded so stern that I was showered, in my PJs, and in his office in under ten minutes. I didn’t want to risk a second spanking for disobedience!
When I walked into the office, he was sitting in the armchair and holding a wooden ruler in his hand. My insides lurched, and I whispered, “Hayden, I’m so sorry.”
Hayden tapped his knee with the ruler. “We’ll discuss your behaviour after you’ve been punished.”
I draped myself across his lap. He yanked down my pyjama bottoms and positioned me so that my left arm was trapped against his body. He took my free hand and held it against my back, so I couldn’t try to protect my bottom and risk getting my hand struck with the ruler. Then he brought the ruler down hard across my bottom.
He smacked me over and again with the ruler, concentrating on my sit spots. It wasn’t long before I started crying, but he must have given me another twenty hard whacks before he was through.
When he’d finished, he gently lifted me up and cuddled me on his lap. “You behaved very badly at the party tonight, sweetheart,” he said, gently soothing the sore broad stripes on my bottom as he scolded me. “You didn’t eat, you threw your food in the bin, and you tried to deceive me instead of telling me you needed help.”
“I know,” I said between gulps. “I’m so sorry.”
“The thing is,” he continued, “I now feel like I can’t trust you at these functions. So I’m going to take some pre-emptive action before every single function we attend, including Christmas dinner. Before we go out I’m going to spank you. But I will only spank one cheek, and as long as you behave yourself and eat sensibly, that’ll be the end of it. But if you misbehave, we’ll come home and I’ll spank the other cheek. But I hope the one very sore buttock will be a reminder to you to behave yourself all evening.”
The tears dripped from my face as I processed the idea of being spanked almost every day between now and Boxing Night. “We have two functions on Christmas Day,” I whispered.
“And you’ll get two pre-emptive spankings,” he said firmly.
I cried myself to sleep that night, while Hayden cuddled me. I wished I’d never been so stupid at the party. I was already very sore and sorry and the thought of being spanked again in less than twenty-four hours’ time was…well, let’s say I wasn’t looking forward to it a lot.