Her mind told her she didn’t want a contract or his punishments. Her body told her something else.
Ailsa McKenzie is shocked when her fiancé hands her a domestic discipline contract. He promised her when he proposed that she could continue to be an independent woman. But that’s not his only surprise. He’s been keeping a secret from her that will change the trajectory of their entire relationship. Is their love strong enough to survive this new revelation?
Doctor Ian McLennan, Laird of Glen Torridon, has one definite view on marriage, and it starts with him as head of the household, but convincing his spirited bride-to-be that this is the type of relationship she not only needs, but wants, will be a challenge. Especially when an unseen dilemma surfaces about his ancestry.
Forced into a series of unexpected events, they’ll need to learn to trust not only each other again, but others as well, turning a simple contract into the key to their survival.
Publisher’s Note: This steamy, contemporary Highland romance contains a theme of power exchange.
As she began to read the paper in front of her, her brow scrunched up in confusion. “Ian, what is this?” she asked, holding the documents up in question. It was Saturday evening. The roads were finally clear, and she had thought he might take her into the village to get out, but instead, he’d called her into his office for a meeting.
“It’s a contract, sweetheart.” He sat forward in his chair, his arms resting on the large dark cherry wood desk.
“This isn’t a pre-nuptial agreement.” She continued reading, looking up, perplexed.
“Pre-nuptial?” Now, he looked confused. “I would never have you sign a pre-nuptial. I don’t know what you’re thinking of, Ailsa, but I plan to marry you for life. I would never go into it thinking we might divorce, and God forbid, if it did happen, lass, I would see you cared for.”
“Then, what is this?” She set the papers down, her heart soaring at what he’d just told her but still unsure of what lay before her.
His eyebrow rose in an arch, the edge of his mouth quirking up in the merest of smiles. “It’s our marriage contract. We’ll go over it together.”
“It says it’s our domestic discipline contract,” Ailsa corrected him.
“Aye, it is. It helps to define the parameters of our marriage and what our expectations are.”
“These aren’t my expectations,” Ailsa said, shaking her head. He had disciplined her before, spanked her with both his hand and his belt, and he had enjoyed it. She knew what his punishments consisted of and the feelings they brought about, both good and bad. They were powerful and evoked strong emotions. A slow ache began to build deep within her and her sex clenched, her body a traitor to her own self. “Where did you come up with this?”
“Sweetheart, let’s read through it before getting upset.” He pulled another copy of it out of his desk drawer, placing it in front of him. “Trust me, I know what I want, and whether or not you realize it, what you need. Go ahead and begin.”
“You want me to read it out loud?” she asked, questioning the ridiculousness of it all.
Ian nodded. “Go on, darling.”
Ailsa rolled her eyes. “Domestic discipline marriage contract—”
He stopped her. “Ailsa, start again, and this time without the disrespect. This is serious. I want this to work for us.”
She began again and slowly started to speak. “This is the domestic discipline marriage contract between Ian Robert McLennan, head of household, and Ailsa Rose McKenzie.” She stopped, looking up at him. “If you’re the head of the household, what am I?”
“You’ll be my wife.”
“I thought marriages were supposed to be fifty-fifty partnerships,” she said.
“In some households, that’s true, and while I will always listen to you and value your opinion, I think this will create a happier, less stressful home for us. Let’s finish reading through it, and then you can ask me questions.”
Ailsa continued. “On this date, to be determined, Ian and Ailsa agree that we are both ready to begin incorporating domestic discipline as the basis for our marriage.” She paused, pursing her lips together, taking a deep breath in through her nose. “As head of household, Ian is the final authority on all matters of the household. Ailsa agrees to support Ian by actively supporting this contract, and in return, Ian agrees to actively enforce this contract in a loving, caring, respectful manner.”
“I’ll take the next part,” Ian said, picking up on her aggravation. “Section one, Rules. One, no disrespect. Two, no dishonesty or deceit. Three, no dangerous behavior.” He looked up at her, his pewter eyes intense, his meaning not lost. They had met by her putting herself in a dangerous situation when she crashed her car on his property driving in a storm, and her same behavior caused her to find herself at the end of his belt when she disobeyed him by crossing a river on a rickety bridge after he’d told her to stay put. She looked down, not able to hold his gaze. He read on, “Four, no disobedience. Five, be polite at all times and have a good attitude about yourself and others. Six, no cursing. Seven, no going to bed angry. Eight, all major decisions must be made together with the head of household having the final say. And lastly, nine, never interfere with, negotiate, or obstruct the disciplinary process in any way.”
“That’s a lot of rules,” Ailsa commented. Sense told her to stop this now, but the ache within her continued to grow, settling between her legs.