This exciting, contemporary collection contains three brand new novellas from Misty Malone.

The Contractor’s Specialist

Greg, a local contractor, is surprised to discover the new specialist hired by Springdale Lumber is a woman. He and Julie hit it off the moment they meet, and sparks fly as their relationship is taken outside of work. When Julie’s neighbor causes distress, Greg vows to protect her – even if doing so means a trip or two over his knee.

Feeling Better?

Brad and Sheila incorporate domestic discipline into their marriage. When Sheila and her best friend Leah find themselves in trouble, Leah’s husband, Collin, wants to offer his wife the same firm punishment Sheila endures from Brad when she acts out…

Job Responsibilities

The chemistry between Katie and Phil has grown impossible to ignore. But dating an employee is asking for trouble, especially one who is your subordinate. Can Phil address the situation and the drama unfolding in the office, or will he be forced to fire Katie?

Publisher’s Note: This compilation of sweet, contemporary novellas includes elements of domestic discipline.

Excerpt

The Contractor’s Specialist

Chapter One

Greg Thomas was whistling as he walked into the Springdale Lumber Company with his supply list in hand. He had been a carpenter for eight years, but three years ago he’d taken the plunge to follow his lifelong dream of becoming a contractor. He was now his own boss, and after a couple rather lean first years in business word of mouth was proving to be his good friend. He had three signed contracts to build houses this spring, with a couple more in the negotiation stage. This was better than he had hoped for. He’d had to hire more men, and although he had doubts initially about one or two of them, they’d caught on and he now felt comfortable with all of them.

The owner of the lumber company saw him come through the door and went to greet him. “Good morning, Greg. Are you gearing up for another building season?”

“Good morning, John. I sure am,” Greg answered. “This weather’s looking good. If it keeps up I’ll be able to start digging basements next week. I thought I’d come in and give you my first order, so I have everything in place when I’m ready to go.”

“That sounds good to me. I’m hearing good things around town about you and the work you’re doing. You’re getting a good reputation built up, which I’m sure means business is good. That’s good news for both of us, assuming you’re going to let us be your lumber supplier again,” John said, smiling.

“John, I appreciate your patience working with me when I was getting started, and yes, I’ll absolutely be looking to you for my supplies again.”

“Good, I’m glad to hear that. Now, I want you to meet someone. I hired someone to help me out in here, to work specifically with the contractors. I wanted to get someone with experience, someone who knows what you need and can help you get your orders in to be sure we have what you need when and where you need it.”

“All right,” Greg said. “I know you’re getting busier too, so that sounds like a good idea. Is he someone local? Do I know him?”

John laughed a bit before answering. “No, not local, so I doubt you know her. Come on and I’ll introduce you.”

Greg looked over at John with a surprised look on his face. “Did you say ‘her’?”

John smiled as he nodded. “Yes, I did, but give her a chance. I was shocked that a woman applied for the job. I didn’t really take her application very seriously, but I called all four of the applicants in to talk with them, and I’ll tell you what, Greg: she knows her stuff. She knows just as much about the lumber business as the other three did, but she also has a good working knowledge of the contracting business. Her father was a contractor for forty years in Indiana, where she’s from, and that’s where she acquired all her knowledge. She’s been here a couple months now, and she’s working out well. She’s nice, easy to work with, and she has one other thing going for her.”

Greg didn’t miss the grin on John’s face and proceeded cautiously. “Oh, yeah? What would that be?”

“She’s young, about your age, single, and she’s a pretty little thing. Seems to me that the only thing missing in your life right now is a pretty, little lady. Who knows? You two might just get along really well.”

Greg backed up a step. “Whoa, John. Don’t you go trying to fix me up, too. I know what kind of lady I’m looking for, and when I find her, I’ll know it—all by myself.”

John laughed and patted his friend on the back. “I know, I know. I just wanted to warn you that my new guy’s a lady, and a good-looking one who’s single and not seeing anyone. Now, let’s go meet her and you can get your order in.”

Greg was shaking his head as John took him to an office off to the side of the showroom, knocked on the door which was open, and introduced Greg to Julie McAllister. It was a good thing John had warned him she was pretty, since even with the warning Greg was having a hard time concentrating on what John was saying. He managed to get himself under control in time to hear him say he was going to leave them alone so they could get acquainted and he could place his order.

After a few minutes of friendly chitchat, Greg started placing his order and saw what John meant about her expertise in the area. Greg was very impressed both with Julie and her knowledge of the lumber business. Before he actually knew what he was doing he’d asked her out to dinner the following evening. He waved at John as he walked past him on his way out the door. He didn’t want to stop and talk and give him the satisfaction of knowing they were having dinner together.

***

Julie answered the door to her apartment the next evening and thought Greg was the most handsome man she’d ever met. Yesterday, she’d noticed his rugged, manly looks, dark hair, and brown eyes that sparkled when he smiled when John introduced them. It was all she could do to keep from staring at him and pay attention to what John was saying. Now she was again having trouble taking her eyes off his sparkling eyes and warm, friendly smile. She also noticed his strong, muscular shoulders and arms, no doubt the result of his work. She finally found her voice and manners. “Hi, Greg. Come on in.”

Greg was having his own problems when she opened her door and he saw her standing there looking even more beautiful than yesterday. Her gorgeous blonde hair framed her face in the most sensual way, and her blue eyes glistened. And then she smiled. He could lose himself in her smile. She wore a dress that hugged her curves nicely, and he couldn’t help but notice just how nice those curves were. When she greeted him, it pulled him out of his stupor and he was able to respond, “Hi, Julie. You look great tonight.” She blushed, which Greg thought was absolutely adorable.

They vowed on the way to the restaurant that they would not talk business tonight but were both secretly a little worried that now they wouldn’t have anything to talk about. Luckily, though, they found they had so much in common that business never entered their minds. They talked easily through the entire meal and on their way back to her apartment. She invited him in, and they continued to enjoy each other’s company until he noticed the time. “Julie, I’m sorry,” he said, jumping up. “It’s after eleven o’clock already. I never intended to keep you out this late; I know you have to go to work tomorrow. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t apologize, Greg,” she told him. “I had no idea it was that late, either. I’ve really enjoyed this evening.”

She smiled and he couldn’t keep from placing his hands on her shoulders and gently pulling her close enough for a kiss.

When he looked down at her, her eyes were still closed and she was smiling, he kissed her again, then said, “How about dinner Friday night?” She agreed willingly, and he went home smiling.

***

Julie floated in to work the morning after her dinner date with Greg, still thinking about the evening before. She had enjoyed it way more than she’d anticipated. She usually hated first dates, but she and Greg seemed to fit together so naturally that it didn’t even feel like a first date. This was the first time she met a man and enjoyed being with him right from the start. In fact, she found herself wishing she could see him again before Friday. This was only Wednesday.

She was still lost in her thoughts when John came in and said good morning to her, which brought her back to reality. She decided to throw herself into her work and maybe time would go quicker for her.

Meanwhile, Greg’s foreman had been watching him. “Hey, Boss, you okay?”

“Yeah, sure, Jason. Why?”

“Well, I just asked you what you want me to do about the bathroom sink that’s not going to fit right and you told me not to worry so much. Either something’s wrong, or you—wait a minute. Something’s on your mind, and I bet I know what,” Jason said with a big smile on his face. “What’s her name?”

“Oh, get back to work, Jason.”

“Boss, you still didn’t tell me what to do about the sink.”

“I’ll get a new sink,” Greg said. He turned to leave and added, “And her name’s Julie. Now get to work!” Greg was smiling as he walked past Jason, who was beaming ear to ear.

“I hope it works out with Julie,” Jason told him. “She must be something special, ‘cause you were really zoned out. I’ve never seen you like that before.”

Greg had to agree with Jason, though he’d never admit it to his foreman. He’d dated quite a few ladies, but never any that seemed to monopolize his thoughts like Julie did. He was even happy to have an excuse to go to the lumber company again. After all, he did have to get a new sink. Smiling, he got in his truck and headed for Julie and the new sink.

The woman who had been dominating his thoughts was at her desk, trying to concentrate on work and not last evening, when Greg walked over to her office. He just stood at the door looking at her a minute. He was lost in his own thoughts, once again, when John came up behind him and quietly said, “Quit looking at her and ask her out, buddy.” Greg saw him grinning as he walked on past.

Julie looked up and smiled. “Greg, hi. Come on in.” Greg walked into her office and couldn’t help giving her a quick kiss on her cheek after checking to be sure no one was watching. She blushed, and Greg thought that made her even cuter. “Thank you again for last night. It was really nice.”

Greg returned her smile. “No, thank you. I enjoyed it, too. We’re still on for Friday night, aren’t we?”

“Absolutely,” she assured him. “Did you come down here just to ask me that, or can I do something for you?”

“Having dinner with me again Friday is doing something for me.” There was that blush he liked on her face again. “Actually, I do need a sink. I have kind of an awkward space for it, so I’ll probably have to order one in. Are you the person I should see for that?”

“I’m the person you should see for a lot of things,” she said, grinning at him, “including ordering a sink. Let’s see what we can find for you.” She pulled a catalog out of her drawer and they found what he needed.

He got up to leave but checked his watch. “If you’re the person I should see for a lot of things, how about for lunch? John does give you a lunch break, doesn’t he?”

She paused a little and shrugged before answering. “Greg, I’d love to have lunch with you, but I should warn you of something first.”

“What’s that?”

“Well,” she started, “John has been hinting to me that you’re not married, nor dating anyone right now, and telling me I’d be hard-pressed to find a better man, and so on. He sure thinks a lot of you. I didn’t tell him about last night. He doesn’t miss much around here, so I’d love to have lunch with you, but he’ll know, and I just have to warn you. I know you guys are friends, and I don’t know if he’ll do or say anything—”

Greg jumped in and helped her out. “I know. John’s been telling me the same things about you. He seems to think you and I are a perfect match, and yes, I know we’ll both hear about it, more of his subtle little hints, but I don’t care unless it will bother you.” After she assured him she was okay with it he said, “Good. Then how about lunch? We’ll make John’s day. He’ll be happy to see us together.”

She agreed, laughing at Greg’s good nature. They both smiled as they went by John’s office, and Greg calmly told him, “I’m taking your new employee to lunch, unless you have an objection.”

John smiled ear-to-ear at the two of them. “Just bring her back after lunch. We have a meeting at three o’clock. Will that give you enough time?” They all three laughed as Greg led Julie out the door.

Lunch was just as enjoyable as dinner had been. “As much as I hate to, I better get you back to work,” Greg said as he asked for the bill. “If we’re gone too long your boss is going to be asking about a wedding date.”

Julie laughed, but agreed. “Yeah, you’re right, though I hate to leave. Lunch was great, thank you. Meals just seem to taste better when we’re together, for some reason.” Greg laughed as he led her out the door.

Both of them were looking forward to Friday night’s dinner date, and neither were disappointed. They never had to worry about finding something to talk about and enjoyed the easy banter back and forth. By the end of the evening they both felt they’d known each other much longer than a week.

They easily settled into a comfortable routine, seeing each other several times a week at minimum. Greg seemed to be at the lumberyard more frequently than he had been last summer. He no longer called to order something, preferring now to order it in person.

***

One day Greg’s foreman at one of his houses called to inform him of a problem on the job due to a lack of lumber. It was supposed to have been delivered first thing in the morning but was not there yet by mid-afternoon.

Greg called Julie to check on it and was surprised to find out it hadn’t been ordered. Julie had forgotten about it. She apologized and promised to have a truck out there within the hour. The truck arrived and had everything they needed, so the crew could get back to work.

That evening Julie was watching out the window and opened the door as Greg approached the door. “I’m sorry, Greg. I was thinking about how much I enjoyed our lunch and I totally forgot you gave me an order when you came to get me.”

Greg gave her a quick kiss on her cheek. “Don’t lose too much sleep over it; I’ll give you one warning before I take action. Just don’t let it happen again.” He was grinning, but Julie had never seen that grin before. Although it looked rather ominous, she didn’t give it much thought. Life quickly went back to normal, and she forgot about the incident.

About two weeks later Greg was having a horrible day. His foreman on one of his projects had a funeral to attend, and Greg was filling in, but things weren’t going well on the job site. Two of the workers dropped a window they were installing, and it broke, so he called Julie to order another window.

Then the bathroom fixtures weren’t fitting properly. When he checked on that problem, he discovered the fixtures they had were supposed to have been delivered to a different site. He called the foreman on the job that should have gotten them and had him do some checking. Sure enough, they had the fixtures Greg’s crew needed.

He went to his truck and looked at his copy of the orders he gave Julie, thinking he must have put the wrong addresses on them, but found they were correct. He checked the packing slip from the lumberyard and found the mistake. The delivery trucks delivered the loads to the addresses they were told; the error had been made at the lumberyard’s office. He checked, and it was Julie’s writing. She had sent them to the wrong sites.

Greg had the fixtures loaded in his truck while he called the other site and told them what happened. He then drove over to the other site, had his guys switch them, and delivered them back over to the first site.

In the meantime, he called Julie. “Hey, honey.”

“Hi, Greg. How’s your day going?”

“Not the best, unfortunately. That’s why I’m calling. I’m running late, so how about if I pick up some Chinese takeout for dinner and we eat at your place tonight?”

“That sounds great. Everything okay?”

“I think it will be now. I’ll talk to you more about it tonight.”

Julie said good-bye but had trouble concentrating on what she was doing. She wasn’t sure what it was, but something about Greg’s voice just didn’t sound right. Maybe it was because he was having a bad day. She hoped it improved for him before tonight. In the meantime, she forced herself to get back to work.

While she was waiting for him to arrive that evening, she wondered again what his problem could be. He’d taken her to see the houses he was building, but he hadn’t even mentioned which house he had a problem with, so she had no idea what could have happened. As soon as he arrived, however, she knew something was wrong.

The look on his face was unfamiliar to her, but she knew it wasn’t good. “What’s wrong? Did you get the problem fixed?”

“I got it fixed, but my crews and I had a lot of downtime, and I spent time and gas going back and forth between job sites. A crew installed, uninstalled, and reinstalled fixtures today.” He guided her to her couch, and they sat down. She was getting a bad feeling as she watched Greg taking some papers from his pocket. He handed them to her and said, “Look at these orders and packing slips and see if you see any problem.”

She hesitantly looked at the paperwork. “Uh-oh. Greg, I’m sorry. I can’t believe I did that.”

“Do you have any idea why you may have made that mistake?” He had a stern look on his face, but not unfriendly, and Julie knew he wanted some answers.

“Not really, other than every time I do work for you my mind tends to wander, and I find myself remembering things we’ve done, places we’ve gone.”

“I’ve known John for quite a while, and I know he won’t allow this kind of mistake. This is the second problem I’ve had. Have you made other mistakes at work, has he addressed any problems with you, or does it just seem to happen with my orders?”

“Honestly, Greg, I’ve only had problems with your orders. I don’t know why, but I haven’t made mistakes with any others. I’m really sorry.”

“That’s good. John relies on his business with contractors, and he wouldn’t be happy if some of them started complaining about problems.”

“No, he sure wouldn’t. Have you told him about these two?”

His eyebrows raised as he looked over at her. “No, I haven’t. Should I?”

She started to say no but looked at the serious look on his face and stopped to think about the question a minute. “Well, obviously it would be better for me if you didn’t,” she started hesitantly, “but you certainly have every right to.”

“Let me ask you, what do you think he’d do if he knew?”

That question made her stop and think again before she answered. “I don’t really know. I don’t think he’d fire me—yet, anyway—but I’m sure he wouldn’t be happy. I’m sure he’d talk to me about it. He might dock my pay or threaten to fire me if I made another careless mistake. I’m sure it would be more than a casual ‘be more careful’ speech.”

She was quiet after that, and her eyes remained locked on the floor. Greg could tell she was giving that some serious thought, which was good. He knew John and he knew he would not allow any employee of his to make careless mistakes and keep their job. He gave her a few moments to reflect on that thought before continuing. “So, then, it seems the problem is me.”

She looked at him quizzically. “You?”

“Yes. You seem to think about me and our times together when you should be concentrating on my orders.” He had a stern expression on his face. “I’m glad you enjoy our time together, Julie. I enjoy it a great deal, too. However, I can’t let you start making mistakes like this on my orders. It costs me time and money, and if John finds out it could cost you your job. Both of those things could easily hurt our relationship. Do you remember the last time you made a mistake on one of my orders, I told you I’d give you one warning before taking action?”

“Yes,” she said skeptically.

“Well, it’s time to take action. Apparently, when you work on my orders you think of the positive things about me, the good times we have together. I’m glad you have those thoughts, but when you’re working on my orders is not the time for them. Therefore, you need something else to reflect on when you’re doing my work.” He reached over and took hold of her wrists and pulled her over his lap before she realized what he was doing.

He gave her four good swats on her bottom, over her pants. She quickly came to life. “Greg, no. Stop. What are you doing?”

“I’m giving you something else to reflect on the next time you work on my orders,” he calmly explained. “Remember this is what happened the last time you were careless, instead of remembering the time we spent together last night.” He gave her a few more swats, then paused.

Julie had been kicking and squirming, trying to get up, and she assumed when he paused, he was done. She tried to stand up, but Greg held her tight. She was stunned, to say the least, and a little angry. “Let me up. That hurts.”

“Julie SueAnn McAllister, I care for you deeply, and I will not allow you to make senseless mistakes and lose your job. I’ve loved the time we’ve been spending together, and I expect our relationship to continue growing. My business, however, can’t afford your careless mistakes. That’s bound to hurt our relationship, as would you losing your job because of mistakes when servicing my business. That relationship is simply too important to me to allow it to be put in jeopardy.”

He reached underneath her and quickly unfastened her pants. She wasn’t happy. “Greg, no. You can’t do that,” she yelled as he pulled her pants down.

“Yes, sweetheart, I can.” He gave her several more smacks on her panties before reaching to pull them down, as well.

As soon as she felt his fingers in the waistband of her panties, she squirmed her way off his lap, reaching back to smack his hand away from her panties at the same time. Without missing a beat, Greg easily hoisted her back onto his lap and slapped her bottom a few more times, a bit harder. “There will be no more of that. You don’t get off my lap until I help you up. Do you understand me, young lady?”

Julie was now crying, realizing for the first time that Greg was completely serious about this spanking and she wasn’t getting out of it. When it became clear to her he was waiting for an answer, all she seemed to be able to get out was one meek, simple word. “Yes.”

“Good.”

Julie was overwhelmed with emotion. This hurt terribly, but no one had ever stood up to her before, and she found that fact somehow comforting, which made absolutely no sense, considering how sore her bottom was. She’d always been able to get and do what she wanted, but Greg wasn’t giving in. The strange feelings she had about that would just have to wait because right now she was in way too much pain to even begin to think about it. She’d have to sort those feelings out later.

For now, Greg had started spanking again. Half a dozen smacks later he reached to her panties again, and this time Julie moaned and squirmed a little but stayed over his lap. “Much better,” he praised. “Now, I want you to think about what’s happening, sweetheart. I want you to remember this the next time you work on something for me at work. Maybe that will get your mind focused and you’ll do the kind of job we both know you’re quite capable of doing.” With that he gave her a sound spanking on her bare bottom. He continued to talk during the spanking to be sure her mind was focused on why she was being spanked.

“Greg, no, stop! Ow! No!” She was crying a steady stream of tears now but managed a few words between gasps of breath. “I’m sorry. I’ll be more careful, I promise.”

After a few more swats, Greg stopped the spanking and started gently rubbing her back and bare bottom, while she calmed down. “It’s over now, sweetheart, and you’re forgiven. You did very well. I hope you are more careful, so we don’t have to do this again.” He very gently pulled her up onto his lap, not sure what her reaction was going to be. She could be irate and ask him to leave, but he sincerely hoped not.

To his relief, she laid her head on his shoulder and cried softly, holding onto his shirt. He wrapped his arms around her and ran his fingers softly through her hair. “You mean the world to me, sweetheart, and you’re forgiven.” She seemed to melt into his chest, much to his delight. He held her tightly, laying his head on hers, whispering softly how much she meant to him.