He’s been her best friend for ten years. How can she agree to become his lover?

Victoria Higgins has a secret. When she tells her best friend, mobster Roman Donato, she fears she’s lost him forever.

Roman has a secret too. And when Vicky accidently discovers that they share the same interests, he suggests that he become her Dom. But she is hesitant and continues to go out with other Doms. Until the day one assaults her and abandons her, landing her in the ER, then Roman comes to her aid and insists on taking care of her.

But can these two move from best friends to lovers, to Dom and sub effortlessly? Or will it end what they now share forever?

Publisher’s Note: This friends-to-lovers romance contains a theme of power exchange.

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His hand began to rub her bottom. “So. I think I’ve told you why you need this spanking—and it’s not because you’re exploring that part of your sexuality, but because you decided to do so without concern for your own safety. I will not have you putting yourself in danger like that, Victoria.”

The first swat was worse than she could have imagined it would be, and things went downhill very quickly from there. She hadn’t realized how physically draining it would be on her end of things, but it definitely was—probably because she couldn’t stop herself from very actively trying to avoid the swats he was delivering, even from the very beginning. She’d lost her hands to him within less than ten spanks, and her legs within twenty. He didn’t seem to her to be anywhere near stopping, and he wasn’t. And he lectured her like a naughty little girl the entire time, which only added to the depths of her humiliation!

“I should not have to do this, Victoria,” he said, his tone—and his hand—conveying his unhappiness with her. “I would have thought you knew better than to be lax with your personal safety, but I am going to make sure you never are again, even if you can’t sit down comfortably for a week.”

Hearing the disappointment in his voice was very hard for her, but the spanking was absolutely horrible. Everything about it was humiliating, especially how uncontrollable her responses to it felt. She hadn’t thought about reaching back before she did it, or kicking up, or crying, or begging him to stop. But she did all of that, and more, to the point where she was screaming at him to stop, pleading for all she was worth, and yet he continued to spank her, that big, broad hand falling and rising relentlessly. When she tried to interfere with the discipline he was meting out to her, not only did she find herself physically controlled with breathtaking ease, but the backs of her thighs were then sharply swatted, which he informed her did not count toward her actual spanking.

“I’m sorry to have to do this, Vicky. I don’t like to make you cry. I love you. But I love you enough to do my best to make sure that this never happens again, and if the price of that is a sore bottom, then you’re going to pay it—as many times as is necessary for you to learn your lesson.”

Her mouth was dry from the panting, her throat was sore from the screaming, eyes swollen from crying, and Lord knew her rump was on fire before he began to wind down, administering twenty very hard, atrocious smacks at the last, before he stopped.

Rome was panting, too, still holding her immobile and very carefully not touching her bottom—although that wasn’t really where he wanted to touch her.

It was a hard spanking, especially for a newbie, but he felt he needed to make an impression on her. And now, all he wanted to do was console her. Or, rather, all he wished he wanted to do.

In truth, he wanted to make love to her so badly that for the first time in his life, he wasn’t sure he could control the impulse to do so. As much as he very firmly believed in aftercare—as he’d said during his demonstration with Amy—he also very firmly believed that sex after a spanking was something that was very bonding between a Dom and sub. It was quite an intense experience for a sub to be utterly pleasured by the same man who had just delivered such stark pain to a part of her body that was so very close to the genesis of her pleasure. Often times, the two melded and merged within a sub’s body, and punishment—however real and severe it was—could often result in a level of ecstasy, too.

He wondered if that had happened to Vicky and found himself unable to stop from keeping her captive as he pressed a finger unexpectedly between her cheeks. She started, weakly trying to object to him doing that, but his digit emerged from her groove triumphantly covered in her fragrant honey.

“Wondrous,” he sighed. Ninety-nine percent of him wanted to put his finger back where it had been, to coat it in her slickness, then bring it to what he knew would be her swollen, aching pearl. But the one percent of him that retained any modicum of wisdom knew that that would not be the best thing for him to do for her.

Instead, he forced himself to arrange her on his lap, within his warm, loving arms. She needed to be given time to cry it out in a safe, secure place. She needed the aftercare that he had purported to adore offering to a woman he had punished, and she was the most important woman in his life. As much as he wanted to bring her off, that wasn’t what she really needed at the moment. So he hugged her to him as she sobbed into his chest.

“All done, honey. It’s all over. You are safe and you are loved,” he whispered to her, amongst other things.