The third book in the brand new Masters of the Castle box set–When the Gavel Falls–due to be released this in two short days (squee!) is Maggie Ryan’s Rosie’s Resolutions.
What is “When the Gavel Falls” you ask? Why, nothing less than five never before read Masters of the Castle books included in one set for one price. That’s right, five brand new stories by some of your favorite spanking authors and all for the incredibly low price of $9.99. And you’re going to get to meet all the authors right here! Maren Smith and Tabitha Black have already had their turn in Master Marshall’s office, but every day this week I’m posting a new snippet leading up to the Release Party taking place this Saturday. Come and hang out with us while we celebrate! We’ll be giving away free copies of the entire box set, free books donated by each of the authors, a $50 and $25 Amazon or B&N gift cards, and a brand new Kindle Fire! So if you haven’t done it already, friend me on Facebook and join us this weekend for the When the Gavel Falls Masters of the Castle release party!
In the meantime, may I introduce Maggie Ryan.
* * * * *
“Oh my goodness,” Abbie squeaked as the echoes of yet another whack and subsequent shout reverberated out of Master Marshall’s office and straight through their chairs. They were all chewing on their fingernails now. “He’s got to be killing her! He’s got to be!”
“She probably wishes he would and just get it over with,” Darling commiserated, one leg jiggling nervously up and down.
“But we didn’t do anything wrong!” Abbie said. “Did we?”
They all three looked at one another until another loud whack of a paddle meeting painfully naked flesh made them all jump.
“I don’t want to go in there,” Maggie abruptly decided.
Abbie glanced at her hopefully. “Do you think he’ll give us that choice?”
“He will if I’m not here.” Leaping out of her seat, Maggie snapped a defiant glare down the hall at the Chief of Security, who was already pushing off the banister, before she took off in the other direction. She made it almost ten full steps before she noticed the two Masters who had been standing unobtrusively in a doorway not far away. Having read the concordance Maren had sent them regarding all the Castle regulars, Maggie recognized these men at glance. The one with the ponytail was Sam, and the other, with that ready smile that belied the Look he was already giving her, that would be Kade.
Neither master was being unobtrusive now. Stepping out of the doorway they had been lurking in, they started toward her. Behind her, Jackson was also closing the gap, his seemingly lazy stroll giving her plenty of time to calculate the risks of continuing to try to escape with the rapidly increasing potential of failure…and all the consequences that would bring.
Maggie returned to her seat, flinging herself down with a huff and folding her arms sullenly across her chest. “Damn it.”
The door to Master Marshall’s door swung open and again, the blond-haired, blue-eyed Master of the Masters stepped out into the hall. “Next,” he said dryly.
Sam and Kade reached the nook and now took up leaning positions from which to watch the authors against the wall directly opposite of them. Jackson didn’t stop advancing until he reached Marshall’s side.
“We had an escape attempt,” he said.
“Who?” Marshall asked.
“The sulky one.”
Sinking down in her chair, Maggie stubbornly stared at the floor. She didn’t have to look at any of them to know who the ‘sulky one’ might be. Because she was so determined not to look, it took her a minute to see the fingers. Their eyes as wide as misbehaving children in front of an irate parent, both Darling and Abbie were pointing right at her.
So, now there was no doubt in Master Marshall’s mind who the sulky one was, either.
“Judeses,” Maggie told them.
Leaving his post by the door, Master Marshall caught her by the ear. When he tweaked, she came right up out of her chair.
“March,” he told her.
Hers was less of a march and more of a tiptoeing scramble. The higher she tried to rise to ease the pressure on her ear, the harder he seemed to pull, forcing her that much higher onto her toes. The end result was still the same. Into his office she went.
She tried to stop when she saw Tabitha and Maren sharing the same corner, hands locked behind their heads, fannies on such bright red display that her own clenched in dread-filled sympathy. Unfortunately, while her feet might have wanted to stop, Marshall’s kept going and he did not let go of her ear until he had her all the way across the room to his desk.
Finally letting go, he snapped his fingers and pointed to a chair.
Losing bravado by the second, Maggie sat down.
“Name?” Master Marshall asked.
Rubbing her ear, she stole quick glances up at him in between staring at his feet and the floor. “Maggie.” Noticing the crossed canes mounted to the wall just behind his desk, she abruptly changed both her attitude and her tone. “Um…I-I mean, Maggie Ryan, um…Sir?”
“And how did you get roped into this boxed set?” Picking up a manila file folder off his desk, he opened it to the first page, clicked his pen and began writing. “I suppose you’re going to tell me you were dragged in against your will, kicking and screaming.”
“Oh, hang on now…” came from Maren in the corner behind her.
Master Marshall snapped his head up, sending a hard look that immediately turned her back around and put her nose firmly to the wall. “You,” he warned, “do not want me to come back over there.”
Torn, Maggie wanted to rise in defense of her friend and yet, at the same time, she didn’t at all want to be the focus of the blond Master’s icy blue stare. “I wasn’t dragged; kicking, screaming or otherwise. I’m an author. I write erotica. Someone suggested we do a boxed set in the Castle and I jumped at the chance to add this story to the list of other books I’ve written. I—” Maggie’s voice faltered, tiny buds of nervousness coming to life inside her when those eyes of his fixed on her face. She cleared her throat. “I love to listen to the characters clamoring in my head and feel honored when I’m able to turn their voices into stories other people can enjoy.”
“Are you going to tell me you invented us too?” Marshall asked, his tone soft and deceptively congenial. “I read the story you wrote. You took a private scene involving one of the sweetest and dearest Littles at heart and you published it, with all of its explicit details for the world to read. And from the look on your face right now, I can tell you don’t think you did anything wrong.”
“Uh, I, well,” Maggie stammered.
“Why us?” Marshall demanded. “Why the Castle?”
If anything, that baffled Maggie even more. “You’re kidding, right? I mean, have you seen this place? Oh, God, of course you have. What I mean is, I write erotica, remember. There is no better place on the planet to find pleasu…um, inspiration for books like mine other than—” She spread her arms helplessly. “—right here!”
“And you care nothing at all for the privacy you invaded?”
Again, baffled, she looked at him. “B-but my characters aren’t—It wasn’t—” She stopped. She was going to say real, except she was sitting not two feet away from a man who also fit that description and, at this particular moment, he was completely real. Dangerously so, even.
“Why Rosie?” Marshall demanded. “She may not be working here any longer, but I protect all my Littles. I had a very hard time trying to explain to her what she did to merit your intrusive attention.”
“B-but,” Maggie stammered, all hints of her earlier defiance were now gone, leaving her scrambling in an effort to explain what few who weren’t authors could understand. “Her story just…called to me. And of course, the Castle calls to everybody. I’ve heard there isn’t a safer place to play or to explore anywhere in the world.”
“I’ve worked very hard to make it that way.”
“Yes, I know!” Maggie gestured at him. “You and your…Masters…seem to truly care that your clients find exactly what they are searching for. When I first got the idea for my book, I wanted my characters to feel free to toss aside their inhibitions or worries about what others might think. Rosie just called out to me to tell her story. She reminds me of…of people who have been dreaming for years and are finally ready to see how those dreams can change their lives. Once I heard her voice crying out from the Nursery, I was off like a dog on a scent.” She flushed, suddenly realizing that was probably not the right analogy to make. Nervous as she was, she actually giggled a bit. “Sorry, thinking about dogs had me thinking about furries.”
“Is that a program you’d be interested in trying?” Marshall asked, much too softly.
“Oh, hell no!” Maggie caught herself when she saw what slight softening in his expression instantly harden all over again. “Er, I mean, no thank you.”
“You, all of you, paid such particular attention to our auction, perhaps you’d prefer to be in that, then?”
If her stomach sank any lower, it would be at a level with her shoes. “Not that the auction wasn’t the most incredible thing ever,” she offered, striving for polite diplomacy, “but…well, I’d never be able to…to…okay, let me put it this way: one of Master Grimsley’s Little Maids would have to mop me up off the stage because I would totally melted into a puddle of goo! If you’re asking what I’d like to do if I were a guest…” Her voice trailed and she shrugged, trying to narrow down all the options that did appeal to her. She latched onto one. “Wardrobe. I’d love to go to Wardrobe. I mean, what woman doesn’t want to be able to become whomever she wishes through a simple change of clothing? I guess if I were brave enough to attend an actual event, frankly, I’d love to see the Supper and Show. Just the thought of all of that dominance and submission in one room makes me shiver. Oh, and of course, everyone says the food is outstanding.”
“Perhaps I could arrange that,” he said, his eyes narrowing on her thoughtfully. “I wonder, who would be the best Master to escort you. Have you a preference?”
“Of Master?” Maggie blanched. “Oh, good God…um, I couldn’t even begin to pick one. Every single one of you guys seems to know what he is doing.”
For the first time, some of Master Marshall’s severity vanished beneath a glint of barely suppressed amusement. “Thank you,” he said, deadpanned. “We do our best.”
“Maybe someone real gentle?”
“Gentle,” the head of the Masters echoed, the corners of his mouth fighting to keep from curling.
“Yeah, y-you know…” Pausing, Maggie studied her knees a moment. Her eyebrows slowly drew together and a small frown pulled at her mouth. With a sudden shake of her head, she straightened in her chair, hiked her chin and looked boldly back at him. Glared, might even have been a better word. “You know what?”
He tipped his head, his eyes alive with equal measures of interest and amusement. “I couldn’t begin to guess.”
“Hell, just forget I said that.”
“All of it. I’m not getting any younger here. It’s time to stop cutting bait and start fishing.”
“Interesting turn of phrase.”
“Let’s just say, I’d trust you in all your…um, experience…to pick someone for me.” Dear God, where had she plucked the bravery to say all that. Maggie paused, feeling nothing but the pounding of her panicked heart and the slow flush of heat that began to scald every inch of her from the inside out. “Please, no one from the Dungeon,” she amended, but that was as close as she was determined to come to taking any of that back.
Setting her file aside, Master Marshall pushed up off his desk. Two steps was all it took for him to close the distance between them. Lowering himself to squat before her, hands folded between his knees, he met her at her own eye level. His head might have been a little lower than hers now. Funny, how it still felt as if she were looking up at him.
“What is your experience level, Maggie? And please don’t lie to me. After so many years of ferreting out naughty submissives who can’t be bothered with the truth, trust me when I say I’ll know it if you do.”
He looked at her as if he could see straight through her. Maggie clutched her hands so tightly together that her knuckles cracked. “I…I don’t actually have any real experience. I mean…how does one even start? Anything is possible here or so I’ve heard. Maybe I should apply online for a vacation package, huh?”
If she was waiting for him to laugh at her, it never happened.
“What program?” was all he asked.
“That’s not an answer.”
She squeezed her hands even tighter. “M-maybe I could start in the Nursery and move up from there—very slowly, of course. Sometimes I still feel quite guilty over slacking off in school…maybe a trip to Mr. Collin’s office could be possible?” She could barely make herself meet his steady gaze. Never in her life had she been made to admit her inner fantasies out loud like this. Her face was so hot. She pressed her hands to the burning, but her fingers weren’t much cooler. She was so embarrassed she was blushing everywhere. Oh God but…in for a penny, in for a pound, right? Clearing her throat again, she dug for one last shred of courage. “You have a…a really good medical center here, I hear. Maybe, um, a full check-up w-wouldn’t be too far out of the question?”
His smile then became almost gentle. “Have you ever been spanked?” he asked, rising to his feet again.
She turned in her chair, following with her eyes as he walked around her, heading for the implement cabinet across the room. “Is that what you’re going to do now?”
“You don’t think you need it?” he countered.
“No,” she said, an absolute gut reaction. Submissives weren’t actually supposed to say ‘yes’ when faced with a ‘do you need a spanking’ kind of question, were they? “To be honest, I’ve only ever been spanked by hand and a…a paddle…once.”
In for a penny…
“M-maybe I could have one stroke of everything?”
He looked back at her as if to say, ‘I don’t do requests,’ then opened up his cabinet.
“I mean,” she continued weakly. “How many different implements are there, really? Y-you read all the time about women getting spanked by a whole plethora of different things, but that never really happens in real life…right?”
He withdrew a hairbrush.
“And it’s n-never so hard that it leaves m-marks for days, right?” Her breath tried to strangle her as he closed the cabinet and came back to her. “O-o-or m-makes it really…” She swallowed hard. “…uncomfy to sit…afterwards?”
Taking her arm, he helped her out of her chair so he could take her place in it. Giving her the hairbrush to hold while he took her pants down first and then her panties, he smiled as he lied with exaggerated honesty, “Oh, never.”
To Be Continued…
Will she discover that being Little isn’t all fun and games? Will she admit when she’s been naughty – remembering that breaking rules has painful consequences for her backside? Will she keep her resolutions long enough to find the answers she seeks? And even if she doesn’t chicken out, will her heart be able to pay the price?