Can he handle a woman with a baby after all he has lost?

Kurt Gilmore, a police detective, lost his wife and baby daughter in a horrendous accident. As a result, he can’t stand to be in the same room with a baby, and he hasn’t dated at all.

Ava LaValley’s best friend has just passed away, leaving her to care for her infant daughter. When she seeks help in finding out what happened to her friend, she finds herself speaking with Lt. Gilmore.

The two, even though attracted to each other, must both work through their demons. She is getting over being with an abusive Dom, along with adjusting to sudden motherhood. He must learn to accept the baby if he wants a relationship with Ava.

Will they be able to put their pasts behind them and make a home for the baby in Ava’s care?

Publisher’s Note: This contemporary romance contains a theme of power exchange.

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But then, when he got them to the bed, he climbed onto it and laid her across his lap.

“Wh-what are you doing?” Ava tried to twist away, but he very carefully wouldn’t let her.

“I’m going to spank you.”

He’d never had a woman react the way she did to that pronouncement by him. She became stiff as a board, and nothing he tried relaxed her, so he brought his hand down on that gorgeous ass—experimentally and not very hard.

And that was all it took. She collapsed down over him, as if he’d spanked all of the air out of her.

“You’re okay?” he asked, hand already in the air to administer another swat, but he paused, wanting to check in with her first.

She didn’t really want to tell him the truth but did anyway. “Yes, I think so.” Ava sounded much more tentative than he wanted her to, so he would keep this spanking very light indeed.

“And what should you be saying to yourself, do you think, Ava?” he asked firmly, giving her a more playful smack.

She was still trying to get her breath back from realizing that she was being spanked, to say nothing of how amazing it felt! “Uh, that I’m safe with you, and that nothing’s going to happen that I don’t want.”

“Smart girl. Very smart girl. It’s almost too bad that I have to punish you like this,” he breathed softly as he rubbed her bottom. Normally, he wouldn’t do that—at all, or at least not that early in a punishment—but she was a special case, a very special case.

Kurt didn’t think she had any idea that the spanking he was giving her wasn’t really even a baby spanking. He didn’t think he’d ever gone quite this easy on a woman in his entire spanking career, which had had its high points—with his wife, who was just as into it as he was—and its low spots, when he’d thought he’d never find anyone who shared his love of it. But if his hunch was right, that her trauma had something to do with being physically hurt by a man, he didn’t want her to ever draw any comparisons to him.

In the end, he probably only gave her about fifteen very light whacks with the flat of his hand. And she had reacted so wonderfully to each and every one of them, gasping and kicking and whimpering as he easily kept her in place for more. Even so, her otherwise pale bottom was just beginning to take on the slightest of pink glows when he stopped and rubbed it again.

If that was how she acted during a spanking like this, Kurt didn’t think he’d survive a real one!

“Now’s the time that I get to find out if all of your histrionics are just that,” he pronounced firmly.

“What are histrionics?”

“Over-dramatizing things. Like all of your reactions to what I bet is your first spanking?” Kurt ventured.

“Yes, but no! I wasn’t being his-tri-onic,” she pronounced the unfamiliar word very carefully, and he had to warn himself not to laugh.

“You absolutely were, but you won’t understand that until you face a real one.” As he spoke, he was rearranging her a little, still keeping her on his lap but moving her knees apart—far apart, which had her squirming and caused her to receive another five spanks. “Stay still, Ava.”

He thought that her very genuine sounding, if quiet, “Yes, Sir” was the icing on the cake, but he revised his opinion as soon as his eagerly exploring fingers found much better—and much more icing—of her own.

“Ava, you’re dripping!” he exclaimed in a disbelieving tone, even though he was wearing the evidence of it.

She didn’t think she could possibly get more embarrassed. “I can’t help it, Sir!” she whimpered, trying to close her legs.

“No, keep them open. Wide open.”