No one in their right mind was going to mistake Cat Taylor for a cougar on the prowl, and after losing her husband, Clint, the man she knew was her one and only soul mate, she was determined to reconcile herself to spending the rest of her life alone and, according to her friends, not doing very well at it.

But no one had told her best friend’s son, Finn, that that was the plan, apparently. When he suddenly decides to move back to the coast of Maine, having made what his mother described as buckets of money, he stubbornly sets his sights on her and refuses to back down.

His mentor, Clint, wouldn’t have, either.

He’d taken a lot of cues about how to handle her from him, the worst of which was the distinct tendency to haul her over his lap and reduce her to tears any time she did anything he didn’t like.

But Cat struggles to believe he could be attracted to a woman who is about the same age as his mother, until he proves to her, in no uncertain terms, that he can singe more than just the nerves in her behind, and that, just perhaps, she is one of those lucky women for whom lightning strikes twice in a lifetime.

Publisher’s Note: This contemporary older woman/younger man romance contains a theme of power exchange.

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Finn took her hand and brought her to the living room couch, standing her directly in front of him. He reached up under the skirt of her dress and gently, carefully, relieved her of her panties, which were little more than scraps of lace that somehow perfectly matched the color of the dress, as if they’d come as a matching set. They didn’t sell them to women that way, did they? he wondered fleetingly.

Cat had tried to protest, weakly and ineffectively. Finn knew it was a necessary gesture on her part and simply brushed her seeking hands away carefully but inexorably. He wasn’t sure if she’d been actually trying to stop the spanking, or if she was just trying to keep him from baring her bottom again. Probably a little of both. It must not be easy for her to be that intimate with him so early on in their relationship—bare bottomed and over his lap, as she was seconds after he’d brought her undies to her ankles, well away from any easy retrieval by her.

This would be the first time he’d really be able to take his time with her. The first time he’d really see her and be able to touch her. He discounted her other spankings as more quick and expeditious. This one would be more deliberate and ritualistic, although not quite as much as he would like. Finn understood, from Clint, how important that element of discipline was to Catherine, that the rituals were a big part of what made her feel safe and secure, beyond himself and his presence, and when their relationship was more cemented, he would certainly implement those.

Right now, though, he indulged himself as much as he could, slowly raising the gossamer skirt of that cotton candy dress while she reached back and tried to stop him. He caught her wrist easily, trapping it in his free hand at the small of her back almost as an afterthought. Cat had tried to kick her legs, but the panties at her ankles kept her legs trapped nicely together, just as he’d intended.