Everyone knew Lucy was an airhead, a bubbly blonde who leaped from job to job and never settled down. What they didn’t know was she hid her brilliant mind behind that façade. She had left home at sixteen to further her education and make her way in the world, which did not include getting married and having as many kids as her body could handle, contrary to her upbringing. Trying to shake that off was hard, but one thing she knew was men didn’t like smart women. Then she met Max.

Max was a loner and his reputation was well earned. He had hired Lucy because, while she job hopped, all her past employers gave her excellent references. Their office ran better than ever once she was hired and he made it his mission to find out her secrets. If she wouldn’t confess them, could he coax them out of her another way?

This is book two in the Clearwater Romance series and can be enjoyed independently.

Publisher’s Note: This sweet and clean romance contains elements of power exchange and is intended for adults only.

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“Why do I even want to talk to you?” Lucy said, and jumped up off the couch. “I feel you led me on. You lied to me either implicitly or on purpose because you are a jerk. I am hurt and feel like an idiot and really regret our time together.”

“I am sorry for that,” he said. “But not for what I’m about to do.”

Lucy stared at him, confused, as he reached up, grabbed her arm and hauled her over his lap. “Now we can discuss things,” he said, and smacked her bottom.

“What?” Her brain did not comprehend this. “Stop it, Max, what do you think you are doing!” It wasn’t really a question as he smacked her again and she realized that talking about spanking her wasn’t a euphemism. “Stop it! I mean it!”

“I mean it, too,” he said and suddenly she realized her bottom hurt.

“Ow! Don’t you dare!”

“I’m already daring and you’ve needed this for a while.” He started smacking harder and faster and she tried to twist off his lap.

“Stop it! Now! Ow!” This was not getting her anywhere. She tossed her hand back to cover her bottom and he simply caught it and held it. How could he do this to her?

“Only way to get your attention and get through that stubbornness of yours.”

“I’m not stubborn,” she shrieked. “Stop it! Really! It hurts!”

“Spankings hurt,” he said. And didn’t stop. What could she say?

“I’ll listen! Ow! Please!”

“Darn right you will listen.” He didn’t stop though.

“Please, please!” She felt like her bottom was on fire. What was he doing to her? Why? “Why?” she sobbed out. She would not cry. He couldn’t make her cry. “No more!” He had to stop, she couldn’t take this anymore.

She had never been spanked before and did not like it, one little bit. “It hurts! Stop it! Please!”

“Not quite yet,” he said, as he continued to her ever-growing panic and dismay.

“No! I’m sorry!” she cried, not certain what she was sorry for. He was the one hurting her! “Don’t! I’ll be good.” She finally sobbed in either frustration or pain, she was certain. But it had to stop!

Suddenly, Lucy realized she was on his lap instead of over it. All she wanted was for him to hold her and make things better and how stupid was that? She should be furious with him. But he was petting her, rubbing her back and saying something she couldn’t quite understand as she tried to get herself under control.

“Why did you do that?” she finally managed to ask.

“You needed it,” he said, pulling her into a tight hug. “We needed to clear the air.”

“That didn’t clear anything,” she said, and sniffled. She needed a tissue.

“Sure it did,” he said.

“Liar,” she muttered.

“What did you say?” He tilted her chin up to look at him and she blinked the tears away.

“I said you were wrong. What got cleared? You don’t know how I’m feeling right now.” She sniffled again, feeling sorry for herself and a little bit of hurt feelings, embarrassed, and upset with him. But had no desire to get off his lap. She liked it there. No, she didn’t. Yet, well, maybe she did. She noticed her bottom wasn’t hurting very badly anymore. That was lucky for him! Why? She didn’t know why.

“You are ready to listen to me,” he said.

“Wanna bet?”

Max laughed a little. “Yeah, I’ll take that bet.”

“Good. I win. Pay up.” She held out her hand and he took it, and kissed it.

“I’m sorry,” he started.

“Good.” She snatched her hand away, ignoring the feeling in her stomach. “You should be.”

“Why?” he asked her, as if he really wanted to know.

“Because I was under the impression that you, well, that you and I were a thing. I didn’t tell anyone that we were because it was so new, but I really, really thought so, and then I found out that you were just using me to play with,” she said in one long breath. She’d been wanting to say that for such a long time. “And it really, really hurt. I’ll get over it, but I’m not yet, and you spanked me and that hurt, too!” He hugged her again, and she relaxed against him and sniffled. A tissue would be great right now. As if he read her mind, he reached over to the box and handed her two.