Carissa knows the score when it comes to relationships. They don’t last. Sure, they’re good for some fun in the short term, but that’s all. Fun. There shouldn’t be any exceptions, not even for Jamison Croft, but he’s not an easy man to shake. He blasts through every brick she lays.

He may look the gentleman in his expensive suit, but he’s anything but when it comes to Carissa.
But how can Carissa let herself ease into his dominating presence when she knows it has an expiration date?

Jamison is determined to break through her walls with his relentless care and patience. And when their bond is threatened, he will show her he’s in it for the long haul. No matter what barrier gets thrown in his way.

Publisher’s Note: This steamy romance contains elements of power exchange.



A man with a devilish grin, stern features, and handsome swagger walked straight for them. Carissa tried to ignore him. Surely, he was headed elsewhere. Maybe to the group of giggling women standing behind herself and Jade.

“There’s a lot of people here.” Jade’s voice broke into Carissa’s thoughts.

The man walking toward them paused momentarily to talk with a younger guy wearing a headset. Did his eyes just flicker in her direction while he continued the conversation?

“It’s getting hot, too.” Jade started to fan herself.

Carissa needed to concentrate. She and Jade had ventured to the Mistletoe Madness party together to give each other support. More so because Carissa wanted to support Jade as she finally took a step into the world of BDSM clubs, and maybe finally owned up to everything she really wanted out of a relationship. So her attention couldn’t be on the man stalking toward them again, weaving in and out of the crowd looking not just determined, but possessive.

“It will cool off once they open the play rooms.” Carissa didn’t look at her friend while talking. How could she—his eyes were on her, directing her to keep contact with him.

This was ridiculous. Even if he was headed for her, it wouldn’t matter. Most men who approached her at the clubs didn’t stick around very long once she started to go through her kink list.

“What’s that?” Jade pulled on Carissa’s arm and pointed toward the large lounge area of the greeting room.

“It’s the bar, Jade.” She turned to face her friend, who clearly felt on edge having to wait to get into the play rooms. “Relax. Everything’s going to be fine. You’ll mingle. You’ll find a nice guy to chat with, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get yourself bent over one the spanking benches and have that little public play cherry of yours popped.”

“You say that as though it’s so easy.” Jade screwed up her face with doubt and let out a long sigh. “Fine. You’re right. I need to relax. Whatever happens will happen, right?”

“Exactly. Never think to have the night planned out, as you’ll most often find it’s out of your control anyway,” a deep voice answered as Carissa opened her mouth to say something in a similar vein.

She didn’t need to turn around to know who had spoken the words but she did anyway. Right there, merely six inches from her, stood the devil himself. Or at least, his cousin. He seemed bigger and firmer than she imagined the devil would look. The Prince of the Underworld probably had more of a sinister appearance, angry eyes, bulging muscles, ready to rip apart his subjects. This man stood much taller than she and was built well enough from what she could tell with his suit on, but nothing in his sculpted features showed anything but control. No anger, no pompous arrogance, just confidence and pure dominance.

“Well, that may be true.” Jade didn’t seem the slightest bit affected by him.

“I didn’t mean to interrupt.” He inclined his head, giving Carissa a soft smile but making no move to actually exit the conversation.

“Oh, it’s all right.” She took a small step back, though with the crush of people waiting to be allowed into the play rooms, she bumped into another person and had to apologize.

“It’s really crowded here.” He scanned the crowd. “Almost too much so.” His lips flattened together. “I need to speak to someone.” With an annoyed glance around the room, he placed his hands on Carissa’s shoulders.

She should shove him away. It was what she would normally do if a man started to get handsy before she had even said hello properly. But his hands, the warm touch of his skin against her body, sent a shiver down her spine. The feeling was more comforting than irritating.

“The lounge isn’t as packed. Will you go sit at a table for me and I’ll meet you over there?” His eyes were back on her, the smile had returned as well.

“I don’t— “

“I’m Jamison Croft. Just tell the bartender to give you a drink and put it on my tab. Unless you had other plans?” His left eyebrow arched.

“No, but I came with my friend, and I think I should stay with her.”

“Oh. Of course.” His gaze swept over to Jade then back again.

“It’s fine, Carissa,” Jade said. “I’m better with my nerves on my own anyway.”

Carissa nibbled her lower lip. She didn’t know him, and it was a little arrogant of him to just walk up to her and claim her. Yet that little sensor inside her that warned her when a douchebag was near remained quiet.

“I really do need to get this crowd issue taken care of. If you’d like to have a drink with me, I’ll look for you over in the lounge.” He looked around once more and gave her shoulders a little squeeze.

Just before he walked off again, he leaned down and whispered into her ear, “I’d prefer it if you didn’t have any liquor.”

She felt her brow crinkle. Presumptuous, to boot!

“Of course it’s up to you. I hope you’ll be there.” He gave her another squeeze and pushed through the crowd, heading toward what seemed to be the main offices of the club.

Once he’d disappeared into the office, her feet began to move. She mumbled something to Jade about where she was going, but with the crowd of people and music starting up, she doubted Jade heard her.

The bartender scooped up an empty glass and took it behind the bar as Carissa stepped up.

“How can I help you?” Another handsome man smiled at her. Was it a requirement for the club? Although she’d met the bartender a few days back, when she’d taken it upon herself to check out the club before bringing Jade.

“A Shirley Temple, please.” Jamison had said to put it on his tab, but she pulled out a bill from her small clutch and handed it over.

“Coming right up.” He went about making the non-alcoholic drink while she watched. She’d met men at the clubs before—almost every kinky boyfriend she’d had, she’d run into at a club—but this meeting felt different.

Shaking her head, she cleared her mind of any sort of fanciful notions. Her type of relationship wouldn’t last long. They never did. And not just hers, but all kink relationships she’d seen barely made it out the gate before the shine started to wear off.

“Here you go. And here’s your money. Jamison said it’s on him and to go sit at the far table in the corner.”

Carissa plucked the five-dollar bill from his outstretched hand and looked over her shoulder. She noticed Jamison right away. His eyes made contact with her and he smiled, waving his little walkie-talkie in the air and making a pointing gesture. Where was her anger at his behavior?

“Thanks,” she mumbled to the bartender and found the table Jamison had mentioned.

He’d been right. The lounge wasn’t crowded at all. The sign hanging on the wall stating that in order to sit at a table, you needed to have purchased a drink, probably had something to do with it.

Carissa was a few sips into her drink when Jamison arrived, wearing a wide grin. He handed the walkie-talkie over to the waitress who passed by and took his seat across from her.

“A Shirley Temple.” He nodded at her drink with another approving grin. “Good choice.”

“Did you want to order a drink?” She pointed at the bar when he leaned back and unbuttoned his jacket.

“Not right now. I already had a drink, and I don’t over indulge…” His sentence trailed away into the rumblings of the crowd, who were starting to move.

“They opened the doors.” She looked over his shoulder, trying to find Jade.

“Yes. We were supposed to wait a bit longer, but the crowd was too tight in the waiting area so I had them open early.”

“You?” She twisted her neck. Where had Jade gone off to?

“Yes.” He reached over and captured her hand in his. “If you’re looking for Jade, don’t worry about her. Garrick is planning to take care of her tonight, so you are off the clock.”

Her eyes snapped back to him. “Garrick? You know Garrick?” Garrick and Jade had been close friends since near childhood. Jade wouldn’t like running into him, and how did Jamison know him?

“He and I do business together.”

Apparently, he read minds as well as owned kinky night clubs.

She looked at him again, closer this time. “I think I’ve heard him mention you.”

“I was a little surprised Jade didn’t recognize me. We’ve met a few times,” he said.

“She’s a little preoccupied—did you say Garrick was here?” She started to stand from the chair, but Jamison tugged her back down into her seat.

“Yes. And you’ll stay out of it.”

And the twist in her chest began. “Oh, I will? And who exactly do you think you are to go ordering me about?”

The corner of his mouth twisted up and his eyes sparkled with glee.

“Did he send you to babysit me?” Garrick would do something like that if he was trying to get Jade alone. Carissa had always known he was into kink, little things he said and did, but she’d never broached the subject with him.

“Do you need a babysitter?”

The way he said the words, the little bit of levity mixed with the heaviness of curiosity, made her gulp back her initial irritation. His eyes narrowed in on her, as though taking stock of her reaction to his question, and if the slight heat of her cheeks was any indication, she had a full blush starting to take over.

“I don’t need anything.” She gave her standard response when putting up the brick wall, but even she could hear the weakness in her tone.

He nodded and gave a chuckle. “Oh, I’m sure you need a few things.”

“Why is Garrick here?”

“Why wouldn’t he be? He’s part owner, like myself.”

Garrick owned several properties and shares in different businesses, but she had never heard him speak about Dark Lace before.

“I’m not going to answer any of your questions about Garrick. You’ll have to ask him yourself. What I am going to do,” his thumb caressed her palm, “is spend as much time with you tonight as you’re okay with.”

She swallowed. How could a finger cause so much excitement to run through her body?

“Fair enough, I suppose. I’ll ask him tomorrow.” She pulled back, breaking the contact with him so her mind could focus better on the conversation. Picking up her glass, she took a sip of her Shirley Temple.

“There’s a room back there where I generally like to play.” He looked over his shoulder then back at her.

“You want to play?” Of course he did. It was a fucking club, after all, and it was exactly why she’d shown up to the party to begin with.

He gave another laugh. “If you’re up for it. But we have to finish our talk first.”

“Okay.” She shrugged and took another sip of her drink. Negotiations weren’t foreign to her, and it meant he was a serious player. No newbie.

“I typically play in the nursery.” The sentence dropped down on the table like a bag of oranges. Her heart instantly started to pick up speed and her breath hitched.

“The nursery?” She’d seen the room the last time she’d been at the club, but hadn’t gone inside. It had been a quick visit, more to scope out the place.

He folded his hands on the table and gave a slow nod. “Yes.”

“You’re into age play?” She tried not to sound judgmental, or hopeful. Her desires were somewhere in that general area of play, but most men who were into that wanted more than she could give them.

“A bit, not as seriously as most. If we play tonight, it will be in that room. Are you okay with that?”

Not as seriously as most? Exactly how she described it to men she talked with online or when she bumped into them in the clubs, to the few she found interested in her particular brand of kink.

She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I think I’ll start carrying around my list of limits, it would make this part less awkward.”

He laughed. “It doesn’t have to be awkward. If we play, I won’t go any further than a bare bottomed spanking. No fucking, but if you’re a good girl, I may be nice enough to give you an orgasm. That’s all. So, no need for laundry lists of limits and wants.”

A simple scene?

“You don’t want to fuck me?” She clamped her mouth shut after asking that question.

He laughed again. “Oh, little girl, I want to do way more than that, but we just met, and that’s more of a second or third date sort of question.”

Little girl. Fuck, how that phrase made her panties wet.

“You’ve played a lot, then?” She supposed she should ask a few questions.

“Plenty. Yes. You?”

“Some.” Not as much as she’d like, but she held no fairytale notions about what happened in kink relationships, so much of her playtime was kept short.

“Hmm.” He drummed his fingers on the table. “Would you like to play tonight? In the nursery?”

Her throat dried, and she’d just swallowed the last of her drink.

“Sure.” She did her best to sound aloof, but something in his eyes told her he could see how excited she was anyway.

“Excellent. Then let’s have at it.” He stood up and held out his hand.

She slipped her fingers into his palm and with a gentleness that seemed contrary to the strength of his build, he held on to her and helped her from the chair. They walked from the lounge through the nearly empty waiting area of the club before heading down the hallway to where she knew the nursery room was.

Just outside the room, he spun her and pushed her against the wall, bringing his face to hers, their noses touching lightly.

“Once we are in there, if you want me to slow down, you’ll use the color system. Yellow for slow and red for stop. While I’m spanking you, I won’t stop just because you say stop. If you don’t use your colors, I will not stop. Do you understand that?”

The intensity of his rounded eyes and his firm tone sent her heart pattering faster against her ribcage. This man would not be deterred, this man had a solid footing on his dominance.


He pinched her hip. “No, little girl, you won’t address me with yeah, you will answer with a yes, sir, or yes, Daddy. Is that clear?”

She swallowed. His lips were close, in kissing range, and they looked so warm, so plush and delicious. But he was talking, and she needed to pay attention.

“Yes, sir.” She couldn’t call him the other thing. Not yet. Not when they were just being so casual.

He nodded and pulled back. “Good then. Let’s go.”

Gripping her hand again, he pulled her forward into the room.

Inside was exactly how she’d figured it would be. A few toddler beds, two cribs against the wall. A rack with outfits in the far corner. In another corner stood a woman with pigtails holding up a dress, with her bright red bottom displayed to the room. Her daddy stood beside her, his arms folded across his chest, scolding her.

“We were supposed to have a nice evening, and you had to go and throw a fit!” the man stated.

Carissa looked up at Jamison as he pulled them to a stop beside an armchair.

“Looks like someone got herself a bad girl spanking,” he whispered into her ear, then smoothed her hair. “You don’t want one of those, I promise you.”

She held little doubt he was wrong about that.

He let go of her hand to remove his suit jacket and draped it over the back of the chair. Once he’d sat down, his large legs spread, he pulled her to stand between them.

“Now, tell me. How much does this play into your daily life?” He waved his hand, indicating the room as a whole.

“Not very much, I guess. I’ve never had a—well, been with anyone long enough to really incorporate some of this—but…” Her eyes widened at the changing table, where a girl was getting herself diapered, and she shook her head. “Not that.” She pointed to the couple.

“Don’t point.” He wrapped his hand around her finger and pushed her hand to her side. “I’m glad to hear that. Much of this is more than I enjoy myself. But giving a well-deserved spanking to a girl is right up my alley.”

She swallowed again and looked at his hands.

“Not backing out, are you?” He chuckled. “I promise they aren’t registered as lethal weapons or anything like that.” He displayed his hands.

“No.” She shook her head and started to play with her fingers.

He clasped her hands to stop the fidgeting. “Remember your colors. Now, lie over my lap. I think we can have the rest of this discussion over my knee.”

Her pussy clenched and her clit filled with desire just at his words. What the hell would happen when he touched her?

She managed to get over his lap without making a fool of herself, and he helped settle her backside right where he wanted it. Her skin felt warm with his hand resting on the curve of her ass.

“How many spankings have you received for being a bad girl, Carissa?” he asked, starting to run his hand in a large circle over both of her cheeks.

Bad girl? Weren’t they having fun?


His hand rose and crashed down onto her bottom, making her jolt from the surprise of the impact.

“How many bad girl spankings have you gotten? I’d like an answer, please.”

“Three!” she answered quickly when his hand disappeared from her backside again. The first swat had left warmth behind, and she anticipated the next to be stronger if she started to displease him.

He smacked her again, a bit softer, and rubbed away the sting afterward. “Just three?” He tsked.

Discipline hadn’t been at the forefront of any of her previous boyfriends’ minds. They liked the slap and tickle game, but having to actually mete out punishment didn’t excite them.

“Yes, sir.” She gripped the chair leg after the third swat to her backside.

He chuckled, running his hand up and down her exposed thighs. His fingers barely slid under the hem of her dress, and she mentally willed him to slide up further.

“Either you’re a very good girl, or you’ve been overindulged.” His palm lifted from her thighs and peppered her ass with half a dozen swats. Not overly harsh, but enough sting to satisfy her and make her wiggle on his lap.

“Oh!” she said when he pinched her thigh, and she swung her hand back to protect her sensitive flesh.

“No, no. None of that, or I’ll have to hold your arm for you and give you a naughty spanking. You don’t want one of those already, do you?”

His voice reminded her of silken chocolate, so smooth and decadent. Her body responded well enough to it, too. Her clit brushed his leg as she wiggled beneath the spanks, and if she didn’t control herself, she would start humping his knee like a wild beast in heat.

“No, no, sir.” She gripped his pants leg as the spanking continued. A varied array of strong and soft swats spread out across both cheeks. He knew exactly how hard to spank in one area before moving to another. Warmth crescendoed over her bottom, stealing her focus from anything else going on in the room. As far as her mind was concerned it was only she and Jamison in the room.

“Now, that’s a good warm up.” He patted her backside and she looked over her shoulder at him with wide eyes. Warm up? “You didn’t think that was the end of it, did you, little girl?” He winked at her.

His hands, now warm from the delivery of the spanking, slid under her skirt and pushed it up over her hips, revealing her naked bottom. The thong she’d put on had been cute and practical with the tightness of the skirt so as not to show panty lines, but his tsking sound didn’t give her the impression he was pleased.

“A thong.” He pulled up the string nestled between her cheeks and let it snap back into place. “Little girls shouldn’t wear such clothing.” He patted her right buttock. “Your bottom is already a pretty pink.” His hand roamed again over her cheeks while his free hand rested on her back. “I think my little girl can take a bit more from me tonight. What do you think?”

His little girl? She didn’t hate the sound of that.

“Yes… sir.” The word, the title that would make the moment that much more perfect, stayed lodged in her throat.

When his hand made contact with her bare bottom, she jumped, the sting much sharper than before. Her dress wasn’t very thick—even with it being December in Chicago, she’d worn a thinner fabric—so it wasn’t protecting her much. His naked hand on her equally exposed bottom shouldn’t feel so much harder than with the flimsy material protecting her. Another swat and she jumped again. More heat spread, and he continued to rain down fire across her bottom.

She wiggled and kicked her ankles, both of which he stilled by hugging her closer to his body and wrapping one leg around both of hers.

“Oh! Ow!” She covered her bottom momentarily but quickly moved her hand out of the way, sure that he wouldn’t hesitate to go harder on her if he felt the need.

As much as her bottom began to throb, her clit reacted in kind. The wiggling only made her need worse, and the pressure built in her lower belly, aching for release.

“That’s a good girl. Almost finished.” He dragged his nails across her sore backside, making her hiss.

“Yes, sir.” She could feel the tingling and soaring sensation that only a solid spanking could bring her, and although she felt every one of the harder smacks he brought down on her, they only served to bring her to a more pleasant plane.

“There we are.” He dug his nails into her again and she sighed, resting her head against his calf. “You did so good. And good girls get very good rewards.” He moved his leg so he was no longer trapping her and pushed her outer thigh away. “Open your legs for me, Carissa, let me get to your sweetness. You need a release and deserve it.”

She mumbled something, but even she couldn’t decipher what it was. Still, she obeyed, spreading her legs and even lifting her hips from his lap to give him better access. He didn’t pull her panties aside but rather slid his fingers beneath the thin, wet material.

“So wet for me.” With his free hand, he ran up the length of her back and sank his fingers into her hair, fisting it and pulling back until she arched upward. “Now, keep being a good girl and fuck my fingers. Come on my lap, with your bright red ass staring up at me.” He plunged two fingers into her passageway, and she groaned with the pleasure of it.

She planted her toes on the ground and did exactly as he instructed. His fingers fucked her while she pushed against him. When a finger brushed against her clit, she groaned and began to ride his lap even harder.

“Oh! Oh, god!” She gripped his leg.

“That’s my good girl, come for me, come hard.” He tugged her hair and the little bit of extra pressure, the tiniest flash of pain, and she skyrocketed over the edge on which she’d been teetering. She screamed out her release, rocking harder against his thighs and riding every severe pulsation of her orgasm until, finally, everything stilled. Her breath began to settle and her orgasm faded silently, leaving her in a haze of genuine softness.

Quietly, Jamison helped her rearrange her clothing and to get on her feet. He pulled her back into his lap and pushed her head against his chest, letting her take more time to come back to earth.

“You are more than I expected,” he whispered and pressed a kiss to her head. He smelled of musky aftershave. She snuggled further into his neck. “Better than I could have wished for.” He kissed her again.

He sounded pleased, but she hadn’t given him his release. He made no move to request one, either, just holding her and letting her find herself again.

So comfortable, so at home she felt, snuggling into his arms. Reality finally started to sink in, though, and she realized she needed to get home. She had an early shift, she had to get away before this comfort and this level of intimacy she was feeling started to make her want things that just weren’t possible.

She needed to get away from Jamison. As far away as possible.