His warning plays in my mind. I want you there in two minutes. If you take one second longer, I’ll spank you again. While the spanking isn’t such a horrible threat, my bottom is still ripe from Chris’s palm, leaving other parts of my body eager for the rewards of meeting his demands.

I yank open the door and rush down the hallway, stopping at the curtain, where I have a moment of apprehension and not because of what’s happened with Chris. Because I’d left here angry with David, who is too observant for my own good right now. Silently I lecture myself about being cool and unreadable, like that will suddenly change how transparent I am. Chris ends my fretting by dragging the curtain back and I am instantly captured in the smoldering embers burning in the depths of his hot stare. He studies me for a moment, satisfaction slowly lighting his eyes, and I can feel the heat of my cheeks that matches the burn of my body. He knows I liked what he did. He liked what he did. And he really likes that I followed his orders.


He reaches for my hand, pulling me into the booth, his touch downright scorching. “You’re late,” he reprimands softly, and this time I am happy to discover that David is, once again, on the phone.

“I was standing right here,” I point out as he reaches around me and shuts the curtain, then settles back in his seat, his body angled intimately toward mine.

“Good try, baby,” he says, pinning me in a sizzling stare. “But I know you know that isn’t going to work.” His lips hint at a curve and if a tiny part of me worried that a spanking in a bathroom would make me feel awkward with Chris, it hasn’t. In fact, as he brushes my hair behind my ear, his fingers linger on my skin and he says, “But I promise to kiss it and make it better,” there is a warm sense of expanding intimacy between us. As if we’ve climbed a wall and we’re finally standing on top.

“Get back to me,” David says loudly, ending his call.

Chris’s gaze lingers on mine a moment, and with evident reluctance that pleases me, he leans back against the cushion to face David, who is staring at us. And staring at us. Seconds tick by and my fingers curl into my palms with the sudden fear he somehow knows about my burning backside.

“I was a dickhead, Sara,” David blurts out, reminding me of what Chris had successfully made me forget. He’s right. He is. But thankfully he’s a dickhead who doesn’t seem to know my panties are in Chris’s pocket.

“Because you say you were a dickhead or because Chris says you were?” I challenge.

“Both,” he replies.

I give him a nod. “Then it’s unanimous.”

“Yeah well, I’m sorry, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen again. I get passionate about what I do.” He grabs his briefcase. “And right now, I’m going to go do my job and compare case notes with Tiger. I can promise you he won’t be ripping this dickhead’s throat out.”

“You’re meeting with Mark’s attorney?”

“That’s right, sugar.” He winks and holds his hands up. “Don’t throw anything at me. I’m joking. No more sugar. I’ll stick to cutie or doll face in the future.” He glances at Chris. “I’ll call you in the morning with an update.”

“Call me tonight,” Chris says.

“It’ll be late,” David warns.

“That’s fine.” Chris motions to the table. “I got the food tonight.”

David grins. “Like I’d have it any other way.” He moves to the curtain and gives me another keen, unwelcome inspection. “You haven’t said much. That makes me nervous.”

“That’s the caffeine,” I counter.

He snorts out laughter and glances at Chris. “Witty, isn’t she?”

“Too much for her own good sometimes.” David grunts for no apparent reason and then disappears through the curtain.

Chris tosses money onto the table. “Let’s go, too.”

• • •

Chris and I chat with Marco as we collect our jackets, and the way Chris finds every opportunity to touch me makes me smile in ways that reach beyond the laughter his and Marco’s easy rapport sparks in me. When we finally step out into the chilly evening air, it’s hand in hand, an erotic charge in the connection of our skin, even in the air we breathe. But he doesn’t speak and he’s stopped looking at me and I know why. This is part of the anticipation of what comes next. He’s promised punishment. He will punish me. And just as he’d predicted, I crave the answer to what comes next. And while I normally welcome the sight of Jacob in our lobby, tonight I’m pleased to find his replacement is satisfied with a lift of our hands in greeting.

Once we’re in the elevator, Chris surprises me by letting go of me, punching in our floor, and then leaning on the wall. I take his lead and lean on the opposite wall. “You were late,” he reminds me. “You know what that means.”

“Yes. You told me.”

“What did I say?”

“That you’re going to punish me.”

“How?”

“Spank me again.”

“Yes,” he agrees. “I am.” But there is something about the way he says it that tells me this is not going to be “just” a spanking, if there is such a thing. It’s going to be more. It’s going to push my limits.

The doors slide open to reveal our apartment and Chris punches the button to hold it open, but his eyes stay on me. “Go into the living room and undress, and then sit on the couch.”

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