“Well, if you read it, then why didn’t you do your job?” His hand hit the top of the desk hard, which not only had me flinching, but had my insides boiling over. He might not like my attitude, and I could lose my job over it, but I didn’t like his either. I didn’t see why he was getting so angry. It was just notes.

“I told you when I hired you, that my rules are the only rules. I run an extremely tight ship when it comes to my career, because I have to. I warned you that I’m a taskmaster, but you haven’t seen that side of me. I was trying my best to give you some time to acclimate before I started with my demands. I don’t believe I asked a lot of you. I wasn’t unreasonable. Asking you to read and take notes definitely is not anywhere near the level of obedience I will eventually expect.”


“Obedience?” I bit back. “I’m not some dog.”

“No, you’re not a dog. A dog would be wise enough to know how to be obedient enough to avoid discipline.”

“Excuse me?” I had no idea what he was getting at. “Maybe this job just isn’t for me. Maybe it’s best I go back to the city.” As I said the words, I instantly regretted them. That was the last thing I truly wanted. I had nothing to go back to, and this house was the closest thing I had to a real home. Plus, being here was practically like being on vacation. Being quick to quit when I didn’t like a boss, or when I felt defensive, was an awful habit of mine, and why I couldn’t keep a job more than a couple of months, and here I was doing it again.

One eyebrow rose above Price’s perfectly chiseled face, but other than that, there was no other expression. “You think that is an option? Really?” He took a deep breath. “I told you that once you came to the mountain, you stayed on the mountain.”

Rather than calming my defensive nature as I knew I should, my emotions got the best of me. “You can’t keep me here.”

“I can.”

The way he said the words sent a chill down my spine. Whether I liked it or not, I did not have the control over this situation. He did.

“If I want to go home, I can.” Jesus, I was so stupid. Like I had any home to go to, and even if I did, I was not in the driver’s seat here. Saying these words just made me look like a fool, and I knew it.

“I hope you paid attention to the way to town. There’s no bus. No taxi. And it’s a long hike to get there. But if that’s your choice rather than facing the consequences, then I misread you.”

“Misread me?”

“I didn’t take you as a quitter.”

How wrong he was. He had no idea just how easy I would and always had. I stormed to the office door but then froze with my back to him. Where would I go? And how would I get there? And did I really want to quit?

No.

Swallowing my pride, I asked softly, “And if I didn’t quit?”

Chapter Six

Tessa

“Tessa…”

My heart flipped as I looked over my shoulder to see Price sitting on a high-back chair by the fire. His legs spread slightly, his face stern, and his hand patting his lap as if I was supposed to know what that meant.

“What are you doing?”

“I don’t have time to fight with you, or to deal with your attitude. So, we’re going to handle this situation my way. If you don’t follow my direction, there will be consequences. Black and white. Simple.”

“Consequences? What do you mean by that?” I asked, feeling butterflies flap around in my tummy.

“Come over here and lie across my lap. I’m going to spank you for your failure to do your job as I asked, and for wasting my time. It’s correction and how I choose to handle this situation.”

“What? Are you serious?” Did he just say he was going to spank me? No way could I have been hearing him correctly, and yet his serious face, the stiff way he sat in the chair, and the fact that he was very clear in the way he spoke, told me he was dead serious.

“Now. My rules. Remember? I don’t have all day. Get over here so we can get this over with and move on with our day,” he commanded in a calm and even tone. The man had regained full control, and though he was threatening to spank me, he did not seem angry or hostile. He actually appeared dignified and nearly regal sitting in the chair with his legs spread wide enough to hold the weight of my draped-over body.

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