Authors: Maren Smith
©2013 by Blushing Books® and
Copyright © 2013 by Blushing Books® and
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“Hi, I'm Maren. I'm 30, married to a wonderful, dominant man, and have five four-legged children: two dogs and three cats.Ilove strong, authoritative men--men who are both ready and willing to leave the lady of their choosing red-bottomed and weeping and for her own good. Writing has given me the wonderful freedom to explore my spanking side without feeling 'weird.' Even better, with the invention of the Internet, I can write what I love and know it will be appreciated by people with the same interest
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Praise for Mountain Man:
I really enjoy the fish-out-of-water stories and this was another good one from
Maren Smith. Have two people holed up together in a mountain cabin out of necessity is a great idea, and she runs with it all the way to the end. – Meg
I loved this book, loved the idea of a mountain man- in this day and age. I liked the humor, the tension, the sterness. The author is spot-on in both character's POV, and I like that you get both. Since I found this Author I can't get enough.- Dawn
I liked the whole wilderness theme and how they were forced to be friends and lovers. The only thing that made me crazy was he needed to have indoor plumbing!!! I would have gone crazy. – Kathy
Shit,” Sam said as soon as he was close enough for Marshall to hear him over the cacophony of hammers, saws, coordinated shouting and all the cursing that went along with sixty workers and a fully operational re-construction site. “It’s Goodson again.”
“Yeah, I recognized the car.” Passing the building plans to his foreman,
Marshall turned to watch the car park. Sam looked up at the castle—their castle—a fifteenth century monstrosity of cool gray stone, lovingly shipped block by block from its native Scottish soil on three different boats before finally meandering its way, first by train and then by truck, into this long-abandoned Ohio wheat field. The outside was almost complete. Only the outer walls and towers (and a smattering of outbuildings, but they’d get to those when they could) were still under construction. The interior renovations had started, but there was still a lot left to do. The stairs had gone up just last night and over half the marble had yet to be laid, but give it another month…just one more month of sixty hard-working men, most of them future guests and volunteers…and the Castle, Marshall’s life-long ambition and Sam’s fondest daydream (first, at age six because he was just nerdy enough to want to be a knight when he grew up, and then later on in early manhood, when his kink had grown in and all he could think about was wanton maidens being spanked and deflowered in the most deliciously depraved ways) would be ready for play.
That is—if they could somehow convince
Inspector Goodson to sign their remaining operating licenses and permits.
oning and construction had been embarrassingly easy to get by comparison. Those inspectors were all business, making their tours of the site, checking off all concerns on their clipboards with minimal interest in the end game. Hell, not only had the Fire Marshall passed them, but he and his wife had already quietly signed on as guests during the Castle’s opening weekend.
ot Goodson. Oh no. Not Goodson.
This was h
is third visit to the partially completed Castle and their first appeal. Apparently, Goodson had a problem with BDSM and now, if Marshall couldn’t convince the county inspector to grant all their licensing and use permits, the Castle would not be opening for business.
took a deep and calming breath, swallowed back the urge just to walk out there and punch the sanctimonious prick. Instead, he let Marshall walk out ahead of him to greet the man who had made it his single-minded goal to destroy not only the two of them, but every one of the six core members who had risked their entire financial futures to make this dream a reality.
Having parked, Goodson was just getting out of his car
. Noticing he was being watched, the inspector smiled broadly—a crocodile smile if Sam ever saw one—and raised his hand in greeting.
“Who’s that with him?” Sam asked
, suddenly noticing the woman trailing along in Goodson’s shadow.
“I don’t know.” Marshall raised his hand in turn. He even
managed to smile, albeit through gritted teeth (something Goodson wouldn’t be able to see from there) and his sharp blue gaze drifted past the inspector to the slender brunette. She was small, barely coming to the top of Goodson’s shoulder. She must be familiar with job sites. Although she wore a dress suit (pants would have been better), at least she had the sense to wear flat shoes. The parking lot hadn’t yet been graded and graveled; heels would have sunk all the way in and could have resulted in a broken ankle within steps.
“Just say the word
,” Sam growled into his best friend’s ear. “I can have Casey and that big-ass strap-on of hers down here in ten minutes. Another ten after that, I guarantee we’ll have our permits.”
Marshall almost laughed. “Not if he enjoys it.”
“Ha. Twelve ounces of jalapeno lube says he doesn’t enjoy anything for days.”
Now Marshall did laugh. “
And the brunette?”
looked at her, turning her ear to something Goodson was saying and tugging at the sleeve of her business jacket as if she were trying to hide her arm from view. There was a story there, and his Dom’s curiosity perked to know it. He looked her over, as if seeing her for the first time all over again. She was a pretty little thing. He was a great admirer of pretty little things. Too bad she worked for the enemy. He smirked. “We’ll tag-team her.”
“Ha. But now you’re thinking about it too, aren’t you?” Sam lowered his voice because both Goodson and the woman were close enough now to overhear them. His dark eyes roved her one last time, but then he snorted. “Heaven help us if she’s anything like Goodson. I’d probably need an icepick just to crack those pretty legs open.”
Marshall grunted, a non-committal sound, and Sam,
burly arms folded across his chest and one finger stroking idly back and forth across his lip, found himself wondering if it might not be worth the effort.
“Keep your mouth shut and your eyes open for even the slightest violation.” John Goodson raised his hand to wave at the two men watching them from the mouth of
a partially erected stone gate.
Hannah had never seen anything like this before. This was only her second summer interning for her Uncle David, and her first time working with John Goodso
n. Granted, she hadn’t seen everything yet, but a castle? In the middle of Ohio? The main body of the structure was massive—a sprawling monolith of grey block stone, arched glass windows and doorways, and truly gruesome gargoyles that leered down at her with toothy gaping grins from all around the rooftops.
“What is this place?”
She breathed, then remembered she wasn’t supposed to speak. She clamped her lips together, but it was too late. Goodson gave her a withering look.
“It’s a smut house, Miss Alder.” He looked her over, that same dismissive up and down stare that he’d used two days ago
when her uncle first introduced them. “Try not to be overwhelmed.”
wave of heat washed through her, but Hannah swallowed the retort that laughed immediately up into the back of her throat. The old Hannah would have snapped out something as rude as it was witty; the new Hannah kept her tight-lipped mouth shut. Besides, it wouldn’t have done any good. John Goodson was a jerk. He was also the chief inspector over permits and licensing, but everyone in town knew his ambitions did not stop there. A self-proclaimed Prince of Politics, he attended every city council meeting ever called, practically ran the PTSA, was a deacon at his local church and, in this small town of slightly less than twenty thousand people, folks had grown pretty well resigned to the miserable likelihood of his becoming mayor—God help them all—within the next ten years.
But for now, he still answers to me,” her uncle had told her back when he first informed her who she’d be interning with. “Don’t be afraid to speak up if you need to.”
was determined not to need to. Her family was watching her closely now; everything she did these days was done with twin goals in mind: first, to prove that she could be trusted again; and second, to prove that she could cope—no matter what. That meant taking whatever sanctimonious jerks like John Goodson could dish out and, if not taking it with a smile, at least taking it without backtalk.
at her left coat sleeve, Hannah followed her boss from the future parking lot, down into the dip of a partially-dug moat and then up into the courtyard beyond. Signs of ongoing construction were everywhere: a group of five or so gritty workers were busy laying cobblestone, up on a scaffold, a woman was carefully placing window panes into old-fashioned leading, and two gardeners were preparing decorative beds up against one wall. On the far side of the courtyard, two men stood waiting for them. A girl would have to be dead not to notice how attractive they were. Blond, piercing blue eyes, somewhere in his thirties and built like…well, like a hard-working construction worker, the first took a few steps towards them. He held a pair of yellow hardhats in his hands. The other was shorter, perhaps by an inch or two; ripped, like a lumberjack; dark and swarthy in a way that suggested shaving might not be his favorite past time, but, Hannah allowed instantly, that kind of scruffiness suited him.
e was looking at her.
annah’s stomach gave a little flip-flop. Another thread of heat wound inside her, rising steadily up to paint her face. He was older than she was, maybe by as much as ten years. He was also attractive, though not handsome, not really…well, maybe in a big-ish, block-ish, as-hard-and-as-chiseled-as-the-surrounding-castle-blocks kind of way. His dark shoulder-length hair was pulled back in a ponytail; his equally dark eyes watched her come, barely blinking, never wavering, following her movements so closely that Hannah couldn’t make herself hold his stare. She looked away first. He was looking at her so strangely. She didn’t know how to describe it.
No, that wasn’t true. Some feral, instinctive part of her knew exactly what that look was. He was a chocolate connoisseur and she was the last confection in the shop. He was melting her with
that hungry look, that crooked grin, the idle stroke of his finger along his bottom lip as if he wished it were hers.
Her bottom lip did the funniest thing.
It quivered and in that moment, she could have sworn she felt him caressing her there.
She didn’t even know his name.
“Mr. Leaf.” Goodson greeted.
-haired man smiled, though it never quite reached as far as those icy blue eyes. He extended a hard hat to each of them. “OSHA rules.”
Her boss donned his hat, giving the hard dome top a pat before grinning. “Let’s get this show on the road, shall we?”
With a wave of his hand, Marshall Leaf took the lead and Goodson fell into maliciously cheerful step right alongside him.
Adjusting the hat
to fit her smaller head, Hannah followed with that smirking, dark-haired devil trailing along beside her.
He stuck out his hand, a huge slab of broad fingers and rough labor callouses. “Sam. How are you?”
She tugged her sleeve down again, then let her much smaller hand be engulfed by his. “Hannah. Fine, thank you.” She tried not to let her stomach’s sudden flip of interest show on her face, especially not when the heat of his palm burned into hers and he held on just a few seconds longer than any greeting shake required. The minute she got her hand back though, she rubbed her arm. Her fingers were tingling as if she’d been shocked.
His smile broadened,
as if he knew what he was doing to her. “First time at the Castle?”
Desperate to look away, anything to get her equilibrium back, Hannah turned her focus to the massive stone structure. She had to take several breaths, but as they made their way toward the front stone steps, eventually she was able to think about something other than him. “This is really amazing. I’ve never seen anything like this—” Goodson and Marshall Leaf had already pulled ahead of them. They were just now passing into the shadows of the entryway, deep in conversation of their own. She and Sam were falling behind, and suddenly that struck her as being a very dangerous place to be. “—this, um…before. Um, excuse me.” Hannah quickened her step to catch up with them.
Not a problem.” Sam’s long legs kept easy pace with hers. “I’m glad you like it. This project has been a real labor of love. This is a genuine Scottish castle. Marshall saw the demolition notice a couple years ago and got inspired. So we bought it, brought it to America and are now reassembling it according to its original exterior design. The interior, however, is our own special touch. In another two months, this place is going to be the best damn fantasy vacation resort in the United States, if not the world.”
Fantasy resort?” Hannah looked up at the stone gargoyles grinning down at her from along the crenelated rooftop. “You mean, this is like a…a Renaissance fair? Knights and costumes and sword fights, and such?”
“Not exactly,” Sam demurred, moving past her to catch the door, just now swinging closed behind
Marshall and her boss. He held it open for her. “Ladies first,” he said with a wave of his hand.
For some reason, that tickled her. He wasn’t the first man to get a door for her; heck, she’d held quite a few doors for more than a few men. Hannah blushed anyway. Tugging at her sleeve, she averted her eyes a
s she stepped past him and entered the castle. It was like stepping back into a whole different world—a bygone era filled with gray-stone marbled opulence, Grecian pillars, faux candle chandeliers and elaborately carved and curving staircases unlike anything she’d ever seen in her life.
Oh wow,” she whispered, walking quietly out into the middle of the entrance hall, turning in a full circle while her huge eyes drank it all in. “This is a palace!”
Startling, she turned to see Marshall smiling at her gently from across the hall, and her boss, who wasn’t.
“Eyes open, Ms. A
lder,” he reminded her. And mouth shut. He didn’t have to repeat that part; Hannah heard it loud and clear. She locked her lips together and quickly averted her eyes before he could read anything mutinous in them.
“Let’s get this tour underway.
” Marshall sighed. He wasn’t smiling anymore, but now John was—straight, white teeth showing like a barracuda.
how many people did you say this brothel is meant to hold?” He asked.
Sam stiffened slowly,
and Hannah saw a pulse of clenching muscle ticking once along his jaw.
“It’s not a brothel,” Marshall
said flatly, and off they went into the next room.
Hannah followed a few steps behind
them with Sam at her right. “Ass,” she thought she heard Sam growl, but when she looked back at him, his mouth was tightly shut.
toured the entire first floor from the massive front entry hall, back through several ballrooms, congregation halls, a type of chapel where beautiful stained-glass windows were still covered in protective paper and confessionals were being built, to three massive dining rooms and two distinct kitchens. Now and then, Sam would tap her shoulder and direct her gaze to something other than her boss’s back.
“When it’s in operation,
” he told her as they toured a very hotel-like guest room on the ground floor, “we won’t just have guest quarters, but long-term employees will have the option of housing here.”
It was the only
fully furnished room they had so far, but it had a private bathroom, a chest of drawers, a hook and shelf-lined closet that didn’t seem to Hannah to be meant to hold clothes, and a king-sized four-poster bed with metal rings attached in deliberate but unfathomable places.
“What are these for?”
Hannah finally asked as she reached up to finger one of the rings.
She hadn’t realized Marshall and Goodson had already moved on to the next room until she felt the slight brush of a
hard chest and turned to find the rest of the room empty apart from Sam, who was standing right there at her back.
echoed, and looked from the ring to her. He smiled and the heat of his chest suddenly felt as if it were sizzling all through her. “Would you like me to show you?”
Her throat choked in, making the simple act of swallowing and breathing
somewhat awkward. “Show me, how?”
“Employee apartments are located on the third floor. Mine is number three
from the top and there’s already a bed like this in it. Come upstairs with me…” His voice was slow seduction and it rippled through her until Hannah forgot how to breathe entirely. “…and I’ll be happy to show you exactly what those rings are for.”
Her mouth op
ened, but instead of telling him off or even just laughing—a secondary instinct, which was beginning to bubble up ticklingly inside her—no sound came out. Heat stole up into her face; Sam’s smile only broadened.
“You look very warm in that jacket,” he coaxed. “
Let me help you take it off.”
outside the room and somewhere down the hall, her boss called, “The tour is continuing, Miss Alder! Where are you?”
Tearing herself away from Sam’s hypnotic-like charm felt as physical
as tearing away part of her own skin. He still reached the door ahead of her and grandly opened it, grinning as he did so, to let her pass. What had, she had no doubt, started off as teasing began to feel more like hunting. Her heart quickened, her palms sweat. She rubbed them once against her skirted thighs and chanced a quick glance back.
He was staring at her butt, a light of devilish appreciation dancing in his dark eyes.
“And how many safety exits are there?” Goodson was asking as he and Marshall moved on, leaving the first floor apartments behind and heading back down the hall toward the ballrooms.
With her nerves already highly rattled, i
nteresting aspects of the architecture began now to jump out at Hannah. Like the wall sconces. Each carving was unique and depicted either a man or woman, and sometimes both, in very adult situations. Hannah startled when she finally looked at one long enough to notice what it was—a man with an obvious erection, perched on his knees with arms outstretched to either side and weighted with books on each open palm. For some reason, it reminded her strongly of the scales of justice. In the next, however, a stern-looking woman sat on a throne with some kind of whip in her hand, two scantily-clad female attendants at either side of her and a man pretending to be an ottoman under her feet.
peered closer, picking out what looked like welt lines on the buttocks and thighs of all three submissives—a pang of sheer and unexpected lust jolted through her loins—and the next thing she knew, Sam had moved in closer too.
felt the heated brush of his breath caress the shell of her ear. “It’s called a flogger. Have you ever seen one before?”
squirm of wanting tickled at the pit of her stomach. She tried to laugh, thinking he was joking, but it came out sounding breathless and squeaky. “What kind of resort is this again?”