You’ve been a bad girl.
Laura Lewis did not look like a bad girl. She looked the picture of a calm, collected businesswoman as she faced her reflection in the large mirror hanging on her office wall, seeing each and every one of a hundred little cares she’d taken to ensure her appearance was flawless. From the carefully applied foundation that protected her tender pale skin to the perfect shade of beige that accentuated her fawn brown eyes and the almost neutral lip color that made her look as though she was not wearing any color at all, she was as carefully manufactured as a Barbie doll—albeit with much less in the way of bosom.
Time you learned how to behave.
Every item of clothing and cosmetic shade was carefully crafted for a natural, professional appearance, right down to the way her shoulder-length blond hair was swept back and up off her shoulders, darker low-lights toning down what might have otherwise been perceived as a brash, bold color. Her suit was very much in the same vein, perfectly tailored to her curvaceous form. The blazer had been cut to emphasize her waist, and the skirt fell to a flattering knee length, leaving her stocking-clad and altogether shapely calves free. Feminine, but not too flirty and certainly not frivolous. Dark-rimmed spectacles completed the overall impression of a safe pair of carefully manicured hands. That was important given that she was responsible for the billions of dollars passing through her company’s coffers every month.
Bend over, Laura.
Laura Lewis, CFO of Globovex International, bent forward, the hem of her skirt rising over her hips, revealing carefully chosen lingerie. There was nothing understated about her undergarments, silk and lace framed with dark elastic suspenders. There in the office she rarely left, the place where she put in up to forty hours a week in overtime alone, Laura was about to be spanked.
Outside the door, secretaries bustled back and forth. It was three o’clock in the afternoon and office activity was at a peak thanks to the espresso machines placed at regular intervals across the floor. Nobody was more than two minutes from an energy jolt and on days like the one they were having, the place smelled like a coffee factory.
Laura needed to relax. That was why she needed to be spanked. That was why she was bent across her desk like a wayward brat, her skirt rucked up over her hips. Her white silk panties pulled tight across her full bottom as she reached down to the second drawer, pushed aside a stack of manila files, and drew out a wooden spoon.
Ideally, someone else would have been there to ply it, but Laura had never quite managed the art of submission and she had certainly never met anyone she would consider actually submitting to. That left only herself to spank herself.
She reached back and smoothed the flat side of the wooden spoon over her cheeks. She could hear footsteps outside, coming and going. They only added to her excitement as she began tapping the spoon against her bottom, not hard enough to hurt but enough to get her range and enough to provide a very light sting. Nobody outside had any idea what was going on in her office. None of them knew that the woman known privately in the office under many different monikers, all of which rhymed with witch, was in there arching her back, lifting her bottom for a wooden spoon.
She lifted the spoon a little higher and let it fall a little harder. The resulting slap was clearly audible to her, and perhaps even slightly outside. The sting was faint, however, just a little touch of heat that barely did anything. It had to be harder than that.
The next swat was harder, and the one after that, and the one after that. The wooden spoon fell over and over again, daubing spots of heat over her cheeks. She was starting to get excited and as a result the spoon was landing lower and lower. Soon it slid between her thighs, the warmed wooden back smoothing along the wet lips of her pussy, gathering juices before returning to the task at hand. Laura shivered with self-induced anticipation as the spoon tapped lightly along the sensitive spot where leg met thigh and returned with a biting sting.
“Ouch!” she hissed and squirmed.
Two more swats landed as punishment for that. She knew the rules. Once discipline started, she was to keep her legs spread, her pussy and bottom bare for the discipline she deserved. She was not to kick or squirm or complain. The rules were always very strictly enforced, though she still had moments where she found herself flouting them.
A tap at the door made her tug her skirt down over her thighs and sit down fast, dropping the spoon into the wastepaper basket. She sat down in her two-thousand-dollar office chair and returned to work as composed as could be.
Her secretary Stacy Brown bustled in with a pile of papers to be reviewed and signed. Laura accepted the stack with a smile. Every time she shifted slightly in her chair she felt a fresh tingle, heat rising through her buttocks and suffusing her loins with excitement. Her silk panties were quite soaked, her little sopping secret beneath a designer skirt.
“These need to be done by four p.m.,” Stacy was saying. “I’m sorry, but there’s been a little mix-up and…”
Laura didn’t really hear the words coming out of Stacy’s mouth. In addition to the usual effects of her little break, she was starting to feel dizzy. Her breath was short and her chest felt tight. A high-pitched hum whined in her ears, drowning out everything besides the uncomfortable sensations overwhelming her body. She felt an overwhelming sense of doom, as if invisible hands were clutching at her throat and some unseen serpent was wrapped around her chest.
“Stacy, can you… Stacy…”
“Are you okay? You’re sweating.”
Laura pulled her hand away from her forehead and saw that it was true. She was beading with perspiration. A sharp pain in her chest made her clutch at her bosom.
Fortunately every PA in the company was trained to recognize a cardiac event in progress. Stacy didn’t ask any more questions; she called for help with the sort of efficiency only an executive PA could muster.
Within minutes, paramedics were there. When they arrived, Laura was still slumped at her desk, trying to sign the reports to meet the four p.m. deadline. It was difficult when the numbers were swimming and her chest was bursting with pain, and the paramedics weren’t making things any easier with their fussing and their questions about whether or not she could breathe.
She’d managed to keep her Smart phone. That was one small victory in a day marred by a shameful physical breakdown. Laura had seen the looks she got when she was being wheeled out of the office. Pity mixed with mercenary intent. She’d especially not liked the way Darren Brightman was eying her office. The cocky little upstart had been gunning for her job since the day he’d started as an intern. Now he was VP of finance and looking to move even higher.
“Don’t worry,” he’d said, patting her shoulder. “I’ll make sure the quarterly reports go out. You just get well.”
Smug little shit. Laura knew the reports were going to go out. She was going to get them out if it was the last thing she did. Sitting in her starched hospital bed, she tapped mercilessly at her phone, compiling and noting just as well as she would have done in the office. The tight feeling in her chest was persisting, as was the shortness of breath, but Laura had never missed a deadline. She wasn’t going to start now just because she was in hospital hooked up to half a dozen machines.
A shadow fell across her, blocking out the fluorescent light and making the screen of her phone fractionally easier to read.
“Cell phones aren’t allowed.” A masculine voice intruded upon her labors.
“It’s a Smart phone,” she said without looking up.
“They’re not allowed either.”
“I have to get this done. Have you ever tried compiling an annual report on a screen three inches wide? It’s not easy.”
The phone was taken from her by a large hand that descended from above and snatched it away.
Laura looked up with angry eyes, giving a look that would usually make the recipient quake. It did not make the recipient so much as quiver. A male doctor stood at the side of her bed. He was handsome, though she barely registered that because she was far too busy being outraged at his thoughtless act. His hair was more salt than pepper, his face wise with the course of half a century of life. He had exotic green healing eyes that made one feel safe and secure even when one was contemplating suing him for having dared touch one’s phone.
“It is,” he agreed. “But apparently you can’t follow the rules, so I’m going to confiscate this for the time being.”
“I need that.”
“Not as much as we need our defibrillators to work,” the doctor replied. “Your phone could interfere with them. One of our patients could die because of your need to fiddle with this.”
Laura felt a pang of guilt, which made her defensive. “I wasn’t fiddling. I was compiling.”
The doctor ignored her reasoning. “My name is Doctor Steven Foster,” he said, slipping her phone into the breast pocket of his white coat. “I’m your treating physician.”
“Treating physician. Is that what they call phone thieves these days?”
“You’ve got more important things to worry about than your phone, Ms. Lewis,” he said, giving her a look he’d probably practiced in the mirror until it had just the right mixture of censure and concern. “You’re a thirty-five-year-old woman presenting with extreme chest pain and difficulty breathing. That’s something to take seriously.”
“It’s probably something I ate,” Laura said, waving a well-manicured hand in his direction. She’d just had her nails done. Now they clashed with her mauve hospital gown. Typical.
“Possibly, but from what our tests are telling us, it’s more likely an acute stress response,” the doctor said. “And a lack of proper nutrition. You’re extremely low in several important minerals. You managed to avoid a cardiac event this time, but if you don’t take care of yourself, you could experience one in the near future. You’re very run down. Your body is running on fumes. You need a lot of rest and a lot of good food with the necessary vitamins and minerals.”
“Vitamins and minerals are a scam propagated by the supplement industry,” Laura said.
“No, they are the building blocks of life. Your body needs certain substances in order to survive, and it’s been starved of them. Your potassium is far too low, as is your magnesium and your iron. Now why would that be?”
“I don’t know, you’re the doctor.”
He gave her a stern look. “Either your nutrition is poor or you have an absorbency issue—which is unlikely given the results of our tests thus far. How would you describe your diet?”
Sparse, was how she would have described it. Laura didn’t have much time for eating and when she did eat, it was usually an afterthought. Something grabbed from a vending machine or picked up off a cart. She’d never considered her diet to be an issue before. She’d never considered it at all, in fact.
“I eat food,” Laura said.
“What sort of food?”
“Well, I don’t know. I’m not obsessive about that sort of thing.”
“It’s not obsessive to be aware of what you put in your body. It’s somewhat necessary. What did you eat yesterday?”
“Hmmm. I want to say… something… hmmm… I think there was bread involved,” Laura shrugged.
The doctor’s expression became grim. “I’m going to refer you to our resident nutritionist and we’re going to keep you in for a few days to get your body balanced so you’re not in imminent risk of another event.”
“I can’t,” Laura replied. “I have a meeting at six o’clock today with Reykjavik.”
“The only meeting you’re having at six o’clock today is a meeting with dinner,” the doctor replied, scribbling a note on her chart.
Laura was beginning to lose her temper. Doctors were so arrogant, acting as if their grand diagnosis took precedence over everything else in the world. Dr. Steven Foster was particularly offensive in that respect, standing there all tall and handsome with his slashing brows and his high cheekbones that suggested some form of Slavic descent. A medical Viking, Laura thought in a burst of rare fancy. Must be the medication they were pumping into her.
“Do I get my phone back? I promise I’ll be good.” She spoke in a tone of unmistakable sarcasm.
One of those impossibly dark and well-formed brows rose in her direction. “I’m not sure you know what good is,” he drawled.
Laura smiled in spite of herself. That was not the sort of comment she received from most people. Most people took her at face value; her perfectly styled blond hair colored to within an inch of its life, her fashionable clothing, and her flawless makeup usually conspired to shield her from the eyes of the world. Maybe it was simply the fact that she was wearing a hospital gown, but Dr. Foster was looking at her with an expression she hadn’t seen on another human being’s face for a long time. He looked at her as though she were trouble. A zip of excitement shot through Laura as she returned his dark gaze with a sweet smile.
“Of course I do,” she said. “I’m a CFO for a major financial institution, you know. We only do good.”
Dr. Foster snorted. “You’re not helping your case.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean I see high flyers like yourself more regularly than almost any other part of the population. You people are what keep cardiologists in business.”
“That’s because you charge such exorbitant rates, ordinary people tend to die before they see you.”
Laura had a tendency to be blunt. She had an analytical mind and not a whole lot of time for softening the facts of a matter. She left that to the people in marketing and HR. Her job was her life, and she was exceptionally well adapted to it.
Dr. Foster’s eyes were on her again, judging her no doubt. Laura often offended people. She didn’t mind that. If people were going to leave their squishy feelings around to get stepped on with just the merest mention of fact, it wasn’t her problem. If they kept them nice and safely locked away like she did, it would be better for all concerned.
“It’s true that money does buy a better standard of healthcare, unfortunately,” Dr. Foster agreed. “It’s also true that people in your sector of society tend to work themselves into an early grave.”
“Better an early grave than a late one,” Laura quipped darkly.
“I intend on keeping you out of any kind of grave for the time being,” he replied, reaching into his pocket. He took her phone out and gave it back to her. “I’m going to trust that you won’t use this again,” he said. “If I catch you, you’re in for a spanking.”
Laura looked from her phone to his face, ready to laugh, but there was no humor in his expression. Maybe it was just a deadpan joke. Probably. That didn’t stop little tendrils of excitement from zipping around her nether regions. He couldn’t possibly have predicted the effect his words would have on her, but he’d managed to inadvertently press one of her deepest, darkest little buttons.
Blip beep. The machine to her left made a little sound.
“It’s just an indication that your pulse rose,” Dr. Foster said. Now he looked somewhat amused. Slow horror sank in as Laura realized she was, for all intents and purposes, hooked up to a lie detector.
“Can we take these sensors and whatnot off?” She frowned. “It’s pretty clear I’m not in any imminent danger.”
“Not yet,” the doctor said. “Seems you still have some irregularities in your heart rate.”
“That wasn’t an irregularity,” Laura said. “That was… never mind. I don’t want these things on me anymore.” She plucked one from her chest and removed it. They were not hard to take off, just a bit of sticky circular plastic. The machine let out an annoyed tone and the doctor reached over, plucked it from her fingers, and put it back in place, massaging the sticky circle back against her skin so close to her breast that the palm of his hand brushed it accidentally. Her pulse spiked once more, prompting the machine to blip and beep all over again.
“I think we’ll turn the sensitivity of the alerts down,” he said, fiddling with the dial. “You seem to be exceptionally responsive to stimuli.”
Responsive to stimuli. That was a nice way of putting it.
“You’ve been on the electrolytes for a few hours now, but it’s going to take longer than that for you to feel better. Once you’re discharged, you’re going to need to follow a strict nutrition and exercise regime to get yourself healthy.”
Laura didn’t have time to eat; she didn’t know how he thought she was going to find time to exercise.
“I’m not overweight,” she said, shrugging. “So why exercise?”
“Weight is not the only measure of health,” Dr. Foster replied. “You need to slowly ease into some cardio for your heart, walking first, jogging in a few months. You need…”
“Oh, my God,” Laura sighed. “I’m going to die, because you’re going to kill me with boredom.”
“Laura!” Her name cracked from his lips like a whip. “Stop acting like a petulant little girl and pay attention, please.”
Laura’s jaw dropped. Nobody spoke to her that way. Nobody else would ever have dared to. “Excuse me,” she said, drawing herself up as haughtily as she could in her hospital bed. “I don’t need any lectures from doctors about exercise and diet. Everybody knows about exercise and diet. It’s tedious.”
“Well, you would say that, wouldn’t you,” she said. “That’s the sort of thing you people are always saying, but you never make up your mind, do you? One day fat’s bad for you, the next day it’s good, one day we should all eat bread, the next bread is killing us. Your type just likes to give instructions, that’s it.”
Dr. Foster frowned at her. “I see you’re planning on being difficult,” he observed. “Well, Ms. Lewis. You’re not the first recalcitrant patient I’ve had to deal with and you won’t be the last…”
She rolled her eyes. More lecturing.
“…but you might be the first one I take over my knee if you keep giving me that attitude.”
Her heart skipped a beat, the traitorous monitor beeped again, and heat suffused her face. Dear God. He was looking at her with just a hint of a smile, though his eyes were still serious. Before that gaze, Laura was laid bare. He knew.
This time it wasn’t the monitor. This time it was his beeper. Thank God. Dr. Foster checked it and nodded to himself. “I’ll see you later, Ms. Lewis. Hopefully by then you’ll be more receptive to medical advice. And Laura… if I catch you using that phone, you’re going to be sorry.”
She believed the threat. And the moment he left her room, she was back on her phone again.
Steven couldn’t help but smile to himself as he left his latest patient’s room. She was a cutie, with those big brown eyes and the hard-as-nails attitude. He wasn’t buying it for a moment. There was a distinct vulnerability about Laura Lewis that had nothing to do with her health concerns and everything to do with the fact she wasn’t quite as tough as she made out to be.
He could already tell that she was going to be a handful. Even in her weakened state, she was clearly determined to break the rules. A glance over his shoulder reaffirmed the fact that she was back on her phone. If someone hadn’t been in the process of potentially dying in the next ward, he would have attended to her then and there.
As he strode to the next patient, he was sure there would be another opportunity to correct her behavior. Laura Lewis thought she didn’t have to follow the rules. Laura Lewis was wrong.