Jake Roark sat his wife down in the center of the sofa in the living room. He gave her a long look. She swallowed, opened her mouth to speak, but only hiccupped instead. He shook his head and went to the kitchen to get a glass of water and brought it along with some Advil to her.
“Here,” he said, handing her the water along with two little pills. “So you won’t be so hung-over tomorrow.”
“Thanks,” Megan said, taking it. She barely met his eyes as she popped the pills into her mouth and took a sip of water to wash them down. She set the glass on the coffee table.
“Uh-uh, drink it all. Dilute some of that alcohol you put in you tonight.”
“I’m not thirsty, Jake.”
He gave her a look as he reached to pull off his boot. “I don’t care. Drink it. All of it.”
“Fine.” She tipped her head back and drank until the glass was empty. “Happy?” she asked, hiccupping again. She set the glass on the coffee table again and slumped against the back of the couch, laying her head on it while still looking at him.
“No, not happy,” he said, sliding off his other boot. “I don’t much like getting called out of a dinner meeting by a friend who finds my wife drunk at a bar at…” he checked his watch, “what was it, barely nine o’clock?”
She inhaled and lowered her lashes. “Sorry,” she mumbled.
At twenty-six, Megan was ten years younger than Jake. They had been together just over a year, married for the last three months. Jake had known she was the one the moment he had laid eyes on her. She just needed a little guidance. He could hardly blame her. She’d been on her own since she wasn’t quite eighteen and since he had met her parents that one time, he figured she had pretty much raised herself given the state of things with them.
“Mind telling me what happened?” he asked. “I thought you were having dinner with Anna.”
“Can I have another glass of water first please?” she asked, sitting up to pick up the empty glass and holding it out to him.
He stood and took it from her, refilled it in the kitchen and brought it back. He waited as she drank it down, glancing at him from the corners of her eyes.
“Well, it was just supposed to be Anna and me but then Lacey and Josie showed up and when Anna had to go, well, you know how things go when I get together with the girls from my old neighborhood.”
Lacey and Josie were friends of Megan from her childhood. Anna worked for her at the bakery. Anna was older, more responsible and a true friend as far as Jake saw it. Aside from Anna, Jake preferred she had nothing to do with the other women but he knew she would have to come to that realization on her own. “That’s no excuse, Meg.”
She hunched her shoulders, her eyes downcast.
“How were you planning on getting home?” he asked. She had driven herself to the restaurant and he didn’t even want to think of her even contemplating getting behind the wheel in the condition she was in.
She took a deep breath. “I’m tired. Can we just talk about this tomorrow?” she asked. She lay down on the sofa, resting her head against the arm. “Or never,” she mumbled.
Jake exhaled and rose to his feet. “Come on, darlin’,” he said, pulling her to her feet. She slumped against him and he lifted her into his arms. “You can sleep this one off.”
“Thanks,” she managed, one hand touching the stubble of his jaw for a moment before coming to rest on her belly as her eyes closed and her face bobbed against his chest with every step. He hadn’t even gotten all the way up the stairs when he heard her little snore. He looked down at her, grateful for his friend having been there. He couldn’t imagine what could have happened if she had gotten into her car and driven off—or tried to.
Once in their bedroom, he pulled the sheets back and set her on the bed. He then slipped her sandals off her feet and tucked her in. She turned over instantly, smiling and mumbling something in her sleep as she tucked her knees up and hugged the comforter to her. He brushed the hair from her face and kissed her forehead.
“Sleep well, baby. We’ll have our reckoning tomorrow.”
* * *
Megan groaned as she turned over, even the thin ray of sunlight peering in from around the curtains too much on her too sensitive eyes. Her head hurt and she felt like crap. She tried to go back to sleep but her mind was busy working, thinking over the events of last night. She remembered getting dressed for dinner at her favorite Mexican restaurant. She also remembered the giant margaritas they had all drunk when Lacey and Josie had joined them.
She brought her hand to her forehead at the memory of Jake’s face when he had walked into the restaurant as the waitress was bringing the next round. As drunk as she had been, she’d seen just how pissed off he was. He had paid the bill and told the waitress to call taxis for the other girls before he had marched her out of the restaurant, probably to the amusement of all the patrons as she also remembered how she’d insisted she wasn’t at all drunk.
“Crap,” she said out loud. She was in trouble.
“I thought you would sleep until noon at least.”
Megan opened her eyes to find Jake standing just outside their closet watching her. He pulled his shirt sleeve straight once he finished with the cufflink.
“What time is it?” she asked, her mouth feeling stale from all the alcohol she’d consumed. She didn’t remember brushing her teeth before bed and when she sat up, she found herself still wearing the dress she had worn to go out last night.
“Half past eight,” he said.
“Aren’t you late?” she asked.
“I didn’t want to leave you here alone.”
She dropped her gaze, feeling guilty. “I’m sorry,” she said.
“How do you feel?” he asked, coming to sit on the edge of the bed.
He just made a sound and she knew he wasn’t sorry for her. “Do you have any idea how drunk you were last night?”
She looked up at him then back down again. “I said I’m sorry. Can we just drop it?”
“No, I don’t think we can, Meg.”
Megan knew where this was going. She had met Jake when she had delivered one of the bakery’s cupcake creations to his office birthday party. She had just started at the bakery a few weeks prior and the guy who normally did deliveries was sick so she had volunteered to go. The attraction had been electric right from the start. Before the end of the day that same day, Jake had shown up at the bakery and asked her out on a date. He had even bought every single remaining cupcake in the shop so she could close up early. That memory made her smile. He was sweet. Things had moved quickly for them, and now, just over a year later, they were married.
There was only one glitch. One little thing they had discussed a few times and that she had agreed to but maybe hadn’t fully understood. Well, not that she hadn’t understood—what was there to understand? It was pretty simple. Jake was old-fashioned and he had told her his expectations of her as his wife. He had also told her he’d be taking her over his knee when she broke one of their agreed-upon rules of which there were only two: no lying and no drinking if he wasn’t with her.
“You remember what we talked about a few weeks ago?” he asked.
She turned to him, feeling her resistance building. His bright blue eyes held hers steady in their gaze. This was something she loved about him. As sexy as she found him, he also had this other side, this almost fatherly side. She had never had that growing up and knew without a doubt that he would take care of her no matter what. She knew she could depend on him. She reached out and touched his face, smearing some of the aftershave that he had missed off and rubbing it into her own hand, then smelling it. She loved his smell, it was just pure man.
“Good girl,” he said, standing. He checked his watch. “I have to get into the office but I’ll call to check up on you later. I’ll be home around five. When I get here, I want to find you in my study naked but for your panties, your nose to the wall and I’d like you to be standing there starting at 4:30, understood?”
“Jake…” she began, her heart racing at his instructions, her belly doing something else entirely, but at the forefront of all emotions was that of the embarrassment of him walking into her study to find her… like that. “Can we talk about this?”
He slipped his suit jacket on and bent down to take her face into his hand. He tilted it up and planted a kiss on her forehead. “We’ll talk before, during and after punishment. Just be ready exactly as I said, is that clear?”
She nodded, dropping her gaze to her lap.
“Meg?” he asked.
“Yes, sir, I understand,” she managed, still unable to meet his gaze.