In the afterglow of the most sensational lovemaking session she had ever experienced, Laura was curled up happily on one of her many couches when the phone rang. She answered without looking, hoping it was Steven at the other end of the line.
It wasn’t Steven. It was her boss, though she almost didn’t recognize Liam’s voice for the panic in it.
“We need you. We’re being investigated.”
“Man the shredders,” Laura quipped. “I’ll be in in a minute.”
What followed was the most hectic forty-eight hours of her life. An investigation put even the most legitimate companies under a microscope so intense that someone usually ended up being charged with something. She had been at Globovex since she was just a junior accountant and her loyalty was to the company.
She met with her boss, Liam Galloway, CEO and one of the most feared businessmen in the USA. Where he trod, lesser men quaked. He was in his early fifties, though he was doing everything to avoid looking his age. He had Botoxed brows, capped and whitened teeth, a little nip and tuck had removed the growing folds under his chin, and a liberal application of hair dye kept him looking not young but some facsimile of it. The sum total effect was of someone having taken his face off and then stretched it back over his skull, almost as if he was someone wearing a Liam Galloway suit.
Laura did not like Liam, but she did respect him. The man could work miracles in the fiscal world. There had been several occasions where Globovex could have taken a serious hit but somehow didn’t. The company had been insulated from several recessions in a way that baffled the market analysts and kept their stock climbing.
“What’s going on, Liam?”
“They’re investigating campaign donations,” Liam said. “And a few other things. I don’t know. They’re keeping it pretty close to their chests. I need you to start shutting our systems down and move all data off site. I want all physical copies scanned, encrypted, and then destroyed.”
“Isn’t that illegal?”
“No,” he said. “It’s standard operating procedure.”
The two things were not necessarily mutually exclusive, but Laura knew she didn’t really have that much of a choice. Liam looked mildly worried, and that meant there was something to worry about. Liam never looked worried. He was always cool-headed. Some people even called him the Ice Man, though Laura would never have gone quite that far.
She got to work, soon losing herself in the processes. The blinds were drawn and the lights stayed on and Liam had everyone supplied with copious amounts of caffeine and pizza to the point that she lost all track of time.
Only when the last 1 and the final 0 were safely encrypted and the hard copies turned to so much paper dust did she think to check her watch. When she saw what it said, she swore, grabbed her handbag and raced home.
Steven was already in her apartment when she got back. She’d given him a key earlier just in case of emergencies. Apparently this qualified as one.
The moment she saw his handsome, concerned face, she was filled with an overwhelming sense of guilt.
“Where have you been?” His voice was dangerously calm.
“I’m sorry,” she said, dropping her keys on the table by the door. “Work called. It was an emergency. I had to go in.”
There was silence in the aftermath of her confession. Steven casually began rolling up his sleeves. “What did I tell you about work and the next two weeks?”
“You said I had to take it off,” she said. “But this was an emergency. I mean, we could have lost people in this. I had no choice. I had to go in.”
“And you also had to drop off the grid for two days?”
“I didn’t mean to. I just got caught up. I haven’t even slept,” she admitted. “I’ve… ow!”
She clutched at her chest as a sharp pain ran through it.
Laura staggered against the wall, clutching at her chest. “I don’t know,” she said. “It feels tight…”
“You need to breathe,” he said, his voice professional and calm. “Try taking some deep breaths for me, okay?”
She nodded and tried, but every attempt brought with it more pain.
“It feels like my heart is being squeezed,” she gasped. “I can’t…
“Breathe,” he said. “Just try to relax as best you can. You’re going to be okay.”
She nodded and tried her best to believe him. She didn’t feel okay. She felt nauseated and sweaty and she felt as though all the air in the room had turned to sludge and was impossible to get into her lungs.
“Steven…” she said faintly.
“I’ve got you,” he repeated.
She fainted just as he swung her up and into his arms.
Laura woke in her bed in her apartment, completely confused. Steven was by her side, sitting on the bed next to her, watching her sleep.
“Ugh,” she said, putting her hand to her head as she sat up. “What happened?”
“What happened is you worked yourself into a severe panic attack,” Steven said. “What happened is you barely ate, slept, or drank for two days and your body shut down before you could work yourself to death.”
His fingers were lightly on her wrist, taking her pulse. His expression was one of worn concern and care.
“You disobeyed me,” he added as a final thought. “And just hours after I explained the consequences of that to you.”
“I’m sorry,” Laura apologized. “I…”
He held his hand up. “Let’s not talk about this right now,” he said. “Let’s just get you better.”
Laura laid in bed, feeling guilty as Steven cared for her. It was obvious that he was unhappy with her behavior, but he wasn’t lecturing or even mentioning it. He brought her a sandwich and a hot chocolate and sat with her while she nibbled her food and sipped the drink.
“Am I in trouble?” She looked at him under her eyelashes.
“As I said,” he repeated. “Let’s not talk about that.”
“Are you mad at me?” She couldn’t hold back the tears welling in her eyes. “Do you hate me now?”
“I don’t hate you,” he said. “And I’m not mad. I’m disappointed.”
It was such a cliché, but the words still struck deep. “You’re disappointed?”
“I thought you took this as seriously as I do.”
“I do,” Laura said. “I mean, I just… I thought…”
“Your work took priority. Over your health and over what we have.”
Now she felt really, really, really guilty. “I’m sorry,” she sniffed. “Please let me make it up to you. I’ll quit if you want. I’ll never work again. I’ll…” Her words became incoherent as she dissolved into sobs.
“Settle down,” Steven said. “You’ll work yourself into another attack.”
“But I can’t… I want… I’m really sorry. They needed me. Don’t leave me.”
“Shh,” he said, moving to sit next to her. “I’m not leaving you. I’m getting you better so I can whip your little bottom.”
“Really?” she sniffed. “You mean that?”
“I mean it,” he said, tapping her gently under her chin. “I’m going to stripe your behind until you can’t sit and that’s just the beginning. You’re going to be a very sore girl by the time I’m done with you.”
“Oh.” She toyed with the crusts of her sandwich. “An apology won’t suffice?”
“It will not,” Steven replied. “And before that happens, I intend to give you a very thorough medical examination to make sure you’re fit and ready for it. You, my girl, obviously need some intensive training.”
Laura figured she probably wasn’t supposed to be getting excited by what he was saying, but she couldn’t help herself. Intensive training at Steven’s hands could mean anything.
“That means I don’t plan to let you out of my sight,” he continued. “You’re going to ask me before you go anywhere or do anything, understand?”
Ordinarily Laura would have thought that was over the top, but she had just returned from a two-day working bender that ended with her fainting when she got home. She saw his reasoning.
He tipped her chin up and made her meet his gaze. “Understand?”
“Yessir,” Laura nodded quickly. “I understand.”
“Good,” he nodded. “Oh, and in case it needed to be said—you’re grounded.”
Grounded. She giggled.
“You think this is funny?”
“No,” she said, shaking her head. “I’ve never been grounded before.”
“Never? Your parents never kept you at home?”
“My parents died in a plane crash when I was fifteen,” Laura said.
“What?” Steven’s eyes widened. “You never mentioned that.”
“You never asked,” she said with a little shrug. “I don’t bring it up very much.”
“It wasn’t mentioned in your medical history.”
“Because there’s no such thing as a family medical history of crashing into mountains,” Laura said. “And they didn’t have any other conditions. They were really healthy, and really busy. They were both public defenders. When they died, they didn’t leave me with much besides a mortgage.”
Steven’s expression softened with sympathy. “That must have been so hard. Who looked after you?”
“Well, I had an uncle, but he lived all the way up in Alaska so I got emancipated,” she said. “And I got a job, and I put myself through school. I’ve always been able to take care of myself.”
“Well,” he said. “That explains an awful lot.”
“Work’s been my lifeline,” she said. “It’s been my family when I didn’t have one.”
“And now it’s going to be the death of you if you don’t find another way to be in the world,” he said, snuggling close to her. “You’re not that girl anymore. You can relax a little. You can let someone else take care of you.”
“I don’t really have much choice, do I?” she said with a little smile.
He dropped a kiss on her lips and nodded. “That’s right,” he said. “I think you’re starting to understand.” He wrapped his arms around her and held her tight. “You scared me, dropping like that,” he murmured. “I didn’t know where you’d been. I thought the worst.”
“I know,” she said, gazing up into his eyes with an earnest expression. “I’m sorry. I mean I’m really, really sorry. I didn’t think.”
“Don’t worry, you’ll learn to think soon enough,” Steven reassured her.
Cuddled up next to Steven, Laura drifted off in his arms.
The next day, Laura went to the hospital with Steven as he insisted. There she was compelled to change into a hospital gown and submit to the usual blood tests and such. They were not so bad. She was not scared of needles. It was all fairly routine until Steven took her to his private office and started the examination in earnest.
He began by lowering his examination bed and sitting on it, patting his knee. “Bend over my lap,” he said. “I need to take your temperature.”
She groaned sheepishly, but did as she was told. There weren’t many patients bottom up over their physician’s thighs, the lubricated tip of a thermometer sliding into their tight bottom holes. Steven took his time about the affair, sliding the tip of the slim rod in and out of her bottom a few times before settling it in place.
Laura knew better than to complain; besides, it wasn’t painful or even uncomfortable, just a little embarrassing. She was very interested in reducing the punishment she knew he had planned. Maybe if she was good throughout the examination, he’d go easy on her when it came to the discipline side of things.
“Good girl,” he praised, removing the thermometer from her bottom. “Your temperature is normal. Now, if you’d stand up and take your robe off, please, Ms. Lewis.”
Laura gave him a cheeky little smile. “But, doctor…”
“No buts, young lady. Robe off, please, and sit yourself up here.” He moved from the examination bed over to the gynecological examination chair. “Feet in the stirrups. It’s time you had a very thorough examination.”
Laura slipped her robe off and sat in the chair, her bottom a little sore against it. That was more or less par for the course these days. It seemed she was always being spanked. Of course, he would probably say that was because she was always misbehaving, which was more or less correct.
She put her feet into the stirrups, making a little whinnying sound as she did. “Giddyup!”
Steven raised a dark brow in her direction. “You think we’re playing, hmmm?”
He took out a couple of latex gloves, put them on, and sat on the stool with wheels, which he then wheeled between her spread thighs. Laura looked down between her legs as he applied a generous amount of lubricant to his fingertips and ran them down the length of her slit with a possessive touch.
“Very nice,” he murmured. “Very healthy.” He ran his fingers up to the top of her lips and pressed down above her clitoral hood, making the little bud stand erect. Laura squirmed as he held her in place like that, gently rubbing the spot in a way that made her clit begin to blossom.
She gasped softly; the touch was exciting and stimulating, but it did not satisfy. Every little movement made her crave more of his touch. She wanted to feel him in her pussy, she wanted him to take her yearning clit and pleasure it directly, but he did not do that. He just kept her there in that erotic limbo, making murmured notes about how responsive she was.
“Lubrication is excellent,” he said. She could feel her juices flowing from her pussy as he teased her a few minutes longer. Finally he moved his fingers away to slide all the way down her labia and circle about the entrance of her pussy. Once again he stopped short of actually giving her the full satisfaction of his touch, instead teasing her all over again.
“This doesn’t feel like a medical exam,” she moaned softly.
“Would it help if I told you that your outer labia are significantly engorged?”
“It would not,” she said, biting her lower lip as he pressed his fingertips gently inside her pussy.
He began a slow examination of the inside of her pussy, sliding three fingers as deep as they would go and then letting them twist slowly so his knuckles stimulated each and every part of her.
Laura could barely contain her moans as Steven pleasured her with a touch that was certainly not clinical. He leaned forward far enough that she could feel his warm breath on her clit as he blew gently, stimulating her lightly but completely.
“Steven,” she moaned. “I’m going to…”
“Subject seems close to climax,” he noted in a drawl as her hips bucked and her breath came in short little pants.
Just when she thought she was about to peak, he moved his fingers and mouth away.
“You’re not going to cum,” he informed her. “Not until I’ve given you the spanking you deserve for sneaking out and going to work.”
“Then give it to me,” Laura begged. “I have to cum.”
“I think you’re going to regret saying that in a minute or two,” he said, reaching under his desk. He drew out a plastic-looking rod about two feet long with a thick rubber grip at one end and placed it on the desk for her inspection. “You can get out of the stirrups and off the bed,” he said. “This next part requires you to be standing.
Laura wrinkled her nose at the implement. “What is that?”
“This is a short Lexan cane,” he explained. “It feels much like a cane would, except there’s no risk of splintering or breakage.”
“Jesus, how hard would you have to cane someone to break it?”
“Accidents happen,” Steven shrugged.
“Accidents happen?” She covered her bottom with her hands. “You are not going to use that on me at ‘accidents happen’ intensity.”
“You’re not going to come to any harm,” he reassured her. “But this will leave your bottom very sore, I promise you that. And you won’t think about sneaking out to disobey me and put your health at risk again.”
“Bend over and touch your toes.”
She did so, knowing her wet pussy was on display, knowing that what was about to come was going to be unpleasant at the very least. Steven had come very well prepared.
“Steven, I’m sorry…”
“Mhm. Just be sure to stay in position. If you don’t hold position, I’ll start over. There will be six strokes.”
“Six?” She whimpered the word.
“Six,” he confirmed.
He put one hand on the top of her buttocks, steadying her for the stroke. A second later he brought the cane whipping through the air. It landed hard against the very center of her cheeks with a loud crack, which was quickly followed by her shriek.
She bounced up like a Jack-in-the-box, clutching her bottom and dancing on her tippy-toes.
“I told you to keep position,” Steven said, his tone stern even though his cheek was dimpling as she did an impromptu naked jig.
“That’s not humanly possible!” She rubbed furiously. “That thing…” she pointed at it and shook her head. “I will die if you do that again.”
“No, you won’t,” he said, pointing to the spot in front of his toes. “Come back here and take the position again.”
“Don’t be defiant, Laura, come here and take your punishment. You know you deserve it.”
“Can’t I deserve something else?”
He smiled at her and shook his head. “Come back here.”
She went, whimpering pitifully. Bending back over for another stroke of the cane was about the last thing in the world she wanted to do.
“You can,” he said. “You could leave the house and spend two days straight working, so you can bend over and take your punishment.”
“Nuh uh.” She shook her head, her hands still over her bottom.
“Very well.” He took her by the hand and drew her over to the bed. He sat on the foot of it and pulled her between his thighs before bending her over one of them and sandwiching her legs between his. She was left supporting herself on her palms, her bare bottom high over his lap.
“Seeing as you can’t keep yourself in position, I’ll have to do it for you,” he said, picking the rod up again. “Naughty, naughty girl.” He began swatting her with the rod repetitively, no longer making hard cutting strokes but whipping the very end of it in stinging swats across her tender round cheeks.
The position was much more intimate and reassuring, but it also meant there was no way for Laura to avoid the swats. Six strokes were a distant memory as he plied the stinging rod against her bottom myriad times.
She soon started to sniff and squeal, her feet drumming against the floor. Steven might have relented on the manner of the punishment, but he had not changed the intensity. She was getting every little bit of the punishment she had gone out of her way to deserve.
“This is what happens when you disobey me and put yourself at risk,” he informed her, putting the rod aside to spank her bottom with his hand. Her bottom was covered with light welts from the cane, which flared when his palm landed atop them. “You’re my girl, and I’m going to keep you safe whether you like it or not.”
“I’ll be good!” she promised.
“I’m glad to hear that,” he said, swatting her bottom again. “Because you have a tendency to forget these promises whenever work calls and that’s going to get you in some serious trouble if you don’t start following my orders.”
“I’ve been trying,” she sniffed.
“Yes, except for your two-day bender, you’ve done passably well,” he agreed, softening the swats to a light pat. “And aside from refusing to hold position, you took this relatively well as well.”
His praise was certainly limited, but she understood why. She had disappeared on him for two days and then collapsed the moment she walked in the door.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m sorry I’m so much trouble for you.”
“I picked you because you’re trouble,” he said reassuringly, helping her to sit up on his lap, her bottom angled out so she didn’t have to sit on her spanked cheeks. “I wanted you because you’re beautiful and intelligent and spirited and yes, you make some horrendous decisions for yourself, but that’s going to change.” He pressed a kiss to her cheek. “Do you understand?”
Laura nodded and rested her head against his chest. Her bottom was pulsing with heat and she knew she wasn’t going to be sitting comfortably for a long time, but his comforting arms and the knowledge that he cared made the discomfort more than tolerable.
“Let’s get you home,” he murmured against the top of her head. “You need your rest.”