Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 39 other subscribers

Follow me on Twitter

Short Stories

Warming Up

Or How Running On Snowshoes Isn’t Difficult Given The Proper Motivation
A Short Story by Korey Mae Johnson

Bear.

Big bear.

Nell had graduated top of her class ten years ago, and had always thought of herself as the smartest cookie in her class. In fact, she’d fancied herself the smartest person in any and every room she’d ever entered.

So why, when her life literally depended on it, was the only thing she could think of was, ‘That is a mighty big bear that’s about to eat me!’ coupled with a meager instinct to run in a manner reserved for women in snowshoes trying to outrun a very angry grizzly bear.

She didn’t even have time to evaluate the irony that she was just telling herself that getting lost in the middle of the Canadian wilderness was about as bad as it could get. Wrong-o.

Possibly if she could think beyond the moment, she would decide that running in a dead-sprint into a deep, dark cave was a poor idea, even in the case of bear-survival, and screaming like a banshee as she did it.

There were, and are, thousands of similar caves in that part of Canada alone, and the bear and wolf population in those caves are actually pretty high, especially in the time of year when female bears are hibernating with their young. Nell knew this—she had done a report on bears in the fifth grade. She couldn’t remember even a single factoid from it at the moment. The more wild part of her brain she was just becoming acquainted with assured her that if the cave had a part that the grizzly could not fit into and chase her, then she had a fighting chance.

To her horror, the cave was so dark that she couldn’t find any such quarters and ran smack into a wall, flatting her to her back. Hopefully you’re not surprised that there was, indeed, a bear in that cave other than the one chasing her. I think all of us saw that one coming.

However, the next part would have been a surprise even to a smart girl like Nell when she wasn’t being chased by a bear.

Because of the dark, it was very hard to see what was going on except for the light filtering through the cave-hole. She got drooled on and a chunk of fur fell on her face, and she was very concerned with keeping her hands over her face, blocking out all of the action.

When she heard a bear scream and then a shadow disappear back out the way of the cave entrance, she was less than thrilled about the dying she was going to have to do. She hadn’t been thrilled about that for awhile, since she’d been lost in the woods and snow out there for at least seven hours and had realized (before the bear) that she was going to die unless she had a reserve of good luck she hadn’t been previously privy to.

Instead, she heard the sound of a man say, “Goddamn it!”

Well, that was unexpected. It was certainly growlish and deep like a bear, but it was definitely English words. She threw her hands from her face and looked around. She couldn’t see anything. “Hello?”

“Damn it, that hurt,” said the man, and then a light turned on from around the corner. Apparently, this cave wasn’t a cave, so much as a home for what she could only assume was a hobo that owned a pet bear somewhere. His silhouette suddenly stepped into the light. “You alright?” The visage stepped forward, and she could almost make out his dirty jeans and a flannel shirt.

She didn’t say anything for a second, trying to make sure she wasn’t hallucinating the whole ordeal. “Urrgh,” she said, making a round like a wounded ferret. “Urroo…”

The man stepped forward and knelt down next to her. “Injured?”

She shook her head, although the evidence did point, as fair as she was concerned, towards a serious concussion. “Did you…” she began asking it before her brain could stop her, “Turn into a bear?”

“No,” he grunted, and then slowly picked her up and pulled her to her feet. The man was gigantic, over six and a half feet tall. He was strong and well-chisteled, even, except for the blood that was oozing down his face from a deep slice in his nose.

She would have shrunk away from him if he didn’t radiate a delicious sort of heat. She smiled, as if she was silly to even ask, but then he said, “I turned into a man.”

“Oh.” Her mind began to do sommersaults, and her stomach followed suit. It felt like her entire being was being overloaded with what had happened. “Excuse me,” she said, holding up a finger so she turn and dry-heave against the side of the cave.

Bear-man put his hands around her and eventually led her back into the more lighted portion of the cave. It was more like an apartment in this part, especially when he pulled a door across the small walkway, shutting them out from the cold of the rest of the cave.

“You must have been hauling tail with those,” he finally said after about five minutes of silence. She was surprised to see that the man was smiling… And he was sort of handsome—in a mountain-main sort of way. “Must have been something to see. You’re lucky, though. If that bear wasn’t already injured, he would have had no trouble running you down in less than a blink.”

She blinked at him until he waved his hand in front of her face. “You sure you’re okay?” he asked her, raising a dark eyebrow.

She shook her head and shivered. “No. I don’t know what okay is anymore. It’s been a rough day.” What else, after all, was she supposed to say to a bear-man? She squinted at him with confusion. “Why are you grinning like that?”

“Sorry. I’ll get you somethin’ hot to drink. I actually have some coffee around here…” He looked around a shelving unit made from crates until he found the desired bag and brought it around to the gas cooker on the far side of the room, saying, “It’s just that… Well, not many people have seen me change. None have taken it so well.”

“I dry-heaved,” she admitted. “And I am owning most of this up to the cold, exhaustion, and shock. Really, I don’t think any of this is happening.”

He gave a laugh. “Well, we’ll get you warm and fed for now. First thing in the morning I’ll bring you down to the town. What’s brought you out here so far? I sometimes go months without hearing anyone this time of year.”

“Do you… live here?” She began to pull off her gloves and looked over her stiff, frozen fingers with pink nail polish.

“Can’t live in town. I guide hiking tours in the summer, then I hole up here. Sometimes I can’t control the change well, and I don’t want to go bear right in the middle of a pie-eating competition, if you get my meaning,” he said easily, but then he didn’t let the question go. “And you? What on this green earth has a girl like you, with nail polish and makeup and the whole bit—all the way up here? You’re miles off any trail.”

“Funny,” she grumbled, “I was just wondering the same thing.” She rolled her eyes after the bear-man kept his eyebrows raised, obviously expecting more of an explanation than she had given. “Snow-shoe hike gone horribly wrong. My friends are sort of adventure-types and wanted me to go on this with them. Said I’d love it.” She frowned. “I’ve been on much more fun things.”

“You wanna give ‘em a call with your emergency phone? Just to tell them you know where you are now and you’ll be in town before noon tomorrow.”

She snorted. “If I had an emergency phone, I wouldn’t be out here by myself,” she assured.

Now he was the one frowning. “So… you brought emergency supplies—extra blanket and stuff like that, right?”

“Nope.”

His eyes grew dark. “Where you from, again?”

“Seattle.” Her lips puckered as she grew quickly defensive. “Don’t give me that look! How was I to know I’d get lost?” Deep down, she knew that this whole thing was a cluster screw even before she had to be picked up by a man who had some serious issues.

He gave a low growl and, as if re-realizing that his nose was still bleeding, pulled a handerchief up to his nose. His eyes barely left hers—they were accusing.

“Fine. It was dumb. I got chased by a bear for it, and now I’m rethinking my confidence in natural law.”

“Honey, if I wasn’t there to save your miserable hide, you’d be food right now. Keep that in mind that I put my neck out there. I looked prettier before this mess.”

“And thank you, bear guy,” she sighed with exasperation.

“Hooper. My name’s Hooper,” he told her.

“Nell,” she replied, but was pursing her lips. “Look, can you stop looking at me like I’m a kid that got caught playing ball in the house? I’m sort of beyond the age of lecturing.”

Another growl, and he stirred the coffee. She watched him, pulled off her coat, and eventually got comfortable on his sofa until he clapped his hands, signaling he was done with the job.

She really hadn’t expected him to walk over to her, grab her arm, and drag her over his knee, and even when he did, she couldn’t quite comprehend why until his hand began to fly down over the seat of her jeans.

She was filled more with indignity than anything else. The last time she’d been spanked was when she came home with her last ‘F’ in the fourth grade. “You might be beyond the age of lecturing, honey girl, but you’re never too old to be taught a good lesson,” he gritted.

Do not go snow-shoeing in Canada without survival supplies, do not stand upwind from bears, and do not antagonize a shape-shifter. It was a day of lessons.

“Ouch!” she screamed, and then reached around like she was a wild animal to attempt to bite him. It all ended in a short-lived struggle that ended up with the wall-sized man pinned her hand behind her back and breaking the seam in her snow pants in the attempt to pull them down.

She was screaming, of course, but knew there was nobody probably on this whole mountain that could hear her even if she was swearing and fighting a million times louder than she was.

The worst part was that when she was sprawled bear-assed across him, the pain wasn’t the only thing she was worried about. She was worried about if he thought her ass was attractive. Not that it should matter—there were surely a whole list of things baring a relationship or rendezvous since he was a bear from Alaska and she was a nurse anesthetist from Seattle, but admittedly the thought of her ass, and his consideration of it, did jump into her mind.

“You’re going to kill me!” she heaved, out of breath from being hauled over his strong thighs. She was beginning to cry… Which was odd. She hadn’t done that even when she thought she was going to freeze to death.

She couldn’t help her embarrassment, and the spanking seemed to make it that much worse. “Please!” she cried.

He grunted again and then sighed before pulling her off his knees and into the sofa. “Sorry about that,” he grunted. “I have this thing about females, and safety, and I get a little crazy,” he admitted softly. “I don’t know you well enough to do that to you.”

She wiped some hot tears from the corner of her eye and swallowed. Hooper, and she didn’t know him well, didn’t seem like the type to apologize lightly. Strangely, though, the apology sort of sounded like if he knew her better, he would have spanked her harder.

She looked around, feeling a little sorry for him. Chances were, looking at his hobo-like existence, that he didn’t know anyone very well. Yet he still rushed in to save her anyway. She eyed the cut on his nose and chewed her lip.

“I bet you’re about the rag me out for being macho,” he grumbled, sounding upset at himself. “I’m not saying that what you did wasn’t worth spankin’ for, but maybe—”

“Actually,” she said, reaching behind her to see the damage of her pants, “I was just going to ask you for a cup of that coffee and a warm pair of pants…” At his surprised look, she shrugged, “Priorities are priorities.”

He slowly broke into a boyish grin. “So you don’t want to run out the door screaming yet?” he asked, already getting up to fetch what she asked for.

She shook her head, trying to ignore the tingling pain in her ass that was making her face go red. “Not yet. But the night’s not over yet.”

Thanks for reading my short story (which I kept at 2,000 words–wow, that goes by in a wink…)! Now for the prizes!

James actually asked me to write this because he wants to try out a new set of shifter books with bears instead of wolves like usual. I think he was also a bit inspired by Beorn (from The Hobbit). SO please do comment, BUT also fill out the form below so we can judge interest. Add your email to the list, and then using Rafflecopter, that email might be the winner of a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Thanks so much for all of you who filled out my questionaire for the prize! It was a fantastic turnout with a huge number of applicants! Tomorrow I’ll be in contact with the winner of the $20 prize for this blog!

Hop On!

1. Spanking Romance Reviews

2. Saturday Spankings

3. Corinne Alexander

4. Katherine Deane

5. Natasha Knight

6. Patricia Green Books

7. Casey McKay

8. Kathryn R. Blake

9. Renee Rose

10. Lily Harlem

11. Cara Bristol

12. Adaline Raine

13. Tara Finnegan Romance

14. Celeste Jones

15. Leigh Smith (aka Sunny Girl)

16. Tara Crescent (BDSM Romance)

17. Sue Lyndon

18. Anastasia Vitsky (Governing Ana)

19. Normandie Alleman

20. Maddie Taylor

21. Liv Honeywell

22. Joelle Casteel- author of bdsm erotica

23. Sadey Quinn

24. Holla Dean spankin’ good romance stories

25. Paige Tyler

26. Thianna D

27. Emily Tilton

28. PK Corey

29. Constance Masters

30. Lucy Felthouse

31. Paloma Beck

32. Kristin Elyon

33. Patty Devlin Author

34. Abigail Armani Erotic Romance Author

35. Johnna Maquire

36. A Voice in the Corner

37. Michelle Graham, Erotic Romance

38. Kates Cravings – Batteries Not Included

39. Korey Mae Johnson

40. Sheri “WTF” Savill

41. Disciplinary Tales

42. Elegant Erotica – Maggie Carpenter

43. Trent Evans Letters

44. Jaye Peaches

45. Dinah McLeod

46. Daizie Draper

47. Draven St. James

48. Jolynn Raymond’s Dark Obsessions

49. Shoshanna Evers

50. Acknowledging Imperfection

51. We Love Kink

52. 1950s Wife

53. Shelly Douglas

54. The Cover Artisan

55. Penelope Hasler

Alright, so this is mostly fictional, of course, because I’m not hallucinating quite yet. That being said, Otherworldly Discipline, Book Two: A Master’s Hand  has been  on my mind big-time this week, and I’m actually feeling a little guilty that I’ve put it off. Low book sales has made it somewhat of a low-priority for me, but I really miss the characters. Anyway–this is sort of what would happen if a character popped in from the Otherworld… Enjoy. -KMJ

Otherworldly Discipline: A Witch's LessonI always have a suspicion, when a character writes itself too easily, that it’s going to have trouble letting itself go. Hard-to-write characters and I, you see, have a strained relationship by the end of a project. That’s why I stuck Thorton with a pregnant, mischievous nineteen-year-old wife and triplets at the end of the book… Trust me, he deserved what he got—good n’ hard.

Moriarty never gave me much grief. Oh, sure. He had loved to assure me that the only people wearing my shoes nowadays were hobos,  and he was quite fascinated when I had the worst time deciding if he was Huxian or a werewolf—until he won the argument. He’s not a dog by any means, and I guess it was very insulting to be insinuated as such a few centuries ago.

Anyway, I finished Otherworldly Discipline well over a year ago now, and it’s been all quiet on the Western front. Oh, I dappled with a chapter or two back in October, but then I put it down and started to work on other things.

So, in retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have been so surprised to see Moriarty on my computer last night. And I do mean on my computer. I walked in, and there he was—chocolate eyed and long-fingered, looking through my private folders while simultaneously drinking the last of my k-cup sampler tea and eating my last slice of lemon cake.

At first I thought he had wondered into the wrong apartment but then he looked over and grunted at me in that aloof manner that brought me back. Suddenly I realized who I was looking at. “Moriarty?”

Moriarty looked in my direction, finally. “You know,” he said in lieu of a greeting, his British accent so ridiculously thick and so deep that I was nearly aroused for a moment, “I fear you might have an addiction to pornography. I used to think it was myth, but I’m about to admit that I was actually wrong. I mean, what is this?” He pointed to the screen where two men were in compromising positions with a woman.

“Research,” I replied flippantly, trying not to let my absolute humiliation show. I leaned over his shoulder—I always forget how tall he is, so I had to reach—and shut off my monitor.

“You’ve certainly gotten more perverted since the last time I saw you,” Moriarty commented, arching one of his eyebrows judgmentally.

“And apparently far crazier!” I commented, aghast, throwing my purse in its proper corner. “By the way, I better only be imagining you eating that the last of the cake! I’ve been thinking about it non-stop—”

“Have you ever seen the film Fight-Club?” he answered me with, eating another bite.

I lifted a side of my lip with distaste. “…Yeah.”

“That’s what’s going on here, really,” he assured me, then put the empty plate in front of him and picked up his tea. “So, you’ll never get to enjoy that cake. Just let it go. I’ve come all the way here on important business.” With that, he crossed his long, long legs. He was taking up the whole room! He was actually quite intimidating—he was unquestionably larger than me, and I’ve always thought of myself as quite tall at 5’6’’.  I stared at him; wondering why I never write about midgets.

“Is it about you being a praying mantis?” I asked, sitting in the chair opposite.

He frowned. “You’re not very funny, you know.” He sat up then steadily leaned back; now he was the one assessing me. “The sad thing is that you think you are… It really only comes across as rude and pathetic.”

“Thanks. I needed that ego-boost,” I grumbled, then decided to get up and make coffee. Maybe he’d just disappear… “Why are you here?” I asked. “Last I saw you, I was giving you a sixteen-year vacation between book one and book two. Haven’t you had a gaggle of kids with Alice?”

He gave a laugh. “It would have been a gaggle by now, but after having Cole, we both decided a ten-year breather was essential.”

I grinned mischievously. “You know I thought about giving you quintuplets or something like that.”

“I don’t doubt it,” he replied, swirling his tea. “You’re sadistic in nature. But see here,” he suddenly said, straightening his back, “I haven’t come to have a tea-party with you, Korey, I—!”

Moriarty_TheMan

Moriarty thinks he’s The Shit with too much hair-product and the fact that he’s got flawless skin, but let me tell you–he’s a dominant man with a hand of steel. He’s also a warrior… But Huxians are fox-shifting tricksters with a pension for seducing virgins and mischief… Or seducing mischievousness virgins… So beware.

I shrugged, “Then why are you drinking tea?”

“Because I’ve been drinking tea for the last seven centuries, as you know quite well! It’s what people from a more sophisticated time and a more sophisticated country do!” I snorted. Springing from a long line of Irish Pub owners that opened its doors early in the morning, I could still say that none of my relations have ever been to his level of ‘sophistication’—not a one of us tea-drinkers. “Now stop being cheeky and avoiding the subject!” he growled at me. “Ashrcroft is gone.”

“What do you mean gone?” I asked, figuring he was only being dramatic. I was fussing with my Keurig, wondering if the K-cup in it was fresh or not. “He’s off fucking some chick, right?”

No,” Moriarty grumbled. “That’s what he was doing ten years ago. It isn’t right what you’ve done to him! He’s gone absolutely mad, Korey! He’s not trying to forget Charlotte anymore! Last I checked, he was wallowing about, gone completely ‘round the bend, and beginning to think Charlotte was far, far more perfect that she was. You and I both know that she was sort of a twit.”

“Really? I always thought, of all my characters, she was the most like me,” I replied, then looked up and saw Moriarty shaking his head at me.

“That would explain a lot,” Moriarty huffed.

My mouth dropped. “You liked Charlotte!”

“She was tolerable, I suppose,” he replied breezily. “Certainly, I’m not the one that threw her off a cliff, killing her.” He made it sound like it was me who’d done it and not Lachlan, the story’s villain.

I pursed my lips, wondering what I should divulge. “Charlotte… might not be dead.”

And that’s why I have tea stains in my carpet this morning. Moriarty spit it out everywhere. It was a mess. “What?” he demanded, not sounding happy about it at all. “Do you know how far she fell? It was a long drop—we’re not talking a puddle-hop. We’re talking over a hundred feet! Lachlan’s body washed up…”

I looked over my kitchen counter. Was that a stain? I licked my thumb and scrubbed at it. It was definitely preferable to looking right at Moriarty when he was in one of these moods.

“Korey?” When I looked up, he wasn’t sitting in his chair. I turned, and he right there next to me, staring down at me.

Damn it he was tall. For some reason, I ran out of spit and air.  I just sputtered, “Ye… hm?” and fluttered my eye lashes, thinking that innocent people do that all the time.

He narrowed his eyes at me and I took a step back. He took a step forward, saying, “What aren’t you telling me? You’ve got that I-need-a-good-whipping look about you.”

I took another step back and found myself trapped in the corner of countertop. “It’s possible…” I wheezed, “that… Lachlan’s not dead, either.”

He didn’t move at all, didn’t twitch, didn’t blink.

“I… There might have been sorcery involved. He… Had sort of been taking up… two bodies at the time of his death to take over the Otherworld with an army of…”

He still wasn’t blinking.

“Anyway… Charlotte’s sort of changed form because she was rescued by a demi-god named Hoel, who sort of adopted her since she had no memories of anything that happened, and he wanted to protect her from whoever tried to execute her… And it’s possible that… She eventually gets… married by proxy to a warlord… who is actually…” I swallowed. It’s hard to swallow when there’s no spit in your mouth! “Lachlan.”

He finally nodded and blinked, only very quickly. “Alright,” he sighed, his voice quite rumbly, “I’m going to give you a five-second head start.”

I felt sweat perspire on the back of my neck. “Before what?” I asked.

“Four seconds,” he warned. “Three…”

I wasted nearly a whole two seconds just getting around his leering form without full on body-checking him into the kitchen counter like a hockey-star. I probably could have gotten all the way to the mail box before he caught me if I had two more seconds—I was absolutely flying down those stairs leading up to my apartment’s front door.

No idea in hell how he caught me so easily; I had to have been moving at Olympic speeds reserved for people who are trying to escape Grizzly bears (and, of course, the actual Olympics). Then again, I suppose he was only one second behind and his legs are way longer than mine… And leg-span makes a definite difference, let no mistakes be made on that account!

“I think you should really let me explain further,” I was puffing after he’d caught me from around my stomach, yanked me back (I could have gotten whip-lash!), and tilted me over his shoulder.

It was not comfortable at all! Moriarty’s shoulder’s not bony, by any means, but I could feel his collar digging right into my guts, especially as he climbed the stairs. I was trying to find a place to grab onto that wouldn’t result in him dropping me, though, because that would have been even more painful. I grabbed my arms around his chest, secured on the front by his arm around my knees. “Why? What more complications could you possibly add?” he demanded. “Why can’t you write a normal, linear story like everyone else? You know, they hate each other, like each other, there’s some conflict they come over, then they marry? Then end it.”

He dropped me unceremoniously on my bed. “You know James will be home any second!”

He pulled a pocket watch out of his coat, as if he wanted to prove that he was even more disgustingly British than I originally wrote him as. “If any second means in five hours. Besides, you think he’ll disagree with anything I do? Pull down whatever you call those.” He pointed at my pants.

Jeans,” I huffed.

“Whatever you say. Jeans look a lot better on everyone else.” I’d really forgotten what a dick he was. “Would a skirt kill you?”

I locked my jaw firmly as I wiggled my way to the edge of the bed. “I’m not taking off my pants, Moriarty. You have to deal with it. I’m your author!”

He was listening as was taking off his belt.

“I’m your author!” I repeated, my voice getting more screechy. “You do what I tell you to! And you can’t spank me! I get spanked enough by James from being… you know…” Instead of crawling to the edge of the bed, I was now trying to crawl away from him.

“A brat?” he finished.

“I’m not a brat!” I just speak like one to James sometimes. I have a tendency to get very defensive at the drop of a hat. Like right that second—I never said the right thing when I was defensive. It was as if my brain stops functioning… Probably because it’s too busy thinking up reasons why something in particular isn’t my fault.

He grabbed my ankle just as I had turned my body to hop off the other side of my mattress… The side of the bed closest to the balcony. I was thinking I could go through there, round back into the living room’s porch-entrance, and then make it to the front door, make it to the garage, speed away to the airport, and fly to China.

He grabbed my ankle before I even made it off the bed. “What about Alice?” I squealed, trying to kick him off.

Apparently, he’d been given permission to beat the snot out of me if he wanted to. “You’re lucky she’s not here to hold you down. You’ve given her three insane children in the last sixteen story-years. Do you think she can’t wield a mean paddle by now?”

Good point. “You’re not understanding how Charlotte’s character will develop by the end of Book Two! So, so much development!” Moriarty was now pinning me to the bed with his body, reaching around my front and trying to get my jeans unbuttoned and unzipped. By then, I was planning to do way more weight-lifting at the gym. Was I always this puny?

“You have no regard for my Master,” he gritted in my ear. He yanked my pants and panties violently to my knees. “His bride is out there—married to his evil brother, no less—and he’s been drinking himself into oblivion and not taking care of any of his responsibilities! And you still haven’t given a care to where he’s gone!”

Grabbing my bottom, which was being hauled down so it neatly pent over the bed, I said, “Don’t worry about him! He’s probably just looking for her! And he’ll totally, totally find her and she’ll be better than she ever was!”

“Sixteen years!” he snapped at me. I don’t think my promise for a HEA had sunk in yet. “Stick your ridiculous little ass into the air, Korey.”

“This is a bit of an overreaction!” I cried, for some reason down-playing his reaction. “What about the art? The art!”

“Alright, let me ask you this,” he riddled. “In this art of yours, how will Ashcroft react when he learns that his brother has been taking liberties with Ashcroft’s woman?”

I could have lied, I understand. I could have told Moriarty that Ashcroft was going to be totally cool when things started to unravel towards the end, but the man’s gonna lose it. I haven’t written it, no, but I knew that much. But it wasn’t my fault—Lachlan’s evil. This was just the way things were. “It’s possible that he’ll throw her out on her hind-end. But he won’t know she’s Charlotte—she probably won’t know she’s Charlotte yet by then!”

Probably?” he seethed.

…Are authors not allowed to use the world ‘probably’ when it comes to plot-description? I haven’t decided yet! I was going to cross that bridge when I came to it!

The belt struck as silent as a snake—I expected whooshing, and I get the belt all the time. I keep forgetting the way it silently bites into your ass, making a loud smacking sound only upon impact… A really loud smacking sound that the neighbors would surely have heard if they hadn’t moved out last week. “Jesus!” I hissed. The stroke was so serious! “Fuck, Moriarty! Give me a break—ouch!” He wouldn’t even give me a break between strokes! He was striking my poor bottom like he was on a schedule!

One stroke fell and then another, and another! I was trying desperately to get up or turn around, but he had me, and my wrists, pinned behind my back in a very uncomfortable way that made me feel like my shoulders were going to be killing me all night long.

“Moriarty! You’re hurting me!” I informed him in a no-laughing manner.

“Good, you little… I don’t even know how to describe you! You’re a silly, silly woman who apparently needs a red bottom to write thirteen miserable chapters of a book! How has it taken you nearly seventeen months?” I heard him hiss as he continued to wail on me. “It’s worse that you know what the plot is—even though you’ve made it a complicated jumble!”

“I’ve been working on other projects!” I claimed, feeling rattled and even a little desperate. “I’ve published three books since then! One was really long!”

Damn Thorton. It was HIM who’d made me take forever on Learning to Blush! Oh! Oh in Swarii Brides, Three, I am going to give Thorton another set of triplets, so help me God! “And I’ve had a full-time job. And cover art. And I started my own company! And all these websites!”

“I was on your computer all day before you’ve gotten back! You never write five words when five hundred will do! You rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. Personally, I don’t think rewriting makes it any better!”

Said the non-werewolf. It was him who’d made me rewrite the first half of Otherworldly twenty times… Okay, that was Charlotte’s fault.

Another belt stripe echoed through the room, this one was followed by a white-flash of pain. I swear my eyes nearly turned inside out. “Fuck! Not there!” Not my sit-spot! Not with the belt!

Alas; Moriarty was in a punishing mood. Maybe Ashcroft had driving him and his buddying family insane with all of his brooding and going mad. So, it was as if I was hanging a billboard that said, ‘Sit-Spot: Where you want to be!’ with a little red arrow pointing at that area.

“Please! Moriarty! Please stop!” I begged, panting and shuddering. I hated to beg Moriarty—it was like going up to a vampire and exposing your jugular. It was only going to get worse.

For a second, the pain stopped. In response, the skin on my bottom crawled and my body shuddered. “Don’t get too relaxed. There are still white spots left,” he warned in my ear, “so you’d better tell me what I want to hear right quick.”

“Merry-go-rounds!” I yelped. “Merry-go-rounds, lollipops, and noodle salad! That’s what’s going to be in the next book! A giant tea-party like that one drawing scene in Mary Poppins!”

I think he thought I was being cheeky. I wasn’t—I really wanted to say what he wanted to hear. Unfortunately, due to a blatant mis-interpretation on his end, my bottom suffered for it. I felt a firm ‘slap’ hit my flank and puffed out a cry of air, unable to actually produce sound.

“No, no—” I couldn’t believe a hand-spanking could be quite that hard. Which is saying something because my husband’s hand feels like wood. I think the big difference here is that Moriarty had huge, gigantic hands. Also, there wasn’t the possibility of make-up sex. Anyway—he also spanked in a way that made me think he wanted me to asphyxiate. He didn’t let me catch my breath, he just filled the room with fleshy slaps as I continued to scream, “Stop! Stop!” Until my voice got hoarse… Which happened quite quickly.

“You’re such a baby,” Moriarty snapped. “Nobody cries this loud on the planet.”

I just made a dry sobbing noise.

He sat down on the bed next to me. I felt his weight shift the mattress. “So,” he began. It was odd to have to listen to a lecture at the end. James, you see, does it before he starts spanking. “I’m not going to let you talk much here, since you’re so bad at it and you’re only going to get yourself more bottom-smacking. This is what you’re going to do, though… Firstly, I don’t know where Ashcroft is but I’m worried. I want you to fish him out of wherever he is and bring him home in one piece. Secondly, you’re going to finish our adventure by Summer. Do you know when Summer starts?”

I gurgled, wondering if even HE could feel the heat from my surely-bruised bottom from where he was sitting.

He patted the small of my back and said, “That’s June twenty-first, poppet.”

“I have a book to do before that!” I grumped.

“I know,” he assured, “that’s why it’s not due in May.”

“You can’t impose deadlines!”

“There are some nice welts here that state otherwise,” he said, surely gesturing at my bottom. “Do they need some company?”

“No!” I cried immediately. “Dear lord, no!”

“Brilliant!” he said cheerfully, giving me another (unnecessarily hard) smack on my bottom as he popped up onto his feet, leaving me groaning. “Put on a skirt and get to it!” He picked up his belt and strapped it back on himself.

“I’m not going to wear skirts, Moriarty,” I groaned, trying to peel myself off the bed so I could relocate some shards of my dignity. “So give it up.”

“Absolutely no,” he refused and walked into my closet. I was finally pulling my rough jeans and thin panties back up when I heard from the closet a cry of, “Dear Lord!” He came out again, looking shell-shocked. “Are you a hobo?”

I didn’t give him any sort of response. I just glared at him and buttoned my pants.

“Seriously, Tim Gunn would just walk in there, take one look, and torch the damn thing.” He put up his finger just as I opened my lips to retort and added firmly, “Watching style shows and knowing who Tim Gunn is has absolutely no bearing on my sexual orientation.”

“I wasn’t going to make a gay joke,” I lied, like I was far to mature to ever make one about a man who wears pink far more often than the average male… Or the average female, for that matter. “I was just wondering why you’re still around after issuing your orders at me like I was the pimple-faced kid in the McDonald’s drive through.”

He grinned at me, showing one of his fangs—it was his real give-away that he wasn’t entirely human.

“I thought we were going to do what we used to do together,” Moriarty said with a shrug. “Sit around and make fun of the people and on the telly, simultaneously watching reality shows while judging anyone who’d ever actually go on one…”

I actually smirked, which was actually something I thought I wouldn’t do again with the way my ass was throbbing. “What are you trying to avoid at home?” I asked, knowing that he’d only drawl out time with me to avoid something else.

He grinned sheepishly, “There’s this parent-teacher nonsense at Cole’s school that I told Alice I didn’t think I’d be able to make,” he admitted.

I squared my shoulders and said, “Let me get this straight—you come in here, lecture me, spank me, threaten me, give me impossible deadlines, and then I’m also supposed to just chill with you on the couch for a few hours wasting time and smoking weed with you?”

He gave a nod. “Yes,” he said, although I think his tone admitted that he knew he was being very fickle, selfish, and contrary.

I pursed my lips and thought about this for a long moment. Moriarty is a total ass, but man-oh-man—he can be as fun and as funny as hell…

“Fine, just never speak of the spanking you gave me or the cellulite on my ass ever again.”

“I haven’t even begun to speak about the dimples on your ass,” he replied with a suave grin.

“I hate you,” I sighed.

“You hate and love me like you hate and love yourself,” Moriarty said. He was quoting Tolkein, of course, but it rung especially true right now.

I shook my head. “So help me, I do.”