Since my sci-fi spanking romance The Ambassador's Daughter just came out in print, I thought I'd do Thirteen Mini Excerpts from it!
Ambassador Kal’yle was silent for a moment before answering. “My daughter is very headstrong and my security team simply cannot keep up with her. She has gotten very good at eluding them to go where she pleases.” He frowned. “Just last night, she slipped away from her guard to go to some nightclub, and ended up getting arrested when protectors raided the place. That guard has since been dismissed, of course.” He leveled his gaze at Rand. “My daughter needs a bodyguard she can’t bully and slip away from, Mr. Barany.”
It sounded more like the ambassador’s daughter needed a good spanking, Rand thought to himself, silently wondering if it had been wise to take on this job. This girl was going to be a major pain in the ass.
Inarii stared at Rand Barany’s retreating back, her pulse racing, her breathing ragged, and a warmth that she didn’t want to put a name to spreading through her. If she didn’t know better, she’d think she was attracted to the man. Which was absolutely absurd, of course! Rand Barany was rude and arrogant. He’d probably never even gone to a school of higher education, much less read a book. He was not at all the type of man she would be attracted to. She frowned at that – just minutes ago, she was telling herself that he was exactly the type of man she would be attracted to. But that was before she learned what an ass he was.
She took a deep breath and let it out slowly, smoothing her gown with her hands as she tried to calm herself. Getting poor Oland fired had taught her something, at least. All she had to do was make this Rand Barany look like an incompetent imbecile, and her father would have no choice but to fire him. She just had to make it seem like it was Rand’s fault, so that her father wouldn’t follow through on his threat to send her back to their home planet. And after he fired Rand, she could either convince her father that she didn’t need a bodyguard, or she would keep going through them until there were none left willing to work for the ambassador. One thing was for sure; this Rand Barany was not going to get the better of her!
Inarii got up early the next morning, hoping she could talk some sense into her father. But he wouldn’t budge, no matter what she said or what she promised, and so she was forced to endure Rand Barany’s presence at breakfast the next morning. No sooner had she taken a seat at the table than her new bodyguard came into the room. He took up a post off to one side of the large dining room in what he probably thought was an inconspicuous location. Looking at him out of the corner of her eye, she couldn’t help but notice that he looked even more handsome than he had yesterday. And despite the fact that she’d spent a good deal of time after their meeting telling herself that she wasn’t attracted to him, her traitorous pulse skipped a beat at the sight of him. It was too bad she was going to have to do everything in her power to get rid of him. She could certainly have gotten used to having him around.
Determined to ignore him, she sipped her exotic Mactaaran tea and continued to thumb through the holographic fashion magazine she’d been looking at. Tall, willowy models wearing the latest fashions from around the federation walked back and forth above the tabletop, and she tried to focus on them as much as possible to take her mind off her bodyguard.
Rand Barany, however, would not be ignored. He walked across the room to stand beside her chair. “Ms. Kal’yle, I’ll need your schedule for today,” he said. “As well as your calendar for the rest of the week.”
She didn’t look at him. “I don’t keep a schedule, but if you must know, I’m going to the spa for a massage this morning.”
Rand’s mouth quirked. “Of course.”
Inarii’s head snapped up at the condescending tone in his voice. “I’ll have you know that I pulled a muscle playing tennis.”
The words were out before she realized she’d said them and she caught herself. Why was she explaining herself to him? But it didn’t matter anyway. Rand Barany had already turned his back to her and was walking out of the room. Insufferable man!
Stepping out onto the sidewalk, Rand strode toward Inarii. He waited for her to duck down a side street, or turn and walk in the opposite direction once she saw him, but to his surprise, she didn’t appear to have seen him at all. In fact, she was so oblivious that she didn’t even notice him until he was standing right in front of her, and then she was forced to halt in her tracks.
“What the hell are you doing down here?” he demanded.
Inarii’s eyes went wide at the sight of her bodyguard. She’d been so preoccupied with thoughts of Maricel and Danton that she hadn’t even seen him. But with his arms folded across his broad chest and the way he was glowering at her, Rand Barany looked very formidable indeed.
“How...how did you find me?” she asked in amazement.
His brows drew together. “Answer my question, Ms. Kal’yle.”
She lifted her chin to meet his dark gaze. “That’s none of your business.”
He clenched his jaw. “I’m your bodyguard. That makes it my business. I go where you go, remember?”
She gave him a disdainful look. “I remember, and if you can rub your two brain cells together, you’ll remember I said that I need my privacy.”
She made as if to push past him, but he caught her arm. The touch of his hand on her bare skin sent a jolt through her, and she felt her pulse skip a beat as he began to pull her toward the transporter.
“I told you that I wouldn’t put up with your antics,” he said softly as they reached the transporter. “Pull a stunt like that again, Ms. Kal’yle, and I’ll put you over my knee and spank you.”
Inarii could feel Rand’s eyes on her as she moved off with Jarek, but she wouldn’t give her bodyguard the satisfaction of turning to look at him. Instead, she focused her attention on Jarek, who was looking at her curiously.
“So, is he your new boyfriend?” he asked, clearly referring to Rand.
“Boyfriend!” The idea was so preposterous that she almost laughed. “Heavens, no! He’s my new bodyguard.”
Jarek nodded. “That explains why he’s so protective of you, then. I have to say, he certainly is imposing.”
She glanced over her shoulder at Rand to find him watching her with that intent gaze of his, and it was all she could do not to give in to the impulse to make a face at him before she turned back to Jarek.
“The man is a complete and utter boor, but for some reason, my father seems to like him,” she said, and then gave Jarek a smile. “But enough about my bodyguard. Show me this piece of artwork you’re thinking of buying.”
Though Jarek Bretaigne claimed not to be a connoisseur of fine art, he did have an eye for it, because the piece he’d chosen was beautiful. Relieved that he had Inarii’s blessing, Jarek started to excuse himself, saying that he wanted to speak to the gallery’s owner about setting up the purchase.
“After you talk to her, do you think you could give me a ride home?” Inarii asked before he could disappear into the crowd.
Jarek frowned. “What about your bodyguard?”
She smiled mischievously. “The man thinks I’m his prisoner half the time anyway. I just want to show him that I’m not, and this will be the perfect opportunity.”
As she waited for the bath to fill, Inarii smiled to herself as she imagined the look on Rand Barany’s face when that server had spilled the tray of drinks on him. It must have been priceless, she thought as she belted the short robe around her slender waist.
A bell chimed, letting her know that the door to her rooms was being opened. Probably her maid coming in to turn down her bed for the night, she thought, and was surprised when Rand Barany strode into the room. She couldn’t help but notice that the front of his trousers were still wet from the drinks he’d been doused with, and she probably would have laughed if he didn’t look so furious. Did he know that she was responsible for his soaking?
“I warned you about sneaking off, Ms. Kal’yle,” he said.
She shrugged, ignoring the fierce glint in his eyes. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I...”
Rand didn’t let her finish. Grabbing her arm, he dragged her across the room to one of the stuffed chairs, where she found herself unceremoniously upended over the back of it.
“What are you doing?” she demanded indignantly, craning her neck to see over her shoulder.
“Showing you that I mean what I say,” he ground out.
“What...?!” she began, only to let out a yelp of outrage as he smacked her upturned bottom.
“So, was your father really mad about the other night?” Kat asked as soon as they’d sat down at one of the tables in the garden. She was obviously referring to the raid at Deep Space and their subsequent arrest.
Inarii made a face as she thought of the fight she’d had with her father after he’d picked her up at the civil protector station. “Mad doesn’t even begin to describe it, Kat. He was so furious that he fired poor Oland on the spot just because I slipped away from him to have a normal life for a few hours. Then, as if that weren’t enough, he hired the most rude, obnoxious, arrogant man he could find to be my new bodyguard.” She swore silently. Even though she had promised to banish any thought of Rand from her mind, it was somehow the first thing that came up in conversation.
A smiled played on the other girl’s lips. “Don’t like him much, do you?”
“He thinks I’m his prisoner!” Inarii complained. “I can’t take two steps without him asking me where I’m going or what I’m doing. He treats me like a child. It’s ridiculous!”
Her dark-haired friend waited until the pretty, petite maid had finished serving them before she spoke, and then it was to shrug off Inarii’s words. “There hasn’t been a guard you can’t give the slip, Inarii.”
That was true, Inarii reflected as she picked up her fork, but none of her other guards had ever stormed into her rooms and spanked her because she’d done so.
“This one’s different,” Inarii said quietly.
“Different how?” Kat asked. “He’s a man and you’re a woman who’s an expert at wrapping the opposite sex around your finger.”
Inarii toyed with her salad, pushing the fresh greens around on the plate. “He...he spanked me.”
There was a silence for a moment and then, “He did what?” as if Kat hadn’t heard correctly.
Inarii could hardly meet her friend’s gaze. “I slipped away from him the other night at the art gallery and he spanked me for it.”
Kat’s eyes grew wide. “Right there in the gallery?”
Inarii was horrified at the idea. “Of course not! He followed me back here, and then barged into my rooms.”
“You mean he just put you over his knee and spanked you?” the other girl asked incredulously.
Inarii said nothing, too embarrassed to go into detail with her friend.
Inarii started to say more, but Rand Barany chose that moment to check in on her. Though he said nothing, his dark eyes held in them what she was sure was a look of superiority. He probably believed he’d bullied her last night with his barbaric show of strength, she thought angrily. Well, he was in for a rude awakening.
Lifting her chin, she met his gaze with a disdainful look of her own, almost hoping to provoke him into saying something. However, to her surprise, Rand simply glanced from her to Kat, and then back to her before leaving the garden. But not before giving her a warning look, she noticed.
“Please tell me that’s not your new bodyguard,” Kat said.
“Every arrogant inch of him,” Inarii muttered.
Kat’s eyes widened. “You didn’t tell me he was so gorgeous.”
“He’s not gorgeous!” Inarii said hotly. “Okay, well maybe he is. But he’s also the most uncouth, pompous, loathsome man I’ve ever met.”
Kat thought a moment, then shrugged. “Still...”
“Kat, he spanked me!”
Her friend gestured with her fork. “You know, maybe you should tell your father about that,” she said. “And then after he gives him the sack, I’ll talk my father into hiring him. I wouldn’t mind getting a spanking from a man like that.”
Inarii stared at her friend in disbelief. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
Kat smiled a teasing, little smile. “I’ve heard that spanking can be very sexual.”
Inarii felt herself turn red. “It wasn’t sexual, Kat. It was humiliating!”
Despite her protests, Inarii felt her pulse quicken at the thought and she viciously speared a tomato with her fork. Even if Rand Barany were too handsome for words – which she grudgingly had to admit that he was – there was absolutely nothing sexy about the spanking he’d given her!
As the two girls walked down the hallway toward her rooms, they passed Rand, who, thankfully, was heading in the opposite direction. Ignoring him, Inarii continued to converse with Kat, but Rand’s voice stopped her.
“Is there anything on your schedule for today that I should know about, Ms. Kal’yle?”
Inarii turned to regard him coolly. “Kat and I are going to try on some clothes, and then spend the afternoon discussing the latest gossip. You’re welcome to join us, of course, though I rather doubt that any of my clothes will fit you.”
He said nothing for a moment, as if considering whether he should respond to her insult, but he only nodded. “You will let me know if you decide to go out, won’t you?”
Inarii gave him what she thought was her most innocent look. “Of course,” she said sweetly.
His mouth tightened, but he said nothing, simply turning on his heel and striding down the hallway.
Rand had thought that the spanking he’d given Inarii, and the promise of another one should she continue to misbehave, would have been enough to curb her wild ways. But apparently, he was wrong, because he was sure she was up to something. Her sugary-sweet words of acquiescence were a deception, he was sure. She was way too independent and headstrong to give in to him that easily, even if it did earn her another spanking.
After warming Inarii’s bottom last night, Rand had fully expected to be summoned to her father’s office that morning to be dismissed, or at the very least, reprimanded for his actions. But when he’d passed Chane Kal’yle in the hallway earlier, the man had simply asked him how things were going and whether his daughter was behaving herself. Which meant that Inarii hadn’t told her father about the spanking. That has surprised Rand a little. He’d thought Inarii would have run to her father and demanded his head on a platter. But perhaps she was fearful that if she did, her father would find out that she was up to her old antics again, and that he would make good on his threat and send her back to Deuntaie.
Whatever her reason, Rand had to admit he was relieved she hadn’t told her father. This job was too important to his career for him to get fired simply because he’d given the boss’s daughter exactly what she deserved.
Rand felt himself grow hard at the memory of the spanking. Even though she’d been wearing a robe, it was obvious that Inarii had an ass that was just made for spanking. It was true that he hadn’t spanked her all that hard, but it had probably been hard enough to give her cheeks a nice rosy blush. The mental image almost made him groan aloud.
Rand’s mouth quirked. He almost hoped that Inarii did disobey him and sneak off somewhere again because he would very much enjoy putting her over his knee and spanking that bottom of hers until it was the perfect shade of red.
She flushed, very much aware of the audience that had gathered to watch the civil protectors arrest the thief who had tried to steal her purse. If all the man had been going to get had been her evening bag, she wouldn’t have cared, but he would have also gotten the much-needed medicine inside it, and that she did care about. But Rand couldn’t find out about the drugs. So she said the first thing that came to mind.
“It’s a Glaren-Moroe,” she said, giving her bodyguard the name of the designer as if it should mean something to him, which it didn’t, of course. “I paid a fortune for it.”
Rand gave her a contemptuous look. “And your life isn’t worth more than some stupid designer bag?”
Inarii felt a fresh rush of color tint her cheeks. “How did you find me, anyway?” she demanded sharply. “Do you have some kind of tracking device on me or something?”
He glowered at her. “No, but that’s a damn good idea!”
“I called him,” Kat said, taking a step forward. She was chewing on her manicured thumbnail and looking nervously from Inarii to Rand.
Inarii stared at her incredulously. “You called him?”
Her friend gave her a shamefaced look. “That guy watching you was creeping me out.”
“That guy was probably harmless, Kat,” Inarii told her.
“Well, that guy who tried to steal your purse sure as hell wasn’t!” Rand snapped. “Come on, I’m taking you home.”
Inarii took a step back. “I’m not going anywhere with you.” She lifted her chin, her green eyes full of defiance. “You don’t own me, you know.”
He gave her a hard look. “No, but I am responsible for you, Ms. Kal’yle, and you’re getting in the transporter right now. Now, you can either get in it yourself, or I’ll put you over my shoulder and toss you in it. You decide.”
He was going to spank her again, Inarii realized. To her surprise, she felt her pulse skip a beat.
“You...you can’t!” she protested. “Not right here. Someone could hear.”
The cabana was three-sided, so if anyone heard anything, they would certainly come looking. But Rand’s mouth only quirked. “Then you’ll have to be quiet, won’t you?”
Her eyes went wide, but before she could do more than gasp, he sat down on the bench and dragged her over his knee. Inarii held her breath, waiting, only to let out a little cry of surprise when she felt his hand on the waistband of her bikini bottom. Nothing more than a small triangle of material to begin with, it did little to cover her cheeks, but Rand must have thought it was in the way, because he tugged it down to mid-thigh, leaving her bottom bare and vulnerable.
Inarii felt herself blush. The cabana faced away from the pool so that its occupants could have privacy as well as a view of the ocean on the enormous holo-screen that lined the deck. If anyone came by...
“Do you think they’d really try something on a cruiser full of people?” she asked in disbelief.
There was no mistaking the fear in her voice. Or the way it trembled. Unable to suppress the urge to comfort her, he reached out and gently cupped her cheek. “I won’t let anyone hurt you, Inarii,” he said softly. “I’ll do whatever is necessary to keep you safe.”
Inarii said nothing, but merely looked up at him with those beautiful green eyes of hers. Not even aware of what he was doing, Rand bent his head and kissed her gently on the mouth. Her lips were soft and pliant under his, and though she didn’t return the kiss right away, she didn’t push him away, either. Then, ever so slowly, her lips parted beneath his and she was kissing him back.
That was all the encouragement Rand needed. Sliding his hand into her hair, her cupped the back of her head and deepened the kiss, his tongue finding hers. God, she tasted so damn sweet, he thought. Just like peaches. Perfectly ripe, succulent peaches. All of a sudden, he had to have more. Had to see if she was that sweet all over!
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