“You’re not coming in?” Hannah spoke into her headset, and, with an angry jerk, emptied the wastebasket into the larger trash can on her rolling cart.
“I have the stomach flu or maybe the real flu.” Amberlyn’s stuffy voice and hacking cough would have been more convincing if rock music hadn’t been beating and a male’s voice hadn’t been chanting, “Drink it, drink it, drink it.” Not to mention, this was the third time in as many months the “stomach flu or maybe the real flu” had afflicted her work partner.
Hannah plunked the wastebasket next to Jared Traynor’s oak desk in his uber-masculine office. The Rod and Cane Society president favored deep earth tones, man-sized chairs, leather—lots of leather—and sports memorabilia. A crystal picture frame etched with flowers showcasing his wedding photo offered the sole feminine touch. Hannah would bet her paycheck the man’s pretty wife had picked it out—and another seven days’ salary Amberlyn was faking again.
If she could collect on those wagers, she could afford to take some time off. I could get some studying done. Write my term paper.
“I’ll scoot by after I’m done and bring you some chicken soup.” She had no soup. But Amberlyn wasn’t sick, either. Done with the president’s office, she exited and shut the door.
“No, don’t do that. It’s too much trouble.”
Leaving me to clean a huge building by myself isn’t? If Amberlyn had reported in before the shift, Tidy Titans might have been able to find a replacement. Now it was too late, and only two rooms remained to be cleaned anyway. Including that one. Hannah rubbed her sweaty palms along the sides of her ugly uniform.
In the background, a man asked, “Want another beer, baby?”
“Love one,” came Amberlyn’s muffled reply.
“Oh, it’s no trouble,” Hannah said in her sweetest voice. “I’ll get some pho. I need to eat, too.”
“No really.” Cough. Cough. “I think I’m contagious. I would hate if you caught what I have.”
“Did you notify Tidy Titans you wouldn’t be in?” If she had, the cleaning firm would have called Hannah, which they hadn’t.
“Do they have to know?”
“You weren’t expecting to be paid for work you didn’t do, were you?” My work. Hannah guided the janitorial cart with one hand, dragged the vacuum with the other, and marched to the elevator.
“I might get written up again. You know I’m on notice. “
“Then you should have been here.”
“I’m sick!” She stuck to her story. “It’s not like you haven’t missed any shifts!”
Hannah had been genuinely ill with the flu, and had missed another day due to car trouble. Unlike Amberlyn, she’d called her supervisor early enough so she could schedule a replacement. She wasn’t going to waste time arguing when she still had work to do. “Either you notify Tidy Titans or I will,” Hannah said. “Enjoy your party.”
“You’re a real buzz kill. There’s nothing exciting about disinfecting toilets and picking up other people’s shit. Work. Work. Work. That’s all you care about other than your stupid classes. Which will do what, prepare you for more work?”
God, she hoped so. Hannah jabbed the up button, the elevator doors opened, and she boarded with her cart. Amberlyn was correct about one thing: cleaning other people’s messes was no fun. Hence, college. In another year, she would graduate with a business degree, get a corporate job, and never vacuum an office, scrape crud off the floor, or wipe up spills again.
“Speaking of which, I have a job I need to get back to. I’ll check with Tidy Titans to verify you called them when I’m done,” Hannah said.
The elevator rose to the second floor.
“You’re a bitch!” Amberlyn snapped with no trace of stuffiness or cough and disconnected.
“You’re an asshole,” Hannah replied to empty air as the door opened.
The man outside blinked. “I beg your pardon?”
If there’d been room inside her janitorial cart, she would have crawled into it. “Not, uh, y-you. I’m sorry. I was, uh, t-talking to…uh…myself.” She’d assumed everyone had vacated the building hours ago. Insulting a client was grounds for dismissal.
The elevator started to shut, and she lunged for the open button, but hit the close one by mistake. Make it worse, why don’t you? After cursing at him, she’d slammed the door in his face. Hannah considered punching the first floor button and running for cover, but if he took the stairs and caught her barreling down the corridor like the coward she was, she’d feel more embarrassed than she did already. And she couldn’t she leave a job unfinished. Two rooms remained.
She gulped and pressed the outward facing arrow.
The doors slid open.
“We meet again,” he said.
“Sorry. It, uh, closed.”
The man’s sexy lips quirked with amusement. Sexy lips? He had to be at least a decade and a half older than her. Thirty-five maybe. He could be one of her college professors, except he was less rumpled, more polished. More urbane as someone who didn’t flail around in an embarrassed stutter would describe him, someone who wasn’t the first in her family to attend college, someone whose mouth hadn’t put her maid job in jeopardy.
He held the door, stepped aside, and motioned for her to disembark.
She ducked her head. Hyperconscious of his scrutiny, she wheeled her cart off the elevator, her body noting his woodsy masculine scent with a stir. “I-I’m sorry,” she apologized again, and raced away as fast as her rubbery legs would allow.
“Wait a minute!” he called out.
I’m in trouble. I knew it! Hannah turned.
He dragged the vacuum off the elevator. “Don’t you need this?”
Her already-hot face heated more. “Yes.” She snatched the machine and another whiff of him. If she named his cologne, she’d call it, Power. “Thank you…sir.”
His dark eyes flashed. Not a man to trifle with. None of the men from this place were. The evidence surfaced around her, on the walls, in the cases of the promenade, in that room.
She had no business inhaling his aftershave. This man was way out of her league. If she had a league, that was. Critically shy around the opposite sex, Hannah did not exude the encouraging signals guys needed to ask a girl out. Not that a man like him required any sort of ego stroking or approval. He oozed confidence—and dominance.
“Have you worked with”— he checked the company name embroidered on her uniform—“Tidy Titans long?”
How old are you? That’s what he was aiming at. Maybe when she signed up for Social Security, she would be thankful for her youthful appearance, but when you were a junior in college and you mentioned school, and people assumed high school, well, it got annoying. Even the matronly Tidy Titan uniform didn’t help her look older.
“Two years,” she said. “I’ve only been cleaning here for two months.” There! She’d managed to utter a complete sentence with perfection diction. She wished she understood why the opposite sex made her nervous. The more masculine the man, the more anxious she got. She’d competed on her high school debate team, won a few small scholarships for her speaking ability, and could go head-to-head with any bitch alive—but try to talk to a man one-on-one and she needed speech therapy. “I go to the university,” she added, as if the fact would impress him by imbuing her with, what, maturity? Importance? I’m not just a cleaner. I’m a college student. Oh, yeah, so much better. Right.
He’d be more underwhelmed to learn she attended a public institution and not a private one, and had completed her general education requirements at the community college to save money.
Even her accomplishments were pitiful.
She focused on his nose but couldn’t help noticing his warm-brown eyes. Caramel mixed with chocolate. Deep pools of… Stop it! “Do you work h-here?” The stuttered question sounded stupid.
“Work? No.” he shook his head. “I’m disciplinary proctor, and I’m on the Board of Governance.”
No, she couldn’t call any old member an asshole; it had to be an officer of the organization.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
“I’m Jordan Bevy.” His name rang a bell, but she was quite certain she’d never met him before. He held out his hand, and she had no choice but to shake it. Yeah, of course she had to be forced to touch a man with sexy lips, a heady scent, chocolaty-caramelly eyes, and muscles to spare. The rolled sleeves of his white dress shirt revealed strong, tanned forearms sprinkled with hair. She’d always been a sucker for buff forearms.
Why are you thinking about him in this way at all? A man like him would never be interested in a girl like you! And he’s a stranger to you, anyway.
“Hannah Laurie,” he repeated.
How long was he going to hold her hand, anyway? She resisted the urge to squirm. She couldn’t control what came out of her mouth, but, fortunately, her feet were more obedient.
“Is that a first name like Hannelore, or your first and last name?” The way he focused on her created an impression she had captured his full, undivided attention.
“F-irst and last.”
“Pretty,” he said, and released her hand slowly. She assumed he referred to her name, but the way he was looking at her…no, crazy to think she might have attracted a man’s interest. A man like him.
“T-Thank you. I’d uh, um, better get to work,” she said.
“I’m on my way out. You know how to lock up?”
She nodded. “Yes.”
“Have a good evening, Hannah.” He boarded the elevator, but she didn’t hang around. She bolted down the hall like a contestant on a game show. Only after she heard the door close did she risk a backward glance.
Gone. Thank goodness.
Tidy Titans prided itself on professionalism and had standards for its staff. Rule one required employees to be polite and respectful. Rule five prohibited profanity. She’d managed to break two rules—and probably all the ones in between, with a single word. Asshole.
Way to go.
THE ELEVATOR BUMPED to a stop, and Jordan exited and strolled toward the exit.
Pretty girl, he thought. She had wide eyes framed by thick lashes, a kissable mouth, and a curvaceous body that performed a miracle by transforming the gray uniform from drab to sexy. When she’d hurried away, her shiny brunette ponytail had bobbed, and her generous ass and hips had shifted with an unintentional seductive invitation he felt from his cock to his twitchy palms.
Purely unintentional on her part, he was sure. He hadn’t met a young woman that skittish in…well, ever. Twin spots of bright pink had tinted her face like the blush on an apple. Or a spanked bottom.
What a sexy ass she had.
Give it up, Bevy. Find someone experienced, someone your own age. She’s a baby.
She’s at least eighteen, estimated logic and lust, in rare agreement. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have been permitted entry into the mansion. An organization promoting domestic discipline and spanking, Rod and Cane prohibited the admission of minors. In addition, one had to be of legal age to sign the confidentiality contract. She’d said she attended a college and had worked with Tidy Titans for two years, so she would be…twenty? Twenty-one, maybe?
Not jailbait, but still too young in age and too innocent in manner for a hard-core spanko of thirty-five to harbor notions of having her naked and bound while he whipped her ass. Not appropriate at all.
Fortunately, their paths wouldn’t cross again. Other than board meetings and special events, during which time no cleaners or other workers were allowed on site, he had no reason to be in the mansion at night. He’d only come in to set up the boardroom for tomorrow’s governance meeting, filling in for the vacationing recording secretary.
She’s so shy; both sets of cheeks would color if I spanked her.
He had laid out the agendas and information packets. Tomorrow, he would record the minutes and deliver his report of official disciplinary actions of the previous month. Two members, one male, one female, had been sanctioned for violating confidentiality. The man had been fined, while the woman’s punishment had been handled privately by her spouse. In addition, three heads of household had requested use of the room to chastise their wives. At the husband’s request, Jordan had administered one of the punishments. A dispassionate correction of another man’s wife while the husband observed could not compare to the intimacy of spanking a partner. However, as he was in between relationships at the moment, the one official sanction was the only spanking he’d delivered in a long time.
Had any man spanked Hannah Laurie? Probably not. She’d struck him as innocent as she was sexy. She had the cutest little stutter, and her walk, that wiggle… Holy Christ.
His footfalls echoed in the promenade, the long corridor lined by cases of implements and artwork depicting lovely, rosy-bottomed females. Hannah would rival any of them, but he’d never get to see it. Defiling innocents topped the list of things a gentleman avoided.
Not that she was probably technically a virgin. In this day and age, most young women Hannah’s age had had several lovers already. Fuck! Give it up, already. Thank goodness he’d left when he had and would be unlikely to run into her again. When he returned for the board meeting tomorrow, his little cleaner girl would be long gone.
Jordan halted in the rotunda. He’d locked the governance chamber door behind him, right? Yeah. Of course he had. Attention to security was automatic. He exited the mansion and headed for home.
Irresistible Attractions blurb
College student Hannah Laurie works nights for a cleaning service. Among its clients is the Rod and Cane Society, an organization of domestic discipline practitioners. As she cleans the mansion headquarters, she becomes fascinated by the idea of being spanked. One evening, she surrenders to the impulse to try out the equipment in the secret disciplinary chamber.
Billionaire cybersecurity magnate Jordan Bevy, Rod and Cane’s disciplinary proctor, ensures the rules of the organization are followed to a T. Using the disciplinary chamber for personal pleasure is strictly forbidden. But when he catches the shy little cleaner girl trying out the equipment, what’s a fellow to do but bend the rules and give her a hand?
Everything seems like fun and games, until their relationship deepens and their respective worlds collide and clash. Can a lowly cleaner girl ever find acceptance in her boyfriend’s monied world?