When his father decides to save Steed Wilderness Outpost by merging with a rival company, Landon Steed begrudgingly goes along with it...
Until he learns it comes with a condition.
He must marry the rival’s daughter.
While the consequences of refusing don’t directly fall on him, they do fall on the intelligent, recalcitrant brat he’s been battling wits with all weekend at the company retreat, so Landon agrees to marry Akari Takahashi—at least until he concocts a plan to change their circumstances.
As Landon finalizes his plan, he finds himself endeavouring to tame the fiery, but endearing, hellion over his knee, quickly becoming the daddy Akari so desperately needs.
Despite their combustible chemistry, Landon executes his plan to end their forced union by heading deep into the British Columbia mountains on a survival expedition with nothing more than his action camera and a few key survival items.
What Landon didn’t plan on, was the group of deranged hunters searching for Big Foot…
Or Akari following him.
“I can’t believe you spanked me. Who does that in this day and age?” I say, shivering uncontrollably as he wades in deeper to get me. He untangles me and then scoops me up. I squeal at the unexpected upward movement and cling to him tightly. His skin feels hot and I can’t help but snuggle up to him for warmth.
“I gave you fair warning,” he replies gruffly, walking up the rocky shore noticeably even- breathed despite the cold and extra load in his arms. Even in my current pissy mood, I can admit he’s right.
“I guess so.”
I don’t even know who I am lately. And not that I’ll ever admit it, but I actually feel better since he took control, as if him taking power over the situation gave me the ability to let go and concentrate on reining my demons. And ever since I found out about the merger union, I’ve had a lot of uncontrollable demons. But tonight my behavior has been lunacy at best. As if making him believe I’m a chain-smoking, promiscuous drug addict would change things.
“I’m sorry.” And I am. After all, even if he orchestrated the whole thing—the merger, the... ugh, I don’t even want to think the word... union. Even if it’s all on him, everyone else agreed to it, so he’s not the only one who deserves my wrath but so far he’s the only one who’s gotten it.
“I... I was a jerk,” I say. Landon’s gaze shoots to mine instantly. Looking at his gorgeous lagoon green eyes so closely makes my stomach quiver. I still hate the big, sexy asshole, but I feel something else too. Something carnal.
Just hormones, I tell myself. But I’m no fool. His dominance turned me on like nothing ever has before. It sliced through my anger like a hot knife to butter and melted my core.
I drop my gaze after a mere second of his penetrating stare. He brings me all the way to my cabin, walks up the steps of the porch, and sets me down near the door. I stumble, a little dizzy and numb from the cold. He catches me. My wet dress weighs me down and I can’t stop shivering.
“I’m sorry too,” he says and my head pops up. He holds his hand out. “Key.”
“You are?” I say, ignoring his request.
He sighs. “Not for spanking you.” He presses his lips a moment before giving me a little
smirk. “I enjoyed that.” And then he points at me. “And you deserved it.”
“Then for what?” I ask, my voice cracking.
“I’m sorry you were a jerk.” My eyes widen at his honesty and his narrow on mine,
challenging me to retort. I wonder if he’d spank me again for arguing. The thought makes my heart jump in my chest.
“Now, your keys.” He looks at his outstretched palm. “Before you freeze to death.”
“I guess I kinda deserved it.” I shrug and then reach into the bodice of my dress where I kept both the keys and the cigarettes I stole from some douche who hit on me at the bar earlier.
Nothing. I check the other side and swallow hard. The only thing in the corselet of my dress is me.
“You deserved worse,” he says in his deep timbre and then stops talking when he sees me start searching the ground.
“What’s worse than being manhandled, spanked, and dumped in a freezing cold lake?” I ask distractedly, dragging my dripping dress up my legs so I can walk back down the porch steps.
But I know one thing worse. Working your ass off in University for an honors degree and not being allowed to use it in the family business and instead being forced to... Landon’s words cut off my thoughts.
“Worse?” I question, shivering from the cold.
“Being bent over the bed and strapped with my belt on your cold, wet, bare ass.” His matter- of-fact tone and words send a zing of arousal through me while simultaneously angering me. I look up. He’s right there, so close I can feel his heat. His masculinity is intoxicating and it melts away the anger, leaving only pulsing heat. I shiver again, and this time it’s not from the cold.
Grabbing my hand, he pulls me across the path to the next cabin and up onto its porch. He jams his own key in the door and leaves me speechless, unsure whether to follow him into the cabin or not. He wouldn’t spank me again, would he?
My brows knit as he disappears into a part of the room I can’t see. I wonder if he’s left me for good, or if he’s gone to find a thick leather belt. Another quiver rolls through me but he returns with a big fluffy towel. When he gets close, I hold my breath. He’s so large and manly, and smells so damn good. He wraps the towel around my shoulders and gives them a rub. I don’t accuse him of pawing me this time, mostly because I’m icy, but also because I want him to touch me.
“Get in here.” He yanks me in using the towel and shuts the door. I watch it close. I should feel some foreboding or anxiousness at being alone with him so late at night in a semi-secluded cabin. He’s a stranger, after all, but I don’t.
“I’ll start a fire. You dry off.” He’s still dripping himself. There’s a path of wet footprints and water drips down his neck and temples from his dirty blond hair, which is a little longer than it should be for a businessman; as if he’s due for a trip to the barber, the ends curl, especially now that it’s wet.
I don’t know what it is about this man. Even though I hate him to my very core, despise that he’s domineering, demanding, and gruff, he’s the only man I’ve ever met who’s made me itch with the need to be fucked. Not made love to, but to be fucked—hard and dirty.
I want to drive my hands through that too-long hair, latch onto those curls, and kiss him until we’re a wet tangle on the floor.
“So... um... do you always solve your disagreements with... um...?” I ask dumbly, trying to break the spell he has on me. His brows rise in question. And then his mouth curves up on one side showing the sexiest dimple I’ve ever laid eyes on and my heart trips.
“With spanking?” he asks, his brow still high and his smirk tight. My gut drops.
“Uh, yeah.” I swallow, wanting to look away but unable to.
“You were acting like a spoiled brat out there.” His big hand rises to point toward the dock.
My head turns to follow and when I turn back, I have to swallow again. His eyes narrow and spear me in place, making my belly squirm.
He’s looking at me like he wants to spank me again and my sexual impulses battle with my feminist heart so I’m unclear whether I’d agree. A small voice in my head tells me he wouldn’t care either way and a distinct spasm of need has me leaning a little further toward yes. Okay, more like, God, yes!
“I guess I was being childish,” I murmur.
He laughs at that and leans into the stone hearth. “No guessing. Own it. You were and you know it.” He props wood logs up against each other like a tent in the fireplace, placing smaller wood pieces underneath and then twisting old newspapers and shoving them under too. Everything about him is large, powerful, and no-nonsense.
“Okay. Yes, I was,” I admit, trying to ‘own it.’
“And you got what you deserved?” he prompts me, looking over his shoulder, those damn piercing eyes sending shivers through me. “Punished like a bratty little girl?” His eyes penetrate me so deeply I feel the magnetic pull right through to my pussy. “Spanked until you were sorry?” His left brow cocks up, making my mouth go dry.
My heart pounds between my legs, heat flashes through my body, and I tingle all over. Have I ever wanted someone more?
He winks. “Of course, if you think you need more...”
“No, no,” I reply, holding my hands up. “I’m sorry enough.” But am I?
Gah, his words cause a flood of emotion and sexual need. How can two words affect me
so much? Be so conflicting. One part of me finds them demeaning and yet the other part, the much larger part, makes me want to please him. Makes me want to do anything for him just so I’ll hear those two words again.
Being under my father’s control is bad enough so I don’t want to be under another man’s thumb and Landon Steed is clearly the kind of man who likes control. But somewhere deep inside me, something old—perhaps instinctive or feral—wants just the opposite. I suddenly need to be under this man’s thumb for just one night. If only my brain would turn off.
“But you know, it’s assault so...” I look away, unable to stand his intense glare or finish my sentence. And then suddenly he’s in front of me, his hand on my chin, his thumb and forefinger forcing my eyes to his.
“I don’t see you calling the cops,” he whispers, deadpanning me. “Is that because you know you needed it?”
I nod—it’s the slightest of movements and as soon as it’s happened, I regret it. But it’s too late. He grins and my heart flips at that stupid dimple. A God damn dimple that should make him look boyish and unintimidating.
Hoping I’ll come to my senses, I step back slightly. Maybe I had too much to drink, I consider. But I know I didn’t. What the hell did I just do? Did I just admit to needing a spanking? Nuh uh! No freaking way! But before I can renege, something inside me takes over and my lips are on his.
And dammit, he reciprocates—punishingly hard.
I turn to mush in his arms, my weak knees buckling so he holds me tighter. His mouth is firm, warm, and demanding, his arms like bands of warm steel. I have never been kissed like this. My pussy is tingling and pulsing with a need so powerful I’ll never be able to resist. The kiss, so intense—so heated, has me feeling so... owned.
I pull away roughly, my last thought knocking some damn sense into me. “Stop!” I demand, attempting to hide my shiver.
He releases me and I feel absolutely bereft without him. He turns his attention back to the fire, lighting it.
“You need to get out of those wet clothes before you freeze.”
How can he turn it off so easily? One minute he’s molten lava and the next an iceberg. “You can forget about getting me out of my clothes, Landon Steed! It’ll be a cold day in
hell when that happens!” I spit the words, feeling my face flush with anger and embarrassment. He shakes his head and I growl, “What?”
“Do you take meds for your multiple personality disorder?” He sighs forcefully. “I meant
you getting out of your wet clothes—alone.”
“Well, you were pawing me again,” I say petulantly. He points at a doorway.
“Bedroom’s there. T-shirt’s on the bed; should fit you like a dress, and it’ll have to do.” When I don’t move, he crosses his arms. I frown. He cocks a brow. My jaw shifts to the
side in challenge. He takes one step forward and I take one back.
“I’ll get a new key from the front desk.”
“The hell you will.”
“Well, I’m not walking around here in a skimpy shirt.”
“You walk back, you’ll freeze and I’ll have to follow you to make sure you’re okay and
that’ll piss me off. And you won’t be walking around in a skimpy shirt cause you’re gonna get that sassy ass into the bed as soon as you change.”
“You seem to like being pissed off,” I say, narrowing my eyes at him, ignoring the zing of desire at being told to get in his bed.
“You seem to like pissing me off.”
“I’m going to count to three, little girl, and then I’m taking off my belt.”
“Try it.” I hiss. “I’ll call the police this time.”
Gritting my teeth, I stand my ground.
Not a muscle moves but my stomach dips and tingles scatter across the skin of my bottom. He reaches for his buckle and I haul ass.
“That’s a good girl,” he says, causing my insides to feel like mush.
His tee fits perfectly and smells like him, as does his bed, and being wrapped in both of
them makes me feel as if I’m cocooned in his embrace. Even the throbbing between my legs can’t keep my lids from slipping closed.