Wednesday, February 26, 2014

With Hearts Aflame Week: Sweet Sinclair by Maren Smith

Oh sure to read Maren's answer to this question: What’s your naughtiest Valentine’s Day?

My husband and I decided to run away from home one year, and it just happened to fall on Valentine’s weekend, which neither one of us realized until we reached our remote rental cabin out in the woods. As we were checking in, the lady who owned the cabins said something, like, “Romantic getaway, huh? Going fishing?”

And my husband who had, at that point, been my husband for many years, surreptitiously put his foot over mine under the counter. His way of saying, ‘If you know what’s good for you, woman, you won’t say what I know you’re just dying to say.’ He then smiled at the woman and said, “Yup.”

And there I was, getting my foot increasingly crushed under his and trying so hard not to bust out laughing because all I could think was, “Yeah, baby. Show me that big ol’ one-eyed worm.”

Since a competing sweet shop opened its doors, things have not gone well for Sinclair’s candy shop, Maybe’s Candy. Business was slowing, her finances were dropping, and no matter what she does she just can’t think of any way to get her business back on top. Even the one highlight of her week—that moment when handsome Parker Johnson, a man she’d been flirting with for over a year, came to buy his usual bag of caramels—even that wasn’t much of a treat. How could it be when Sinclair already knew something was wrong with him? She couldn’t quite put her finger on what it was—was he married, gay, a homicidal maniac?—but a guy didn’t show this much interest in a girl without asking her out, at least not without a good reason. And Parker most definitely has not asked her out.

Then, an unexpected ray of good luck: From out of the blue, she’s offered a job. All she has to do is cater a candy party—one day, 900 people, and her store would be financially set all the way through summer. The only catch? The venue is a place called the Castle, a fantasy BDSM resort inhabited by some of the hottest Masters she has ever met. And one of them just happens to be Parker, the same man she’s been drooling over for the last year.

What a coincidence! Or is it? Sinclair always knew there was something wrong with him. What she didn’t know, was how he could make WRONG feel so wonderfully RIGHT.


“What the hell is this?” Parker snapped, slamming the door behind him, which effectively sealed the startled Sinclair in the Masters’ dining hall by herself, and he and Master Marshall out in the main dining hall with all the Castle guests who were currently enjoying their suppers. He tried to keep his voice down. There was nothing more unprofessional than two Masters bickering in public, but he just couldn’t rein his temper in. For the first time in his life, he felt like a submissive in one of Marshall’s annual “deer” hunts—he’d just been stalked, targeted, and tackled to the ground. “What is she doing here?”

“I’ve hired her to cater an event for Valentine’s Day,” Marshall calmly replied. 

“Since when do we hire out for our private events?” 

“Since Sam suggested it.” 

Parker’s head reeled. He took a startled step back and only by supreme force of will kept his temper from really erupting at that point. “Did he also suggest I be assigned to her while she was here?” 

“Yes,” Marshall freely admitted. 

Parker took another step back. He shook his head, a thousand things racing through his mind, but the dining hall was too full of guests and those thoughts too full of expletives for him to dare say any of it. He dropped his voice to little more than a hiss, “Get out of my personal business, both of you! I didn’t want her here. I didn’t want her to know, God damn it!” 

“To what end?” Marshall countered. 

“None of your business!” 

Spreading his hands, Marshall shrugged. “Having made it my business, at least until after Valentine’s Day, what do you now propose? We have a signed contract, so I’m not just going to cut her loose. Nor can I let her wander the Castle by herself. She needs a chaperone. Do you want the job or not?” 

Did he want her? Hell yes, he did! That was half the problem. Parker rubbed the back of his neck. “Hell, she probably won’t even stay, at this point. You’ve dumped so much on her right now, it wouldn’t surprise me if she—” 

“Excuse me, Mr. Leaf?” 

Snapping his mouth shut, both Parker and Marshall turned to look at Sinclair. She stood in the open doorway between the two dining rooms and looked straight at Marshall, as if Parker wasn’t even there at all. 

“If I’m going to do this job, I need to see the ballrooms I’ll be decorating and the kitchen where I’ll be working. And then I’d like to go home. I’ve got a lot of planning to do.” 

“Of course.” Marshall turned expectantly toward Parker, though it took him a moment to notice. He couldn’t stop looking at Sinclair. He felt completely blindsided, and he knew she had to be feeling something similar. Her cheeks were flushed and the closest she came to meeting his steady gaze was that moment when she dropped her eyes to the ground and stole a quick peek at his pants. 

Parker almost swore all over again. He couldn’t believe his friends had done this to him. This was what he’d dreaded; now that Sinclair knew about this side of him, she couldn’t even make herself look at him. Things between them were going to change now. They were going to become strained, awkward; his weekly trips to her candy store may as well just stop. He’d lost her. 

He’d never really had her, he tried to tell himself, but it still felt like a punch in the gut. “Do you want another chaperone?” It wasn’t until the words popped out of his mouth that Parker realized he was going to say anything at all right then, but she surprised them both. 

“No.” She stole another quick peek at him, this time her eyes making it up as far as his stomach before she had to look away again. “N-no, I’m fine… with the one I have.” 

She didn’t look fine. She was blushing, stammering. Hell, she was probably trying not to laugh at him. Parker stifled another curse. For her to find out like this was his worst nightmare; he hadn’t wanted her to find out at all. 

And Marshall couldn’t seem to stop grinning. “See, it’s fine,” he said, thumping Parker solidly on the back. “Welcome to the Castle, Ms. Adleton.” 

The look he shot Marshall would have killed a lesser man, but the Master of the Castle walked away not only unscathed but grinning like a fool. Parker glared after him.

We'll be discussing all the stories in this set on Friday for Spanking Stories Book Club so be sure to come back then for more! 


  1. Ooh this sounds intriguing. Love the snippet! LoL at your valentines story Maren. Sounds like a wonderful getaway! :)


  2. Thank you Roz and Cara! :) And thank you, Celeste for having me here!


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