Friday, February 13, 2015

Spanking Stories Book Club: Life's Unexpected Gifts by Livia Grant

Please welcome Cara Bristol to lead this week's discussion of Life's Unexpected Gifts by Livia Grant. 

Take it away Ms. Bristol....

I like that author Livia Grant takes risks. She doesn’t write formula, so what you get is something fresh and different. Sometimes uncomfortable, but always fresh. In her Passion series, a husband abandons his wife at a BDSM club to be worked over by a Dom after he discovers her infidelity. In her Corbin’s Bend series book, Life’s Unexpected Gifts, Livia Grant opens with a brother spanking his adult sister. That’s the book up for discussion today.

Life’s Unexpected Gifts blurb
Violence has been part of Hallie Boudreaux’s life for too long. Deciding all men are barbaric abusers, she’s once again on the run away from danger. Desperate to feel safe, if even for a few days, Hallie remembers the only time she had felt truly happy in the last seven years were the summers spent at her Aunt Jenna and Uncle Calbert’s. Taking a chance her aunt might take her in, Hallie points her dilapidated car towards Corbin’s Bend, praying she makes it there before her clunker takes its last gasp.

Troy Jackson can’t wait to surprise his sister on her 30th birthday. He’s recently moved back to Colorado to be closer to his only relative, Traci, a psychologist living in Corbin’s Bend. The surprise is on Troy when his normally conscientious sister runs amok on her big birthday proving that even intelligent, independent women still need the stern guidance of the men in their lives. Having grown up with loving parents who practiced the domestic discipline way of life, both Traci and Troy subscribe to the founding principles of the Corbin’s Bend community wholeheartedly.

Hallie’s family is thrilled to have her in Corbin’s Bend, but can Hallie come to terms with living in a community based on its endorsement of spanking, a practice Hallie sees as abuse. Can Traci’s counseling help her overcome her fear in order to accept her new life in Corbin’s Bend, or is it Traci’s brother who ultimately has the power to show Hallie that not all men are abusers? 

11.     The story opens with a brother spanking his adult sister for a serious safety violation—she brought home a man she’d just met and drove home while under the influence of alcohol. Since the father had passed, he took it upon himself to serve as HoH and spank her because their father was no longer alive to do it. Do you think Troy was justified? Did he overstep his bounds?

 2.    Thinking of domestic discipline as a real life lifestyle, do you think it should be limited to husbands/wives and domestic partners or is it okay for another family member to step in and correct another’s behavior? Why or why not?

33.    I think we’re all in agreement here that abuse (beating) is different from spanking/domestic discipline. But, in real life, do you think that someone who had been a victim of domestic violence could come to embrace domestic discipline? Why or why not?

44.     Troy often expresses uncertainty and questions his own actions. And he goes easy on Hallie (discipline wise) because he knows of her abusive past. Does he seem less dominant than if he’d laid down the law, or does it make him more likable as human being?

              Excellent questions, as always, Cara. Can't wait to see what everyone has to say. 

Friday, February 20 The Bishop's First Bride by Rayanna Jamison
Friday, February 27 Mob Mistress by Renee Rose
Friday, March 7  Her Daddy, Her Dom and Her Doctor by Emily Tilton


  1. Excellent questions Cara!

    1. I'm not sure how I feel abou this. I don't love it, but I also made a reference to a brother spanking his sister in a recent book, though it is a Regency. I think it depends on the age of the siblings.

    2. I think it's between a husband and wife. Unless they have agreed otherwise, I think it should stay between them.

    3. That's a good question and probably well above my pay grade, but I would tend to think not.

    4. I haven't read the book, but I think being softer can often be a sign of strength.

    1. I see the softer side as a sign of strength too.

  2. I have no problem with a brother, friend, or cousin spanking a family member where they understand the rules and how it goes. I wish I had a close friend/family member I could ask for a spanking sometimes. Hitting myself with a paddle just doesn't do it - I can stop too soon ;)

    I'm proof that someone who grew up with domestic violence can not only accept BDSM and domestic discipline, but has found her self-esteem and is stronger because of it.

    The whole 'laying down the law' right off that is popular in so much fiction drives me nutty. The trick is for the character to be who he is AND for him to know his partner. To me, Troy does both. And good dominants question their actions. If they didn't, I sure as hell wouldn't trust them.

    1. Good points, Thianna. I think because we write erotic romance, we assume spanking is sexual, but it's often not. And if someone is craving or in need of discipline why can't a non partner deliver it?

  3. Oddly enough, I always wanted an older brother and often 'fantasized' about him taking me in hand when I needed it. To be truthful, I haven't seen the brother-sister thing done well. It always feels squicky to me (I haven't read the above yet, however). In college I had an older cousin I had to answer to a couple of times, and while it never came to THAT, I knew he wasn't
    t above it. I adored him.

    And Thianna's exactly right. No need to come out of the gates swinging, so (again, not having read the book) taking it slow, and questioning yourself are good things.

    1. I think it is much truer to life if the hero doesn't come out swinging right away.Thanks for visiting Jade! I don't see you around much anymore.

  4. Good questions!

    1. I’m not sure how I feel about a brother spanking his adult sister. I can say if my older brother tried it, I’d probably kick his ass into next week. Not that I actually could, lol, just sayin’ that’s what I’d want to do. But it did seem to work in this case. They were in Corbin’s Bend after all, so the dynamic is already built-in. She did do an incredibly stupid thing. Two stupid things actually. I like how Liv handled it with him being hesitant and asking himself if he should do this.
    2. I think it should stay between husband and wife.
    3. That’s a tough question. Anything is possible but I would think it would take time and patience. The fear factor that has to be overcome can be a major thing. Who can say how long it would take for an abused person to trust someone again to the extent of allowing them to discipline them?
    4. It’s what I liked best about Troy. How he’s not 100% sure if he’s always doing the right thing. He doesn’t seem less dominant to me, he seems intelligent by questioning the how, why, and what of the situation. A dominant shouldn't just charge in and ‘lay down the law,’ he has to figure out what the best course of action is in each instance.

  5. I want to thank everyone who took the time to comment on the thought provoking questions Cara put together for us today. I always knew the story line with a brother/sister combo was risky but I saw that first meet scene after Hallie trekked through the snow so clearly in my head, I stuck it out. I had so many of my most trusted beta readers and fans read those early chapters over and over (thank you!!!) until I made sure there was as little 'squee' factor as possible. If you paid attention to my pre-release marketing, I never disclosed the brother/sister thing. I confess I was afraid of scaring readers away with the scene.

    I know the book ended up a lot longer than a normal CB series book, but it took that many words to ease Hallie into the lifestyle after her domestic abuse. I am grateful I had many readers reach out letting me know they appreciated how I handled her journey. Of course I heard from a few who just couldn't get past the risks I took. I value all input!

    For those who were upset that Traci didn't find her own HoH, she is getting her own HEA in season three :)

    Thanks for hosting, Celeste. Thanks for sponsoring my story, Cara!



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