The Bottom Line
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Red Hot!
Release Date: Apr 27, 2010
Spicing up her sex life sounds exciting…until the fantasy hits the fan.
When Maggie Drummond buys an erotic romance novel by mistake, she gets more than an unexpected eyeful. She gets an introduction to a world that arouses her to a fever pitch: Spanking.
Her boyfriend isn’t interested in pushing his vanilla-flavored sexual boundaries. Then there’s Connor Grey, who haunts her fantasies like a magical genie. As a source of masculine advice for her and her female friends, he’s off limits. The only safe place to explore her fetish is her anonymous blog.
The recent changes in Maggie don’t escape Connor’s notice. Now that her boyfriend has dropped her, he can finally—carefully—make his move. Given his family history, laying a hand on any woman, even in fun, is a line he’s reluctant to cross. But for Maggie? Anything the lady wants.
As Maggie gives in to the temptation to let Connor add some sin to her life, she finds herself juggling lies, half-truths, friendship and sensual delights. Her job is in jeopardy—and she’s falling in love. Exploring her fantasy is one thing, but she’s beginning to question if indulging her own pleasure is worth the cost to everyone around her. Especially Connor…
Note for Readers: You must be over eighteen to read this excerpt.
“Your turn, Maggie.” Julia’s eyes sparkled with devilment.
“Already?” Yikes. Maggie Drummond grabbed her margarita off the table and took a fortifying sip. The tart, icy liquid did nothing to quell her jitters.
It was time—Tell a Secret to the gang from work. The Tight Five, they called themselves, the name taken from a rugby term where five players bound in a tight formation to face the opposition team. They were like that. Five friends who worked in close proximity at an accountancy firm and who maintained the friendship away from the job. The good and the bad—they knew each other well.
Julia had spilled the beans about her latest boyfriend on a night much like this over margaritas. A blow-by-blow description of the seduction. The red crotchless panties. The blue pubic hair. Soon their love of gossip grew into a weekly ritual at the Cock and Bull, a “You tell me yours, I’ll tell you mine” kind of thing.
The crowded pub rocked with music and erotic promise. Maggie squirmed, avoiding catching the gazes of her three friends. She never had anything worth telling.
Fidgeting with her drink, scratching at an imaginary zit, clearing her throat a dozen times wasn’t helping. She was losing her nerve and losing it fast.
“C’mon, Maggie. Tell us your secret,” Julia shouted.
Maggie slouched in her seat as several heads turned her way, giving her the once-over. Why did Julia have to yell? Okay, so the men sitting at the next table wouldn’t hear her over the pounding throb of guitars, saxophone and the male vocalist headlining in the packed bar. She hoped.
Susan and Christina nodded with enthusiasm, grinning, their attention focused on her. Maggie hated the limelight, always had since a childhood filled with her mother’s antics and histrionics. The big event that had sent her scurrying north to hide in Auckland had helped cement Maggie’s resolution to stay away from the glare of publicity. Sighing, she forced her thoughts from the past and wondered if this was a good idea. It wasn’t too late to stop, yet gut instinct forced her on, telling her she was an adult. Free to make choices and deal with the consequences. She wasn’t her mother, despite her father and stepmother’s harsh words.
The fine tremor of nerves slipping down her arm confirmed her disquiet. The slushy ice in her margarita tinkled against the edges of the glass, jogged by the quiver of her hands. She set her drink on the table and sucked in a deep breath, steeling herself to blurt out her secret. Not a feeble confession, like it usually was.
Today she had a real secret.
Get it out.
She opened her mouth and closed it again. She couldn’t. Sure, it was a game they played when there were a few drinks involved—margaritas usually. But this time was different. It was her innermost desire she was about to reveal. The others had taken their turns and giggled like schoolgirls instead of employees of the staid Barker & Johnson, one of Auckland’s premier accounting firms. They’d released their inhibitions—a side effect of Friday night drinks and the promise of a long holiday weekend.
Now the floor belonged to her.
She licked her bottom lip, stress bubbling in the pit of her stomach. Time to produce a secret.
“What are you waiting for, Maggie?” Susan asked in a sing-song voice. “We’ve told you ours.”
“Secret. Secret. Secret.” Christina banged her palms on the edge of the table. Julia and Susan joined in the beat, their eyes gleaming with challenge in the dim light of the booth.
Maggie picked up her margarita and gulped to moisten her dry mouth. “Okay. Okay.”
Placing her glass on a coaster, she glanced around the bar. No doubt about it. People were starting to stare. Time to spill her secret before things turned ugly. After another deep breath, she dropped her gaze to her clasped hands. “I’ve started a website called BigBadAss.com.” She spoke so quickly the words ran together. Once finished, she scanned each of her friends in turn, anxious now for their reactions.
“Big bad ass?” Christina’s watchful eyes held curiosity while her lips curved in an approving smile. She pushed her frameless glasses up her nose with perfectly manicured copper fingernails. “Isn’t that pretty racy for you?”
“What’s the big deal?” Julia scoffed and tossed her head before Maggie could answer. Her blonde hair stirred and settled in sexy curls around her almost bare shoulders. Shoestring straps held her low-cut black top in place. “It’s just a website.”
“Who’s a bad ass?” Susan smirked. “Don’t say Greg has gone and found some balls?”
“Bother, I have a smear.” Christina rifled through her handbag for a tissue to clean her glasses. “Anyway, I want to hear more about this website.”
Questions. Maggie had expected them, but the comments and queries didn’t put her at ease. Her stomach vibrated like one of her younger brother’s toys—over-wound and about to fly apart. She wiped sweaty palms on her sensible navy skirt, swallowed and said, “It’s more of a blog.”
“A blog about what?” Julia asked, rolling her eyes. “Desperados? Bandits? What’s a bad ass?”
Maggie closed her eyes briefly to summon courage. This next part was worse. Her teeth clacked when she closed her mouth. The longer her hesitation, the worse the mental strain would become. Big bad ass, she wasn’t. More like a marshmallow, burnt on the outside with a gooey interior.
“I explore…um…my adventures in spanking,” Maggie said, forcing a smile. “Does anyone want another drink?”
She logged onto her blog and started to write.
Yesterday, the thing that worried me most about my new interest in spanking was telling my boyfriend. I worried he’d consider me weird. Kinky. Well, okay. I’ll admit to the kinky, since this is a blog about spanking, but call me weird, and I’ll deny it strenuously.
Today, I have a new problem. It’s obvious Mr. X and I aren’t suited. I don’t know why I didn’t see it before, or maybe I did and was too stubborn to admit the truth. He wants a quiet woman who will stay in the background and support his career. Dinners with the boss, look after the kids—that sort of thing. I guess my quiet manner fooled him into thinking I was the woman he could mold into the perfect wife.
We’re going to dinner tomorrow night, and I’ve made my decision: I’m going to end our relationship.
Hopefully, I won’t hurt his pride. We work in the same firm, and it’s gonna be hell if he starts taking our breakup out on me there. We’ll see.
Meantime, I’m short one boyfriend. I’m going to have to go through the entire getting-to-know-you phase all over again with strangers before I can even casually mention my interest in spanking. I feel like I’m playing Monopoly and have gone straight to jail without collecting two hundred. I’m no beauty queen, but my friends say I look cute when I smile. Evidently, I’ve got the whole girl-next-door thing going on, complete with freckles. I have long, dark brown hair. It’s straight because I didn’t eat my crusts as a kid. That’s my mother’s story—her hair is beautiful with a distinct curl. Normally I wear it in a braid, because it keeps my hair out of the way.
I have plain brown eyes to match my freckles, a straight nose and good lips. I like my lips. They’re kinda plump and pouty. All this set in a plump face. My breasts are on the large side. Let’s just say it’s not comfortable to exercise or attempt to jog without a restraining bra. I’m tall and solid looking. My mother used to say I take after my father’s side of the family. Considering she’s five-foot two, and I tower over her, I’d agree.
The point of all this description? It’s not gonna be easy to find a replacement, so my spanking experiment will be delayed. I’ll have to find my kicks online. If any of you have suggestions about the best places to find a new boyfriend, please let me know. Oh, and I guess I should continue to collect tips about how to tell a boyfriend I’d like him to spank me. Keeping positive might bring me some good karma.
Maggie proofed her post and hit the publish button. Her post went live, and she felt better after writing down her feelings. She smirked. Cheap therapy. Who knew?
“Shelley Munro does a wonderful job of catching the reader’s attention and keeping it all the way to the end. With characters that endear themselves to you, and those that make you hate them, this is a book that should not be missed. I will be sure to keep an eye out for more from this author in the future.”
~ Whipped Cream Reviews
“The book did have some smoking hot sex scenes – both in person and of the cybersex kind and as an erotic read this book scored higher in that department. Ms. Munro definitely knows how to get the motors running and she does it very well.”
~ The Book Binge
“The Bottom Line was such a fun and sexy read. There is a scene where the group of friends decide to try speed dating and Maggie starts off each meeting with “How do you feel about spanking?” I could recommend this book based on that scene alone but, luckily, I don’t have to. I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end. Another keeper from Shelley Munro!”
~ I Do Not Want to Wait, I Want the Book Now
“Maggie’s blog posts were thoughtful and sometimes hilarious, the romance was fun to watch develop and Maggie’s journey of self-discovery was charming.”
~ The Romance Reviews