Read an Excerpt
The Naughty Corner
Copyright 2013 By Jasmine Haynes
“What’s the problem, Coach?” Lola asked, one step behind him.
“In my office,” Coach Gray Barnett said again. The deep timbre of his voice heated her insides.
She definitely enjoyed a good view, but she didn’t normally have a physical reaction. This man was just too attractive. His stride was long, and a couple of times she had to skip to keep up. Passing beneath the goalposts, he crossed the track, then opened a door between the men’s and women’s locker rooms.
“After you,” he said politely, holding the door for her.
She sidled past him, drawing a deep breath of some barely there scent, maybe soap or shampoo, laced with the aroma of pure masculinity. His proximity was dizzying, his height giving her a taste of how it would feel to be petite like Charlotte.
He rounded the desk and stood behind it. To his left and right, the blinds were lowered over windows she assumed looked into the locker rooms. Trusting. A male coach could peek out the blinds on the women’s side, and vice versa for the men’s side, or boys’ and girls’, as the case may be. Obviously the school hadn’t had a problem.
God, what a thought. In her opinion, people were actually too distrusting these days, thinking there were peepers and sexual predators around every corner.
“Have a seat,” he said.
“Thanks, but we have to get going.” She had the boys scheduled for their driving lesson this afternoon, which was ultimately another way to get them out of her hair. But Lola also didn’t want to be in the one-down position with this man. At least not under these circumstances.
“Fine. I’ll get right to the point.” He didn’t smile, simply held her with a steady, dark-eyed gaze. “Harry and William don’t want to be here.” He referred to them as Harry and William, too, instead of the princely order, just the way she did. Harry was always dominant. “They don’t want to play football,” he went on. “They aren’t team players.”
She wanted to sag down onto one of the two folding chairs in front of the desk. She should have known the camp was too good to be true, that Heckle and Jeckle—no oops about that at all—would ruin it in less than a week. She didn’t, however, show her weakness and went for a light, mystified tone. “Why ever would you think that?” Duh.
“They refuse to follow instructions. They seem to delight in asking stupid questions just to be disruptive. I’ve had to force them to leave their iPhones in their lockers because they kept texting during practice.” He shook his head slightly with disgust, the first glimmer of emotion she’d seen. “I swear half the time they’re actually texting each other.”
Well, that was just like the twins. She wondered how many times they’d sneaked the phones out to the field with them despite what the coach said.
“Yesterday they pretended to have heatstroke.”
Her heart pounded. “Are they all right?” She hadn’t noticed any ill effects when she’d picked them up.
“It was nine-thirty in the morning. There wasn’t a thing wrong with them. But I had to take the time to send them to the school nurse, who declared them perfectly fit.”
“Well, to be honest, they don’t get a lot of exercise, so they might have thought they had heatstroke.”
The coach cocked a brow.
Okay, she knew she was stretching. “Look, I’ll make them leave the phones behind at home.” She should have thought of that.
“It’s past that point.”
Oh God. She didn’t want to hear the rest. She closed her eyes, then snapped them back open. “What?”
“Today they got Stinky Stu to urinate in the drink cooler.”
“Stinky Stu?” she mouthed, thinking of the overweight kid dragged out by his mother. It was worse than she could have imagined, though at least they hadn’t set the school on fire.
“First, I don’t like the name they gave him.”
So why did he use it? She didn’t antagonize him further by asking the question.
“Second. I don’t like that they pick on the weaker boys.”
She didn’t like it either, but what to do about it? It was exactly their modus operandi to get someone else to do their dirty work.
“Look,” she said, hating the sound of pleading in her voice, “I’m sorry about this. But I’ll have a talk with them, and I promise it won’t happen again.” Despite everything, she couldn’t let Coach Barnett toss them out. What else was she supposed to do with them?
“I’ve had a talk with them already. I’m not willing to have them disrupt the team. The other boys are here to learn.”
It was football. How many rules could there be to learn? Yet again, she decided against antagonizing him. She fell on his mercy. “I think the football camp is the perfect place for them to learn to play well with others.”
“Those two boys have no desire to play well with others.”
“Look, Coach Barnett, their mother’s in Europe for the summer and couldn’t take them with her. I’m not sure how else to keep them entertained while she’s gone.”
His jaw tightened. “I’m not a babysitter, and this is not day care.”
Okay, wrong thing to say. “That’s not what I meant,” she said quickly. It was exactly what she’d meant. What, what, what would work with this man? Because she simply couldn’t have them all day long and finish the Fletcher project on time and on budget. She decided on flattery. “I just feel you’re the most capable man when dealing with kids who have a few issues. You can snap them into shape. If anyone can make them follow orders, you can.”
The dark look didn’t show an ounce of softening. “Discipline starts at home, Miss Cook,” he said gravely.
She was losing. He was going to kick them out. She’d screw up the Fletcher job. Her life would be over. “Isn’t there something I can do to convince you to keep them on?”
She held her breath while he stared at her. Until finally she had to take in a lungful of air. Then she realized her question had been suggestive. Isn’t there anything I can do, Officer, to make you forget about that nasty old ticket?
While she hadn’t intended the question that way, there was a small part of her that suddenly warmed to the thought.
He glowered so darkly she thought he’d throw her out on her butt. But suddenly he smiled, a big, white-shark-tooth smile. “I will let them stay on one condition.”
“Great. Okay.” She couldn’t keep the enthusiasm out of her voice. Because honestly, he wouldn’t think of asking her to sleep with him.
“Every time they misbehave and need to be disciplined,” he said softly, “I will discipline you in their stead.”
Lola’s mouth dropped open.
* * * * *
Like the commercial says, the look on Lola Cook’s face was priceless. Her sexy brown eyes widened. She gaped, the glimpse of pink tongue making his mind race with salacious images. Her short jeans skirt revealed those deliciously coltish legs, and the sparkly spangly things along the neckline of her tight black tank top drew attention to her small but pert and definitely mouthwatering breasts.
“What do you mean by that?”
Oh, he so wanted to show her right here and now. But he’d save that for later. “I mean,” he stressed, “that every time they do something wrong, you will come to my house, or wherever else I direct you”—because he could imagine other places he’d like to have her—“and you will take their punishment.” He quirked one eyebrow. “That sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?”
She had a long face with symmetrical features and full lips. Flecks of gold sparkled in her irises. Her hair was straight, and he imagined braiding it like rope and using it to bind her to him. She wasn’t young, but by the bewilderment in her gaze, he figured she was a neophyte where his tastes were concerned. His hand itched to introduce her to the pleasures of a light spanking, a little bondage play. It had been a while since he’d indulged himself with a woman beyond a quick sexual liaison. Since the day she’d sat in the bleachers, he’d imagined indulging with her. Today, she’d offered him the perfect opportunity.
“It doesn’t sound simple at all,” she said.
“Quite simple. On the one hand”—he flipped out his left palm—“the boys stay. On the other”—he flipped out his right—“they leave.”
She shot out a breath. “That’s blackmail.”
“No,” he said simply. “Someone needs to be punished. I’m merely giving you a choice as to who it will be.” He smiled. She was quite beautiful when she was all riled up. What would she be like when he punished her? There was a world of delightful possibilities.
She threw her hands out in exasperation. “I can’t believe you’re suggesting this.”
“I’m perfectly willing to have you take them off my hands. They’re disruptive as hell.” He shrugged. “It’s up to you.”
She pursed her lips, glared at him. Then she tossed her hair over her shoulder, paced the small office, and finally stopped to glare at him again. He imagined her glaring at him like that as he tied her to his bed.
“Tell me exactly what you mean by punishment,” she demanded.
“What does one normally do with a naughty child?” he asked mildly.
“Send them to the corner.”
He laughed. That gave him a very interesting idea. “Think something more hands-on.”
She gaped. “You’re going to spank me?”
“For a start.” He raised a brow. “If they continue to misbehave, I’ll have to get more creative.”
She cocked her head. “What else? I can’t agree if I don’t have any idea how far you’ll push me.”
He liked her phrasing. It suggested a willingness within limits. “We’re not bargaining here.” He lifted one corner of his mouth. “But I won’t do anything that makes you cry.”
She snorted. “I don’t cry.”
“Then you’ll be fine.”
She cocked her head, folding her arms beneath her breasts. The bead of her nipples stood out against the tight material of her tank top, and he detected her subtle womanly aroma. She wasn’t unaffected, despite her arguments.
“I need specifics,” she insisted.
He rounded the desk, standing just outside her personal space. “The punishment must fit the crime. And since I don’t know what your nephews—”
“Heckle and Jeckle,” she said.
He laughed out loud, remembering the naughty birds from the old cartoon. In addition to that sexy, willowy body, she had a sense of humor.
“Or the little princelings, if you prefer,” she added.
He had her. He knew she’d agree. He couldn’t wait.