Groomed is a crime thriller, a spanking tale, churned up with the pressures of modern marriages. It hooked me from the first page.
Set in Australia during the early days of the internet 1999-2000, snapchat, Instagram, twitter etc do not exist. People connect on internet message boards called forums.
Enter Charlotte, a curious magazine editor. She has found a forum she can’t stop visiting. It’s called Spanking Sheilas. The participants on the site boast of their idyllic marriages built on the ‘naughty-wives-with-stern-husbands’ model. Everything in Spanko-land is perfect: the intimacy, the sex, the rules, and, of course, the hot spankings for breaking those rules.
After reading the posts night after night, Charlotte aches for what the Sheilas have. All she has to do is persuade her husband Connor to join the fun. It doesn’t matter that their marriage is already under a lot of strain. He is dealing with the demands of his ex-wife. Charlotte’s father is gravely ill in the UK. Charlotte decides spankings might be just the thing to bring Connor and her closer together. I loved her tenacity.
This is where the gloves come off. Most DD books portray spanking as a one-cure-fixes-all while delivering sweet ecstasy to those who dare. Man spanks woman. Woman doesn’t protest (much). Smoking sex ensues. Woman succumbs to the charm of her gorgeous alpha male.
Groomed tells a very different story. It shows confronting gaps between expectation and reality.
The book delivers bare-knuckle honesty, insightful intelligence, and occasional humour. It washes away the sugar-coating of fantasy and exposes the perils when innocent people buy into the carefully-edited lives of strangers. What you see may not be what you get.
Charlotte’s growing obsession with DD soon shifts into high gear. As I read, my sympathies were torn between Charlotte and Connor. I understood her obsession all too well. At the same time, to the uninitiated this desire can seem bizarre, hard to assimilate.
When Connor’s finally gives up on the spanking effort, Charlotte reaches out to the Sheilas for help. Soon she is hiding things from Connor and on her way to meet a complete stranger. Heedless of any danger, she meets him in a public place. Nothing can go wrong there, can it?
If you like a well-written book, that challenges some of the fairy tale romances in the DD genre, you’ll love Groomed. If you like a good crime book, go no further.
Disclaimer: I was a beta reader for this book. I loved the earlier version of it so much that I bought it for my Kindle once it was released. It’s worth owning and reading more than once.
Buy link: Amazon
Publisher's Note: Groomed contains disciplinary scenes. If this is offensive to you, please do not read.
Want to know more? From my blog earlier this month:
It’s 1999 and Charlotte and Connor have just got the internet at home. One night, Charlotte comes across an intriguing forum. It consists mostly of women posters whose husbands discipline them when they misbehave. In other words, they’re living Charlotte’s dream!
Charlotte’s marriage is in trouble. Work and family pressures have pushed her and Connor apart. The forum posters claim domestic discipline makes marriages closer, more intimate, that sex is through the roof. Charlotte wonders whether introducing the old-fashioned discipline she yearns for can bring her and Connor closer together too.
But Connor doesn’t take to the lifestyle and the failure frustrates Charlotte and drives them even further apart. In desperation, she seeks out a disciplinarian through the forum to satisfy her needs. He seems caring, thoughtful and is willing to take things slowly, allow time to build trust.
But there’s a missing backpacker who just might have a connection with the same disciplinarian.
Can Charlotte trust this charming man she’s met on the internet?
And how will it affect her marriage to Connor?
Will Charlotte ever get the loving discipline she craves?
Thread: My worst spanking
Panda: What was the worst spanking you ever got from your husband? The worst spankings (there were several of them but they were all because of the same thing) I ever got from Hayden happened during our first Christmas after we were married. As you know, I was still struggling with bulimia when we married, and Hayden was trying to help me recover in his inimitable way!
Well, you know what Christmas and the run-up to it is like. All those work functions! Not to mention family dinners. Our calendar was chock-full of parties and dinners, and I was dreading it. The pressure to eat, having to control myself around so much tempting food, all the guilt about whether I was eating too much or too little. Of course, it would have been best to confide in Hayden, tell him I was finding it difficult. But no, of course, like always, I wasn’t very good at being sensible.
I managed the first function (his cricket club barbecue) okayish. I ate more than I was comfortable with, but I didn’t starve myself before or after and I didn’t purge. But my body felt uncomfortable and when we attended the second party (my work party) I couldn’t carry on eating that way till after Christmas. I’d blow up like a balloon!
So I skipped breakfast and lunch on the day of the work function. And fortunately it was a buffet, so I filled up my plate under Hayden’s eagle eye, then circulated, pretending to eat. But when I thought Hayden wasn’t looking, I deposited the contents of my plate in a nearby rubbish bin.
You guessed it. I’d only *thought* Hayden wasn’t looking. Turns out he’d been surreptitiously keeping an eye on me, suspecting I might be up to my old tricks.
He came over to me, touched me lightly on the arm, and said, “I think it’s going to be warmer tonight than we expected,” which is his code for, “When we get home tonight, I am going to warm your bottom.”
And, boy, did he. As soon as we got back (after midnight), he told me, “Get ready for bed and I’ll see you in my office in ten minutes.”
He looked and sounded so stern that I was showered, in my PJs, and in his office in under ten minutes. I didn’t want to risk a second spanking for disobedience!
When I walked into the office, he was sitting in the armchair and holding a wooden ruler in his hand. My insides lurched, and I whispered, “Hayden, I’m so sorry.”
Hayden tapped his knee with the ruler. “We’ll discuss your behaviour after you’ve been punished.”
I draped myself across his lap. He yanked down my pyjama bottoms and positioned me so that my left arm was trapped against his body. He took my free hand and held it against my back, so I couldn’t try to protect my bottom and risk getting my hand struck with the ruler. Then he brought the ruler down hard across my bottom.
He smacked me over and again with the ruler, concentrating on my sit spots. It wasn’t long before I started crying, but he must have given me another twenty hard whacks before he was through.
When he’d finished, he gently lifted me up and cuddled me on his lap. “You behaved very badly at the party tonight, sweetheart,” he said, gently soothing the sore broad stripes on my bottom as he scolded me. “You didn’t eat, you threw your food in the bin, and you tried to deceive me instead of telling me you needed help.”
“I know,” I said between gulps. “I’m so sorry.”
“The thing is,” he continued, “I now feel like I can’t trust you at these functions. So I’m going to take some pre-emptive action before every single function we attend, including Christmas dinner. Before we go out I’m going to spank you. But I will only spank one cheek, and as long as you behave yourself and eat sensibly, that’ll be the end of it. But if you misbehave, we’ll come home and I’ll spank the other cheek. But I hope the one very sore buttock will be a reminder to you to behave yourself all evening.”
The tears dripped from my face as I processed the idea of being spanked almost every day between now and Boxing Night. “We have two functions on Christmas Day,” I whispered.
“And you’ll get two pre-emptive spankings,” he said firmly.
I cried myself to sleep that night, while Hayden cuddled me. I wished I’d never been so stupid at the party. I was already very sore and sorry and the thought of being spanked again in less than twenty-four hours’ time was…well, let’s say I wasn’t looking forward to it a lot.
More about Bethany Leigh
Bethany lives in Australia, where she divides her time between the keyboard and the beach. Her books are a mixture of crimeance and romance, but they all involve a willful heroine getting her bottom smacked by an exasperated hero.
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