Susan Joseph is sharing two of her best inspirational stories with you in this one book. For customers who have been looking for sweeter romances, with milder erotic elements, this two pack is for you.
In The Closet, former foster child Liz is finally able to rent her first apartment, and that apartment comes with a door that sticks, trapping her in the attic closet. She screams and yells for help, and vents her frustration in bad language that former tenant Aaron Montgomery is dismayed to hear when he arrives to pick up mail that has been mistakenly delivered to his old address. He rescues the lovely Elizabeth and spanks her while asking her if it ever occurred to her to pray and ask for God's help instead of using His name in vain.
In Who is the Real Gabriella St. Clair?, Jeff steals his superstar wife away for a long vacation, hoping to put his marriage to rights. Gabby's fans would be shocked to learn the Christian singer was really a brat in need of spanking...
Aaron Montgomery was not a bit happy about driving back to the house he�d rented for the last two years, but the new renter had called his former landlord and told him she had a stack of mail that was Aaron�s. The landlord promised he would have Aaron pick it up as soon as possible. So, instead of leaving the office and walking three blocks to his new condo and enjoying the central air blocking out the heat, he was driving an hour to his old place. He couldn�t imagine any mail of importance coming to his old address, but since the new tenant went to the trouble of saving the mail for him, he had to be nice and go pick it up and thank her for being so courteous. Most people wouldn�t have bothered.
Making the drive during rush hour had been tedious at best for the last two years, and he quickly realized that nothing had changed in the two weeks he�d lived in his new place. Finally, he was able to exit the highway and take the secondary streets that led to the house he�d lived in. It felt strange to pull up in front and park on the street instead of in the driveway, but there was an old clunky van parked there. He got out of the air-conditioned car and felt the heat attack him. It was the hottest day so far this summer, and he was not a person who loved summer; he preferred winter, and he loved snow. If his family didn�t all live here, Aaron knew that he would move somewhere with weather more to his liking. But, his family was everything to him, and he couldn�t imagine not being close enough to share in holidays, birthdays, and just the spontaneous get-togethers that they shared.
Aaron stepped up on the front porch and heard banging coming from within the house. He wondered at the noise, and when the banging stopped, he heard enough cursing to turn the air blue! Aaron didn�t like cursing, and he especially disliked hearing it come from the mouth of a female. If she belonged to him in any way he would take her over his knee and express his displeasure in such a way that said female would watch her tongue for a long time to come. He knocked, knowing that the doorbell didn�t work. He thought he heard a voice calling for help, and then he heard more bad language. He suspected he knew what was wrong, but then again, he wasn�t sure. He�d told Harry that the door leading up into the attic needed to be repaired, but Harry was slow to make any repairs, no matter how many times he was asked!
Aaron knew he should be ashamed, but he still had one key left in his wallet. He�d put it there when he accidentally locked himself out of the house when he went with friends to a concert; since he wasn�t driving, he left his keys at home! When he�d turned in his keys, he forgot about the one inside his wallet. He was glad now that he still had it, and it didn�t take long for him to get inside. As he headed for the kitchen, he heard more cursing, and he shook his head in dismay. He could understand frustration, but there were other words to use beside the ones the woman was using. He opened the closet door and saw the steps that led to the attic. Sure enough, the door was closed. �Miss, can you hear me?� he asked.
�Yes! Yes! Yes! Please open this door! I�m locked in!�
�Yes, this door does this; you will need to prop it open when you go up there.�
�Please hurry! It�s so hot and I�ve been up here forever!�
�Stand away from the door; it opens in.� He paused, and then asked, �Are you clear?�
He thought he heard her swearing under her breath and telling him to hurry up and he felt his temper soaring. The young woman needed a good spanking and her mouth washed out with soap! He gave the door a hard push, and when it was open, the prettiest woman he�d ever seen emerged! She had long red hair, which she was wearing in a thick braid down her back, and had pretty big green eyes. Her skin was damp with perspiration, and her cheeks were flushed a deep red.
�I thought I would die up there and no one would ever find me.� She ran to the refrigerator and opened the door, moaning in relief as she stood there enjoying the cooler air. She grabbed a bottle of water, twisted off the cap, and took a long drink.
�You have been found,� Aaron said quietly, but couldn�t resist asking, �Did you consider praying and asking our Father for His help instead of cursing so loudly I am sure Mrs. Weymer heard you at her house next door?� He simply couldn�t hide his disapproval from the young woman, even though she was so pretty he felt attracted to her and would have liked to ask her out. But, her potty mouth was unattractive as could be and a real turn-off.
�Obviously Mrs. Weymer is deaf or she would have come and released me from that inferno hours ago!� Her green eyes narrowed suspiciously. �Who are you and what are you doing in my house?�
Aaron could see that she was suddenly suspicious. He calmly introduced himself. �My name is Aaron Montgomery; Harry told me that you�ve been getting some of my mail delivered here. I apologize for that; I turned in an address change form a couple of weeks ago, and I thought I�d notified everyone of my change of address.�
�I�m Liz Scott. Your mail is on the table beside the front door.� Liz wasn�t one bit happy that he�d scolded her for her language. For two cents she would smack him, but since he rescued her from the attic, she would be nice. �You can pick it up on your way out the door.�
�Why are you angry with me, Ms. Scott?� Aaron asked, reading her body language accurately. �I�m the one who got that door open for you.�
�You had no right to lecture me about my language.� Her green eyes were snapping and shooting flames at him.
�Tell me, Ms. Scott, does your father or your boyfriend permit you to speak like that?� Aaron demanded, his deep voice calm. �I certainly wouldn�t permit it if you belonged to me.�
�I don�t belong to you, thank goodness!� she retorted, embarrassed that he was making it plain that he disapproved of her!
�No, you don�t, or I would turn you over my knee for a good spanking, and I might even soap your mouth for talking like that. You are a lady, and a lady doesn�t talk that way.�
�Says any self-respecting man.� He looked at her for a full minute, waiting for her to apologize, but she didn�t. �So, do you have a husband or a boyfriend to take you to task when you need correction?� He should simply pick up his mail and walk out the front door, but Liz Scott was a beautiful young woman and it truly bothered him that she didn�t seem to understand that her behavior was inappropriate.
�I don�t need correction from any man!� Liz declared. �You have some nerve!� Liz tried to hide her feelings, but she was hurt that he thought so little of her. She�d had enough of that to last a lifetime, and moving here was to be a new start for her, and she was here for less than a week and making a muddle of it already!
�It isn�t nerve, Ms. Scott. I was raised in a Christian family, and such behavior is frowned upon. If one of my sisters threw a tantrum of that nature, by the time my Dad got finished spanking her, she wouldn�t sit comfortably for at least a week.�
�Your poor sisters!� Liz felt tears fill her eyes but she was powerless to stop them. The one thing she�d always wanted more than anything was parents who cared about her, a strict but loving father, and a warm and loving mother. Instead, her parents were killed in a car accident when she was only three years old and she grew up in and out of foster homes until she turned eighteen. She was unloved by anyone, and it really hurt.
�Why are you crying?� Aaron asked, his voice soft. For some reason he couldn�t put a finger on, this young woman seemed lost and afraid. �Are you ill from being in the heat so long?� he questioned. �Perhaps you should sit down?� He pulled out a chair from the old kitchen table and gently pushed her down on the wooden seat.
�I�m fine,� Liz protested. �Really.�
�You aren�t fine; you�re crying,� Aaron pointed out. �I�m sorry if I hurt your feelings; my biggest fault is being too outspoken.�
�My feelings aren�t hurt.�
�Something made you cry.�
�Okay! Yes! I�m crying, but the why of it is none of your business! Get out of my house, and don�t you ever come back.� He was the type of man that appealed to her, and one who would never give her a second glance. She knew that there wasn�t anything soft about her. She was tough from years of surviving on her own, and no decent man would ever find her attractive!
�I am certainly not going to leave while you are so upset, Liz. Liz�? Is that short for Elizabeth?� he asked curiously. When she nodded, he smiled. �I thought so. You are too pretty not to be an Elizabeth. It�s one of my favorite names from the Bible. Elizabeth was John the Baptist�s Mother.� She didn�t answer. �Tell me why you are crying, Elizabeth. I only want to help you.�
�You can�t fix it! No one can ever fix it. You have a family and I am jealous! What your sisters take for granted is something I have never had,� she said, crying so hard it was difficult for Aaron to hear and understand her.
�I understand,� Aaron told her, patting her shoulder in a gesture he meant as comforting.
�How could you possibly understand? You grew up in a loving family. Everyone knew their place, and took for granted that they belonged. They knew the rules and when they forgot, there were consequences. I grew up clueless as to what it was like in a real family. I wasn�t wanted for myself; it was the check my foster parents would receive that gave me value to them. No one cared about me. No one has ever cared about me as a person; no one ever tried to teach me right from wrong. No one has ever disciplined me because they loved me. You talk about it as if it is so normal, but it isn�t! Not for me it isn�t!� Liz knew she was acting crazy, but she was not herself. She was hot, miserable, and emotional; her mouth was spewing forth things she didn�t normally talk about with anyone� mostly because it hurt too much to admit she was unloved.
Aaron wanted to wrap his arms around the lovely redhead and comfort her, but he instinctively knew it would be the wrong thing to do. �Well, then, young lady, since you have no one to take you to task for this tantrum, and since I can see that you are intelligent enough to know right from wrong, I am going to give you exactly what you�ve earned by cursing and taking the Lord�s name in vain. There are better ways to express yourself, and I am going to impress that upon you right here and right now.�
Liz looked up at Aaron as if he�d suddenly sprouted another head, but she didn�t look frightened. Aaron reached for her and pulled her to her feet, and then he sat on her chair and pulled her over his lap, her bottom turned up for a good spanking.
Who is the Real Gabriella St. Clair?
Jeffrey heard the thunderous applause and shook his head sadly. What would all those people crammed into the large auditorium think of their favorite Christian performer if they met the real Gabby? Of course, he shouldn�t be judging her, but Jeff lived with Gabby and knew her better than anyone else, with perhaps the exception of her Mama. Gabby was his wife, and most of the time he wondered what God was thinking when He brought them together. Oh, he knew that God had a purpose for everything and that he was not to question His will, but accept it and strive to be the example he was meant to be. Still, it was difficult at times. Jeff took his marital vows seriously, and that meant there would be no divorce. He just needed to impress that upon Gabby. Jeff was sure she would have divorced him by now if not for the fact it would hurt her career. Gabby was one for keeping up appearances. Her fans thought her a fine example of living as Christ taught. The fans didn�t know the real Gabriella.
Gabriella waited for a few seconds and then took her curtain call and graciously sang �just one more�. It was the song she always closed with, and it was soft and pretty, and by the time it was done, each and every person in the audience felt connected to Christ through her music. The applause was deafening and she smiled sweetly and took one final bow before heading to her dressing room in the bus they called �home� most of the year. Gabby was careful to smile at everyone who worked behind the scenes as Jeff escorted her from the large concert hall to their bus, her hand tucked lovingly within his, and her smile the picture of happiness with her handsome husband. She knew how easily rumors, once started, were difficult to deny and bury, and she wasn�t going to do one thing to damage her unspoiled image. It wasn�t until she was in her dressing room on their bus, with the door locked, that she stopped smiling. �Did you hear the sour notes that came out of that alto sax tonight?� she complained. �If Nix cannot control his people, then he needs to just say so and I�ll find someone who can do the job!� she continued to grumble.
Jeff quietly spoke up. �Our regular sax player, Andy, isn�t with us this week, remember? His mother died and he went home for the funeral. The sub only had one rehearsal with the band, and under the circumstances, I think he did remarkably well.�
�Oh, that�s right,� Gabby waved her hand dismissively. �Did we send flowers to the funeral?� she asked, always worried about appearances.
�I took care of it first thing this morning, Gabby. I also sent a card with a check made out to Andy to help with funeral expenses. His mother didn�t have life insurance.�
�How much is that going to cost us?� she angrily demanded.
�We can afford it, Gabby. Andy has been with you for six years now, and he deserves your support.�
�I suppose so,� she grudgingly stated. �Where do we go from here?� she demanded.
It was a typical Gabby question. She was already at her make-up table, removing her stage make-up. The next thing out of her mouth would be an order to get her something to eat. Gabby rarely ate anything during the day when she had to perform that night, and Jeffrey thought she was terribly underweight. He intended to fix the problem. Without her knowledge, Jeff had cleared her schedule for the next six weeks, giving her band members and the roadies a much needed paid vacation. The only condition was that no one could mention the plan to Gabby. Gabby toured constantly, and she even worked through the holidays; she would view six weeks off as the end of her career and she would have a royal fit, which also was nothing new for the petite redhead.
�We�re going to Michigan,� he answered, telling her the truth.
�Ugh! Another long drive. Oh well, I�ll take some ibuprofen and go to bed while Bud drives all night. Tell the band they need to sleep instead of staying up all night playing poker. I expect them to be on top of things tomorrow, and we are going to have a rehearsal just as soon as Gavin and the crew get us set up.� She wiped one eyelid free of the sparkly eye shadow and then looked at him in the mirror. �Get me something to eat, Jeff. I�m starving. Soup, if you can find some that is decent anywhere� Not broccoli cheese; no one makes it right.�
�I�ll get you some soup if you promise you�ll eat it all,� he said, smiling at her to take the sting from his words. It didn�t work.
�I am not your child to boss around, and I will eat when I want to eat, Jeffrey Burns!�
�Cool down, Gabby. I only want to see you healthy, and you do not eat right,� he admonished her.
�Oh, here we go again! �You need to eat more, Gabby. You are too thin, Gabby. You are losing too much weight, Gabby. Are you taking vitamins, Gabby?� Would you just stop, Jeff! You are not my keeper, and you are not my boss!�
�No, I am your husband.�
�Big deal. I would change that in a heartbeat if I could without destroying my career.�
She finally said the words aloud that he�d known she was thinking and Jeff felt his own temper starting to rise. He carefully tamped it down and reminded himself that tomorrow would be soon enough to lay down the law to his errant wife. Gabriella St. Clair was in for a rude awakening.
�You are tired, Gabby, and I am not going to argue with you.� He turned and left the dressing room/bedroom to go to the kitchen. He put some soup in the microwave and while it was heating, he took out some saltines and put them around the edge of the plate where he would sit the bowl of soup. He took a spoon from the drawer, and he poured some juice into a glass and added some ice. He would also fix Gabby some herbal tea with honey after she�d eaten. It was important to take care of her throat, and Gabby rarely ate dairy products or indulged in soda. Jeff knew it was difficult for her at times, but with the schedule she kept, she had to take care to avoid anything that would act as an irritant.
The microwave dinged, and he carefully put the bowl of soup on the plate, and carried it and the glass of juice to the back of the bus. Gabby gave him an angry look when he entered. He thought her beautiful without all the makeup. �What kind is it?� she demanded, and he knew she was ready to pitch a fit.
�Cream of celery,� he answered, and waited for the explosion.
�I hate cream of celery!� She didn�t disappoint him. �You know I hate creamed soups. I want some vegetable with barley soup!� she demanded with a pout.
�Then it is a good thing that is what I made for you,� he teased. �You enjoy your soup, honey, and I�ll fix you some tea to help soothe your throat before you go to sleep.�
�That was not funny, Jeffrey!� she told him
�I thought it was. You are predictable, Gabby. You need to find something else to complain about.�
�Get out!� she yelled at him, looking for something to throw.
�If you throw that juice or the soup, you are going to clean it up,� he warned.
�No, I won�t!� she insisted.
He put his hands on his hips and looked at her, with her giving him her spoiled brat look. He continued to look at her until she finally lowered her eyes to her soup. Jeff was satisfied; he truly wanted to wait until he got her to the cabin to teach Gabby some manners, but he was serious about what he said. He closed the door behind him once more and went to make Gabby�s tea.
Gabriella truly wanted to defy Jeff and throw the soup at him, but something in his dark eyes warned her it would be a huge mistake. Maybe he had forgotten how they met, but she hadn�t! In so many ways it seemed like years ago, and in other ways, it was like yesterday�
Wow. I've never read a romantic spanking book that was completely Christian before and so well written. It was pure and wholesome and nicely done and realistic with a humble feeling. I only wish both were longer...they ended way too soon and The Closet, especially, dropped off out of nowhere and ended all too soon nit wrapping things up well. But the spiritual insights of the stories were so very Christ honoring. I loved it.
This book was a really quick read for me - I just couldn't put it down. Both stories seemed to go by too quickly. The spankings given were often and numerous enough that I was kept on my toes wondering what would happen next, but the scenes were also loving. I enjoyed the patriarchal nature of Aaron from the story The Closet, however he did say some mildly pig headed things. Some people might take offense -Liz, the main character forgave him so I guess it can't be that bad.
Gabby's story had some good elements - the relationship and the characters were interesting - but I didn't much like either the hero or the heroine. The other story, The Closet, I did not care for at all. It was predictable, and reads like a religious tract at times (one of the characters asks, 'Are you ready to accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior?'). Way over the top.
Both of these stories are ok. They both have religious elements that will offend those who don't believe in God, but show 2 realistic Christian domestic discipline relationships.
God save me from the righteous. These women truly repented and yet were given the strictest of punishments. Much too rough for my taste with forgiveness hinging on severe beatings. This was named well. I'd have lost faith too.
I didn't care for their man in these stories. They were both so very harsh. Jeff even admitted he'd taken out years of resentment on Gabby's and then added an extremely vicious switching to take away her guilt. I'm sorry, but praying over an unreasonable switching feels blasphemous to me. No way would Jesus have condoned the welts, bruises and cuts Jeff administered. To me Aaron came across as the same kind of self-righteous prig. The story might have been well written, but I didn't care for them.
I liked these books, I liked seeing the aspects of faith in the stories. I am only giving four stars because i think her I TAKE THEE collection was much better.
Two stories of couples and their faith. Both stories have Christian elements and are very sweet love stories.