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Simon is the boy next door, literally. He's a few years older than the recent college grad and he has no time for immature girls who don't take life seriously-- especially ones full of sass. But when Simon finds Caitlin in a dangerous situation he is not above rescuing her, then scolding her, and threatening her with a spanking.
Despite his old-fashioned ways, Caitlin is head over heels for Simon, and the feeling is mutual. Can she come to terms with Simon's methods for dealing with disobedience? Can Simon curb his high-handed ways enough to not lose the girl he is hopelessly falling in love with?
The bass thumped and her vision blurred. Someone had turned the music up in the next room. Caitlin was having a hard time stringing together a complete thought. She should find Amanda, but she was so tired.
He was on top of her again; using all of her strength to push him off of her had only bought her a momentary reprieve. What was his name again? Jeff, she thought, Jeff or something like that. He'd sidled up to her the moment he walked in their house, not leaving her alone for any length of time tonight. It seemed sweet at first, he had been so solicitous: getting her drinks, asking her questions about her life.
Now in the smoke-filled haze of her roommate's bedroom, her stomach sick with the drinks she had consumed� his features seemed harsh in the lamp light. He laughed every time she protested. The smell of him was making her ill.
It had been a long day. She just wanted to relax and unwind and forget her problems for a few hours. She should be celebrating. She had made it through college and graduated Summa Cum Laude. She had worked her ass off for that, and for what? So her father could tell her she was cut off. She knew it wasn't really coming from him. It was that bitch Jean he had married over winter break. But why didn't he have the balls to stand up to her?
"You're an adult, we've supported you long enough."
An adult? She was twenty-two, and weren't parents supposed to support their children, at least until they got on their feet?
Whatever. She didn't need them. Fuck them. They could go to hell. Had she said that out loud to them? Yes, she had.
Their graduation ceremony had been fifteen hours ago. She was officially a college graduate. Her best friend Amanda had barely squeaked by, but they both held the same diploma. Maybe she could have had a little more fun while they were in school. What did it matter now anyway?
This was her life now. Caitlin French, college graduate, all work and no fun for four years so she could end up broke and getting groped on her best friend's bed.
Seriously, what did this guy eat earlier today? He smelled like a corn dog, covered by something minty. Her stomach roiled, she was going to vomit. That last shot of tequila had been a horrible idea.
"Are you tired princess?" Jeff hissed in her ear.
Who was he calling a fucking princess? She couldn't stop her eyes from closing.
"You go to sleep princess, we'll still have our fun."
Her eyes shot open, what the hell did that mean? Panic welled up inside of her as her stomach churned again. If she could just get him off of her. His face felt like sandpaper against her neck as his lips traveled downward. Her skin formed beads of sweat and her head began to pound like the bass that was shaking the walls. She shoved at his shoulders and opened her mouth to scream.
No sound came out, but she began to retch.
Jeff sat up, startled by her body convulsing under his. At the same time, the door swung open.
"Oh, sorry." The person turned to leave, but stopped when he locked eyes with her. "Are you okay?"
She looked down, the contents of her stomach now spewed down the front of her shirt and pooling in her lap. She began to cry.
Jeff yelled something. He was mad. He said she led him on and then didn't deliver.
She tried to take a deep breath but choked on the bile in her throat.
The last thing she remembered was being lifted into strong arms. She protested. Her head hurt; she was a mess. Where was Amanda? And then the world went black.
Simon watched her sleep. Her chest rising and falling, her eyelashes fluttered against her smooth, alabaster skin. She had chestnut colored hair that fell past her shoulders. It was snarled in knots now, as he had tried to rinse all the vomit from her hair last night.
He didn't even know her name. He recognized her as Amanda's friend, the rich girl, the daughter of the judge, but her name escaped him at the moment. What would have happened to her if he hadn't walked in? He should have called the cops on that guy. He would talk to Amanda today and tell her she was not to have anymore parties like that. She needed to have some common courtesy for her neighbors.
Simon and his brother Ben shared a duplex with Amanda. Her parents were friends with their parents; they had practically grown up together. He guessed that her parents felt safer with her living next to guys they knew. But if they thought anyone could control their daughter, they would be wrong.
Amanda had thrown a party every weekend since she moved in. They tried to be patient about it. Well, he tried to be patient about it, his brother had been in attendance at every single one.
Simon was currently working as a bartender at his father's bar, Anchor's Ale House. He picked up double shifts when he could, so he only ever got to see the aftermath of these parties. Last night had been the tipping point, he had gone over to find his brother and Amanda to give them a piece of his mind. That's when he walked in on this cute little thing getting sick all over herself and some guy trying to put the moves on her. There was no doubt in his mind of who had gotten her so drunk.
Amanda and Ben were already locked in the other bedroom, so he kicked the rest of the party out and carried his damsel in distress back to his side of the duplex.
He cleaned her up and laid her down in his bed with him. He didn't want her to get the wrong idea, but he was afraid to leave her alone, as she had been so sick.
He remained fully dressed and stayed on top of the covers. Dozing in and out of sleep as she tossed and turned beside him.
This was why he didn't date often. He'd seen his share of drunken messes too many nights at the bar. Why did every girl in her twenties think she needed to drink so much she lost all sense of reasoning? Didn't she have anyone looking out for her?
Just then, his little sleeping beauty began to stir.
Her eyes opened and she squinted at him and then they grew wide and she pulled the covers up to her neck.
"Good morning," he said. "How are you feeling?"
She glanced around the room and then looked back at him, panic etched her features. "Where am I?" she croaked out.
"Next door to Amanda's. You're her friend, right?"
She nodded, then looked under the covers. "What happened to my clothes?"
He had stripped her of her soiled clothes and dressed her in one of his t-shirts.
"They're still in the bathroom, I tried to rinse them in the tub, but you'll need to wash them later."
She moved to sit up, then winced and laid back down. She moaned and brought her hands up to her head.
"I'll get you some aspirin, you probably have the hangover of the century."
He left her alone while he fetched some water and pain relievers. If he gave her a few minutes, maybe she would be more talkative when he got back. What had he expected? Her to shower him with thanks the second she woke up?
Well, he hadn't really expected it, but he had fantasized about it once or twice while she slept.
When he walked back in she was sitting on the edge of the bed. She looked a bit more sure of herself. She eyed him warily as he re-entered.
He handed her the water and a few aspirin. She took them and then drained the glass, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand when she finished.
"I'm Simon, by the way."
"Oh, uh, I'm Caitlin." She took a deep breath and glanced around again. "Did we�"
He followed her eyes to the rumpled covers.
"No, you were asleep the entire time you were here. I'm not in the habit of taking advantage of girls."
She blew out a breath and nodded.
"But that guy you were with last night would have had no problem with it. You need to be careful."
"What guy?" Her brow furrowed in confusion.
Annoyance welled up in him. "You really shouldn't be drinking so much that you can't remember what you were doing."
"I'm sorry,” she said in a tone that made her sound anything but sorry. “You're the one who brought me over here, you said yourself I was sleeping. Who does that?"
"You passed out. After you threw up on yourself. And it looked like some guy was in the middle of groping you!"
Recognition passed over her face. "Oh. Jeff!" She scrubbed a hand over her eyes. Then she looked back up at him, her blue eyes so big and trusting. "Were you at the party?"
"No, I was at work. I came over looking for my brother."
“Ben?” she guessed. So she did know who he was.
“Yeah, he's my little brother.” Only by a year, but it was still the truth.
"I'm moving in with Amanda, well, just moved in yesterday, so I guess I'll see more of you." She smiled, but when he didn't respond she shifted on the edge of the bed, her hands nervously twisting in her lap.
When she moved to stand he caught her arm. "The next time I have to save you, there will be consequences."
She let out an uncomfortable laugh, "What?"
"That's the problem with girls like you, they don't know their own limits."
"The problem with girls like me?" Indignation laced her voice, she puffed her chest up, which was cute as she was swimming in his t-shirt and her hair was a halo of frizz around her head. She pulled her arm out of his grip. "I can take care of myself."
"I'm sure you can, but I'm warning you. The next time you get yourself into trouble like that I might just give you the spanking you earned."
Her eyes went wide and her face flushed red.
He expected a retort, why had he said that? Yes, he wanted to paddle her bottom until it was cherry red. She had no business drinking so much and putting herself in harm's way. But he barely knew this girl, if she told him to go to hell it would be merited.
She stepped around him, "I need to go," she mumbled, as she scurried out his bedroom door.
He didn't even hear her feet on the stairs before the front door slammed shut behind her. He shook his head. It figured, he finally got a pretty girl in his bed and she flew out the door the next morning without a second glance.