So I heard from more than one of you who read Life’s Unexpected Gifts that you were worried about what was going to happen to Traci, Troy’s sister. I did kind of leave her hanging at the end of last season’s book, but I wanted to make sure Traci got her own story in season three. Psychology of Submission will be released on June 4th. I thought it would be fun to share the opening scene of the book with you this week. It is a nice long excerpt chock full of some of your favorite Corbin’s Bend residents. Check it out and let me know what you think!
Excerpt from Psychology of Submission:
“Oh my fucking God! This cheesecake is to die for!”
The words were still hanging in the air when the crack of a large hand connecting with a bikini-clad bottom could be heard from across the pool. Hallie’s surprised squeal was drowned out by the fits of laughter from the dozen or so other couples already gathered for the Corbin’s Bend annual Summer’s Here picnic.
“Troy! I can’t believe you just did that!”
“Hallie, I can’t believe you continue to talk like a truck driver.”
Traci’s heart physically contracted with love as she watched her brother and new sister- in-law bantering playfully. Seeing Troy happily married was bittersweet for her. She honestly couldn’t be happier for Troy and Hallie. Still, it was ironic that the siblings had gone years living far apart while Troy had been deployed across the globe, yet now that they lived a few blocks from each other, Traci had never felt more alone.
The time since her brother’s wedding had brought her a much-loved sister-in-law. In fact, Hallie was more than her new sister; she was her close friend. But in watching the couple embrace across the pool, Traci was keenly reminded that she was no longer the most important person in her brother’s life.
Correction. I am no longer the most important person in anyone’s life.
Traci tried to shake herself out of her funk. She despised feeling sorry for herself, and refused to allow feelings of jealously to come between her and the two people she loved most in the world. Yet, the couple wasn’t helping.
The newlyweds had just returned from their honeymoon two weeks earlier and were still in that sickly-sweet romantic mode where they were rarely more than a few feet from each other. They’d come to dinner at Traci’s the night before and had even had to excuse themselves to go to the guest bedroom. Troy had made it sound like it was to punish Hallie for her continued potty- mouth, but Traci was no fool. The walls in her Corbin’s Bend home were not thick enough to camouflage the sounds of sex. Passionate… hot… naughty… sex.
At least they’d had the decency to blush when they’d returned to the kitchen twenty minutes later with Hallie’s hair sex-mussed and Troy’s shirt untucked. Just because Traci’s love life was non-existent didn’t mean the people around her needed to suffer the same affliction.
Troy and Hallie returned to the long picnic table where Traci had been sitting, observing. They plopped down next to their sister. Zach and Erin Cunningham tagged along to sit across the table. Traci had gotten to know the married couple pretty well since they served as Troy and Hallie’s mentors. She’d begun to count them among her close friends these days.
“I don’t know what I’m gonna to do with you, Hallie. I think your cursing is getting worse, not better.”
Zachary cut in before Hallie could reply. “What punishments have you established to help her stop?”
Traci hid her smile as she listened to a conversation that outside of Corbin’s Bend would seem barbaric. Here, it’s just another Saturday afternoon.
“I always give her a crack to the bottom right away to let her know I noticed and didn’t let it pass, but I don’t think it’s enough.”
“It’s not, if you’re trying to get her to stop. One swat isn’t enough of a deterrent, is it, Erin?”
Erin’s blush told Traci she wasn’t comfortable with the topic. “No, sir, and I’d like to thank you for pointing that out in front of our friends.”
Zach reached to hold his wife’s hand while sharing their experience. “Erin’s language has never been too bad, but she would let a 4-letter bomb slip at times. I didn’t really care until Avery was a toddler and started repeating the words she learned from her mommy. I’ll never forget how embarrassed I was when Avery called my mother a ‘damn busy-body.’ That was the night Erin got her first real punishment for her language choices. It only took a few intense sessions and the problem was solved, wasn’t it, baby?”
“It felt like more than a few to me, thank-you-very-much.”
“Hey, it worked, didn’t it?”
Hallie had been listening silently, her eyes growing larger by the minute. She glanced sideways at Traci as if to look for moral support. Traci had to chuckle. “Don’t look at me. I still can’t believe Adam didn’t set you straight when you lived with them.”
“Some sister you are. I thought you’d back me up that there are way worse things than having a colorful vocabulary.”
They were joined by several new couples at the table next to them. Dr. Marcus Devon must have been close enough to catch their earlier conversation when he weighed in. “Troy, I’d suggest using those bars of soap I gave you as part of your wedding present. Those work wonders for naughty language slips.”
Before Troy could respond, the next alpha male to join the group, Vance Foster, shared his own opinion on how Troy should handle this particular problem. “A paddle. That’s all you need. One nice, hard, wooden paddle. I guarantee it does wonders for helping make behavior changes, wouldn’t you say, Ettie?”
The pretty young woman with the studious glasses waited until she’d gingerly lowered herself to the hard wooden bench, shifting to try to find a comfortable position, before answering. “You seem to think the wooden paddle is the answer for everything.”
Vance grinned at her. “It helped us arrive here on time today, didn’t it?”
“Yes, sir, although now the paper will be released late since you didn’t let me finish the story I was working on.”
“Somehow, I think your subscribers will understand. They’d rather have the pleasure of your company here at the picnic. Not to mention, you wouldn’t want to release the next edition without a report of how today’s festivities went.”
“Of course not. Honestly, I’m an article or two short this week. I hope something really juicy happens today so I have a good story to add this week.”
Traci smiled across at Ettie. Traci read Ettie’s paper faithfully, in part to enjoy the author’s creative exaggerations of the demise of several of the prominent town figures. More importantly, Traci loved to read the erotic serial stories she printed at the end of each edition. The current tale about a Dom cowboy who spanked his naughty horse trainer was one of Ettie’s hottest stories to date.
Traci must have zoned out thinking of hot cowboys because she was suddenly aware that all eyes had turned to her, waiting expectantly. She blushed under everyone’s scrutiny. “I’m sorry. I think I missed something.”
Ettie responded, her voice high pitched with excitement. “Would you really give me an interview? That would be so awesome.”
Traci had a bad feeling. “Why would you want to interview me?”
Ettie sighed, exasperated. “Chicago. The conference. Weren’t you listening just now when Troy told us about your big conference coming up this week? How impressive that you’re going to deliver one of the keynote speeches! What’s your topic?”
A wave of dread washed over Traci. She’d been doing her best to push down her rising panic over the last few weeks, but the mere mention of the conference she dreaded had her stomach churning. She stumbled through her answer.
“Well… honestly, I’m not sure… I’ve been reconsidering and…” She hated the quaver in her voice. Her eyes connected with Troy’s and she saw concern etched on his face. Traci took a cleansing breath before answering more calmly. “There really isn’t a story here, Ettie. I’ve decided I’m not going to go this year.”
Troy’s brown eyes sparked with anger. The siblings were caught in a stare-down before Troy abruptly stood. “Trace, I’d like to speak with you privately, please.” He was already stepping away from the picnic table, his hand reaching for her own.
“I don’t think so. We just got our food.”
“Traci. Now, please.” It was his HoH voice.
Hallie sent her sister-in-law a supportive smile, although Traci suspected the new bride was relieved to have the conversation swing away from her own potty mouth. Recognizing the firm set of Troy’s jaw, Traci knew it was futile to argue.
Traci Jackson has been a therapist in Corbin’s Bend for several years. She’s helped many residents navigate their own D/s and DD relationships, but she hasn’t found her own HoH. Through her patients, she’s been researching and writing about the dynamics of dominance and submission in relationships for years. She loves her field, but she hates attending professional conventions where she’s treated like her specialty isn’t valid.
Sean Campbell is juggling raising his teenage daughter alone in Chicago while running a large convention hotel. When the annual psychologist convention comes to town, he literally bumps into the most beautiful and intelligent woman he’s met in a long time. He gets the surprise of his life when he finds out her specialty is D/s with an emphasis on corporal punishment.
They may find sparks from the minute they meet, but Traci and Sean have more than just the long distance between Chicago and Corbin’s Bend separating them. Sean has never heard of domestic discipline before. Will Traci pack up and leave Corbin’s Bend to be with the man she’s falling in love with, even if he can never be her true HoH?
Mark your calendar for June 4th!
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