Peter loved Kate with all his being, but that didn't mean he'd tolerate an ultimatum from her.For Sunday's Six of the Best, we share six paragraphs from a published work or a WIP (work in progress).
My submission for this week is from my 5th book, Acting Lessons, loosely based on the story of Kiss Me Kate.
He was a strict and demanding college professor turned professional director who excelled at giving acting lessons. She was his shy and uncertain former student who became a professional actress under his tutelage. They fell in love, married, and won two Tony Awards before tragedy struck and a simple kiss ripped them apart.
After a six month separation, Peter Thorton decides to take matters into his own hands by making his famous wife, Kate, an offer she wouldn't refuse. Plainly put, he wants her back and he intends to do whatever is necessary to achieve his goal, even if it means giving his stubborn, willful leading lady a daily reminder over his knee that she promised to obey him.
In this scene, which occurs early in the first chapter, Peter Thorton, seated comfortably in an agent's office, is attempting to convince his wife, Kate, to give their marriage a second chance by signing her to appear with him in a College Summer Stock production of "Kiss Me Kate." Kate isn't sure she can trust Peter with her heart again, since she believes he's been unfaithful to her, but she's never stopped loving him. And though Domestic Discipline originally played a part in their marriage, their last two years together had them living like polite strangers sharing the same house.
Peter realizes he made a mistake in letting Kate do as she pleased, so he's determined to rectify matters immediately by informing his famous wife that if she keeps acting like a brat, he will turn her over his knee. Furious, Kate makes the mistake of challenging her husband, so he proves to her his threats are no longer idle.
The spanking provides an emotional release for Kate, and she ends up crying in Peter's arms. Once she gets herself under control, Kate attempts to apologize, but Peter cuts her off with a kiss then informs her he wants them to have dinner together. Feeling cornered. Kate informs him she has a previous engagement she is not willing to cancel, but Peter presses until finally Kate grows petulant. When she complains that he can't just turn her over his knee whenever she disagrees with him, he warns her he won't hesitate to do whatever is necessary to improve her attitude if she continues to be snippy with him. Realizing this was an argument she couldn't win, Kate backs down and agrees to do the show with him.
"It's probably a mistake, but I'll agree to do the show with you."
"The only mistake you could make right now is to piss me off. That would get you in a lot of trouble." He eased her off his lap and back into her chair. "Call Don and sign the contract, then I'll take you to your class. Afterward, I'm taking you to Smitty's and feeding you."
* * * *
When Kate continued to stare him with a glazed expression, Peter called, "Don…." While they waited, he regarded Kate intently. Her blush returned and she angled her face away. His little lesson must have made more of an impression than he thought. Not wanting to press her, he extended his hand. Her gaze met his for a moment before she laid her fingers on his palm. With a nod, he enfolded her hand in his grasp and gave it a gentle squeeze.
"Good girl," he praised with quiet softness, pleased when she blushed again. "I assume you're going to the same studio as before." At her nod, he glanced at her left knee. "You aren't overdoing things, are you?"
"No. I keep it wrapped when I practice, and it hasn't been giving me any problems."
"Good to know. I expect you to pay heed and sit down if it starts bothering you again. I don't want to risk another tear. Understood?"
Kate pushed, so Peter pulled. Temporarily reconciled, Kate has to decide whether to give into his wishes or stand firm so he doesn't think she's lost her backbone. In a case of push and pull, something has to give.
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