Life Under New Management by Jane Davitt



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Course Correction

In any book, there are events that are only mentioned in passing. A book can only be so long. But a reader – and author – can still be curious about the details.

In Life Under New Management set in Vancouver, Ethan and Andy take a break from work at the Totally Five Star hotel and go hiking. This is what the book says.

They’d spent the day hiking in Mount Seymour Park, finding small patches of snow in shadowed corners, spring flowers studding the fresh green grass like scattered confetti. Andy’s legs ached and he was sure he had burned the back of his neck, but the view from the summit of Dog Mountain had been worth it, the city laid out at their feet in one direction, distant, cloud-wreathed mountain peaks challenging them when they turned another way.

Want to know more about the hike?

***

“I’m dehydrated.” Andy gave Ethan’s reusable, insulated water bottle a longing look. Cold, fresh water. Ethan had two more in his backpack, but he wasn’t sharing. “One sip. Please.”

Ethan capped the bottle and replaced it in his backpack. “Repeat the instructions I gave you.”

“What’s the point? I screwed up. Didn’t pack according to the Ethan List, and now, let’s get back to the important part, I’m dehydrated.”

“Unlikely. We’ve been walking for twenty minutes, you drank a can of soda in the car, and it’s warm, but not hot.” Ethan smiled at him, gray eyes cool. “I estimate you’ve got a lot more walking to do before you begin to suffer the effects of ignoring my advice.”

“Orders. Advice is optional.”

Ethan tilted his head back, staring into a nearby tree. “Steller’s jay, third branch up. See it?”

“No,” Andy said without looking.

Ethan clicked his tongue in a meditative way and Andy stalked off along the trail, burning at the injustice. Consequences for screwing up weren’t supposed to happen for everything, damn it. He’d given Ethan the right to reshape his life and, yes, be the boss of him, but not for something like this. It wasn’t fair. So he’d thrown a soft drink and a candy bar in his backpack instead of water, trail mix, sunscreen and whatever the hell else was on Ethan’s list. It was a five-kilometer hike, not Mount Everest. And he’d known Ethan would pack enough for four people.

He just hadn’t realized Ethan would refuse to share.

The hike was challenging enough to make him sweat, legs aching after an hour. Ethan had fallen behind, probably communing with nature, so Andy took a break, leaning against a tree and searching for inner peace. Or something that would take the edge off his bad mood.

It made no sense. Ethan hadn’t yelled at him or lectured him, but he felt chastened and he hated that. And he was thirsty for real now.

Ethan rounded a corner, fresh as wet paint.

“Get a fucking move on, you lazy asshole,” Andy yelled, just as a family with two small children approached from the other direction. The mother glared at him and the children snickered. The father looked too exhausted to care. He gave them an apologetic grimace and muttered a greeting they ignored.

Ethan nodded at them when they passed and exchanged a few words before joining Andy.

Andy held up his hands, warding Ethan off. “Don’t say it. I’m sorry, okay? I didn’t see them coming.”

“It wouldn’t have mattered even if we’d been alone on the mountain. You’re sulking and whining, Andrew. That’s unacceptable behavior.”

“I’m thirsty.”

“More whining. When you can ask for help resolving your problem in a way that doesn’t make me want to drop you off a cliff, I’ll listen. Until then, walk ahead of me and don’t say a word.”

Great. Their day off had turned into a nightmare. This was Ethan’s fault for insisting they sample the Great Outdoors when any sane, rational person would’ve spent the day in bed having sex, surfacing for takeout at regular intervals.

He didn’t walk. He stamped. Ants, beware. Angry, thirsty, horny man coming through.

Ethan came up behind him after a few minutes. Andy refused to turn and apologize. No fucking way.

He heard an odd whine behind him and had time to think ‘mosquito’ before his ass took a stinging strike. His strangled yelp and levitation weren’t dignified but there was no one to witness it but Ethan. He whirled around. Ethan held a thin stick, cut, Andy presumed, from a fallen branch since Ethan was definitely in the ‘take only photos’ school of thought when it came to wildlife, animal or vegetable.

“Keep walking,” Ethan said pleasantly.

Andy swallowed dryly. The blow had surprised him more than hurt him after the initial smart and through his jeans and shorts, it wouldn’t have left a mark. Even so, it settled him in a way. This kind of consequence for behaving badly was one he understood.

He turned back and took six hesitant steps before the switch struck again.

“Faster.”

“Yes, sir.”

Another blow. “Not what I wanted to hear, remember.”

He took six more swats from the stick, delivered at random intervals as he walked, before he cracked. The blows, light though they were, barely making a sound as they connected with his ass, splintered the shell he’d hidden behind, exposing him to Ethan’s gaze.

Ethan didn’t like not being able to see him.

He needed the discipline more than water. It told him Ethan had noticed his behavior and cared enough to correct it without flinching from the necessity. For once, his cock showed no interest. This wasn’t foreplay but a course correction.

He faced Ethan. “Okay. I’m ready.”

Ethan raised his eyebrows. “Go on.”

“I should’ve listened to you and packed water. I shouldn’t have needed you to tell me that. It’s common sense. And I knew that and got angry with myself and took it out on you. If you want to give me those swats again as hard as I deserve, I won’t stop you.”

Ethan studied him for a moment, smiled, and tossed the stick away. He took out a water bottle and unscrewed the cap. “Hands by your side.”

Puzzled, but obedient, Andy did as he was told. Ethan came close and cradled the back of Andy’s head in one hand, holding the bottle to his lips with the other. “Small sips. That’s it. Okay, that’s plenty for now. You can have more later.”

Andy ran his tongue over wet lips, greedy for every drop. Ethan stroked his hair, still smiling, a softness in his eyes. After that, they walked side by side to the summit.

Blurb for Life Under New Management:
This is the third book in Totally Bound’s Totally Five Star imprint, set in glamorous hotels around the world.


Working for a perfectionist like strict, sexy-as-hell Ethan isn’t easy. Falling in love with him? No problem at all.

Taking a bar job in an exclusive hotel is a stopgap for Andy. He’s an actor and his big break is coming soon—he knows it. His hot, new boss, Ethan, is strict, demanding and totally off-limits, but Andy can’t stop thinking about him.

When Andy learns of Ethan’s need to be in control of his partner—in bed and out of it—he’s stunned by the intensity of his reaction. He wants Ethan guiding him, bringing order to his chaotic life. And he sees that Ethan needs him too, though they can’t be open about their feelings.

Ethan deals out deliciously perverse consequences for misbehaving, but when it comes to incentives, he knows just what to offer to have Andy on his knees begging for more.

But some secrets can’t stay that way for long. And when difficult choices arise, for once Andy can’t turn to Ethan for guidance. This time, he’s on his own.

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of intense pain play, including the use of a Wartenberg wheel and figging.

Like the sound of Life Under New Management? Buy it here.


About Jane Davitt:
Jane Davitt is English, and has been living in Canada with her husband, two children, and two cats, since 1997. Writing and reading are her main occupations but if she ever had any spare time she might spend it gardening, walking, or doing cross stitch.

Jane has been writing since 2005 and wishes she’d started earlier. She is a huge fan of SF, fantasy, erotica, and mystery novels and has a tendency to get addicted to TV shows that get cancelled all too soon.

She owns over 4,000 books, rarely gives any away, but is happy to loan them, and is of the firm opinion that there is no such thing as ‘too many books’.

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