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CaraBristol_RandCSociety_ReasonableDoubts_400x600I bid you all to welcome my friend and colleague, Cara Bristol, to Patricia Green Books today. She wrote a wonderful article, and is sharing her latest release with us as well. Read along for an excerpt and some links to Reasonable Doubts at a variety of distributors. Reasonable Doubts is a Rod & Cane Society book, so expect spanking with your romance. Be sure to read to the end of this post; prizes are available!

Now to Cara…

Traits in a mate.
How important is the ‘list’?

By Cara Bristol

When life gives us a gift, it doesn’t always come in the wrapping we expect.

When we’re single—or divorced or widowed—we carry a list of traits and characteristics we’d like our mate to have. We always have requirements, although we might modify them as our needs change.

At age 16, 17 or 18, “good provider” is probably not even on our list of desired boyfriend qualities. When we’re 25, 28, or 35 and wanting to have children, it becomes very important.  A “rockin’ bod’” might catch our eye at 25 or 35, but at 70? Probably, not so much. In our teens or twenties we might want someone “exciting.” By thirties or forties, dependability might take precedence.

If we’ve been through a bad marriage, we may look for someone totally opposite our former spouse. If we had a really good marriage, we may want someone just like our spouse.

We all have at least a short-list of qualities that are important to us—or that we think we must have. Then comes the moment when we meet someone who has almost all the qualities we want excerpt for one or two, and we have to decide how important those missing items are. Are they optional or are they deal-breakers?

Liz Davenport wrestles with these issues. Happily, solidly married since college, she was the steady friend ready with a fresh tissue and words of wisdom and comfort. Now widowed, she faces dating for the first time in her adult life.  On her list of “must-haves” is a man who is a spanker, because after being in a domestic discipline marriage, she wants that again.

She’s definite that a new man should be like her late husband—a much older, experienced head-of-household type who will provide the firm guidance she needs to feel secure.

Except, that’s not who she meets. Grant is not older or more “experienced.”  He’s never spanked a woman in his life.  But he and Liz have awesome chemistry and immediately click.

And Liz has to decide how important those items are on her list.

When you were dating, what traits were on your list? Did you find that it changed over time? What were your deal-breakers?

Blurb Summary from Reasonable Doubts

Widow Liz Davenport assumes when she begins to date, her new man will be like her late husband–a member of the Rod and Cane Society and an experienced disciplinarian who can provide her with loving guidance she requires to feel grounded and secure. So why is she attracted to Grant Davis, an ex-Naval JAG officer who works for her nemesis and has never spanked a woman in his life?

Events in his recent past have forced Grant to take stock of his life and try some new things. But spank a woman? He’s never considered that before, but with Liz’s coaching he’s willing to try.

But when the past collides with the present, will he be able to step up and become the disciplinarian Liz needs?

An Excerpt from Reasonable Doubts

“Let’s go.” Grant swatted her ass. A wave of longing rolled through her like thunder traveling across an open plain. She squeezed her eyes shut for a moment and swayed. More. Please more.

But there wouldn’t be more, because Grant wasn’t that way.

Why couldn’t he be a gentleman and a spanker? Was she foolish to start a relationship with a man who could give only half of what she needed? She’d never settled before. But at the idea of walking away from Grant, a little pang shot through her.

But maybe that ache afforded reason enough to call it quits—get out now before she became more attracted, more attached. She needed a man with the confidence to take her in hand and provide what she needed without her having to ask. A head of household who provided stability, structure, and discipline. A mother-may-I guy would not fit the bill.

Grant was a nice man. A good man. They had no commitments, but eventually she would meet someone who could provide everything she needed, and she would move on. It wasn’t right to use him to stave off the loneliness or to scratch an itch. He deserved better.

“Hey…are you okay?” Grant settled a gentle hand on her shoulder, and she realized a long moment had passed since she’d agreed to leave.

Dating did not get easier when you got older. If anything, it got more complicated. She took a deep breath and turned. She didn’t want to disappoint him, to hurt him. She liked him. Enjoyed his company, his conversation, his laugh.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I can’t do this.”

“If you’re not ready, we don’t have to. I understand,” he said.

He didn’t understand. She would not be ready, ever. Not with him. But the words to mark paid to their fledgling relationship refused to leave her lips. Why did he have to be so nice? Attractive. Sexy. Damn him!

“Why don’t we go have some tea and dessert?” he suggested.

“All right,” she agreed, because she couldn’t bring herself to ask him to take her home.

She slipped out of his sports coat and felt an instant loss of warmth. “Thank you.” She returned it, giving back more than his jacket.

“Are you sure? It’s still chilly in here.”

The only thing she was sure about was how confused she was. “I’m good. Thank you.”

Grant shrugged into his jacket, and they exited the gallery. Misery thickened Liz’s throat, but she held her head high as they strolled down the corridor. They avoided the crowded elevator for the empty stairwell. Liz started to descend the steps, but Grant stopped her on the landing. He lightly gripped her upper arms.

“Listen,” he said. “I’m attracted to you, and I want to sleep with you. But it has to be right. You were married a long time, and this is a big step. We’ll take it at your pace. I’m sorry if I came on too strong.”

He brushed his thumb over her face, and Liz realized she was crying. Her face heated with mortification.

“Hey….” He wrapped his arms around her in a hug, and she hid her face against his neck. He chuckled, a sound of such tenderness, Liz cried harder. “Sweetheart?” Grant rocked her. “Tell me why you’re so upset.”

Because she wanted to sleep with him, but she needed him to spank her. Because her emotions were stronger than she’d thought. She craved discipline, but she desired it from him. Grant had wrapped himself around her heart the way his arms fit so snuggly around her shoulders. “B-because…I don’t know. Because I’m crazy.”

“I like crazy women.”

“Nobody likes crazy women.”

“I like you.”

“Then you’re crazy.”

“See? We’re perfect for each other.”

She smiled through her tears. A measure of heartache receded, but confusion still reigned. “I’m a basket case.”

“I like baskets.”

Laughter snorted out her nose. She thumped his chest with her fist. “You’re too nice to me.” You don’t make it easy.

Or maybe she complicated the situation. She and Grant had connected. Perhaps she should get out of her own way and let nature run its course. Stop analyzing and go with the flow. Counselor, counsel thyself. Many friends had sought her advice, used her as a sounding board to work through relationship woes. She could read people and had an instinct for who would be good together. How many couples had she matched up over the years? Dozens, probably. But her life was a mess. A turmoil of conflicted emotion.

Fix me a spanking, won’t you, darling?

Some people drank to calm their nerves. Others exercised or meditated. She’d been spanked. So many times, after a grueling day at work, Otis had taken one glance at her and taken her in hand.

Spank me, Grant.

“Can I reconsider?” she asked.

“Reconsider?” he raised his eyebrows.

“I’d like to sleep with you. Tonight,” she said.

“You don’t have to do that. I can wait,” he said, but a lopsided, hopeful smile slid across his face.

She shook her head. “I don’t want to wait.”

As if he feared she might change her mind again, he hustled her down the stairs.

Now that you’re hooked, you can buy Reasonable Doubts here:

Amazon US

Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon CA

Barnes & Noble | All Romance

Find Cara

Website /blog

Amazon Author Page

Sign up for Cara’s New Release Newsletter





Prizes, Prizes!

How would you like to become card-carrying member of the Rod and Cane Society? To receive a membership card, leave a comment for Cara about Reasonable Doubts or this blog AND your email address in the body of your comment. Cara will contact you to arrange to send you a membership card. This is not a drawing. Everyone who posts a comment with an email address can receive a card—as long as supplies last. In addition, by commenting on this blog and leaving an email address, you’ll be entered into a drawing for Rod and Cane coffee mug.


  1. LOL, my list for man material, never really changed. As it turns out, I was always looking for a stronger partner who was more mature and level headed than me. Alas, it was hard to find men like that who were the same age as me.

    I loved the dynamic between Grant and Liz.

  2. Definitely hooked, as I am by all your books! I’ll be in line on payday. 🙂 On my list were passion and a sense of humor. The sense of humor was the deal breaker. LOL And I got what I wanted!

    • Thank you, Jenna. I may be biased because I’m the author, but I think there is quite a bit of humor in Reasonable Doubts. It’s a “flirty” read.

      Thank you, Trish, for hosting me today.

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