Welcome to the Smutketeer’s Annual V-Day event! This year we have 14 of your favorite authors (plus the Smutketeers, of course!) sharing their thoughts about romance and a few sexier subjects, teasing you with their sensual excerpts, and of course there are a bunch of lovely goodies to be had, so stay tuned for the daily giveaways!
~Do you believe in love at first sight? No. Do I have to give my erotic romance writer card back now?
~Pick one of your own heroes and tell us how he’d celebrate Valentine’s Day with his heroine. Ryan from Master Class is planning to be at a BDSM lifestyle resort with Lisette on Valentine’s Day. He’s a romantic, that one. ;-)
~Which of your heroes is the most romantic? Which is the least? And he’d better have a good explanation! My most romantic is probably Sebastian from my March release, Should’ve Known Better. He was the very first hero I ever wrote and I put all the qualities I loved in other people’s heroines into one big, sweet, mushy, smokin’ hot ball o’ man.
My least romantic hero? Eesh, that’s a tough one. I try not to let them get away with not being romantic. I guess I’d say Jack from Caught, since he’s a very intense Dom. He does some pretty sweet things to prove to Callie he loves her, though…
~If you could have a V-day date with the man of your dreams, who would it be? (We promise we won’t tell your husband/bf/partner). I don’t have one “man of my dreams”. Can I mash about a dozen men together into one? If so, I’d like to have a date with Ian Somerhalder (Vampire Diaries)/Joe Manganiello (True Blood)/Marcus Foligno (Buffalo Sabres player)/David Nieves (Ellora’s Cave Caveman)/Saku Koivu (also a hockey player)/Henrik Lundqvist (hockey player – are you seeing a pattern?)/Georgio Sbata (Ellora’s Cave Caveman)/Steven R. McQueen (Vampire Diaries – I’m not actually a big vampire fan but these guys are hot)/Bradley Cooper/Scott Nova (romance cover model)/Adam Levine (singer, Maroon 5)/annddddddd Jon Stewart (host, The Daily Show)
~Chocolate or strawberries? Chocolate
~Quiet V-day dinner at home with your sweetie, or champagne and caviar out on the town? Out on the town, since we don’t go out much ;-)
~Lacy lingerie or bare naked? (you, not him!) Either’s good for me.
~Long, luscious kisses or his hand stroking over my body? Hands.
~Slow, tender lovemaking or slam me up against a door and take me? Heh. Slam me, baby.
~Do it to me in a comfy bed or on the kitchen counter? Despite my last answer, a comfy bed is good.
Ryan Tomasi feels like a failure. His marriage is officially over; the ink dried on the divorce decree. His friend Jack introduces him to BDSM and he agrees to attend a Halloween party at a club. A submissive approaches him, offering herself, and how can he refuse the kneeling beauty? They do a whirlwind scene and Ryan is addicted—both to dominance and to her.
Lisette Rinaldo is returning to the BDSM club for the first time since ending a bad relationship with her former master. She spots Ryan and is taken by the combination of self-assurance and nervousness the man displays as he takes in his surroundings. And after he gives her an incredible re-introduction to the lifestyle, she knows she needs to see the man again.
Ryan and Lisette explore each other and the lifestyle, but what started out as playtime quickly evolves into something more. The problem? Ryan isn’t ready to get serious again and Lisette doesn’t want to fall in love with a guy who can’t give all of himself to her. Both of them are going to have to break out of the bonds holding them back from happiness.
“What the fuck is an acceptable costume to wear to a Halloween party at a BDSM club?” Ryan Tomasi muttered aloud to himself. He did that a lot these days, since he lived alone after his recent divorce. “Sheesh.”
From his Internet research, he knew people who practiced BDSM—the term “practice” cracked him up every time—already dressed in some pretty outrageous outfits. Between the leather daddies and the pony play, as well as the other strange getups he’d seen online, Ryan wasn’t sure what to think. Full-body latex encasement? He shuddered.
But one thing was clear. He couldn’t keep fucking random women and feel good about it or himself. The whole mess had started after Ryan’s now ex-wife had blindsided him with divorce papers about a year ago, saying she didn’t love him anymore. The fact he’d loved her and had wanted to work on the marriage apparently wasn’t good enough, and Ryan found himself living in a rented house with nothing but his recliner and a futon to sleep on. Over the past year, he’d done what he could to rebuild his life, and now it was time to take the next step.
Ryan needed to find someone for more than a one-night stand and, it seemed, someone who wanted to submit to him, since he’d found he really liked some of this BDSM stuff, especially the dominating side. He felt like a fool on the bar scene, and he really wasn’t a one-night-stand kind of guy, though that had been his MO lately. He’d never even known there was a whole formal “thing” like BDSM until his friend Jack, a fellow professor at the college where Ryan taught English literature, had asked one day, while Ryan was lamenting his pathetic sex life, if he’d ever engaged in any BDSM activities. Ryan had been taken aback, to say the least. He’d thought that kind of thing was limited to porn. Real people didn’t get kinky like that, did they? Hell, he’d gotten married at twenty-two and had been with his ex-wife for almost fifteen years. It appeared he didn’t know shit about sex—kinky sex scene in particular.
Ryan had been shocked when Jack offered to let Ryan see what his submissive, Callie, and Jack did in some of their “scenes” so that Ryan could get a feel for what domination was all about. Jack didn’t allow any actual intercourse or other sexual contact between him and Callie when they got together, which Ryan totally understood, so there was a little bit missing from what he wanted to experience after reading how great the sex could be.
But just watching the way Jack dealt with Callie, and then having the opportunity to try a bunch of things out himself during subsequent play sessions with the two of them, had given Ryan a light at the end of what had been a very dark tunnel since the ex had walked out on him. He believed he’d finally found what he was looking for; what he’d been missing his entire life. The high from a woman submitting to him was the most natural, yet most powerful thing he’d ever felt, and Callie wasn’t even his submissive. What would that feel like?
Shaking out of his reverie, Ryan decided reinforcements were in order and called Jack. “Hey, man.”
“Am I interrupting anything?” He was almost afraid to ask.
Jack laughed. “If you’re asking me if Callie is tied up somewhere waiting for me to fuck her six ways to Sunday, no, you’re not interrupting anything. That’s later.”
“TMI, dude, TMI. Anyway, I need help.”
“You need a lot more than help.”
“Yeah, yeah. Seriously, I need to know what a Dom should wear to this Halloween party.”
“Uh, clothes? Usually only the submissives are naked.”
“Are you going to help or not? You’re the one who said I should go to this.” Ryan knew Jack was just messing with him, but as this Halloween party was his “coming out” of sorts as a Dom, he didn’t want to make a fool of himself.
“All right. I’ll take pity on you. What types of costumes are you looking at? What will make you feel comfortable?”
Ryan snorted. “Not sure anything can do that. I’m nervous as hell.”
“Remember, a Dom needs to portray an air of confidence. If you don’t, no sub is going to trust you enough to play with you.”
“I know. And by the time I get there, I’m sure I’ll be a lot calmer. I’ve been pretty good when I’ve played with Callie, haven’t I?”
Ryan could practically see the smirk on Jack’s face.
“Yeah, but I was there too. She knows better than to disobey me and that I would keep the play safe. Goes back to that trust issue. Plus, you didn’t have any sexual contact or anything that might’ve freaked you out. Speaking of that, you got your medical test results, right?”
“Yeah. Sent them to the club the other day.”
“Good. They won’t let you in unless you can prove you’re clean. Now, back to the costume. How about something easy like a police officer or a soldier? Some take-charge type of thing would be fitting.”
“Oh, I like the idea of a soldier.” Soldiers were powerful, respected—everything Ryan thought a Dom should project. It was the perfect costume to convey the image he wanted during his first public play. Ryan quickly typed that into the search engine of the costume store. “Awesome. They have a pretty cool one.”
“See how simple it is, once you’re not freaking out? I know this is all new and a little scary for you, but remember, kinksters are people too.”
“Yeah, yeah. You guys are going to be there, right?”
“Of course. I wouldn’t let you go into the big, bad world of BDSM all by yourself. Also, I’m your sponsor, so you can’t get in without me anyway this first time.”
“Okay, cool. See you then. And thanks for talking me off the ledge.”
Jack hung up, and Ryan looked over the costume specs. It had a camouflage shirt and pants, along with a set of dog tags. He had black boots already for when he did stuff around the house. Though he wasn’t imposing by any means at five-nine and one-eighty, he wasn’t tiny either. Hopefully the costume would make him look like a bit of a badass. He flexed his bicep. Maybe allow him to show off the muscles he was just starting to develop with regular workouts at the gym over the past several months.
* * * *
On Halloween night Ryan dressed in his costume and drove to the club. Jack and Callie were waiting just inside the doors, and when Jack saw him approach, he spoke to the bouncer, who waved Ryan through without a word. Jack was clad as Zorro, and Callie’s dress, if you could call it that, was liberally scored with slashes. It looked more like a bunch of black bandages than anything else, and Ryan wondered how long Jack would allow her to remain clothed. If he knew Jack—and he felt he did after playing with him several times and spending hours talking to him about BDSM and a whole host of other topics—not long.
He wasn’t sure what was appropriate to say to Callie, so he forced his gaze away from her and greeted Jack, who grinned.
“You can tell her she looks hot. It’s not like you’ve never seen her naked.”
Ryan smiled, relaxing. He pivoted back to her. “You look hot, Callie.”
“Thank you, sir.”
Jack gestured toward the door at the end of the short hall, and Ryan could hear a bass beat pounding from the other side. He nodded, swallowing thickly. Ryan needn’t have worried, though. As soon as he stepped into the room and looked around, his nerves settled.
The people around him were engaged in all manner of things, but even a cursory glance at the various scenes playing out before him made him finally feel like he was normal. He wasn’t a freak for wanting sex and control like this, despite what his ex-wife had said when he’d suggested some pretty mild stuff to spice up their sex life.
“What do you think?” his friend shouted over the music.
“It’s fucking perfect.” Ryan couldn’t have kept that note of awe out of his voice even if he’d tried.
Jack laughed. “I figured you’d say that. I’ll give you a tour, but we need to do one thing first.”
“Lose the shirt. You’ll look way more Dom-ish without it.”
“Dom-ish?” Callie repeated with a chuckle.
“You behave before I decide to leash you,” Jack threatened. “Or maybe we can give Ryan here some more practice with that paddle you hate so much.”
She looked down. “Whatever would please you, Master.”
“Seeing your beautiful ass bright red and ready to be fucked would please me greatly, but we need to babysit Ryan for a bit longer before we can play.”
Ryan pulled off his shirt and stuffed it into his brand-new toy bag. Who would’ve thought a duffel bag he got at an academic conference would come in handy to hold the instruments of pain and pleasure he’d spent a small fortune on?
He followed Jack through the club as the other man pointed out the public play area, the theme rooms, and the staircase to the private rooms upstairs. Then they all went to the bar, which served no alcohol so as to keep the clubgoers sober for play, as Jack explained in answer to Ryan’s puzzled question. They procured soft drinks—drinks were included in the price of the membership—and found a comfy couch that was close enough to the public play area that Ryan had a good view of several scenes taking place. Jack and Ryan sat, and Callie settled on a cushion in front of her Dom.
“That girl,” Jack said, pointing to a submissive tied to a St. Andrew’s cross as a man whipped her from thighs to shoulders, “is a hard-core masochist. As you can see, she’s not wearing a collar, so she’s not owned, but stay away from her. Until you get more comfortable with impact play, all you’ll do is frustrate both of you.”
Ryan nodded, forcing himself not to wince as the man laid another welt on her ass.
“That one,” his friend continued with a jerk of his head at another submissive, “is a horrible topper-from-the-bottom. She’s definitely not a good fit for you as a beginner. I’m not really sure why any Dom would play with her. It would drive me batty to have a sub questioning my every order.”
Jack dismissed a few more for one reason or another as they sipped their beverages. There weren’t a ton of subs running around without collars, and Ryan was beginning to believe none of them would pass Jack’s muster.
“She’s a pretty one,” Jack remarked, and Ryan followed his gaze. He nearly swallowed his can of soda pop whole. Pretty didn’t begin to describe the woman. She was a few inches shorter than him, from what he could tell in his current position, and had enough meat on her bones to be curvy. If he was going to be tying a woman up and fucking the hell out of her, he wanted to be sure her ribs wouldn’t crack at the slightest provocation.
Her long brown hair was piled on top of her head, leaving the slim column of her neck exposed. Ryan loved to nibble on women’s necks, and if he had this one restrained, he’d happily spend hours torturing her in that spot. She was wearing what looked like a harem girl outfit, with a jeweled bra and flouncy, gauzy pants. From the looks of things, Ryan was pretty sure she was naked underneath them.
Jack had been speaking with Callie but straightened up. “Callie said her name is Lisette, and she’s an experienced submissive who hasn’t been to the club as far as Callie knows since her split with her Dom a while back. She’s not owned, as you can see from the fact she’s not collared. The lack of a collar doesn’t always mean a sub is not owned, but at open parties like this, all owned submissives must be collared. As you know,” he continued with a grin in Callie’s direction, “some of us can be possessive bastards, and it cuts down on potential problems.”
“Makes sense,” Ryan murmured. His friend’s eyes suddenly widened a little in anticipation, and Ryan turned in the direction of his gaze.
“Hey, do you mind if we go take advantage of that spanking bench? At these parties, equipment doesn’t stay empty long.”
“No, go ahead.”
Jack helped Callie up and landed a hard swat on her ass. “Go get it for us, pet. I’ll be right over.” He turned to Ryan. “Feel free to watch us or anyone else. We should be back within a half hour or so. Callie’s been naughty lately and needs a good dose of the belt.”
Winking, he walked away, and Ryan laughed. Before Jack had agreed to bring Ryan here for public play, he’d insisted on several private sessions at the house he and Callie shared, so Ryan knew Callie’s favorite implement was the belt. He doubted she would be too upset if Jack used it tonight.
A completely naked woman, save for a collar, came by and took their empty soda cans. Ryan gave her a small smile but kept his attention focused on the scenes unfolding around him. Jack was busy tying Callie to the spanking bench, and the masochistic woman was still being whipped—Ryan couldn’t hold back his wince this time at a particularly hard strike—and a male submissive was going to town on his Mistress’s pussy like he was mining for gold. Turning away from them, he saw a female submissive strapped to what Jack had called a bondage table with cane marks decorating her ass in perfectly spaced lines and her Dom’s dick in her mouth. He’d never tried caning, but it looked interesting, if a little scary. Hell, almost everything looked interesting right now.
Ryan continued to watch as Jack bared Callie’s ass and started out lightly flicking the belt across it. He’d explained to Ryan how important it was to warm the bottom up by bringing the blood to the surface to prevent bruising, and Ryan had spent long hours in the past couple of weeks practicing with a pillow and the strap he’d ordered along with the other stuff Jack had said he’d need to be able to play. The club had a nice selection of implements lined up on the walls of the public play area, but Jack had recommended he get used to his own so he didn’t make a mistake and hurt a submissive.
He was just about to rise and make his way back to the bar when he caught movement out of the corner of his eye. The submissive Callie had called Lisette knelt directly in front of him, a bottle of water laid on her upturned palms. Ryan raised an eyebrow.
Copyright 2012, Cassandra Carr
~Giveaway – Winner’s choice of a backlist book!
~Do you believe in love at first sight? Absolutely! The first time I saw my husband, my entire body reacted. It was as though someone had reached in and plucked my heart strings.
~What is your favorite romantic film? Unfair question! There are so many wonderful romantic films. I’m going to have to give you a few. Dirty Dancing is my favorite from when I was in my 20s – ah, how I wanted to be Baby. I also adored Pretty Woman – a man who needed healing and a woman who needed loving. My all-time favorite might be Princess Bride – lovelovelove this movie!
~Pick one of your own heroes and tell us how he’d celebrate Valentine’s Day with his heroine. I’ll pick Caleb from CIRCLE EIGHT: CALEB since it released on February 12. He is a Texas Ranger, a hard-as-nails man, but his woman, Aurora, is a blacksmith, a hard-as-nails woman. He rents a hotel room in town with swanky décor and a nice soft bed. Then he’ll buy her a new outfit, a pretty blue dress since she normally wears trousers, and some soft, fancy underthings. They eat a delicious meal at the hotel, while he makes coweyes at how gorgeous she looks in female garb, and then they head to the room. The rest of the night is spent trying various ways to bring pleasure to each other without waking the other guests. ;)
~Which of your heroes is the most romantic? Which is the least? And he’d better have a good explanation! The most romantic hero is Jack Malloy from THE PRIZE – he is so sweet. The least romantic is Grady Wolfe from RUTHLESS HEART – a gunslinger assassin by trade, he doesn’t have a romantic bone in his body. But he does, however, have a heart that comes to life when he meets Eliza.
~If you could have a V-day date with the man of your dreams, who would it be? (We promise we won’t tell your husband/bf/partner). Can I pick a fictional man? ‘Cause I’d pick Teague from THE EDUCATION OF MADELINE. Ig, smart and sexy. Oh yeah, I likes ‘em big.
~Chocolate or strawberries? Chocolate
~Quiet V-day dinner at home with your sweetie, or champagne and caviar out on the town? Dinner at home – the bedroom’s closer. :)
~Lacy lingerie or bare naked? (you, not him!) lacy lingerie
~Long, luscious kisses or his hand stroking over my body? Long, luscious kisses
~Slow, tender lovemaking or slam me up against a door and take me? Both!
~Do it to me in a comfy bed or on the kitchen counter? One then the other
Caleb jumped to his feet the moment the first tree branch broke. He expected her to jump on him while he slept. What he didn’t expect was her to come slamming down out of the tree, screaming like a banshee and bleeding like a stuck pig.
“Son of a bitch!” She rolled to her side. “Goddamn fucking tree!”
Caleb was momentarily nonplussed by the cussing. Then he found his common sense. She had fallen a good twenty feet or more and needed help. He crouched beside her and waited until she stopped to take a breath. She even threw out a few curses he’d never heard.
“I fell out of the tree, you jackass.” She pressed her hand to her side. Fresh blood oozed through her fingers.
“I realize that, Rory. What happened to your side? Was it a weapon?” He didn’t want to touch her until she was aware of what was going on. Right now she was still ranting and caught up in the shock of falling.
“Damn branch gouged me. I think I left a few important parts up there too.” She finally looked at him, her face a mask of pain. “I’m hurt really bad.”
“I can see that. Will you trust me to help you?” He held up his hands. “I promise not to hurt you on purpose.”
“This is your chance to bring me in belly down, Ranger.” Her voice was rough but her meaning clear.
“I won’t bring anyone in like that. You have my word on my mother’s grave.” His mind flashed to the idyllic spot beneath the big trees in the yard at the Circle Eight, where both his parents rested side by side. She must have seen something in his face because she nodded.
“It hurts. It hurts worse than anything I’ve ever done, even burning myself on the forge.” She loosened her hands and blood flowed steadily from her side.
He got to his knees and took a closer look at the wound. It was a jagged hole at least an inch in diameter with bark and dirt caught in the gore. She had to be in agony.
“I need to rip your shirt to get to it.” He needed to warn her.
“Rip it to shreds, just help me.”
He tore the shirt open until he could see more clearly. The blood wasn’t gushing but it was definitely still coming out in a steady stream. He pulled off his shirt and pressed it to the wound. She groaned and bit her lip.
“We need a doctor. That wound has to be cleaned and stitched. And we need to check for other damage inside.” He squeezed her hand. “Is there a doctor in town?”
She shook her head. “No. The only doc within fifty miles lives at the Garza hacienda. It’s about ten miles north of here.” She winced and sucked in a shaky breath. “You don’t have a shirt on.” Her gaze traveled his chest and it made him want to go find a new shirt. It was the pain making her act that way, nothing more. There wasn’t a possibility there should be anything between them. They were on opposite sides of the law and that was the end of it.
“Do you think you can ride ten miles?” He didn’t want to move her, but if he left her here, she might die before he could return. The possibility was real enough to make his blood run cold. Her antics in the smithy and the tree weren’t supposed to result in a life-threatening injury. Fate was a fickle bitch.
“I’ll do whatever I have to.” She waved a bloody hand in the general direction of the smithy. “First make sure the fire is low enough not to flare up and open the windows to air it out.”
He frowned at her. “You want me to take care of your business before I save your life?”
“That building is my life.” A few drops of blood stood out on her cheek like macabre freckles.
“Fine, but I won’t be as careful as you. We’re getting on Justice and riding for the Garza place.” He put her hand on the shirt. “Hold the pressure here while I do your bidding.”
She snorted. “I don’t think you’ve ever done anyone’s bidding.”
Caleb wasn’t about to tell her she was right. Damn woman already knew she was. He hesitated for only a few seconds before he sprinted for the smithy. The fire was still burning but it was low. He doused it with a bucket of water, knowing she would have to clean out most of the ashes to start it up again. That would slow her down for a while.
After he pushed open the windows again, he propped them open with the wooden planks she’d used. Ingenious really. With the hinges on the flap, she could open and close them easily. Even without glass, the windows were efficient. He left the building and ran back to her.
Her eyes were closed and he thought perhaps she’d passed out. However, as soon as he knelt beside her, her eyes flew open. They were glassy with pain and were an even more remarkable shade of amber up close. Flecks of a darker shade swirled in the depths.
“Did you check the fire?”
“Shut up about the fire, Rory. I’m going to pick you up and it’s going to hurt like hell.” He slid his arms beneath her knees and neck. “Are you ready?”
“No but that doesn’t matter. You sure you can pick me up? I ain’t a lightweight.” She appeared to be serious.
“You are a ridiculous female. Shut up about everything now.” He scooped her up fast so she didn’t have time to spout anymore nonsense.
She groaned and made a funny little sound like a kitten yawning. He got to his feet with the now unconscious woman in his arms. He had to get her to the Garza hacienda but he had no idea how to get there, only that it was ten miles north.
Shirtless, he walked over to Justice with the unconscious, bleeding woman in his arms. It wasn’t the first wound he’d seen but it bothered the hell out of him. Perhaps because she was a woman.
He didn’t have time to be soft. The woman truly needed a doctor and he had to move. Justice was well trained, standing by patiently, no matter the coppery smell of blood. Although he didn’t want to do it, he had to set her belly down on the horse. He vaulted into the saddle and then picked her up, rolling her over until she lay across his lap.
Her head lolled as he started off. He could only head north and hope to find the hacienda with the doctor. If he didn’t, he’d have a dead woman in his arms within twelve hours. The blood hadn’t soaked through the shirt but she was pale as hell. That might have been caused by the fall or the loss of blood. He didn’t know which and it frustrated the hell out of him.
There was a trail of sorts through the tall grass. It appeared wagons rolled through pretty regular. He followed the well-worn path at a trot. He really wanted to gallop but was afraid the jarring of the horse might cause more damage than the additional time to get where he was going. She was pretty torn up from the branch and more injuries were the last thing she needed.
“You need to wake up Rory. I don’t know where the hell I’m going.” He jiggled her a little and her hat fell off but she didn’t respond. No doubt when she woke up she’d be annoyed he lost the ugly thing. He wasn’t about to stop for it.
Without the leather cap, her appearance softened. She looked more like a female, with soft brown hair the color of a fawn’s pelt. Too bad it was cut short. Women should have long hair. It looked nicer. He would be sure to keep that opinion to himself or she might throw one of her hammers at him.
“You finished ogling me?” Her words were slurred but she was awake.
“Nope. It’s the first time you haven’t been talking at me. Good Lord, woman, but you could talk the bark off a tree.” He looked down into her eyes. “I hope I’m going the right direction but you passed out before you could give me details on how to find the Garza ranch.”
She tried to sit up and gasped. “Shit.”
“That’s another thing. You sure as hell cuss a lot for a female.”
“Oh why don’t you shut up, Ranger. Hell, man, I can’t imagine the outlaws you chase are on their Sunday best behavior.”
She had a point yet he didn’t concede it. If she was mad, she wouldn’t pass out again.
“I found a trail back yonder, maybe fifty yards from that big tree in your yard. I’ve been following it and hope like hell it’s the right direction.” He didn’t see anything that told him there was a big hacienda nearby.
“It’s the right way. Stay on the trail until you hit the creek, then follow it north about a mile. There’s a bridge across that leads into the ranch. There will be men at the bridge with guns. Don’t shoot them. Mr. Garza protects his property.” Her face relaxed and she snuggled into his chest. “You have nice skin.”
“Jesus.” He regretted not putting on another shirt. The woman was out of her mind with pain and that made her spout nonsense. “I won’t shoot anybody unless they shoot at me.”
“That’s a good policy.” She put one blood-crusted hand on his arm. “Can I call you Caleb? It’s such a nice name.”
He choked on his own spit. “You are really going to regret everything you just said. Probably want to throw yourself in the forge to purge it from your memory.”
She giggled, startling him. “Your lashes are ridiculously long, did you know that? Do you feel a breeze when you blink?”
He shifted her in his arms, wondering if it were possible another woman had taken her place in the tree. Where was the tough Aurora Foster who had kicked his ass a few hours ago? The silly girl who had taken her place put him completely off balance. He knew what to do with a stubborn woman, but a flirty one? He had no clue.
“Don’t make me tell you to shut up again. Stop talking now. You need to save your strength.”
She stuck out her tongue. He shook his head and kept quiet. The blood loss or the knock on the head from falling out of the tree made her foolish. Either way, she would regret what she said if she remembered it. He regretted it already and it wasn’t coming out of his mouth.
The easy assignment to push off a squatter had turned into a strange battle with an unusual woman and now a life-threatening situation. A ranger was prepared for anything, but this went beyond any of that. For God’s sake, she was flirting with him. He had no idea how to respond to it. She was the least feminine woman he’d ever met.
~Do you believe in love at first sight? I think that it can happen for some people. I know I’ve felt an unmistakable “something” when I’ve met some people for the first time. But for me love has always been a slow bake process. I’m kind of jealous of those people who can have that instant, insatiable passion. It takes me a while to get there
~What is your favorite romantic film? The Holiday, hands down. In different ways I identify with each of the characters. I’ve been the unrequited lover, I’ve been the one cheated on, I’ve been guilty of not feeling as passionately as people think I should. I’ve always loved the dual stories in the movie, and I so rarely like romantic films.
~Pick one of your own heroes and tell us how he’d celebrate Valentine’s Day with his heroine. One of my favorite heroes has always been Carey from Personal Adventures. He and Elise own an outdoor adventuring company in Colorado. Given that they’re both outdoorsy types, I could see Carey closing the business early and surprising Elise with a boat trip down the river to a secluded spot where he’s rented a cabin and cooking her a romantic meal eaten on a porch by candlelight. He’s quite the jokester, so I bet he has a few surprises in store!~Which of your heroes is the most romantic? Which is the least? And he’d better have a good explanation! I think the most romantic would be Brian, just because he’s so incredibly sweet and hyper aware of what Pandora has been through. He always wants to make it special for her. He’s the real deal when it comes to wanting to give his girl the moon.
The least romantic. Hmmm. Considering that I write tough guys with gooey centers, this is like, asking which type of milk chocolate is the least sweet.
I think the least romantic would be Clay from Collar Me in Paris, simply because he’s still learning. Oh he does romantic, thoughtful things for Bianca, but more often than not he bumbles along into it. Don’t get him wrong, he’s a sweet, caring guy, but that doesn’t always mean he does romance well.
~Chocolate or strawberries? Lately I’ve been all about the strawberries, but do I have to chose? Can I have both? Why can’t I be greedy?
~Quiet V-day dinner at home with your sweetie, or champagne and caviar out on the town? A lot of the time the intimacy gets lost in the hustle and bustle of the holiday. I really like a dinner at home and quality time.
~Lacy lingerie or bare naked? (you, not him!) Lace! It adds a little mystery.
~Long, luscious kisses or his hand stroking over my body? Hmmmm, that’s a tough one. It could go either way, but lately I’ve been all about the long, luscious kisses.
~Slow, tender lovemaking or slam me up against a door and take me? Dang. Both are good! I can’t pick.
~Do it to me in a comfy bed or on the kitchen counter? Comfy bed. The idea of the kitchen is awesome, but the reality just doesn’t interest me.
What begins as Clay’s first family vacation with his new wife quickly dives into disaster. He may be the submissive in their relationship, but he’s no shy violet. Bianca has taught him the quickest way to turn her on is a challenge, so he’s throwing down the gauntlet.
Bianca butts heads with not just her brothers but her husband when the family torturing begins. But the joke is on him. She’s ready to put him through the most erotic misery of all. In public, at a night club and all over the city, she’ll show him who is Dominant in their relationship until he’s screaming for more.
Their relaxing Paris vacation turns into a mad dash through the ancient streets, a competition of wills and a new exploration of what it takes to make their relationship work. From bondage, discipline and very public orgasms to navigating the Métro, family feuds and overcoming the language barrier, they’re going to redefine the word fun.
Clay’s feet squicked inside his tennis shoes. For all of a second he felt guilty for tracking mud and God only knew what else into the apartment, but someone had thoughtfully laid out newspaper and cardboard. Other, equally filthy shoes were lined up, as well as a few articles of clothing too soiled to wear any farther. He toed his shoes off and left them in the foyer. Bianca slammed the door shut and didn’t bother with removing her sneakers. She stomped down the hall to the tune of her family’s laughter and ignored their calls.
Today had not gone well.
That was an understatement.
It had been a wreck.
“There you are!”
“Hey, thought you guys would never make it in.”
“About time you showed up.”
The teasing jibes kept coming as Bianca passed the living room and stormed to their suite.
She was beyond angry.
Angry was a fire ant army out to take a pound of flesh.
Bianca was beyond that. Furious, enraged, those words fit her better, and he didn’t think he had it in him to care anymore. He’d changed from the sub he’d been three years ago who had no limits. He had them now, and being used as an emotional punching bag all day was a yard too far.
Clay paced slowly into the fray. The scent of stale water and excrement clung to his clothing. The sense of accomplishment from having completed the day’s challenges was dampened by the knowledge the rest of her family had finished in half the time and probably with a lot more cooperation from their spouses.
Kevin glanced up from the TV where the brothers were currently engaged in what appeared to be the latest multiplayer shooter game. “You look like shit.”
“Thanks.” Unlike his wife, their razing didn’t bother him. Who were they to him? Her family. Not his.
“Seriously, what took you guys so long?” Michael didn’t divert his attention from the action. He even managed to snag a handful of popcorn and shove it in his mouth without breaking stride.
A random assortment of snack foods littered the coffee table—cheese, crackers, chips, some cookies and even a bottle of wine. The empty plates attested to there being even more to offer at one time.
There was enough there to feed several people. Despite being exhausted, he itched to pack some of the food away.
Jason’s voice broke his concentration. “We missed you guys at dinner. Everything okay?” Unlike his brothers, Jason had paused the game and turned toward him. Michael and Kevin grumbled, but took the opportunity to shovel yet more food in their mouths.
“Yeah, took us longer than you guys. Where are the girls?” He glanced at the kitchen, but still no one.
“They went out shopping or to a show or something,” Michael replied and restarted the game.
The game ramped up and the three brothers began a flurry of attacking something. He’d never understood the appeal of video games, but he hadn’t been exposed to them until he was in high school, and by then other things had taken on more importance. Like finding an after-school job so he could have shoes without holes and jeans that fit.
He shuddered as a chill crept down his spine from the clinging, cold clothing and shook off the nervous tic as well. He’d left those days behind. “How did you guys get into the catacombs so fast? We waited almost two hours.”
Kevin snorted. “Oh fuck waiting.”
“We don’t wait, man. We offer the first people in line fifty bucks and skip the wait.” Michael glanced at him. “You didn’t seriously wait, did you?”
He grimaced. “Yeah, yeah we did.”
“Sucks to be you.” Michael laughed and focused on the game.
“Hey, do you want join in? We probably have a spare controller around here somewhere,” Jason offered.
“No thanks. I’m going to clean up. Tromping through those sewers was gross.”
He left the living room to a chorus of laughter, maybe directed at him or the game, he didn’t care.
Bianca had known her brothers would bribe and do whatever it took to win. That was their way and she hadn’t told him. He’d waited in line for two fucking hours while she gave him the silent treatment. They could have been strategizing, discussing how they wanted to play, learning the rules. But no. He had no way of playing with a full deck if she didn’t confide in him.
They were supposed to be a team.
A fucking team.
He pushed the door to the suite open and slammed it behind him. If she could slam doors, so could he.
Bianca jumped but did not turn around from where she stood at the foot of the bed. This was not the way things were supposed to be between them. Sure, B called the shots and he was comfortable in his role as her husband and submissive. He did not play the role of a carpet to be walked upon.
He ignored the instinct to kneel at the door, to wait for Bianca to present the collar and slip his necklace off. His knees tried to buckle, but he locked them in place. Instead he began removing his jacket and peeling off his shirt.
“I didn’t give you permission to undress,” Bianca snapped. Waspish behavior was unlike her. Even when she gave him pain she laughed and smiled.
“I don’t want your permission.” His voice was cold, foreign to his own ears. He wadded up his shirt and tossed it through the bathroom door where it plopped onto the tile.
Bianca turned to face him. She’d stripped down to her navy boyshort panties and matching camisole. The set was old, relatively speaking, but one of his favorites. The material had a silky sheen to it, and the lace was soft to the touch, not rough. Her firm breasts filled out the top and her nipples were visible through the fabric. Goose bumps rose on her flesh, and her damp, shoulder-length hair stuck to her face and hung in clumps.
She was beautiful, but not when her face was drawn and tight. Anger didn’t become her. Her makeup was smudged, streaked across her cheeks or completely gone, giving her something of a sad clown look. It ruined the ferocity of her flashing gaze and tight lips.
“What’s wrong with you? Is this some twisted plea for punishment? Because I’m not amused.”
He fisted his hands. He would never lay a finger on her in anger, but he wanted to do something to work the frustration out. “No, this is about you and your family, and keeping me in the dark.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You knew they would pay to cut in line and cheat.”
She rolled her eyes. “Yeah. They do. And where do you think that money comes from? My brothers spend months preparing and saving bribe money. We had one night. What are you willing to forgo to pay for this? Club membership? Wine club? Hockey tickets? Because to me, those are a lot more important than cutting in line.”
He pitched his voice to match her volume. “Why do you get to make that decision?”
“I thought I was the Dominant here.”
He stared at her, not seeing her but everything that was wrong with this situation. The lack of communication, their attitudes and most of all, the missing fun. They laughed and enjoyed themselves.
The years had built a level of intimacy between them, and now it was as if all that work had disappeared. “This, this isn’t like us. I don’t want this.”
Bianca’s gaze widened, glistening with sudden tears. Her lower lip trembled though she fought to hide it. Sorrow speared him. He didn’t want his wife to cry.
She threw up her hand when he took a step toward her. “What are you saying?”
“Christ, B, I don’t want to do this damn race if it’s going to fuck with our heads.”
She sank down on the edge of the bed, her shoulders slumped, and stared at the ground, or maybe her toes. He could hear her trembling breath, see the tension in the cords of her neck. Clay slid between her and the wardrobe to kneel in front of her and took her hands in his. She stared at the carpet, her face twisted into a painful mask.
Her fingers were cold to the touch. The stench still clung to their hair and skin, disgusting reminders of the failure of a day they’d had.
He pushed to his feet, Bianca’s gaze tracking him under the cover of her lashes. She might bust his balls, literally, for this whole fiasco, but he was her husband. He could bend the rules a little.
He scooped her up and settled her slight weight against his chest. The silky material was ice cold, her skin clammy.
She began to wiggle in his grasp. “What are—?”
“Let me take care of you. Please?” Though he spoke in an almost whisper, she stilled.
She didn’t respond, but she relaxed in his hold, leaning against his shoulder and curling her hand over his heart, not one protest on her lips.
He breathed a sigh of relief and edged around the bed, careful not to bang her knee on the wardrobe or clock her head against the bedpost. He set her down on the miniscule counter space in the bathroom and turned the shower on.
Bianca watched him, worry lining her brow and pinching her lips. Her green eyes appeared so much larger than normal. She was always so put together, the quintessential modern woman, and he admired her for all of her feminism and femininity.
“Let’s get you out of these clothes. They smell.” He ran his fingers along the lacy edge of her camisole covering her hips. “May I?”
She lifted her arms in silent permission. The stretchy fabric clung to her skin and had to be peeled off. She shivered and gripped the edge of the counter. She didn’t often allow him to undress her. He wished the circumstances were different, that he could enjoy the privilege.
When they’d first played within the confines of the club, he hadn’t understood how intimate the process of taking off this woman’s garments could be. In those first months she’d never allowed him to so much as remove her shoes.
“Do you remember the first time you gave me permission to undress you?” He studied her face as he lowered to his knees.
Her brows lifted and a crackle of lust zipped between them. Their relationship had still been new, going on barely five months officially when they took that first weekend trip. Before that, he’d been under her protection for close to a year and was elated they were finally at a more intimate place in their relationship. Though they’d checked in at a bed and breakfast, they’d snuck into a nearby hotel pool.
Under the cover of starlight, she’d instructed him to remove every stitch of her clothing.
She sucked in a breath. “Of course.”
He slid his hands into her silky panties. When they’d been at the pool, she’d leaned against a low wall.
He’d removed her underwear much like this, caressing her with his palms as he pushed them off. Like that long-ago night, she kept her legs closed and her pussy unavailable. Instead he kissed her knee and rested his chin against her while he knelt on the ground.
“That’s when I fell in love with you.”
She snorted. “I thought you fell in love with me the first time I locked up your balls?”
He laughed against her skin. “Okay, I fell in love with the Mistress then, but the woman later.”
~Giveaway: One e-copy of any of Sidney’s backlist books—winner’s choice!
~Do you believe in love at first sight? I believe it can be triggered at first sight and if it’s meant to be things can move very fast after that point.
~What is your favorite romantic film? Romancing the Stone. It’s that wonderful combination of romance and adventure, and the dream hero that she had written about so many times comes true. I still watch it over again whenever it’s on.
~Pick one of your own heroes and tell us how he’d celebrate Valentine’s Day with his heroine. Lennox Taskill (The Libertine) totally treasures his lady, Chloris. She civilizes him…almost. lol! I think he’d make her feel very special by taking her to a wild and beautiful Scottish glen and giving her all his loving attention. Ahem.
~If you could have a V-day date with the man of your dreams, who would it be? (We promise we won’t tell your husband/bf/partner). Alexander Skarsgard. (That promise better be sound. ;o)
~Chocolate or strawberries? Strawberries.
~Quiet V-day dinner at home with your sweetie, or champagne and caviar out on the town? Definitely out on the town.
~Lacy lingerie or bare naked? (you, not him!) I love my lacy lingerie but skin-on-skin would win out that one.
~Long, luscious kisses or his hand stroking over my body? Yes please! Alternating. :)
~Slow, tender lovemaking or slam me up against a door and take me? Slamming first, tender second. Oh, is wanting both too greedy? :)
~Do it to me in a comfy bed or on the kitchen counter? Kitchen counters are fun but a comfy bed offers so much more variety in the long run. ;)
The dark art of desire…
At a time when the cry of witchcraft leads to certain death, Jessie’s future looks bleak. Until one man offers her a way out of the gutter.
Gregor plans to mould Jessie into the perfect weapon: she will seduce and destroy his bitterest enemy.
But in a society where innocence is for fools, Gregor fails to predict the shattering impact of his own sudden, forbidden craving…
He closed the space between them in three strides. “Do not stop. Touch yourself again as you would for him, and let me see you.”
“But Sire…” Her head rolled and she cast her eyelids down. “I am thoroughly ashamed.”
The smell of her arousal was intoxicating. She was close to coming off. He had been so absorbed by the way she looked that he felt sorely deprived, but he would make her earn it. “You are not ashamed. You are nowhere near ashamed enough!”
Her head jolted up, her eyes wide. “You have forgotten your first rule, the one that you so cleverly stated earlier. This man must think you innocent and untouched, and yet I see blatant lust in your eyes.”
She shook her head vehemently, color staining her cheeks. No I…I did not mean to.”
He reached his hand over hers, crushing it to her puss. “Do it, but do it properly this time.”
She staggered back against the wall and looked up at him with round eyes, her cheeks flushed. Her hand began to work again and she bunched her skirts higher, tucking them under her elbow.
“I am so ashamed, Sire,” she whispered. “I cannot help myself. It is you that makes these fevers of longing come upon me.”
His cock was so hard it was painful, the need to plow her rising all the while. Through gritted teeth, he issued another instruction. “Try harder!”
She gasped, and when she moved her hands inside the cup of his, she swayed, her eyelids lowering. “Oh, Sire, you are able to feel how dreadful wet and wanting I am. I cannot bear the shame.”
Gregor inserted one of his fingers between hers and nodded at her, encouraging her. She moved her hips back and forth until that finger slipped easily into her hole.
He inhaled a ragged breath. She was so deliciously slippery that his cock pressed insistently at
his breeches. Then her flesh tightened around his finger and her mouth opened. He thrust his finger deeper and moved it around, learning her—learning the shape and texture of her, the intense heat, and how sensitive and responsive she was.
Her body welcomed his hardness, and their hands began to move as one, until she rocked her hips and the embrace of her flesh on his finger became crushing, and she grew wetter still as she neared her peak. She panted aloud and moved to steady herself by resting up against his
chest, her forehead against his shoulder. Her body trembled. ”Oh, oh…”
Her hips rolled, and she worked herself up and down on his finger, passionate and wholly feminine, sensual and lush. Gregor had no doubt that she could claim any man, no matter where his tastes lay. More skilled and lushly feminine than a courtesan she was, and devoid of
That did not excuse the fact that she thought herself beyond her instruction. She was about to come-off, but she had forgotten her task.
With his free hand he gripped her by the chin, forcing her to look at him. “Not innocent enough, my dear. Not by any means…”
“You look too brazen, too greedy and eager for a man to satisfy your needs.” And didn’t that make him all the more hard for her?
“I cannot help it.” She wriggled and shifted, attempting to play the part and break the easy stride she had gained. Instead she acted as if she was unsure what she was doing. Her cheeks flamed but it was not shame, nor innocence, it was sheer, demanding lust.
“No.” Gregor withdrew his hand. “You must not break with the picture you have created!”
She stared at him in disbelief, her lips parted.
With a wry laugh, he shifted her away from the chair. “Now you will see how serious I am.”
Sitting down on the chair he pulled her quickly to him, forcing her face down over his lap.
“Sire. Mister Ramsay!”
With one hand between her shoulder blades holding her in place, he hauled her skirts up and slapped her arse. The twin globes of her bottom bounced up in response, her body jolting.
“You are a cruel man,” she shot back at him. “I am on fire.” Any attempt she had been making to play the part had now fully departed, for she glared at him.
He slapped her again, several rounds, on both buttocks in quick succession. When he paused, the attractive curve of her rump and the heat coming off her made him realize that there was, apparently, no easy remedy to this, for everything he did only seemed to pleasure her more and make his own situation more dire. It was only the thought that his enemy would be totally unable to resist her that forced him on.
“I see no blushing innocent here,” he declared, with no small amount of relish as he rang another sting through her soft flesh.
She clenched her fists and pummeled his thigh angrily, but her arse lifted higher still. He landed another slap on each buttock, noting with satisfaction how her pale flesh showed the imprint of his hand, and how her moans grew more wanton.
“Still you sound brazen and demanding. You are like a bitch in heat.”
“Damn you,” she hissed over her shoulder, “I am trying, but you are making my situation even worse.”
Gregor restrained comment, and for a moment he considered leaving her on the edge of release for the rest of the day, in order to make her earn it by getting it right, but for some reason he couldn’t quite muster that level of persuasion. Instead, he stroked his hand over the soft curve of her buttock.
The flesh trembled and her head lowered, her posture submissive once more. Gregor smiled to himself for he sensed they had reached a level of understanding at last.
~Giveaway: A signed copy of The Harlot!
~Do you believe in love at first sight? Absolutely. The first time my husband smiled at me, I was a goner.
~What is your favorite romantic film? Ooh, there are so many. I’d have to pick Serendipity because it’s so weird and I love weird. Oh, or A Walk in the Clouds.
~Pick one of your own heroes and tell us how he’d celebrate Valentine’s Day with his heroine. I’m going to go with Mike from Let Me Count the Ways. First, I think he’d rent out a small theater for a private screening of a compilation film he’s put together–scenes from some of her best performances and most critically acclaimed movies. Then they’d drive up to Mulholland Drive for a moonlight picnic overlooking the city. It’s where they went on their first date…well, sort of. And the place holds a lot of memories for them both. Afterwards, he’d take her home and treat her to a full-body, hot-stone massage. Then they’d re-enact some of his favorite scenes from her movies–the ones that didn’t make it into the compilation!
~Which of your heroes is the most romantic? Which is the least? And he’d better have a good explanation! Most romantic…gee, I don’t know. I think most of them are pretty damn romantic. Mike and Sam from my Oberon series probably top the list. I’d have to say Conrad from the Children of Night series is probably the least. You might think, after 1200 years, he’d have learned a thing or two about romance, but not so much. Truth is, he’s screwed up so many times when it comes to love and relationships that I think he’s totally gun-shy at this point. But, on the other hand, he spend hundreds of years changing the course of vampire history, in order to make the world a better place for his lover. If that’s not romantic, I don’t know what is. lol!
~If you could have a V-day date with the man of your dreams, who would it be? (We promise we won’t tell your husband/bf/partner). lol! Sorry, I’d really rather spend it with my husband than anyone else.
~Chocolate or strawberries? Do chocolate dipped strawberries count?
~Quiet V-day dinner at home with your sweetie, or champagne and caviar out on the town? I’d have to go for dinner out, as I’m the only one of us who adores champagne and caviar and it would be nice for him to have something to eat as well.
~Lacy lingerie or bare naked? (you, not him!) Lingerie. I don’t have enough of it. We can both get naked later.
~Long, luscious kisses or his hand stroking over my body? Kisses! Three can never be enough kisses.
~Slow, tender lovemaking or slam me up against a door and take me? Uh…both? Depends on my mood.
~Do it to me in a comfy bed or on the kitchen counter? Same as above although I must admit I’m partial to my bed. Or maybe I just don’t have the right kitchen!
Now Comes the Night, Children of the Night, Book 3
Home is where the heart bleeds.
Growing up, vampire-born twins Julie and Marc Fischer were taught one simple fact of life: you can choose your food, but not your family. Six months after moving to San Francisco, though, the new challenges and choices each are facing are a Gordian knot of complicated.
Marc must decide whether to stay with Conrad and Damian, the only family he’s ever known, or embrace his destiny and the unexpected family—the ferals—that comes along with it. Meanwhile, Julie is forced to deal with the unpleasant realization that the man she loves isn’t necessarily the man who’s best for her.
For Conrad and Damian, the holiday season is stirring up bittersweet memories, and neither can keep from revisiting past passion and pain.
Faced with new mysteries to solve, new alliances to forge, new secrets to keep, and old relationships to rebuild, it’s no wonder the Fischer-Quintano vampires long for the good old days—when food was food and family was all that mattered.
If you’ve previously suffered from Disco Fever, this book could precipitate a relapse. Extreme care is recommended for anyone with a pronounced weakness for mistletoe, fang play, pretty young men of either species or extremely dangerous alpha-male vampire single dads. May contain trace amounts of polyester.
The sun had finally set. Conrad didn’t have to pull aside the drapes to know that was the case, he didn’t even have to open his eyes or stir from his bed. He felt it in every cell of his body. He felt it in the faint easing of electromagnetic pressure as the solar rays were deflected off into space, in the slight cooling of the atmosphere—sweet, blessed benediction. Most particularly, he felt it in the incipient hunger that was just beginning to gnaw at the edges of his consciousness.
While no more than a mild, almost pleasurable ache at present, the hunger was what would all too soon draw him out into the night in search of sustenance. For the moment, his hunger was mostly quiescent. His world was calm, peaceful and as close to perfect as anything he’d known in many years.
He stretched contentedly, enjoying the slight protest in his powerful muscles. When his limbs brushed against the sleep-warmed body of another, he paused, allowing all the seemingly disparate little details to coalesce within his mind and blossom into full awareness. The soft cadence of another man’s breath. The steady thud of a familiar heartbeat. Damian.
Conrad eased himself onto his side and propped his head on his hand so that he might better observe his lover. Damian lay on his back with one arm stretched above his head, his long, dark hair spread out across the pillow. His eyes were closed. His handsome features were in repose. His lips, from which Conrad had received more kisses than either of them could ever hope to remember at this point, were slightly parted, hinting at the possibility of more kisses to be had. Conrad smiled. An eternity of kisses, all his for the taking.
Still asleep, my love? Well. This was a momentous occasion then—for several reasons. It marked the first time since Conrad had had him in his bed again that Damian had not been the first of them to awaken. The first time since being injured that Conrad had managed to sleep until full dark and not been immediately and dangerously ravenous upon awakening. It was the first hopeful sign he’d had to indicate that his strength was returning, that his disordered nervous system was finding its balance and starting to heal. That he might yet recover from last summer’s ordeal.
Given that it was Damian who was largely responsible for his recovery, it was also another debt to be added to the vast amount Conrad already owed him. A debt it would be his great pleasure to repay.
Conrad slid his hand across Damian’s midsection, thrilling not just to the sweet sensation of bare skin, warm and alive beneath his palm, but also to the joy and amazement of knowing he was, once again, entirely within his right to do so. He could give his hand free rein tonight, let it roam wherever it pleased and play however it liked.
Moving his hand to Damian’s chest, Conrad lightly flicked one of the gold rings piercing Damian’s nipples.
Damian stirred. A slight frown furrowed his brows then his dark eyes fluttered open. A faint trace of alarm registered for just an instant in his expression, and then it was gone again. His gaze, when it oriented on Conrad’s face, gave nothing away. “You’re awake already.”
Even mostly asleep, Damian still managed to keep the surprise from his voice. Conrad envied him his control and yet, at the same time, he could not resist the urge to try and shake it. He nodded. “I am.”
“Are you all right? Nothing’s happened has it?”
“No, everything’s fine.” Conrad gave the little gold ring a final flick. “I’ve merely been lying here for the past several minutes, watching as you slept and contemplating a most interesting question, one that’s only just occurred to me.”
“Really?” Damian eyed him curiously. “What question is that?”
“I’ve been wondering with what other piercings I might wish to see your body adorned.”
Damian raised one eyebrow. “As I recall, you said once you didn’t care for such things.”
Conrad shrugged. “I’m allowed to change my mind, aren’t I?”
A wry smile played across Damian’s lips. “Indeed. Who would dare try and stop you?” He lifted his hand from the pillow and caressed Conrad’s face. “So, might I ask what ideas you’ve come up with?”
In answer, Conrad let his hand trail slowly down the length of Damian’s torso, enjoying the way his muscles rippled in response. He wrapped his hand securely around Damian’s erection and smiled menacingly. “I was thinking…here perhaps.”
Damian’s eyes widened at the implication. A faint flush colored his cheeks. “You’re joking.”
“Why would you think that?” Conrad squeezed gently. The organ in question jerked lightly within his grasp. “You know I’ve always loved to see you wearing my mark. Just imagine it.” He drew his thumb in slow, lazy circles all around the slick crown then asked, “Well? What do you think of the idea?”
Damian grimaced faintly. “I think it’s not the kind of question one should decide after only several minutes contemplation.”
~Giveaway: $10 gift card!
And Now a Few Books From the Smutketeers!
From the Author of The Dark Garden
comes another scorching BDSM romance.
When her best friend takes her to a BDSM club in San Francisco Devin Delaney meets the beautiful, mysterious and commanding Shaye Vincent. The wealthy, enigmatic man takes her on a journey into the darker side of sex, and it’s addictive. He’s addictive.
At Sanctuary Devin’s kinkiest fantasies—and her emotions—shift into overdrive. But she’ll have to face old demons in order to give up control, and Shaye will have to walk through his own darkness. Can pain and desire bring them together? Or will it tear them apart?
Sensual, seductive and deeply moving—If you liked the Fifty Shades trilogy, you’ll fall in love with Sanctuary.
Lights pulsed, music pounded, and Devin’s heart hammered faster than it ever had in her life. How had she let Kimmie talk her into coming here, to the Ring, on fetish night? She’d never seen anything like it.
She’d never imagined she would love it.
Hundreds of club-goers pressed against the sturdy metal railing that surrounded the Ring, the loft section of Club X, one of the hottest dance clubs in San Francisco, where unusual and wicked things happened every Friday night. Things she had heard about, maybe even dreamed about, but had never seen. Until now.
She had to get closer.
Devin followed Kimmie’s sleek, dark head as she pushed her way through the crowd, somehow finding her way, even though at just over five feet tall she couldn’t possibly have seen where she was going.
All around them multicolored lights flashed against dark red walls and into the shadowed alcoves where club-goers rested on velvet-covered couches and couples were locked in erotic embraces, oblivious to the crowd and the noise.
They were almost up to the front. All around her people writhed and bounced to the beat that reverberated through the club, making the floors tremble until she could feel it in the pit of her stomach.
When they reached the railing, Kimmie pulled on Devin’s arm.
Devin shook her head. “It’s okay. I can see from here,” she yelled.
“I’m fine right here,” she repeated more loudly.
Kimmie grinned, shook her head and shoved Devin in front of her.
“Kimmie!”Devin shouted over her shoulder, laughing. Then she felt the metal rail press against her stomach as the crowd surged forward.
In an instant her eyes were riveted to the scene before her, the strange, compelling scene within the Ring.
Chains dangled from somewhere high in the ceiling, ending in leather cuffs with big metal buckles. Against the back wall stood three enormous wooden crosses, each in the shape of a giant ‘x’. And bound to these crosses were two women, one man. The man had his shirt off, and a woman dressed all in black with hair dyed an impossibly bright scarlet was hitting his back with a small, multi-tailed flogger, raising fine red welts on his skin. With every slow, even stroke of the flogger the crowd called out, urging her on, making goose bumps rise on Devin’s arms, on the back of her neck.
But what really interested her were the women.
The two young blondes were stripped down to their underwear, both in black bras and g-strings. They faced the crosses, their arms raised high over their heads, their wrists cuffed and attached to eyebolts embedded in the wood. A pair of men spanked them with paddles in perfect synchronicity, moving with the beat of the heavy techno music.
Something in her stirred, awoke with a sharp cry of need as she watched. Amazing. Amazing that seeing this happen could make her body respond in this way. Amazing that she had never thought about this sort of thing before.
Or had she? She knew what the floggers were called, and she’d agreed to come here with Kimmie easily enough. A night out at a club, her friend had said, with maybe a little extra thrill. This was thrilling, alright. Even more than the erotic novels she’d read. But that was just fiction, wasn’t it? It didn’t mean she actually wanted to do those things any more than reading a mystery novel meant she wanted to be a cop hunting down a serial killer.
Except that she was there, on the edge of the Ring, and her pulse was racing, her legs trembling as heat gathered between her thighs.
She pulled in a deep breath, exhaled slowly as she watched.
The two men, dressed entirely in black, wore leather pants and snug T-shirts. Their attention was focused on the pair of women, their backs to the crowd. And when they smacked the women’s flesh a cry rose from the wild group of onlookers. The music shifted and the men worked faster, in time with the new rhythm. Devin saw the ripple of muscles beneath their tight T-shirts as they lifted their arms and swung. The sound of the crowd became one long, continuous arc of noise. She could feel the aura of excitement all around her as the crowd fed it, fed her, making her pulse hammer in her veins. She couldn’t take her eyes away from the scene before her.
Kimmie yelled into her ear, “What do you think?”
All Devin could do was shake her head. What could she say? It was too loud in there to try to explain to Kimmie everything going through her mind.
“Do you want to go?” her friend asked.
“What? No!” She wasn’t going anywhere.
She turned for a moment, and found a wide grin on Kimmie’s face, her gray eyes sparkling.
Devin smiled, shook her head a little. “Yes, really.”
Kimmie shrugged and Devin focused again on the action in the Ring.
The two men finished and released the girls from their restraints, rubbed their arms, their wrists, took them to a back corner and sat them down on a bench. A girl with short, dark hair and dressed in a red leather corset wrapped the women in blankets and gave them something to drink. Devin watched, mesmerized by the entire process. One of the men disappeared through a side door. The other turned around and a shock of heat roared through her.
He was beautiful.
Even in the flashing club lights she could see the honeyed shade of his skin. His hair was a short, spiky shock of brown tipped with blond, as though he’d recently been in the sun. His close-shaven goatee, a few shades darker than his hair, made him look purely devilish. It was too dim and he was too far away for her to see his eyes, but from where she stood they were dark, glittering. His gaze roved over the wild crowd and he gave them a crooked grin and a saucy wink, as though he was very much aware that he was performing—he probably was. And then he pulled his shirt off over his head.
She only had a moment to take in broad, muscled shoulders and tight six-pack abs, heavy tattoos around both biceps, before he turned around and started to pick up some items scattered around the floor, setting them on a wooden rack: a crop, the two paddles he and the other man had used, a variety of multi-tailed whips and canes, a few small metal tools. Devin wasn’t sure what everything was called. All she knew for certain was that this man made her entire body surge with need.
If only he would turn around again.
When he did, he looked right at her. Even among a crowd of hundreds, she knew it immediately. He watched her, and flashed that small, cocky smile he’d given the crowd of revelers before. But this time it was for her alone.
He moved forward toward the front of the Ring until he stood right in the center of it. He stopped there, stared at her, locking his gaze on hers. Her stomach filled with butterflies, wings fluttering madly. She couldn’t believe he was looking at her, but the line of his gaze was perfectly clear.
She licked her suddenly dry lips. Her nipples went hard beneath her tight, stretchy top. It seemed his dark gaze traveled there instantly, to almost caress her skin before returning to her face. That self-assured smile appeared again, quirking just one corner of his mouth. Unbelievably sexy. Lust sang in her veins. She could hardly believe that having him look at her—just look at her!—was making her go wet.
The tattoos, the wicked goatee, him standing in the middle of this place, shirtless and beautiful…he was the ultimate bad boy, a satyr come to life. She’d never before been so attracted to a man. The hot flood of music and the colored lights only seemed to add to the sensual aura as he stared her down, daring her somehow.
He beckoned with his head, his grin quirking a little more. Yes, daring her to join him in the Ring.
She couldn’t do it, of course, no matter that every cell in her body screamed at her to go to him, to have this man touch her.
He moved toward her, approached the railing and put his hand out to her.
She blinked, offered her hand to him before she had a chance to think about it. He took it in his, turned it and laid a soft kiss in the center of her palm. A wave of raw desire rushed through her body like liquid fire.
He leaned in and yelled over the music, his deep voice booming over the noise of the club. “I’m Shaye. Tell me your name.”
God, he was talking to her.
“Come play with me, Devin.”
She pulled back and saw that evil grin on his face. He had perfect white teeth, and she could see now that his eyes were a dark, smoky hazel, with long, thick lashes.
“No, I…I can’t.”
“Of course you can. Just say yes.”
He still held onto her hand. His was large and warm, the contact like an electrical current running up her arm and straight to her sex. But she couldn’t bring herself to do what these people did in the Ring.
She felt dizzy suddenly with the possibility. This wasn’t her. She was no innocent virgin, but this was too much. Too intense, too wild. And she couldn’t do what those girls had done—give up all control to another person. Control was how she kept her life together, on track. Control was her strength. She’d come to watch, not to participate. And she wouldn’t even be there if it weren’t for Kimmie dragging her along tonight. She glanced around. Where was Kimmie?
But he was leaning in again, until his mouth was warm against her ear. “Come and play with me, little Devin. You know you want to. I can feel it from here.”
His voice was a low purr. Sexy as hell, like everything else about him. And he was close enough that she could smell him: a little bit of clean male sweat mixed with some earthy fragrance. Sandalwood? She allowed herself to take one long inhale, savoring the scent of him. It made her shivery and hot inside. It made her confused.
“I can’t. Really. I’m…I’m here with my friend. I have to go find her.”
“Come back, then. Later tonight. Any night.”
She started to shake her head. He tucked a card into her free hand.
“This is my cell. Call me if you’d ever like to play. Here. Or wherever. I want to see you.”
She looked up at him and the grin was gone. His gaze was hot, burning right through her. He lifted her hand and kissed it again, sending a lovely shiver through her system once more, and she had a moment to glance at the heavy tribal bands around his biceps—Maori work, from the look of it. She did love a man with tattoos. And tattoos on this man…
The woman with the bright red hair came and tapped him on the shoulder, said something into his ear. He waved her off.
“I have to get back to work. Call me, Devin. Come and see me here. Promise me you will.”
“I don’t know…”
He hadn’t let go of her hand. He gave it a small squeeze. Her pulse raced, hot and fast as lightning.
He scared the hell out of her.
She wanted him so much it hurt.
“You will.” His devastating grin spread across his face. He took a step back, dropped her hand, took another step before turning around and walking to the back of the Ring.
Sanctuary is available for purchase HERE!
In the Big Easy, there’s a legend women long for: a sexual voodoo spirit who can fulfill their darkest fantasies. And in these three steaming-hot novellas, he helps three New Orleans couples achieve the ultimate satisfaction…
In Release Me, Allegra heads down to New Orleans to heal her wounds, but she never expects to lose her heart to such a quiet, troubled man as Rousseau. She’s even less prepared for the scorching, sexual spirit within him-and what he can do to her…
In Reclaim Me, Ben has loved Michelle as long as he can remember. But his beautiful artist has a way of running away from life-and what the pair could be. Leave it to the infamous spirit to help Ben prove to Michelle where she belongs: in his embrace…
In Redeem Me, it’s All Saints’ Day, the one day the voodoo spirit can walk the world in the flesh. When he bumps into Bethany, she might just be the reincarnation of a girl he once loved. Passion ignites, but can the couple overcome past mistakes and have a real chance at love?
“Him? Oh, baby girl, are you sure? Haven’t you heard
the stories? What they call him? The man is trouble. By that I mean I’d do him, and you know what bad taste I have in men.”
A few curious tourists eating at the table beside them raised their eyebrows at Michelle’s overloud reaction to her plan, and Allegra grinned in spite of her nerves. She probably shouldn’t have invited Michelle out to lunch at their favorite po’boy shop to ex- plain it.
Witnesses wouldn’t save her from her roommate’s vocal, if humorous, disapproval. At least the food was comforting. And filling. She pushed away from the table, half of the giant seafood sandwich left uneaten. “Personally, I can’t believe you haven’t.”
“What? Done him?” Michelle held her hands up and shook her head, chocolate curls bouncing with her vehemence. “He’s easy on the eyes, true enough, but that man has a monkey on his back. A giant, climb-the-Empire-State-Building-and-swat-at-airplanes kinda monkey.”
Allegra snorted, her sweet tea nearly going up her nose while Michelle shuddered dramatically. “No. He’s not for me. And I don’t think he’s for you either, Allegra. No matter how big a risk taker you are.”
Allegra smiled again. This was one of the reasons she’d moved to New Orleans. She needed her friend, even if they disagreed. She needed a little laughter in her life. Someone to tell all her secrets to. Okay. Most of her secrets to.
Since the accident, her family back in Houston acted as though she were an invalid with one foot in the grave. She wasn’t their Allegra anymore. To her it seemed they could barely look at her, and they spoke in those hushed tones reserved for terminal patients and funeral homes. It was like a never-ending wake.
Michelle, on the other hand, treated her the same way she had when they’d shared a dorm at the University of Texas. Back when Allegra was a wild, carefree youth who wasn’t afraid to take chances, to live. Back when she was whole. So when Michelle called and mentioned her roommate had moved out and taken a job in North Carolina, Allegra jumped at the chance to start again. Before she let her family’s concern overtake her determination to heal. To have a life again.
Michelle was right about one thing; he did look like trouble. Lucifer the fallen angel himself. Too beautiful not to be a sin. Celestin Dias Rousseau. It was a mouthful of a name for the mouth-watering man who owned the small coffee shop across the street from her and Michelle’s apartment.
The man she was going to seduce. Luring men into having sex had never been one of her pastimes, even before the accident. But for the last few months Rousseau had become Allegra’s obsession.
Who was she kidding? She’d been hooked from the first morning she’d laid eyes on the man.
Her physical therapist in Houston had left her with strict instructions not to overdo, but not to let her leg muscles weaken any further from disuse either. So as soon as she’d arrived in town she’d taken to walking through the French Quarter early in the morning. Oh there were still people milling about, there always were, but in the morning it was a different crowd.
Workers unloaded trucks to replenish the bars and restaurants that had been drained dry by the influx of tourists and business- men. Artists, psychics, and performers staked out their places on the sidewalk, ready for the crowds that were their bread and but- ter. Crowds that, according to Michelle, were finally coming back after the nightmare of Hurricane Katrina.
Allegra had pushed too hard that morning—had it only been six weeks ago?—leaning heavily on her ridiculous cane, her skin covered in sweat as if she’d run a marathon rather than walked a few simple blocks. She could see the apartment. She only had to cross one narrow street and climb one steep flight of stairs. It might as well have been Mount Everest.
She’d lowered herself carefully onto the curb in front of a shop that smelled of espresso beans and chocolate. It was as good a place to live as any, she’d thought, closing her eyes and focusing on slowing her heart rate. All she needed was a cold drink and a pillow, and she’d pay whatever curbs were going for these days.
“I have an extra iced coffee with your name on it.”
The voice had slid down her spine like a rough tongue, instantly making her think of late nights and sweat-soaked sex.
Sultry, with just enough edge to put her hibernating libido on red alert.
Allegra fanned herself dramatically. “Don’t lie to a dying woman.”
They’d laughed softly together and she shielded her eyes with her hand, looking up with a friendly smile at the warrior god who was handing her a coffee.
He was perfect.
Light cocoa skin and full lips framed by a closely trimmed goatee that saved his face from being too pretty. His body, however, was all male; thick thighs, lean arms roped with muscle and tribal tattoos, the hand holding the to-go cup so big she actually shivered. And those eyes. Hazel, heavy-lidded, long-lashed. The writer in her was inspired. Smoky eyes. Bedroom eyes. Brooding. Unless you wrote romance, how often did you get to use those words?
His hair fell in thick dreadlocks to his waist, tied back loosely with what looked like an extra apron tie. Allegra nearly melted into the concrete at the sight.
In high school, when her friends had all gone insane for the rock-and-roll hair bands, she’d never understood it. No male should have prettier or longer hair than she did. But he’d done it. This stranger had made long hair—knotted hair—sexy. She’d wanted to grip it and pull his lean, broad-shouldered body closer, to study every line of his face and the tattoo she noticed peeking out from the neckline of his white T-shirt. To kiss him, before he’d even told her his name.
He’d handed her the coffee, free of charge, and they exchanged a few sentiments about the weather before he abruptly left her to go back inside, the line at the cash register grabbing his attention.
The next day there’d been a small table and chair beside the café, just for her. It had quickly become a ritual between them.
She, sweaty and wrung out from her morning workout; he, cool and devastatingly attractive, if distant. But every day she came back, hoping for more. For conversation. For flirting. For some- thing. She’d never drunk so much coffee in her life.
Like Michelle said, she’d heard the talk. Noticed that his morning crowd was mostly made up of women. And those women would speak in loud, giggling whispers about him as they walked by her table. They would say he knew the right words to heal, and his touch could melt even the coldest heart. And sex with him? Sex with him was a blessing from Marie Laveau herself. According to them, he was the love doctor of the Big Easy.
That’s what they called him. A walking, talking, well-hung plea- sure factory who, with a few easy orgasms, could bring you what- ever your heart desired. Your boyfriend would propose, your boss would give you a raise. Rumor had it he could even heal your scars, inside and out. If you satisfied his lust.
The conversations were confusing, since they didn’t seem to jibe with her own observations of Rousseau. With her, Rousseau was solicitous but shy. And always respectful. Maybe she wasn’t his type, though sometimes she thought she saw something in his eyes. Lust. For her. And it gave her hope.
She could be mistaking desire for pity or heartburn, but she didn’t think so. She couldn’t be wrong. Her feelings were far too intense to be one-sided.
Yes. He was trouble. But it was exactly the kind of trouble she wanted. After a year of being resigned to the life of a shut-in, the wild thing in her wanted to come out and play. And it only wanted to play with him.
Available for sale on Amazon
My very FIRST book available to the public was actually an 11K Valentine’s story that I wrote as a free read for the Romance Divas first Ebook Challenge. It was picked up by EC a couple of months later, but it doesn’t LOOK like a Valentine’s story so I thought I’d toss it back out here. (I love this little story–it was my first foray into BDSM and was my one and only CAPA Award nominee so far.) NOW YOU KNOW! Go forth and read!
Once upon a time, Grace loved a dominant man. But when Jared asked for more than she was ready to give, she ran away. And paid dearly for thirty years.
Now a birthday wish has landed her in the past and back in Jared’s bed, and this time there’s nothing she won’t do for him.
But there’s a catch. The clock is ticking on Grace’s youthful new body and she has only a few hours to explore the erotic delights of her own submission with Jared and his best friend Alec before the clock strikes twelve, returning her to a lonely future. How stupid to wish for just one more night—she should have gone for happily ever after!
Fortunately, fairy godmothers usually have contingency plans…
She’d already washed her hair and shaved her legs and underarms when she heard the door open. Tensing with excitement, she expected Jared to step into the shower with her, but he dawdled over ripping into some sort of packaging and running water in the sink, humming under his breath the whole time.
Then his voice came to her through the curtain. “Princess, bend over until the spray is hitting your lower back, then spread your feet and brace your hands against the wall beneath the showerhead.”
Confused and a bit anxious, Grace followed his instructions, waiting breathlessly for his next move. She didn’t have to wait long. The brass rings supporting the shower curtain clinked over the rod as he pushed it forward and stepped in behind her. She wanted to look at him but didn’t dare when they were in Master/Princess mode.
A couple of metallic thumps told her he’d set something on the edge of the tub before the curtain closed once more, and then his calloused hands slid over her hips. His thick, hard cock pressed against her ass when he leaned over her back, blocking the spray. “Have you had an enema before?”
Her breath caught in her throat. “No sir.”
Somehow that wasn’t quite how she’d envisioned spending any part of her very limited time with him.
“I didn’t require it when I fucked you here before,” he rumbled, anchoring her against his chest with an arm around her waist. His other hand drifted down until his fingers teased the crease between her buttocks. “But since we’re having company this time, I thought maybe we should do a little spring cleaning.”
His angular feet looked huge between hers, and Grace bit her lip as she watched rivulets of water wind down his muscular calves. She should not be turned on by what Jared was suggesting. Really. It was the silky steel of his thighs rubbing against hers and the rough fingertips grazing her sensitive folds that were making her squirm inside, the scent of wet, masculine flesh making her suck in air like she’d just finished a marathon.
Skin hunger. God, how had she lived so long without the primal satisfaction of skin on skin? She was starved for it, aching for it, and suddenly nothing mattered but the compulsion to push back into him, to feel his hands all over her body.
“How do you feel about that, Princess?”
Grace blinked and heat surged into her cheeks when she remembered what he was talking about. “Does it really matter…sir?”
“Of course it does.” His tongue trailing between her shoulders drew a shiver from her. “It may not change the outcome, but I’d like to know ahead of time if you’re going to freak.”
When she didn’t answer, Jared’s fingers dipped into her vagina and Grace choked back a moan. Unfortunately, they didn’t stay long but instead spread the embarrassing flood of slick moisture back over her anus.
“Awfully quiet,” he murmured. That was the only warning she got before his finger forged into her. She went up on her toes with a moan, her nails scratching at the cold tile. Chills rose on her arms as he twisted deeper, and she burned with both embarrassment and arousal at the sensation of being probed.
“You still haven’t told me how you feel about the spring cleaning, Princess.”
“I’m not really in a chatty mood right now, sir,” she told him through clenched teeth, provoking a chuckle.
“You’re already due a punishment. Don’t make me add to it. And no coming,” he added. “That’s for later.”
There was no holding back her groan of dismay. How much later? she wanted to whine. But Jared had no idea how profoundly she needed him already, much less that there was a stopwatch running on their time together, and she couldn’t very well tell him. Steeling herself against the searing pleasure of his explorations, she watched the water swirling past their feet and imagined it was an icy mountain stream.
That might have worked if Jared hadn’t eased his hold on her waist and brushed his fingers over her clit.
“No fair!” she hissed at him.
“Did I give you permission to address me?”
“I was talking to myself, sir, not addressing you.”
“Somebody’s developed a very smart mouth in the space of one morning.”
Grace would have laughed then if her need weren’t so critical. God, if only he knew.
“You’re not going to freak, are you?”
Although he sounded pretty certain, Grace shook her head emphatically. She’d lived the last half of her life steeped in bitter regret over things she’d left unsaid and undone, at the trust he’d earned but she’d failed to give, and she wasn’t about to hold anything back now. For better or worse, Jared was getting all there was to have of Grace Hendrick. She belonged to him, body and soul, for the next eleven-plus hours.
“That’s my girl,” he praised, pressing a lingering kiss on her shoulder. Then he withdrew from her and aimed the showerhead at the wall before turning her to face him. “But first things first.”
She wasn’t the least bit surprised when he picked up a can of shaving cream from the edge of the tub and squirted a mound of white foam into his palm. Crouching, he spread it over her neatly trimmed bush. Then he reached back and produced a wicked-looking straightedge razor.
Grace’s hand flew to cover her crotch. Questioning him probably wasn’t the sensible thing to do, but she couldn’t help it. “There’s a perfectly good safety razor on the caddy,” she said tentatively.
He studied her face for a moment. “Do you trust me, Grace?”
Tears sprang to her eyes and she removed her hand without a word.