Welcome our friend Lea Griffith and her debut book with Loveswept! Do you love a great contemporary romance? Do you love one with some HOT kink? Of course you do!!! Which means, you’re gonna love Lea’s latest release, TOO MUCH! Let’s take a peek…
In Lea Griffith’s Loveswept debut, a novel that’s perfect for erotic romance readers, two lovers who have shared exquisite pain and unforgettable bliss find solace back in each other’s arms.
Jeremiah Copeland and Daly Edwards have a history. Even though he grew up a criminal struggling to care for two younger siblings, and she’s the pampered daughter of a power-hungry senator, they formed a bond that nothing could break. Only a lack of trust ripped them apart.
Seven years later, Daly has reason to believe that Jeremiah’s brother is in trouble. She reaches out to Jeremiah the only way she knows how: at his BDSM club, The Underground. But one look ignites a heat she thought had cooled forever. As Jeremiah takes control of her body once again, Daly quickly loses control of her carefully rebuilt world. Too much has never been enough between them, and as danger swirls in the shadows, Jeremiah forces Daly to recognize what has never changed: She still loves him. His command is that she return her heart—and he will make her obey.
The song’s beat was hard and heavy, and like the darkened club, it made her vibrate with need. So many things she’d tried to forget, yet every pulse of the music pushing through the big black speakers above her had Daly’s heart squeezing and thumping, slow and deliberate. It was incredibly erotic how her blood moved in time with the music, tripping along with the notes and breaking like waves in her veins. Heat settled in her stomach, drifted lower, and she squeezed her thighs together. She would have fallen had she not been leaning on a chair. Every shift on her stiletto heels brought a mild panic that only served to increase her need.
Forms moved sinuously on the dance floor, touching and pulling apart, melding and spinning away. Her gaze took it all in—the flashing strobe lights and the dim corners, the bodies writhing all about. Muscles rippled, hips flexed, and heads were thrown back in either ecstasy or pain. Maybe one heightening the other until it was a combination of the two.
It was Friday night and The Underground was loud and raucous, much more so than she’d imagined. The members-only exclusive dungeon was a haven for those seeking pleasures of the extreme variety. Bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and kink of all varieties were served up under the watchful eyes of the dungeon monitors situated throughout the establishment. Jeremiah Copeland had created a sanctuary for people who enjoyed their sex with a side of spice. People just like him.
Daly shivered, felt the sensation echo in her soul, and wondered if the last three years had changed him.
Her gaze touched on the gorgeous layout of the BDSM club. Everything about it reflected the dark desires of the man who owned it. There was a long, wooden bar along almost the entire length of the left wall, and several leather couches sat in clusters throughout the main room. There was also a large dance floor made of the same deeply golden wood as the bar; strobe lights from the ceiling ricocheted off its shine. Intricate iron sconces were placed at precise intervals along the walls and two life-sized iron birdcages hung from the vaulted ceilings, each holding a single woman dressed in a burgundy corset, fishnet stockings, and nothing else. They danced erotically with the intent to seduce.
Daly cleared her throat. She’d never stepped foot in this club before tonight, and still, memories taunted her. She had loved dancing with him, the man she was here to see. The feel of his hands on her waist, the shift of his body against hers. His breath in her ear, the taste of him on her tongue.
She drew in a rough breath and forced herself to concentrate. Three years was a long time to be apart. Surely time enough for her to have gotten over this kind of visceral reaction, yet fear of that very thing had been agonizing her this entire week.
The only sounds that could be heard above the music were those of leather floggers meeting flesh, the snap of whips, the jingle of chains, and pleas for release. It was harsh but enticing at the same time.
“You’ve been standing there for twenty minutes.”
The voice made her straighten her spine and its dangerous tone had Daly clenching her fists. But the man behind her, while important, wasn’t the man she’d come here to see.
“I’ll stand here for twenty, a hundred, a thousand more if need be,” she warned.
“I’m sure every man here would appreciate that. But he won’t.”
She turned her head at that, encountering a familiar brown gaze but barely recognizing the man she’d grown up idolizing.
“What happened to your face, Toby?”
He shrugged. “Got cut, Daly.”
She snorted and turned back to watch the dance floor. The beat changed to something even slower and more intense, calling to the wildness that prowled under her skin.
Daly heard Toby’s sigh and wanted to smile. He was her brother; at one time he’d been her best friend. Now he was a stranger with a scarred face and no patience. It was heartening somehow to know Toby’s tolerance hadn’t changed.
She glanced around, searching for him. Was he even here? What the hell would she do if he was involved in play with a submissive? She hadn’t thought this through very well.
Her gaze snagged on a couple in the farthest corner. They were playing, and their scene stopped Daly’s breath. The woman stood bound with black rope to a wooden Saint Andrew’s cross. The thought of being bound was enough to titillate some, but the act itself, giving over complete control to a Dom, letting him bind her body and will with his rope, had been Daly’s undoing in the past.
For just a moment it was Daly’s small frame crisscrossed by the ropes and highlighted by the large X at her back. It was her long, brown hair peeking from under the bloodred hood. It was her pale, slender back wearing the marks from her Dom’s flogger. It was her hoarse pleas floating on the air.
The picture superimposed on reality then disintegrated. The Dom and his submissive were not her and Jeremiah. No matter how much in that moment she wished they were.
The woman hissed and yelped as her Dom’s flogger flicked a nipple. He was a giant compared to the fragile female, yet her screams were of ecstasy. Her Dom was caring for her needs even as he took care of his own. The beauty of the scene made Daly’s eyes water.
She shook her head. “Where is he?”
Her voice wavered and she wanted to curse. Coming here was a bad idea; she knew this. But he wouldn’t return her calls and she had no idea where he lived now. She did know he was a successful shipping magnate and owned several properties in and around Atlanta, one of them being this entire building that housed The Underground.
Her meager research told her nothing more than he was rich and still liked his kink. A part of her understood but didn’t like knowing he frequented his club. It hurt.
Like so many hurts in her life, she pushed it aside.
Toby grunted. “Here.”
“No shit, Sherlock,” she bit out. Toby grunted again and she rolled her eyes. “So how about you take me to your boss?”
He didn’t answer, but his gaze sliced to her. She raised her chin and met his glare. After long moments of trying to intimidate her, he grinned, and Daly wanted to weep. His beautiful face was bisected now by a long diagonal scar that ran the length of his left cheek from hairline to chin. It was a testament to the bad shit that often happened around Toby and his boss. She’d heard through the grapevine that that had changed. For her brother’s sake, she hoped it was true.
The right side of Toby’s face remained unmarked and as gorgeous as ever. In that split second, she mourned the loss of their innocence. Toby had been her port in every storm when she was younger. When Daly left his boss, Toby broke off contact with her. That still stung.
She shoved her memories away and looked him in the eye. “We gonna stand here all night?”
“Grew a set, did ya?” He looked her up and down and finally let out a deep breath. “I can’t. He doesn’t want you near him.”
Oh, the hurt was vicious. It prickled the skin over her heart and sank deep into the organ Jeremiah once owned. The pain spread like poison, and she bit her lip trying to hold back a scream as the old wounds reopened. Toby watched it all, and she knew the shadow in his eyes was pity.
That pity was why she lifted her chin higher and narrowed her gaze.
“Aw, he’s still feeling the bitter sting of rejection? I hate to say it, but good.” She didn’t fool Toby. He simply arched a brow. “Tell you what, Tob, he can come down here to me or I can put you on your ass and go to him.” She stepped forward but turned and pointed across the club to the mirrored area above the bar. Her move put her right beside her brother, and she could tell by the sudden tension riding his shoulders that he was shocked. She waved and blew a kiss toward the mirror.
Let the man whose gaze she could feel like a tactile caress suck on that one.
“You’re baiting him,” Toby said between clenched teeth. His big chest moved up and down, and something like a cough spilled from him.
She looked up at Toby and shrugged. “I have a message to deliver—a little something that was left on my front porch. So what’s it gonna be? You on your ass with me up there in his face? Or him down here with me in his face?”
Toby clammed up again and said nothing.
Daly sighed. Loudly. “I’m a total badass now, Tob. Seriously, you don’t wanna mess with me.” She amazed herself by keeping a straight face. Badass she was not. That was one reason she’d failed miserably as a cop.
Toby took a step back and Daly almost laughed, until the air around her charged and she caught a whiff of cedar. She wondered if she glowed, with the electricity arcing between her and her prey.
“Nirvana is not the blowing out of the candle. It is the extinguishing of the flame because day is come.” His voice was deep … moving.
She shuddered, and could no more have prevented the agony flowing through her than she could have stopped breathing. It escaped on a moan, and she wanted to rail against the injustice of that. It had been over two and half years since she’d seen him. Three since he’d touched her. But Jeremiah Copeland still had the power to command her responses.
It was more than the deep timbre of his voice warming places she had thought frozen, and more than the loss she felt at hearing it.
It was his use of the name he’d always called her—a shortened version of her own … Day. Perhaps his use of the private game they played with each other so long ago added to the pain. Whatever it was, the words tore into her, leaving devastation in their wake.
She could not turn around. She would not turn around. “Rabindranath Tagore,” she answered, naming the author of the quote.
Daly glanced at Toby. His face was granite, but there was pity still shining brightly in his eyes. She straightened her spine and cleared her throat. To the man at her back she said, “Day knows the secrets you try to hide but returns time and time again.”
She turned then and absorbed the sucker punch. How could she have forgotten his rugged strength—the wide shoulders, thick chest, and slim hips? His long, strong legs and big hands? How could she have misremembered the glacial blue-gray magnificence of his eyes, the sculpted cheekbones and the taunting curve of his lips?
Their gazes met, and the distance between them fell away while hollowness filled her at the same time. How would she be able to survive this meeting without touching him or begging him to touch her?
He cocked his head, forehead wrinkling as his brows lowered. A single lock of hair fell from its place and she noticed the gray at his temples. He was only thirty, but good God, what that gray managed to do for him was unbelievable. She wanted to sink her hands into his hair and pull him down to meet … stop it.
Her body didn’t listen. Her palms ached to trace the planes of his face, move lower, and sink into the heavy muscles of his chest. Well over six feet tall, with a face that made angels weep and a body to match, he had always been and remained pure sinful temptation.
“Who said that?” he asked.
All around them, music pumped and people begged for release. The sounds of sex bounced off the walls of his club and echoed in her ears. But in that moment the world stopped. She was caught in the ice of his eyes, reflecting the coolness of his soul. Yet all she wanted to do was burrow deeper into him and remain unfound. A tear tracked down her cheek and she pushed a fist to her stomach to hold everything in.
Daly took a deep breath, beyond caring that he’d witnessed her break in composure. “I did.”
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