Fires of Crete – an excerpt

Fires of Crete

(#eroticromance #gayromance #MM #contemporary)

firesofcrete_cover_smUnexpected, instantaneous, and combustible attraction. Two strangers meet online sharing a passion for Minoan history. An invitation to holiday on Crete. Andrew Larson, a studious university professor, and Stephanos Angelika, an attractive up-and-coming young Greek executive, finally meet, and an undeniable need blazes to life. They have two weeks to explore this heady level of their relationship. Is it lust or something deeper?

Andrew, adopted as a child, has only a medallion that ties him to his Greek heritage. And a faded photograph of a young woman, the name of a village scrawled across the back. He sets upon a journey of discovery, but finds even more than he bargained for when he sees Stephanos awaiting him at the airport on Crete.

Stephanos leads a cautious, solitary life as a young gay man leery of living his lifestyle openly, already estranged from a family that has disowned him. It’s a huge leap when he invites Andrew to visit. Upon seeing Andrew, Stephanos knows everything will change.
The friendship that began online erupts into something far stronger and lasting. Will the weight of past wounds destroy the deepening bond they have come to share? Or will it be love that triumphs?

EXCERPT

Stephanos left the apartment at dawn, before Andrew was up, in order to walk the silent streets and clear his head. He had to come to a decision; the sexual tensions that existed between him and Andrew had reached breaking point. He came to the steps of a Greek Orthodox Church. He often wound up here either late at night or early in the morning, when he was particularly conflicted. Something drew him to climb the steps and walk into this sacred space. Perhaps he would find that elusive answer he searched for in regard to his relationship with Andrew.

He studied the Byzantine-inspired architecture, focused on the cross affixed above the archway, and then walked inside. He inhaled the incense-scented air, the aroma of polished wood, studied the rectangular stained-glass windows for a moment, then sat down in the last pew and allowed the peaceful spirituality of the atmosphere to envelop him. His father had lived by the creed of this church. Had Stephanos wandered so very far away? He closed his eyes and bowed his head, instinctively reciting the prayers he had memorized as a child. They were a comforting ritual, and slowly the tension eased. All the memories of his youth came flooding back. Bittersweet now. He opened his eyes and stared up at the cross mounted above the altar, waiting for an answer.

He jumped when a hand settled on his shoulder. He glanced up, was shocked when he saw Andrew staring down at him.

“What are you doing here?” he whispered as he slid deeper into the pew.

“I heard you leave, and I decided to follow. Call it a hunch,” Andrew said quietly.

Stephanos stared at the cross. “I don’t know what to do,” he finally admitted out loud. “I think I am a coward.”

Andrew reached for his hand, and Stephanos gripped it tightly. More tightly than he probably should have.

“What do you want to do?” Andrew asked.

Andrew’s steadying touch felt right to Stephanos. His presence was steadfast and necessary to Stephanos’s happiness and well-being.

“I don’t want to push you away. But I want more than friendship. I don’t want to lose the camaraderie we have established and exchange it for something less…substantial and fleeting, Andrew. Our relationship is too important to me.”

Andrew squeezed Stephanos’s hand. “Realistically anything beyond friendship can’t last. I have to return to the States in less than two weeks. But I’ll admit that I want more even though I know it can’t last.”

“I don’t know what to do. It seems I’ve waited all my life for now—for meeting you. And now I’m paralyzed. What if it’s not right? We can’t go back.”

“Everything is a risk. You could have stayed in the mountains, with your family, and never known something of the world. Do you regret what you did?”

“There are some days that I do, yes.”

“Because you’re alone now? But you know who you are, don’t you? Better than you did before? Do you really want to go back to that naïveté?”

It didn’t take Stephanos long to consider his answer. “No. Even with being disowned, I couldn’t change it if I wanted to. It’s inside me, and I can’t alter who I am, although some would think that would be an easy thing to do.”

“Risks are part of life. They’re scary, but they make us feel alive. Don’t you think?”

“Alive,” Stephanos repeated. “Yes, but I want more. I want to be free.”

“Come home, Stephanos. I want to be free too. I want to fly. With you.”

Stephanos looked at the angled fresco on the domed ceiling. Again, he thought of Icarus and how high he flew, how close to the sun he got. Was it worth it to feel the fire, to soar that close to a flame so bright? Wasn’t there always a price to be paid? Perhaps wounds borne? Stephanos twisted around to look at Andrew. He smiled and then stood up.

He got the answer he’d come for. Maybe not in quite the fashion he’d expected, but it was a response he embraced.

The sun was just beginning to ascend in the sky as they made their way back to Stephanos’s apartment, walking slowly. Stephanos still gripped Andrew’s hand, afraid to let go.

It was as they rounded the corner of Stephanos’s building that he pulled back and dragged Andrew into his arms. It was at the corner of his street where he kissed Andrew, thrusting his tongue deep into Andrew’s mouth. It was in the elevator that Andrew cupped Stephanos’s face with both hands and claimed a kiss, tongues clashing, lips fused, until the bell dinged and the elevator doors silently slid open when it arrived at Stephanos’s floor.

But it was inside the apartment when the fire roared out of control. Hardly had the door slammed shut when the inferno consumed them with the hunger of suppressed lust now freed as a wildfire racing across a drought-ridden field too encompassing to even think of quenching before it consumed everything in its path. And more than anything, Stephanos wanted to be engulfed by the fires of Andrew’s passion. Anogia and Andrew’s search for his past would have to wait another day.

In their own world now, sequestered from prying eyes, passion knew no bounds. Hands and tongues and bodies fused and mated. There was unleashed urgency to their movements, to their ravening hunger. And there would be no stopping the firestorm that erupted with full force.

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Sexual Chemistry

Erupting Sexual Chemistry Between Nathaniel and Elijah in Knave of Hearts

knaveofhearts_smIn Knave of Hearts, Elijah and Nathaniel seem very different from each other. Nathaniel is high-powered and all about business and the end result. Elijah is all about emotion and people. Elijah’s guardian, Charles, the head of a very thriving business empire,  is dying of cancer. Elijah, a sound engineer, has returned to Seattle to be with him during his final days. He could care less about the business, he’s here for Charles, and is dealing with a range of emotions concerning the loss of his only family.

Nathaniel seems almost a mirror of Charles in that he also is the head of a thriving business. He’s come to Seattle to help assure the security of Charles’s empire as a transition of leadership must occur without incident. Nathaniel is all about the business and emotion does not play into his life. Not that he hasn’t had his share of lovers. But lovers in Nathaniel’s world usually involve an ulterior motive.

The twelves steps of intimacy rears its head at a most inopportune moment. At least for Elijah it is. His focus in on Charles and his guardian’s needs during these final days. His emotions have everything to do with love for his guardian, and nothing to do with sex or have a short-term affair to ease tensions. Until the night of Charles’ birthday party–his last. And everything changes when one man walks through the door of the hotel ballroom.

Chemistry is what erupts. Eye to body. When Nathaniel first lays on Nathaniel, not even knowing his name he is intrigued. Eye to eye. Interest sharply deepens when they come face to face a little later in the evening, but not close enough to speak. Yet eye contact is achieved. The eyes can say a great deal. Voice to voice. And when a moment of respite from the party brings Elijah to the reception area for a moment of quiet, he gets anything but peace when Nathaniel finally initiates a conversation between them.

“You’re with Charles Ballard.”

Elijah’s head shot up. He must be dreaming. He blinked. Nope, the image didn’t go away. He got to his feet in order to face the gorgeous stranger. No socialite clinging to his arm. He was making conversation with Elijah. Elijah took a deep, shuddering breath. Oh, shit. Had he ever been less prepared for an encounter than this?

“Uh, yeah. I am.” Now what did he say? This was not the impression he wanted to make. Where was the brunette? Was he maybe just being polite by dancing with her? Oh, man. “Are you a business associate of his?”

“You might say that. I just arrived in Seattle. I received the invitation and thought I’d stop in to the party for a bit. But as I said, I’ve only arrived in town. I was just getting ready to go back to my hotel.”

“Oh.” Too bad. “Will you be in Seattle long?” Perhaps the question was a bit too eager.

“A while. A few weeks at least. Perhaps a month. It will depend.”

Too bad Elijah was leaving with Charles, so it was kind of a moot point. Though he would have liked to get to know this man better. Then a desperation to not lose the connection kicked in. He needed something normal…like a little flirtation, to keep him sane. He saw a discarded cocktail napkin on the table. He pulled a pen out of his jacket pocket, and scribbled his name and cell number. This was not something he did every day, but these seemed to be unusual circumstances. He had no idea if the guy was interested or not. If his business had anything to do with Charles directly or not. Whether he was just trying to make small talk or find out more about Charles. Frankly, it didn’t matter. Not one whit.

“If you happen to find yourself at loose ends, why don’t you give me a call?”

The stranger glanced at the napkin, then back at Elijah. “But you’re with Charles.”

Elijah nodded. “Yeah. I have to leave or I’d ask if you wanted to go for a coffee. Charles is getting a little tired and he needs to get home. But maybe another time, while you’re in town. You gotta name?”

The stranger seemed to be sizing him up. He reached out for the napkin. “I do have a name.” He glanced down at the phone number, then slipped the napkin into his breast pocket. “Elijah.” The way he said it was slow and drawn out. His tone was low, his voice soft and deep. Elijah recognized the tone. He gave Elijah a mysterious smile. “And if I decide to call, perhaps I’ll give it to you. Goodbye for now.” And then he turned and strolled away toward the front door of the hotel.

That Nathaniel, he is a smooth one all right. But don’t underestimate Elijah. He’s no pushover and he’ll give Nathaniel a run for his money–just as soon as he finds out the damned man’s name. And we still have like nine steps of intimacy to go. Oh, boy, was this story fun to write.

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Aristaeus, the Original Beekeeper of Myth

Aristaeus, the Original Beekeeper of Myth

bee_flower-9665Although Ambrosia is an original creation orchestrated with the assistance of my muse, it is based on the belief held by the ancient Greeks and Romans that honey is the nectar of the gods. Did you also know that the name for honey comes from the Hebrew word for Enchant?

Legend has it that Aristaeus was a shepherd, the son of the water nymph, Cyrene. It is said that he was the first to teach the art of beekeeping. When Aristaeus’ bees perished (it is unknown whether it was through disease or accident of nature), he went to plead help from his mother. In agreeing to assist him, Cyrene led him to the Prophet Proetus who revealed to him a ceremony he must perform that would help him to rebuild his hives. Aristaeus did as Proetus directed and his hives were restored. Hence, the first beekeeper and the origin of the legend as told through the voices of ancient belief.

The recipe I offer in this delightfully delicious story is based on the ancient art of ambrosia_smstorytelling. “What if” I combine the “nectar of the gods,” with a fickle goddess as guardian, add in an “enchanting” beesinger named Ambrosia with a vow to fulfill, and one handsome lord with a desperate mission to save his people? For flavoring, mix in the biology of bees with the reviving spirit of a sweet magical elixir, and one has the recipe for an intriguing erotic fantasy romance. My result was Ambrosia.

One last tidbit to leave you with. Did you know that honey comes in many variations of color and flavor? Several factors can influence the taste and look of honey such as the variety of flower, the soil chemistry, and the honeycomb quality. It can have the look of gold, red, or even green. What a delicious combination–sweet, colorful…and sensual. So be sure to enjoy the story…and the food.

Ambrosia, now available at these fine ebook retailers:

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Trumpeter Swans and the Development of Swan’s Lake (Primal Magic)

Trumpeter Swans and the Development of Swan’s Lake (Primal Magic)

swans6croppedI love Trumpeter Swans. And this is prime wintering season for Trumpeter Swans here in the Pacific Northwest. Shallow wetlands being prime nesting grounds, they should feel right at home in this area of Washington.

Research and foundation are prime requisites in creating story and there must be time devoted to discover and relate elements and symbology to create an engaging and fully-realized three-dimensional story that is able to draw a reader into my world, as I see it.

“She is very beautiful.”

Reynaldo couldn’t look away from the view of the serene lake surrounded by the lush forests. So different from the barren fields and fallow grounds on the other side of the estate.

At one time, the lake had been just as stagnant as the dried up land. Before she came. But only the lake and the surrounding woodlands seemed to have been affected by her magical appearance.

He felt Satrius’s presence behind him, but Reynaldo was focused on the beauty of the swan who was about to take flight. He watched as her powerful wings extended and she glided across the lake, her mirror image reflected in the shimmering, clear blue water, and finally soared into the air. His gaze was glued to the arc of her neck as she stretched out, and he could almost feel the wind against his own face, the freedom of the sky as he followed the perfect symmetry of her form. He felt his soul reach out to her, yearning to soar with her.

swans-0748Swan pairs mate for life and usually form pair bonds on the winter grounds, often where the pen (female) was hatched. The pen will choose the nesting site, the cob (male) will defend it. A Trumpeter Swan’s life expectancy can span as much as 20 years. If one mate dies, the other with find another mate.

“He will destroy you, Martine. If you do not act soon, it will be too late and Satrius will find a way to be rid of you. Of all of us.”

She turned swiftly to face one of the elder shifters, Arwen. He was a gruff old man, but beneath that she had come to determine he had a heart of gold and he meant well. He led the northern flock, those who had arrived in the first week. Yet all seemed to look to him for guidance. News traveled quickly in this magical world, and when word reached them of a strange swan maiden from the other land, they had begun arriving daily from throughout Valliana. Usually a bird or two at a time, but within Arwen’s flock there were at least eleven.

“I cannot act too quickly, Arwen. I know the urgency—you have all more than made that clear.”

“You are the chosen one. We all knew it when we heard of your arrival from the other world. What we attempt here has never been done before. For a swanshifter to mate with one outside our species—we do not know if it can even be done. Not even in Valliana.”

Martine Cullen, the swan maiden, is of of Celtic descent; Reynaldo Donata, lord of Terragatto, is a shapeshifting predator, who is lord of the castle in this realm. A dark magic has settled over Valliana, and only Martine can break the spell of Satrius, a very powerful warlock, who has cast a spell over Reynaldo.

swans-1540When I’m researching, I usually start with symbology, and in this story, I wanted to know what the swan symbol represented. What I found is this: Swan is a symbol of gracefulness and intuition. In alchemy, it is a symbol of hermaphroditism, being either male or female, It is a marriage of opposites – perfect for my story. But, of course, as any writer will, we take great liberties with the what-ifs, at least jumping one step farther. What if this, what if that? I’ve never been good at taking just one step…

She again turned toward the water and gazed out at the shifters resting there. It was then she came up with a dangerous alternative. Would any of them agree? Could she accept it, herself?

She whirled back toward Arvin. “What if we could give him what he seems to desire? It would be taking a chance, but if we can break the darkling magic it might be worth a try.” Suddenly, it all became clear. “That’s it.”

“What are you saying?”

She laughed and a weight lifted from her shoulders. There was a way to beat Satrius and possibly to break his hold over Reynaldo. “It has never been done before—not among the swanshifters.” Would it be such a sacrifice for her to accept another into the pairing? She felt a tingling begin between her thighs at the idea she was considering. It was a desperate chance, but one she was willing to take if the others could agree.

“You can’t be considering what I think you are.”

“Would it be so wrong? Help me, Arwen. You have told me how dangerous it would be for a child of Reynaldo and Belinda to be brought into this world. If it was not so, this gathering would not be taking place.”

“It is dangerous. If you have not found a cob to your liking thus far, what makes you think you will find one acceptable for the relationship you are considering?”

“I was not thinking of a cob instead of Reynaldo, but someone who would enhance our pairing. Help me find the right one. One to tempt him from Satrius—one he could not deny. Please.”

“You ask a great deal, Martine.”

“I know. I know he wants me, but he holds back. If we present him with something more, something he cannot deny, strong enough to turn him away from the evil. Offer him so much pleasure he is blinded by it. If Belinda is allowed to bear his child, the chasm of evil will rip wide open. Is that what you want?”

“No, of course not.”

“You know the flocks better than I. Help me find the right cob who could bond with two others for a lifetime. One who is strong enough to help me woo Reynaldo away from his sinister lovers. Yes, he seems to want me, but it isn’t enough.” She again turned to scan the waters. “There must be one among the many—one who would welcome this strange pairing.”

“You are asking that he submit to another. It will not be easy to find one that will accept the sharing of a pen. This is far beyond anything that has been attempted before. For you to share yourself between two—is this really what you want?”

She turned to look up at him. “I must pair with Reynaldo. To lose this chance, could mean all of our deaths.” She touched her abdomen. “In here, I know this is right. What we plan is the path I must follow. That we must follow.”

One step farther. Our Martine is a very clever woman. And it will take an adventurous, determined shapeshifter to save Reynaldo and this world, one who isn’t afraid to break boundaries, to bend mating rituals long followed in the past.

Thus, we have the story of Martine and Reynaldo, shifters who will break all the laws of their respective kinds in order to save their world.

 

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Jebediah’s Promise – an Excerpt

SYNOPSIS:

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Captain Jebediah Holliday is a soldier who serves his country with pride and holds the heart of his wife Trudy, keeping him strong.  Dedication to duty requires strength and commitment in separation for both Jeb and Trudy.  Jeb’s pledge to do his duty and return to Trudy safely is jeopardized when he is taken hostage on a routine mission.  Trudy has faith that Jeb will return home to her, keeping his promise.  A hero’s face and courage comes in many guises.

EXCERPT:

“Hey soldier, how about buying a girl a drink?”

Jeb paused in the act of raising the glass to his lips and smiled to himself. He set the beer back on the bar and swiveled around on the stool, knowing exactly whom that sultry, sexy voice belonged to.

Schooling his expression so as not to reveal his anticipation, he surveyed the compact little strawberry blonde posed next to his stool. Mm-mm, damn fine looking woman. With cherry-lush lips curved into a seductive half smile, a slender golden brow arched upward, and the taunt-the-devil flash in her eyes, she presented the kill-me wallop of some of his grandpap’s finest homebrew. The now familiar burn flashed bright, tracking a path through his insides, heart to groin.

Drawing out the sizzle, he took his time in answering as he measured her with his eyes, drinking in the sensual image she presented. It was a vision he’d never grow tired of seeing. The loud country music blasting on the speakers faded away, his total concentration centered on the hot little package standing in front of him. He always had been a man who liked to take his time unwrapping presents slow and easy.

“Well, evenin’, good lookin’. What brings you into a place like this?” His body throbbed in response to the picture she presented in the tight black jeans hugging her rounded hips, and his gaze appreciated the full firm breasts his hands itched to hold.

The jade shirt she wore matched the color of her eyes, reminding him of springtime back home in the mountains of Tennessee. Lip smackin’ good as his grandpap would say.

Good thing he’d learned some gentlemanly manners over the years, or he’d be giving her the pinch test on that nice tight ass of hers, and probably warrant a slap in return.

She knew what he was thinking. He could tell by the twinkle of mischief in her eyes she knew exactly what was in his mind. And that pouty mouth dared him to try it. She stepped closer, reached out, and placed her palms against the tops of his black jean-clad thighs.

“Mmmm, nice. That’s what I like—a man with a fine pair of rock-hard legs.” Her words curled around him like smoke from a campfire reaching for the sky, and she sure as hell was stoking a fire that was ready to break out into a pure red-hot blaze set to ravage his skin. She pressed her fingers against the dense fabric covering his thighs just enough, and he felt his cock respond. Oh, she had a nice grip—firm, yet gentle. Her long fingers released, tightened, repeated the action as she shifted closer to the throbbing dick waiting to be loosed.

“Mighty familiar there, don’t you think, ma’am?” He reached out and clasped her forearms before she got any farther, pulling her between the rock-hard thighs she seemed so fond of. She fit close and perfect against his aching crotch. “Damn that feels good. Too good for sitting in the middle of a goddamned bar. One drink and we’re out of here, Tru.”

Her grin widened and he knew he was in for trouble. She lifted a leg and rested her boot-shod foot against the rung of the barstool. His eyes widened and he sucked air as he felt her knee graze against that sensitive stiff tool confined behind the zippered front of his pants. Slowly she rubbed in a circle. The paddle fans stirring the air from above did little to cool his mounting temperature.

“Miss me today?” she murmured, adding a mere hint more pressure.

 

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If You Dare… – Excerpt

Blurb:

ifyoudare_smShe was bored with her life and sought something more in her relationships. But in the small town of Gideon it was unlikely she’d find it. Barring that, first she had to know what she was looking for. Until the arrival of a hand-delivered invitation to a costume party—an invitation that would change her life. Beneath a full moon on All Hallow’s Eve, he seduced her. Bewitched her. Dominated her. Without uttering a word, he unveiled her deepest desires and darkest needs. He offered her a chance to fulfill her hidden longings—if she dared… It was only the beginning… A moonlit tale of seduction and desire; dominance and submission.

 

EXCERPT:

…Bringing an elegant index finger to her lips, she understood he wanted no conversation. He nodded once. She lowered her head negligibly, indicating she understood. Without thought, she then opened her mouth and sucked the tip inside, between her lips. What she wouldn’t give to replace it with his hard shaft.

She circled her tongue over the pad, teased the hard surface of his nail, wanted it to be the head of his penis. Wanted to circle her tongue along the soft velvety ridge of its head, taste the essence of his pleasure. Waves of lust consumed her at the thought; her pussy clenched on emptiness.

He cupped her jaw with his other hand, caressing, allowing her to suck and tease his finger, drawing it more fully into her mouth. Then slowly he removed it, stroking the side of her face. She sensed his approval and felt pleasure lure her to want more.

He turned her away from him and toward the pond. The civilized world fell away—simply didn’t exist.

He sifted his fingers through her hair, then stroked through it, down along the curve of her back. His touch wooed her and she closed her eyes, concentrating on his hands, his touch, and the cool embrace of the night.

She attempted to turn towards him, wanting to touch him, but firmly he returned her to face the fog-enshrouded pond. Ghostly white fingers seemed to reach out, dancing just above the surface of the silent, rippling water. The soft sweeping waves stroked against the shore, a quiet music to the night, as his hands waltzed slowly along her arms from shoulder to fingertips. She trembled at the heat that sliced through her veins.

She felt his hand at the buttons at the back of her caftan. Felt each one give way. When the last had been undone, slowly he drew the two sides apart and she felt the cool night air against her skin. She should have stopped him. After all, she didn’t know him. As far as she knew she’d never met him before. He was an enticing stranger.

But the titillating excitement of the unknown stopped her. She wouldn’t get a second chance to go back and reclaim lost moments and she wanted to experience this one. She would have no regrets about missed opportunities.

As the gold dress slid from her arms and fell to the ground at her feet, it seemed her own remaining inhibitions followed—and she did not look back. She felt the chill night air feather across her skin. He lifted first one foot and then the other, removing the dress and placing it to the side—soft sound bites of movement.

 

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A View To Possession – Excerpt

SYNOPSIS:

Submissives Aurora and Tad mourn the loss of their beloved mistress.AViewtoPossession_sm Two years after her death, although they have each other and the club that Aurora was left by Mistress Martine, it doesn’t seem to be enough.  Something is missing.  Enter Master Constantine Jardine.

Excerpt:

Con Jardine leaned back against the bar and studied the occupants of the room. For eight weeks he’d been coming here. By now he was familiar enough with the layout and routine of the place. For two years, ever since Martine’s death, he’d kept an eye on the Noir Dance from a distance. She’d been a good friend and he’d made her a promise.

He’d watched the nightclub prosper, seen that Mistress Martine’s two beloved subs did not find themselves in deep water that they couldn’t swim out of. Martine had indicated she wasn’t sure Aurora was up to the demands she had thrust onto her shoulders and was worried about their security and happiness.

 

After finally extricating himself from his own demanding obligations back in New York, and uncollaring the sub who’d been with him for the last three years while he’d been on assignment in New York, he’d made arrangements to travel back to Reno to check firsthand on the pair. It wasn’t that he wouldn’t have brought Ella with him, it’s just that she preferred to stay in New York and not return with him to Nevada. They had parted on amicable terms. He had enjoyed her while they were together, but he wasn’t heartbroken by her decision to remain behind.

Reports from his acquaintances were that this pair was doing fine, but he wanted to see for himself. He felt a responsibility to Martine to personally make sure everything was going well, even though the reports he’d received on the club indicated they were.

At first he’d waited. He needed some space after the last lengthy relationship, time to breathe and get his own affairs in order. Yet something had drawn him to the club, some urgency he hadn’t quite understood. He was glad he had come because on the surface everything proceeded as though Martine still ran the place. But every night, as he watched the pair do their nightly appearance at midnight, that was when he was afforded an opportunity to really study them. And things were not right with them. He sensed the undercurrents of unease.

Over the years, having possessed his own share of slaves and submissives, he knew how to read people. Here were two people playacting, going through the motions, but still grieving for the loss of their domme. Aurora wore the role of mistress well, but behind the mask of domme was a sad, grieving sub who had made a promise to her mistress and was determined to carry it out no matter that her heart and soul lay bruised and unappreciated.

Tad was an intriguing young man, following Aurora around like a little puppy dog, acceding to her wishes, her commands. Con could see he cared for Aurora, but the respectful demeanor of a sub for his domme was not evident. And his gaze often roved over the bar, as though seeking something, someone to fill the void. Martine had said they both required a firm hand and that’s why she had come to Con. She’d worried about them right up until the end. She had contacted Con in desperation.

He could feel the crackle of the letters in his vest pocket. Her last words to them—if they should be needed. After two months of studying them, both here in the club, and as they went about their daily lives, he knew it was time. They were like lost sheep who pretended to know their way. Intelligent and careful, or they would have been gobbled up by the worst element by now, but still lost and in pain. He respected that demeanor of strength. Neither were willing to give up their freedom, or offer themselves to just anyone.

He was the one who could make it right for them. He had exerted patience over the last eight weeks, allowing them to see him, to become accustomed to his presence, to watch him, gauge his suitability. He had never been the kind of dom to force himself on a sub, pushing his control on them. He wanted them to come to him willingly and tonight was the night to make his intentions known with this couple. He would not let Martine down, and he would show this pair they had a new home, a new guide.

The music changed and he glanced down at his watch. It was time for them to make their entrance. He glanced up as the double shiny silver doors at the end of the room opened and the crowd parted and hushed as though on command.

The majority of this goth audience played at bondage, tinkered with it, but were not dedicated to the lifestyle. They were intrigued by the idea of it. Maybe that’s why no one could see through the pair as they performed for the gathering. The dance floor cleared and the pulse of the deep music acted like a trance on the predominately young, wealthy audience. They waited in heightened anticipation, those with partners suddenly locked and touching intimately, the tantalizing anticipation deepening their desires. The perfume of sex and excitement permeating the air, now tinged with the thick, smoky incense filling the room.

And then they appeared.

 

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The Boy Next Door – EXCERPT

Side by side, heart touching heart, until the day he left without a word. After fifteen years, he’s come back to the street, to the memories of the girl he loved passionately, and the terrible secrets of the house he hated. There was only one place he’d held heaven in his arms. She had been the angel who shielded him from his living hell and the tree house their safe haven. The tree house still stood, but would her love have survived his abandonment after all these years, even if he’d had no other choice?

EXCERPT

“May I come in, Jo?”
A spasm of pain clutched at her. If she let him in she would never get rid of his presence in this house. She would always feel him, and it scared her because she had thought, for just a moment, when she considered tearing down the tree house, that she might be free of his memory once and for all.
And then he showed up at her door, as though someone, somewhere didn’t want her to forget. Why her? Didn’t she have a right to find some peace in her life? Someone to share her life with? Who wanted her as he hadn’t? Why dredge up the past? Now?
But something had her pushing the screen door open and moving back from the doorway as he stepped inside. She closed the door and led him down the hallway and into the front room.
“Please, sit down. Would you like some coffee?” Such a polite enquiry. It dropped into the uneasy years of silence between them. A dark chasm of time that had stretched year after year, always leaving her standing at the edge of an emptiness she couldn’t run fast enough to escape.
He unzipped his jacket and sat down. The dark jeans molded tightly over his muscular thighs. “Coffee would be nice.” She watched as he surveyed the room. “It’s the way I remember it.”
She nodded and swiftly left the room, hurrying into the kitchen. With one hand she clutched at her fluttery, spasming stomach as she gripped the edge of the Formica counter with the other.
His scent clung to her, the powerful male scent she remembered. It infused and permeated her skin, sinking deep inside her. The ache of longing reduced her to a mass of quivering nerves.
Taking long, deep breaths, she attempted to steady herself. She couldn’t allow him to see what his presence in this house was doing to her.
She reached under the cupboard and pulled out a tray. Luckily, she’d just made a pot of coffee. She grabbed the blue and white ceramic sugar bowl and cream pitcher setting next to the coffee pot, then pulled out a couple of spoons from a drawer. Opening the cupboard door next to the sink, she pulled down two matching cups and saucers and placed them on the tray. She had to use both hands to pour the coffee without splashing it all over the tray.
Another spasm of pain gripped her as she looked at the coffee cups. There had been a time when she’d known everything about his likes and dislikes. Tears rose to her eyes. When did he start drinking coffee? Did he use cream and sugar? Or did he drink it black? Did he have a wife or a lover who knew the mature man in the other room as she had once known the boy?
Her hands shook as she tried to pick up the tray and she had to set it back down. She looked out the window, and her focus caught the tree house in the distance.
She wanted to run as far and fast as she could. She didn’t want to be faced with the polite conversation of two strangers who no longer knew each other.
More deep breaths.
“Can I take that for you?”
If she hadn’t been leaning against the counter, she probably would have fallen to the blue tile floor when her knees gave out at the sound of the voice close behind her.
She released the tray and shifted to the side, but couldn’t get the courage up to turn to face him. Not just yet.
BoyNextDoor_sm    “Yes, thank you. You can put in on the coffee table. I’ll be right in.” Her voice didn’t hold the cool firmness she would have liked. It was husky and tight, quivering with suppressed tears. She didn’t know if she could go through with this. She should just tell him to leave.
His arm brushed against hers as he reached for the tray. She couldn’t help but glance at his hands as they gripped the curved edges. Bronzed with short dark hairs, long fingers curled to lift the tray.
Hands—she remembered his hands—remembered the taste of them. Heady need swirled inside her. The sunny late summer day they’d gone to pick wild blackberries. They’d brought the pail back to the tree house and shared the succulent berries, feeding each other as they talked about the future they planned to share.
As she straddled across his lap, she’d licked the sweet juice from each of his fingers, sucking them into her mouth, swiping her tongue across the palm. His groan of frustrated desire had filled the small room, and the heat had begun to rise as the late summer sun reached a zenith in the sky.
She’d seen the bulge in his pants, and been filled with such feminine power in the knowledge that he wanted her.
But he hadn’t taken her. He’d pulled her closer and started suckling her fingers. He hadn’t touched her pussy that day, yet she’d come hard from the erotic stroking of his tongue, from the press of his groin against hers, and her desire to consummate their love.
Their passion for each other had been so very strong back then. How had it all gone so wrong?
He walked into the living room, and she turned away from the sight of the tree house and the memories associated with it, to follow him.
She watched as he picked up one of the cups and sat back down in the chair. No cream or sugar. She tucked the memory away.
Walking around the coffee table, she sat on the edge of the couch and picked up the other cup, adding a hint of cream and a spoonful of sugar. She stirred the coffee and finally looked across at him.
“Why are you here, Reed? After all this time?”

 

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