A friend’s duty.
Tyler Murphy was an LAPD detective, single and happy—until a near-fatal tragedy crippled his friend, fellow detective Eric Catalano. While he supported Eric, he also became a shoulder for Eric’s wife, Delaney, to lean on. But with one naughty suggestion from Eric, a drunken night with Delaney spilled into erotic abandon. Before it was over Tyler saw his best friend’s wife as a woman and yearned for more. When Eric struggled to deal with the aftermath, Delaney begged Tyler to leave. Crushed, he fled to Louisiana, hoping to escape his longing for the one woman he could never have again…and unaware of what he’d left behind.
A lover’s desire.
After two years of living with regret, Tyler finds Delaney on his doorstep, her husband having abandoned her long ago. She’s protecting a shocking secret and desperately needs refuge from a killer determined to see her dead. As they fight to stay alive and catch the stalker, they struggle to resolve the guilt of their past pleasures. But they can’t deny that what was once a spark is now a flame burning out of control. To possess Delaney—body and soul—Tyler must heal her pain and thwart the evil that’s a mere breath behind her…
“Tyler, are you aware that all the girls at Sexy Sirens have nicknamed you Cockzilla?”
He laughed. That rich, deep sound Delaney Catalano hadn’t heard for two long years sang in the humid May air, making her heart clench. After all the trials and miles—and lately, the bullets—she never believed she’d hear Tyler Murphy’s familiar voice again. Certainly, she’d never imagined hearing it in BFE, Louisiana, as she hid in the shadows of his back patio like some sad stalker. She wasn’t at all surprised that a group of girls had given him a moniker about his sexual prowess. Women had always crawled all over him, and perpetually single Tyler liked it that way.
Once upon a time, his antics had made her laugh—until Delaney had experienced him for herself. To this day, she remembered exactly how good he’d been. She pushed the thought aside.
Peeking around the corner, she saw Tyler’s broad shoulders and upper back encased in a charcoal gray T-shirt. His blond hair had been cut brutally short, exposing the strong column of his sun-kissed neck. He lounged in a chair, his forearms looking bronzed, heavily veined, and vital under the patio lights. Around a table, he was surrounded by a virtual harem: two redheads, a platinum blonde, a Latina brunette, and an auburn-haired model type—each totally gorgeous.
Some things never change. Not that it should matter to her. He’d been her friend first and foremost. And he’d never been hers to lose.
“And that’s a bad nickname why?” Tyler returned to the stunning blonde beside him, lifting his bottle of beer to his mouth and taking a long swallow.
As the other women laughed, Delaney glanced over her shoulder, hoping like hell that she hadn’t been followed. She breathed a sigh of relief when it appeared that she was alone. How nice would it be if her most pressing problem were others’ opinions? How nice would it be if someone didn’t want her dead?
“Ladies . . .” the blonde’s voice warned. “This is not funny. Remember the plan?”
“Alyssa is right,” said the brunette with sinful curves. “We’re worried about you.”
“That’s very sweet, Kata, but acting like you care isn’t going to persuade me to watch another crappy Twilight movie with you.”
“You liked it,” Kata accused.
Tyler snorted. “You wish.”
He probably had liked it more than he wanted to admit. Tyler liked high-testosterone thrillers, but he’d admitted under the influence of Señor Cuervo that he kinda liked chick flicks, too. Once upon a time, he’d been Delaney’s buddy of choice to curl up on the couch with and rent movies, she remembered with a wistful smile. Then reality crashed back in.
“Focus.” Alyssa snapped. “This is an intervention. The girls and I all agree that you need help.”
“C’mon. I’m not a drug addict or an alcoholic. I’m no danger to myself or others.”
“Wrong. You’re dangerous to womankind,” the auburn-haired beauty cut in. “Can you make it a whole day without getting in some stripper’s thong? Our guess is no.”
Delaney grimaced. Yep, same old Tyler. He’d always liked women easy and flashy. One reason—among many—she’d never taken his flirting seriously. Then again, it wasn’t his flirting that had been her downfall.
“Ouch, Kimber. You wound me.” Tyler slapped a hand dramatically over his chest.
“Cut the crap,” she demanded. “You can’t make it a whole day, can you?”
“Sure, I could. But why torture myself? I have to do something to stave off the loneliness.”
“I don’t need any more catfights on stage about who’s getting Cockzilla tonight,” Alyssa chimed in again.
“No catfights at a strip club? You’re kidding me? Your patrons loved the action. Better than Jell-O wrestling. Got a rise out of me.”
The women in Tyler’s life were staging an intervention, and he wasn’t taking it seriously. Delaney wasn’t really surprised. He would always be Mr. Good-Time. What did surprise her, however, was that none of the women seemed to be fighting over him. Yet, anyway.
“Wait. Are you her to tell me that you’re suddenly available and want me all to yourself?” he challenged the gorgeous blonde. “You know I’m all over that.”
“We all know.” Another woman scoffed and waved her hand. “I haven’t known you that long, but seriously, a stiff wind could get a rise out of you.”
The lovely redhead with the sultry brown eyes wore a wedding ring. Then again, bands of gold had never stopped Tyler before. She ought to know.
“You noticed, Tara? I’m touched.”
“Don’t give me that,” Tara scolded. “Alyssa is being really serious. We all are.”
“Really? It’s not a joke?” With a sigh, Tyler turned back to the blonde. “Okay. What’s up, boss lady?”
“I can’t have girls fighting and quitting because you’re too busy playing musical beds,” Alyssa said. “Someone is going to lose every time, and it’s creating a fucking mess that I don’t have time to clean up. I hired Jessi to replace Krystal, who left because she didn’t like being last on your booty-call list. Tyler, Jessi has been with me for three days. Three! I found out this afternoon that you’ve already tapped that, more than once.”
He fidgeted in his seat. “After her first shift, she asked for an escort to her car. The parking lot was dark and empty. I helped her out.”
“By nailing her in the backseat?”
“There’s more room in a Civic than you’d think.”
“Tyler, I know you like to keep things light, but please be serious for a minute.” Alyssa’s voice rang with frustration. “Jessi came crying to me when she found you and Skylar in the dressing room last night after closing. Do I need to enact a strict no-anal-sex policy at the club?”
“I didn’t mean to hurt Jessi’s feelings. I thought she knew the score. I’ll talk to her.” He frowned. “I’m confused about one thing. I’ve bounced there for almost two years. What I do with the girls has never bothered you before. What is this really about?”
There was a long pause, and Delaney watched a few of the women lift glasses of wine and sip nervously.
The other redhead, the one with the baby bump, clutched a water bottle and shifted in the seat. “We think it’s time you settled down.”
“Morgan . . .” he warned. “Don’t try spreading your matrimonial joy on me. Just because you’re all blissful with your monogamy doesn’t mean I’m in any hurry to get there.”
So the redhead’s baby bump wasn’t his doing? Never mind. It’s irrelevant. Focus.
“You’re going to have to grow up,” Morgan pointed out.
Alyssa wagged a finger in his face. “Skylar just turned twenty-two. You’re, what, a decade older?”
Actually, Tyler was thirty-four. Delaney remembered his thirtieth birthday party, during happier times, back when she and Eric—
She shut down that thought and listened to the conversation.
“I didn’t know she was that young. Sorry.” Tyler shrugged. “We weren’t exactly exchanging vital statistics.”
“No,” Alyssa jumped in. “Just bodily fluids.”
“Hey, I always wear a condom.”
Tara grimaced as several others groaned. “Eww. I don’t want details.”
“I’m just saying . . . Let’s not get technical,” he defended. “So I’m older than she is. I’m not the first guy to date a younger woman.”
“Fucking in the back of the club isn’t dating.” Kimber sighed.
“Clean up your man-whore act.” Alyssa looked dead serious. “Or in ten years, you’re going to be a walking stereotype, a middle-aged Lothario hitting on young chicks with your snazzy sports car.”
“I don’t have a sports car, and even if I did, with a name like Cockzilla, everyone would know that I’m not overcompensating for anything I might be lacking.”
Alyssa smacked her hand on the table. “Damn it, are you listening to us at all?”
Tyler sighed. “Yes. Joking aside, I will curb some of my . . . activity at the club. I appreciate your concern. But seriously, I’m not looking for any kind of happily ever after.”
“Too bad,” Kata cut in. “We’re going to find you one.”
He stiffened. “Oh, I get it. You have someone in mind.”
“Well, I thought it would be nice if you’d talk to my cousin, London,” Alyssa suggested as if walking on eggshells. “She just moved here. She’s very sweet and could use a friend.”
Kata stood, putting her hands on her very curvaceous hips. “Are you refusing because she’s not a size two?”
Tyler shook his head. “I’ve got nothing against girls with a little extra cushion. But that one has purity written all over her. No fucking way. Alyssa, you don’t like the way I treat your dancers, but you want to unleash me on your little virgin relative?”
“So what if she’s a virgin?” Alyssa argued. “You have a really kind, loyal side that would be good for her.”
The gorgeous blonde had gotten that part right. He’d once proven that he’d do anything for a friend.
“He does,” Kata agreed. “I might not be here if that weren’t true.”
“If you can just keep your pants zipped long enough, she’ll see it. And you’ll get to know her, too, and—”
“Nope.” Tyler finished the last of his beer and slammed the bottle on the table. “I’m done here. If you ladies want to stay and finish your wine, you’re more than welcome, but there’s no way you’re pairing me up with anyone.”
“Where are you going?” Tara, closest to the sliding glass doors, moved her chair to block his path.
He scooted her out of the way with a nudge of his powerful thigh. “Anywhere else. Bye.”
When he disappeared inside the house, Delaney panicked. It had taken her forever to track him down. She was at the end of her cash reserves and the end of her rope. Time had run out. No way could she wait until he felt like coming home again to confront him. There was too much at stake.
Dragging everything she loved and owned behind her, Delaney clung to the shadows, watching for anything suspicious, and ran for his front door.
The doorbell rang before Tyler could escape the house. Damn it, if this was another meddling female trying to tell him how to run his life, he was going to shove a bottle of wine in her hands and send her out back with the rest of them. He had better things to do, like slap some sense into his buddies. What the hell had possessed all of them to marry such interfering women?
Clenching the knob with almost as much gusto as he gnashed his teeth, Tyler yanked the door open with a curse on the tip of his tongue. It died abruptly.
Oh. My. God.
He drank in the sight of the familiar, petite brunette. He knew those wary blue eyes, framed by thick, dark lashes, and that sweet oval face. Her stubborn chin. That wide bow of a mouth. His heart pounded. He found himself unable to take a breath. “Delaney?”
The sight of her hit him like a fucking two-by-four in the solar plexus. Was it even possible that she stood at his door? Or was he hallucinating after two silent years of wondering what the fuck had happened?
She shifted nervously, looking too damn tired and rumpled. Her dark hair hung in an unraveling braid. She wore no makeup, a faded T-shirt, and had dark circles under her eyes. By her side sat a black duffel bag on wheels. Something else squatted near her, around the corner. He couldn’t see more than a blue, waist-high plastic handle stretching vertically for about two feet.
What the hell? She refused to have anything to do with him for two years, then came to his door unannounced, bringing everything she owned?
“You’re a tough man to track down,” she murmured, then glanced over her shoulder at the empty street bathed in twilight. “Your alias threw me.”
Scowling, he crossed his arms over his chest. Yeah, he should invite her in, but last time he checked, she’d thrown him out of her life.
Of course, she wouldn’t show up now with luggage unless she was desperate . . .
“I was under the impression you’d rather I get and stay lost,” he drawled.
She shook her head, her dark braid swaying in the valley between her soft breasts, the ones with the pretty berry red nipples he’d never forgotten, no matter how many fake tits he’d fondled in the last two years. Tyler ignored the stirring of his cock and swallowed back the memory.
“I’m sorry for the way things ended.” She bit her lip. “I know this is awkward—”
“As hell. Yeah. Where’s Eric?” He glanced down at her left hand, clutching the rolling duffel bag. Her ring finger was bare.
Fuck. And there came the two-by-four to his gut again. Tyler didn’t ask why; he knew the answer.
“I’m sorry as hell, Del.”
And he was. But there was a selfish side of him having a full-on, get-down party at the news that Del was single again.
Self-consciously, she rubbed her thumb under her naked ring finger. “Thanks. It was final sixteen months ago. I haven’t seen much of him since.” She pursed her lips together, glanced behind her at the quiet street again. “We don’t talk a lot.”
Son of a bitch, he’d bet the split was ugly. And why did she keep glancing behind her?
“Delaney . . .” Tyler didn’t know what the hell to say. It wasn’t all his fault. But a good deal of the blame rested on his shoulders. The need to know why she was here now also kept circling his brain.
“It’s okay. I know you have company and that this is uncomfortable. I know I handled everything between us badly in the past. I’m sorry. I regret it like hell.”
Delaney’s blue eyes filled up with tears. As she fought them back, Tyler resisted the urge to comfort her as he had when they’d been friends . . . then more.
“Can I come in? There’s something we really need to talk about—and we shouldn’t do it on your porch.”
Everything inside Tyler seized up. The last time they’d talked, she’d asked him to leave, then cut him out of her life. Whatever was on her mind, it would be heavy. She hadn’t come all the way to Lafayette from Los Angeles to shoot the shit.
Despite everything, how the hell could he say no? He’d ruined her life, and deep down, he’d been pretty damn sure that would be the outcome the second the deed was done. He owed her. Besides, he’d never been in love . . . but he’d come perilously close with Delaney.
“Sure.” He swallowed, grabbed her duffel, and stepped back. “Come in. How did you know I had company?”
Delaney glanced at the object with the tall plastic handle beside her, the rest hidden by the exterior wall of the porch. She looked distinctly uncomfortable. “I rang the doorbell a bit ago, and no one answered. So I popped around to the side of the house and . . . saw that you weren’t alone.”
“They’re my buddies’ wives.” He’d meant the words as an explanation, a defense. Then he winced. God, Delaney probably already imagined—with good reason—that he was fucking each and every one of them.
“It’s none of my business.” She glanced at the hidden object beside her again, then the empty street behind her. “I came because I need your help. Really badly and right now.”
“You look tired, Del. And too thin. Come in and tell me what you need.”
She drew in a deep breath, then bent to the hidden item just beside her. A trunk? A dolly? Did she mean to move in?
A moment later, she straightened up, clutching a child. A little boy. He was deadweight in her arms, half asleep, his face against her shoulder, thick blond hair askew. Tyler’s heart skidded to a stop.
The kid’s meaty hands and feet peeked out beyond the arms and legs of his Spider-Man pajamas that were just a bit too small. He hooked one arm around Delaney’s neck, then began rubbing an eye with his little fist. Then the kid turned. That little face possessed the Murphy nose. His own green eyes, uncertain and watchful, stared back at him.
Tyler’s entire body went cold. His jaw dropped as his mind came to a screeching halt. Oh God. Oh fucking God . . .
“Tyler, meet your son, Seth.”
His son. Tyler had known this kid was his at a glance. A thousand emotions pelted him at once. Shock blazed through his system first. Wonder crashed in next.
He had a son. He and Delaney had created life together that beautiful May night when he’d finally stopped seeing her as a friend and had little choice but to touch her as a woman.
But she’d never bothered to tell him. Had she even tried to find him or just decided that he was irrelevant and had the child on her own?
Fury swept over him, relentless. One scathing accusation after another perched on the edge of his tongue. Gritting his teeth, he pushed it down for the boy’s sake.
“Hi, Seth,” he spoke in soft tones, then speared Delaney with a glare that dared her to defy him. “I want to hold him now.”
Suddenly, Tyler ached to. This was his son. His . . . with her.
Regret made Delaney’s mouth tremble as she nodded. She kissed the little boy’s head, then whispered, “It’s okay, little man.”
Seth frowned and watched him suspiciously, but went into his arms without a fight. Then Tyler was holding his son for the first time, wrapping him as tightly in his arms as he dared.
He tried to swallow, but his throat felt too tight. His jaw ached. His heart beat fast, like a fucking racehorse at the Kentucky Derby. Something warm flooded his chest. Tyler had never fallen instantly in love with anything or anyone, but Seth seized his heart in a single moment. He kissed the little boy’s forehead, and the feeling swelled tenfold.
“Why am I just now finding out about him?” Tyler tried to keep his voice calm and even. But his eyes accused her. What he really wanted to know was how the fuck she could have robbed him of the first fifteen months of his own son’s life.
She glanced at the street behind her again apprehensively and shimmied out of the porch’s light. “You have every right to be angry. Things were complicated, and you became impossible to find once you moved out of state. And I know those seem like poor excuses. At the end of the day, I didn’t know what to tell you or if you’d even care. You can take it out of my hide later. I’m sure I deserve it. But right now, I need your help. I need you to protect Seth.” She swallowed, her red-rimmed eyes looking stark and afraid. “Someone is trying to kill me.”
Join me Tuesday, December 2nd at 6PM Eastern (11PM GMT/3PM Pacific) to chat about Mine to Hold. I’ll have hot pics, cyber cocktails, and prizes! Discuss the book to win all kinds of goodies. You can find the fun by liking my Facebook page!
For all those who comment about the excerpt here AND join the party on Tuesday, I’ll give you an extra entry into the party’s grand prize drawing!
Hope to see you there!
I’ve been cooking up something fun and festive for the upcoming holiday season…and I’m finally ready to let y’all know. (Drum roll, please…) I’m excited to offer this new shirt design in several styles and colors this holiday season! I’m even more excited to announce that all proceeds will be donated to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. From their website: “At the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® we believe every child deserves a safe childhood. For 30 years we have been at the forefront of the fight to keep children safer from abduction and sexual exploitation. We provide the resources needed to help protect children and prevent these devastating crimes committed against children.”
For more information on this wonderful charity, please click here.
We have one overall shirt design in two different colors, white and (of course) black. Please view both campaigns to see all color and style options. I’m totally getting a hoodie or two.
White (Click here)
Black (Click here)
I hope you’ll join me in supporting this great cause and putting a little Wicked in your holiday season. Happy shopping, y’all!!!
It only takes a moment…
Cassidy Burke has the best of both worlds, a driven and successful husband and a wild, impulsive best friend. But after a decadent Mardi Gras party, Cassidy finds both men pulling away from her. Did the three of them awaken secret desires during a split-second of alcohol-fueled passion? Or is Mardi Gras a time when rules are meant to be broken without consequence?
Only one thing is for certain—the chill that’s descended over her marriage, and her most important friendship, will soon turn into a deep freeze if she doesn’t do something. And soon.
Light this flame at the scene of your greatest passion and all your desires will be yours.
The invitation stares out at her from the window of a French Quarter boutique. The store’s owner claims to have no knowledge of the strange candle. But Cassidy can’t resist its intoxicating scent or the challenge written across its label in elegant cursive. With the strike of a match and one tiny flame, she will call forth a supernatural being with the ultimate power—the power to unchain the heart, the power to remove the fear that stands between a person and their truest desires.
“When sensual magic and love ignite, the result is a beautifully lyrical romance.” ~ Cherise Sinclair
By the age of 30, Christopher Rice had published four New York Times bestselling thrillers, received a Lambda Literary Award and been declared one of People Magazine’s Sexiest Men Alive. His latest novel is THE HEAVENS RISE, a supernatural thriller about a young woman who is exposed to a mysterious parasite in the Louisiana swamp that gives her the power to control minds and unleash living nightmares. He is also a USA Today bestselling author.
Christopher’s first novel, A DENSITY OF SOULS, was published when he was just 22. The controversial bestseller was greeted with a landslide of media attention, much of it due the fact that Rice’s mother is a legendary vampire chronicler who shares his last name. He served as a contributing columnist to The Advocate for many years and his additional criticisms and witticisms have been featured in The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon.com and his own Facebook page, which currently hails over 100,000 subscribers. The members of the InsightOut Book Club selected his novel BLIND FALL as one of the best novels of 2008, and his noir thriller LIGHT BEFORE DAY was hailed as a “book of the year” by mega-best selling thriller novelist (and Jack Reacher creator), Lee Child. In 2012, he launched his own Internet radio program with best friend, New York Times bestselling author, Eric Shaw Quinn. A new episode of THE DINNER PARTY SHOW WITH CHRISTOPHER RICE & ERIC SHAW QUINN debuts every Sunday night at 8 PM ET/ 5 PM PT at www.TheDinnerPartyShow.com.
Visit Christopher Rice’s website and follow him on:
***Comment here for a chance to win a Kindle eBook of Christopher Rice’s The Flame. ***
She’s undercover and in over her head…
When FBI analyst Tara Jacobs’ fellow agent and best friend goes missing while investigating a sex ring, Tara goes undercover as a submissive in a Dallas BDSM club called Dominion. But no man can top a woman with Tara’s moxie convincingly enough—until an edgy, dangerous Dom takes control of the scene and sets her heart racing with a single, commanding glance. Too bad he’s also the man who stole her innocence years ago—and the one to whom she will never submit.
He’s got everything under control…until he falls for her again.
Navy SEAL Logan Edgington once left the woman he loved to save her life. He knows Tara will never forgive him, but he has no doubt that he possesses the knowledge to master her fears and the strength to guide her through an unfamiliar world of pleasure and pain. He alone can protect her on a dangerous mission that reveals both wicked depravities and terrible secrets. Logan relishes the exquisite torture of holding her again, feeling her uninhibited response. No matter how much Tara insists their fling will end after this mission, he’s determined that she will be his again—and this time, he’ll never let her go.
“YOU dragged my ass out of the shower for—” Logan paused as Mitchell Thorpe glared at him with cold gray eyes, then yanked back the black drape covering the one-way mirror. Logan’s jaw dropped at the sight. “Oh, holy shit.”
Around him, half a dozen other Doms all whistled and looked their fill.
“I thought she’d get your attention,” Thorpe drawled.
Completely. Logan’s gaze glued itself hungrily to the graceful line of her spine, cut in half by a gray sports bra. Tight black running shorts barely covered the lush globes of her ass. Though the beauty was way overdressed for her role, she sat back on her knees, legs spread, pose submissive. Mercy!
Logan rubbed his jaw. But the ache coursing through him wasn’t under his two days’ growth of beard; it had quickly settled south, behind his straining zipper, despite his orgasm fifteen minutes ago. Desire sizzled through him, along with shock. For the first time in years, he not only wanted inside a woman, he was desperate for it. Trying to cool down and process this development, he grabbed a bottle of water from the nearby cooler and drained half in two swallows.
Thorpe cleared his throat, clearly expecting a reply. As Logan forced himself to look at the club’s owner, a thousand responses ran through his head. Finally, he settled for something factual. “With that curvy ass and fiery hair? Yeah, she’s got my attention.”
He really had a thing for redheads. Always had.
In fact, everything about this woman set off Logan’s buttons. Such fair skin. He’d bet it would be damn soft and look so prettily pink after a good spanking. She radiated femininity, from the slender neck just under her pile of vibrant hair atop her head, to the sensual flare of her hips. Already, he wanted her the way he hadn’t wanted anyone in years—down, dirty, insatiably. Completely. He wanted to penetrate her, violate her, subjugate her. Every moment he watched her, the desire grew. Logan swallowed.
An unfamiliar thirtysomething man in jeans beside her issued orders. Logan couldn’t hear through the glass. Granted, he wasn’t the best at reading lips, but he thought the guy told her to bow her head. The stranger’s physique looked powerful enough to enforce his will . . . but he lacked any sort of commanding presence.
“Is this poser her Dom?” Logan drained the rest of his water bottle, wondering who the guy on the other side of the glass thought he was kidding.
Thorpe sighed. “Not yet. He needs to be. These two are actually FBI agents, training for an upcoming undercover assignment to break up a sex ring and rescue another agent. They’ve been in Axel’s dungeon for nearly a week. We’re not getting anywhere.”
“I have to be honest; it’s looking hopeless.” Axel, Dominion’s resident Dom, sighed.
In that instant, Logan knew that Thorpe had called together all the club’s Doms in the hopes that one of them could step in and train the delicious redhead in the next room. Yeah, she was still kneeling at the other man’s feet, but she had her hands on her hips. The sway of her body and the bobs of her head told Logan, she was giving her “Dom” an earful. He smiled.
Suddenly, he was damn glad he’d left Tyler, Texas, for Dallas during his leave to blow off some pent-up steam. Logan loved the navy, but constant missions to third world shit holes didn’t give him many opportunities to indulge in his kink of choice. But after yesterday, he needed to release tension even more. Over breakfast with his dad, Logan had seen an engagement announcement in the Tyler Morning Telegraph that had knocked him flat. She was fucking marrying Brad Thompson. Every muscle in Logan’s body tensed at the thought of that raving ass-hat touching her, planting his children in her womb.
“You trying crush that plastic?” Xander whispered, brow raised.
Thorpe, Axel, and the other Doms all stared.
Logan looked down and realized that he’d pulverized his water bottle. Muttering a curse, he threw it in the trash can, then focused on the scene through the glass. “She’s not submitting to him and she never will.”
“Which is where one of you comes in. Axel has agreed to coach the male agent one-on-one. But that leaves the female, and she needs a strong hand. I don’t have time for a project.”
Before anyone else could say a word, Logan volunteered. “I’ll do it.”
Thorpe paused, sizing him up. Logan refused to flinch or blink.
“Since you like the defiant ones, I thought this might be up your alley,” Thorpe stated. “But will you be too much for our little FBI agent? It’s her first field assignment.”
“I’ll give her whatever she needs,” Logan vowed. She was beautiful and seemingly brave. Field assignments with the FBI didn’t tend to be cakewalks.
“Except sex,” Jason, the bad-boy financial wizard, drawled.
“Fuck off ,” Logan muttered.
“Sex isn’t required,” Thorpe advised, tossing a glare Jason’s way. “She just needs to learn protocol and obedience.”
The normally silent Erik shrugged. “You know I like the putty-in-my-hands type. I can tell by the finger wag, that ain’t her.”
Logan looked at her again. Watching that finger wag made him hard. Hell, everything about her made him hard. Any time he could spend touching the gorgeous woman in the next room would be time well spent. Maybe even cathartic. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d been this stiff so quickly after an orgasm, but looking at the redhead’s lush ass, his dick was fully saluting her.
Zeb, the last of the Doms in the room, just grunted. “I’m heading down to Cabo in a few days for vacation. Man, I’d love to—”
“But since you won’t be here, and I will . . .” Logan cut him off with a smile.
“Lucky bastard,” Zeb groused.
Thorpe stepped between them. “The agents don’t have long before their mission begins. They’re already working against the clock. The female agent is submissive, in my opinion. But she’s not letting go.”
Logan already knew the problem. “She doesn’t trust that guy.”
In fact, the man beside her dropped his shoulders and sighed, clearly trying to reason with her—and showing his frustration. Both were exactly the wrong thing to do to earn obedience.
Axel shook his head. “Dominance isn’t Agent York’s bag.”
“Clearly,” Logan drawled, staring at the two through the glass.
“Why not find someone else to take his place?”
“Six days ago, one of their fellow agents working undercover was abducted by the leaders of a sex ring they’re trying to bust. They sent her in alone as a submissive. The only training she’d received was an hour’s briefing.”
“Dear God,” Erik choked. “What the fuck were they thinking?”
Logan shook his head. Sending an agent in that unprepared was more than stupid; it was downright irresponsible. Submission wasn’t something a person learned by reading a piece of paper. Any Dom worth his leathers was able to spot a tourist a mile away. She had been a lamb sent to slaughter. And now the redhead was going in after her, trying to dupe heartless predators for her first undercover assignment? Definitely brave.
“It’s worse than you think. Agent York let me read some cursory information on this sex ring so I’d know how to prep the agents,” Axel said. “The mastermind of this ring is a ruthless motherfucker. Though he’s from somewhere in the U.S., he’s apparently got brothels all over the world, from what the FBI can tell. He’s made a fortune off the backs of ten-year-old girls in Thailand, along with distributing videos of orgies and gang rapes. Apparently, this sick bastard expanded his business to include high-end slave auctions about six months ago. He’s abducting gorgeous, young submissives out of clubs and resorts, then smuggling them out of the country. The minimum bid for the sadistic fucks who want to buy is three million dollars.”
“Damn, that’s twisted.” Zeb frowned. “Who has that kind of cash to drop on pussy?”
“Sheiks, Internet tycoons, obscure European royalty.” Thorpe shrugged. “They’re out there.”
Zeb shook his head as he looked at the woman. “That almost makes me want to change my plans. She’s probably scared to have this thrown at her as a first assignment.”
“She volunteered,” Thorpe clarified, obvious admiration in his voice. “She’s never been out from behind a desk, but she’s willing to risk her life for this. She deserves the best training we can give her, so these two agents are working to go undercover and hopefully recover the missing agent, who I suspect Agent York cares for as more than merely a peer.”
Gorgeous, courageous, submissive. Everything Logan had heard about this woman intrigued him, and Thorpe’s last statement perked him up even more. “So he and the redhead aren’t an item?”
“Definitely not. They’ve made their mutual discomfort of this training well known.”
Sweet. “And you haven’t had any luck handling her?” Logan asked Axel.
“I’ve spent all my time on York, thinking that if I can train him to lead, she’d follow. Not happening.” Axel’s long blond hair brushed his shoulders as he shrugged. “We’re going to have to divide and conquer. So if you’re willing to take on a novice, I’m more than willing to dump her in your lap. Not that it looks like you’ll mind.”
As he reached for the doorknob, Logan smiled. “I can’t wait.”
Axel pushed past him. “Slow down. She’s a tough cookie. I think she’s a natural sub, but this is all new to her, so you can’t just barge in there and go all Dom on her ass. Let me do the introductions and hand off. Then you can take the girl down to your dungeon.”
“I’ll come along, too,” Xander cut in with a flashy grin. “Thorpe said sex wasn’t required, but you never know what she’ll need . . .”
Wherever there was wet pussy, Xander was never far away. But the thought of his friend grinding his dick inside the redhead made Logan seethe. He shot his buddy a scathing glare.
“What? She has a world-class ass,” Xander defended. “Sue me.”
It was impossible to argue with that. And while he didn’t want to think about Xander fucking her, Logan knew that, chances were, his sudden ache for this woman would likely disappear before she’d ever need sex.
Logan gestured to the door, then followed Axel and Xander down the hall to the next opening on the left . York looked up, tensed, clearly not digging the assignment. The female agent just set her shoulders and ignored him. That would change—damn quick. For now, Logan let Axel ease the way.
Quickly, Axel explained the situation. The male agent glanced at his female counterpart as she rose to her feet. Poor bastard actually looked relieved. Logan smiled, fighting back the urge to rub his hands together.
“You want me to introduce you two?” Axel gestured between Logan and the redhead.
He shook his head. “I got it from here. Face me.”
The woman gasped, stiffened—then darted to the other side of the room.
So she wanted to play games already? That was no problem for him.
Logan took off after her and grabbed her from behind, grasping a handful of that siren red hair. Damn, it was soft . Her breathing hitched, and he turned harder in an instant.
“On your knees. Stay there until I say otherwise. You’re in training with me now, and I won’t be as lax as Axel. I’d rather complete introductions before I spank you, but that’s your choice.”
“Let. Go. Of. Me.” The woman fought his hold. “Logan.”
She knew his name? Her voice resonated in his head, crisp yet feminine. So fucking familiar. Impossible. It couldn’t be . . .
He released her hair and grabbed her shoulders, still subduing her struggles. Heart pounding, he spun her to face him. That familiar face, angry dark eyes, and the mulish set of her pert little chin had him mentally flailing with shock. Holy fuck.
Logan gasped, stared. “Cherry?”
Join me Wednesday, November 19 at 6PM Eastern (11PM GMT/3PM Pacific) to chat about Belong to Me. I’ll have hot pics, cyber cocktails, and prizes! Discuss the book to win all kinds of goodies. You can find the fun by liking my Facebook page!
For all those who comment about the excerpt here AND join the party on Thursday, I’ll give you an extra entry into the party’s grand prize drawing!
Hope to see you there!
It’s a reissue kind of release day for me! The Lady and The Dragon is the first book I published, way back in 1999, and it’s now available again with an awesome new cover. It’s a sexy Regency about a headstrong heiress determined to find adventure and a pirate—ahem, a privateer—who must ransom her to save his brother but realizes too late that she’s captured his heart. I hope you enjoy going back in time with me. This is the last of my reissues for 2014, but this one is definitely a sentimental favorite, so I hope you enjoy. Happy reading, my friends!
A Runaway Heiress
Lady Christina Delafield was as bold as she was beautiful. When her overbearing grandfather threatened to tame her in a Swiss finishing school, Christina stowed away on the first ship leaving London harbor, determined to make her own way in life. But the mysterious captain of the Dragon’s Lair was a seductive reason to relinquish her independence–and embrace desire.
A Gentleman Pirate
Drexell Cain had lived for four years as the merciless Black Dragon, the scourge of the seas. Bent on rescuing his brother from the British Navy, Drex would do anything to return him to his wife and son in Louisiana–even kidnap the Lord Admiral’s granddaughter for ransom. A lovely blonde stowaway was an unexpected complication, until he discovered her real identity–and her passionate claim on his lonely heart.
Christina drew in a quick breath and whirled to face the captain’s door, white-gloved fingers clutching her valise. She clasped the cold latch and lifted. The door opened with a quiet click. She dashed inside.
The captain’s naked back, golden and muscle-hardened, filled her vision. She stifled a gasp at the snarling black and green dragon tattoo dominating one shoulder blade. Its open mouth breathed fire across the width of his back, to his other shoulder. The curling tail wound around a powerful biceps.
She couldn’t move, could not tear her eyes away. A tattoo? Dear God, what kind of a barbarian would have that arrogant monster permanently embedded into his flesh?
One without the worries or scruples of a gentleman.
Uncertainty assailed her. This man was the antithesis of all she’d known, spawned from an opposite end of the Earth. She knew nothing about his less-than-civilized world. Would she survive long enough to see Aunt Mary in Grand Bahama? Trembling, she shoved the dismal thought aside and glanced about his cabin.
An exotic, Oriental aura dominated the space, which looked half the size of her dressing room. A burning taper filled the room with a pungent musk. Her shocked gaze fixed on the dramatic austerity of the black decor, relieved only by the pale wooden walls. An ebony and emerald silk coverlet on his bunk boasted the same scaled symbol of fire and power as his shoulder.
He reached for his shirt and pulled it on, concealing the intimidating dragon from her view. She swallowed in relief.
Feet planted apart, broad shoulders filling his black shirt, he tucked the cotton garment into skin-tight, biscuit-colored breeches. “I told you I didn’t want to see you.”
Startled by his acknowledgment, she stammered, “But I must speak with you. Please. Five minutes.”
He whirled to face her. The sight rooted her in place.
A scrap of black silk stretched along the upper part of his square face, from brows to the bridge of his nose. She shivered. Only one type of man wore a mask: the dangerous kind.
The sight of his hard, bearded jaw arrested her next. A wall of power surged toward her as he stepped closer. Christina could not decide if she should attribute the feeling to the foreboding impression he made with black shirt, black mask, black beard, black eyes…or the displeasure thundering across the hard angles of his face. Then again, perhaps the sleek ebony length of his hair grazing his mammoth shoulders and the golden ring dangling from his left ear roused her unease. Either way, he was no one to trifle with; he’d made that abundantly clear without a word.
“W—why do you wear the…mask?” she stammered. “Oh, my… You hide your identity.”
“Hmm. Perceptive.” His low quip cut and didn’t invite further conversation. But she could not give up and return home. Life in Switzerland was much more abhorrent. And cold.
Hancock burst through the door. “Cap’n, I’m sorry. The vixen tricked me.” He turned to her, his look less than friendly. “Come on. The cap’n wants ye gone.”
A crooked smile curved the captain’s mouth as he waved the man away. Christina did not find his expression comforting.
“No need,” he assured, his gaze shifting to regard her. “I’ll handle her. Dismissed.”
The little man glanced from her to the captain, then back again, smiling now. “Aye.”
Hancock closed the door behind them, leaving them completely alone. In the ensuing silence of the small cabin, the captain scanned her with a thorough gaze.
She crossed protective arms across her chest and buried her apprehension. “I came to make you a proposition, Captain.”
“A proposition?” His already suggestive tone dropped to a purr that set her instincts on full alarm. He leaned his hip indolently against the small cherry-wood desk bolted into the cabin’s wooden floor. “Well, now you do have my attention.”
Christina gasped. The cur actually had the nerve to smile! She trembled, and he grinned like a well-fed cat.
They stood on opposite ends of the minuscule cabin—three steps from each other. The captain pushed away from the desk; his stride ate up one of the precious steps separating them. With her back at the door, Christina had nowhere to retreat.
She struggled for her next breath. The scents of salt, incense and man filled her nose. She forced herself to hold his stare, even as a tingling awareness of the captain rose inside her.
“I am talking about a business proposal,” she corrected. “And I will thank you to stop leering at me.”
An infuriatingly insolent grin lifted the corners of his mouth. “Don’t thank me; it won’t happen.”
Please comment about the excerpt for a chance to win an eBook copy of Naughty Little Secret.
Happy Friday Friends!!
While I’m busy working on page proofs for His to Take, I wanted to let y’all know that Belong to Me (Wicked Lovers, Book 5) is at a special low price in my store (Shayla’s Store). And have you signed up for my newsletter? Look at the top of my website to enter your email address or click here. A new one will be going out soon… don’t miss out on my sometimes wild and crazy thoughts!
I recently met several of y’all at the LoveNVegas Author Event. I had a wonderful time!! Here are some pictures from Vegas. Enjoy! Have a great weekend!!
From the New York Times bestselling authors of the Masters of Ménage series . . .
They are the Perfect Gentlemen of Creighton Academy: privileged, wealthy, powerful friends with a wild side. But a deadly scandal is about to tear down their seemingly ideal lives . . .
Maddox Crawford’s sudden death sends Gabriel Bond reeling. Not only is he burying his best friend, he’s cleaning up Mad’s messes, including his troubled company. Grieving and restless, Gabe escapes his worries in the arms of a beautiful stranger. But his mind-blowing one-night stand is about to come back to haunt him . . .
Mad groomed Everly Parker to be a rising star in the executive world. Now that he’s gone, she’s sure her job will be the next thing she mourns, especially after she ends up accidentally sleeping with her new boss. If only their night together hadn’t been so incendiary—or Gabe like a fantasy come true . . .
As Gabe and Everly struggle to control the heated tension between them, they discover evidence that Mad’s death was no accident. Now they must bank their smoldering passions to hunt down a murderer—because Mad had secrets that someone was willing to kill for, and Gabe or Everly could be the next target . . .
A secret fantasy.
Hunter had everything until a bullet put his career as a Navy SEAL on hold. Restless and in need of distraction, he accepts an intriguing proposition. Restless and uncertain about his future, he accepts an intriguing proposition: share an acquaintance’s girlfriend and fulfill her fantasy of a ménage. It should have been just a night of sexual adventure between three consenting adults. But Kata is like no other girl Hunter has ever met. By turns audacious and sexy, then vulnerable and aloof, she’s a heartbreaker he’s determined to master. But he needs more than one night. And he wants to do it alone.
An uncontrollable obsession.
Kata never expected to leave her comfortable relationship and explore something so dangerously forbidden with a stranger. Hard as she tries to resist, the guilty pleasure overwhelms her, and she surrenders herself, inch by inch, to the hardcore man who wants her for himself. Consumed by blazing desire, they’re soon threatened by the shadows of the past. And now to keep Kata safe, Hunter makes her a bold proposition of his own. Saying yes will destroy her heart. But saying no could cost Kata her life.
The first thing Hunter Edgington thought when he saw the laughing brunette across the crowded hotel suite, champagne in hand, was that he couldn’t wait to fuck her.
His next thought was that it was a damn shame the curvaceous bombshell belonged to former boot camp buddy, Ben.
“Does she know?”
Ben leaned against the wall and took the last swig of beer from his bottle, then yelled over the deafening party tunes. “Nope. Big surprise. She wanted to come to Vegas for her birthday and have her fantasy fulfilled. After the shit she’s been through lately, when she requested…” He let loose a beer belch, tossing his brown hair from his unfocused eyes. “I delivered.”
Maybe, but Hunter suspected Ben hadn’t spilled the whole story. He’d spent the last half-dozen years as a Navy SEAL and was still alive because he listened to his gut. “You’re okay with this?”
“Yeah!” Ben slurred. “Fuck, she’s hot in bed. Passionate. All that Latina blood.” He leaned in and grinned. “She’s a screamer and scratcher.”
Ben’s words created a visual that had Hunter stone hard: himself with her, naked, slick with sweat. Her fuck-me mouth gasping his name. Her red manicured nails digging into his shoulders as he nuzzled her lush breasts. While pounding her swollen pussy relentlessly deep with his cock.
He wanted that—and would do whatever necessary to make it happen.
As if the sensing his stare, the gorgeous woman looked up. Their stares locked. Oh, yeah. She exuded sex appeal with all the subtlety of a flashing red light.
Instinct jabbed his gut with a full-throttle attraction that raced through his veins. Yes, she was beautiful. Tangling his hands in her dark silk hair as he claimed her mouth and body—all while cuffing her helplessly to his bed—would be fucking incredible. Even twenty feet apart, they generated combustible heat that singed him down to his balls. It was beyond chemistry. At thirty-two, Hunter knew the difference. He didn’t merely want her; he wanted to unravel her, figure her out, possess her completely.
Hazel, mossy green laced with deep brown. Stunning against her hint-of-olive complexion. Another shock of awareness blasted through him. The wide smile fell slowly from her lips. She held his stare, drew in a trembling breath. Her pulse fluttered at her neck. Her little pink tongue peeked out, swiping across her lips to lick them.
She felt the heat between them. Good. Because this goddamn searing lust made him wonder if he could ever sate his hunger for her, much less in a single night.
“What’s her name?” He had to know, ached to.
“Kata.” Ben slurred. “Short for Katalina, but she hates it. I call her that when she pisses me off, but then she calls me Benjamin and—”
“Got it.” Hunter didn’t need to know the ins and outs of Ben and Kata’s relationship. He already envied the bastard like mad. “Boundaries?”
“Nah, man. Whatever she wants.”
Idly, Hunter wondered if Ben realized that, without limits, he could be really fucking lethal. Requesting leave from his team after being shot, Hunter had nothing more to do for a week than rehab his shoulder and devote himself to seducing Kata.
And why warn the competition? Hunter suspected he’d lose a buddy over this girl. Poaching wasn’t his style, but for her, he’d bend the rules because Hunter would be more than happy to be the man scratching Kata’s itch from now.
Join me Thursday, October 30 at 6PM Eastern (11PM GMT/3PM Pacific) to chat about Surrender to Me. I’ll have hot pics, cyber cocktails, and prizes! Discuss the book to win all kinds of goodies. You can find the fun by liking my Facebook page!
For all those who comment about the excerpt here AND join the party on Thursday, I’ll give you an extra entry into the party’s grand prize drawing!
Hope to see you there!
To stop a blackmailer and achieve her dreams, she only had to do one thing: seduce the enemy.
Shanna York was set to achieve her glittering ballroom dreams and become a dance champion—until her dance partner gets tangled up in scandal and blackmail. With the clock ticking and all her ambitions at stake, the last thing she needs is the gorgeous owner of a sex club tempting her with the forbidden.
Or maybe that’s the very thing she needs…
Alejandro Diaz has sizzled for Shanna since he set eyes on her months ago. Her repeated rebuffs will make her surrender that much sweeter. She’s ambitious and driven…but so is he. When she asks for his assistance to ensnare a voyeuristic blackmailer with a video fetish, he doesn’t hesitate to help her stage a bedroom trap. But neither is prepared to face scorching, endless passion, the blackmailer’s real identity—or the undeniable love that grows between them.
** This title is a reissue of a 2007 release
His words hit her like lava, sizzling her skin, charring her resistance and sanity. No one had ever talked to her like that. Between her brothers and the bitchiness she wore like armor, no one had dared.
God, even without uttering a word, Alejandro was stunning. When he murmured that sort of sin, he didn’t just turn her on; he turned her inside out.
Alejandro was dangerous. She could see getting lost in such a man and his smoldering promise of spectacular sex the kind she’d never experienced.
“That’s enough,” she forced herself to say.
“We haven’t started. I think about undressing you under soft lights, your back to my front and letting my hand smooth your dress from your lush curves. I ache to let your perfect hard nipples brush the inside of my palms before I roll them between my fingers. I fantasize about feeling my way lower, down to that soft, wet pussy, then grazing your hard clit. And stroking it until you come. I obsess about bending you over and filling you with my cock all while you know the hot stares of strangers touch you. Want you.”
Desire pulsed, flared with every mental image he created. She could see herself naked, flushed, writhing under his hands or as he impaled her. She could feel herself dissolving at the thought of orgasming for him and a roomful of aroused men.
This was dangerous. Bad. Wrong. No, no, no.
“I said that’s enough!” Her voice shook as hard as the rest of her.
He kept on, as if she’d never uttered a protest. “I am part owner of a club where you could express yourself in any way you like. In every way that gets you off. Sneak Peek was made for women like you.”
Sneak Peek? The club where Kristoff’s video had been filmed in his soon-to-be-infamous threesome? Yes, the very one. That jolted her.
“I know what goes on there.”
A smiled toyed with those sensual lips of his. “Good. If we weren’t waltzing, I would reach between those sweet thighs of yours, and I bet I would find out you’re even wetter now than the last time I touched you.”
Shanna started to lie, tell him it wasn’t true. She didn’t trust him not to waltz her in a corner and test his theory, now that he knew her body didn’t care about being discreet, just about being wild and watched.
“I need to use the ladies’ room.”
He hesitated, then released her. “By all means.”
She turned away, resisting the urge to run to the sanctuary of her dressing room. No, she would walk. Calmly. Breathe in, breathe out.
And screw charity. Alejandro had paid his money and gotten his dance and his cheap feel. He could pat himself on the back, knowing that he’d dug up her naughty secret and rubbed it in her face. She wasn’t coming back. If she ever saw him at one of these charity events again, she¹d run in the other direction. Fast.
Before she could take the first step, he grabbed her wrist and pulled her back. Suddenly off balance, she collided against his chest. Her head snapped back her mouth right under his.
“At Sneak Peek, I will fulfill your every fantasy.”
Please comment about the excerpt for a chance to win an eBook copy of Naughty Little Secret.
*Congratulations Deborah G. on winning this giveaway!! My assistant, Rachel, will contact you regarding your prize. Thank you and everyone for commenting!*
Copyright © 2014 Shayla Black