I recently completed and submitted my thirtieth book. I'm celebrating by offering a taste from each one. Enjoy!
I wrote Mastering Her Role at least ten years before I made my first sale. At one point I had an agent and even a contract for it. Long story short, it stayed on the hard drive until it was published as a two book collection by the short-lived HarlequinE. Then I was able to get my rights back and now it's self-published as Book One in my Pleasures In Disguise series. Book Two is Playing The Master.
Both stories are about alter-egos. In this one, the hero, Jason, has a Dominant side as Dominic. His neighbour, Arianne, has a crush on him, but once she hears he has this super-sexy side, she's intimidated and asks to meet Dominic, so she can take some lessons on how to up her sexual game.
~ * ~
ON THE TELEPHONE he had sounded like Jason with a British accent. More or less.
The relationship between the two men was something of a mystery. She’d pressed Celine after the woman said with haughty amusement, I thought he would have introduced you to Dominic by now. But she’d only received a smirk in response.
Arianne wondered how much he’d be like Jason as she stood outside the hotel-room door. Until Jason had yanked her into his arms and spoken so explicitly, she’d only suspected what kind of man lurked beneath his quiet exterior. The idea of giving herself over to someone like that made her breath stutter, urging her to back out of this crazy stunt and retreat down the hall.
It didn’t matter how desperately she wanted Jason. He was a man who enjoyed highly sophisticated sex play. She’d never reach his level. This was—
The door opened.
The man who filled the open frame wore black from silk shirt to snug leather pants tucked into tall, well-worn boots that reminded her of Jason’s. She couldn’t be sure of his identity by looking at his hands or face. He wore leather gloves and a silky kerchief thing, cut with eyeholes. It hid the upper half of his face and hair, like a pirate.
Below the mask was a blond goatee. Jason’s hair was dark as a raven’s wing. This man was about as tall as Jason, but Jason had green eyes, while the ones staring at her were brown.
Stop comparing him to Jason, she scolded herself. He looked like the kind of man who wouldn’t put up with that sort of divided attention.
“Too timid to knock? Come in,” he said in that subtle accent, so crisp with authority. He braced the door with a straight elbow, remaining in the space so she would have to duck beneath his arm and brush his body to get by.
Her purse felt slippery in her grip, and she was pretty sure she was going to faint.
When she hesitated, he said, “Would it help to know I don’t intend to touch you? You wanted to meet me, so we’ll talk.”
She managed to swallow and nod then pressed through the tiny opening, feeling the brush of soft silk against her bare shoulder. She hadn’t known what to wear and settled on this lacy little sundress. It was too virginal, she realized. It screamed of inexperience. Timid. Newbie.
But she was here now, looking around the elegant suite. This was a chic boutique hotel, and he’d booked them into one of the best rooms, a suite on an upper floor. It had a lounge area, a small bar and a door to the left that would be the bathroom. The bed sat on a platform three stairs up, next to the hollow of a three-sided window alcove. Across the foot of the ornate king-size bed draped a fringed, peacock-blue sheet. A footstool, also ornately carved and upholstered in red velvet, stood beside the bed next to a discreet black suitcase.
Wondering what the case might contain made her abdomen tense. She jerked her gaze to the drawn sheers, which over the window that allowed some of the afternoon sun to penetrate, bringing a glow to the polished wood detailing above the empty fireplace. The room was comfortably warm. The air-conditioning, off. No hum. No music, either, just silence as he waited behind her.
She knew she ought to turn to face him, but it was easier to continue studying the room. In one corner stood a screen, black, with an inlay of tile chips. Perhaps it belonged to him, since mosaic nudes in Kama Sutra poses decorated it. Something red hung over the top of it. The rest of the furniture appeared to be hotel issue. Lovely, but not provocative—not like that screen or the suitcase.
“I said I wouldn’t touch you but I have a custom, Arianne. People who play sexual games need signals between them to express readiness to begin and closure at the end. It builds trust. You will kiss me now and again when you leave.”
Was he kidding?
She pivoted slowly, trying to find something reassuring in the cut of his jawline, but he was pure wickedness, lounging so negligently beside the door. She didn’t think she could do it.
“I was under the impression you wanted to reset the boundaries you’ve placed on your sexuality. Have you changed your mind?” His hand was still on the doorknob and he twisted it enough for her to hear the click.
Reasoning that she would have to cross the room to kiss or escape, she did that much on legs that felt numb, not certain until she reached him which option she would choose. Then she was eye level with his lips, their shape a close match to the ones she’d memorized over dinners and drinks.
Brothers, she fleetingly thought, or maybe cousins. At the same time, she was surprised how badly she wanted to kiss him, regardless of who he was. His mouth looked so carnal and masculine. And it was only a kiss. She couldn’t screw that up.
Like taking a leap off the high board, she gathered her courage, held her breath and stepped closer. Lifting slightly in her low sandals, she pressed her lips to his with gentle pressure. His mouth was warm and firm with a faint prickle from the goatee. Closing her eyes as an unexpected shiver of pleasure tickled down her spine, she lingered for an extra second to examine it, then scolded herself for acting so slutty.
She dropped onto her heels.
When she opened her eyes, she saw one corner of his mouth curled up in amusement. “Do I bear a strong resemblance to one of your maiden aunts? Kiss me properly, Arianne.”
Horrified, she looked at his hand on the doorknob, but he released it. The heavy hotel lock clicked into place. He raised his gloved hand to her chin, tilted up her face and lowered his head so his mouth covered hers in a slanting possession.
Hot, damp and thorough. She hadn’t expected that, but oh, when he flicked his tongue into her mouth, it sent a lightning bolt all the way to her center.
He drew back slowly, his gloved fingers caressing her throat. “Hello, Arianne. I’m Dominic. It’s lovely to meet you. Do you speak at all?”
“Of course.” She spoke to the middle of his chest. “It’s nice to meet you, too.”
“Is it? We’ll see. If you don’t kiss me on your way out the way I just kissed you, I’ll know for sure.” He walked past her into the room. “I prefer you to wear what I give you. Try on the red dress behind the screen.”
“I—” Undress? That was quite an icebreaker.
“You…?” he prompted.
“I thought you wanted to talk.”
“I thought you wanted to explore your sexuality.”
She could change or she could leave. He offered the choice with silent patience.
~ * ~
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