Bites Of Books - Playing The Master

excerptPlaying The MasterMastering Her Role#BitesOfBooks#kindleUnlimited

I recently completed and submitted my thirtieth book. I'm celebrating by offering a taste from each one. Enjoy!

Here's another spicy bite, this one from Book Two in my Pleasures In Disguise series. It's erotic romance, but the excerpt is safe for work.

When I sold Mastering Her Role, they asked for a second book to go with it. In Mastering Her Role, the hero has an alter ego. I had always wanted to write a companion novel about a woman who disguises her identity and that turned into Playing The Master.

Here Porter comes out to stop the dogs barking at Ann. She wears middle-eastern garb because she grew up there, under her even stepfather Cain, but she's English. Porter is marrying her to finalize a business contract. He doesn't know what to think of her. Note: The 'dressing room incident' was Ann watching Porter's ex-lover, Eloisa, making love with someone else. She then caught Ann in the closet and a reckoning for that is on its way...

~ * ~

One of the doors onto the veranda opened. Porter Navarro’s long legs descended the wide stone stairs next to her.

She stood, not looking at him. No longer looking for the puppy either.

“Are they scaring you? They shouldn’t be barking at guests.” Walking around her, he spoke sharply and made a hand gesture.

The dogs circled once, offered a final yelp, but a stern word sent them away.

Paralyzed by his dynamic presence, Ann waited for him to go back into the house. Porter hadn’t acted differently last night from before and after the dressing room incident, only finding her once to say, “For what it’s worth, my mother is responsible for this circus. Not only does she make everything about her, she rightly suspects it’s her only chance to play mother of the groom.”

Ann hadn’t known what to say. His mother was a beautiful woman who dressed provocatively, drank excessively and flirted without constraint. Erico Navarro, Ann had observed from a quiet vantage of a recessed window, had taken a blonde into one of the guest rooms and stayed there for an hour. Another knee-trembler, she suspected.

Ann still didn’t know what to say to Porter and silently willed him to go inside so she could look for the puppy.

“It’s raining,” he told her.

Yes I know that, she wanted to counter, but didn’t have Eloisa’s audacity. She felt his gaze on her like another muffling layer over her hijab and abaya. Like last night, a sharp longing rose in her to show him she wasn’t really this plain. Beneath the dull olive powder that flaked on her cheeks and made her look unhealthy was a lovely English complexion. The narrow flatness of her lips was a habit she’d developed to keep her mouth pressed closed around Cain, since she wasn’t allowed to speak unless he asked her a direct question.

Would Porter even care if he saw her as she really was? She couldn’t compete with those leggy supermodels he seemed to prefer. He’d basically said so.

A branch trembled and a black nose poked out from beneath it. Pleading eyes stared up at them for a few seconds. The puppy whined once and worked himself out of his hiding spot, belly on the ground, head low.

“Is that what stirred them up,” Porter said with mild disgust.

Ann’s throat closed over an automatic protest. It wouldn’t be worth arguing with Cain if he wanted to kill the dog then slap her for feeling empathy toward it, but she didn’t know what to expect from Porter.

He crouched and held out a hand, beckoning the dog with a light snap of his fingers.

The poodle crawled forward, badly shorn, filthy and trembling with cold.

Porter picked him up and checked each of his limbs, his handling sure and gentle, but thorough.

“You’ll have to keep him in your room. Mother will have him thrown in the river if she sees him.” He handed her the dog.

His flat statement startled her into glancing up through the rusty-water hue of her glasses. He broke the eye contact as soon as her gaze met his, looking with pity at the dog, but she’d glimpsed into his soul and realized that even though it appeared black and empty, it was merely hidden in a very deep cave.

His mother was not a kind person, something Ann had already guessed, but she hadn’t considered what that would mean for a boy growing up. Now she sensed something not unlike her own adolescence.

Having pain in common was not the sort of connection Raina had meant when she’d assured Ann that she would one day find a man who was her perfect match, but emotional agony was a surprisingly strong and quick binding agent. Recognizing a like soul made her heart burst into a frightened beat like a panicked bird’s wings when it was unexpectedly snared. She didn’t want to feel anything for him. It was a trap, she was sure.

Nevertheless, cradling the wiggling, licking animal, she recognized that her first stirrings of physical attraction had taken a giant step into something more elemental and personal.

Nothing so dramatic happened on his side, though.

“Bathe him. Warm him up,” he said, and walked away.

Watching his economic movements, weakened by yearning and relief, she realized she hadn’t managed to conjure one word from her dry mouth.

~ * ~

I'm afraid this one is exclusive to Kindle at the moment. I'm hoping to load it to all platforms by spring of 2017. Watch for it!

Amazon: US | CA | UK | Aus

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