Snippet Saturday – Emotion

snippetsaturdayEmotion. It plagues us all. Some of us more than others. I am one of the worst. I can cry at the drop of a hat, get mad over something I can’t control, feel jealousy, envy, fear, etc… I think emotion makes us stronger sometimes, but it can also weaken us if we don’t learn to control it and how we react to it.

There’s also the emotion of love…lust…

The Swing

It wasn’t soft and sweet. It wasn’t tender, even though he had the most tender feelings toward her. He couldn’t stop wanting her. No matter how many times he saw her, talked to her, fought with her, he couldn’t stop wanting her.

She was right in damning him. He was damned the moment they met. He was damned when she walked down the aisle to marry his brother. He was damned the day his brother was put in the ground. He’d been damned for years and would remain so. He coveted his brother’s wife, the one woman in the world he shouldn’t want but couldn’t live without having.

He held her for a long time until her breathing calmed and she lifted her head.

“We can’t be together.”

She was wrong. “I know.”

“And I mean it, this can’t happen again. This won’t happen again.”

“I know.”

“Stop being so fucking agreeable.” She pushed against his chest and scrambled off his lap. She righted her dress and backed away.

He knew the come would slide down her thighs. He’d used no protection and she’d asked for none. They both knew he couldn’t get her pregnant. “What do you want me to be? Angry? Sad? What, Caitlyn? What do you want me to be?”

“I want you to feel the same turmoil that I do, Jethro. I want you to hurt as much as I do.”

“How do you know I don’t?”

“Because you…you’re so distant, so callous, so in control.”

He stopped the swing and stood. His leg pained him today and had for the last week. It always did around this time of year moreso than at other times. It was the second anniversary of the day he’d pulled Marcus out of the upside-down Humvee. It was the day his brother died from war wounds. It was the day he let himself hope Caitlyn could finally belong to him. He hated himself sometimes for wanting her so much, but more than he hated himself, he loved her.

He took one step then another and another until he had her backed up against a post on the porch. “He was my twin. He was every other thought in my head. He was the one person I loved more than anything in this life besides you. He was the last of my family. He was your husband.”

Jethro kissed the corner of her quivering mouth and licked softly at the tear streaming down her cheek. “I do feel pain, every day. I have the physical scars to prove it. I have the nightmares that wake me up in the middle of the night. I have… Caitlyn, I have the broken heart beating inside my chest. I do feel pain. I do hurt. And fucking you today on that swing I made for us to share was the best and worst mistake.”

He pulled her bottom lip in between his teeth and tugged, sucked. He took her mouth in a scorching, searing kiss as he held her captive between his body and the wood at her back. He could drown in her taste…

“I have to leave.”

“Yes, you do. You have to keep running away from this. You have to keep being the strong one, the one able to resist.”

“You bastard. Be a man. Don’t let me go.”

She was crying harder now, beating on his chest with her fists, and he let her. He let her take it all out on him because he didn’t know what else to do. This time he was the one held captive. She had him pinned against the front wall of the house, her mouth devouring his, her tongue so, so deep in his mouth. The moment he started to wrap his arms around her though, she broke free and ran out to her car.

If you have some time today, go visit the following blogs for more emotional snippets…

Lauren Dane
Shiloh Walker
Mari Carr
Delilah Devlin
TJ Michaels
Leah Braemel
McKenna Jeffries
Taige Crenshaw
Felicity Heaton
Eliza Gayle
Caris Roane
Myla Jackson

~lissa

Guest Author: Viki Lyn

A writer’s mind is a crazy mind.

Sometimes my family looks at me with a perplexed expression because I space out when talking with my characters. As any writer will testify, characters reside quite comfortably in a writer’s mind–setting up house and making a very nice living space. And my characters exist within me long after the story is completed. You see, they refuse to move out. They will pop in to say hello or poke me for attention when some situation or item sparks recognition. You see, they are friends for life.

When I write paranormal, I not only have my characters taking up space, but the otherworld I created. Settings are often times characters as well. Especially when creating an imaginative world. Sins of Lust is an erotic male/male romance set in the celestial cities of Caelestia and Taelestia.  It’s my interpretation of heaven and angel’s relationships toward Protectors and demons and each other. These heavenly cities are as real to me as the one I’m living in, and Uri and Razi had sprung to life because of this world I created. Their motives and reactions to situations are based on their status as archangels.

So what comes first, the setting or the characters? I work it both ways. For Sins of Lust, I wanted to write about archangels. Then I started thinking about the Ten Commandments. What if an archangel broke one of these commandments? Thou Shall Not Kill…but he did it for love? Would he still be punished by God or did love supersede the act?

The story took form at that moment when I asked that question.

Thank you Lissa for letting me post and spread the word about Sins of Lust. It’s my first book with Ellora’s Cave and my eleventh m/m book published.

Release: 11/28/12
Ellora’s Cave Line/icons: Twilight/MM
ISBN: 9781419941573

Thou shall not kill.

For archangel Razi-el, he had no choice. He would break God’s commandment again if it were to save Uri-el from a demon’s talons. Yet even God’s most trusted archangel cannot avoid punishment. No longer Razi-el, he is now Izar, a Protector sworn to kill for the angels.

When a Protector kills an angel, Izar is summoned to work alongside Uri-el to capture the killer. Izar is shocked when his bloodlust spikes hot for the archangel. He knows better than to go after forbidden fruit. Refusing to give in to temptation, he ignores his body’s tempestuous arousal for Uri-el until a heated argument turns his blood into molten lust.

As they rush to find the killer, their passion plays into the demon’s plan. Izar will have to make a choice between life and death if he is to save Uri-el again.

Excerpt and buy link: http://www.jasminejade.com/p-10512-sins-of-lust.aspx

You can find me here!

http://www.vikilyn.com

http://www.vikilyn.com/blog

http://www.facebook.com/VikiLynRomance

http://www.twitter.com/VikiLynRomance

Happy Reading!

Viki

Guest Author: Avril Ashton

I’d like to thank Lissa for having me on. She suggested I talk about the Brooklyn Sinners series, give some insights into the creation, the stories and the characters, so I will. There may be some spoilers so cover your eyes if you don’t wanna know stuff.

It could be great stuff *wink*

Right now there are two books available in the Brooklyn Sinners series, Love the Sinner and Sinner, Savior which recently released.

The idea for LtS came to me simply: a good guy falls in love with a bad guy. Okay. Cool. What else? Rihanna’s Man Down came out and suddenly I had a scene. Someone gets shot. Who and why? I worked out those questions and the what-ifs, with the shooting scene as the central theme and working my way out. The result was the first chapter of Love the Sinner.

I originally planned for this to be a two-book series centered on Gabe from LtS and his brother Kane. I had no plans to give Pablo from Sinner, Savior a book. None. Here’s a tip when reading my books; if a secondary character has a common-as-hell name, he’s not getting a story. LOL Sorry, that’s how I roll. So I named Angelo’s best friend Pablo and wrote him off as just the friend, nothing more. Then came the birthday party in LtS and suddenly things are changing. I’m typing and literally screaming out loud, “What? No way!” What was up with this guy just bum-rushing his way into my story and changing stuff?

I ignored him.

Then Angelo <spoiler alert> goes to jail and Pablo takes over the gang and I knew he won’t be letting me pass him by. The plan was to go from Gabe and Angelo (Love the Sinner) to Kane and Mr. S (A Sinner Born) but noo, Pablo was all up in my head talking ‘bout “Chick you broke my heart, you better fix that ish.”

I mean, the guy just insists upon himself.

I listened to him.

Here’s what I can tell you about the series: After A Sinner Born, there are two more books to be written. That’s right. You heard it here first, exclusively. Both couples are introduced in Sinner, Savior. One couple is featured prominently and the other is carefully hidden. Maybe I’ll share one day soon. If someone finds the right thing to bribe me with, or the incriminating evidence to blackmail me. There are no plans for other books beyond the five. The last two have no titles yet and will be shorter works. Novellas.

What’s also included in Sinner, Savior: We see more of Mr. S or Syren Rua. First introduced in Love the Sinner, readers know Mr. S is masquerading as Faro. In SS Syren also features prominently and we see him flirty, sexual, funny and easy going. I can tell you this, Syren is a man with a lot of faces. He wears many hats and is a lot of things to a lot of people, none of them real or authentic. In writing Syren’s book, I delve into a lot of dark things which triggers a whole bunch of personal and emotional stuff for me.

It’s hard, but needs addressing.

Ooh. Remember the Coney Island penthouse in LtS? It’s also in Sinner, Savior and methinks will show up in A Sinner Born. It appears that’s way all the men go to make nookie. Heh.

 

Is there anything else you guys wish to know? If you have questions, just leave them in the comments and I’ll answer. One commenter will win a PDF of Sinner, Savior.

 

BLURB

Sinner or Savior? Each man has a choice to make. It should be simple. It never is.

Gun runner Pablo Castillo has cemented his reputation in the gun trade as callous and cold-hearted. Personal feelings no longer matter, not with everyone out to make him a sacrifice on their way to the top. He remains untouchable, until a meeting with a rival gang leader and a new deal brings him face-to-face with temptation.

Dev is the right hand to a sadistic bastard out for blood and glory. He hides his true feelings of distaste for his boss, not the least of his many secrets. He could’ve sworn those secrets were safe, but after meeting Pablo he’s not so sure. The two men come together in a heated affair neither can deny, battling themselves, each other and a deadly enemy bent on spilling blood. Pablo and Dev will have to stick together or walk away from a love neither man expected to find. The choice should be simple. It never is.

 

Reader Advisory: Contains brief scenes of gang-related violence.

At Ellora’s Cave: http://bit.ly/RDZ4wm

 

EXCERPT

Done with his shower, Pablo stepped out with a shudder. The cool breeze scattered goose bumps over his skin. Water dropped from his body and pooled at his feet on the exposed tiles, but he ignored it and opened the mirrored medicine cabinet.

He poked around the bottles of painkillers and Vaseline in search of a disposable razor. He’d forgotten to get himself shaped up and his beard was coming in hot and heavy. No razors, but a folded piece of paper tucked in between a box of bandages and a bottle of peroxide caught his attention. He picked it up and slowly opened it after closing the cabinet.

Pablo stared.

It was a drawing. A very good drawing of him.

Angelo’s cop.

His eyes were closed, his face relaxed as if he were sleeping. The curls on his head were a mess, every strand drawn with exquisite detail. The cop’s lashes touched his cheek, curved and shadowed perfectly. His parted lips were full.

The paper in his hand shook and Pablo blinked.

A fat drop of water landed on the drawing, on the tip of the cop’s nose.

Pablo blinked again.

Another drop of water.

The shaking grew stronger and he clenched his fist, crumbling the sketch in the lower right corner. There was a thickness in his throat, one that didn’t budge no matter how much and how often he swallowed.

Angelo drew this. Pablo knew it. In his heart. In his gut. The person who drew that picture loved his subject. It was shown with every stroke of that fucking pencil.

Every shade, every crooked line was a touch. A caress.

A kiss.

All the things he’d longed for in silence. In darkness. While he berated himself for feeling the way he did about his best friend, for wanting someone he knew, knew, wasn’t gay, Angelo was here. Making love to someone else.

A man.

A cop.

The anger and betrayal choked him and he tore at the paper, shredding it, eyes burning.

It wasn’t fair. None of it. Angelo got to have his happy ever after and what did Pablo get? More pain than he knew what to do with. More anger drowning him, and no one to trust. No one to love.

The man he loved, loved someone else. Chose someone else. Died for someone else. And he was alone, fighting to keep his head above water and his heart still beating. But hardest yet was waking up to a life without the man he’d called his best friend.

He did his best to understand in the beginning, but here and now, faced with this, with the evidence of all he’d lost, he didn’t think he’d ever be able to move on. He’d definitely never be able to trust again, not that he ever did.

Angelo had the dubious honor of being the only man he’d trusted.

Look how well that turned out.

He’d never allow anyone the luxury of hurting him, of cutting him as deeply as Angelo had.

He held his fist up, over his head, staring into the mirror as he opened his palm and allowed the confetti to fall. On him. All on him. A reminder of just how easy it was to destroy something, someone you love.

He met his eyes in the mirror and cringed at the weakness.

“Motherfucker!” He punched the mirror and glass shattered all over the sink, sending his image shimmering out of focus and pain shooting up his arm.

He stared silently as blood dripped off his cut hand into the sink and onto the floor.

What was a little bit more blood, a little bit more pain, heaped onto the mountain he already carried with him, inside him?

His cell phone blasted the theme song for ESPN’s SportsCenter from the bedroom and he twisted away from the wrecked mirror, entering the room and grabbing the phone from the bed with his uninjured hand.

A text message from Dev. He was a block away.

Pablo quickly composed a reply with one hand, giving him instructions on the back entrance and the code to the gate. He wasn’t too worried about trusting Dev with info like that, the man had a lot to lose as well, but he’d change the code before he left. Just in case.

He pulled on a pair of jeans then went downstairs. He flicked on the light switch then ran his bleeding hand over his head with a grimace. He really needed a shave, but that would have to wait. He stood on the balcony, looking out over the amusement park as loud screams of happiness reached his ears and the sticky-sweet aroma of cotton candy and hot dogs made his stomach rumble.

He couldn’t recall the last time he ate, but food would have to take a backseat to the upcoming activities. He planned to lose himself in Dev tonight.

A knock came on the penthouse door and he swung around, taking his time as he made his way across the room. He unlocked the door and pulled it open. Dev’s eyes were somber, concern etched into his features as his gaze roamed Pablo’s face.

“Fuck! What happened?” Dev pushed his way in and grabbed Pablo’s wrecked hand. “You’re bleeding.”

Pablo frowned and yanked his hand away. “What?”

Dev gestured. “I—You’re bleeding. There’s blood on your head and neck—” He lifted his hand and Pablo flinched away.

Dev blinked. “I heard about what happened.” He licked his lips and Pablo’s body clenched. “York knows and he’s looking for any way to exploit it.”

His lips were moving, but Pablo couldn’t fully process what Dev was saying. The plain white tee he wore hugged the muscles in his forearms and the distressed jeans were snug, covering shit Pablo suddenly salivated to see.

“Hey.” Fingers cupped his jaw, warm and rough. “Castillo, you okay?”

What the fuck was with all the concern? Pablo couldn’t bear it. He yanked Dev’s hand away from his skin and pushed him up against the locked door. Satisfaction settled in his gut, hot and addicting when Dev’s eyes widened and those Goddamn lips parted.

Dev’s movements stilled.

“If you want to talk, this ain’t the place.” He watched as his breath rustled the hair brushing Dev’s forehead. “I want your mouth for something else,” he rasped. “Wrapped around my dick.”

Dev’s throat worked. His pupils dilated and Pablo rubbed against him, swallowing a moan. His prick ached with the contact but it wasn’t enough. Visions of Dev on his knees, mouth stretched wide around him, eyes bulging, sped up his hips.

Shit. He indulged in one last sweet grind before pulling away. Dev’s cheeks were flushed, eyes over-bright as his chest heaved. Pablo kept his gaze on him and palmed his own crotch.

“Get on your fucking knees.”

 

Author Bio/Links

l always wanted to have a sexy bio, one to reflect who I am, but after drawing a blank, l could only come up with: I eat cake and I read books…ooh, and I write ‘em too. No one liked it and after massive peer-pressure and pouting, I managed something more…suitable?

A Caribbean transplant, Avril now lives in Brooklyn, N.Y with a tolerant Spousal Equivalent. Together they raise an eccentric daughter who loves reading and school (not so much school anymore). Avril’s earliest memories of reading revolve around discussing plot points of The Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys with an equally book-minded mother

Always in love with the written word, Avril finally decided to do the writing in August of ’09 and never looked back. Spicy love scenes, delicious heroes, and wicked women burn up the pages of Avril’s stories, but there’ll always be a happy ending; Av remains a believer of love in all its forms.

Visit: http://www.avrilashton.webs.com

http://www.avril-ashton.blogspot.com

Friend Avril on: http://www.facebook.com/writeravrilashton

http://www.twitter.com/#!/AvrilAsh

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4623203.Avril_Ashton

Authorgraph: http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/AvrilAsh

 

Snippet Saturday – Celebration

It’s been a while, yeah? I simply needed a break, but for the next few months I’m back. This snippet is about celebration. I’ll have to pull out Ink Spots for this I think… It’s the closest I have to a celebration of any kind at this time.

Snippet:

Mandi glanced around when Jaz pulled into the Katz parking lot. “What are we doing here? I don’t work tonight.” The lot was fairly empty save for a few cars she recognized, a few trucks she didn’t and a few bikes she’d like to get to know really well.

“No, you don’t, but… I sorta do.”

She turned surprised eyes on him. “You do? Since when did Jackie hire you back on?”

He shrugged. “It’s a special event. I won’t be working long, and when I’m done, we can go if you want.”

Uh-huh. “So let me get this straight. Jackie gives me the awesome birthday present of you and the weekend off, but then she asks you to work a special event?”

“Yeah.” He pulled into a spot in front of the building and put the Charger in park. “Feel free to take it up with her.”

“I will be happy to.”

Jaz grinned across at her and got out of the car. He was acting a little weird, and truth be told, it was making her a little uneasy. He walked around and opened her door, helping her out, and kept hold of her hand.

His palm was a little clammy and there was a slight tremble in his fingers, but when she chanced a glance up to his face, it betrayed nothing. Yeah, something was going on. That uneasy feeling was churning in her belly and she didn’t like it.

Jaz opened the door to Katz for her and followed her inside. It was dark, there was no sound, there were no people, no—

SURPRISE!

Okay, there were people. Lots of them. And lights and noise and… Her hands flew to her mouth and she took an unconscious step back and found the solid body of Jaz behind her. He wrapped an arm around the front of her shoulders and held her tight against him. “Oh god.”

Mandi’s heart skittered to a stop then picked up speed. A surprise party. For her.

“Gotcha.”

Jackie and her megawatt smile had come to hug her, and Mandi wrapped her arms tight around her friend. “I can’t believe you did this.”

“I don’t know why not. You’ve never had a surprise party and, well, now you have.”

It was true. She’d never had one, and while a small part of her had always secretly hoped for one, she’d truly never expected one. Ever. “How long have you been planning this?”

“Since you said you’d come work for me for a while.”

“You couldn’t have known I’d fall for him.”

“No, I had no idea you’d rather have a badass than a buttoned-up suit, but I should have. He was just the icing on the cake, so to speak, once I realized the attraction ran both ways.”

Mandi looked in the direction Jaz had gone. As soon as Jackie had come forward, he’d squeezed Mandi and kissed the top of her head, telling her he’d be back shortly. He went off to talk to his friends and they were… She turned her attention back to Jackie. “What are they doing?”

“It’s part of your surprise. You didn’t know they had a band?”

A band? “No. I didn’t know.”

“Oh yeah. Jaz is their drummer. He’s pretty damn good too. Hell, he’s pretty damn good at everything he’s ever tried. Creative little shit. No matter what it is, he can turn it into gold. He’s got so much talent. He couldn’t sit still when he got out of jail. Between working for me and tattooing at the shop, there were still hours left in the day. Usually the middle of the night or the crack of dawn. I don’t think he slept more than a couple hours at a time.

“He came to me a few months after he got out and said he would like to learn to play the drums. I bought him his first set, which we had to have custom designed because of his size, and I guess you could say the rest is history. He started taking lessons early mornings from the local high school music teacher and after awhile, he was on his own with it. The teacher said he didn’t have anything else to teach him. Jaz had the technique. He also has an ear that can hear any beat, any cadence, and play it after only a few bars of listening to it. About a year or so ago, he and Vinter and Dallon came up with the band idea. They’re not bad for a garage band.”

“I had no idea.” He was a musician, a drummer no less. That explained a few things, she thought with an inner smile. It especially explained his coordination when he played with her body using both hands. How he could touch her with such finesse, with such precision. Just thinking about it, the way he could manipulate her responses…

Jackie was right. Jaz was a creative little shit.

“He’s been fucking nervous too.”

Jackie’s comment drew Mandi’s undivided attention. “Why?”

“Girl, he’s got it so bad for you.”

“Well, that’s no reason to be nervous.”

“I think for him it is. He might look gruff and mean, but he’s a marshmallow inside.”

A damn lusty-hot-as-fucking-hell-she-was-surprised-he-hadn’t-melted-from-the-inside-out marshmallow. “I’m not sure he’d appreciate you saying that.”

Jackie laughed. “No, probably not, but so long as only you and I know I said it, it’s all good.” She took Mandi by the hand and started walking. “Let’s introduce you to a few people.”

“Might be a good idea.”

She was summarily introduced to Elise who was Vinter’s girlfriend and Carrie who was Dallon’s. Mandi had met both Vinter and Dallon over the past few months, but hadn’t met the women in their lives. Turned out, Elise had just moved closer to the small town after meeting Vinter in his bar, or was it Dallon’s bar?

“They all own it. Just like they all own the tattoo parlor. They split it three ways.”

“Oh. Well, what does Vinter do if Jaz runs the tattoo place and Dallon runs the bar?”

The blush that covered Elise from the opening in the low-cut blouse to her sweet, heart-shaped face was priceless. And telling. Mandi couldn’t help but blush herself, feeling the heat creep up. She couldn’t stop herself from glancing around for Jaz. Her eyes locked onto his from across the room and how the hell she read what his look said, she’d never know.

He was in front of her before she caught her breath, and he didn’t even give her the chance to excuse herself from the conversation she’d been having. He had her down the back hallway and his mouth on hers, his tongue between her lips, her body hiked up the wall and her legs wrapped around him…

Damn, but he took her breath away.

“You can’t look at me like that,” he growled at her.

“Like what?”

“Like you can’t get enough.”

“Well, I can’t, but I didn’t think that’s what that look said.”

“Trust me, that’s exactly what that look said.”

“Okay, so does that mean I can’t look at you at all then? ’Cause I’m pretty sure I always look at you like I can’t get enough.”

Jaz laughed and thrust upward slightly. Damn they both had way too many clothes on.

end Snippet

Now y’all please take a few minutes and visit the following blogs for more awesome snippets:

Rhian Cahill
Leah Braemel
Myla Jackson
Caris Roane
Jody Wallace
McKenna Jeffries
Taige Crenshaw
HelenKay Dimon
TJ Michaels
Shiloh Walker
Delilah Devlin
Eliza Gayle
Lauren Dane

~lissa

Guest Author: Sabrina York

Lissa, thank you so much for letting me share the sizzling cover and excerpt for my newest release, Training Tess on your blog. I love your tag line: Where the Men are Naughty. Because, really, who doesn’t crave a naughty man?

I write them all the time!

In fact, the hero of Training Tess, an erotic romance with BDSM elements, is a very naughty man. Jared is a dark, dreamy Dom who likes his sex right on the edge.

When he spots his sister’s very vanilla assistant in a BDSM club, he can hardly believe it. He’s lusted after Tess for years but didn’t think she could handle his darker needs. Like his predilection for cuffs. And whips. And spanking. Hell, for domination of every kind. But as soon as he sees her wearing a collar, he’s lost to his desire. He vows to claim her for his own.

For Tess, dressing up as a sub while researching an article she’s writing is a lark—until she sees Jared in the club. She may be new to the Dom/sub scene, but she knows what she wants. With Jared—and only Jared—can her deep, primal desires come to light and be fulfilled. Let the lessons begin.

Training Tess is available for preorder on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and releases tomorrow at Ellora’s Cave (and everywhere).

Want a little more? Here’s an excerpt. If you dare!

An Excerpt From: TRAINING TESS

Copyright © SABRINA YORK, 2012

All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.

Edging past him—careful not to touch—she sat at her desk. She tried to ignore the ominous sensation that she was a butterfly pinned to a board by a vaguely curious entomologist.

“Two years.” He set the paperweight on the desk in front of her. She put it back where it belonged. It was warm from his touch. “Two years.” He leaned back and grinned. She didn’t see it—couldn’t look at him—but she felt it. A trickling warmth. “Two years and I never had a clue.”

She froze. Driven by the dark thread thrumming in his tone, she snapped her gaze to his. His eyes were beautiful. Mesmerizing. Ice blue ringed in black, feathered by girlishly long lashes. But he wasn’t girlish. Not in the least. Those eyes burned with a predatory light—one any woman with a pulse would recognize.

“N-never had a clue about what?” But, God help her, she already knew.

A muscle bunched in his hard, dusky cheek. A responding wash of wetness burbled between her legs. There would probably be a damp spot on her task chair.

This man was definitely not workplace appropriate.

“So we’re going to play games, Tess?” Her name slithered from his lips. “Do you…like playing games?”

She shivered. She could only imagine what kinds of games he had in mind. Oh, dear God. At the thought, more cream oozed out. Yep. Definitely a damp spot. His nostrils flared as though he could smell her arousal.

He probably could. That made her shiver again.

He straightened and stepped behind her. The heat of his body rolled toward her in waves. The cloud of his scent surrounded her as he bent lower. “You looked…very nice last night, Tess.” His voice was a low, sibilant whisper warming her ear.

Ah, God. He had seen her.

He’d seen her and it had awakened something in him. Tess knew it was stupid to play with fire, especially a fire burning this hot. But she couldn’t help herself. She couldn’t pretend his interest, his posture, his presence, didn’t launch her mating instincts into overdrive.

She wanted him. In every way a woman wanted a man. And then some.

Mostly she wanted him in. Deep inside her, massaging her, filling her, swamping her with sweet, sticky cum. She wanted to belong to him.

And, damn it all anyway, she wanted him to want it too.

The thought scared her to death. The worst thing in the world would be to offer Jared everything—even her secret soul—and have him laugh and walk away.

He laughed and walked away a lot. Tess had cleaned up more shattered hearts than she could remember in the past two years. It was why Marla forbade him from dating her employees.

Still, when he edged around to her side to perch on her desk once again—way too close—so he could stare down at her with a small smile playing on his lips, she couldn’t resist.

Play with fire? Hell, she’d light the match.

She met his gaze with a nonchalance that doubled as a lie. “You looked…very nice too.” She turned back to her computer and began typing determinedly. Oh, they weren’t words. Just typing. She hoped to God he wouldn’t look at her screen.

After a bit, she glanced up at his face and her heart seized. No. He wasn’t looking at her screen. He was looking at her.

Once he had her attention, he licked his lips. A shudder scudded down her spine and lapped at her weeping cunt. God, he was gorgeous. She tried not to fixate on his wide, lush lips, on the scruff on his cheeks or the dark rings around his irises. She failed miserably.

But then, he was fomenting that failure. It was there in his intent as he leaned closer, in his heat, his energy. He wanted to draw her in. Wanted her.

She tried not to come at the thought. She’d wanted him since the moment she set eyes on his handsome, too-playful face. But he’d never showed her a flicker of interest. Until now.

“I had no idea you were into that kind of scene, Tess.”

She sniffed and pretended to reach for a pen but it was more to tease him than to flaunt her disinterest. Hell. There wasn’t a disinterested bone in her body. Besides, instinctively she knew. She knew he liked the chase.

“It’s hardly something one puts on a résumé.” She faced him then, solemnity weighing her tone. “My private life is just that. Private.”

He swallowed heavily, studied her in silence as though sifting through the visions of just what form her private life took. His response sent wildfire along every nerve ending. “None of those men were Dom enough for you, pretty thing.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“You heard me.” He pulled a card out of his pocket and drew the edge of it very slowly across her nipple. She gasped as sensation scorched her through the silk of her blouse. “If you want to find out how good it can really be, show up at this address tonight at seven.” He leaned closer, so close she tasted the lust on his breath. “Wear this suit but nothing underneath.”

And then with a sultry glance in her direction, he stood and headed for the small boardroom. It gave her some comfort to see his gait was a bit crooked. But not much.

Because her body was on fire.

 

 

 

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