Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Author Spotlight - Shayla Black

Today I welcome Author Shayla Black to the blog. She is here to talk about her collaboration with Jenna Jacob and Isabella LaPearl. 

One Dom To Love

Raine Kendall has been in love with her boss, Macen Hammerman, for years. Determined to make the man notice that she’s a grown woman with desires and needs, she pours out her heart and offers her body to him—only to be crushingly rejected. But when his friend, very single, very sexy Liam O’Neill watches the other Dom refuse to act on his obvious feelings for Raine, he resolves to step in and do whatever it takes to help Hammer find happiness again, even rousing his friend’s possessive instincts by making the girl a proposition too tempting to refuse. But he never imagines that he’ll end up falling for her himself.

Hammer has buried his lust for Raine for years. After rescuing the budding runaway from an alley behind his exclusive BDSM Dungeon, he has come to covet the pretty submissive. But tragedy has taught him that he can never be what she needs. So he watches over her while struggling to keep his distance. Liam’s crafty plan blindsides Hammer, especially when he sees how determined his friend is to possess Raine for his own. Hammer isn’t ready to give the lovely submissive over to any other Dom, but can he heal from his past and fight for her? Or will he lose Raine if she truly gives herself—heart, body, and soul—to Liam?


Liam raised his fist and knocked on the door. Raine whipped her head around, hope brimming in her eyes. It visibly died when she realized he wasn’t Hammer.

She surprised him when she cast her gaze to the floor submissively. “Hi, Liam. Sir. Um, if you’re here because you’re worried or something, I’ll be fine. I’ll bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies and be as good as new.”

So sweet. And lying. Eventually, he’d both soothe and paddle her until she learned to be honest, but for now he simply tried to set her at ease. “While I’ve little doubt about your culinary skills, since your baked goods are most excellent, I doubt they’ll mend your woes, lass. Show me your hands.”

Obediently, Raine held them out. Liam stepped closer, taking her wrists in his grip and examining her fingers. “You’ve a few wee cuts, but nothing serious.” He gave her a smile and gently kissed her palm. “I think you’ll live.”

She stiffened. “I told you I’m fine.”

“Your hands, yes. What about your heart?” He watched her shoulders slump. “I’ve come with a proposition. Would you hear me out?”

He had to win her consent—and give her hope—or she would leave and take Hammer’s only chance of healing with her.

Raine sent him a wary glance. “I guess.”

Liam sidled closer cautiously, careful not to give her cause to bolt. “Would you be adverse to me training you?”

At his words, her startling blue eyes widened, sucking him in like a whirlpool. He’d surprised her. Almost an instant later, she opened her mouth, regret already softening her face.

Before she could refuse him, he cut in. “How much longer will you let your own happiness be denied? Why not seek it with someone ready to appreciate the beauty you are?”

He watched her, following her every nervous gesture: her slight shrug, the tilt of her head, the rise and fall of her chest, the cant of her hip as she leaned back against the counter. Her innate grace and the subtle feminine scent he inhaled as he drew closer sent blood rushing to his cock unexpectedly. The primal reaction surprised him, but he was male, and Raine was lovely, after all.

As he looked into her haunting eyes, he knew yet another reason Hammer had kept this one for his own. Innocence. Fear. Hunger. A swirling mirror to her soul lay just beyond reach. Interesting. A heady challenge.

She bit the fullness of her lower lip. It only took that instant to make him want to comfort her. But that wasn’t all. Lust to taste her sweet mouth, touch her, lay her back and—

He shoved the urge down and told his stiff cock to take a rest.

“I don’t understand.” She blinked up at him. “You want to train…me?”

“I think you need it. And you deserve it. I admire your spirit and your grace. I can’t imagine that you want to wilt away, pining for unrequited love.”

Her mouth pinched. “What’s in it for you? You saw my stupid display earlier.”

The girl needed reassurance. Liam reached for her and pulled her into his arms. The act nestled her pillowy breasts against his chest, her soft curves against his body. An intriguing musky lily scent wafted from her pale, smooth skin. A vision flashed across his brain of Raine beneath him, crying out as he fucked his way deep inside her.

Liam sucked in a shocked breath. He forced himself to think about something else—anything else. Absently, he rubbed her back, his thoughts racing. What the hell? Sure, he’d thought Raine was stunning when he’d first arrived at Shadows. Her inky hair and eloquent blue eyes turned heads every night. But now that he had her close, everything about her called not only to the Dom in him, but to the man as well. He needed to get his head screwed on straight, for Hammer’s sake.

“It isn’t your fault. You care for Hammer, and he’s…well, he’s got a few issues he needs to be sorting out, for sure. While he does, wouldn’t you like to learn about true submission so you might be ready for him? Have you ever wished to stretch a bit, find out if you truly have the courage to submit?”

The way her breath caught before she blushed and jerked her gaze to the floor again suggested that his idea intrigued her.

Liam curled a finger under her chin, raising her face to his once more, and had to steel himself against another shocking jolt of lust. “You have, haven’t you?”

“I want to be what Hammer needs, but I don’t know for certain that I have the self-discipline to kneel and hold my tongue. I’ve never had the opportunity to try.” She swallowed, honesty paining her expression. “But I still don’t understand what’s in it for you.”

“You’re a beauty, for sure. Touching you will be no hardship, lass.” Right now, he hated how true that was. “From what I’ve seen, you can be a mouthy wench who would benefit from a red ass now and again.” He forced himself to wink and grin.
 After a split second of waiting for her reaction, her eyes flashed wide. Then she bestowed on him the sweetest sound he’d heard in months, her unbridled laughter.

“There’s a girl.” His smile became real. “Let me help you. I see your need. I enjoy molding and teaching.” He cupped her cheek. “You should be cherished and nurtured, and I’d be honored to give that to you, Raine. Are you game?”

Indecision washed over her face. Liam found himself holding his breath, praying she’d say yes. Hammer needed her…and Liam staggered with his own need to touch her—at least once. It wasn’t noble, and he wasn’t proud of it. But she was so damn fuckable, and he was just a man. This lust would pass.

“You don’t seem like the sort to do something halfway. You’ll want to lay my soul bare, won’t you? Make me show you all the broken parts?” She crossed her arms over her chest, nudging him back. “If I show you, are you going to run like Hammer, too?”

He uncrossed her arms and leaned closer. Now he could hear her softly indrawn breaths, see her fine trembling. Desire surged. Liam couldn’t stop himself; he curled a hand around her shoulder, eliminating her personal space, and brushed his palm down to fasten on the curve of her waist. “I never run from a challenge I’ve set my mind on. Yes, I intend to split your soul wide open like a ripe peach, study you until I know well every piece of the intriguing puzzle you are, down to the last detail, lovely. Then, I mean to put you back together with my touch and make it worth your while.”

Raine looked half terrified. “Wow, that’s awfully honest.”

“Best to set the expectation up front.”

She let out a deep breath and fidgeted, trying to drop her gaze once more. He didn’t allow it, lifting her chin again and bending until their eyes met. “Answer me, Raine. Yes or no?”

“I-I’ve wanted a good Dom. I thought it would be Hammer, but…” She closed her eyes and frowned.

Liam bit his tongue. She wanted to feel valued above all else—needed it. He tucked that knowledge in the back of his head and let her continue. “But?”

“I can’t be less than honest with you. You know where my heart is. As much as I would love to explore everything you could teach me—really, I would—I don’t know if I could give you the devotion you deserve. And I doubt Hammer would ever give his consent, even for you. It might be better for us all if I just left.”

He trapped her against the counter in an instant, pressing his body to hers. Her lips parted in question. Her wide gaze jumped to his, then she focused on his mouth. An electric jolt rattled down his spine. Damn, she was potent.

Yanking her soft curves flush against the hard ridges of his body, he ached to dig his fingers into her hair, pull her lips under his, and eat away at her mouth until she moaned. Liam forced himself to stop. This wasn’t about him, but Hammer. And Raine.

Dragging in a rough breath, he palmed her nape tenderly with one hand, fingers teasing the perfect pink shell of her ear with the other before trailing down to caress her throat. Finally, he settled his hand on her chest, just above her plump breast. Her breathing changed to soft pants. He could feel her heart beating madly under his palm. She wasn’t immune to him. An intoxicating rush of power filled him.

Then he took her wrists in his free hand and brought her arms up slowly, bracing them against the cabinets above, her breath caught. A triumph he didn’t welcome spiked inside him. Still, he bent to Raine, giving her ample time to push him away. She didn’t. Her tongue swept nervously across her upper lip. His cock jerked. Then he couldn’t stop himself from seizing her mouth with his own, capturing her gasp.

Soft. So fucking soft. And sweet. Bloody hell… Pleasure fired through his blood like a potent drug as he delved inside. She melted beneath him.

Curling his tongue around hers, he feasted on her addicting flavor, hungry to memorize it. One kiss melted into the next, and he devoured her, inhaling her into his lungs. She turned to liquid desire against him, wild and tumultuous. One leg slid surreptitiously around his, capturing his calf, pulling him in tighter against her small frame, splitting her thighs open. He should pass up that perfect invitation, but he didn’t. Instead, he ground himself against her pussy, leaving her no doubt that he desired her. Despite Raine’s little skirt, her flesh burned him. A low groan ripped from his throat. He didn’t need air or space or tomorrow, just more of her. Right fucking now.

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Author Bio:

Shayla Black (aka Shelley Bradley) is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over 30 sizzling contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and historical romances for multiple print, electronic, and audio publishers. She lives in Texas with her husband, munchkin, and one very spoiled cat. In her “free” time, she enjoys reality TV, reading and listening to an eclectic blend of music.

Shayla’s work has been translated in about a dozen languages. She has also received or been nominated for The Passionate Plume, The Holt Medallion, Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence, and the National Reader’s Choice Awards. RT Bookclub has twice nominated her for Best Erotic Romance of the year, as well as awarded her several Top Picks, and a KISS Hero Award.

A writing risk-taker, Shayla enjoys tackling writing challenges with every book.

Contact Shayla: @Shayla_Black

Contest Information: 

With the release of book 2 in the series, The Young & The Submissive, Jenna, Isabella, and I are really excited to continue this story. So we’re giving away a print copy signed by all three of us! All you have to do is comment on the excerpt below with your email and I will pick the winner next Tuesday. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Author Spotlight - Interview with Hazel St. James and a contest

Today we welcome Hazel St. James to the blog. Thank you for visiting. She is here today with an interview.

Tell us your latest news? 

February was a big month in Hazel St James’ world!  February 8th was the premiere installment of “Male Perfection”, a weekly installment on my blog where we spotlight absolutely gorgeous men and get to know what is underneath the gorgeous face, rippling muscles, dark eyes….What was I saying? Oh yeah, I spend a few hours getting to know each week’s candidate and then I share everything that I have learned with my readers. 
February 14th was a VERY big day as well.  The second book in the “Learning to Let Go” series was released, titled “I Need You.”  This book focuses on Sara Lonneman, who is back home in Wisconsin after a failed attempt at being on her own at college.  Sara finds herself falling for Darrin, the protective, strong, ex-military man that has been her salvation for the last desolate year of her life.  Sara and Darrin have a pseudo relationship at best that leaves her realizing that Darrin might have more demons inside him then she can handle.  Chris Lake, the dominant, head-strong, underground boxer, has come to find her in Wisconsin, after they only spent one night together in college, exploring a Dominant/submissive relationship.  He has changed a lot in the last year or so, making Sara question her sanity for participating in their passionate night in Colorado. Sara finds herself torn between the two men.  Ultimately, she has to choose between what is right for her, and what is right for her heart.

When and why did you begin writing?

I have only been writing since early fall of last year!  I fell into some wonderful partnerships with different people in this industry, that have been nothing but supportive of my career.   Those people have taken me from 0 to 60 in a very short amount of time and I will be forever grateful.  Why did I begin writing?  Well, I have so much creative energy and these characters were basically roaming around in my brain, begging me for their “time in the sun.”  I still have a plethora of people in there that are patiently waiting for their turn.  I can’t disappoint them!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

For me, it was the day that the cover of my first book was publicized on a book review site under the “Coming Soon” section.  To see all my blood, sweat and tears online like that was the first time I was confident that I had done the right thing.  Then when I got the first email from a fan, I really felt like I was a true author.  That rush is hard to duplicate and I have no intention of stopping!

What inspired you to write your first book?

Honestly, I meet this wonderful woman, through facebook, named Kallypso Masters.  She took the time to answer my questions, and guide me.  She still answers every question I send her way, no matter how busy she is.  I will be forever grateful for her kind words and encouragement.  Without it, I’m not sure I would have taken the leap into writing!

Do you have a specific writing style?

All of my stories start with pictures.  I have a general idea of what my characters look like, but I dig up as many pictures as I can until I see something that strikes me as the person I am going for.  Then, my daydreams are usually comprised of the storyline that just keeps progressing in my head for days on end.  I transfer that plot line to a story board, and then I just type it out.  I have a fabulous team of betas, first-line editor, hard-core editor and a formatter that clean it up to perfection!

How did you come up with the title?

The story focuses a lot on Sara trying to figure out the difference between what she wants, needs and desires.  All three of the main characters say “I need you” at least once throughout the story.  It seemed to fit for me!

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Find the one person that truly completes you….heart, mind and soul.  The rest of your life will fall into place.  


“I Need You” is the continuation of Sara’s story from my first book, “Just One Night,” and also from “Let Me Fly.” 

Sara Lonneman is home in Wisconsin and finds herself falling for Darrin, the protective, strong, ex-military man that has been her salvation for the last desolate year of her life.  Sara and Darrin have a pseudo relationship at best that leaves her realizing that Darrin might have more demons inside him then she can handle. 
Chris Lake, the dominant, head-strong, underground boxer, has come to find her in Wisconsin, after they only spent one night together in college, exploring a Dominant/submissive relationship.  He has changed a lot in the last year or so, making Sara question her sanity for participating in their passionate night in Colorado.
 Sara finds herself torn between the two men.  Ultimately, she has to choose between what is right for her, and what is right for her heart.

Buy it on Amazon

A little about Hazel St. James

Hazel is from a small town in the Midwest where she lives with her husband and two children.  She is a fairly new author that hasn’t been writing professionally for very long.  Erotic romance is her main writing focus, but she also incorporates some sensual BDSM themes, as well as “vanilla” relationships.  Her diverse background in a plethora of fields, from journalism, literature, graphic design, computer science, accounting, veterinarian medicine and even chemistry have given Hazel a diverse background on many facets of the very things that she writes about.  She recently became a full-time author, giving up her day job to focus on her writing.  And loving every minute of it!  Hazel LOVES, LOVES, LOVES to her from her fans!  She is always willing to talk about whatever is on your mind! 

Contact Hazel:

Contest Info: 

Hazel is offering one commenter a $10 Amazon gift card and a copy of 'I need You'. All you have to do is comment with your email addy and you will be entered. Winner will be chosen next week Tuesday and contacted via email so be sure to leave your email. 

Thanks for visiting! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Author Spotlight - Ann Mayburn

My Wicked Valentine

Now Available!!!

Lucia Roa needs a miracle to keep her fledgeling event planning business from going under. When she gets word about the opportunity of a lifetime to do a Valentine's Day party for an elite club in Washington D.C. she jumps at the chance, only finding out that the party isn't for just any club, it is for the premier private BDSM club, Wicked. Desperate for a chance to make the social and professional connections that this job would offer, she agrees to a most unconventional business arrangement with the handsomest man she's ever met.

  CEO Isaac O'Keefe swore off relationships years ago after having his heart broken and his bank account emptied by his gold digging first wife. He thought he'd managed to keep his heart under lock and key, but when Lucia walks into his office he is instantly drawn to the fiery beauty in a way he's never felt before. He convinces Lucia to take the position as event planner for Wicked's Valentine's Day Party, but in order to make the event a success, something he needs to happen to secure his place on the board at Wicked, he must give her a crash course at all the dark pleasures BDSM has to offer. What starts out as a business partnership quickly turns into something more as Lucia breaks down every wall around his heart without even trying. Isaac must then make a choice, push Lucia away and continue to live a safe, but lonely life, or open himself up again to the greatest pain and pleasure in the world. Love.

Chapter One

  Lucia Roa jabbed the illuminated button for the twelfth floor with a shaking finger. As the doors slowly slid shut, she tried to take in a calming breath but only succeeded in gasping for air like a drowning swimmer. The floor beneath her cute royal-blue heels shifted as the elevator began its upward climb, and her heartbeat increased with every floor.

  Why had she let her mentor, Mrs. Florentine, talk her into this? At the time it had seemed like a great idea. Mrs. Florentine had an inside scoop on one of Washington, DC’s private and influential clubs needing a new party planner, and she just knew Lucia would be perfect for the job. Of course Lucia had never planned a party for anything bigger than a two-hundred person bar mitzvah, and she had only recently graduated with an associate’s degree from the local community college.

  She was also the daughter of Mexican immigrants and still worked twenty hours a week at her family’s restaurant to make ends meet—which was a blessing because last month she’d had to choose between groceries and having her lights on—but sure she was totally the best pick for throwing a party for some of the most influential people in DC. Oh, and Mrs. Florentine wouldn’t say what kind of private club this was or what kinds of parties they expected.

  Lucia was so going to nail this job.


  “Dress sexy,” Mrs. Florentine had said. “Wear something that shows off your lovely curves. Own your femininity.” So now not only was she going into a business meeting woefully unprepared, she also felt like a tart. Instead of the usual classy gray suit she wore to meetings, she was dressed in a tight-fitting white pencil skirt that more than showed off her ample curves. She paired the skirt with a royal-blue jacket that flattered her caramel-colored skin while hiding her overdeveloped chest. The last thing she wanted was to spend a business meeting with a man staring at her boobs instead of her face. The men riding the Metro with her that morning had certainly appreciated her outfit, if the catcalls and suggestive comments meant anything.

   The elevator binged as it reached her floor, and she almost dropped her briefcase. The doors slid open to reveal an elegant reception room brightly lit by the sunlight streaming in the big windows. A white circular receptionist’s desk dominated the center of the room, and the impeccably dressed receptionist gave her a warm smile as she stepped out of the elevator. Two other women sat in the white leather chairs flanking the desk, and they both turned to face her.

  The receptionist spoke into the phone at her desk before looking over at Lucia. “Welcome to O’Keefe Industries. How may I help you?”

   Lucia plastered what she hoped was a pleasant smile on her face and walked past the two waiting women to the desk. “Hello. My name is Lucia Roa, and I have an appointment with Mr. O’Keefe.”

  The receptionist looked down at her computer screen and nodded. “You’re a tad early, and Mr. O’Keefe is running a bit late. Please have a seat. Can I get you anything to drink while you wait?”

   “No, I’m fine, thank you.” While she would have loved some coffee, she could just see herself spilling it all over her clothes.

   She took a seat across from the other two women, conscious of how closely they watched her. Lucia recognized the woman on the left, a lovely and perky blonde in a cream suit, from the society pages of the newspaper and the local magazines. Her heart sank as she stole a glance at the woman on the right. Mary Wellington, descendant of the Wellington oil family and prominent fixture in Washington, DC, society. Also one of the premier party planners with more connections than Lucia could ever dream of having.

   She almost slumped back into her chair but caught herself. No, she wasn’t going to give up before she even met with Mr. O’Keefe. So maybe she had as much of chance at landing this job as she had of being recruited for the Tijuana soccer team, but darn it, with the right resources, she could throw as good of a party as any of these women. After all, her family’s Tex-Mex restaurant catered many of the top events in Washington, and she’d probably been to more corporate balls and gatherings than both women combined. True, she’d attended them as a waitress, but she paid attention to the small details.

  The perky blonde got called in next, and Lucia crossed her legs, resisting the urge to dig through her briefcase and double-check her proposal. Well, actually proposals. She really had no idea what kind of event they needed a planner for, but she had proposals for everything from a ball to a polo match to a wine tasting.
  Mary Wellington looked down her patrician nose and said in a nasally voice, “Pardon me, you look familiar. Have we met before?”

  Lucia flushed and shrank back into her seat. They’d run into each other dozens of times over the years, but always while Lucia was working for her family’s restaurant and catering business as a waitress. “I’m not sure. You seem familiar too.”

  Mary tapped her lips with a pale pink manicured nail. “Oh, I know what it is.” She gave Lucia a smile that would have looked right at home on a shark. “You’re one of the Roa girls. Are you here for the catering position?”

  Lucia gave an equally insincere smile. “No, I’m here for the event planner job.”

  The corners of Mary’s thin lips turned up. “Really?”

  “Yes.” The word came out in a soft whisper, and Lucia cleared her throat. “I recently started my own event planning company.”


  Clutching her briefcase on her lap with both hands, Lucia barely resisted the urge to smack that smug smile off the other woman’s face. “Thank you.”

  Mary opened her mouth to say something else, but the perky blonde stormed through the reception area. She paused and gave both of them a heated look. “Good luck dealing with that asshole.” She turned on her heel and marched to the waiting elevator.

  Both Mary and Lucia gaped at the blonde’s back as she stalked into the elevator’s cab while the receptionist shook her head. The phone on her desk rang, and she picked it up with a forced smile. “Ms. Roa, he’s ready for you. His office is at the end of the hall.”

  Lucia ignored Mary’s sniff of disdain as she stood and smoothed her tight skirt. “Thank you.”

  She went down the quiet hallway, passing beautiful works of art hanging on the walls next to brass name plates on closed office doors. Her heels sank into the thick cream carpeting, and she paused before the door at the end of the hall, wiping her sweaty palms on her jacket. The brass plate next to this door simply read ISAAC O’KEEFE, CEO.

  Okay, this was it, the meeting that would either put her event planning company on the map or be another waste of Metro fare. She knocked on the door and opened it after a muffled “The door’s open” came from the other side.

  All the breath left her body in a soft whoosh as the handsomest man she’d ever seen sat at his desk. She had a brief impression of a large, well-lit corner office with a view of the Capitol, but all she could really focus on was him. A lock of his thick black hair fell over his forehead, and she had the inane urge to brush it away. He didn’t look up as she entered or say anything, so she paused in the doorway, unsure of what to do. A slight shadow of scruff darkened his square jaw.

   Then he glanced up, and her world became suffused with burning cold. Ice-blue eyes, so pale they were almost white, stared at her. She felt stripped to the bottom of her soul. Heat immersed her, and when he licked his lower lip, her nipples puckered to stiff peaks beneath her suit jacket, and she was afraid she might spontaneously combust from desire.
She was in so much trouble.

* * * *

Isaac leaned back in his chair and tried to keep his lust under control. An unusually beautiful woman stood in the doorway, framed by a ray of sunlight. She wasn’t perfect, like the stunning and plastic society women he was used to, but there was something about her that called to him. She was all softness, heat, and if the warm look she was giving him was any indication, his attraction wasn’t one-sided.

Her expression turned questioning, and he realized she was waiting to be invited into his office. He brushed his hair off his forehead and smiled. 

“Welcome, Ms. Roa. Please have a seat.”

When she turned to shut the door behind her, his cock twitched in interest. He’d always been an ass man. She had an amazingly round ass, high and tight. The kind of ass he could grab with both hands. The kind of ass that would cushion the hard fucking he wanted to give her while she was tied to his bedpost.
Whoa, where did those thoughts come from?

What the hell was wrong with him? This was a potential employee, not a delicious woman he’d love to do wicked things with. He mentally tried to shut the door on his libido, but when she crossed the room, she reminded him of the way a cat walked, all sensual grace. He wondered if she was new in town, because he surely would have remembered a submissive like this at the club.

They shook hands, and she sat down across from him. After she cleared her throat, she looked around for where to place her briefcase. Young, not more than twenty-five, but with soft baby cheeks that made her seem younger. Her dark brown eyes had a slight tilt to them, and she had that lovely golden-brown skin color he adored on women. When his gaze reached her lips, he shifted at how full they looked beneath her light coating of lip gloss. The things he could do to those lips.

Her shoulders tensed, and he returned his attention to her eyes. A bit of fire sparked there; that intrigued him even more. The smooth roll of her lightly accented voice washed over him. 

“Nice to meet you, Mr. O’Keefe. I’m here about the Valentine’s Day party.”

“A pleasure to meet you, Ms. Roa.”

She reached into her briefcase and pulled out an elegant black portfolio and placed it on his desk. 

“Thank you for meeting with me.”

He picked up her folder and looked through it, buying himself some time to gather his wits. Her list of past experience was good, but it mostly consisted of children’s parties. He didn’t expect her to have her more adult parties listed in her portfolio and appreciated her discretion, but he couldn’t judge her ability to throw a party for Club Wicked on how many bar mitzvahs she’d planned.

“Ms. Roa, do you have any experience with adult parties?”

She flushed, and her gaze darted over his shoulder. 

“Not a great deal, but I assure you the events I have orchestrated have all been well received.” She gestured toward the portfolio. “If you look in the back, you will see my list of references.”

Confused, he flipped to the last page and scanned it. How did she hear about the job if she had no experience in the field? He scanned the last few pages, hoping for some indication as to how she’d ended up on the other side of his desk. The event planner position hadn’t been listed on any public sources, so someone must have told her about it. A list of glowing accolades from her past clients made up the end part of her portfolio. On the last page was a letter of recommendation from Mrs. Sara Florentine.


He groaned and closed the portfolio. 

“I’m sorry, but I have to make a quick call. I think you’ve been sent here by mistake.”
Hurt flashed through her eyes, but she stood and started to reach for the portfolio. 

“I see, but if you would just look—“

He placed his hand over it and shook his head. 

“I’m not asking you to leave. I just want to talk to Mrs. Florentine. She’s a personal friend of mine.”
Lucia’s relief was palpable as she sank back into her chair with a smile. 

“Oh, well, of course.”

He took his cell phone from his pocket and scrolled through his list of contacts, finding one Mrs. Florentine, who had a great deal to answer for. What was that woman thinking, sending an innocent young thing like that to him for the Valentine’s Day event? If Ms. Roa even knew what kind of club Wicked was, he’d eat his tie.
The phone rang once, and then the voice of the chairman of the board’s wife and co-owner of Wicked came over the line. 

“Isaac! What a pleasure to hear from you.”

He turned to the side and replied in Sara’s native French to keep their conversation private. 

“What are you up to?”

“Why, whatever do you mean?” The amusement in her tone was evident, and it raised his hackles. Sara viewed herself as Wicked’s resident matchmaker and seemed to be particularly offended by his adamant refusal to settle down.

He thought she’d given up on finding him anyone to fit his rather prickly personality, but evidently she’d been biding her time. He glanced over at Lucia, who was gazing out the window, obviously trying to give him some semblance of privacy. 

“You know exactly what I mean. What are you doing sending this innocent to me for the Valentine’s Day party? I need a person who is familiar with our lifestyle, not someone who has a clown that makes balloon animals on speed dial.”

“Oh, pishposh. She is extremely intelligent, very hardworking, and has a brilliant imagination. I mentored her myself as part of my work through the college. If you don’t hire her, you are being a complete idiot. Besides, you could always mentor her and teach her everything she needs to know about Wicked and the dark pleasures we offer.”

That thought was very appealing, but he pushed it away and tried to focus on reality. 

“This isn’t a Sweet Sixteen party, Sara. This is a very adult function—”

Lucia’s husky voice interrupted him. 

“Actually, the Sweet Sixteen party was more for the mother than the teenager, so that could count as an adult party.”

After all he’d seen, all he’d done, he rarely felt embarrassed anymore, but sure enough that old feeling came flooding back. 

“Sara, I have to go.” He hung up on the sound of her laughing and rubbed his face before facing a rather irate Lucia. 

“Forgive me. I didn’t realize you spoke French.”

“I took it in high school and college.” She gave him a level look. 

“So I understood you believe I’m too innocent to help you throw a successful party?”

“I’m sorry. You don’t quite understand what is going on here, and I really don’t think you’re the right person for this job.”

She stood, but instead of leaving, she placed both of her hands on his desk and leaned over, the sheaf of her dark hair falling over her shoulder in a tempting tangle of curls. 

“Look, I may be young, but I’m far from innocent. Whatever kind of party you need, I can do it, and I can do it better than anyone else you’ve seen today.”

He found her ire adorable, though he was pretty sure he didn’t want to see her really angry. Exasperated at trying to tiptoe around it, he decided to tell her the truth. “In all honesty, Ms. Roa, this Valentine’s Day party is for a private and very exclusive BDSM club. Something I’m pretty sure you have no clue about.”

“That doesn’t mean I can’t do a party! I’m a very quick learner, and I always research the background needs for whoever my client is. So I don’t know what BDSM is. I can learn.”

The thought of her bound, bent over a spanking bench, ready to be fucked filled his mind. Clearing his throat, he sat forward, hoping she couldn’t see how hard she’d made him. He bit the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing at how cute she looked when she was pissed. So much fire in her gaze.

“It stands for Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, and Masochism.”

“What?” She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “Like whips and chains and stuff?”

“Not really, but for the purpose of this discussion, yes.”

Her jaw dropped, and she sat back in her chair. 

“Are you for real?”

He covered his eyes and fought to keep from laughing. Here she was, his walking wet dream, and she couldn’t be more wrong for him. 

“Yes, we are very for real.”

The silence stretched out between them. When he looked up, he found her studying him. 

“I can still do your party.”

“Ms. Roa, you have to be reasonable. You can’t fake knowing what the lifestyle is like. I’ll be honest with you. I have a great deal riding on the success of the Valentine’s Day bash. If I do a good job, my place on the board of directors at Wicked is pretty much guaranteed. I want that spot. I need this party to be a success, and while I truly do admire what you’ve done with your company in the year you’ve been open, I really need someone familiar with the lifestyle.”

“What’s Wicked?”

He couldn’t help but feel a little bit of pride as he said, 

“Wicked was founded in 1916 and is the oldest and most influential BDSM club in DC. We’ve had everyone from presidents to movie stars as members.”

She blinked rapidly as she digested that information. 

“I still say I can do it if you would just give me a chance. Anything you want, I can do, and if I can’t do it, I can find someone who will.”

Frustrated at her stubbornness, turned on by her insistence that she could do what he wanted while being plagued by what he wanted to do to her, he tried to get himself under control. He folded his hands on the desk and decided to be a little more direct. 

“Reading books and watching videos will not help you truly understand how Wicked and its members think and react. You have to understand the mind of a submissive and Dominant, to immerse yourself in the lifestyle.” He took a deep breath and blew it out, trying to banish the thought of her kneeling before him, her head tipped back, and her eyes closed as she awaited his command or his touch. 

“Ms. Roa, I need an event planner who can work with me, more as a partnership than anything else. The only way I could do that with you is to introduce you to the world of BDSM as my submissive.”

She gave him a suspicious glare and crossed her arms over her chest. 

“What does that mean?”

“It means I would be responsible for you in the club. I would also be in charge of educating you on BDSM. I would also, temporarily, be your Master.” As soon as he said those words, he realized he really did want to be her Master, however briefly. The thought of being the first to introduce her to his world made everything in his body catch fire. More than that, the idea of her wearing his collar seemed right.

Her big brown eyes grew wide, and her breath came out in a gasp before she said, 

“Oh hell no!” She stood and stuffed her portfolio into her briefcase.

 “I am not going to sleep with you for a job.”

“I never said that.” He tried to keep his voice under control, but some of his anger seeped through. 

“I would never, ever force a woman to have sex with me in exchange for a job. I’m rather insulted that you would think that.”

She stood and clutched her briefcase with both hands. 

“You said you want to be my Master. To me that sounds like some kind of kinky sex thing.”

He sighed and rubbed his face. Normally he could sweet-talk a woman into anything he wanted, but it looked like Lucia was going to be a hard sell. Oddly enough that thought aroused him, the additional edge of wanting something he couldn’t have. There wasn’t a man alive who didn’t like a bit of a chase. 

“Look, when you get home, call Mrs. Florentine. Talk to her and let her know I offered to mentor you as your Master and what you think that means.”

A dark pink blush stained her cheeks. 

“I most certainly will not talk about my sex life with Mrs. Florentine!”

The more she protested, the more he wanted to show her how wrong she was about not wanting anything to do with BDSM. She had no idea of the pleasure he could give her. 

“Do you really want to throw away an opportunity like this because of your fear of the unknown?”
She clenched her jaw, and her lips tightened. “I’m not afraid. You’re creeping me out.”

He stared at her in disbelief. No woman had ever found him creepy before. Ever. Her opinion actually hurt his ego, something he didn’t think was possible. Good God, when had he become so jaded that he misread a woman this badly? More importantly, why did he care what this woman who’d known him for less than twenty minutes thought of him? He didn’t give a flying fuck what anyone thought; that was one of the things that defined his life. But it did matter what she thought of him, and he found himself defending his character yet again.

“Ms. Roa, let me assure you if I’m ever in need of female company, I have never lacked a partner.”

That made her pause. “Then why don’t you call one of them for a good time?”

The urge to laugh stuck in his throat, and he swallowed hard. He had a feeling that laughing at Ms. Roa would be the wrong thing to do. 

“Because they don’t have your talent for design. Your portfolio shows me you have a new, fresh vision for entertaining, and I like it. The last woman who came in wanted to do cakes shaped like giant penises that would spray frosting out of the tip.”

Her lips quirked. “That is rather tacky.”

“Indeed. More importantly, I believe the members would like whatever we come up with. I wasn’t lying when I said I admire what you’ve done. You have good taste, and that is something money can’t buy.” He didn’t add that Mrs. Florentine would be offended by his inability to get along with a woman she was obviously attempting to set him up with. “Please, give it some thought. I’ll keep the position open until Monday. If you change your mind, please give me a call.”

She hesitated, then squared her shoulders and lifted her chin. “I’m not promising anything.”

“I know, but I’m asking you to at least consider the position. Remember, I’m offering you a partnership with equal say on the planning.”

She snorted and cocked her hip. “That’s not all you’re offering me.”

“No, it isn’t, but do you really think Mrs. Florentine went to the efforts of securing you an interview with me only to get me laid?” He pulled out his wallet and handed her his personal card. “Here. This has my cell number and e-mail on it. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.”

She took the card from him, and he made sure not to touch her even though he would love to see if her skin was as soft as it looked.

“I’ll call Mrs. Florentine and talk with her, but that’s it.”

“Thank you, Ms. Roa.”

He stood to walk her to the door, but she quickly moved across the room and opened it herself as if she were afraid he’d pounce on her. “Have a good day, Mr. O’Keefe.”

Before he could respond, she shut the door and left him staring at the wooden surface with a mixture of emotions swirling through his mind. Amusement filled him that she obviously thought he was some type of pervert. No, what did she call him? Oh yes, a creep. After having submissive literally throwing themselves at his feet, it was refreshing, if a bit disconcerting, to find a woman who didn't instantly give in to his every wish.

He chuckled and sat back down at his desk, humming as he sent an e-mail to his security staff to make sure Ms. Roa would pass a background check. With the high-level CEOs and political dignitaries who frequented Wicked, they could never be too careful about who they let into their club. The checks took a bit of time, and he wanted the paperwork pushed through as quickly as possible for when Ms. Roa agreed to his terms.
And there wasn’t a doubt she would agree, eventually—at least he hoped she would.

He worked hard for everything he had and would do everything he could to sway her decision in his favor. What he’d told her had been true; he saw a great deal of potential in her work, but more than that she intrigued him. Being born into and raised around immense amounts of money, he was used to women trying to make themselves into what they thought he wanted. With Ms. Roa, he didn’t think that was going to be a problem. She obviously had no problem telling him exactly what she thought, and he had a feeling she didn’t take shit from anyone. Hell, she’d put him in his place without batting a lash once she felt he’d insulted her. It was refreshing to have someone speak their mind instead of automatically saying whatever they thought he wanted to hear. The world was filled with ass kissers, but honest people were rare.

Too bad he could only introduce her to the world of BDSM and not keep her as his own submissive. That thought made him pause. No, he didn’t want a commitment like that. He’d promised himself years ago he would never fall in love again, and so far he’d managed to keep that promise. He was happy with his bachelor lifestyle and didn’t want to change it.

An image of Ms. Roa—Lucia—waiting for him in his bedroom, spread out like a decadent chocolate and honey dessert came unbidden to his mind. She’d be anticipating his arrival home after a hard day of work, eager to submit to his desires, to be completely his. Suddenly the idea of going home to an empty house didn't seem so appealing.

An hour later he was still unable to concentrate on his work, so he called Sara Florentine to see if Ms. Roa had contacted her yet.

“Hello, Isaac,” Sara said in her cultured purr. “How did your meeting with Ms. Roa go?”

“I’m afraid I might have scared her off.” He sighed and spun his chair to face the windows looking out over the Capitol in the distance. “Has she called you yet?”

“No, she hasn't. What did you do to frighten her?”

“Well, I offered to be her Master, and she immediately assumed I wanted to have sex with her in exchange for the job.”

“Oh dear. That is a rather big mess-up. Did you try to explain to her what you meant?”

“I did, but she wasn't really listening to me. I asked her to call you when she gets home.”

“And you want me to smooth things over.” She sighed. “Isaac, darling, you need to take things slow with Lucia. She isn't like the women you normally cat around with.”

He took offense to that. “I don’t cat around.”

“Yes, you do. I've never seen you with any woman for more than three weeks. In the past six months, you've gone through ten submissives at Wicked.”

He snorted. “Keeping tabs on me?”

“No, but I’m the shoulder they come to cry on when you break up with them.”

A twinge of guilt tightened his gut. “Before I play with anyone, I always let them know, as politely as possible, that I’m not looking for anything long-term or a relationship. It’s not like I go out, grab some innocent submissive, and rob her of her chastity, then break her heart. My submissives always agree to my terms.”

“Why are men so foolish about love?” He started to protest, but she cut him off. “Here is what I suggest. Back off on the request to be her temporary Master. Tell her instead that wearing your collar at Wicked is for her protection, that if the Doms there believe she belongs to you, they will leave her alone. Make it about protection, not possession.”

“That makes sense.” He stood from his chair and cracked his neck. “I have a meeting to go to, Sara. If Ms. Roa contacts you, could you put in a good word for me?”

“I will. Don’t worry, Isaac. I think she’ll come around.”

“I’m not worried,” he said with a grumble.

“Sure you aren't, dear. I’ll stop by your office and call Lucia from there. That way I don’t have to do any back-and-forth between you two.”

“Sounds good, Sara.”

He hung up and walked over to the window, watching the world beyond with unseeing eyes. The only image his mind would let him see was Lucia, poised in the doorway to his office, a warm breeze in an otherwise cold and sterile day.

He was in so much trouble.

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A little about Ann

Ann is Queen of the Castle to her wonderful husband and three sons in the mountains of West Virginia. In her past lives she's been an Import Broker, a Communications Specialist, a US Navy Civilian Contractor, a Bartender/Waitress, and an actor at the Michigan Renaissance Festival. She also spent a summer touring with the Grateful Dead-though she will deny to her children that it ever happened. From a young age she's been fascinated by myths and fairytales, and the romance that often was the center of the story. As Ann grew older and her hormones kicked in, she discovered trashy romance novels. Great at first, but she soon grew tired of the endless stories with a big wonderful emotional buildup to really short and crappy sex. Never a big fan of purple prose, throbbing spears of fleshy pleasure and wet honey pots make her giggle, she sought out books that gave the sex scenes in the story just as much detail and plot as everything else-without using cringe worthy euphemisms. This led her to the wonderful world of Erotic Romance, and she's never looked back.

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