Cover Reveal! A Variety of Chains – Paranormal erotic romance by Christine Blackthorn (@CBlackthorn)

A Variety of Chains 

Blurb:

Kathryn McCulsky is an ErGer – a rare and highly prized individual in the supernatural world.

She has spent her life running and hiding, but circumstances have changed and the only way to protect her family is to hand herself over to the Vampire Lord of London to face slavery or death.

Lucian Neben runs his London court with a stern but fair hand, but political pressures are building from both the human and fey worlds, and taking possession of an ErGer would cement his position of power.

Kathryn is vulnerable and broken almost beyond repair, but she holds in her hands the one treasure Lucian desperately wants – the possibility of home and family.

Can he teach her to open herself up; to choose to life, and him, before reality forces him to take her freedom?

Pre-order links:

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/29UKrUc

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/29UcIcx

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30762429-a-variety-of-chains

Note: A Variety of Chains will be available through all main online bookstores in print and digital on the 20th of August.

*****

Excerpt:

It was inevitable where this evening was going to lead. For an ErGer to bond, the mind needed to be broken open as only sex could – and her own body would force it soon enough.

“Pick up the wine and take a sip,” he said.

“I don’t drink,” she replied.

His eyes remained expressionless, as was his voice when he spoke again. “It was not a request.”

Absolute obedience for the safety of the girls.

She reached for the glass and took a small sip. As she tried to put it back down, his hands tightened on her waist and brought her attention back to him mid-movement.

“I am thirsty, too.”

She offered him the glass, but he shook his head. “My hands are full.”

To illustrate this fact he began to trace little half circles over her belly with his thumbs. She tried to offer the glass to his lips but he shook his head again.

“Not like that.” There was a hint of amusement in his eyes and a twitch to his lips. Instead, she tried to offer her wrist, but that simply made him raise an eyebrow.

“How then?” She felt the desperation in her own voice and tried to suppress it while making the cold return.

“Take a sip and hold it in your mouth.”

She was starting to have an idea where this was leading. She tried to lean forward to feed him the wine but his hands kept her from him.

“Set down the glass first, then let me drink from your mouth.”

Carefully she put down the glass before leaning forward. In her haste and nervousness she parted her lips before touching his and spilled most of the wine down her chin and his neck. She froze in terror, aware of the strength in the hands around her waist and the sharp teeth entirely too close to her. His lips parted and his tongue snaked out to lazily lap at the liquid dripping down her lips and chin. Only when he had cleaned her thoroughly did he allow her to move back enough to meet his gaze. Her eyes fell to his mouth and the spilled wine that painted his neck and shirt red. Small droplets were still caught in the evening shadow of the beard along his cheeks.

“Clean it!”

The first flick of her tongue was tentative at best, barely a touch, but when he moved his head to allow her more access she became bolder. The taste of his skin, mixed with that of the red wine, filled her mouth – unidentifiable, subtle and strange. As her tongue reached his neck, his arousal grew impossibly large beneath her, pressing against the folds of her sex through only two layers of clothes. She shied back – feeling stupid immediately. It was inevitable where this evening was going to lead. For an ErGer to bond, the mind needed to be broken open as only sex could – and her own body would force it soon enough. In her experience, he had shown more patience than any other. Every Lord who had ever acquired her, either because her brother had sold her to them or because they had tracked her down, had taken her blood and body within minutes of their acquaintance. What was the point of delay?

*****

Author Bio:

In “real” life, I am an academic with degrees in Political Science, Economics, Philosophy and Law and an insatiable desire to confound, baffle and disconcert my students. Someone once suggested to me the reason for my stories lay in the desire to offset the tedium and rationality of academic life. He wasn’t an academic or he would have known better. It is best to use research against tedium, students to offset the rationality and an unlimited supply of stressballs for the faculty meetings. The stories? Well, they are just for me – like a mental manicure.

I also write a blog on Feminism and Erotica – come talk to me:

Blog: http://christineblackthorn.eu/blog

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cnblackthorn

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CBlackthorn

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Cold Nights, Hot Bodies by Lily Harlem

coldnightshotbodies_amazonNew from bestselling author Lily Harlem, Cold Nights, Hot Bodies, a steamy first-time romance set in beautiful Cotswolds and a must for anyone who loves their fictional heroes.

 

Back Cover Information.

 

All my life I’ve been the quiet bookworm, the office mouse. It hasn’t bothered me. Immersing myself in erotic novels has kept me wriggling on the edge of my seat at work and firmly entrenched in my own fantasy world at night.

 

Though one thing is bothering me—my damn virginity. If only I could find a sexy bedroom expert to introduce me to the delights of having a lover. Someone handsome and charming, who can rival the hunky alpha males in my books. I have a very vivid, very well-fed imagination—he’ll have to keep up.

 

Then, one bitterly cold night, thanks to a devious, conniving, so-called friend, the perfect opportunity to rid myself of this pesky virginity problem comes along. Before I know it, the heroes in my novels have come alive in the person of Shane Galloway, who’s pleasuring me with every trick in the book and wheedling into my heart in the hottest ways possible.

 

**Please note Cold Nights, Hot Bodies was previously published with different cover art.** 

 

Cold Nights, Hot Bodies Excerpt:

 

I stood, arms hanging at my sides, knees buckled, as he lowered his head and pressed his mouth to mine.

It was a gentle kiss, not wet and not dry, the perfect combination of smoothness and maleness. I parted my mouth and held my breath as he delicately traced my bottom lip with his tongue, then I captured his taste—wine and water, man and musk. Pulling in air, I was treated to his gorgeous light scent again.

“You’re so sweet,” he murmured, pulling back a fraction. “Like a little sugary doll.”

Pushing to my toes, I pressed my lips to his, wanting more of his taste and his desire.

This time the kiss quickly turned hotter and harder. Still he kept my face cradled in his hands, holding me just where he 11058553_1472825089625996_7686604483102317647_nwanted me as he probed his tongue deeper, searching for mine with the hot, insistent tip.

I lifted my tongue from the base of my mouth and tentatively touched it to his. He gave a small groan and slanted his head. Our tongues tangled and I reached up and curled my hands into the material of his shirt. Hung on as our breaths quickened and our mouths fed off each other. I became lost in his kiss, he was all I could think of. His taste, his smell, the way he was holding me was my entire universe. Bubbles of pleasure erupted deep within me. A crazy new need flowed like lava through my veins, settled in my breasts, seeped between my legs and spread over my skin.

He pulled back and dropped his hands from my face.

I opened my eyes.

His mouth was shiny from our kiss and his eyelids heavy. “Lose this,” he whispered, sliding his fingers beneath the thin shoulder straps of my dress.

I prayed my heart wouldn’t give out, it was beating so hard and fast. He wanted me to take off my dress. Of course he wanted me to take off my dress. We were going to have sex for heaven’s sake. The dress had to come off.

I slid down the zip and the material loosened around my ribs. He stooped, gripped the hem and began to lift. It smoothed up over my thighs and waist and air breezed over my buttocks, which were exposed by my thong.

He straightened, his expression heavy with concentration as he carried on peeling the dress upward. I stretched my arms above my head and was blinded momentarily as the dress brushed over my face.

Shane didn’t drop the dress on the floor. Instead he shook it straight and laid it on the back of the sofa. Instinct made me want to cross my arms over my breasts, flatten a palm over the shockingly tiny piece of lace that made up the front of the thong Dawn had provided. But I forced my arms to remain still, hanging at my sides as he turned to me.

“Phew,” he said, blowing out a breath and scanning my legs. “I must have been a really good boy this year to get stockings filled so sweetly.”

I couldn’t help but notice there was a long, hard bulge straining against his fly. My stomach flipped and I quickly averted my eyes and glanced down at my legs, which were encased in black fishnet. The scalloped tops looked fine and dainty against my pale thighs. The flickering shadows from the fire caressed their outline and even I had to admit, they looked damn good.

“You think so?” I asked nervously, trying not to dwell on the size of the bulge I’d just seen.

“Hell, yeah.” He stepped back over. “I must have accidently found a cure for cancer or secured world peace to get such a great present.”

A small, apprehensive giggle escaped my lips. “You like the stockings then?”

“I’ve never liked stockings more than at this moment in time,” he whispered onto my mouth. “Promise me you’ll keep them on, even when you take everything else off. I want to feel them rubbing against my skin when you’re wrapped around me.”

I shivered in a breath at the wonderfully erotic image he’d just created. “I promise.”

He glanced down at my jutting breasts. “You’re beautiful, you know that.” He traced his finger over the soft curve at the top of my right breast and into my newly deepened cleavage.

A dart of pleasure shot to my nipples, as though the weight of my breasts had doubled under his touch. They were suddenly tingly and tight.

“You do know that, don’t you?” he said again as he traced over my left breast. “Of course you do, I’m sure you’ve been told by plenty of guys.”

“Er, no,” I said, pressing my palm over his shirt and feeling his hard pectoral muscle shifting slightly beneath.

“No, you don’t know it or no, you haven’t been told?”

“I…well…I…”

His gaze captured mine and he tipped his head to the side. “Are you okay?” He stilled his finger.

“Yes, it’s just…” I slid my hand up to his shoulder and held on for support. I had to tell him. I didn’t think I could go through with “wrapping myself around him” if he thought I was experienced and confident. I’d be sure to disappoint or let him down somehow. He deserved to know. Besides, Saffron had told Tobias, so had Felicity in Lord Morton’s Maid and Skye had left a note for Ralph in Optimum Pleasure. All my heroines told their men it was their first time. It was the right thing to do.

“What is it?” Shane asked again, his eyes searching mine.

“I-I haven’t, you know, done it before.”

“Done what?” He creased his forehead into a frown.

“You know, it, had sex.” I stared down at my dark, stockinged feet. They contrasted sharply with the golden carpet. “I’m a virgin.”

His whole body snapped backward. It was as if he’d been electrocuted. “Jesus,” he said, shoving his fingers through the hair on the crown of his head and stretching his elbows out to the side. “What the hell?” He stared at me with wide eyes.

I crossed my hands over my chest. “I’m sorry.” A shard of fear sliced into my heart. He didn’t want me anymore. Now he knew I was a virgin he no longer desired me. He’d wanted an experienced lover for the night, not some naïve little girl.

“And you let it get this far before you told me?”

“What do you mean? We haven’t done anything other than kiss.”

He huffed. “Yeah, one hot kiss with you looking like the best damn Christmas present of my life.” He shoved his hands down his waistband and appeared to re- arrange the bulge behind his fly.

“I’m sorry. Partly for letting it get so far and…” I paused. “And partly because you appear to be in physical discomfort.”

“There’s no need to be sorry,” he said, glancing at the door and pulling his hand from his pants.

“Well, clearly there is.” I was getting frustrated now. “If I wasn’t a virgin we’d be heading into the bedroom by now. ddd2c5391d79a6b51b0e9ccc6e4deb91Clearly my inexperience has put you off.”

“I had that in mind actually,” he said, pointing at the deeply cushioned sofa next to us. “It’s wide and soft and by the fire. It would have done just fine.”

I tightened my arms around myself. He’d wanted to make love to me on the sofa. Just the thought of it sent a tremble up my spine. It would have been so perfect. So sensual and sweet.

He rubbed his hand around the nape of his neck. His dark, tousled hair fell over his ears and he cast his eyes downward.

“I had to tell you,” I whispered, shivering despite the blasting heat of the fire.

“Thank goodness you did. Imagine if I’d just gone for it, not knowing. It would have been catastrophic.”

“What do you mean?”

“I haven’t been with a woman for a while,” he said, frowning. “And you in those damn stockings and with your sexy little body.” He pulled in a deep breath. “I was just about to lose control. It wouldn’t have been the gentle initiation to sex that you deserve, Ashley, it would have left you dazed and confused and wondering what kind of beast you’d invited to your room.”

He didn’t look like a beast, and he certainly hadn’t touched me like one. His fingertip on my flesh had been gentle and reverent. Although now he mentioned it, when he’d looked at my stockings there’d been a glint in his eye that had made me wonder how much control he had.

“Does it change things between us so much?” I asked quietly.

He sighed. “Of course it does.”

“But why?”

“Because your first time should be special, with someone you care deeply about…love.”

“I care about you.”

“But we’ve only just met.”

“But I still care about you more than any other guy I’ve ever met.” I swept my hands down the exposed skin on my body. “No one else has seen me like this before.”

His eyebrows twitched as his gaze roamed my underwear. “Lucky me.”

I frowned. “Shane, I want to do this, with you. Tonight.”

“But surely you want more than…” He shrugged and clamped his lips into a tight line.

“Than what? Go on, say it. We’re both adults. We both know what we’re doing.”

“Okay, surely you want more than a one-night stand to give away your virginity to?”

My jaw clenched. Of course I knew that’s what this was. But having it said aloud hurt. Quickly I shoved that stupid bit of hurt way down deep. I had a more pressing matter to concentrate on and I wasn’t about to let this opportunity slip through my fingers. “I’m twenty-three, Shane, I’m still a virgin and I don’t want to be.” I pulled in a deep, determined breath. “I’ve chosen you over a bunch of losers who’ve chatted me up and asked me out over the years. It’s taken me a long time to find someone I want to have sex with. One-night stand or not, I want you to make sure I’m not a virgin when I wake up in the morning.” I put my hands on my hips and narrowed my eyes. “Do you think you’re man enough to do that?”

“Oh, I’m man enough all right. I’m also man enough to walk away and stop you making a mistake you’ll never be able to undo.”

“But how can it be a mistake if it’s what I want?”

“Because you don’t know what you want. Why can’t you see that?”

“How dare you.” I stepped up to him, poked out my index finger and pressed it against his chest. “You have no idea what I want or need.”

He looked surprised by my sudden rise in voice and stern tone.

“I’m a virgin not an idiot. I know about love and lust and I know there’s a difference. I also know I want to be initiated into the world of sex by someone handsome, intelligent, experienced and…and…”

“Expert?” He raised his eyebrows.

tumblr_nqdyzeipn61uppic1o1_400I tutted and lowered my finger. “Yes, that will do quite nicely, expert. I want someone who isn’t going to fumble and
falter. I want someone who knows which buttons to press.”

“Buttons?” He gave a hesitant smile and a lock of hair fell over his right eye.

“This is not funny, you know.”

“Oh, believe me, there’s nothing funny about the ache in my pants I can’t do anything about.” He pushed his hair from his face.

“Of course you can.” I lowered my voice, gentled my tone. “I’ve been reading up and I know what you need too, I know what you’d like, Shane. It doesn’t have to be boring because it’s my first time.”

“What have you been reading?”

I shrugged. “Stuff.”

“Elaborate.”

“Stories about sex, men and women, things they do other than just the missionary position.”

A flicker of interest crossed his face. “Like what?”

“Things like oral sex,” I said quietly. “A woman taking a man into her mouth, sucking and licking until he comes down her throat.” I paused, sensing his heightened attention at my words. “I want to try that.”

“Anything else you been reading about?” he asked, shifting from one foot to the other.

“Yes, tying up a lover and doing whatever you want to their bodies, making them squirm with pleasure and cry out for more.” I could hardly believe I was saying all this stuff.

“You want me to tie you up?” His eyes widened.

“Not my first time.” I silently congratulated myself on not blushing.

“Your second?”

“Maybe, perhaps I’ll wait ’til third though.” I reached for the first, fastened white button on his shirt.

Opportunity. Grab it like a terrier.

“There’s something else I want to try before that,” I whispered.

“And what’s that?” he asked, watching me undo the button. His voice had calmed, his body was still. He was no longer stealing glances at the door.

“I want to try it from behind.”

“What, in your—?” His eyes snapped up to mine.

“No, no, just from behind so I can find my G-spot.”

“Jesus, you have been reading up.”

I undid the next button and the next and reached for the cuffs. “Yes, I like to do my research.” I tugged his now-undone shirt from the waistband of his smart black pants. “If I’m going to do something, I like to do it properly.”

“Me too,” he said in a quiet, calm voice.

Shoving the shirt over his shoulders, I stepped in real close and let my breasts press into the tightly coiled hair sprinkled over his chest. “Which is what makes you so perfect for my needs,” I said, sliding the shirt down his arms and letting it fall on the floor.

“Damn, you’ve nearly got me persuaded,” he said, lowering his head. His lips rested against my temple and I heard him swallow tightly.

I pulled back and looked up at his dark eyes, they were thick and velvety. I parted my lips and held them a whisper from his. “Will this persuade you?” I cupped my palm against the taut material of his pants and gave his cock a firm, confident squeeze.

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Buy Cold Nights, Hot Bodies Here:

 

Amazon

 

Amazon UK

 

(free on Kindle Unlimited!)

 

Reader Reviews:

 

“I have read a good number of Lily Harlem books, but this might be my favorite.”

 

“This was a great book that really showed two characters that had amazing chemistry and how the author was able to tweak them in just a way as to make the story different from all the others on the market today.”

 

“I love this couple and the HEA was brilliant. This is the perfect story to keep you warm at night.”

 

“Well all I am going to say is DAMN it is one steamy hot read…Loved it!”

 lily-harlem

 

About Lily Harlem:

 

Lily Harlem lives in the UK and is an award-winning author of erotic romance. She writes for publishers on both sides of the Atlantic including HarperCollins, Totally Bound, Pride Publishing, Evernight Publishing, All Romance eBooks, Stormy Nights Publishing, Tirgearr and Sweetmeats Press. Her work regularly receives high praise and industry nominations.

Before turning her hand to writing Lily Harlem worked as a trauma nurse and her latest HarperCollins release, Confessions of a Naughty Night Nurse draws on her many experiences while nursing in London. Lily also self-publishes and The Silk Tie, The Glass Knot and Scored have been blessed with many 5* reviews since their release.

Lily writes MF, MM and ménage a trois, her books regularly hit the #1 spot on Amazon Best Seller lists and Breathe You In was named a USA Today Reviewer’s Recommended Read of 2014. Her latest MM novel is Dark Warrior.

Lily also co-authors with Natalie Dae and publishes under the name Harlem Dae – check out the Sexy as Hell Trilogy – The Novice, The Player, and The Vixen – and That Filthy Book which has been hailed as a novel ‘every woman should read’ and is available in book stores nationwide.

One thing you can be sure of, whatever book you pick up by Ms Harlem, is it will be wildly romantic and down-and-dirty sexy. Enjoy!

Check out Lily’s website for details of her other books and her Amazon Author Page. Subscribe to her newsletter to get a FREE ebook and be the first to hear of new releases and free reads, and if you enjoy Facebook, hop on over there and say hi!

 

 

 

 

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Timeless Desire by Lucy Felthouse Now Available in Audiobook Format! #audiobook #romance #erotica #ghost #PNR

timelessdesire_audio

The critically acclaimed paranormal/ghost erotic romance short story, Timeless Desire by Lucy Felthouse, is now available in audiobook format. Narrated by voice artist Louisa Middleton, you can now listen to these stories on the go!

Blurb:

Emily arrives at Westbury Hall with a job to do. She’s to clean and conserve all of the books in their impressive library, preserving them for future generations. Not long into her stay at the house, she bumps into the night guard, George. She’d expected an old, balding guy with a comb over, so the hunky chap she actually meets is a very pleasant surprise. The introductions complete, George leaves Emily in peace to get on with her job. But when a falling photograph sets off a chain reaction of ghostly events, Emily and George are thrown together in order to find out who—or what—is causing them. Their investigation uncovers a tragic past, a lost love, and a stunning secret.

Audio links:

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Audible UK
Audible US
iTunes UK
iTunes US

eBook and links available here: http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk/published-works/timeless-desire/

*****

Reviews:

“This was a clever story, a good length and great characters. Westbury Manor was a wonderful setting for this supernatural tale and I really enjoyed the vivid descriptions of the location. A layered story that makes you feel as though you’ve been on both a spooky, haunted house weekend and a down-and-dirty, get-your-kit-off fun weekend. Highly recommended as a one-stop read.” Top Pick, Miz Love Loves Books

“…a slow burn but this tale cackles with sexual energy throughout and you cannot help but feel for the great characters, the scene setting is fantastic and the passion will have you squirming this is one I’m sure I’ll be re-reading time and time again. One for the bookish babes who are tigers in the sack.” 5 out of 5, Erotic Whispers

“This is a great quick read that has a touch of the paranormal and of course romance. Its the perfect length to fit in a busy scheduled without skimping on character development or story line. I like that even though this is a shorter story that each character is fully developed and that it doesn’t have that short story feel (like something is missing).” 5 out of 5, Belinda’s Bookshelf

*****

Author Bio:

Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of Cliterati.co.uk’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of, and an Amazon bestseller) and Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award, and an Amazon bestseller). Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 140 publications to her name. She owns Erotica For All, is book editor for Cliterati, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes. Find out more about her writing at http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk, or on Twitter and Facebook. You can also subscribe to her monthly newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

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The Psychology of Dreams Final Episode

Psychology-of-Dreams-cover12985576_1537272663241009_8777292825525497968_nThe End is at hand! Welcome to the final instalment of The Psychology of Dreams 101, in which the truth is revealed at last, and with it, a return to reality. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading Psych of Dreams, as well as the other serials that have appeared on my blog. Summer is not truly upon us, so I’m giving serial writing a break, but some stories just lend themselves to being revealed slowly — story foreplay, if you will. When that time comes, when the story is right for A Hopeful Romantic, I’ll happily let the muse have her way. In the meantime have a fantastic summer with lots of hot reading on beaches, in cars, in hotel rooms, during lunch breaks … oh, just anywhere will do when the book is good.

 

The Psychology of Dreams 101 Blurb:

What if you got punished when you didn’t get your dreams right? That’s the dilemma our heroin, Leah, and her psychology of dreams teacher, Al. The Psychology of Dreams 101 is a romp into the sexy unconscious as Leah Kent takes a Psychology of Dreams adult education class, only to discover that the required Dream Journal leads to some seriously kinky night journeys.

If you missed episode 16, find it here.

 

 

Chapter 17 Awakening

“This can’t be right. Al this can’t be right.” But Al was gone. Leah spoke into the windy darkness on the roof of the high rise. “It’s not me. I’m not supposed to be here. It’s not my dream. Al? Al, it’s not my fucking dream!” She swallowed back her last words with a startled cry teetering and flailing wildly to keep from going over the edge of the building. The flutter of the wind gave way to a high-pitched hum that hurt her ears. As vertigo overwhelmed her, she flat out screamed and fell backward on her ass, blessedly away from the edge. The fall jarred the breath from her lungs and the world spun before her eyes and went dark. From somewhere far off she could hear voices, concerned voices, and she was suddenly desperate for Al’s company. Why had she not wanted to share the dream with him? At least when they’d been here together, even with Dr. Clyde’s untimely interruptions, she’d not been alone. Oh there were people in the city. There were cars moving on the streets below, there were horns honking, but it was no more real than anything else in the dream. Without Al or Dr. Clyde she really was alone, alone inside her head.

She tried to stand, but the vertigo was back in spades and the pounding in her skull made her feel as though she’d hit her head instead of her ass when she fell. She closed her eyes and tried to breathe through the pain, but when she opened them again, she lay right on the edge of the roof with one leg dangling over into emptiness. “Oh God!” This time she rolled and kept rolling until her back pressed up tight against one of the HVAC units, where she lay shivering. For a long moment all she did was shiver and breathe, but she kept her eyes open and kept her focus on the edge of the building. As her breathing calmed, she could swear she heard voices again, voices that sounded desperate, frantic.

“Al?” She pulled herself to her feet and looked around. “Dr. Clyde?” There was no response, and there was no way down off the roof that she could see. It was a quick look — only for a second. It was little more than a glance, really, but when she looked back, she was once again standing with her toes curled over the edge of the roof. Her hair blew in her face from the returning wind, and the high-pitched hum was now nearly deafening. “Oh God! Oh Christ! Oh Shit!” She could barely hear her own voice over the humming. She scrambled back from the roof’s edge again until the HVAC unit stopped her retreat with a sharp edge gouging her hip. Only this time, fuck if it didn’t seem that the unit was closer to the edge of the roof. “It’s a dream! It’s a goddamned dream!” She yelled, keeping her eyes glued to ledge and the void beyond. “Al!” She screamed. “Al I don’t want to be here! I’m not Diana. I don’t want to die. I want to wake up!” Even as she gasped for breath, she blinked, and the HVAC unit was closer to the ledge still. Her toes were only centimeters away from the abyss, and the high-pitched hum became louder, drowning out the sound of her cries for help. As she pressed back hard against the unyielding metal of the HVAC, as the ledge between her and the endless drop below shrank still further, a sudden pain exploded in her chest as though she had been hit in the sternum by a baseball bat. As she doubled over with a breathless grunt, she found herself face to face with the darkness below. “I’m not Diana.” Though there was no breath to speak, her lips formed the words over and over again, and they became a mantra in her head as she tore two fingernails in her efforts to heave herself up onto the top of the HVAC unit to safety. “I’m not Diana, I’m not Diana, I’m not Diana.” The words in her head were drown out by the hum, and even as she climbed on top of her Writing pen and birds 1_xl_20156020precarious perch, another sharp blow in the chest crumpled her. “It’s just a dream, only a dream, just a dream. I’m not Diana. It’s just a dream. I’m not –” Another sharp pain between her breasts stopped even the mental mantra and the HVAC itself had narrowed to an edge of metal no wider than a gymnast’s balance beam. Despair set in as another blow, and then another came, and her world between the sharp, rhythmic blows to her chest existed only on the shrinking metal beam of safety and in the hum, which had drown out all other sound. “Al, I don’t want to die,” she whispered. “I want to wake up safe and sound in my own bed. Al, please, come and get me.” Somehow, she didn’t know how it had happened, but she found herself standing with nothing behind her and nothing in front of her but the void. The wind whipped around her body, the hum was louder than a siren in her ears. The metal edge on which she stood now cut into her feet and there was no place else to go. “This is a dream. It’s only a dream,” she whispered, then as the next blow came, the one she knew she couldn’t stand against, she closed her eyes tightly and prayed to wake up. The last thing she heard before she fell was voices, lots of distressed voiced and someone was calling her name.

 

“Leah? Leah, can you hear me?”

She opened eyes that felt like they had been filled with sand. As she blinked back tears, she could just make out a face leaning close to her, and there was a warm hand gripping hers.

“Hey there. You’re back.”

She blinked again and looked up at Al. Blessedly she woke in a bed. There was no balance beam- HVAC, no dark city, no bottomless abyss for her to fall into. The room around her was dim and cool, and unfamiliar. Her efforts to sit up, to get as from the dream world as possible, resulted in a bright flash of pain and a wave of nausea.

“Oh no you don’t, not just yet.” Al eased her back down onto the pillow. “You’ve got a concussion. You’re going to feel pretty rough for a while, so best lie back and rest.”

In spite of the buck and spin of the room, Leah refused to close her eyes, or to let go of Al’s hand. When she was sure she wasn’t going to throw up, or worse yet, find herself once again on the ledge of the high rise, she licked parched lips and found her voice. “A concussion? What happened, where am I?”

“You’re in the hospital,” came another voice.

“Dr. Clyde?”

The two men looked at each other then Dr. Clyde smiled down at her. Instead of his dapper suit, he was dressed in rumpled green scrubs. “I am indeed, though I don’t know how you knew that since you’ve been unconscious for our entire visit. I’m the ER physician in charge, and I was enjoying a rare quiet night until you showed up.”

“Then you’re not a psychiatrist?”

He chuckled softly. “Not so far as I know, though I did give it some thought back in med school,” he said. “The mind is so fascinating and complex.”

A bit too complex for her liking at the moment, she thought, then she asked, “What happened?”

“You were mugged,” Al replied, still holding onto her hand. “The guy was trying to take your bag, and you wouldn’t let him have it. You would have had the bastard sorted in spades if the strap on your bag hadn’t broke. You got the bag, but lost your footing, fell backward and hit your head on the curb.”

“If your professor here hadn’t shown up when he did,” Dr. Clyde interjected, “we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

Al offered her a modest blush “The mugger was doubled over from pain you’d inflicted on his more delicate parts. I saw you go down. By the time I got to you, you were unresponsive. I call an ambulance and the police. Then I rode with you to the hospital.” He gave her hand a convulsive squeeze. “ I don’t mind saying I’ve never been so scared in my life.”

“And the mugger?” She asked.

“Turns out the guy was wanted for breaking and entering and several other crimes. Anyway, he’s in jail, now,” Al replied.

“Next time,” Dr. Clyde shooed Al aside, then leaned in to check her pupils with a pin light, “let the thief have the bag. There can’t possibly be anything in it that’s worth your life.”

“Then I’m not dreaming this? The hospital and all, I mean.” She knew even as she spoke that she wasn’t. And she knew exactly why she had not given up her bag to the thief. It held her dream journal, and she wasn’t about to let the bastard take it from her. What it contained was too important to her. She’d kneed him hard in the balls and jerked back against the strap of the bag. That was the last thing she remembered. And yet, somehow remembering her mugging was way less traumatic than what she had just experienced in the dream world. Her attention was drawn back to the conversation between the two men.

“Leah is in my Psychology of Dreams class,” Al explained to the doctor. “One of my more conscientious students, in fact. Adult education,” he clarified.

“I see,” Clyde said. “You could well have dreaming while you were unconscious. There certainly did seem to be a lot of brain activity in the EEG, but you’re definitely not dreaming now, and I would imagine that enormous headache will convince you of that real soon.” He looked down at his watch. “I’ve got to go, but Dr. Diana will be in to check you in a little while. We’re keeping you in for observation. When someone gives us the kind of scare you did, it’s just standard procedure.”

“What kind of scare?” Leah asked.

Al grabbed her hand again and held on tight.

The doctor cleared his throat. “Leah, we can discuss this later.”

Sleeping woman reading181340322466666994_IswNAb85_b            “Now,” she said. “Tell me now because after the dreams I’ve had, I don’t want any more surprises.”

He studied her for a minute, as though he could tell by looking if she were ready for what he had to say. That did little to calm her racing pulse. At last he heaved a sigh. “You flat-lined twice in the ambulance and once when you arrived at the hospital. We thought we’d have to do emergency surgery, if you survived. I’d already called in Dr. Diana. She’s the surgeon on shift. And then, you miraculously stabilized, almost like nothing had ever happened – other than the huge goose egg at the base of your skull, that is. Brain activity seemed to indicate you were doing some serious dreaming, which was a bit unusual, but sometimes certain brain functions can be stimulated in strange ways. The point is,” he laid a hand against her forehead, “you’re fine now, and as soon as Dr. Diana gives you the all clear, you’re free to go.”

Dr. Clyde said his good-byes and they both watched as he left, then Al turned back to her, offering her an encouraging smile. But before he could say anything, she had to ask. “Did you know Dr. Clyde before?”

He shook his head. “Never met the man until you were mugged.”

“Dr. Diana?”

“Nope. Why?”

She shook her head. “Nothing. It’s just that they were in the dream I was having.”

“Not a good dream, I’d take it, from the way you were crying out just before you woke up.”

“Definitely not a good one.”

“Do you want to talk about it?” he asked smoothing the hair away from her cheek.

She shook her head. “I’ll write about it in the journal, when I’m up to it. For now, I’m just happy it was only a dream. It was so real.”

They sat together in silence for a long moment, then he pulled her hand to his lips and kissed her fingers. “Leah, how much do you remember of what happened?”

“I remember the mugging,” she said.

His smile slipped. “Then you don’t remember that you were waiting for me?”

The queasy feeling in her stomach brought on by the concussion was suddenly overruled by a free fall of butterflies as the memories came rushing back. “I was waiting because you had a meeting in your office with a student. We were going for lunch together. We’ve been doing that for several weeks now. I remember.”

“And you remember I told you we couldn’t be together properly until the class was finished, because –”

“Because you didn’t date your students, yes, I remember, and I remember the discussions we had about –”

“Our dream journals, yes.” He blushed hard, then settled one ass-cheek on the edge of the bed closer to her, “and our mutual attraction in the dream world.”

She eased herself into a sitting position, and this time she managed it without dizziness or nausea as the butterflies gave way to something a lot more intriguing in parts farther south than her belly. “I remember we were counting the days until we could actually …” It was her turn to blush. “Until we could actually be together.”

He massaged the back of her hand with his thumb. “I’ll admit our … courtship through the dream journals has been one of the hottest, and certainly the most unconventional, things that’s ever happened to me, but I’ll also admit, I’m anxious to do more than just write about it and talk about it.” He leaned in and brushed a kiss across her lips, and she responded with a dart of her tongue, just a tiny one, just enough to make him catch his breath and moan against her lips. “They’ve been seriously good dreams, Leah, but I want us to enjoy the waking world together now, so hurry up and get better so we can get you out of here. You’re beautiful when you dream.” His breath was warm and humid as he whispered against her ear, and it made her squirm beneath the blanket. He had written that comment multiple times in the margins of her journal next to particularly sexy dreams. “On my desk, at that campground up on Mount Hood, damn woman, even in Eddie’s Diner. When you get out of here, when the class is over, I want to stop masturbating in the shower to thoughts of your dream journal and see how many of those dreams we can make reality.” He kissed her again, this time his tongue joined the party, just as she remembered that the dream about him masturbating in the shower – that was his dream, and in it she not only saw him, but she joined him. As their kiss heated up the memories of the dreams they’d shared became muscle memory sizzling along her nerve endings and settling at the tips of her nipples and in the slickening swell at her core. They were the real dreams, not the ones that had been corrupted and distorted into nightmares from her injuries, but like they’d been when she woke up and frantically wrote them down the first time, when they had rendered her unable to do even that much until after she masturbated for relief. And she remembered reading Al’s dreams about her. God, she’d masturbated to thoughts of those dreams often enough. She recalled their first shared lunch together, hunched over a table in the back of Eddie’s Diner, speaking between barely parted lips, shocked that both their dreams had turned so erotic and so completely to what their unconscious minds would love to do to each other. Their breathless discussions in the secluded corner at Eddies had become a courtship, which had evolved into extended, filthy foreplay, intimations of what would come when the class ended and she was no longer his student. The waiting, the anticipation as they shared their dreams, had been the hottest sexual experience Leah had ever had.

Al all but pulled her up off the bed into his embrace, one hand cupping a bare ass cheek beneath her hospital f7c97536836dc44ea7a1faaa02ab1a6agown, and the lip lock was deep and thrusting with the promise of things to come. She was just beginning to wonder if they could get away with at least a little mutual masturbation before their privacy was interrupted. The answer was a definite no.

“Get a room you two, this is a hospital. I can’t have my patients getting overheated and having a relapse.”

To Leah’s surprise Al took his time and ended the kiss with a nip of her lower lip as he eased her carefully back onto the pillow and tucked the blanket around her. Then they both looked up to see a middle-aged woman smiling at them. Her dishwater blonde hair was swept back in a no-nonsense chignon and the nametag on her scrubs read Dr. Phyllis Diana.

“Oh don’t you worry, Dr. Diana,” Al said with a proprietary squeeze of Leah’s shoulder, “just as soon as you release this lovely woman, I thoroughly intend to get a room. And I intend to keep her there for, oh a week or two at least.”

The doctor offered a teasing chuckle. “Well, in that case, I think my patient has every incentive for a speedy recovery.”

As Dr. Diana checked her pulse and then her reactions and reflexes, Leah was very sure she would make a miraculously fast recovery, though she hoped Al would keep her in bed once she got out of the hospital. She was sure the man had healing techniques that had not yet been properly researched, and she was more than willing to be his guinea pig.

 

The End

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Out Now—Passion’s Last Promise (Club Aegis #4) by Christie Adams

Passion's Last PromiseBlurb:

Hers to protect…his to serve…

When a failed kidnap attempt leads to CEO Dr. Simon Northwood acquiring a bodyguard, he isn’t prepared for close protection specialist Ros Edwards, a former captain in the Royal Military Police. Experienced submissive though he is, having a woman stand between him and any further threat is completely untenable.

Assigned to protect the genius behind a project of national importance, Ros unexpectedly encounters the most delicious man she’s met in a long time. As a Domme, she’d love to play with him, but even if he weren’t in need of her professional skills, there’s no way he’s submissive.

A determined man. A stubborn woman. When passion flirts with danger, the last promise is the toughest one of all…

 

Buy links:

Amazon: http://getbook.at/PLP

All Romance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-passion039slastpromise-1940493-147.html

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/book/passions-last-promise/id1131728778?mt=11

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/passion-s-last-promise

*****

Excerpt:

“Problems, Miss Edwards?”

“Not at all, Dr. Northwood.” She turned towards him and slipped the smartphone back into her jacket pocket. “A minor logistical issue, that’s all. Is there something I can do for you?”

“I was wondering if we were still on schedule to depart for Oxford as planned.” From what he’d heard, Simon had his doubts.

“Of course, sir. As I said, a minor logistical issue.” She paused, fixing him with her coolly assessing gaze. “I was just about to make coffee—would you care to join me?”

He had a conference call in a few minutes, his third of the day, but Simon suddenly found himself more in need of a shot of caffeine, and another opportunity to try to goad her into going Domme on him. He’d been trying all week, and this morning was the closest he’d come yet. He strode over to the desk to call his PA.

“Alicia? Can you let Martin know that he’ll be handling the finance call in ten? Give him my apologies—something’s come up that requires my attention elsewhere. Thanks.” He replaced the receiver and turned his attention back to his bodyguard. “I don’t mind if I do, Miss Edwards.”

She gave a brief nod in acknowledgement. He watched her disappear into the adjoining kitchen, only to hear seconds later the crash of breaking glass followed by the colourful and creative cursing he was coming to associate with his beautiful bodyguard. Simon headed for the epicentre of the disaster.

As if someone had flicked a switch, his nonchalant attitude came to an abrupt end. Ros was running her hand under the tap, washing away the blood that was oozing from a cut to her hand. Broken glass littered the worktop and the floor.

Simon’s protective instincts kicked into action, sweeping aside all thoughts of provoking her again. He grabbed the first aid kit from one of the cupboards. “Let me help.”

“It’s all right, I can manage.”

“No—you can’t. What happened?”

To his surprise, she allowed him to take her hand in his. Strong and capable, it was at the same time neat and feminine, with short but immaculately manicured nails. No rings, but as he’d told himself the first time he’d checked, that didn’t necessarily mean anything.

“Kamikaze glassware.” Ros glanced up at the open cupboard. “When I was getting the mugs to make the coffee, I accidentally nudged a couple of tumblers. They decided to take their name seriously and try out for the Olympic gymnastics team. I can tell you now, their technique sucked.”

Simon pressed his lips together, trying not to laugh at the latest glimpse of her taste in humour. She’d caught him unawares like that once or twice before, with a little nugget of dry wit. “What were you trying to do? Catch them or juggle with them?”

She shot him a dark scowl. At that precise moment, she looked more like the recipient of a sense of humour bypass, then he realised she was more annoyed with herself.

“I was picking up the pieces. Some of the shards started slipping out of my hands and I grabbed at them on instinct. Stupid thing to do. At least it’s not my right hand.”

He quirked a questioning eyebrow.

“Trigger finger.” She waggled the digit at him. “Can’t pull a trigger if I’m bandaged up.”

“Or if you end up slicing through tendons.” Simon’s slightly harsh tone was a reflection of his discomfort at the way she spoke so candidly of using firearms. “A dustpan and brush might have been safer than trying to pick up the broken glass.” He nodded in the direction of the tall corner cupboard.

For a moment she looked like she was about to argue, but then the change in her expression and a tiny, careless shrug acknowledged the truth of his words. Simon turned his attention to her injuries. There were some superficial cuts but the main one wasn’t as bad as he’d first thought—she’d probably get away without needing any stitches in it. Having confirmed there was no glass in the wound, he pulled on some surgical gloves and ripped open a sachet containing an antiseptic wipe.

She was standing so close now. He tried not to be distracted by the calm rise and fall of her breasts, or the subtle floral scent of her perfume. He tried not to respond to her steady gaze resting squarely on him. He tried not to think of the probable reasons why a former RMP officer never even flinched at the sting of the antiseptic.

Having put a couple of Steri-Strips on the cut, he then made the move that was his downfall. It was the small, insignificant act of glancing up at Ros’ face. She was staring at his hands in rapt fascination, lips slightly parted, almost inviting a kiss.

Carpe diem. The Latin phrase blazed through Simon’s mind like a meteor. She hadn’t responded to provocation, so perhaps a different tactic was called for. He swept aside the memory of the altercation they’d had a few hours earlier, focusing instead on this moment.

Simon pulled off the surgical gloves with a snap. In a club, he’d never dream of doing what he was about to do—it went against everything he’d been trained for, but this was an opportunity he couldn’t afford to miss.

Before Ros could move away from him, he took her uninjured hand in his and raised it to his lips. Before his inner voice could convince him he was making a huge mistake, he pressed a gentle kiss to her palm.

“Dr. Northwood.”

He wasn’t expecting the sound of his name to send a delicious shiver through his body. The formality, though…just as guilty of that as she was, maybe even more so, but he wanted it to end. “Simon.”

Desire would be held back no longer—he claimed the sweetness of her mouth, and prepared to take his punishment for crashing through her boundaries…

*****

Author Bio:

After winning an erotic short story competition, Christie Adams waited over twenty years to follow it up with her first full-length erotic romance. The second publisher she approached picked it up, and after a brief spell with them, she moved into the exciting world of indie publishing.

When she was asked about how she got into writing, Christie realised she’s been putting pen to paper—or fingers to keyboard—for longer than she thought. It all started in her teens, with stories featuring characters from her favourite TV shows—usually action dramas—but in her imagination, those characters were given a romantic life to go with the all-action one their audiences saw.

From there, she progressed to romantic novels featuring characters of her own invention, but success eluded her until she spotted the erotic short story competition in a magazine.

Christie lives in north-west England. When not at the day job, she can usually be found wrestling with the characters in her latest novel. Occasionally she finds time for sleep, and maintains her social skills through, among other things, regular attendance at a pub quiz, which forces her to think about other things besides plots and characterisation.

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