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The Man in the Mask – A Guest Post by Lady Divine (@FrancescaHartz @sinfulpress)

Everyone wears a mask of one kind or another.

In romance novels, masks tend to be elaborate, lavishly decorated things, hiding the identity of the mysterious lover from the (more often than not) naïve hero/heroine.

But, in real life, our masks tend to be far less erotic … and much more complicated.

The average human being doesn’t only wear one. They become layered, one over the other. We switch between them throughout the day, showing the face we need for a given situation – parent, spouse, sibling, employee, neighbor. On occasion, one will fall away when we don’t need it anymore, but we tend to add more as time goes on, piling them up until it sometimes becomes difficult to remember who we were to begin with.

Masks can take us away from ourselves.

But sometimes they show who we really are.

And the effect is broad. In the search to find ourselves, it may not even be our own mask, but someone else’s mask, that reveals the truth about us.

There are so many different kinds of masks. In my life, I’ve worn many – masks of compassion, nurturing, confidence, protection. In my work as a professional Dominant, I’ve seen hundreds more – men and women peeling away who they have to be in their vanilla lives and wearing, for my eyes only, the masks they show no one.

This concept of masks has always fascinated me – the idea of becoming more yourself by changing what people see, either literally or symbolically. In my story for Sinful Press’s new anthology Sinful Pleasures, “The Man in the Mask”, I decided to combine both the mask of a man longing to remember who he was with the elaborate mask of the romantic lover. At his birthday party, with every person he knows in attendance, Miguel decides to turn back the clock on his life by doing the one thing that most people would find unthinkable – cheat on his husband with a beautifully submissive masked stranger.

But that’s what we see on the surface. Beneath their masks, Miguel and his anonymous lover aren’t necessarily who they appear to be.

You can find out more about this story, and many of my other writings, by following me on Tumblr – https://lady–divine.tumblr.com (or https://lady-divine-writes.tumblr.com for a more safe for work version ;D). You can also find me on Twitter @FrancescaHartz, or on Instagram at ladydivine91 as I embark on my latest adventure, which is as far from professional Dominant as I could possibly get – fledgling freestyle skater 😉

Stay safe, stay sane, stay consensual – but remember to play dirty as often as you can 😉

Francesca Hartz

a.k.a. Lady Divine


Excerpt from “The Man in the Mask”

Sinful Pleasures

Shhh. We have to do this quick,” Miguel says, reaching around the body of the man standing in front of him to undo the buttons of his shirt. “My husband is going to come looking for me soon.”

“O-okay,” the man acquiesces. “Well, then, do you think I can at least look at you while we…?”

Miguel stops unbuttoning and clamps a hand over the man’s mouth before he can say another word.

“No talking!” he snaps. “I don’t know you, you don’t know me, and it’s going to stay that way. Got it?”

“Is that what you want?” the man asks in a softer voice, hoping Miguel won’t object.

“What if it is?” Miguel replies, his accompanying chuckle cruel. He’s indifferent to the man’s feelings because tonight, he’s not a man. He’s a puppet. A toy. An instrument for Miguel’s use…for his pleasure. “It’s what you must want, too, yes? Otherwise, why do you come here wearing that mask?”

The half-mask the man has on is an odd sort of accessory. It’s lavishly decorated, almost gaudily so—blood red around the eyes and trimmed in gold sequins, swirling filigree designs, and accented in gold dust and rubies—a dramatic shield obscuring a face of pale skin, meticulously styled brown hair, and stunning green eyes.

“Because I was t-told…” The man stutters to a stop when Miguel’s fingers brush his skin, playing through the hairs on his chest. He begins again, wishing he had taken one last shot of the whiskey they’d been serving downstairs. It might have strengthened his voice. “I was told that if I wore it, I would meet the man of my dreams.”

“So, you admit to coming here of your own free will?” Miguel asks. Consent is essential to him. Without it, he’ll dismiss this man now, no exceptions.

It would be a shame not to get the chance to have him, but there are others willing to take his place.

“Yes,” the man replies.

“Say it,” Miguel demands. “Word for word. Say you are here of your own free will.”

“I am here of my own free will.”

“Even though you know what I might do to you?” Miguel has to wonder if this man truly knows anything about his unconventional tastes, his unusual cravings. “Even though you know what a night with me might entail?”

“Yes,” the man answers without hesitation. “I know, and I consent.”


Sinful PleasuresBlurb

Sinful Press welcomes you to lose yourself in Sinful Pleasures.

Join us as we weave our way from mainstream erotic romance to surreal sex-filled dreamscapes and everything in between, created by some of the best new and established voices in the erotica genre.

Janine Ashbless, Ella Scandal, Sonni de Soto, Jo Henny Wolf, Lily Harlem, Lady Divine, Gail Williams, Samantha MacLeod, Tony Fyler, Ellie Barker, Lisa McCarthy

Buy links


Barnes and Noble


Google Play


Support your small publisher and buy the paperback direct


Author Bio

Lady Divine is a professional Dominatrix living and working in Southern California, and that’s where most of her writing inspiration comes from. She is also a wife and a mother, a classical musician, a photographer, and a greco roman wrestler, as well as an LGBTQIA+ advocate. Lady Divine can be found gracing the internet at www.lady–divine.tumblr.com


Defining a Little Sweet Heat by Becca Dale

Hi, K D. Thanks for letting me drop by to visit with you and your readers today. This tour has been both interesting and fun since the stops have almost all been in the UK. It has been an interesting experience indeed.

I thought I’d take a moment to tell readers about feel of my writing. Although The Millionaire and the Girl Next Door is the mildest heat level I have written in a long while, my work runs the gamut from heated to steamy. However, the underlying sweetness never goes away. No matter how Alpha the male or how explicit the sex, passionate tenderness remains beneath it all. In the case of the Millionaire and the Girl Next Door, Jake must face Christa’s family, an emotionally wounded ghost, and the heroine’s own fears. It is those fears that slow him down again and again. He wants but he won’t take until he has her trust.

This heroic attitude drives my heroes and can be a pain in the backside when I want them to get down to it and they give me the lecture in my head about good things coming to those who wait. They don’t care what I want. Their goal, no matter how worked up they might get, is always to satisfy their woman’s needs. I, as the author and supposedly the woman in charge, seem to have no choice in this. Maybe because my own husband offers this type of consistent consideration, my heroes cannot be anything but exactly what my heroines need. Now sometimes, as in the case of Erotic Healing, what the heroine needs is to break down her barriers and get well and thoroughly screwed. Other times, as in my latest release from Decadent Publishing, The Millionaire and the Girl Next Door, the heroine needs time, patience, and a generous dose of understanding before she can let her hair down and say let’s have some fun.

So tenderness and deep emotion run through all my stories. Even in the ones with true Alphas, or the ones with a little kink, the sweetness never goes away. Most of my writing is labeled erotic or sensual romance because I walk the fine line between the two, but no matter how hot the sex, readers consistently label my work as sweet because love and consideration remains at the core of every hero.

Be sure to check at the bottom for a chance to win books from Decadent Publishing. Have fun, and thanks again for letting me hang, K D.

The Millionaire and the Girl Next DoorThe Millionaire and the Girl Next Door Blurb

Tired of chasing his family’s need for money and power, millionaire Jake Wescott heads to Freewill,Wyoming and the beautiful piece of heaven that calls to him.

The girl next door, Christa Dunham puts family first, and she’s determined to protect them from the city boy before he ruins their hunting grounds or steals her heart and then walks away when the lonely nights get too long.

Neither of them expects the attraction that pulls them together nor the lost spirit who wants to drive them apart. Confronting the past leaves them both anxious to find a love beyond a lifetime.

Read an Excerpt: http://www.decadentpublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=652&osCsid=34ipt9g1f8e41i1lqa1qrdac84

Buy Links : http://www.authorbeccadale.com/#!books/cnec 

About the Author

Becca Dale writes erotic romance with a passionate soul. Her work skirts the very edge of sensual versus erotic romance, which is why fans often use the term sweet-heat, and she tells her editors she is naughty enough. She also strives to make her characters true to life, the type of people readers might know or could meet in the grocery store who just happen to have great sex lives.

Website: http://www.authorbeccadale.com/

Blogger: http://beccadale.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/becca.dale.71

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BeccaDaleAuthor


This is stop four on a five day blog tour. Every comment you leave, takes you one step closer to winning anything from my Decadent Publishing backlist and your choice of any Western Escape title. In addition, drop by my website to link to Decadent Publishing’s Give a Reader a Reader. You could win 45 eBooks for you and a loaded Nook eReader for a friend. Join the fun!

Tomorrow’s stop: http://www.snifferwalk.org/

Yesterday’s stop: http://zarastoneley.blogspot.co.uk/


Guest Blogger: Zara Stoneley

Hi KD, Thanks for having me here today.

Sex can be good, uncomplicated fun, or it can be something far different. It can be used to control, to tempt, to punish, to reward. It can make a simple relationship complex, or can be the most straightforward part of a complex relationship.

Riding HighIn ‘Riding High’ Roisin has finally found something she’s never had before – great sex. But it frightens her. She has important, life changing decisions to make and she’s afraid of making them for the wrong reasons, sex and lust, rather than good business and common-sense. She’s grown up seeing the destructive side of sex, watched her womanising father destroy her family life and then discovered her husband has a secret life she knew nothing about. And she doesn’t want history to repeat itself.

Saul, on the other hand doesn’t have a problem with the sex – it’s the nagging desire to hang around and look after her that bothers him. But he’s only doing it to try and make up for his father’s mistakes, right?

Never simple is it? We can’t always separate the lust from the love, and when other things are going on in our lives and emotions are running high, when there are other people involved, suddenly it can be difficult to know what we should be doing and why.

Roisin and Saul both want to be emotionally independent, because they think it’s easier that way. But I wanted to throw them both together, with no easy way out, and a sexual attraction that was impossible to resist, and then watch them work out the ‘why’. Why do they want to avoid involvement? Because until they understand the ‘why’, they’re never going to be able to work out the ‘what’!



His warm hands hit her waist, making her feel squishy inside; his warm lips on her neck made her feel something different altogether. She wriggled free and took a step backwards. Distance was what she needed. Distance from temptation

‘You’ll be fine, honest.’ The seductive drawl made a promise he probably couldn’t keep.

‘From where you’re standing, yeah.’

‘The business will be fine, you’ll be fine.’ He was shrugging as though she was a moron, as though it was all straightforward. ‘I’ll sort it.’

‘I don’t want you to sort it.’ She really didn’t. She was sorting this herself, picking her way. Making it work. And if it didn’t work? Well, she’d know exactly who to blame. She put the cup down, misjudged, and it hit the work surface hard, sending a splash of coffee.

‘Well. tough shit, darling, because I’m involved, we’re both involved.’

‘Huh. We’ll see. And I’m only involved if I decide to do it.’ If. That was the problem, though; she didn’t want any “we”. She wanted that one-night stand to have been a one-night stand. And the only way she was going to be able to consign it to honourable history was if she could keep as many miles as possible between them.

‘So you’ve changed your mind? You’re going to give up and go, just like that?’

She looked into the eyes that suddenly seemed darker, more controlling. ‘I didn’t say that. I haven’t made up my mind yet, so I can’t change it, can I?’


‘I’m not going to let anyone bully me into this if I feel it’s wrong for me. I’ll find something else.’ Somehow. Shit, what if she couldn’t?

‘Sure.’ He picked up the spoon she’d discarded and jabbed it into the sugar bowl.

‘You don’t take sugar.’ She raised an eyebrow.

‘I suddenly have a craving for something sweet.’

‘I can’t let anyone make up my mind for me, Saul, not even you.’ The spoon clattered into the sink. ‘Shagging me senseless last night doesn’t change anything, this is my decision.’ A muscle was twitching in his jaw; she was making him mad. But she couldn’t stop pushing; he had to know that if she did this it was on her terms. Alone.

‘I’m not out to bully you, Roisin.’ The tight, low voice had a warning tone. ‘I just thought this was a reasonable solution.’

‘What, a solution that suits me or just you?’

‘That suits everyone. This is about business, pure and simple; it isn’t about shagging you senseless. How many times do I have to fricking say that?’

‘Until you stop fricking doing it.’ Why the hell didn’t he get that? The fact that every time they did it, it made the whole thing harder, more complicated. ‘Why’ve you been shagging me at every opportunity, eh? Hunting me down before you came here? Coming back last night to soften me up?’ She pulled further away from him. Maybe she wasn’t being fair. But life wasn’t being bloody fair. She wasn’t sure she wanted to just stop this fling yet, and she didn’t want to walk away from a place she’d fought for unless she had to. This place meant more to her than he could ever imagine, she’d had more battles, more heartache to keep this place than in the rest of her life put together. But was it worth prolonging the agony? It would take more than divine intervention for her to be able to buy it back.

‘I didn’t hunt you down and you know it. That was something that just happened and we both bloody wanted it, so don’t pretend you didn’t. I didn’t need to soften you up, Roisin, I didn’t need to do anything. I just wanted you.’ He sat down and looked. And he looked like he was being honest, or a bloody good actor. ‘Admit it, Roisin, you wanted it too.’

‘OK, I admit it, I wanted it.’ She shrugged. What was not to like when someone attacked you with animal lust?

‘I’m not forcing you into doing this. I just don’t want to take everything away from you if there’s no need.’

‘I need this place.’

‘I know. Don’t worry.’

‘Sorry, but that’s easy for you to say. I do worry.’ He was making it hard to distrust him, making it hard to push him away.



‘Have wild crazy monkey sex with the first man you bump into.’ Roisin Grant hadn’t intended to follow her best friend’s advice – but, sometimes, what you expect from life and what you get don’t match up. She never expected her husband would have a stash of home-made porn movies, with him in the starring role, or that he would die and leave her bankrupt. And she never expected to be faced with asset-stripper Saul Mathews and a choice. Walk away from her home and equestrian business, or call his bluff and help him deliver riding lessons of an altogether different kind.

An erotic novel with mixed themes including m/f, menage, sex in public and voyeurism.

Available from – Xcite BooksAmazon (UK)Amazon (US)


About the author

Zara is a writer and lover of all things romantic, from the sensual to the sexual, who knows that naughty can be nice. She lives in the UK, but whenever she can she heads off in search of some sunshine and inspiration for her stories.

She love sexy high heels…good food….good wine….music…coffee (lots and lots of coffee)… and Italy. All things Italian from the countryside to the culture, the wine to the food…and of course the sexy men.

She’s been a consultant, a teacher, a mother, a wife, a lover… and has always been a writer and she’d love to hear from you.

Where you can find her-

Blog: http://zarastoneley.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter:  @ZaraStoneley

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ZaraStoneley

Email – zarastoneley@gmail.com


Putting My Twist on What Makes Werewolves Hot by Annabeth Leong

Many thanks to K.D. Grace for hosting me here today! I’d like to use the space to talk about the process of putting my own stamp on the common trope of the werewolf.

The word “werewolf” conjures images of abandon, freedom, wildness, and ravenous appetites. It’s no difficult task to guess why werewolves have been such popular figures in erotic romance. When I think about what makes shifters hot, it’s that very present beast within.

What makes something popular, however, can also make it daunting. A Google search on “werewolf erotic romance” turned up more than 1.7 million results, for example. How can a writer possibly add something new?

I think the key is to find a personal point of connection.

Untamed, unbuttoned, uninhibited, completely uncivilized passion sounds sexy as hell to me, but I’m not the kind of girl who would have an easy time getting naked in the woods. I’m a rules-follower by nature, inclined to anxiety, and if I found myself in a secluded area with a hot shifter, I’d fritter away my makeout time by constantly checking for approaching park rangers.

This nervousness, it turns out, gave me a way to make werewolves my own.

Any time a paranormal story is set in something like the real world, the first task is to explain why we don’t all hear about werewolves all the time. In Not His Territory, I answered that question by pitting the anxiety I know all too well against the rugged image of a man who can become a beast. My werewolves are locked down by a rigid, legalistic Werewolf Council that spends all its effort checking for the proverbial park ranger.

My werewolves don’t shift because the full moon overcomes them. Instead, they get a “full-moon exemption” from the Council, which allows them to shift one night a month, with a 24-hour window before and after if life circumstances don’t allow observance at the technically correct time. As soon as I stumbled on that sort of detail, my story, conflict, and personal angle on werewolves fell into place for me.

My heroine needs the protection of the law, because she’s being stalked by a rogue werewolf who doesn’t care what rules he has to break to get to her. My hero embodies that law, but chafes from his own struggle against the wild nature he denies.

Writing about werewolves, for me, became a way of exploring obedience to the law. What are its limits? When is it wrong? When should instinct be trusted above reason?

Those questions grabbed me and felt personal to me. They made werewolves and all they represent specific enough for me to get hold of as a writer. And this process made me understand that one of the things I enjoy about reading werewolf story after werewolf story is seeing where other writers find their points of connection in turn.


“Big Timber’s worse than we thought. I need a pack of enforcers down here. The local alpha’s gone rogue—he’s stalking his ex-wife. And I think he’s also the one who decided to welcome my bus. An unauthorized shifter caught up with me a block from the station and tore me half to shreds. If I hadn’t taken refuge, I’d have been killed.”

No reply came from the other end of the line.

“Hello?” Raul said.

Gabriel answered this time, starting with a long sigh. “I can’t just send enforcers, Raul. You know that. We have to follow procedures. You’re the investigator. Do your job. Bring back evidence, and I’ll get a team down there.”

“I believe in procedures as much as anyone else—”

“Then you understand why it’s vital to follow them. When we let go of proper process, we become beasts. We can’t afford that, no matter the cost.”

“Can you send backup investigators?” Raul tried.

“The rest of the team’s still dealing with that situation in Missoula.”

“This is way more serious. Missoula’s werewolves are only threatening to break council law. I’m sitting on a pile of full-scale violations.”

“The population in Missoula’s larger. It gets priority.”

Raul deliberately relaxed his fingers. He’d pop the phone in half if he didn’t watch out. Already, a fine layer of fur had sprouted on the back of his hand. He’d have to be careful or the claws growing on his feet would rip Chandra’s carpet. Nothing brought out the beast in him more than a good, long talk about “procedures,” no matter how much he believed in the order the council was trying to establish.

“I think we’re in real danger of this pack seceding from governance,” Raul said, hoping a few official-sounding words would get Gabriel’s attention. “They’re already acting like they’re running an independent region. How much longer before they make it official? We need to quash this before they ally with the other rebel packs down in Wyoming.”

“Investigate, Raul, and we will act as quickly as we can.”

Damn. His legs were getting hairy too. Raul took a deep breath, counting slowly as he did. “The ex-wife is in danger, I think. Can I at least send her to Lewistown for protection?”

“Not without evidence.”

“The pack alpha’s claiming her house as his territory against her will. Can that claim even stand?”

“Don’t get involved in anything more than we asked you to, Raul. You can put the information about the ex-wife in your report.” Gabriel’s voice never wavered, remaining as urbane as ever.

At least one person in this conversation is having no trouble holding back his primal nature.

If Raul hadn’t seen the man shift at full moon, he’d wonder if Gabriel was a real werewolf at all.


Not His TerritoryBlurb:

After a devastating encounter with an illegally shifted werewolf, a wounded Raul Silva slumps on Chandra Williams’s doorstep, begging for refuge. As an investigator for the legalistic Werewolf Council, Raul’s been sent to look into instability in the local pack. Chandra’s presence makes him want to succeed at his mission for personal — not professional — reasons.

The Werewolf Council disapproves. Chandra is strictly off-limits for Raul according to both the traditions and laws of the werewolves. But after a life devoted to upholding principles, Raul’s instincts and desires are boiling to the surface. Can Raul resist Chandra, or will he break with everything he stands for to pursue a woman who is not his territory?

Available from:
Breathless Press
Amazon UK
Amazon US
All Romance eBooks



Annabeth Leong has written romance and erotica of many flavors — dark, kinky, vanilla, straight, lesbian, bi, and menage. In addition to Not His Territory, Breathless Press published her werewolf story, “The Arcadian Cure,” in its Ravaged anthology. She particularly enjoys playing off myth, legend, fairy tales, and fantastic history. She believes passionately in freedom of speech, rights for people of all sexual orientations, and freedom of religion. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island, blogs at annabethleong.blogspot.com, and tweets @AnnabethLeong



Thanks for reading! I’m giving away a PDF copy of Not His Territory to one reader of this post. Simply leave a comment answering the following question:

What do you personally like most about werewolves?

You have until Dec. 3 to respond. Please leave your email address in the BODY of the comment, so I can contact the winner. For more chances to win, check out the other stops on my tour: http://www.writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/annabeth-leong/


Kristal Baird on Her Novella, PA Expose

The Story Behind The Story

It’s my pleasure to welcome the fabulous Kristal Baird to my site today. This is Kristal’s first time on A Hopeful Romantic. She’s here to tell us the story behind her hot new novella, PA Exposé.

Hello there, Kd. I’m so thrilled that you’ve invited me over to share the origins of my full-length novel, PA Exposé, with your wonderful readers. It’s truly lovely to get a chance to connect with so many interesting people.

There wasn’t one particular thing that sparked off the plot. Rather, it was several current events that led to the creation of individual characters. Once they existed, I had to get these people interacting. My whirlwind of a mind started gathering storm clouds until hopefully I got a tornado of a story (what did I say about current events?).

I will explain how the three main characters came to life:

One long-running real-life drama going on, has criticised newspaper media. Management and reporters of a global news organisation were allegedly engaged in illegal and immoral practices, such as phone hacking, to get news stories. This got me thinking about the type of newspaper magnates that might condone or resort to underhand activities, and so my heroine’s newspaper boss – Joe Mathers – was born. He is a rogue who has taken a fancy to his young intern, Cally Hammond. Of course, she wants nothing to do with him. Joe is rotten enough to hire my hero, Jake Stone, to train her into submission.

Now Jake is a bit of an enigma. His character developed after reading about Special Forces operatives, working recently in dangerous war zones. I always wondered what most of these guys do with their “transferable skills” after leaving the forces. Some have gone on to become successful writers and media presenters in their own right: Chris Ryan, Andy McNab and Bear Grylls, to name but a few. But the rest?

Well ex-Special Forces, Jake Stone, is a tough, determined, dominant male who uses his training to provide a different sort of specialist service – training submissives!! As a tribute to this year’s Olympics [London 2012] – I made him a bit athletic too…

What Jake doesn’t realise is that he needs a good woman permanently in his life.

Enter Cally (stage left).

Part of her existence arose from my personal knowledge of a young woman who has just spent a year doing an internship for a magazine publisher. I was amazed at all the things this woman was expected to do, for no payment whatsoever, simply to get the experience she required, to enable her to get a paid job eventually. Opportunity? Exploitation?

Cally is equally dedicated to her future career and goes undercover to expose businessman Jake Stone (unaware it is a ruse, concocted by her boss). She is as determined as Jake to get what she wants.

Cue: fireworks!

Of course, the novel has clear submission themes and this is where my blogging buddies have helped me out. Many people live the BDSM lifestyle and they are all very unique. Their shared experiences have helped me to develop Jake’s and Cally’s own Dominant/Submissive sides. They were meant to be together.  However, their equal resolve to get their own job done, gets in the way of this happening.

So, you see, the story really started with the characters. They all want something from each other. It’s not what they think, though! Now I believe it’s high time you patient people got a peek at what they all got up to.

Blurb – PA Exposé

Aspiring journalist, Cally Hammond, believes she is undercover to expose dominating company executive, Jake Stone. However, she has been duped by her real boss, into undergoing training to become sexually submissive.

Jake is an enthusiastic master who exposes Cally to bondage, correction, and submission to his will. The shocking experience re-awakens a dormant side of Cally’s personality which Jake can’t help reacting to.

But both have a mission to fulfil. Will they succeed, and what secrets will be exposed in the process?


Available from:





Excerpt – PA Exposé – this is where Cally arrives for her ‘job interview’ with Jake:

Cally pushed through the double glass doors which whooshed briskly closed behind her and passed an unmanned reception desk. Jake Stone’s name was clearly outlined on a plaque on his door – he loved his gold plaques – so she knocked sharply and entered.

Sitting across the room, behind a huge mahogany desk, was a man. Not an older man, like Mathers. About mid-30s. Not an ugly man either. Rather gorgeous, actually. Her heart skipped a beat. And she was still only looking at the top of his head. Thick, dark hair, short, well groomed. He hadn’t even looked up yet.

She cleared her throat. ‘I did knock,’ she explained.

He failed to acknowledge her. Cally began to feel a little uncomfortable. She wanted to fill the silence that grew around her while he continued to read the papers in a folder on his desk. ‘Shall I wait outside?’

Her left her standing there feeling more and more awkward.

Cally tried to make the decision for him. ‘I can see you’re busy.’ Geez, the least he could do was say something. Anything. ‘I’ll wait outside.’

She got to the door. Just as she opened it to leave, he spoke. ‘Shut the door.’

She presumed he meant behind her and tried to slip through the opening.

‘How dare you enter my office without permission?’ His tone was cool, modulated. Dangerous. Sexy as hell.

‘I’m sorry –’

‘I have not given you permission to speak.’

Cally was startled. She had never been addressed that way in her life. Even by Mathers. She wanted to tell him to drop dead, but the words hung on her lips.

He had the sexiest pair of deep brown eyes she had ever seen in her life, and they were looking straight through her. And she wanted the job. The other one. She knew what she had to do to get it.

‘Sorry,’ she repeated. Her heart pounded.

‘Let’s get the first lesson out of the way, Miss Hammond,’ he said, rising. ‘You speak when I say you can and not until then. Are we clear?’

She was just about to affirm verbally when his raised eyebrows, stopped her. She closed her open mouth.

‘Good.’ He rose and paced slowly toward her. ‘Learn to please me quickly. I expect no less from my personal assistant than that she pleases me.’

Cally swallowed down the lump that was building nervously in her throat, choking off her breathing, as he towered over her. The way he said pleases left her in no doubt as to what he was alluding. Sex. Everything about Jake Stone screamed sex. Hot, hard, and his way. No wonder his PAs didn’t last too long.

‘In everything,’ he added, cranking up the tension. Hers.

The tone of his last remark, no less than the remark itself, had Cally wishing she could bolt for the door. But he had circled around her like a seasoned predator and was standing between her and her only means of escape. She stepped into the room a little more to widen the gap between them.

‘Stand still!’ he commanded. ‘I have not given you permission to move.’

The sound reverberated in her ears, over and over. He left the remark hanging for at least a minute, in which Cally’s heart started to thump seriously now in her chest. Slow and heavy and deadly.

‘Lesson two,’ he announced. ‘You don’t speak without my permission and you will stand in one place all day, unless I give you my permission to move.’

Cally was as still as a bronze sculpture.

‘Is that clear?’ Each word was ground out, easy, his mouth so close to her ear she could feel his hot breath waft the long, blonde hairs at her temple and shiver over her skin.

What was she to do? Answer him? Say nothing? Her head began to spin with the complexity of it. This wasn’t what she was expecting at all.

He waited, standing behind her, which increased her anxiety, as she wasn’t allowed to turn around to watch what he was doing. She could feel his eyes roaming all over her figure as if they were his hands and found herself warming in anticipation of the latter.

Gradually the silence, the unspoken control he wielded, ratcheted up the pressure in the room. Her lips were desert dry and she put out her tongue to lick them.

Suddenly he was standing before her. He was large. He loomed over her. She felt fragile, delicately feminine in a way she had never felt before around a man.

He rubbed a thumb roughly over her moistened lips, making her start. ‘You moved,’ he told her quietly. ‘And now you have made me angry.’

He didn’t seem to Cally to be any angrier than before, but she wasn’t taking any chances. She froze again.

‘I will be the one who decides if your lips are to be moistened,’ he continued.

A wild throbbing began between her thighs, with a pulsing that matched the steady, deep beat of her heart, in unexpected excitement at this game of control. Who knew?

‘Perhaps I might permit you to lick your lips. Or perhaps I would choose to lick them myself.’ Jake Stone leant in, without touching her anywhere else, and ran his tongue slowly over her swollen, sensitised skin.

Cally found herself shudder with the shock. He had invaded her personal space. He had touched her. Licked her. She was stunned by experiencing a feeling of growing need. A need to press her tingling lips tightly back to his. A need to put her hands between her thighs, to relieve the tension building there.

‘If you are to be acceptable as my PA, then you must learn that your body belongs to me. You don’t touch it unless I instruct you to.’

It was as if he could read her mind. Knew the cravings that were building inside her. Or perhaps he could see the minute little twitching movements she could not prevent her hips from making, in order to ease the sexual demands of her own body.

‘Take off your pantyhose,’ he whispered softly, making her flinch. ‘I do not permit my PA to wear such unattractive garments. If I employ you as my PA, you will wear stockings or keep your legs bare. I will tell you when each is required.’

Cally’s eyes widened. Was she going to do as he demanded? She would not be able to remove them without pulling her tight skirt up to her waist. She hesitated.

‘Not good enough,’ he informed her. His hands reached round her waist and briskly snapped open the button, drawing the zip downwards. He yanked her skirt down and let it drop in a pool around her feet. ‘When I tell you to do something,’ he ground out, ‘I don’t mean think about it, I mean do it. Straight away. Do you think you have a choice in the matter?’

Already she knew she wasn’t expected to answer him. He had yet to give her permission to speak. She felt foolish standing before him in a blouse, panties, pantyhose. And stilettos. And it wasn’t those that had her all off-balance.

Jake had stepped back, settling his hip on the desk as if to get a better view, while she complied. His body language told her he expected no refusal. Yet she could refuse, she told herself. She didn’t need his stinking job. She could go back and tell her real boss that Jake Stone was a jerk, impossible to work for. She would have to prove herself capable of being a good reporter, some other way. With Mathers.

Cally took a steadying breath. He couldn’t berate her for breathing. She wasn’t prepared to throw in the towel quite so soon. She was made of sterner stuff than that. In fact, she didn’t want to have to go skulking back, to tell Mathers she wasn’t quite up to the rigours of investigative journalism and have him say “I told you so”, while he stroked her bottom sympathetically. She shuddered at the thought.

Her fingers were already in the waistband of her pantyhose. She eased them off her hips and down, revealing skimpy, white, lacy underwear. She wished she’d put on less revealing lingerie that morning.


About Kristal Baird

Kristal has lived in a few different countries as far apart as Australia and Scotland (I wanted a Z really but haven’t lived in one, yet – any suggestions?) with several more places in between. She loves books and started writing her own a few years ago. She has a big dog who wants to walk far more often than she does (but he keeps her healthy) and a sleepy cat, who she is very jealous of (especially first thing in the morning when the cat wakes Kristal up an hour or two before the alarm clock goes off, to feed it and then goes back to sleep again, leaving a sleepy Kristal to get up alone!!).

She’s had some pretty interesting jobs including driving a four ton truck for a touring theatre company (and crashed it!) and working as an au pair for an alpine ski-ing instructor…

Kristal is quite laid-back about life and one of her fave things is to laugh. A lot! She reckons she could have made Genghis Khan not quite such an old meanie… One of Kristal’s (many) ambitions is to walk the entire El Camino de Santiago. Anybody want to come with her? She loves meeting lots of different people and is quite friendly really.

Come on over and say Hi:





Well, that’s it, for now, you’ll be happy to hear. I’ve had a fabulous time creating this for you all. I hope you enjoy it. Thank you for asking me over, Kd. Mwah x

Kristal x

© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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