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Liz Coldwell Talks Christmas in Paradise

Hi, KD, and thanks very much for hosting me. I’m thrilled to be able to talk about my story in the Cariad Christmas anthology, Love Under The
Mistletoe Christmas for One.

loveunderthemistletoeChristmas is traditionally a time to be with your loved ones. Even now, I still travel up to Yorkshire to visit my parents over the holiday, it being one of the few opportunities we get for the whole family to be together. I’ve only broken that practice once, the year I hit 30. Blame it on Home Alone 2 (yes, we’re talking quite a while ago here), but the legendary Darlo Ted and I decided we wanted to spend Christmas in New York. We had a fantastic time, doing all the touristy things like visiting the huge tree at the Rockefeller Centre, and even went up over the city in a helicopter on Christmas Day, but somehow it still felt strange not to be at home, tucking into my mother’s roast turkey and all the trimmings.

Dionne, the heroine of Christmas for One, also finds herself spending the day away from her family, but not quite in the circumstances she’d

planned. Her wedding is called off when she learns an unpleasant truth about her husband-to-be, Richard, and instead of a Christmas honeymoon in Aruba she flees instead to a beach resort in Honolulu, where paradise awaits.

Though I’ve never been to Hawaii, I had plenty of fun researching all the activities that would be available to Dionne, as well as the food that she’d eat at the big celebration luau where Santa hands out presents to all the guests.

She even takes an excursion up to the Lulumahu Falls on Christmas Day itself, because who wouldn’t want to visit a hidden waterfall and take a dip beneath the rushing waters? Even though it’s a bit of a trek up to this secluded spot, it’s one of the highlights of Dionne’s paradise vacation.
Of course, what makes her stay extra-special is the presence of one of the resort employees, Scott. He and Dionne quickly discover they have a chemistry that promises to make Christmas sizzle, and when Scott plays Santa, he’s able to give her a present she’ll never forget…

Here’s the moment where Dionne meets Scott for the first time:

She hands me a key card, and I wait for the bellboy to come over. He’s tall, with blond hair that threatens to fall over one eye, and when he smiles, a cute little dimple appears in his cheek. The nametag on his burgundy waistcoat reads “SCOTT”.

‘Scott, could you take Ms Suvari to Room 24?’ the desk clerk instructs him.

‘Of course. May I take your bag, Ms Suvari?’

‘Please, call me Dionne, and there’s really no need …’

The tan leather carry-on isn’t heavy, but he’s already scooping it up out of my hand. When his fingers brush against the back of my palm, my skin seems to tingle in response, and I wonder if he feels it too. But already he’s heading for the elevator.

We take the short ride to the second floor, and step out into a quiet corridor.

‘Here we are.’ Scott takes the key card from me and opens the door.

I’ve been expecting the type of room that’s usually reserved for single travellers; a tiny box, stuck in some out-of-the-way corner, or so close to the elevator that the hum of machinery seeps through the walls. Instead, I find myself looking at a light, airy bedroom with a big, brass-framed bed, a low, cream leather couch, and a coffee table. A small balcony lets out on to the most breathtaking ocean view. The sun is already beginning to set, staining the sky in shades of red and gold.

‘This is really lovely,’ I murmur, reaching into my purse to find a couple of dollars for Scott’s tip. ‘Thank you.’surfing santa

He gives me a little wink. ‘No problem, Ms – Dionne. And if there’s anything I can do to make your stay more pleasant …’

That sounds like a blatant invitation. Looking into those blue eyes, I recall the brief jolt of electricity that passed between us. But I’m clearly reading a little too much into his comment. ‘Oh, I bet you say that to all the girls,’ I quip.

‘Only the ones who look like they’ve been having a rough time.’

With that, Scott lets himself quietly out of the room. When I can at last tear my eyes away from the spectacular sunset, I pick up the folder on the coffee table. It contains all the information I could need about the resort, and lets me know that dinner is served in the restaurant until 9.30. Plenty of time for me to take a shower and change out of the crumpled clothes I’ve travelled in.

I hunt through my bag for a suitable outfit. Everything I’ve brought with me was intended for Richard’s eyes, from my floor-length black evening dress to my skimpy beachwear to underwear that’s all satin and lace. But there’s a short, floral sundress that I can accessorise with silver and jet jewellery and strappy heels; perfect for dining alone.

Once I’ve stowed everything else in the built-in closet, I take my wash bag through to the en-suite bathroom. It’s stocked with high-end toiletries, and a thick pile of fluffy white towels. Just the kind of luxury I need after everything that’s happened.

As I unzip the bag and reach for my toothbrush, my fingers close around a long, slim box. Intrigued, I fish it out, and don’t know whether to laugh or be shocked. It contains a small vibrator, in a fetching shade of pink, with a smooth shaft and tapered head. When I twist its base, it hums into life, so clearly whoever put it in here has thought of everything. There’s a sticky note attached to the packaging. Written in Jill’s big, looping handwriting are the words “To give your honeymoon a buzz!” She must have sneaked it into my bag while she was helping me put on my wedding dress this morning – and how long ago that seems now. Still, providing me with this toy supports her story that she didn’t have a clue about Richard cheating on me.

Part of me wonders where my rat of an ex-fiancé is right now. In the arms of Marcie Grace, most likely. Well, the two of them deserve each other. At least I found out the truth before it was too late; as humiliating as today has been, things would have been so much worse if I hadn’t learned about the affair until after I’d married him.

I turn the shower setting to “tropical”, letting the water beat down on me. The shower gel produces a creamy lather, rich with the scents of coconut and passion fruit, and it feels good to smooth it over my skin. When I close my eyes, a face swims into my mind. Scott, the cute bellboy with the sweet smile. I recall the last remark he made before he left the room, and wonder if my distress over Richard’s betrayal is really so evident.
It would be nice to havelulumahu falls someone around who could help soothe the hurt away. Someone who, if only for a little while, could help remind me there are still plenty of decent, honest men in this world.

Almost without being aware of what I’m doing, I begin to concentrate on soaping up my breasts, brushing my nipples with the pads of my thumbs. In my imagination, Scott stands behind me in the shower stall, his body tight up against mine, and he’s the one who’s caressing my tits. The picture I’m creating is so vivid I swear I can feel the heavy bulk of his cock, trapped between our two bodies. His mouth is pressed to my neck, and he trails soft kisses all the way to the hollow at the base of my throat.

Is it wrong to be weaving a fantasy about a guy I’ve only exchanged a handful of words with? I don’t know, and right now, frankly, I don’t care.

Blurb:

When Dionne runs out on her wedding ceremony, spending Christmas in Paradise, alone, seems like the perfect way to heal her heartbreak. But she hasn’t counted on meeting a very sexy Santa who will make this a sensual holiday to remember …

Buy links:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Find Elizabeth Coldwell Here:

Elizabeth Coldwell is a multi-published author and the former editor of the UK edition of Forum magazine. She was the launch editor of Erotic Stories magazine and one of the co-founders of the Guild of Erotic Authors. She has edited for Xcite Books, and written novels for Headline Liaison and the best-selling Xcite Romance imprint. In addition, her short stories have been published by, among others, Black Lace, Cleis Press, Ravenous Romance, Totally Bound, Torquere and Circlet Press.
She lives in East London, and is a season ticket holder at Rotherham United and a keen baker. Her recipe for Yorkshire Parkin is available if you ask nicely…
She can be found online at The (Really) Naughty Corner.

 

Ruby Madden & Curious Readers

It’s my pleasure to welcome the lovely Ruby Madden to A Hopeful Romantic for the first time ever, but hopefully not the last.  Are you curious? Ruby likes you that way. 

Curiouser & Curiouser…

Ruby Madden cover imageI rely a great deal on the curiosity of readers when it comes to what I write. First, it started with my own curiosities needing an outlet and expression. Over the last two years, as I’ve had interactions with the writing-reading-publishing community in general, I’ve been thrilled to discover how much I enjoy the interaction, exchange of ideas, support, sharing of successes and the discussion surrounding challenges.

I’m never bored. Ever. Which is part of the thrill of writing in this particular genre – erotic fiction.

My stories focus on the journey, exploration and the growth a character (or more accurately, a cast of characters) embraces when experiencing new erotic pursuits. Typically, carnal and lustful need is the focus and then I weave in the emotional inter-play of how we, as human beings, sexually interrelate with one another. Our exploration of desire.

I enjoy exploring group dynamics such as threesomes, menages (menage-a-trois), orgies and ‘open’ or casual relations amongst sex-play partners. Also, the challenges that can come into play when there might be a bit of jealousy or rivalry. In this, my characters seek to explore learning maturity, boundaries, and being adults who respect other’s boundaries and right of sexual self-expression and experience.

In Toy Box: San Francisco (a West Coast Erotica stand-alone novelette series), I explore the world of initiating sexual interaction online, via the internet. The two primary characters, Cassandra and Ryan, come from two entirely different worlds. Cassandra was raised and lives in the San Francisco, Bay area. She is a Stanford graduate, and a successful businesswoman. Ryan lives in Santa Barbara, was raised in Southern California, and is a successful, albeit now-retired, pro Soccer player.

Cassandra is growing out of her comfort range of only have short-term and/or strictly carnal & sexual involvements initiated with men online. Men whom she introduces to her toy-box. A risk-taker in the business realm and bedroom, she’s never quite met her match. Until now.

Ryan is tired of being perceived solely as a jock and a ‘player’. Having grown bored of the women he typically meets and interacts with in the sport world, he’s seeking to know thyself better and has sought the guidance of a therapist who helps him navigate the next phase of his life and what he seeks from it. In this, he discovers he is seeking a partner and life companion.

Nonetheless, they’re both up to their usual tricks and meet online. What happens next? Will they be able to lure one another outside of their usual comfort zones?

 

EXCERPT:

{ CASSANDRA }

Home from work, I was sitting in my PJ’s on my sofa, laptop on my lap and peering at Ryan’s pics again. My fingers flew across the keyboard.

Me: If I were to masturbate, while thinking of you, your face and that sexy bod… what would you hope I’d do to enjoy myself? Thoughtful response, please. This will actually happen when I get a reply…

I included a picture of my toy-box, a beautiful hand-carved wooden piece that I’d been given as a gift in India while there for business.

I’m sure they had no idea what good use I would put it to when I returned home. The executive who’d given it to me had explained that the type of wood it was made from benefited from being touched and caressed by human hands as the oil from the skin helped to maintain the color and texture of the wood over time. He had rubbed his hand over the lid, while smiling at me.

The gesture was sincere and innocent. True gratitude for the contract I’d helped them with which meant more business to their company than they’d dare dreamed possible.

I’d smiled and known instantly what I would use it for. Of course, he thought I would use it for something far less naughty and imaginative. Say, for tea. And although tea bags would look absolutely scrumptious in just such a container, my collection of sex-toys would look better.

I love my sex-toy collection.

I invested in my toys like anything else, with a lot of thought and with a goal of acquiring the best. This meant designs that were both useful, practical and elegant. Materials that would last with proper care and were ‘insertion-friendly’. Toys that had aesthetic appeal, excellent functional purpose, and made sex-play with new lovers even more fun.

Men’s reactions to my Toy Box ranged from enthusiastic delight to offended confusion. It just depended on their exposure, curiosity and experience.

 

~ ~ ~ ~

 

Buy Links:

AMZN US: http://bit.ly/1oLphql

AMZN UK: http://amzn.to/1oLplWW

PLAY: http://bit.ly/MEii6S

KOBO: http://bit.ly/1lWPSkr

B&N (Nook): http://bit.ly/Xj8G82

Scrbd.: http://bit.ly/Xj8NQQ

iBooks: Link to Come

 

Ruby Madden can be found at the following spots on the Internet:

GoodReads

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twitter

BlogSpot

G+

LibraryThing

FaceBook

 

The Story So Far by Justine Elyot

Justine Elyot 4 Ap 2014by_his_commandIt’s so kind of K D to play hostess at her wonderful blog. I’m very glad to be here today to tell you about my new Mischief novella, By His Command.

This book is a sequel, so I thought it might be worthwhile to run through the events leading up to the story. Book one in the series is called His House of Submission and it introduces the characters of Jasper Jay and Sarah Wells and describes how they come together in a D/s relationship.

At the start of the novel, Sarah has recently finished her postgraduate studies in History, and she has taken on a summer stop-gap job cataloguing all the art and antique treasures in a secluded mansion house belonging to acclaimed film director, Jasper Jay. Jasper is away filming and her only other company is the groundsman, Will, with whom she embarks on a fling out of boredom and loneliness.

One night, Will takes her into Jasper’s bedroom and shows her his secret treasure chest…a chest full of BDSM paraphernalia. Here’s a taste of what happens next:

*****

 It contained things I had never seen in my life before, silicone things that were a little bit like dildoes but with an outward flare halfway along the length.

‘What the hell are these?’

Will snorted.

‘Don’t you know?’

‘I’ve never done anything kinky,’ I defended myself.

‘Butt plugs, my love,’ he said, picking one up.

‘Oh, don’t touch it!’

‘Why not?’

I shook my head. I knew I was panicking, but I couldn’t seem to rein myself in.

‘Fingerprints,’ I mumbled.

He burst out laughing at that, waving the butt plug in the air.

‘You’re funny,’ he said, between fresh gusts of mirth.

‘You’ll have to share the joke.’ A third voice spoke from the doorway.

I fell backwards on to my arse, my hand clamping my mouth so hard and fast I almost knocked a couple of teeth out.

I watched through wide-stretched eyes as everything seemed to crash into slo-mo. Will dropped the butt plug and raised himself to his feet, shoulders back, squared for combat.

The man in the door was, presumably, Jasper Jay, though he wasn’t the way I remembered him from that medical soap he used to be in when I was a girl. Of course, a lot of water had passed under the bridge since then – fifteen year’s worth. He wasn’t a fresh-faced bright-eyed youth in a white coat now. He stood with one arm braced against the door frame, in an expensive suit, its light biscuit colour accentuating his dark looks. He had that famous-person thing of looking somehow bigger and shinier and brighter than a real man. I hadn’t fancied him in the medical soap, or in the many news clips of him accepting the Palme d’Or, but now I could almost see the vortex of charisma inside which he existed.

But now wasn’t a good time to be ogling my boss.

Now was about the worst time ever for that kind of thing.

Well, poor old Will gets the push, but to her surprise Sarah is kept on. It soon turns out that she was hired on the strength of an article she wrote about Victorian sex toys. Jasper had an idea she might be the right person to look at his collection…

 

They soon fall into an intense affair, isolated from the rest of the world in a beautiful kinky bubble. But Will is still living nearby, and he’s intent on revenge. Here’s how Sarah finds out.

 

‘Jasper!’ I called, but answer came there none.

So there I was, hanging from a tree, dripping with semen, plugged and whipped in the open. The bastard.

After ten minutes, I became genuinely anxious that he wasn’t coming back. There had been an accident. He had taken an urgent call. He had fallen asleep.

The crackle of undergrowth lifted my heart and opened up my lungs for big breaths of relief.

‘That was mean,’ I called out. ‘Really mean.’

The crackling stopped and I craned my neck round, but he was just beyond my range of vision.

‘Please, sir, could you untie me now? My arms are aching.’

‘I don’t know about that.’

My feet left the floor and I almost broke the branch in my efforts to twist around.

‘Will!’

‘Well, fuck me. Look what the bastard’s gone and got himself. A willing little sex slave. I knew he’d got you into his kinks, but I didn’t know what a pervy little slut you were. I’d have gone to town on you if I had.’

‘Fuck off, Will. He’ll be back any minute.’

‘I’d rather fuck you than fuck off,’ said Will.

I could hear the leer in his voice and I stiffened.

‘Don’t even think about it,’ I hissed, as threatening as I could make it from my position of humiliating bondage.

‘What would you do about it?’ He moved closer, sucking in a breath. ‘Ouch, that looks sore. Seriously, what are you doing with this guy? He enjoys hurting you. I don’t get it.’

‘I want him to. I like it.’

‘And, to think, you didn’t even know what a butt plug was…’

‘Yes, I did.’

‘And now you’ve got one stuffed up your bum. Did you have it in when he fucked you?’

‘Just…fuck…off. Don’t even think about touching me or I’ll have Jasper on to you faster than ―’

‘Oh, stop it. I know he doesn’t like to share his toys. I hope you aren’t getting in too deep, though. It won’t last. It never does.’

‘Go away,’ I said, but my resolve was weaker, shot down by his wounding words. I both did and didn’t want to know what he had to say about Jasper’s track record.

‘He’s a collector, love. You know that. And he isn’t about to stop collecting. You’re just another entry on the list.’ He paused for a moment while I tried to ignore all the implications of this statement. Not listening. Don’t want to know. Then he spoke again. ‘Then again, you could just be the last. His style might just be cramped, pretty soon.’

Will’s efforts to blackmail Jasper result in mistrust between the lovers that almost wrecks their relationship. Sarah manages to head off her vengeful ex, but Jasper wants to up the ante and make Sarah commit to a future with him that might compromise her career plans. Here’s how the story ends:

 *****

‘Yes, yes, yes,’ he hissed. ‘Feel that now.’

The orgasm seemed to go on and on, aftershocks and vibrations continuing to inhabit my senses. When he came, pumping into my back passage like a man possessed, I almost experienced a second wave.

It was perfect. My life, here, with him, was perfect. He knew what I was, and only he could nourish that part of me.

I was only semi-conscious when he pulled out and untied me, then laid me on the bed. I was trembling all over and aching and sore and just, oh, it was the best feeling. I was floating.

He took off the period costume and lay with me in his arms, cradling me, making soothing noises and stroking my hair.

‘When do you have to start your job?’ he whispered.

‘End of September. Four weeks.’

‘Come to France with me.’

‘I can’t…’

‘Surely you can spare a couple of weeks?’

Actually, I could. There was nothing to stop me going for a short holiday.

‘I’d need to…tickets and passports and all that. And I’m supposed to be spending some time with my family…’

‘You can spare a couple of weeks,’ he repeated. ‘If we part company now, you’re going to have the worst sub drop of all time. I’d be neglecting to care for you properly. Come on. Have a fortnight’s holiday in France. After that…we’ll see.’

‘Well, I suppose…’ I thought about this. I was desperate to stay with him, on so many levels, but also afraid of leaving this place. It was as if we only existed here and our dynamic couldn’t translate to the real world. And France was in the real world, or so I’d been told. I loved him here, with all my heart, but would I love him there? And there would be people everywhere, curious colleagues and beautiful actresses and clamorous paparazzi.

‘Say yes. You have to say yes. I’m not leaving you like this.’

‘Do you really want me in your real life?’ It seemed absurd, too much to hope for.

‘I want you. There aren’t any conditions to it. I just want you. But you don’t feel the same?’

No. I did. I felt exactly the same.

‘I’ll come,’ I said. ‘But I’m still taking that job.’

‘Of course. Now get in the shower and I’ll drive you up to get your passport. There’s a lot of packing to do.’

 *****

So By His Command takes up their tale, with Sarah working at the Victorian House Museum and Jasper full of plans for their relationship.

If you’d like to know what happens to them next, the book is available from Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/By-His-Command-Justine-Elyot-ebook/dp/B00I2GZRM0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1395667252&sr=8-1&keywords=justine+elyot+by+his+command

Thank you for reading!

Find Justine Here: 

Website: http://justineelyot.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JustineElyot

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/justineelyot

 

 

 

 

Do you know when I first started loving you? Demelza Hart Explores the Question

Thank you so much, KD for once again hosting me at you blog.

Demelza HartSatedSomeone once said that a man grows to love the person he is attracted to and a woman becomes attracted to the person she loves.

It’s all bollocks, of course, but in many ways this explains Tara and Patrick’s relationship in my trilogy, Suited to You.

Neither of them is looking for love at first, but perhaps they conform to the stereotype after all.

I love that moment in The Sound of Music when the Captain and Maria reveal when they first fell in love with the other. Touchingly and interestingly, for both, it’s very early on in their acquaintance, almost immediately in fact, with little incidents that reveal something personal and intimate about them. Is it always that way?

In Suited to You, Tara doesn’t believe herself to be in love with Patrick. She wants sex, she’s come looking for sex and, on the surface, she seems to conform more to the male stereotype – slowly falling in love with the person she’s attracted to. But perhaps she’s fallen far earlier than that?

Like the dominant hero in so many erotic romances, it’s not what we know about him but what we don’t know about him that renders him irresistible. The very things which are supposed to keep Patrick – The Suit – emotionally distanced from Tara in fact make her fall for him. His anonymity, his aloofness, his control – in his mind, and hers, these are designed to keep the feelings at arms’ length, but in actuality they compel her to him, not only physically but emotionally. Tara is hooked even before the overwhelming physical attraction takes hold.

As for Patrick? Well, despite all the moody, enigmatic brooding, he’s a bloke, after all – more predictable, perhaps. Does he fulfil the male paradigm and eventually fall in love with Tara? You’ll have to read the series to find out.

Here’s a taste from the final part, Sated:

‘Shit! I’m bloody supposed to be at work!’

Demelza Hart9781783751266_FCAs the thin dawn light crept into the room behind the heavy velvet curtains, I tore myself awake with a panic.

Patrick rolled over and placed an arm over me before I could escape.

‘No, you’re not. It’s sorted, don’t worry. No one expects you to get from Devon to Dean Street in two hours.’

‘But Sarah’s not even my boss any more! What if the new editor’s there today?’

‘Relax,’ he said with a chuckle. ‘She’s not starting until next week. Technically, as assistant editor, you’re the boss, and you’ve just given yourself the day off.’

‘Have I?’ He was kissing over my body, which once again awakened instantly. He’d already reached my collar bone.

‘Hm-mm. Or at least … you’re working from home.’

Left nipple.

‘On what?’

Right nipple.

‘Research.’

Belly button.

‘For?’

Left hip.

‘Mating rituals in the West Country.’

Right hip.

Demelza HartExposed properI tittered. ‘Oo-arr, moy darlin’ – does that mean spreading me all over in clotted cream and licking it off?’

Clit. Oh, definitely my clit.

I moaned and arched. He broke off and glanced up.

‘Among other things. Plenty of time to explore that –’ he spun me over and yanked me up onto my knees ‘– and more.’ And he thrust into me, hard and long, right up in one go.

Demelza Hart loves both contemporary and historical erotica and erotic romance. Suited to You, published by Xcite Books, follows the exhibitionist, spontaneous sexual encounters of Tara and her lover, Patrick, otherwise known as The Suit, and is her first trilogy. Her stories can be found in all the usual places, but please join Demelza on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/demelza.hart.3

Twitter – https://twitter.com/DemelzaHart

or her blog – http://demelzahart.wordpress.com/

Buy the Suited to You Trilogy Here:

Spontaneous 

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Exposed

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Sated

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

 

The Story Behind Elsie Hepner’s latest release — A Little Slap and Tickle

version1

The first time a flicker of my new release, A Little Slap and Tickle, tripped a writing wire in my brain, my husband was fondly admiring a hand-tooled leather armor set in one of the wooden booths at our yearly visit to the Maryland Renaissance Faire. Meanwhile, I had my eye on the leather, sheep-lined four cuff set and leather paddles. My kind of instruments. Next my eyes drifted over the super smoking leather worker who was manning the booth—and a book was born.

I knew the second I got home that Flynn was going to disfigured, sarcastic, and self-confident while Eliza was going to have her whole life shot to hell. For a normally all together person, Eliza was royally panicking—which worked to our hero’s advantage. Flynn opened her up, sent her spinning in a million different directions, and proved that chaos can be a happy state too, if only you let someone else take the reins. What once had been a sexy idea born of a hot guy and some leather cuffs I couldn’t afford morphed into an exhibitionist freak show wonderland where one floundering woman relearns how to find herself again.

Frankly, it was fun making the faire sexy when every time I go I witness all sorts of luscious, seductive costumes. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen some woman leading a man on an leather o-ring leash or a goth couple letting their freak flag fly high. More than anything I wanted my characters to embrace their setting, embrace all the little things that might make them flawed and freaky. Celebrate their uniqueness during epic, no-holds-barred sex that leaves both of them vulnerable.

While Eliza is a BDSM newbie, she’s not immune to the delicious ache that Flynn twines around her body and into her bones. What once seemed clandestine and off limits becomes a way of coping, a method of release. Until Eliza has no choice but to accept what she enjoys without looking back.

Elsie Hepner Slap and TickleBlurb:

Eliza’s stuck in a lacklustre, dead-end slump after coming home with her graduate degree to a slippery job market and her brother’s fold out couch. Unable to circle newspaper ads for another second and desperately crawling into sexual fantasy to escape her dismal reality—Eliza takes her escapism a step further when she agrees to go to the Renaissance Faire with her best friend, Dru.

Her whole world shifts when Eliza meets Hunter, a quirky, mysterious leather worker who runs a booth at the faire. He’s been a platonic friend of Dru’s for ages and supplies her with homemade BDSM bedroom toys—toys that he’s more than willing to demonstrate with Eliza once the faire closes. But can Eliza give up control in order to trust that one of her biggest fantasies will live up to her expectations?

Hunter’s skills as a dominant force Eliza to trust herself again and Hunter finds himself with a feisty submissive that pushes more of his buttons than he ever thought possible. Together they push themselves farther than any fantasy, until their lives are never the same again.

Excerpt:

“I can’t say I’ve ever…participated…in an event like this one before, Dru.”

“Is that a bad thing? Don’t you think you should expand your boundaries outside of your brother’s fold-out couch and a newspaper full of wanted ads? Come on, have a little fun, Eliza.”

Eliza glanced sideways at her best friend’s elfin, petite face speckled with sunlight from the gorgeous afternoon in the woods. Dru’s light blond eyebrows were raised in question, rose lips pursed. The dare for Eliza to question her hung unsaid in the air. A wisp of wind picked up Dru’s red, cork-screw curls and pushed them across her face. But Eliza only cleared her throat—unfocused on Dru’s warm, whisky colored eyes, and refocused onto the crowd in front of them amidst the trees.

At least she wouldn’t feel out of place in her Indian maiden leather get up straight out of some weird S&M store that she’d borrowed from Dru. The skirt brushed mid-thigh with leather tassels that didn’t exactly cover—anything. While the corseted halter top ended at an abrupt triangle showing the whole world that it’d been awhile since she’d hit a gym. What topped the whole ensemble off were more tassels threaded beneath her breasts in a weird attempt at an Empire waist effect. The outfit was an experience unto itself, even without everything to see and do unraveling before her eyes.

For a second it was hard for Eliza to think of their little adventure into unwashed bodies, crowds, and medieval costumes as fun per se. But damn if the food wasn’t out of this world. And her best friend was right. Her status as Master’s degree holding, library science geek hadn’t earned her points on any of her less than minimum wage job interviews this week. Most people in their small town were snug as a bug in their day jobs and there wasn’t much room for more work with positions being pre-filled by family and friends.

She’d been away too long at college. Long enough to lose favor when it came down to a townie and a girl with too much school experience. No matter where she looked, she was overqualified. Facts were facts—libraries were closing like mad. Not to mention they only had one in the area filled with employees who held onto their positions with their last dying breath.

There was proving to be no room for Eliza here. But there weren’t any options in the outside world with no savings and no one to lean on if she continued on her job losing streak. Until she got lucky, she was beholden to her big brother and a nine-to-five job pursuit. Better to get out of the house for a little while. Besides, she’d worn out her traditional red pen circling the newspaper ads in the back of the paper and couldn’t afford to buy another one until Monday.

Two months of moping was enough to fry anyone’s brain and she needed to leave her problems behind. So this trip back in time better offer up merriment and wonder soon. Or at least some free booze. Just because she was out of college didn’t mean she couldn’t indulge in a pint or two.

“At least it’s free exercise,” Eliza chimed in with an easy smile.

Okay, so all the men in kilts and shiny chainmail were a bit distracting and she hadn’t seen this many boobs since Christmas at her sister Cheri’s divorce celebration. But the atmosphere wasn’t that bad. As they circled all the vendor booths with creative, painted signs and traveled beneath the charming forest of old oaks, Eliza could almost forget about, well, everything. Her complete lack of independent direction and purpose in life. As well as the fact that her dreams of an easy life were more than dashed. But this was nice—a swell of happiness.

A light breeze shifted through her A-line, brunette bob and she took a long, deep breath of carboliciousness. Her mouth watered and she continued following close behind Dru.

“Whoa, did you see that?”

“What? Oh, the woman holding the man on a leash in full bondage gear? They’re here every year. That’s old news, honey. People come to this place to let their freak flag fly high and for the most part no one gives a shit.”

She shifted her gaze away from the treacherous roots embedded into the earthen floor and watched Dru’s retreating—and fully corseted—back. Where was she going?  What could be so important that they needed to rush through the crowds? Eliza was positive she’d brushed up against her hundredth stranger in only a half hour of being in the gates.

Several people must have gotten an up-close and personal brush of her bra-less breasts in her confining, leather get-up. Dru had lent Eliza her costume from last year and as they struggled through the crush of the food court crowds she wished there was a little more of it. Not only was her outfit tiny and skin tight, but the mid-summer air kept wafting up the skirt until Eliza was positive she was flashing the whole park.

“Um, could you—”

Before Eliza could finish the sentence, she glanced up and Dru had alighted two wooden steps into an open air shop front. She was talking to a man in a long leather duster with delicious abs similar to the covers of the romance novels Eliza was so fond of reading in her spare—alone—time. He wore a wide brimmed leather black cowboy hat that obscured his face and matching black leather pants.

Was Dru seriously waving her over there to talk to him?

No, there had to be some mistake. There was no way she was prepared for any kind of social interaction, let alone a handsome stranger. Christ, they hadn’t even hit the bar yet. Not one drop of liquid courage had passed her chapped lips and her stomach plummeted down to her feet faster than when she’d been stood up by her date right before prom pictures. But Dru frantically waved her over and laughed with her head back so her red curls cascaded down her back in a manner Eliza imagined was seductive.

Well, no turning back now. Where exactly would she go? It wasn’t as though she knew the lay of the land. Besides, the minute the man shed his long leather duster to point to a tattoo on his bicep, smiling down at Dru, there was no longer a choice. She had to see him closer. Her mouth watered at the expanse of all that beautiful, almost naked, man flesh.

There was more to him than an intimidating, tight physique. His every movement exuded thinly veiled grace while his smile lit up his sharply masculine face. A contrast of good cheer mixed with a concentration on whatever subject interested him. Until he became riveted, obsessed, with a possessive awareness of his subject. As she got closer, she sensed his gaze snap to her face, expression unchanged. But in that split second Eliza sensed his acute judgment.

He measured her with his shadowed stare while his small quirk of a smile never wavered.

The friends continued to talk but their voices were drowned out by the heavy pulse at Eliza’s temples. All of her flesh seized with goose bumps. This stranger stood as if all the world was his to explore, with a brightness in his eyes that dared nature to defy his dominant curiosity over what he claimed was his by right. He looked as if the whole world would bow down to him. And he wouldn’t be surprised. But nothing about him screamed arrogance—only a self-certainty and a quiet sense of inner peace.

Weird that she should read someone so quickly, but he was an open book. Both hands on his hips, lean muscles stretched in his arms and back until her knees were weak. Dru spoke and he laughed, head tipped forward while one strong hand rubbed the center of his chest. The dark shadow from his hat brim obscured everything but the clean, model-esque lines of his face so she couldn’t see his joy.

But his bark of gravelly laughter hit her as a punch in the gut while her chest tightened. There were enough trees in this place that she should have never lost oxygen. There wasn’t enough air in the world right at that moment. As Eliza fought for composure she focused only on his tattoo.

Yield to life—there is only threat of tomorrow.

His tattoo was inked in thin filigree with woven rope knots all around the words. One breath. Another. Each one became easier even as she grew closer, knowing she had to hide all her ruffled feathers. There wasn’t a single nuance Dru wouldn’t pick up on and exploit.

One step after another landed her front and center next to Dru as her best friend slung her arm around Eliza’s waist.

“Took you long enough,” Dru whispered in mock chastisement.

Before she could get a good look at the man, he turned and rummaged behind his counter, giving them both an all-access pass to perfect ass land. Eliza knew she should keep her eyes closed, but they were glued to the tight, sculpted muscles on the wicked stranger. The faire didn’t seem that bad anymore.

Dru squeezed Eliza’s torso until she met her best friend’s shining eyes, lit up with nothing but pure mischief. These were moments Dru lived for—any opportunity to tease. But it never bothered Eliza, it was all in good fun and her best friend meant well. She remained oddly silent. Despite the fact that Eliza all but flinched while she waited for whatever whispered barb her best friend would deliver on behalf of her less than subtle reaction to the intriguing man.

How could she not have a reaction when his damn presence practically demanded one?

“Ah, here it is.”

His voice rushed over her tingling down her back and she had to stop herself from taking an automatic step back. Irish, too? Oh, no. No, no, no. He was more than perfect and she hadn’t even said a thing to him yet. Why was she even there? So Dru could lord this man over her head—the perfect romance hero—or so they could be set up together for an awkward date and never see each other again?

Hell, maybe she was taking this whole thing too seriously, but their history of set-ups was long and varied. Even throughout college Dru wasn’t satisfied until they each had at least two dates a week.

This had to be some kind of evil set-up because clearly Dru knew the guy. They must be pulling this to screw with her head because poor little Eliza hadn’t been on a date in forever and who knows if there are cobwebs down there. This guy was some actor from Dru’s troop of players for sure. She’d done theater every summer for as long as Eliza could remember.

He came back up from his crouch behind the counter and turned back to them with something hidden behind his back. One long finger tipped up his hat. Eliza got her first straight on look at the man that she suspiciously regarded with every ounce of her petite frame.

His nose was slightly crooked. An old wound that hadn’t been set, maybe? A five o’clock shadow roughened the strong, square jaw and lips that were better suited on a female than the masculine portrait that acted as if he had nothing to hide. It took every last ounce of her will to gaze up below the brim of his hat.

He wore an eye patch. Whether or not it was for the faire or an actual problem, she couldn’t resist the edge of danger. His good eye—light brown with amber flecks—was bright with unreadable heat fixed solely on her face. She swallowed despite the lump in her throat. Nothing he did betrayed anything of how he was feeling or thinking—only the sharp look that pinned her to the floor.

And whatever he held behind his back.

For a long blink it was hard for Eliza to even remember that Dru’s hand rested around her waist. All she could focus on was the knowing twist of the stranger’s lips. The unwelcome and unexpected blush that seared against her skin when they hadn’t even spoken to each other made her fingers twitch at her side.

How could she resist him when he fit the caricature of an ideal man she’d been reading about in romances all her life? She was only stupidly comparing him to a man that didn’t exist. A string of perfections that couldn’t be real in one man. Left in the dust of her overwhelming horniness, well, she was being an idiot.

There wasn’t any other explanation for the way her hormones were skyrocketing off into different directions. He looked down into her eyes and she couldn’t help it—she giggled. That broke whatever fake connection she nursed in her mind. He plunked an item down onto the counter and shrugged back into his leather duster that had lain on the counter.

Without thinking, she blurted out the first sentence that flew across her scattered brain. An old habit that refused to die. And often led her to want to be buried in the same grave, instead of suffering the mortifying consequences.

“An eye patch, really? Aren’t you mixing genres with a cowboy and a pirate?”

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Little-Slap-Tickle-Erotic-Novella-ebook/dp/B00H3LBBUW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386556736&sr=8-1&keywords=Elise+Hepner

Amazon.co.uk:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Slap-Tickle-Erotic-Novella-ebook/dp/B00H3LBBUW/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1386937714&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=Elsie+Hepner+A+little+Slap+and+Tickle

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-little-slap-and-tickle-elise-hepner/1116379648?ean=9781783751976

Xcite: http://www.xcitebooks.com/Book/10204/A-Little-Slap-and-Tickle.html

Bio:

Elise Hepner lives with her husband and two eccentric cats in Maryland. She spends the majority of her free time in her basement office concocting smutty characters and sinful situations that leaves readers satisfied. When not writing, she researches everything from automatons in the 18th century to gladiatorial rules in Ancient Rome. She prides herself on being an avid information hound as well as a blog reading addict–which is her favorite way to procrastinate. Her previous publications include books and stories with Excessica, Xcite, Ellora’s Cave, Secret Cravings Publishing and Cleis Press.

Author Links:

Website: www.elisehepner.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/EHepner

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elise-Hepner-Writing/311925106401

 

 
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The Romance Reviews

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