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Buried Pleasures: Meeting the Villain

 

 

In my last post, I introduced you to Samantha Black and Jon, the heroine and hero of Buried Pleasures. The recurring theme of Medusa’s Consortium is that sometimes the monsters are the good guys. Sometimes it’s not so obvious who the bad guys really are, and sometimes … it’s very obvious. Adrian Fox is a villain who is both terrifying and sexy, and there’s little chance of surviving that fatal attraction to him. Here is a little excerpt. Enjoy.

 

Buried Pleasures Blurb:

When Samantha Black shares her sandwich with a dog, his owner, Jon—a homeless man living in the Las Vegas storm tunnels—gives her a poker chip worth a fortune from the exclusive casino, Buried Pleasures. All Sam has to do is cash it in. Sam is in Vegas for one reason only—to get her friend, Evie Holt, away from sinister magician, Darian Fox, who holds her prisoner in an effort to force Sam to perform at his club, Illusions. A neon circus tent of strange and mystical acts, Illusions is one of the biggest draws in Vegas, and he’s hell-bent on including Sam in his disturbing plans.

The shadowy Magda Gardener will do anything to keep Sam from cashing in that chip. She knows that Buried Pleasures is the gate to Hades and cashing in the chip is a one-way ticket across the River Styx, which runs beneath the storm tunnels of Vegas. Jon is really Jack Graves, owner of Buried Pleasures, and Graves is really the god of death, himself, and if things aren’t already confusing enough, he and Magda know what Sam doesn’t. Sam is the last siren. That her song can kill is only the beginning of her story. Jon wants her safe on his side of the River, protected from Fox’s hideous magic. But even Death fears Magda Gardener, who is none other than Medusa, and the gorgon has her own agenda. If Sam is to understand her heritage and win the battle against Darian Fox, not only will she have to trust her heart to Death, but they’ll both have to work for the gorgon, whose connection with Sam runs deeper than any of them could imagine.

 

Buried Pleasures Excerpt in which We Meet Darian Fox

 

 

With a soft clink, he dropped the key in a small ceramic bowl on the dresser, not bothering to lock the door behind him. There was no need now.

He heard the rustle of bedding and a soft female moan before his eyes fully adjusted to the gloom. Then he saw the shape of her, duvet thrown back in spite of the chill, the pale silk of the negligee rising and falling with her anxious breathing. He always asked that they be clothed in white silk. Occasionally there was blood, and the red of blood against white silk made the experience more formal somehow, and it always felt like such an occasion should be formal.

As he became used to the gloom, he could see that she had been well-groomed for the occasion, fully made-up and hair freshly coifed, just as he had requested. It was a condition that wasn’t strictly necessary, but made the whole experience seem a little more ceremonial, a little more festive. After all, presentation was a key ingredient in every good restaurant, wasn’t it? Why should his situation be any different?

“Gabriella, you look exquisite tonight, my darling. I can’t tell you how much I’ve anticipated being with you, having you here in my bed.” He removed his jacket and hung it carefully over a cedar hanger on the back of the door. “Did I not promise you that the time would come when I would invite you into my own home, into my own bed?”

Of course it wasn’t his own bed. He never took them to his bed. He had several other rooms in several other places where he took from them what he needed, though this one was special. This one was for feasting. He carefully undressed by the side of the bed where she would be able to admire his every move. She moaned softly and writhed, not taking her eyes off him, needing him almost as much as he needed her. Almost.

At his leisure, he took in the curves that were still luscious enough to be tempting—the rise of nipples, the dilation of pupils, the rhythmic shifting of hips, all of which he could now make out. Ripe fruit, he thought. She was ripe fruit. The experience was always most ecstatic, always most satisfying, when his chosen had not yet passed her peak, when he had not used her so much that her looks had suffered, nor her hunger for him weakened. He needed her hunger as much as he needed her beauty. The two always went hand-in-hand. He needed her hunger to be her driving force, driving her to him over and over again, until all strength was gone. Most often he controlled his hunger, careful not to allow himself more than what was necessary to survive and thrive.

Tonight, however, he was drained and starving from effort and exhaustion, but from excitement as well, from the knowing that Samantha Black was capable of so much more than even he had anticipated. Tonight he would take deeply from the ripest fruit, take as though it were the first and the last fullness of summer, and Gabriella was just at that point of fullness.

“I’m going to make love to you, darling.” He didn’t even try to disguise his hunger. Anxious anticipation was as much a part of the ritual as savoring the moment, and he wanted her to know how much he hungered for her, how much he needed her. “I’m going to make you come as you have never come before, my sweetheart.” He slid onto the bed next to her, his left hand stroking her soft, dark hair, his right cupping himself, making himself ready. “Would you like that, Gabriella? I know you would, I know how impatient you’ve been.”

There was a soft whimper, and the woman shifted her hips and threw back her head with a little gasp as he slid a thumb across her heavy bottom lip. He was hard, always hard when he hungered. It was a part of the ritual, a part of the consuming, a part of fulfilling his need.

Carefully he slipped down the straps of the negligee so that he could admire the fullness of her breasts. Yes, presentation was so important—ripe cherry nipples against silken white fabric, so succulent, so ready. Her skin was the color of expensive mocha, and for a moment, he took in the feast for the eyes waiting for him. Then he cupped her sex, and she arched up, her eyelids fluttering beneath lush, dark lashes so perfectly made up, so perfectly prepared to meet her lover.

La petite mort,” he said. “It’s what we all long for, isn’t it, my sweetheart? Over and over and over again, we long for it. It’s what we dream about in the darkest hours of the night. It’s what we wake up longing for, goosefleshed, slick and heavy with need from those elusive dreams of perfect love, perfect union, perfect dissolving of the self into the other. Oh, my beauty,” he slid a hand between her thighs, and her tongue flicked over her lip in concentration, in anticipation, “I’ve kept you waiting too long. I do apologize. La petite mort is a small gift for a long wait. So tonight, my dearest girl, I shall give you something far grander than the little death. And our joining, our perfect dissolving into one another, will be beyond anything you could ever imagine.”

He positioned himself above her and she opened to him, rising up to meet him in gasps and groans and whimpers that neared desperation. Oh yes, he would give her so much more than la petite mort, and then, in the instant when her body dissolved in pleasure, he would take it all back, all of it and so much more.

There was breath and then there was blood, and there was the life force coursing through the beautiful Gabriella. That life force entered his body through sex, through making love. And truly he did make love, for the gift that the beautiful creature writhing beneath him, no longer strong enough to keep her legs grasped around his waist, was giving him was worthy of lovemaking. The taking of the life force in such a way was sex raised above and beyond ecstasy. He seldom partook to the end. He usually made it last for months, sometimes even years, depending on how powerful the life force was.

But Gabriella had no particular power, nothing but her exquisite beauty to linger on. He saw such as her as fast food, really, a needed energy boost in desperate times, and this was one of those times. Her sacrifice would ensure that he was focused and ready for whatever obstacles Graves could throw in his way where Samantha Black was concerned, because he would have her. He had to have her.

The woman beneath him shuddered with release, and he took her mouth more fully, swallowing back the harshness of her breath to blend with his own, teasing him to join in her ecstasy. She would climax over and over, and that would be her final memory. She would come to her death in rapturous pleasure, and she would not even feel that moment when all of her breath, all of her life force, all of her power, passed to him, and the darkness took her.

Her eyelids fluttered again and again, for now she truly had not the energy left for more than the flutter of eyelids above huge, dark eyes. Even the quiver low in her loins had transferred itself to him, and he felt her orgasms as though they were his own, as though through the breath, through the coupling, he had become her and she him. He had taken her into himself as she had him into her, so open, so inviting, so willing.

“You see,” he whispered against the seashell hollow of her unhearing ear, “I have given you so much more than la petite mort, just as I promised, darling. So much more for both of us.”

The sharp burning in his side came before he could fully disengage, and his focus had been such that he would hardly have noticed if the penthouse had collapsed around his ears. At this vulnerable time he depended upon the well-trained guards who watched outside his door. He was unable to defend himself, for at least those last powerful moments, and he never took risks where his person was concerned. It had to be such for his needs to be accomplished.

In this position of vulnerability, of ecstatic consumption of the last of Gabriella’s beautiful life force, he had not noticed the door quietly open, nor had he noticed Evie’s silent entrance. He would have noticed nothing until the burning in his side, and the warm flow of blood that was his own brought him back to himself, as Evie raised the knife a second time and plunged it with a wild, animal growl. “Get off her, you bastard! Get off!”

And he did as she asked, cupping his hand against his wounded side, the pain still far off, kept at bay by the ecstatic remains of his feasting. As the knife came down a second time, instinctually he grabbed her wrist, surprised at her strength considering how he had taken from her earlier, but then, it really didn’t matter, did it? No strength would be enough, not now.

He pulled her to him, the knife dropping silently onto the white carpet, his blood falling like rose petals at his feet. “Oh, Evie,” he whispered against her ear, his head still buzzing from the golden life force he’d taken, his cock still hard with the lust for the power enveloped in flesh, his limbs still tingling with the flow of it through his veins, even as it drained away through the vicious wound, “my dearest girl, I very much wish you hadn’t done that. It’s such a waste of a very delicious life.”

 

 

Why I Love Writing Baddies

EXHIBHITIONI’m hard at work in Grace Marshall mode, writing the final book of the Executive Decision trilogy, The Exhibition.  As well as writing sex and romance, I’m once again writing a delcious baddie. Well, actually, I’m revisiting one that I just couldn’t stay away from, and that’s got me thinking about why I love to write baddies.

I’m not sure when it happened, but my sneaking suspicion is that it was probably my first encounter with that ever-so-wicked, ever-so-enticing demon — Deacon, from my Lakeland Heatwave Trilogy when I first realised just how much fun it is to write baddies. Deacon was my first serious baddie, and I loved every creepy, twisted, nasty minute I spent with him clear to the very end of Elemental Fire. He was not only wicked and twisted, but at times he was sympathetic and at times he was outrageously sexy. I think I enjoyed being inside his evil head almost as much as I enjoyed the sexy, exciting romps of the Elemental Coven.

Book two of Grace Marshall’s Executive Decisions Trilogy was a different matter, however, as I wrote the stalker, Edge, for Identity Crisis. Though I was drawn into his dark, poisonous world, and it made me feel sort of claustrophobic and queasy, the words practically exploded onto the page, with me both wanting to run away and wanting to stay and see what happened next, wanting to uncover what his twisted mind had planned.

I’ve always told people that for me writing the sex scenes in erotica is like the best safe sex. It’s a wonderful way to participate in all of the fantasies I’ve ever had and some I never would have imagined I could have. But what happens when I write the baddies? Why do I love being in their presence so much? And even more to the point, what does it say about me that I find them so easy to write (heh, heh, heh)? Am I all of those people, the heroes, the victims, the incidentals and the baddies all rolled into one neurotic, twitchy woman? Do I have all of those traits somewhere hidden inside me — the fantasies about being the evil tyrant as well as the fantasies about threesomes on the Lakeland Fells? I doubt there is any way to peek into the strange depths of my own psychology that’s quite as revealing as writing a baddie. I shiver at the thought.

I know, on a psychological level, all writers have all of those parts within us and, on some level we live on the page in all of our characters, whether they’re hot and gorgeous and deliciously flawed in sexy ways or whether they’re evil and twisted and scary as hell. The darker parts of me frighten me at times, but they’re kept in check and held in balance by all of the other parts of me, all of the other parts that participate in the tenuous semi-democracy of my inner workings so that the Deacon in me and the potential Edge in me and the petty Tally Barnes in me are all channeled onto the written page. Am I scaring you all yet? I promise you, I’m harmless –ish.

And now that we’ve talked baddies, I thought I’d give you a rough and off-the-cuff sneak peek of the baddie from Grace Marshall’s next novel, The Exhibition.   As I said, I’m revisiting a baddie I just couldn’t resist returning to — Terrance Jamison — from the first of the Executive Decisions novels, An Executive Decision.  His story is, by no means finished.  In this scene, a talented young artists wakes up in a hotel room with Terrance Jamison, who has promised he can mentor her to a great career. She begins to suspect that her choice wasn’t the wisest. Enjoy.

 

Blurb:

Successful NYC gallery owner, Stacie Emerson, is ex-fiancée to one Thorne brother and ex-wife to the other. Though the three have made peace, Ellison Thorne’s friend, wildlife photographer, Harris Walker, still doesn’t like her. When Stacie convinces Harris to exhibit his work for the opening of her new gallery she never intended to include him in her other more hazardous plans. But when those plans draw the attention of dangerous business tycoon, Terrance Jamison, Harris comes to her aid. In the shadow of a threat only Stacie understands, can she dare let Harris into her life and make room for love?

Excerpt from The Exhibition:

Terrance Jamison sat reading the New York Times at the table in front of the window of the penthouse suite. He was already showered and dressed for business, even though it was a Sunday. For a second Ingrid stood in the doorway watching him, letting the wave of butterflies wash over her as she thought about the fact that this man, this very powerful, very wealthy man singled her work out from all the rest, this man believed her worthy of his attention. He sipped his coffee and sat the cup carefully back onto its saucer. She hadn’t thought him even aware of her presence until he spoke. ‘There’s a robe in the closet,’ he said without looking up from the paper. ‘Go put it on.’

She obeyed, stripping off the shirt in full view of him before she walked slowly back into the bedroom for the robe. When he didn’t look up, she felt more than a little bit confused. The man had been the best host ever last night. He had taken her to dine at Per Se putting out way more on one meal than she paid for her apartment for six months. Then he had brought her back to his penthouse suite in the Plaza Hotel. She’d never even been to Minneapolis until her senior trip, let alone New York before, so she was sure she reacted a bit like a kid at Christmas, and he seemed to relish her delight. But this morning, he seemed miles away. Surely it couldn’t be anything she had done. She hadn’t done anything that he hadn’t suggested or recommended. Perhaps he was just distracted. Surely an important businessman like Terrance Jamison had plenty of things other than art and artists on his mind.

She slipped into the robe and joined him at the table. He still didn’t look up. ‘Help yourself to coffee. I’ve ordered breakfast to be delivered –’ he glanced down at his watch ‘—in about twenty minutes.’

She poured herself coffee then moved to admire the view out over Central Park. ‘It’s so beautiful,’ she said, her voice breathless with the view and with nerves.

Still he said nothing. So she took matters into her own hands and leaned over his shoulder. ‘What are you reading?’

‘The write-up about last night’s little soirée,’ came the reply that sounded neither irritated nor warm. ‘It seems Ms Emerson has done it again. Even without our little contribution, Americans for the Arts has done very well from her efforts.’

She studied the picture of Stacie Emerson shaking her hand and offering her the plaque for Outstanding New Artist. She looked a bit shell shocked, but Stacie Emerson looked polished, at ease, and gorgeous. Her chest tightened with a strange mix of envy and hero worship. She owed the woman big time. If Ms Emerson hadn’t given her the chance to display her work in New World Gallery for the charity auction, she would have still just been Ted Watson’s little girl who dabbles in the arts in the old barn behind the cowshed, and Terrance Jamison would have taken no notice of her – would have never had cause to.  And yet she couldn’t help it. She would have liked it if the gallery owner had been a little less perfect, a little less comfortable in her own skin. There were several other posed shots with Ms Emerson and other people who were clearly people Ingrid would know if she ran in the same circles that Ms Emerson did, even people she might have had the opportunity to meet if she had joined the woman and the other artists for dinner. The little niggle in the pit of her stomach made her wonder if she might have made a mistake by not going along last night, but surely not. Hadn’t Mr Jamison said he could help her career-wise, at least as much as Ms Emerson could? And she had whole-heartedly believed him. Then. But right now she wasn’t feeling so sure.

‘How long have you known her,’ she asked, recalling with a twinge of jealousy she’d felt at the way he looked at her, the way he touched her when he’d asked her to join the for dinner.’

‘Stacie and I go way back,’ he said, still not showing any emotion at all. ‘Way back. She’s a very talented girl, our Ms Emerson.’ This time the corners of his mouth turned up into a smile. ‘I doubt there’s anything she couldn’t do if she set her mind to it.’

Ingrid certainly wouldn’t have called her a girl. Encouraged by the sudden shift in his humor, she settled onto the arm of his chair and wrapped an arm around his neck. ‘Were you lovers?’

He shrugged her off so quickly that she nearly lost her balance and she stood quickly to keep from falling. Then he pushed back from the table and tossed the paper into the trash can next to the sofa.

‘I’m sorry,’ she whispered, feeling a shiver run up her spine as he began to pace like a caged lion in front of the window. ‘That was none of my business. I’m sorry.’

He turned on her so suddenly that she nearly tripped over the leg of the chair he’d just vacated trying to step away. But there was no need. There was a broad smile on his face, and he took her into his arms and smoothed her mussed hair away from her face. ‘Stacie and I did some business together,’ he said, one hand moving down to undo the knot at the sash of her robe. ‘And certainly for me, that business did involve some … pleasure.’ He pushed the robe off her shoulders and, in spite of herself, she felt suddenly shy, but he only chuckled softly and gave her body the once over with the same appraising eyes with which she’d seen him admiring the art at the gallery. ‘You have nothing to be jealous of my dear Ms Watson. While Ms Emerson likes to be surrounded by lovely things, I prefer to possess lovely things.’

He pushed her back until her bottom pressed against the table, then he lifted her onto it, rattling the coffee cups and spilling coffee onto the white linen table cloth. With one hand he opened her legs and stroked her until she trembled with something more edgy than just arousal. With the other hand he opened his fly, eased out his erection and pushed into her with no preamble, no foreplay. And she felt as though he had forced a battering ram up inside her. For a second, she couldn’t breathe, for a second her eyes watered, for a second she felt fear tangle and knot with the beginnings of arousal. And she might have actually cried out, even struggled to escape him, but he was so strong. Just before she could get truly frightened, his efforts calmed and he held himself still inside her while he caught his breath, while he studied her face, her breasts, her thighs, the place where their bodies joined. And the pain gave way to an achy, prickly, almost panicky sort of pleasure. He stroked her breasts, examining them in that same way he had the art at the gallery, thumbing her nipples until they were raw and hyper sensitive, all the while his gaze took in her body as though he were judging it, as though it fascinated him in an abstract sort of way.

‘The funny thing about lovely things, Ingrid, is that lovely things often like to be possessed.’ Then he began to thrust, both hands moving to grip her hips and pull her tighter against him. ‘What do you think, Ingrid? Do you think that might be the case?’

His thrusting grew harder and she wrapped her legs around his waist to steady herself. A coffee cup rattled off the edge of the table and shattered on the wood floor. He cupped her chin in a tight grip between his thumb and forefinger and kissed her with a kiss that threatened to smother her even as it aroused her and frightened her. When he pulled free, he still held her so that she couldn’t look away from him. The tension in his body told her he was getting close. ‘Not that it matters.’ His words were now breathless and forced from his throat. ‘I don’t have to have permission to possess what I want, Ingrid. I simply buy it.’ And then he came with a hard thrust that forced the breath from her lungs and felt as though it would split her in two.

Before he could bring her, though she was already pretty sure that was not his priority, before he could even fully recover himself, there was a soft knock on the door. He pulled out and wiped himself on one of the linen napkins. ‘That’ll be breakfast.’ He tossed her the napkin. ‘Clean yourself up.’ Then, without so much as glancing back down at her, he went to the door, leaving her feeling nearly as shattered as the cup on the floor.

She hurried to wipe herself and retrieve the robe from the floor. She had just cinched the robe tight around her when he returned looking as though nothing at all had just happened.

‘Breakfast is in the dining area when you’re ready.’ He gave a quick glance at his watch. ‘I have a plane to catch, but you have the room for the rest of the day. There are clothes in the closet that should fit you. I’ve arranged for your gown to be dry-cleaned. It’ll be returned to your hotel room by the time you get back there.’

He picked up a small case from where it sat near the sofa and headed for the door, leaving her stunned and confused. Then as he reached for the door, he turned, came back to her and pulled her into a bone crunching embrace and a deep, hard kiss. He slipped a hand down and thrust two fingers quickly up inside her and thumbed her clit and she came with a startled sob. When he pulled away, he wiped his fingers on the edge of her robe, then he studied her for second. ‘My secretary will be in touch with plans for furthering your career, and I’m sure the two of us will be entertaining each other again soon.’ Then he left without another word.

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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