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FREE! Besotted by Madison Michaels

 

The Beguiling Bachelors, Book 4

By Madison Michael

 

♥♥♥ ~ Free June 19th – June 21st Only ~ ♥♥♥

 

About Besotted:

He Promised Forever, then Walked Away. Now he wants her back.

 

Tyler’s Winthrop, rich, handsome, elusive sees his moment to win Regan Howe slipping through his fingers. He has remained on the outskirts of Regan’s life since high school, reluctant to reveal his true past and expose her to danger. Despite their obvious attraction, Tyler has remained her friend and protector, keeping Regan at arm’s length for her own safety,

 

Regan Howe, won her coveted CEO position through hard work and a willingness to buck family tradition. Now, Brandon Hockney, a handsome US Senator with his eye on the White House, wants her to give it up, along with her home, friends and family for a move to DC and marriage to him.

 

Regan wants a family but is she prepared to leave all she loves, including the alluring Tyler Winthrop. Regan has waited twenty years for Tyler to commit. He once promised her forever, then he destroyed her trust and her hopes for a future together. Still, she cannot break the ties between them.

 

When Regan tests the waters with Brandon, Tyler is tapped as acting CEO, throwing the pair together, and forcing both to make a choice. Is this the end or their one last chance at love? Battling overwhelming odds and a racing clock, will Tyler be forced to release his one true love to find happiness with another man? How can he when he’s besotted?

 

As the danger mounts for Tyler, can he wrestle free of his past and lure Regan away from her Senator? Join our handsome hero as he attempts to win back his love in this exciting and steamy page turner, the fourth of the sexy, contemporary Beguiling Bachelor romance series.

 

 

 

 

Excerpt from Besotted:

 

Regan was just too damn alluring in that dress for him to accept that he couldn’t have her if he wanted her.

He was an idiot. He should have told her years ago. He should have told everyone. Despite the tongue- lashing he was silently giving himself, Tyler was certainly no fool. “The professor” to his friends, he was generally serious and professional. He had the smarts necessary to obtain both an MBA and a law degree, and he was now CEO of LHRE and on hiatus from one of the fastest growing tech companies in the country. He kept his cool in general, but again and again he behaved like an idiot around Regan.

Since that damn frog almost thirty years ago, he had loved no one but Regan. Sometimes they made it work together, like in high school, but most times not. His feelings were unchanged, but something always stopped him from declaring his love and asking her to do the same. This time it was something insurmountable.

And yet Tyler couldn’t stay away. He was the proverbial moth to the flame, flirting with disaster every time he flirted with her. He had promised to stay away, to keep her safe,but the attraction was undeniable. Yep, prize idiot.

Returning to the ballroom after the latest threats, Tyler briefly considered sharing the conversation, coming clean with Regan and perhaps moving their relationship forward. He was at a fork in the road but remained silent, Tyler knew he was on the wrong path but couldn’t summon the will to fix it. Not only were his problems unsolvable, but she was involved with Brandon. Tyler felt hopeless.

He was preoccupied just as Regan accused, but Tyler tried to give Regan the attention she deserved. He failed miserably until Regan suggested they just leave. That got his attention. Who knew when he would hold her in his arms again.

“Come dance with me again. It would be a crime to waste that dress.”

Encircling Regan in his arms, his body responded to her nearness, even as his mind worried over the earlier texts. He was unaware of his hand stroking her back, fingers lightly skimming over her bare skin. He wasn’t thinking clearly when he pulled her close or when he dropped kisses on her hair. He wasn’t paying attention, just acting on instinct, Regan was responding, her breath growing uneven, her hands clinging to his shoulders.

 

 

About the Author:

 

Madison Michael is an indie publisher, blogger and the author of the Beguiling Bachelor Series as well as the novella Desire & Dessert, from her sizzling B&B Billionaire Bachelor series.

 

A Chicago native and hopeless romantic, Maddy was raised on Chicago culture, fairy tales, great literature and swashbuckling movies. Maddy employs that history, writing steamy contemporary romance novels set against the sumptuous backdrop of Chicago’s elite society.

 

After receiving a BA in Journalism from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Loyola University of Chicago, Madison abandoned her writing to find her way in the corporate business world. Daughter of a librarian, it was inevitable that she would return to the world of books.

 

Maddy writes from high above Chicago where she can stare at its gorgeous skyline or the shores of Lake Michigan surrounded by feline assistants. When she is not writing,, Maddy can be found lost in a book, fighting for the rights of the mentally iil or dining on Chicago’s famous cuisine. Hot dogs and pizza, anyone?

 

Social Links:

 

 

 

Down the Rabbit Hole with Dangerous Characters

 

Like many writers, I’m convinced that my characters have minds of their own, and they sometimes take me into that twilight zone where nothing goes according to my well-laid plan. It happens like this. First, I become aware that the plot is veering into unmapped territory. It’s never as simple as me changing my mind about where I should take the story line, though that does happen often enough. But this is different. I am no longer the one calling the shots. The character I’m writing about at the moment has hijacked my story. At this point, all I can do is take a deep breath and hold on tight for the wild ride.

 

Then, when my character has my full attention, what he does reveals something about himself that I would have never expected and would be far too timid to write anyway, except I’m no longer left with a choice. Not to write it his way would be dishonest and, frankly, when I actually have such an encounter with a willful character, I’m a little bit frightened of what he might do if I don’t write it his way.

 

I don’t always enjoy it when a character takes me off the map and into the dark. Here be monsters. Besides, I don’t want to see his flaws up close and personal. I suspect that’s because it’s too much a reminder of my own darkness and flaws. But once I’m no longer in control, there’s a shift that happens, and I realize that I’ve been taken deeper down the rabbit hole of my own inner workings than I would ever be brave enough to go on my own. Denial may not be just a river in Egypt, but it’s most definitely a state I’m totally at home in.

 

My characters, however, don’t like denial, and the ones that like it least are the villains. One of the scariest and most unredeemable villains I ever wrote was Terrance Jamison, the baddie in two of the four Executive Decisionsnovels I wrote under the name Grace Marshall. If ever there was a character I wanted to hate, it was him. If ever there was a character I felt uncomfortable with, it was him. And yet, Terrance Jamison also compelled me to feel the same lust and rage toward him as the heroine of the story, Stacie Emerson did in The Exhibition.

 

When she allowed herself to think about that horrible time, it was always with thoughts of what might have been if she could have gotten Zoe away from him, if they could have gone somewhere he couldn’t find them. Strangely, it was his scent that permeated all of her memories of him. Every time she had ever been with him it had surrounded her, practically drowned her; when he held her, when he stroked her hair, when he caressed her. He always smelled like the desert, with everything that was dangerous about it. Everything that was poisonous or desolate or sharp-angled and deadly seemed to seep through his pores in a way that was both dark and compelling. How was it that something as simple as the way someone smelled could elicit such desire, such hope, such terror, such rage? How was it that the scent of the man was the first thing she remembered about him and the last thing that haunted her in her dreams?

 

It was a summer evening, one of those glorious times when daylight lasts forever and you can’t bring yourself to go inside the house. I was ensconced on the patio sipping Malbec and tapping away on my laptop well into the first draft of The Exhibition.I remember distinctly how everything shifted when Terrance Jamison took control. The encounter he forced me to write was not the one I had planned. There was never any question that he had taken over, and none too gently. Jamison didn’t do gently. He didn’t tell me what to write. Instead he dragged me right into the disturbing, uncomfortable thick of it all. Being with Jamison was not an out of body experience; instead it was a little too much in the body for my comfort. And yet I might have been a million miles from my homey little patio in Surrey. When the scene was finished, he left me feeling euphoric, aroused, disturbed and in need of another glass of wine.

 

Here is an excerpt from my time under Terrance Jamison’s influence.

 

When she remembered that night, the night she truly realized just how in over her head she really was, she recalled it with the sounds of sex. Perhaps that was because when she revisited that night in her dreams, she always heard their lovemaking from a long way off – if you could call it lovemaking. It was only much later, too late, that she learned just how cruelly Jamison had used Zoe. In her dreams, she could hear them the moment she entered Zoe’s building. She could hear them in the elevator all the 29 floors to the flat as she road with her heart in her throat, fearing for her friend, wondering why she hadn’t shown up for their dinner meeting, or at least called. Zoe hadn’t been herself since – well, since Jamison came into the picture as more than the distant presence Zoe spoke about from time to time. In her dreams, she heard their moans and gasps as she exited the elevator and walked the interminable distance to Zoe’s front door. In her dreams, the door was always wide open with a view into Zoe’s bedroom, with her naked on the bed, with Jamison on top of her.

 

In reality, she had heard nothing, been aware of nothing, until it was too late. In reality, she feared the worst. So when Zoe had left no messages and not returned her phone calls, when there was no answer at the door, she let herself in with the spare key Zoe had given her. In reality, it was the fact Zoe’s bedroom door was closed that had led her to knock softly, call Zoe’s name, and push the door open, fearing … She wouldn’t have dared name exactly what it was she feared. And looking back, even in dreams, she could never visit that unnamed fear without its true horror being thrust upon her in reality far worse than any of her nightmares. It was the beginning of the end – or at least in her memories that’s how it felt. But in reality, the end had begun the moment Zoe had introduced her to Terrance Jamison, with her still flushed from the excitement, from the glitz and the triumph of her second exhibition.

 

Even after she pushed the bedroom door open it took her a few seconds to make the connection, to figure it all out. At first she saw only a man’s back, a man lying face down on Zoe’s bed. For a split second, she thought someone was assaulting Zoe. It was then she heard the sounds of sex, as though someone had just turned up the volume, as though a tidal wave of noise and smells and connections had washed over her, threatening to drown her. And then she heard Zoe’s yelp of surprise, saw a naked arm shove from under the fully-clothed man, and Zoe called her name.

 

‘Stacie, Jesus, Stacie, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I meant to call. Really I did.’

 

It was all so disjointed in her mind, even though at the time every second of it felt like a pinprick to cold skin, so vivid, so powerfully focused.

 

It was then she realized the man was Jamison. He rose from the bed, still wearing that same smile he always wore, as though he owned the world and he were greeting a favorite vassal. She had interrupted their lovemaking and he welcomed her as if he were inviting her to tea at the Ritz. ‘I wasn’t expecting you, Stacie,’ he said. But she knew that he had been. She could see it in his eyes, feel it in the way he looked at her. She was exactly who he was expecting, and it was as though he had forgotten Zoe was even there.

 

‘I’m … I’m sorry. I was worried. I was worried,’ she managed before turning and fleeing. In the back of her mind she could hear Zoe’s voice, high-pitched and thin with words staccato and clipped, the way she always sounded when she was drunk. But her words sounded like gibberish against the hard hammering of Stacie’s pulse in her ears as she fled, feeling mortified and humiliated and other hot prickly things she didn’t want to think about. Then Jamison yelled something that had silenced Zoe. Stacie heard the bedroom door slam with a loud crack, and then he was calling after her.

 

‘Stacie! Stacie, wait!’ He caught her by the arm in the hallway by the door, his grip talon-tight. His white shirt was untucked and unbuttoned to show the mat of hair across his chest that glistened with the heat of arousal. He’d made no attempt to do up his fly, and his erection fought against black boxers. He smelled faintly of whiskey. Mostly he smelled of sex and something else, something that prickled along her skin and made her shiver. He had never been anything but pristine, never been anything but under control, and the sight of him like this frightened her, confused her.

 

‘I’m sorry.’ She forced the words through the desert of her mouth. ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t know.’

 

And then he pulled her to him with such force that she cried out, and he kissed her. It wasn’t a kiss she had ever dreamed of or hoped for. It was a scorched earth kiss that took no prisoners and left no hope for survivors. As fear rose to the surface over lust and confusion, he crushed her hand to his bare belly, his muscles tightening as though she had punched him. He slid her palm down into the tent of his boxers, down over the prickle of pubic hair, and forced her fingers closed around the obscene heft of his erection, the erection he’d elicited by what he had done to Zoe. Before she could utter a sound, he took her mouth again and shoved her hard against the wall, his hand bruising an irresistible path up under her skirt, over the tops of her stockings and into her panties.

 

From her bedroom, Zoe was repeating the same gibberish over and over again like a mantra, like a hypnotic spell. And whenever she remembered that night, Stacie felt as though she might well have been hypnotized or drugged or maybe temporarily insane. Or maybe, she’d hoped against hope, maybe she had only dreamed it.

 

All of it, the noise, the smell, the fevered touch of his body, of his mouth pushing at her until, at some point in an eternity that couldn’t possibly have taken more than minutes, Stacie kissed him back. At some point, she curled her fingers in her hair and cried out in frustration, in confusion, in fear, pushing back, clawing and gripping at him where he still held her hand to his cock. And then he shuddered against her and she felt the warm stickiness of his semen erupt over the tight grip of her fingers, and still he held her. Zoe’s high-pitched mantra became mere background noise as he stroked feverishly between Stacie’s legs and dug thick fingers between her raw folds, grunting to gain his breath, cursing and shoving at her.

 

‘I keep waiting for you and you keep running from me, making excuses,’ he gasped against her ear. ‘So I’ll take what I can get. For now. But I won’t wait much longer. I always get what I want. Always. You should know by now, those are the rules.’ With a nearly painful rub of his thumb, she came in a trapped animal cry that drowned out the high-pitched rhythm of Zoe’s mantra as it clawed its way through her lungs and out of her throat. Then he stepped back, his chest rising and falling spastically, his eyes locked on hers, and that was the first time she ever remembered his eyes joining in the emotions of his face. It was hunger that stared back at her, like he would devour her whole, like she was prey and he had already taken her before she even knew what had happened. He jerked her hand from his boxers and wiped it on the hem of her skirt. With a little kitten cry, she shoved him away and ran out the door.

 

While all of the characters I write, no doubt, represent some part of my psyche, the dark characters, the monster, human and otherwise, are the ones most able to drag me, often kicking and screaming, to places I fear to go. Perhaps that’s why demons and dark passages underground play major roles in my novels. And while those monsters may leave me trembling and disturbed, they never leave me there without new insights into who they are and into who I am.

 

 

Celebrating The Tutor at 99c/p with Chapter One

 

Totally Bound Publishing’s fab promo of The Tutor at 99c/p is still on through the 4th of May. SOOO! To tease and titillate you — and because who doesn’t like to read a bit of a novel before they decide to sink their teeth in — today I’m giving you the whole first chapter.

So go ahead! Indulge in sizzling spring romance and a sizzling price. A good read is always a bargain.

 

The Tutor Blurb:

Struggling writer, Kelly Blake has a secret life as a sex tutor. Celebrated sculptor and recluse, Alexander ‘Lex’ Valentine, can’t stand to be touched. When he seeks out Kelly’s advice incognito, the results are too hot to handle. When Kelly terminates their sessions due to what she considers her unprofessional behavior, Lex takes a huge risk, revealing his identity to her at a gala exhibition, his first ever public appearance. When Kelly helps the severely haphephobic Lex escape the grope of reporters and paparazzi, rumors fly that the two are engaged, rumors encouraged by well-meaning friends and colleagues. The press feeding frenzy forces Kelly into hiding at Lex’s mansion where he convinces her to be his private tutor just until the press loses interest, and she can go back home. They discover quickly that touch is not essential for sizzling, pulse-pounding intimacy. But intimacy must survive the secrets uncovered as their sessions become more and more personal.

 

 Buy The Tutor Here: 

eBook:
Totally Bound Publishing
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon AU
Amazon CA
Amazon DE
Barnes & Noble
iBooks UK
iBooks US
Google Books
Kobo

Print:
Totally Bound Publishing
Amazon UK
Amazon US

 

 

The Tutor Chapter One:

“Get out! Get the hell out now! Dillon! Dillon, get this bloody woman out of here!” Lex managed to keep his knees locked and his feet under him until the blasted model, robe slung hurriedly around her, clothes and bag bundled in her arms, was out the door and out of his sight. Then he collapsed in a heap, the floor coming up to meet him with a breath-jarring thud—not that he could breathe anyway, not at the moment at least. The room spun around him like a tilt-a-whirl at an amusement park, and his skin slickened with cold sweat. He knew the fucking drill by now, but it never got any easier and never got any better, not even when he was expecting it, and he sure as hell hadn’t been expecting it this time. As he fought back nausea and vertigo and several other little unpleasantries his doctor had slapped labels on so long ago that he couldn’t recall their names, he heard his PA passing the horrid model, who was now blubbering as though she were the injured party, off to V. Officially, V may have been just the housekeeper, but he and Dillon had long contended she was an alien sent from her distant planet to study Earth and see if there was intelligent life. The Valentine House, they joked, was probably not the ideal place to succeed in her mission. Still, the woman had persevered. They figured it was only because of her alien intellect and a sense of humor that allowed her to handle all the insanity with grace and aplomb.

Which was way more than he could manage at the moment, lying with his cheek plastered against the cool slate tiles of his studio, listening to the rush of footsteps and the woman’s nearly hysterical sobs as V—her name was Vida, but they’d always called her V, calmly led her away to someplace where she could change, have something warm to drink and maybe a bit of whatever Cookie had baked that day. After that, she’d be paid well for her traumatic efforts, politely reminded of the non-disclosure agreement she had signed before she came to model for Lex, and sent on her way. She would not be back.

Another treacherous tilting of the floor and a quick spin of the room had Lex praying to the gods of equilibrium and dignity that he could at least manage to keep his breakfast down. Though dignity was already well gone, he thought. Cautiously, he half opened one eye, and got a quick glimpse of a well-polished pair of loafers before he slammed it shut again and

 

decided there was wisdom in holding his fetal position on the studio floor for just a little bit longer. After all, Dillon had seen him in far worse situations.

“You gonna be all right?” Dillon asked softly.

Lex made some non-committal sound at the back of his throat—about all he could manage at the moment. He heard the brisk clip, clip of Dillon’s loafers across the slate, then the sound of running water and the footfalls of his return, and when Lex could smell the spicy dark scent of his PA’s soap, he risked reaching out for the glass of water he knew the man had set down next to him.

“Anything else?” Dillon asked. “Do you need to throw up?”

“No. I’ll be fine,” he said, easing himself ever so carefully into a sitting position, still holding onto the floor with one hand and keeping one eye shut. He took a cautious sip of water. “She touched me,” he managed after he felt confident the water would stay down.

“I gathered,” Dillon said, settling on the floor next to him.

“She came up behind me while I was finishing the sketch. Honestly, I thought she was gone. She was supposed to be gone. Then she—Jesus, Dillon, the next thing I know, she’s all over me, and she was cold, so fucking cold.” For a second he thought he might change his mind about throwing up after all as, with a hard shudder, he recalled the chill of the woman’s bare flesh against him. “And I couldn’t get away from her. I couldn’t get her to leave me alone, and she was cold, she was just so cold.”

“Fuck, bro! I’m so damn sorry,” Dillon said. “I was just outside in the hallway. It all happened so fast.” The studio door was always kept open and, when Lex worked with a model, someone was always close by. But there had never been an incident before, so protocol had gotten lax.

“I mean what the hell? I swear I didn’t do anything to make her think… I mean, I wouldn’t. You know I wouldn’t.”

“I know that, man. I know that. Besides, she knew the rules. They all know the rules before they work with you.” He stood and looked around the room until he found the blanket Lex kept handy for models to wrap up in between sketches and on breaks, then laid it on the floor next to him and plopped back down. Lex pulled it around him with a shiver. Even in early summer, the studio was fairly cool and models were warned ahead of time that Lex preferred to work in an unheated space. “There’s just something about a vulnerable man that

 

sort of gets the female of the species right here.” Dillon tapped his palm against his chest. “Makes ’em want to get all nurturing and rescue-y, you know?”

“I don’t look vulnerable. Do I look vulnerable to you? And I don’t need nurtured or rescued.”

“Trust me,” Dillon said, “you don’t have to be vulnerable for them to see you that way. And let’s face it, there you stand, the long-suffering artist with that mussed hair and just the right amount of stubble, like maybe you just got out of bed, and they start thinking maybe it should be them you just got out of bed with. Hell, bro, I’d be after you myself if I wasn’t your best friend.” He shrugged. “And if you were a little more versatile in your preferences.”

“Too damn bad I’m not, pal. It would sure make my life a whole lot easier.”

“Oh, I doubt it,” Dillon said with a shake of his head. The smile on his face darkened. “I seriously doubt it.”

Dillon knew about complications in relationships. He knew way more than he ever told, Lex was sure. But at least Dillon could have a relationship.

“Is he all right?” There was a clatter of dishes and silver and V blew into the room with a tray loaded down like it was mealtime. “He didn’t throw up, did he?” The two of them always talked about him as though he were their seriously ill patient who had lost all cognitive skills.

“No, he didn’t throw up.” Lex managed a fair imitation of her voice that earned him a jaundiced look, but nothing else. If he didn’t throw up, V fed him. If he did, she waited an hour then fed him. He grudgingly admitted that Dillon and V together knew exactly what he needed and they didn’t let him intimidate them out of it.

“Well then, he needs something warming to ground him. Cookie’s potato leek soup and a nice cup of chamomile tea is just the ticket,” she said, plopping down on the floor next to the two of them.

To his astonishment, she managed not to spill either soup or tea in the process. Once seated, she efficiently poured tea as though they were at the dining room table rather than plunked down on the studio floor discussing his unexpected close encounter with said floor and what should now be done about it.

 

“I’m not hungry.” But he grudgingly spooned up some soup and swallowed it back just to make her leave him alone. He had to admit it tasted pretty damn good, so he had another bite while they went right on talking about him as though he weren’t there.

“Well, I can certainly understand why the poor woman thought he needed a little cuddling,” V said. “Look at how pale he is. He’s the epitome of the suffering artist.” She eyeballed the soup then him with a gesture that needed no words, so he shoveled in more soup. “But I really thought Ms. Philips was a keeper. I thought she understood the ground rules and would abide by them. Poor dear was ever so upset when I left her with Cookie. I’m sure she’ll never do it again.”

“She won’t because she won’t get the chance,” Lex said, this time dropping the spoon back onto the tray with a loud clatter. “I can’t run that risk.” Besides, he didn’t want to try to sketch someone who had seen him so vulnerable, who had seen him…not at his best.

Dillon helped himself to one of the homemade Parmesan bread sticks and spoke around a mouthful. “I’ll start looking for someone else. We always get résumés. Most models would kill for an opportunity to work for him.” There they went again, speaking around him.

“Don’t the two of you have things to do?” he said.

“Not till you finish your soup and drink some of that tea too. It’ll help calm you,” V replied.

He was their boss. He could force the issue, but they both knew he wouldn’t, and he knew that whatever it was they had to do would get done and then some.

“I’ll make sure he finishes, V, darling. Why don’t you go get on with the accounts? I know you’re up to your eyes in it at the moment.”

“Well, if you’re sure.” She shoved her way to her feet with a cracking of joints heartily protesting time spent on the hard floor. “Make sure he doesn’t get up until he’s ready. And make sure he drinks that tea,” she called over her shoulder as she headed for the door. At the last second, she turned and gave him one more look-over, just in case they’d missed something, just in case this time was different than all the other times they’d sat with him until he could function again. Something was different, but he wasn’t about to tell V that.

When they were both sure that the housekeeper was gone, Dillon turned his eagle eye on Lex. “Well?”

 

Lex did his best to focus on the last of the soup, but Dillon had been his best friend for years, long before he was his PA, and he didn’t miss much.

“You had a naked model with a very nice, very natural rack rubbing up against your back before you went ballistic on her then hit the floor.”

“You’re seriously asking me if I got a hard-on from this whole experience?”

“Well, not the whole experience, obviously, but didn’t you, you know, feel something before you felt what you usually feel?”

“Not long enough for it to cancel out the old reliable, if that’s what you were hoping,” Lex said, downing the now tepid tea in a single gulp. He fought back a blush. “Besides, these days it wouldn’t matter if I were doing the accounts for V, I’d still be…uncomfortable. It’s ridiculous,” he said. “If I don’t figure out what the fuck my problem is, and soon, I’m going to have repetitive stress syndrome.” He flexed the fingers of his right hand. “Can’t be all that great for my work either.”

Dillon shot a glance back at the door on the outside chance that V might be eavesdropping, which the woman wasn’t above doing. Then he scooted a little closer, careful not to make any physical contact, and spoke between barely parted lips. “I might have an idea.”

“You might?” Lex shooed the man away from the last breadstick with a snap of the napkin against his wrist, then grabbed it and chomped one end.

“Give me a little time to research it and I’ll get back to you,” he said, rubbing his wrist as if Lex had actually wounded him. Then he rose to his feet and left him to eat the last of his breadstick in peace.

He knew how Dillon was when he had an idea. He was never sure whether to be excited or terrified. He forced his way to his feet and turned his attention back to the half-finished sketch of Sally Philips now lying on the floor next to the overturned easel among a scatter of other sketches. He had given the whole thing a shove when she’d trapped him between the easel and her half-naked body. Even as he shivered at the thought of her cold touch, he felt a tightening in
his jeans.

“Fuck,” he whispered under his breath. He wadded the drawing into a ball and tossed it across the room. Truth was, he’d had a hard-on the whole time he was sketching her, but that was often a part of the creative process. He’d read enough to know that creative energy was

 

very closely linked to sexual energy and libido, but under the circumstances, he had very little outlet but a good jerk-off session. Surely Ms. Philips hadn’t noticed his chub. He never wore anything that might give away his secret when he was working with a model. Surely she hadn’t thought that he was interested. He wasn’t. Even if she had been his type, he had given up hopes of anything resembling a relationship or even a quickie with a stranger in an alley a long time ago. He righted the easel and picked up the sketches, organizing them and placing them back in the pad, careful to extract the ones he’d done of Sally Philips. A setback, indeed. They were nearly done. Only a few more sketches and he’d have been ready to begin work on the sculpture for the new women’s and children’s hospital, but he knew he’d never be able to see sketches of her now without breaking into a cold sweat and feeling slightly nauseated, neither of which was conducive to creative efforts.

 

It’s Launch Day for THE TUTOR!

The Tutor is now available for your reading pleasure!

 

the-tutor-kd-grace_promosquare_outnow_final

 

 

Who knew a can of pears in heavy syrup could inspire an entire novel about an outrageously sexy haphephobic sculptor and the woman he longs to touch but can’t? I know it seems like quite a stretch, but inspiration is like that, isn’t it?

 

We have five senses. We use them all without thinking, but as a writer, I’ve always been intrigued by what it would be like to live without one of those senses– one that we use most often. In The Tutor, I take away the one sense that we never lose, the one we most rely on in our everyday life. I take away the sense of touch. Sculptor, Lex Valentine, is severely haphephobic — he us unable to touch anyone else or to allow himself to be touched. Within that context, I wanted to explore intimacy and how it would develop without the aid of human contact.

 

What exactly is intimacy, anyway, and is it really dependent on being able to touch each other? How much of what binds us to someone and what makes us close depends on being able to physically touch? Lex Valentine and Kelly Blake must find their way to each other without touch. Can they do it? And just how the hell will a can of pears help?

 

The whole story, pears and all, available for your reading pleasure:

 

eBook:
Totally Bound Publishing
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon AU
Amazon CA
Amazon DE
Barnes & Noble
iBooks UK
iBooks US
Google Books
Kobo

Print:
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The Tutor Excerpt – What Does it Feel Like?

“Look I don’t expect you to deal with what a fucked up mess I am. I realized that what I really want to know is what it feels like, what you feel like, what any woman feels like when she’s with a man, or even when she touches herself, and I have no one I would feel comfortable asking without wondering the whole time if they thought that by my asking I had given them permission to try and fix me. Does that make any sense?”

She had little time to do more than nod before he continued. “Oh I’ve watched enough porn that I get that it feels really good. I’ve read enough erotica to get some picture of how it’s supposed to be, but my take on it’s always one-sided,” he raised his hand and wiggled his fingers as though to demonstrate. “I can’t know anything but my own touch, certainly I can’t feel anything else, so I want you to tell me. I want you to answer my questions. I want you to tell me what I would feel if I touched you, what you would feel if I touched you. As for what I would feel if you touched me, well,” he shrugged and offered her a smile that seemed slightly forced, “for that I’ll just have to use my imagination.”

She took a deep breath, as though she were about to dive under water. “Okay, well, I’ll start with my lips because lovers often start there. I would have made sure they were moist for you before you kissed them, but not so wet as to be off-putting, and you would have done the same. And your first kisses would be tentative, if you’re really good, almost like a feather lighting against my mouth softly and repeatedly until I’m breathless for the want of more; and then I would part my lips to give you more surface area so that we could feel each other better.” She chuckled softly as she realized they’d both raised their fingers to their mouths. “And then we would both press harder and rub harder. The more surface area we touched the more we’d want and, I think lips swell, not just from the pressure, but in an effort to create that surface area, and when they can swell no more, when I feel like I want to completely take my lover into my mouth, then I would open to him and there would be a whole new surface area, wet and slick and warm, there would be a whole new motion when our tongues discover each other. I think a kiss reflects what happens in penetrative sex. It’s sort of an intimation, if you will,” her gaze locked on him, and for the first time she noticed just how blue his eyes were, “a promise of things to come.”

“Yes,” he whispered. “I’ve thought of that in my art. I’ve thought of the interchange we make with mouths and cocks
and vaginas.” He struggles with the last word

“It’s okay to call it a pussy or a cunt or whatever works for you.” She said.

He laughed softly. “How the hell would I know?”

“Well,” she stretched out on the countertop and rolled onto her side, resting her head on her hand. “you just have to try them out and see how they fit your mouth.”

This time they both laughed. “If they fit my mouth, I wouldn’t have to worry about what words I used, would I?”

“Good point,” she said.

“Not quite, but getting there fast, thank you.” Again, they both laughed, a strangely relaxed laugh under the bizarre circumstances.

“The thing is,” she said, rolling onto her back and staring up at the long rack of copper bottom pans above her head, “words are often as important in sex, and as erotic, as touch. I write in my other life, and I find that while some of my characters get turned on by waxing poetic between the sheets, others get hot by talking dirty.”

“How does your cunt feel when some fucker talks dirty to you,” he said, though not without a hearty blush.

“That would depend on the fucker and the circumstances and how badly I wanted to ride his cock.”

“And if it was a fucker whose cock you really wanted to ride, a fucker who was hard and heavy for you? What words would he use, and what response would he elicit?

“It wouldn’t hurt for him to observe out loud what he sees about my body’s state of arousal, and how he admires it.”

“You mean like how lovely your breasts are when your nipples are so taut that even your areola are visible through that shirt, which I imagine feels like a caress every time you inhale. You mean like the way your lips are parted and moist. You’ve not completely shut your mouth for the past five minutes, the way you rock your hips, almost but not quite secretly, and grind you bottom against the countertop. Is that what you mean?”

“Jesus! We shouldn’t be doing this.” She sat bolt upright on the surface and then froze as though someone had hit the pause button. “Alex?”

The man perched on the edge of the counter, just far enough away that she couldn’t easily touch him. He had kicked his shoes off and his own nipples peaked to bullet points through his white polo shirt. That would have been enough to hold her attention indefinitely had it not been for the heel of his hand stroking the very obvious, very anxious erection
through his jeans.

It was all right. It was fine, she told herself. She’d had more than a few occasions where her job involved watching and coaching someone while they masturbated. This was just her job. That’s all.

“It’s more obvious with me what I feel,” he said, raking her body with a hooded gaze. “And your nipples, well you could just be cold. Please tell me what you feel when you see me like this, when we talk like this.”

She moved to the edge of the counter giving him space, then motioned him onto it and she opened her leg. “If I weren’t
wearing trousers, if you could see my panties, you’d know that I’m wet.” She nodded to his erection. “You’d know that the thought of what you’re doing, the sight of how your body is responding to mine, is making me wetter.” She cupped her breasts in turn, through the white blouse. “Every part of me feels heavy, Alex. My breasts feel like my bra can no longer contain them. My nipples ache. And my lips,” she touched her mouth, and then, holding his gaze, moved her hand down to rest on the crotch of her trousers. “My lips are swollen, so swollen and slippery and ready to be penetrated.” She nodded first to his mouth and then to his erection. “Do I want the fucker to give it to me hard and deep in my cunt? What do you think?”

“Oh God,” he managed. Then he stopped talking altogether. His breath came in tight little grunts and gasps as he moved against his hand, holding her in his gaze as surely as if he held her in his embrace; and it was in that instant, the instant she slid her hand down the front of her trousers and into her panties an action he mirrored, that she knew neither of them would make it out of here intact. She wanted to run, but she didn’t. She wanted to take off her clothes and feel his gaze all over her body, but she didn’t. She wanted to demand that he strip for her, that he come just for her thetutor_800eyes, but she didn’t. She couldn’t. She could only cup and grope her breasts until they hurt. She could only stroke herself while she watched him do the same.

The space around them crackled with their energy, and their desperate efforts to breathe were the only sounds beyond the stroke of skin against fabric. In a hungry attempt at relief, they both rocked and bucked, mirror images of each other with one hand down the front of their trousers while the other groped and cupped and tweaked and pinched whatever part of their anatomy it came in contact with. Then breathing stopped, time stopped. Everything around them disappeared until they saw nothing but each other, locked in each other’s gaze, more physical than any embrace Kelly had ever felt, and it was enough. Heaven help them, it was enough. He came first by a split second, roaring like a wounded lion, arching back until she feared he’d either break his neck or fall off the counter. But the sight of him so vulnerable in his passion, the fact that even in his release, he kept his eyes on her was all she could handle, and she convulsed against her own hand, convulsed as though she would break apart, never taking her eyes off him, never breaking that connection.

 

 

 

For Valentine’s Day: Love Yourself

Valentine 2

Happy Valentine’s Day, my Lovelies! Though I know Valentine’s Day is dedicated to romance and lovers, I am officially rededicating it to self-love — and I don’t mean just … you know … ‘Self Love,’ though that certainly can be a part of it. Very sadly, and unfairly, Valentines day has often been a day when people who are One, rather than Two Together (The words single or alone, or worst of all singleton, have such bad connotations — especially on Valentine’s day, and reclaiming them is a major undertaking, but a topic for another time) I was One for a very long time before Raymond and I became Two Together, and for a very long time, I found Valentine’s Day traumatic with all the hoop-la and commercial hype all aimed at couples. It was only when I learned to be happy as One that I discovered I could celebrate myself and show love for myself ALL BY MYSELF! I didn’t need someone to do it for me. In fact, strangely enough, I discovered until I could be happy being One, I didn’t really have much to offer in a relationship of Two Together.

Celebrate One-ness:

Be Physical: Go for a walk, go for a run, go to the gym, bike, hike, climb, row, swim. Make yourself sweat. Now I’m all for doing this with a vibe or yummy sex toys, but do something for the rest of you as well. We are a Whole, not just a mind with a body attached like extra baggage. Love your Body! Always remember, it’s your Body that gets you there! Wherever there might be. Sadly, it’s also our Bodies that so often get neglected, ignored and often abused; and yet our Body is, and will be until our dying day, the vessel that gets us through the physical world, the conduit for all sensuality, all pleasure, all emotion, and all physical challenges. Why shouldn’t we love it, appreciate it and say thanks by showing a little self-love.

Enjoy some bubbles: And I don’t mean Prosecco, although there’s certainly room for some of that too. Bathing and cleansing rituals have long been rituals for preparation — a preparing for new beginnings, for ceremony, for something challenging.  What a lovely way to tell our Bodies we love them, and we’re ready for whatever new challenges they allow us to experience. Scented bubbles, a few candles, and yes, a glass of Prosecco or your favourite beverage. Add a little bit of your fave music in the background and indulge. Be mindful of the senses, be mindful of all that’s wonderful about being you, cuz, I promise, it’s so very much!

Do Something Totally Decadent: This is the best bit! Your choice! Totally decadent. Spend the morning (afternoon too if you like) in bed with a good … maybe even filthily book. Eat your very fave dessert, BUT eat it very, VERY slowly to savour the texture, the tastes, the feel, the smell. The richer the dessert, the slower you should eat it. The slower you eat it, the more delicious it’ll be. Oooh! Making myself hungry here. Go to a film, watch that Box Set you’ve been wanting to watch, Buy yourself that something you’ve had your eye on for awhile, go to a museum or a gallery. These are just ideas. The main thing is that whatever you do, it should be totally and completely for you — no guilt, no angst, just pleasure.

Do Something New: There’s an old proverb that every time you have a new experience, you add anotherSleeping woman reading181340322466666994_IswNAb85_b day onto your life. Certainly it feels like new life has been breathed into me when I step outside my comfort zone and do something new. Take that local sight-seeing tour you’ve always promised yourself, but never done because … well you know … it’s local. Sign up for that class you’ve always wanted to take, but never quite gotten around to. Learning something new is always life-enhancing and one of the very best ways of loving oneself. Cook a new recipe, plant some herbs, raise your own salad sprouts in a jar, knit, embroidery, draw, paint, take up kettle bells — whatever works for you! Whatever you feel the urge to do. Do it. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Now then, you might have seen that this list applies whether you’re One or whether you’re Two Together, because honestly, we’re all still One, and we need to take care of that One even when we’re Two Together. Good things are always good things. Seeing ourselves as worthy of good things, worthy of love and adoration and a little self-worship for being the gods and goddesses we are, helps us understand that circumstances are just that — circumstances. What we do with those circumstances can truly be the gift we give back to ourselves.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone! Whether you’re One or whether you’re Two Together, go out and enjoy some seriously decadent self love! 

 

Here’s a little Valentine’s Day Self-Love giftie just for you from my novel, The Pet Shop, now a part of The Collared Collection, which teams  Kay Jaybee’s The Voyeur with my Pet Shop. Enjoy! Preferably in bed with your fave beverage of some chocolate or toy or Other Half of Two Together … in a bath might be a bit on the wild side and scary for your computer 😉

 

The Pet Shop Chapter 9

It wasn’t Stella’s first time in the States, or the Northwest. She considered it a very good omen that her first trip for Strigida was to such a lovely place. In a lot of ways, the Western part of Oregon was like a primordial England that had been picked up by each of its corners and stretched and tugged and expanded. Then after it had been given a hearty shake to rid it of too many people, it was snapped like a puzzle piece in between Washington and California to glisten in the veil dance of wet Northwest sunlight.

There was plenty of talk about nature and the great outdoors with Vanguard. Stella had done all the appropriate research, brilliant research even, but the internet could only take her so far. On the last day of her visit, Vanguard sent her on an impromptu field trip with Bob Paris, the resident biologist, so she could actually see the site that was to be reclaimed.

She rattled down the road hermetically sealed in Bob’s muddy Vanguard Land Rover. She thought it Collared bundle - Copymight have been green, but she wasn’t willing to wipe away the grime and risk muddying her mauve pencil skirt and matching jacket to find out. The need for clothes more suited for outdoor life had not been something she had thought about when she came to work with Strigida, but she was beginning to see the wisdom in a pair of good walking boots and clothes that could withstand the rigors of the natural world. Her lack of such attire and the fact that there had been substantial rain the night before meant it would be a drive-through sort of tour, with Bob hitting the highlights of reclamation and pointing out a few of the local birds and a couple of deer browsing at the edge of a clear-cut.

‘The clear-cut will grow back on its own given time,’ Bob was saying as he pulled the Land Rover to the edge of the rutted excuse for a logging road and stopped so she could look. ‘Erosion is our main concern here.’ He nodded to the dark patch of heavy forest next to it. Tall conifers drapes in moss and spiked with mistletoe looked like giant, pre-decorated Christmas trees. ‘That patch would have met the same fate had it not been for Vincent Evanston.’

If Bob hadn’t before, he certainly had her full attention now. ‘Vincent Evanston? You know him?’

‘Yep.’ He laughed under his heavy mustache. ‘Always preferred to spend his time with the birds and the beasties rather than with humans. Guess I’m a bit like that too, but then I wasn’t born richer than God like Vincent. He’s a strange one.’

‘Then he lives around here?’

‘Has all his life. Right on the other side of those trees there. Speak of the devil.’ Bob raised the pair of binoculars that permanently hung around his neck, then gave a confident nod. ‘That’s the Birdman there. He spends a lot of time in these woods when he’s home.’

She fumbled with the spare pare of binoculars Vanguard had lent her, giving herself a hearty knock on the nose before she managed to get them focused. Her stomach did a flip-flop, then a pirouette. Even with her unsteady hand and the thud-thud of her heart making the scene tremble in front of her eyes, she knew she was looking at Tino, who was looking right back at her. She caught her breath ‘You’re sure that’s Vincent Evanston?’

‘Of course I’m sure. I’ve worked with the man often enough. Helluva naturalist.’

The butterfly dance in her stomach had moved up into her chest to do a mad mambo with her heart and suddenly she had to know. ‘Excuse me.’ She threw open the door. ‘I’m sorry but I have to go. I really need to talk to him.’

‘Wait! You can’t get out there dressed like that.’

She slammed the door on Bob’s objections and went slip-sliding across the road toward the man in the wood. Her kitten heels sunk in the pale mud with each step she took. On the other side of the road she found herself faced with a ditch full of fast-moving rainwater. It wasn’t that wide, she could have jumped it easily enough in trainers, but she wasn’t in trainers. She found purchase on a mossy rock and struggled to balance on the ball of her foot, but the rock slipped and turned beneath her sending her teetering with arms flailing before she sat down hard in the middle of the icy flow.

7401867966b49d9e25e799def0c09dae            The gasp for breath and the high pitched yelp barely passed her lips before he was on her, grabbing her beneath the armpits and pulling her to her feet with a heavy slurp and splorsh from her skirt, which seemed to be acting like a sponge. He half-dragged, half carried her to dry ground and plopped her down unceremoniously on a mossy log. His curled fingers lifted her chin until her eyes met Tino’s dark gaze. ‘You scared the hell out of me. Are you alright?’ Tino speaking would have been shocking enough but Tino speaking with an American accent just seemed wrong somehow. She nodded, unable to reply.

He already had his Blackberry out. ‘Bob, yes she’s fine. No, don’t worry, I’ll take care of her. Go on back to the hide.’ He slapped the blackberry back in his pocket and turned his full attention on Stella. This time it was not concern that filled his eyes.

‘What the hell were you thinking, out in the woods dressed like that?’

She was already shivering from the cold and the wet. ‘Guess the Great Outdoors isn’t my forte.’ She offered an apologetic smile.

‘Come on.’ He grabbed her hand and pulled her to her feet. ‘My pack’s under those trees. Let’s get you into something dry before hypothermia sets in.’ But when she stumbled and nearly twisted her ankle in her now filthy mauve shoes, he cursed under his breath and lifted her as though she were weightless, causing her to gasp surprise as he turned on his heels and headed back toward the pack.

She threw her arms around his neck and hung on tight, smelling wood smoke in his hair and on his plaid shirt, a smell that made her pussy tighten at thoughts of making love to him in the light of a campfire. They didn’t have far to go, just in the protection of the trees. There he eased her down on huge stump and thrust a steaming cup of cocoa into her hand from a flask he’d dug out of a rucksack big enough that he could have used it for a tent. ‘Drink this. It’ll help warm you till I can sort out something dry for you to wear.’ He turned his broad back to her and began to dig through the pack.

She was trembling hard enough that is was an effort not to spill the cocoa. ‘You’re Tino, aren’t you?’ She spoke between chattering teeth.

His back stiffened slightly, then relaxed again as he continued to dig. ‘I’m Vincent.’

She sat the cup down next to her and hugged her arms around her shivering body. ‘I know you’re Vincent, Vincent Evanston, but you’re Tino. I mean he’s you, isn’t he?’

He turned on her, grabbing her shoulders so quickly that she feared he would shake her. Instead, he began to chafe her arms, his dark eyes locked on hers. ‘I told you, Tino’s not here.’

‘But I — ’

He swallowed up her words in an open-mouth kiss, taking her breath away, taking away her ability to think with the heat of it, the expressive depth of it. He bit her lip as he pulled back, still holding her gaze. S6304604‘Tino’s not here,’ he repeated. His voice held the tiniest edge of warning. Then, as though it were business as usual, he bent and removed her shoes. ‘You’re lucky you didn’t break an ankle in these.’ He tossed them onto the ground and wiped his muddy hands on his trousers. ‘Afraid I don’t have an extra pair of shoes with me. Now lift your butt.’

‘What?’

He nodded to a non-descript wad of clothing now sharing her stump. ‘It’s not elegant, but it’s dry, now lift your butt. Or,’ the weight of his gaze was nearly physical, causing her heart to hammer and jerk like it was trying to get closer to him, or maybe run away from him, ‘if you’d rather I can turn my back and let you do it.’

She released her breath slowly and lifted her arse off the stump, an act, that in itself seemed lewd. He pushed open her jacket with warm hands and shoved up the edge of her silk blouse to unzip her skirt, exposing a swath of her belly just above her navel. Then he curled his fingers around the waist of the skirt, catching the elastic of her knickers as well, and shimmied both down over her hips. His hands skimmed the lacy tops of her hold ups, and for a second, she forgot about the cold. She reached out and raked her fingers through his unruly hair.

His breath caught in his chest, and he lowered his head to plant a warm kiss just below her navel, lips burning on her icy skin. Then he pulled away all businesslike. You’ll get hypothermia. You’re cold.’ The rush of his hot breath brushed her belly, causing goose flesh to tiptoe up her spine.

She had little control over the trembling that gripped her body from the cold, and yet her insides squirmed with want as he inched the skirt down over her thighs leaving her hold-ups in place. ‘Please,’ she gasped between chattering teeth. How could she be so damn cold and so hot at the same time. ‘I need…I need.’

‘I know what you need.’ His voice was tight, accented by the heavy drag of his breath, much heavier than the expended efforts demanded. His dark eyes were clouded with a cocktail of emotions too complex for her to translate in her discomfort, but there had to be some anger and maybe some concern in the mix. The second kiss chased the descent of her skirt, lighting fast and humid on the apex of her gash searing hot against the damp chill of goose flesh, just above the place where her clit roused itself from beneath its hood. The delicious steamy shock of it unbalanced her and she dropped back onto the stump, her bottom settling into soft moss and her elbow sending the cocoa cup clattering into the fragrant pine straw.

He dragged her skirt down and shoved at it as though it had offended him somehow until it was in a heap around her ankles. Then he eased her left leg free, lifted it so her foot rested on his shoulder splaying her crotch for his hungry gaze. ‘I’m wet,’ she sighed.

‘You fell in a ditch.’ His fingers traced a ticklish path up the inside of her thigh above the hold-ups.ThePetShop

She squirmed and arched her back. ‘That’s not what I mean.’

‘I know what you mean.’ Hi words were short, clipped. He slid a thick finger between her heavy folds causing a sharp intake of breath. Then he rose to take her mouth again, forcing her leg forward, knee bent to press her thigh against her breasts making her pussy gape like a begging bird, making her bare down into the pillow of moss. ‘Please,’ she gasped. ‘I need … ’

He held her in his weighty gaze. ‘I know what you need,’ he repeated. With his free hand, he fought his trousers like they were the enemy until they were down around his hips, and in her peripheral vision she could just make out his heavy penis straining toward her before he pushed into her with a grunt sending shock waves up through her at the sudden invasion that filled her too full for comfort, yet felt way too good to be pain.

He gathered her to him and began to thrust. There was no preamble, no foreplay, just driving hungry need. She hooked her legs around him and held on for dear life, growling and grinding, feeling like she would split in two with the each pounding. And yet she wanted nothing more than to live for the next thrust. It was as though her whole world contacted to thrusting and shoving and trembling. She was freezing and burning and grasping, and he was pushing her, more quickly than she would have ever imagined, to complete overload.

The Pistoning of his body raked the swell of her clit raw as he drew nearer his release. And when at last he overwhelmed her, she threw back her head and howled as her orgasm raged like fire melting ice. Only a split second later he convulsed and jerked on top of her.

For a few minutes they lay sprawled on the stump together catching their breath. Then, at last he pulled out, and it was as though nothing had happened. Avoiding her gaze, he cleaned them both with the large america-artist-art-paintings-prints-note-cards-by-howard-chandler-christy-nude-women-reading-approximate-original-size-18x16
blue bandana he’d been wearing around his neck, then he tossed her a pair of grey track suit bottoms with a draw string. ‘Put these on. We need to get you someplace warm.’ He packed up his rucksack while she struggled into the bottoms, then he threw her a hooded sweatshirt. He tossed her
muddy shoes into a waterproof bag and shoved it in the top of rucksack, just before he hoisted it onto his back. Then he lifted her in his arms again.

‘What are you doing?’ She breathed. ‘You can’t carry me to your house.’

He nodded behind him as a dark blue Jeep pulled up and parked inconspicuously by the side of the road, not far from where she had tried to cross. ‘I have no intention of carrying you to my house. George will take you back to your hotel.’

 
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