Hello, lovely readers! Just a quick announcement first: unfortunately, the release of Tangled Love will be postponed for just a few days, until Sept. 18th. Sorry to do this, but I did an oops and accidentally planned the release when I’m supposed to be going away for a wedding, and I’d rather be around to make sure release day goes off without a hitch (since I’ll be busy and probably won’t be around my laptop very much). I know I’m pushing it pretty close to the release of High Risk at the end of the month, but I hope it won’t be too annoying. Actually, considering there are things (particularly a certain character) that will be introduced or revisited in Tangled Love that will later become significant in the Risky Business Duet, I’m pretty pleased releasing then in quick succession looks like it’ll work out okay, even though I probably should’ve planned for a bit more breathing room between the two.
But if it’s any consolation for the postponement, how about an exclusive excerpt? This one’s just a quickie and there will be more where this came from in the next few days, but I hope it gets you intrigued for what’s going on between Eric and Tera. Just so you know, it is mildly NSFW and obliquely references past abuse.
Strangely, it was his clothes that caught my attention before his face. Caleb was dressed all in black—black pants, black combat boots, a black dress shirt with a subtle sheen, its sleeves rolled up to his elbows to reveal artfully tattooed arms. My stomach lurched. He’d been wearing something very similar that night at the club in New York over two years ago, that night when Kellan…
I forced the memory to the back of my mind. It was a struggle just to breathe normally now that the tightness in my throat had returned, but somehow I found my voice to speak. “Megan, what seems to be the problem here?” I repeated, quickly averting my eyes to her and away from Caleb.
Megan scoffed. “He’s the problem.” She jabbed a finger at him, then dropped her voice to a harsh whisper. “We don’t need him causing any trouble here, and you know better anyone why he’s trouble.”
I pressed my mouth into a hard line, hating there was nothing I could do to stop the blush taking over my face. Really, Megan? Seriously? I wanted to screech at her. The humiliating, so-called “history” between me and Caleb wouldn’t be a problem if no one brought it up, and as far as I could tell, that was the only “trouble” she could possibly be referring to.
Caleb cleared his throat. “I take it you’re the… owner?” He regarded me like I was a wild animal who could either bolt or bite, clearly still shocked to see me.
My mouth twisted into a painfully forced smile. “I run the place, yes. The ‘Dungeon Mistress,’ you could say. Call me Miss Tera.” I held my hand out to him. Just play it cool and pretend you don’t know him; don’t want to raise anyone’s suspicions. “And you would be..?”
“Just call me ‘C,’” he said, briefly grasping my hand. “Look, I don’t want to cause any trouble here. I can go if it’s going to be a problem.”
“Please, don’t worry about it. There’s no need to leave as long as you follow the club rules and act respectfully towards the other members; isn’t that right?” I added the last part with a pointed sideways glance at Megan. “I’m very sorry for the… disturbance… it’s just that unfortunately, you, uh, kind of resemble of someone who’s banned from the club, so I hope you’ll forgive the confusion. I’d be more than happy to refund your cover fee and temporary membership for the night as an apology.” I cringed internally when I heard myself offering to cover the cost for a mega-millionaire like I was some restaurant manager he’d asked to speak with, but I couldn’t think of anything else to offer him.
“Oh, that’s okay, don’t worry—” Caleb started to say, before Megan cut him off with an incredulous laugh.
“Are you kidding me?” she blurted out.
I blew out a hard breath before whispering in her ear. “‘C’ isn’t the problem here, okay? He’s not Kellan, and I’m not banning him just because of who he’s related to, or because of some old tabloid garbage. I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but you’re not helping anyone by making a scene in the middle of the club. If it turns out I’m wrong about him you can say ‘I told you so,’ but you’ve gotta trust me to handle things, alright?”
“You’re not gonna be able to say that I told you if you get kidnapped and murdered,” she muttered under her breath, leaving the chill of her words to sink into my bones as she turned back to Caleb with a bright, fake grin. “I’m very sorry, sir; I really hope we can put this misunderstanding behind us. Enjoy your night!”
A hand curled around my waist just then, nearly jolting me out of my skin. It took a moment longer than it should have for me to relax against the warm, solid figure beside me that could only be Eric. I peeked up at him, my fragile smile cracking when I saw the way his cold, unreadable stare was fixed on the other man. He pressed me tightly to him, running a hand possessively up and down my side in a way that reminded me of a time way back in January when Neal had been the perceived threat. The “back off now” message being sent by just his stance couldn’t have been clearer, but for once, his protective instinct was more anxiety-inducing than comforting when all I wanted was to simply leave Caleb be and forget this encounter had ever happened.
“Everything under control over here?” Eric asked.
I smiled again. “Of course, Sir. You remember C, right? It’s his first time at The Loft, and there was just a misunderstanding regarding club etiquette, that’s all.” I put a hand on his chest, rubbing it soothingly in an attempt to calm his pounding heartbeat as well as my own.
“I remember,” he said curtly, giving Caleb a stiff handshake.
“Please let me know if you have any other issues,” I added before leaving the scene of the incident with Eric, not sure which of us was leading the other away. Soon enough, though, I found myself surrendering to Eric’s silent commands, letting him steer me into the nearest empty private dungeon.
Our mouths crashed hotly together before the door had even fully shut. Eric’s hands slid around to my ass, hiking up the skirt of my minuscule scrap of a dress and lifting me to wrap my legs around him in one fluid motion. Vaguely, I was aware of him carrying me over to the wide leather swing hanging in the corner. I collapsed into it, bringing Eric down with me. My frayed nerves were unraveling fast, and I clung to him as if he were the only thing in the world that could bind me together again. I was exhausted, my muscled still aching from our earlier scene, yet anything he wanted from me now I would give, so long as he’d make me forget everything else beyond that room.
His lips moved to my neck as he rocked his hips against me, planting shiver-inducing kisses between my collar and collarbone. I gasped as my raw, swollen clit brushed the ridge of his erection straining against his pants, shock at how hard he was already, and how wet and needy I was for him. He pulled my wrists above my head, wordlessly commanding me to hold onto the chains at the corners of the swing. My fingers flexed around them in restless anticipation as I watched Eric shrug off his jacket. His burning gaze never left me as he quickly unbuckled his belt and pulled his cock free.
“Look at me,” he said as he pushed two fingers into me, catching me just as my eyes had started to drift closed. They snapped open. “How sore are you?”
I worried my lip between my teeth; I was so tender and sensitive that just the slow teasing of his fingers was enough to drive me insane. “I don’t care, Sir,” I breathed, “I just need you to fuck me. I won’t know how sore I am until you do, but I don’t care. Please, just fuck me.” I couldn’t explain why I needed this so badly just then. It was a feverish desperation that scared the hell out of me, but that sharp edge of fear only made my need that much more potent. Please, Eric, please just make me forget, I pleaded inside my head. Make me forget how to even think just for a moment.