Teaser Tuesday: 1 Week until BREAK ME DOWN is here!

Guess what, y'all? Gibson and Samantha are almost here! One week from today, BREAK ME DOWN releases. So I thought I'd give you a little preview. But first, here's what some reviewers had to say about it:

"WOW. Break Me Down is scorching hot!" - Vanessa Booke on Goodreads
"Loren's raciest novel to date." - Stephanie on Goodreads
"...a beautiful, poignant, yet hotter than than blazes story" - Sophia Rose on Goodreads
I just...so good. So very very good. I'm totally rocking a little book hangover from Break Me Down. From a novella. Whoa. You know you've found an amazing author when they're able to write a dynamic that's so NOT your thing and they still have you panting after the story and every single little word in it." --Anna from the Herding Cats Burning Soup book blog

Pre-order the book for only $2.99! Nook | Kindle | Kindle UK | Kindle Canada | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play

So are y'all ready for a peek?

From BREAK ME DOWN

Chapter 1

“Are you trying to torture me? I thought your husband was the sadist.” Samantha dropped the tray of clean glasses onto the rack behind the bar and gave her best friend the stink eye.

Tessa frowned. “Kade didn’t tell me Gibson was coming along. You know I would’ve suggested another bar if I’d known, but I wanted to see you before we left for Bermuda.”

Sam sighed and tightened her high ponytail as she snuck a glance at the table where Tessa’s husband, Kade, was chatting with his stepbrother. Gibson didn’t look her way, but she got the distinct impression he knew she was watching him and was purposely not turning her way. Good, she didn’t need to see those gorgeous blue eyes, didn’t need to remember how their color had darkened to a summer storm when she’d put him on his knees. “Does he have to look so goddamned good in a suit? It’s ridiculous. Who gets to look that hot after a whole day of work? By the time I’m out of here, I look like I’ve been rolled around in a pile of sweaty bodies and beer. He looks like he’s ready to pose for an Armani ad.”

Tessa’s pink-glossed lips curled into a knowing smirk. “You know, pining isn’t good for your health.”

Sam scoffed. “Please. I’m not pining. I just went on a date two weeks ago, and last weekend, I scened with Julian at the Ranch. This girl”—she swept her hand over her black T-shirt and jeans—“is moving on.”

Tessa lifted a brow, clearly not buying it. “If the date was two weeks ago, that means it wasn’t worth a second date. And you and Julian are friends. I bet you didn’t even see him naked.”

Okay, so she hadn’t. Julian was a fun submissive to practice with and more than a little hot, but Sam had never taken it very far with him. In fact, none of the submissives she played with at the Ranch ever inspired her to take it to that level. It was sparring with friends—fun, exciting, but not all that sexual. The submissives didn’t touch her, she kept her clothes on, and she didn’t get off in sessions. It worked for her. Well, it had worked for her until the man sitting at the table a few yards away had come into her life. She’d let him touch. Once. Thoroughly. And the minute she’d crossed that boundary with him, things had gotten complicated, and he’d bailed like she had some virulent disease.

Shit, maybe she was pining.

“All right, the date was a bust. But I really am moving on. If Gibson wants to pretend that what happened between us was a fluke, that’s his business. I deserve a guy who’s not ashamed or afraid to be with me. I don’t have time for games.”

Tessa leaned against the bar. “If it makes you feel better, I think he’s pretty miserable over it, too. You should’ve seen his face when he found out we were coming here.”

“Good.” She gave a terse nod. “In fact, since he’s here anyway, I may as well enjoy his suffering. What are y’all ordering?”

“A Blue Moon, a Crown and water, and a dirty martini.”

Sam grabbed a few glasses and started pouring the drinks. “Give me a minute, and I’ll bring them over. How’s my hair?”

“Uh-oh.” Tessa laughed. “It’s a perfectly executed messy ponytail, but what are you up to?”

Sam adjusted her shirt, letting the V-neck show off a little more cleavage than she usually revealed at work. “Torture.”

“Sadist.”

“Yep.”

Tessa shook her head, still smiling, and headed back to the table. Sam finished up with the drinks and carried them over on a tray, making sure to put a touch more sway in her walk. She’d learned how to do it early on to get tips before she’d become the manager of the place. She hadn’t lost the skill, and she wasn’t afraid to use it to torment the man who’d walked away from her. No, not walked—bolted like his ass was on fire. She moved from sway to full sashay. Suffer, Gibson Andrews. Feel the burn.

When she stopped at the table, Kade looked up, all blond hair and broad smile. Effortlessly gorgeous like his stepbrother but without the dark and brooding vibe that Gibson seemed to be gold-medaling in at the moment. Or always. “Hey, Sam, long time no see.”

“Right. It’s been ages.” She’d just seen the couple a few days ago, when they’d all gone to a music festival together. “So, stalker boy, I presume the dirty martini is yours.”

He took the drink from her, not blinking at the nickname she’d given him last year when he’d doggedly pursued her best friend like a bent knight on a quest. She set the beer in front of Tessa and then finally turned to Gibson. She kept her smile poised, but it took everything she had to keep her composure when Gib looked up. He’d let his jaw go a little scruffy, and the dark shadow of a beard only made him more edible. But the look in his eyes was what sucked the air right out of her. So this was what a gazelle must feel like when a starved lion caught sight of her. Hunger had flared in that deep blue gaze—open, naked, and without apology.

God. A jolt of desire went straight downward, like a rope being tugged. Hello. Lady parts officially engaged.

She must’ve reacted, showed some chink in her expression. Because as soon as that look was there, he shuttered it, glancing away and offering a flat “Hey, Sam.”

Everything inside her deflated—the pin of reality popping the balloon of hope. Ugh. Stupid, stupid man. She wanted to grab that thick, dark hair and make him hold the gaze, force him to show her the truth. To be real with her. But of course, she couldn’t touch him anymore. And, well, that would look a little weird in the bar. Sexually frustrated manager grabs customer by the hair, makes demands. She swallowed past the tightness in her throat, completely forgetting her plan to look seductive and so over him. “Crown and water.”

She plunked the glass on the table without grace, causing some of it to slosh over the top.

“Thanks,” he said gruffly.

Silence ensued and Tessa cleared her throat. “Um, do y’all still have those potato things with the bacon? I’m starving.”

Sam snapped out of her daze and turned to Tessa. “Potato skins. You bet. I’ll tell Angie to put in an order. She’ll be handling your table. I just wanted to come over and say hi.”

Gibson took a long gulp from his glass and then brushed a hand over his wavy hair, trying to smooth the unsmoothable. A move she’d learned was his sign of discomfort. God, this was so ridiculous.

And she was done with it. So things had gotten a little out of hand during that last training session. He’d been helping her out, bottoming for her so she could learn how to use a whip. They’d been through a few weeks of lessons and everything had gone well. All had been done under the assumption that he was a fellow dominant who would be guiding her from the bottom—a friendly exchange. He wasn’t supposed to get hard when she whipped him. And she wasn’t supposed to get so turned on at the sight of him. And they weren’t supposed to kiss. And she definitely wasn’t supposed to let him push her against a wall and put his hand beneath her skirt to get her off.

But all that had happened, and when she’d tried to wrest control back and take him to bed as her submissive, everything had exploded in her face. He’d snapped out of whatever spell he’d been in from the whipping and had told her that nothing could happen between them because they were both dominants. That he had a masochistic streak, not a submissive one. The training had ended right there. And she might’ve been able to let it go, to buy that he was just a dominant with a taste for pain, but her instincts were telling her it was far more than that. Not that it mattered what she thought. For whatever reason, he wasn’t going to take the submissive role. Period. End of sentence.

She wasn’t worth the risk to him.

Fine.

“Is there anything else I can get y’all for now?” she asked, her voice coming out a little too bright, too twangy. Damn, she was going Dolly Parton on their asses. Usually that only happened when customers pushed her to her politeness breaking point. Of course I’ll get your hamburger recooked a third time, sugar. I should’ve known when you said medium you meant fossilized.

Tessa’s brow went up, seeing right through Sam’s act.

“No, I think we’re good, Sam.” Kade cut an annoyed look his brother’s way.

Sam hustled back to the safety of the bar, cringing at how easily she’d gotten knocked off her plan. Damn that man. But the crowd was picking up, and she didn’t have time to waste trying to figure out the indecipherable Gibson Andrews. She had a job to do. So for the next hour, she managed her bartenders, poured drinks to help them keep up, and made rounds of the floor to greet customers and drop off food. By the time she made her second walk around the place, every table was taken and the noise of all those different conversations reverberated off the walls.

This was her favorite part of her shift. Managing the bar wasn’t always the most glamorous of jobs—okay, try never glamorous—but when the crowd was buzzing and the energy pulsed around her, she couldn’t help but feed off it. She cruised by the back corner, checking on tables, and a sharp whistle caught her attention.

She fought the instinct to ignore it. Nothing ticked her off more than being summoned like she was a dog that needed to come to heel, but a customer was a customer. She turned around and forced a tolerant smile at the two guys swigging cheap whiskey at a back table. Dolly Parton made an appearance again. Well, if Dolly Parton had B-cups, too much black eyeliner, and an eyebrow piercing. “Can I help y’all with something?”

“Hey, sweetheart,” one said, tipping his ball cap up and revealing narrow green eyes. “I dropped my keys. Mind getting them for me?”

She looked down at the floor and the keys at her feet. She bent over, swiped them from the ground, and tossed them on their table. “Here ya go.”

His friend grinned her way and pushed the keys onto the floor again. Clank. “Maybe bend down a little slower this time, darling. I didn’t get a good view the first go-round.”

She straightened, the customer-is-always-right attitude falling away and fuck-off-redneck-asshole mode replacing it. “This isn’t the champagne room. I’m not here to give you a show. Do you need a drink or what?”

Idiot number one smirked and leered at her chest. “Yeah, how about two buttery nipples? Are they pierced like your eyebrow? I bet they are. You look like that kind of girl.”

She wanted to reach over and bang their two skulls together. It’d probably make a hollow sound. Usually guys got over the buttery-nipple joke by the time they were out of high school, but clearly these two hadn’t moved beyond that maturity-wise. Next they’d be ordering a Sex on the Beach. “Two drinks coming right up.”

She strode off and told one of her male bartenders to bring the drinks over to the guys. She’d be damned if she’d let any of her staff get harassed. Flirting from customers was part of the deal. People got tipsy, and their tongues got loose. But Sam didn’t put up with idiots who took it too far.

Sam slipped back behind the bar and started clearing empty glasses. But only a few minutes passed before idiot number one made a reappearance. He leaned against the bar, snapping his fingers at her. “Hey. I need to talk to you.”

She clenched her jaw and turned. “Is there something wrong with your drink?” I could spit in it if you’d like.

He slid the drink across the bar. “Yeah, you didn’t serve it to me. What? You’re too good to talk to your customers?”

“I’m managing the place. My staff serve the drinks.”

“You’re a stuck-up bitch is what you are.”

“Hey.” A knife-edged voice came from behind him, slicing through the din around the bar. “You watch your goddamned mouth.”

Sam’s attention jumped to the spot behind the guy. Gibson’s face appeared out of the crowd like a vengeful apparition as he shoved his way closer to the bar.

The guy turned toward Gibson, his features twisting into a scowl that made him even uglier. “Who the hell you think you’re talking to?”

Gibson was the picture of cool rage, completely unruffled and terrifying in his calmness. “You. Disrespect the lady again, and we’re going to have a major problem.”

“Fuck you, man,” the guy said, words slurring. “This cunt’s job is to serve me my goddamn drinks, and she’s not doing it.”

With lightning-fast movement, Gibson grabbed the guy by the shirt collar and jammed him against the bar. “Wrong answer, asshole.”

“Shit.” Sam hurried around the counter and yelled for Angie to get their bouncer, Herb. “Gib, stop. Let us handle this guy.”

But it was too late. The drunk idiot was already taking a swing at Gibson, and his equally idiotic friend was heading their way. The punch missed wide when Gibson ducked out of the way. A glass broke. Gib looked smug at the guy’s failed attempt and knocked him hard against the bar again, rattling all the bottles and glasses nearby. Soon it’d be the guy’s teeth. But before it could turn into a full brawl, Herb got in between to break it up. He dragged the drunk away and told him and his friend to get out.

The two men continued cursing and throwing insults her and Gib’s way, but they weren’t dumb enough to try to fight Herb. If they did, she’d have the cops on the phone before they could blink, and they’d be sleeping it off in the drunk tank down at county lockup.

The customers in the bar had stopped to watch the ruckus, but as soon as the two jerks were out the door, all the conversation kicked back in, like hitting Play after pausing a movie. Sam released a breath and turned to Gibson, who was straightening the cuffs of his shirt.

She shook her head. “I could’ve handled that, you know.”

He looked up, frown lines between his brows. “No one gets to talk to you like that. I saw them giving you a hard time earlier and could tell he was headed up here to cause trouble. What did they say to you earlier? You looked pissed.”

She shrugged. “They kept trying to get me to bend over and pick up things off the floor. Then they ordered buttery nipples while leering at me. Juvenile stuff. Dumb but probably harmless.”

His jaw flexed. “Customers or not, they don’t get to disrespect you like that.”

She smirked and stepped around him to return to her spot behind the bar. “Getting respect around here is hard to come by. I have to go other places to get that.”

“Too bad you can’t bring a single tail to work.”

She laughed. “No kidding. That’d get people’s attention. Talk back to me, and I’ll paint a stripe across your ass.”

His gaze flared at that. “That could make it worse. Some people might misbehave for that privilege.”

She cocked a brow. “People like you?”

He frowned.

She sighed and grabbed a rag to start wiping up the drink they’d spilled during the altercation. “Sorry. Guess we haven’t reached the point where we can joke about everything with each other yet. Want to talk about the weather?”

He rubbed the back of his neck. “Sorry. It’s fine. I just hate that things are weird between us now. I miss hanging out with you. And my brother’s married to your best friend. We’re going to run into each other.”

She focused on cleaning the bar top, using a little too much vigor to wipe up things. Out, damned spot. “Doesn’t have to be weird. We can be friends.”

“Hard to be friends with someone you want in your bed.”

She looked up, something tightening low inside her when she saw the invitation in his eyes, that rope tugging again. Tug. Tug.

God, it would be so easy to give in and let him have the control. Sex with him in whatever form would probably be like winning the orgasm lottery. But it’d taken her so long to get to this point. She knew what she wanted, had finally figured out what flipped her switches, and she was tired of doing things halfway. “You know the price of admission for my bed, Gib. You’re not willing to pay it.”

Gibson leaned forward, bracing his arms on the bar and getting way too close for her to concentrate on anything but his dark eyelashes and full bottom lip. He kept his voice low enough for only her to hear. “We don’t have to be in any roles at all. We could just do things the old-fashioned way. Hot skin and cool sheets.”

She closed her eyes, a hint of his scent hitting her—rain-soaked earth. He’d always smelled like spring rain to her, something in his laundry detergent probably. But not until she’d had him under her whip did she get the rest of it—earth and man and hot need, who he really was beneath that polished exterior. She could smell it on him now. And that scent brought her right back to those sessions in the training room at the Ranch.

Never before had she felt such an utter need to make a man hers like she had when Gibson got into a scene. Something about him stirred those dark desires she’d only toyed with in fantasies before then. But the sessions had been her own kind of torture because they’d kept it so businesslike. He’d never taken off anything more than his shirt. There’d been no sex. He’d guided her from the bottom as her trainer and never gave over real control. Not until that last session, when she’d somehow broken through that outside layer, had she gotten a glimpse of what things could be like if they ever did those things for real, without restrictions.

And she knew without a doubt that if she agreed to an old-fashioned hookup with Gibson, physically she’d probably be over the moon, but deep down she’d be left unsatisfied afterward because she’d gotten a peek at what she’d be missing. She was done compromising. In her endless search to find Mr. Right, she’d spent too many years of her life dating guys who she’d jumped through hoops to please. No more. Even if Gibson was stupid beautiful and looking at her like he’d light her world on fire.

She poured a Crown and water and slid it his way. “Gib, let’s not pretend that either of us would be satisfied with old-fashioned. You don’t pay that exorbitant fee at the Ranch for nothing.”

The grooves around his mouth deepened and he straightened to full height, taking the drink in his hand. “I can’t be what you want me to be, Sam.”

“Why?” The word slipped out before she could stop it. But she’d seen how he’d reacted after that flogging. It hadn’t just been the pain. She’d been practicing dirty talk that night, dressing him down with her words. That had been the difference that night. He hadn’t just gotten hard; he’d been fighting subspace. Submission did something for him. She hadn’t imagined that.

His gaze slid away, the doors to his expression slamming shut. “Because it’s not who I want to be.”

She pressed her lips together, considering him for a long moment. She knew some submissive guys struggled with their desires. Many thought big, strong alpha men weren’t supposed to be anything other than dominant. But Gibson was so confident in his everyday life, she couldn’t imagine he gave a shit what societal norms or traditional gender roles called for. But for some reason, this was a no go for him.

She needed to accept that. Move on. She reached out and put her hand on his arm and squeezed. “Hey, that doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. Friends who are not weird with each other. Or at least only weird in an awesome way. Because, let’s face it, neither of us has any shot at normal.”

His lips tilted up at the corners, but his eyes didn’t hold the same humor. “Yeah, guess we’ll have to get some practice at that.”

She nodded. “Definitely. We’ll go have lunch or something soon, okay?”

“Sure.” He grabbed for his wallet. “What do I owe you for the drink?”

“It’s on the house for trying to protect me from drunk assholes. Thanks for that, by the way. I would’ve handled it, but seeing his teeth knock together when you shoved him against the bar was pretty entertaining.”

His mouth curved into a full smile then. “Anytime, sunshine.”

For the rest of chapter one, click here.

About the book:

The New York Times bestselling author of Call on Me invites you to discover the thrill of control as one couple wrestles for power in and out of the bedroom…

Samantha Dunbar needs to forget Gibson Andrews. When he trained her to be a domme, she experienced just how hot things could get with the sexy executive. She was ready to hand him everything—including her heart. But Gibson backed away, declaring them incompatible. He’s a dominant, and Sam’s no submissive.

But after an attack shakes Sam to her core, Gibson tracks her down at her family’s rundown farmhouse and makes her an offer. He’ll stay the week and be hers in every way—a helping hand for the renovation and a willing lover in her bed. He swore he’d never give up control to anyone again, but he hasn’t been able to touch another woman since Sam. Maybe a week alone with her will cure him of his relentless craving. 

But one taste only makes them want more, and Sam and Gibson are drawn in deeper than ever. The man who won’t give in has just met the girl who won’t give up…

Pre-order the book for only $2.99! Nook | Kindle | Kindle UK | Kindle Canada | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play

FIRST LOOK: Read Chapter 1 of BREAK ME DOWN!

First, a quick reminder in case you didn't see it yesterday. YOURS ALL ALONG, my m/m novella, is on sale for 99 cents! I'm NEVER on sale, so this is like a unicorn-type of event. ;) Grab it while you can. I'm not sure how long the sale is running.

BUY ITNook | Kindle | Kindle UK | Kindle Canada | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play

 

Next, drumroll... The first chapter of BREAK ME DOWN is now available in full! This one comes out Oct. 20th and features Gibson (Kade's brother) and Samantha (Tessa's BFF.) AND is my first novella with a female domme and male submissive. 

Pre-order for a mere $2.99 ;) Nook | Kindle | Kindle UK | Kindle Canada | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play

About the book:

The New York Times bestselling author of Call on Me invites you to discover the thrill of control as one couple wrestles for power in and out of the bedroom…

Samantha Dunbar needs to forget Gibson Andrews. When he trained her to be a domme, she experienced just how hot things could get with the sexy executive. She was ready to hand him everything—including her heart. But Gibson backed away, declaring them incompatible. He’s a dominant, and Sam’s no submissive.

But after an attack shakes Sam to her core, Gibson tracks her down at her family’s rundown farmhouse and makes her an offer. He’ll stay the week and be hers in every way—a helping hand for the renovation and a willing lover in her bed. He swore he’d never give up control to anyone again, but he hasn’t been able to touch another woman since Sam. Maybe a week alone with her will cure him of his relentless craving. 

But one taste only makes them want more, and Sam and Gibson are drawn in deeper than ever. The man who won’t give in has just met the girl who won’t give up…

 

Here's CHAPTER ONE (This is an early copy so may contain typos. Feel free to let me know if you find any). Copyright 2015 Roni Loren, All Rights Reserved Berkley Books.

Excerpt for 18 and over. 

Chapter 1

“Are you trying to torture me? I thought your husband was the sadist.” Samantha dropped the tray of clean glasses onto the rack behind the bar and gave her best friend the stink eye.

Tessa frowned. “Kade didn’t tell me Gibson was coming along. You know I would’ve suggested another bar if I’d known, but I wanted to see you before we left for Bermuda.”

Sam sighed and tightened her high ponytail as she snuck a glance at the table where Tessa’s husband, Kade, was chatting with his stepbrother. Gibson didn’t look her way, but she got the distinct impression he knew she was watching him and was purposely not turning her way. Good, she didn’t need to see those gorgeous blue eyes, didn’t need to remember how their color had darkened to a summer storm when she’d put him on his knees. “Does he have to look so goddamned good in a suit? It’s ridiculous. Who gets to look that hot after a whole day of work? By the time I’m out of here, I look like I’ve been rolled around in a pile of sweaty bodies and beer. He looks like he’s ready to pose for an Armani ad.”

Tessa’s pink-glossed lips curled into a knowing smirk. “You know, pining isn’t good for your health.”

Sam scoffed. “Please. I’m not pining. I just went on a date two weeks ago, and last weekend, I scened with Julian at the Ranch. This girl”—she swept her hand over her black T-shirt and jeans—“is moving on.”

Tessa lifted a brow, clearly not buying it. “If the date was two weeks ago, that means it wasn’t worth a second date. And you and Julian are friends. I bet you didn’t even see him naked.”

Okay, so she hadn’t. Julian was a fun submissive to practice with and more than a little hot, but Sam had never taken it very far with him. In fact, none of the submissives she played with at the Ranch ever inspired her to take it to that level. It was sparring with friends—fun, exciting, but not all that sexual. The submissives didn’t touch her, she kept her clothes on, and she didn’t get off in sessions. It worked for her. Well, it had worked for her until the man sitting at the table a few yards away had come into her life. She’d let him touch. Once. Thoroughly. And the minute she’d crossed that boundary with him, things had gotten complicated, and he’d bailed like she had some virulent disease.

Shit, maybe she was pining.

“All right, the date was a bust. But I really am moving on. If Gibson wants to pretend that what happened between us was a fluke, that’s his business. I deserve a guy who’s not ashamed or afraid to be with me. I don’t have time for games.”

Tessa leaned against the bar. “If it makes you feel better, I think he’s pretty miserable over it, too. You should’ve seen his face when he found out we were coming here.”

“Good.” She gave a terse nod. “In fact, since he’s here anyway, I may as well enjoy his suffering. What are y’all ordering?”

“A Blue Moon, a Crown and water, and a dirty martini.”

Sam grabbed a few glasses and started pouring the drinks. “Give me a minute, and I’ll bring them over. How’s my hair?”

“Uh-oh.” Tessa laughed. “It’s a perfectly executed messy ponytail, but what are you up to?”

Sam adjusted her shirt, letting the V-neck show off a little more cleavage than she usually revealed at work. “Torture.”

“Sadist.”

“Yep.”

Tessa shook her head, still smiling, and headed back to the table. Sam finished up with the drinks and carried them over on a tray, making sure to put a touch more sway in her walk. She’d learned how to do it early on to get tips before she’d become the manager of the place. She hadn’t lost the skill, and she wasn’t afraid to use it to torment the man who’d walked away from her. No, not walked—bolted like his ass was on fire. She moved from sway to full sashay. Suffer, Gibson Andrews. Feel the burn.

When she stopped at the table, Kade looked up, all blond hair and broad smile. Effortlessly gorgeous like his stepbrother but without the dark and brooding vibe that Gibson seemed to be gold-medaling in at the moment. Or always. “Hey, Sam, long time no see.”

“Right. It’s been ages.” She’d just seen the couple a few days ago, when they’d all gone to a music festival together. “So, stalker boy, I presume the dirty martini is yours.”

He took the drink from her, not blinking at the nickname she’d given him last year when he’d doggedly pursued her best friend like a bent knight on a quest. She set the beer in front of Tessa and then finally turned to Gibson. She kept her smile poised, but it took everything she had to keep her composure when Gib looked up. He’d let his jaw go a little scruffy, and the dark shadow of a beard only made him more edible. But the look in his eyes was what sucked the air right out of her. So this was what a gazelle must feel like when a starved lion caught sight of her. Hunger had flared in that deep blue gaze—open, naked, and without apology.

God. A jolt of desire went straight downward, like a rope being tugged. Hello. Lady parts officially engaged.

She must’ve reacted, showed some chink in her expression. Because as soon as that look was there, he shuttered it, glancing away and offering a flat “Hey, Sam.”

Everything inside her deflated—the pin of reality popping the balloon of hope. Ugh. Stupid, stupid man. She wanted to grab that thick, dark hair and make him hold the gaze, force him to show her the truth. To be real with her. But of course, she couldn’t touch him anymore. And, well, that would look a little weird in the bar. Sexually frustrated manager grabs customer by the hair, makes demands. She swallowed past the tightness in her throat, completely forgetting her plan to look seductive and so over him. “Crown and water.”

She plunked the glass on the table without grace, causing some of it to slosh over the top.

“Thanks,” he said gruffly.

Silence ensued and Tessa cleared her throat. “Um, do y’all still have those potato things with the bacon? I’m starving.”

Sam snapped out of her daze and turned to Tessa. “Potato skins. You bet. I’ll tell Angie to put in an order. She’ll be handling your table. I just wanted to come over and say hi.”

Gibson took a long gulp from his glass and then brushed a hand over his wavy hair, trying to smooth the unsmoothable. A move she’d learned was his sign of discomfort. God, this was so ridiculous.

And she was done with it. So things had gotten a little out of hand during that last training session. He’d been helping her out, bottoming for her so she could learn how to use a whip. They’d been through a few weeks of lessons and everything had gone well. All had been done under the assumption that he was a fellow dominant who would be guiding her from the bottom—a friendly exchange. He wasn’t supposed to get hard when she whipped him. And she wasn’t supposed to get so turned on at the sight of him. And they weren’t supposed to kiss. And she definitely wasn’t supposed to let him push her against a wall and put his hand beneath her skirt to get her off.

But all that had happened, and when she’d tried to wrest control back and take him to bed as her submissive, everything had exploded in her face. He’d snapped out of whatever spell he’d been in from the whipping and had told her that nothing could happen between them because they were both dominants. That he had a masochistic streak, not a submissive one. The training had ended right there. And she might’ve been able to let it go, to buy that he was just a dominant with a taste for pain, but her instincts were telling her it was far more than that. Not that it mattered what she thought. For whatever reason, he wasn’t going to take the submissive role. Period. End of sentence.

She wasn’t worth the risk to him.

Fine.

“Is there anything else I can get y’all for now?” she asked, her voice coming out a little too bright, too twangy. Damn, she was going Dolly Parton on their asses. Usually that only happened when customers pushed her to her politeness breaking point. Of course I’ll get your hamburger recooked a third time, sugar. I should’ve known when you said medium you meant fossilized.

Tessa’s brow went up, seeing right through Sam’s act.

“No, I think we’re good, Sam.” Kade cut an annoyed look his brother’s way.

Sam hustled back to the safety of the bar, cringing at how easily she’d gotten knocked off her plan. Damn that man. But the crowd was picking up, and she didn’t have time to waste trying to figure out the indecipherable Gibson Andrews. She had a job to do. So for the next hour, she managed her bartenders, poured drinks to help them keep up, and made rounds of the floor to greet customers and drop off food. By the time she made her second walk around the place, every table was taken and the noise of all those different conversations reverberated off the walls.

This was her favorite part of her shift. Managing the bar wasn’t always the most glamorous of jobs—okay, try never glamorous—but when the crowd was buzzing and the energy pulsed around her, she couldn’t help but feed off it. She cruised by the back corner, checking on tables, and a sharp whistle caught her attention.

She fought the instinct to ignore it. Nothing ticked her off more than being summoned like she was a dog that needed to come to heel, but a customer was a customer. She turned around and forced a tolerant smile at the two guys swigging cheap whiskey at a back table. Dolly Parton made an appearance again. Well, if Dolly Parton had B-cups, too much black eyeliner, and an eyebrow piercing. “Can I help y’all with something?”

“Hey, sweetheart,” one said, tipping his ball cap up and revealing narrow green eyes. “I dropped my keys. Mind getting them for me?”

She looked down at the floor and the keys at her feet. She bent over, swiped them from the ground, and tossed them on their table. “Here ya go.”

His friend grinned her way and pushed the keys onto the floor again. Clank. “Maybe bend down a little slower this time, darling. I didn’t get a good view the first go-round.”

She straightened, the customer-is-always-right attitude falling away and fuck-off-redneck-asshole mode replacing it. “This isn’t the champagne room. I’m not here to give you a show. Do you need a drink or what?”

Idiot number one smirked and leered at her chest. “Yeah, how about two buttery nipples? Are they pierced like your eyebrow? I bet they are. You look like that kind of girl.”

She wanted to reach over and bang their two skulls together. It’d probably make a hollow sound. Usually guys got over the buttery-nipple joke by the time they were out of high school, but clearly these two hadn’t moved beyond that maturity-wise. Next they’d be ordering a Sex on the Beach. “Two drinks coming right up.”

She strode off and told one of her male bartenders to bring the drinks over to the guys. She’d be damned if she’d let any of her staff get harassed. Flirting from customers was part of the deal. People got tipsy, and their tongues got loose. But Sam didn’t put up with idiots who took it too far.

Sam slipped back behind the bar and started clearing empty glasses. But only a few minutes passed before idiot number one made a reappearance. He leaned against the bar, snapping his fingers at her. “Hey. I need to talk to you.”

She clenched her jaw and turned. “Is there something wrong with your drink?” I could spit in it if you’d like.

He slid the drink across the bar. “Yeah, you didn’t serve it to me. What? You’re too good to talk to your customers?”

“I’m managing the place. My staff serve the drinks.”

“You’re a stuck-up bitch is what you are.”

“Hey.” A knife-edged voice came from behind him, slicing through the din around the bar. “You watch your goddamned mouth.”

Sam’s attention jumped to the spot behind the guy. Gibson’s face appeared out of the crowd like a vengeful apparition as he shoved his way closer to the bar.

The guy turned toward Gibson, his features twisting into a scowl that made him even uglier. “Who the hell you think you’re talking to?”

Gibson was the picture of cool rage, completely unruffled and terrifying in his calmness. “You. Disrespect the lady again, and we’re going to have a major problem.”

“Fuck you, man,” the guy said, words slurring. “This cunt’s job is to serve me my goddamn drinks, and she’s not doing it.”

With lightning-fast movement, Gibson grabbed the guy by the shirt collar and jammed him against the bar. “Wrong answer, asshole.”

“Shit.” Sam hurried around the counter and yelled for Angie to get their bouncer, Herb. “Gib, stop. Let us handle this guy.”

But it was too late. The drunk idiot was already taking a swing at Gibson, and his equally idiotic friend was heading their way. The punch missed wide when Gibson ducked out of the way. A glass broke. Gib looked smug at the guy’s failed attempt and knocked him hard against the bar again, rattling all the bottles and glasses nearby. Soon it’d be the guy’s teeth. But before it could turn into a full brawl, Herb got in between to break it up. He dragged the drunk away and told him and his friend to get out.

The two men continued cursing and throwing insults her and Gib’s way, but they weren’t dumb enough to try to fight Herb. If they did, she’d have the cops on the phone before they could blink, and they’d be sleeping it off in the drunk tank down at county lockup.

The customers in the bar had stopped to watch the ruckus, but as soon as the two jerks were out the door, all the conversation kicked back in, like hitting Play after pausing a movie. Sam released a breath and turned to Gibson, who was straightening the cuffs of his shirt.

She shook her head. “I could’ve handled that, you know.”

He looked up, frown lines between his brows. “No one gets to talk to you like that. I saw them giving you a hard time earlier and could tell he was headed up here to cause trouble. What did they say to you earlier? You looked pissed.”

She shrugged. “They kept trying to get me to bend over and pick up things off the floor. Then they ordered buttery nipples while leering at me. Juvenile stuff. Dumb but probably harmless.”

His jaw flexed. “Customers or not, they don’t get to disrespect you like that.”

She smirked and stepped around him to return to her spot behind the bar. “Getting respect around here is hard to come by. I have to go other places to get that.”

“Too bad you can’t bring a single tail to work.”

She laughed. “No kidding. That’d get people’s attention. Talk back to me, and I’ll paint a stripe across your ass.”

His gaze flared at that. “That could make it worse. Some people might misbehave for that privilege.”

She cocked a brow. “People like you?”

He frowned.

She sighed and grabbed a rag to start wiping up the drink they’d spilled during the altercation. “Sorry. Guess we haven’t reached the point where we can joke about everything with each other yet. Want to talk about the weather?”

He rubbed the back of his neck. “Sorry. It’s fine. I just hate that things are weird between us now. I miss hanging out with you. And my brother’s married to your best friend. We’re going to run into each other.”

She focused on cleaning the bar top, using a little too much vigor to wipe up things. Out, damned  spot. “Doesn’t have to be weird. We can be friends.”

“Hard to be friends with someone you want in your bed.”

She looked up, something tightening low inside her when she saw the invitation in his eyes, that rope tugging again. Tug. Tug.

God, it would be so easy to give in and let him have the control. Sex with him in whatever form would probably be like winning the orgasm lottery. But it’d taken her so long to get to this point. She knew what she wanted, had finally figured out what flipped her switches, and she was tired of doing things halfway. “You know the price of admission for my bed, Gib. You’re not willing to pay it.”

Gibson leaned forward, bracing his arms on the bar and getting way too close for her to concentrate on anything but his dark eyelashes and full bottom lip. He kept his voice low enough for only her to hear. “We don’t have to be in any roles at all. We could just do things the old-fashioned way. Hot skin and cool sheets.”

She closed her eyes, a hint of his scent hitting her—rain-soaked earth. He’d always smelled like spring rain to her, something in his laundry detergent probably. But not until she’d had him under her whip did she get the rest of it—earth and man and hot need, who he really was beneath that polished exterior. She could smell it on him now. And that scent brought her right back to those sessions in the training room at the Ranch.

Never before had she felt such an utter need to make a man hers like she had when Gibson got into a scene. Something about him stirred those dark desires she’d only toyed with in fantasies before then. But the sessions had been her own kind of torture because they’d kept it so businesslike. He’d never taken off anything more than his shirt. There’d been no sex. He’d guided her from the bottom as her trainer and never gave over real control. Not until that last session, when she’d somehow broken through that outside layer, had she gotten a glimpse of what things could be like if they ever did those things for real, without restrictions.

And she knew without a doubt that if she agreed to an old-fashioned hookup with Gibson, physically she’d probably be over the moon, but deep down she’d be left unsatisfied afterward because she’d gotten a peek at what she’d be missing. She was done compromising. In her endless search to find Mr. Right, she’d spent too many years of her life dating guys who she’d jumped through hoops to please. No more. Even if Gibson was stupid beautiful and looking at her like he’d light her world on fire.

She poured a Crown and water and slid it his way. “Gib, let’s not pretend that either of us would be satisfied with old-fashioned. You don’t pay that exorbitant fee at the Ranch for nothing.”

The grooves around his mouth deepened and he straightened to full height, taking the drink in his hand. “I can’t be what you want me to be, Sam.”

“Why?” The word slipped out before she could stop it. But she’d seen how he’d reacted after that flogging. It hadn’t just been the pain. She’d been practicing dirty talk that night, dressing him down with her words. That had been the difference that night. He hadn’t just gotten hard; he’d been fighting subspace. Submission did something for him. She hadn’t imagined that.

His gaze slid away, the doors to his expression slamming shut. “Because it’s not who I want to be.”

She pressed her lips together, considering him for a long moment. She knew some submissive guys struggled with their desires. Many thought big, strong alpha men weren’t supposed to be anything other than dominant. But Gibson was so confident in his everyday life, she couldn’t imagine he gave a shit what societal norms or traditional gender roles called for. But for some reason, this was a no go for him.

She needed to accept that. Move on. She reached out and put her hand on his arm and squeezed. “Hey, that doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. Friends who are not weird with each other. Or at least only weird in an awesome way. Because, let’s face it, neither of us has any shot at normal.”

His lips tilted up at the corners, but his eyes didn’t hold the same humor. “Yeah, guess we’ll have to get some practice at that.”

She nodded. “Definitely. We’ll go have lunch or something soon, okay?”

“Sure.” He grabbed for his wallet. “What do I owe you for the drink?”

“It’s on the house for trying to protect me from drunk assholes. Thanks for that, by the way. I would’ve handled it, but seeing his teeth knock together when you shoved him against the bar was pretty entertaining.”

His mouth curved into a full smile then. “Anytime, sunshine.”

After one last look, he headed back to his table, and she didn’t talk to him again until he and her friends said good-bye for the night. When he walked out of the bar, all the starch drained out of her. She tried to stay busy, keep her energy up, but as the crowd thinned and the night stretched on, the finality of her and Gibson’s situation weighed on her. When the last customer headed out the door, she sagged back against the counter and closed her eyes, rubbing her brow.

“Everything okay?” Angie asked.

Sam opened her eyes to find her current manager-in-training cleaning a glass and giving her a concerned look. Sam shook her head. “I’m fine. Long night.”

Angie nodded toward the back. “You should get out of here, then. Billy and I can lock up. I’ve got the hang of the closing procedures by now.”

Sam stretched her neck and glanced at the empty bar. Usually she stayed and helped to put things back in order, but she’d worked every night this week preparing for her time off, and the thought of staying any longer suddenly felt like a prison sentence. “You sure?”

“Of course. Your vacation can start now. Go. Get some rest.”

Sam smiled. “Why haven’t I made you assistant manager yet?”

“Because you’re too much of a control freak. But I’ll be more than happy to accept that promotion when you get back.”

Sam pushed off the bar and patted Angie’s shoulder as she passed. “Consider it done. And if anything happens this week, you can call me—”

“I’ll call Marvin,” she said, cutting her off. “You’re on vacation, not on call. Forget about us for a while.”

“You’re a bossy thing.”

“Hello, Kettle, you’re black. Love, Pot.”

Sam rolled her eyes. “Fine. Point taken. I’m out of here. Don’t forget to lock up the safe and check—”

“The side door. I know. Go.” She shooed her with her hand.

Sam didn’t protest this time and went into the back room to grab her purse and keys. The spring night was cool and dry as she exited the side door and headed through the alleyway toward the parking lot. Her worn Vans were silent on the pavement and after the constant roar of the bar, she welcomed the quiet night around her. But despite the peacefulness, she held her little bottle of mace in her right hand.

This area of downtown was pretty safe, but she didn’t take that kind of thing for granted. You were never really safe. She’d learned that the hard way bouncing around foster homes and group homes, running into people who thought her petite size and vulnerable circumstances made her an easy target. Danger pounced when you let your guard down.

It’s why her first semester in college, she’d taken a Krav Maga course and learned how to protect herself. It’s why she always carried mace. And it’s why when she turned the corner around the building and saw a familiar face heading her way, she didn’t hesitate to raise her hand and aim.

Idiot number one from the bar fight was glaring back at her, but he lifted his hands. “Easy, now, darling. I’m not here to cause trouble.”

“Bullshit,” she said, finger on the trigger of her mace, her heart trying to pound out of her chest. She dipped her other hand in her purse, blindly feeling around for her phone. “You need to back off and go home.”

He smiled. “I was just coming back because I left my wallet at the table. I need to get back inside.”

“You can come back tomorrow. I’ll let the staff know to put it aside for you.”

“I can’t wait that long.” He took a step closer.

“I said back off, asshole.” She put more pressure on the trigger and stepped back.

And ran into something solid . . . and warm.

Her body jolted at the impact and her finger slipped off the trigger, but it was too late to react beyond that. A hand came around and clamped over her mouth. Another arm banded around her chest, knocking the mace out of her grip and dragging her back into the alleyway

“Well, hi there,” a voice said against her ear, stale whiskey breath burning her nostrils.

Everything went cold and electric inside her, and she wrenched her body, trying to break the grip and screaming behind the hand. Frantic. She’d been through self-defense. She knew there was a way to break this hold, but none of the moves would come to her. All she could think of was to stomp on his feet. But when she tried, her tennis shoes did little damage and her body wouldn’t cooperate. Everything trembled.

The first guy followed them between the buildings and moved closer, invading her space and dominating her vision. His smile was one of triumph. “You know, we never did get those buttery nipples. But how about I taste them without the butter for now.”

He reached out and grabbed the collar of her T-shirt and yanked it down, ripping it and exposing her bra.

Tears jumped to her eyes, and she kicked and writhed like a wildcat. This was not going to happen. These disgusting men were not going to touch her. After a few failed attempts, her shin connected with the guy’s crotch and he doubled over, crying out in pain. She felt the small surge of victory, but then he hauled up and slapped her hard in the face, making stars appear and sending her ears ringing.

“You stupid fucking bitch,” he seethed, still hunched over, one hand cradling himself. “You think you’re so high and mighty, but you’re not going to be anything when we take you to the van and fuck that attitude right out of you.”

The man who was holding her tightened his grip, and her throat closed up, air whistling through her and her vision blurring. Other voices filled her head. Voices she hadn’t heard in years interspersing with the present ones. Her eyes closed and all that was there behind her lids was blood spattering, the violent Texas sun blinding her. Hands on her. Trapped. Held down. Not again. She would not go through this again. She forced her eyes open and shook her head with a violent, sudden motion, breaking free of the hand over her mouth and letting out a piercing scream—one that seemed to come from a place so far inside it her, it made her body quake.

Idiot number one’s eyes went wide, and she hoped to God they would run, but he just looked out toward the street. “Come on, get her to the van. Hurry.”

But before they could drag her a few steps, the door to the bar opened and Angie ran out. When she saw what was happening, Angie lifted her arms and pointed a gun their way, hands steady as stone. “Let her go or I swear to God I will blow your fucking balls off.”

Sam knew Angie could damn well do it, too. The girl had grown up in the country, and her daddy still took her hunting.

The guy holding Sam tensed behind her and then let her go like a sack of grain. Her knees hit the ground hard and the two men ran off, shouting at each other to move faster.

Angie raced down the back stairs and toward the parking lot, and Billy came running behind her, cell phone to his ear. He stopped at Sam’s side. “Jesus, are you okay? I called the cops.”

Sam braced a hand on the pavement, panting and trying not to hyperventilate, and held her torn shirt to her chest with her other hand. Her brain seemed to flash through present and past all at once, a scrambled channel of images that made her want to scream again and not stop. But she forced deep breaths into her lungs. It’s okay. It’s okay. You’re okay. “I’m all right. Check on Angie.”

But Angie stepped back into the alley a second later, face red with exertion. “I couldn’t get a license plate, but I saw what kind of van they were driving.” She hurried to join Sam and crouched down next to her. “God, honey, you’re bleeding. Billy, get some ice and a new T-shirt.”

Billy jogged back into the building, and Sam sat back on her calves, tentatively touching her lip. It felt swollen but not split at least. “I’m fine. They didn’t get a chance to do more than hit me thanks to you.”

And no thanks to Sam’s own instincts. Every goddamned lick of training she’d gotten had gone down the tube in an instant. She’d felt so strong and confident after arming herself with all those self-defense tools. Had felt like she’d beaten those demons. But when she’d needed them most, she’d been useless. She was just as vulnerable as she’d always been. A victim waiting to happen. The thought shook her down to the core.

You’re never safe.

Angie put her arm around Sam. “Come on. Let’s get you inside. You’re trembling.”

Sam let Angie lead her back into the bar, and Billy brought her ice and a new staff T-shirt. They were babying her, but Sam didn’t have it in her to protest at this point. She just wanted to give her statement to the police and get the hell out of here so she could put herself back together.

The cops arrived a short time after that and took all of their statements. Sam doubted they would be able to find the guys by description alone, but she hoped the van may give them a good lead. Either way, she didn’t think the men would come back to the bar. They were dumb but not brain-dead. The staff would recognize them. Everyone had seen at least one of them during the altercation with Gibson. But she’d ask Marvin, the bar owner, to pay for extra security for the next couple of weeks anyway.

By the time she got in her car to go home, she felt numb. Hollow. But as she drove toward her place, that numbness gave way to anger. Anger at the men who’d attacked her. And anger at herself for panicking so completely. She was not that person. She was the girl in her Krav Maga class who had taken down an instructor twice her size. She was the domme at the Ranch who had men willing to kneel at her feet. She was not going to be the girl to go home to her empty apartment and cower behind the locked doors and jump at every sound. That wasn’t who she was anymore. She couldn’t go back to that.

So when she got to her apartment, she grabbed the suitcase she’d packed for her vacation and added another black bag that was meant for only one place.

Tonight she didn’t need to be alone. Tonight she needed to be in charge.

She tossed the bags in her trunk and got on the road. The Ranch was only an hour away. She couldn’t get there fast enough.

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Teaser Tuesday: A Peek of Sam & Gibson from BREAK ME DOWN

 

 

How about a little teaser from BREAK ME DOWN? This one is Sam (Tessa's BFF) and Gibson's (Kade's brother) story.

*Note: This is an unedited copy so may change or have typos that I missed.

Excerpt:

He squatted down and picked up the sanding machine. It’d been a while since he’d tackled any home improvement projects. His position as head of PR at Vandergriff kept him too busy. But when he’d first bought his house, it had been in pretty rough shape. He’d taken on weekend projects to get it how he wanted it. He’d learned a lot and messed up more. A handyman, he was not. But he understood the satisfaction Sam probably got from doing this herself. It could be cathartic.

“I don’t suggest you turn that on unless you know what to do with it,” Sam said from behind him.

He turned around, finding her at the bottom of the stairs, raven hair damp and twisted into a messy bun atop her head. Face scrubbed clean. She looked so young standing there. He was used to seeing her with her dark eyeliner and hair done in some quirky way. But this version of her was just as breath-stealing. He held up the sander. “Don’t turn it on, unless I know what to do with it. There’s a dirty joke in there.”

She smirked, some of that trademark attitude back, despite the lingering ghosts in her eyes. “So do you? Know what to do?”

“With a woman or home improvement equipment?”

“I already know you know what to do with a woman.”

He tilted his head. Flirty Sam. Yes. Yes, he liked this. “I’m not quite as skilled with machinery, but I can hold my own. Why? Gonna put me to work to earn my keep?”

She walked forward, her beat up Vans silent on the floors. “Hmm, now there’s an idea.”

The tone of her voice had slipped into a dangerous place, one he recognized. One his body recognized. “I don’t mind helping.”

She tucked her hands in the back of her jeans, her vintage No Doubt T-shirt stretching thin across her breasts as she considered him. “Is that right?”

He lost his focus for a moment just looking at her. Her shirt read 'Just A Girl', but that was far from the truth. She was so much more. A f**king mystery wrapped up in smarts and sex appeal and kink. And he’d only gotten to touch her once, but he hadn’t forgotten a second of it. He cleared his throat. “Yeah, I can help with whatever you need.”

Her smile was quick, not too big, but enough to punch him in the gut. “Those are mighty vague terms, Gib. You should know how dangerous that is in negotiations. I could make you strip naked and clean the bathroom grout with a toothbrush while I sip iced tea and watch.” 

He set the sander down and ran a hand over the back of his hair. She’d meant it as a joke. He tried to smile but only managed a tight grimace. Any image where he got on his knees for her pushed that forbidden button inside him. “Right.”

The silver ring in her eyebrow twitched up as if she knew exactly what he’d been thinking. “Nah, never mind. I know how you can help. LEAVE.”

 

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Teaser Tuesday: A Snippet from OFF THE CLOCK

 

 

It's Teaser Tuesday! How about a snippet from OFF THE CLOCK (the new series releasing in January). 

This scene is from when the hero and heroine first meet back in college. (The main story takes place years later, but you know me and timelines. I like showing the past without having to do flashbacks, so the first few chapters are college. :) )

EXCERPT:

Marin’s gaze slid over to the stairwell. If she stayed on the other side of the hall in the shadows, she could probably sneak by unnoticed. She moved to the right side wall and crept forward on quiet feet. But as soon as she got within a few steps of the shaft of light coming from the occupied office, a large shadow blotted it into darkness.

She’d been so focused on that beam of light that it took her a moment to register what had happened. She froze and her gaze hopped upward, landing on the guy who filled the doorway. No, not just any guy, a very familiar guy. Tall and lean and effortlessly disheveled. Everything inside her went on alert. Oh, God, not him.

He had his hand braced on the doorjamb, and his expression was as surprised as hers probably was. “What the hell?”

“I—” She could already feel her face heating and her throat closing—some bizarre, instant response she seemed to have to this man. She’d spent way too many hours in the back of her Intro to Human Sexuality class memorizing each little detail of Donovan West. Well, his profile, really. And his walk. And the way his shoulders filled out his T-shirts. As a teaching assistant, he usually only stopped in at the beginning of class to bring Professor Paxton papers or something. But each time he walked in now, it was like some bat signal for her body to go haywire.

It’d started with the day he’d had to take over the lecture when Professor Paxton was sick. He’d talked about arousal and the physical mechanics of that process. It was technical. He’d been wearing a T-shirt that read Sometimes I Feel Like a Total Freud. It shouldn’t have been sexy. But Lord, it’d been one of the hottest experiences of her life. He’d talked with his hands a lot and had obviously been a little nervous to be in front of the class. But at the same time, he’d been so confident in the information, had answered questions with all this enthusiasm. Marin hadn’t heard a word in the rest of her classes that day for all the fantasizing she’d been doing.

But now she was staring. And blushing. And generally looking like an idiot. Yay.

She turned fully toward him and cleared her throat, trying to form some kind of non-weird response. But when her gaze quickly traveled over him again, all semblance of language left her. Oh, shit. She tried to drag her focus back to his face and cement it there. His very handsome face—a shadow of stubble, bright blue eyes, hair that fell a little too long around the ears. Lips that she’d thought way too much about. All good. All great.

But despite the nice view, she couldn’t ignore the thing in the bottom edge of her vision, the thing that had caught her attention on that quick once-over. The hard outline in his jeans screamed at her to stare—to analyze, to burn the picture into her brain. The need to look warred with embarrassment. The latter finally won and her cheeks flared even hotter. She adjusted her glasses. “Uh, yeah, hi. Sorry. I thought I was alone in the building. Didn’t mean to interrupt . . . whatever.”

He stared at her for a second, his brows knitting. “Interrupt?” 

Goddammit, her gaze flicked there again. The view was like a siren song she couldn’t ignore. Massive erection, dead ahead! She glanced away. But not quick enough for him not to notice.

“Ah, shit.” He stepped behind the doorway and hid his bottom half. “Sorry. It’s uh . . . not what it looks like.”

She snorted, an involuntary, nervous, half-choking noise that seemed to echo in the cavernous hallway. Really smooth. She tried to force some kind of wit past the awkwardness that was overtaking her. “Ohh-kay. If you say so.”

He laughed, this deep chuckle that seemed to come straight out of his chest and fill the space between them with warmth. Lord, even his laugh was sexy. So not fair.

“Well, okay, it is that. But why it’s there is just an occupational hazard.”

“Occupational hazard? Must be more interesting than the sleep lab.”

 

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**Note: This is not a final copy so could have typos.


Teaser Tuesday: Sam & Gibson from BREAK ME DOWN

 


It's Teaser Tuesday time! How about a new snippet of Sam and Gibson from BREAK ME DOWN, the novella coming out in October?

Sam set the beer in front of Tessa and then finally turned to Gibson. She kept her smile poised, but it took everything she had to keep her composure when Gib looked up. He’d let his jaw go a little scruffy, and the dark shadow of a beard only made him more edible. But the look in his eyes was what sucked the air right out of her. So this was what a gazelle must feel like when a starved lion caught site of her. Hunger had flared in that deep blue gaze—open, naked, and without apology.

God. A jolt of desire went straight downward, like a rope being tugged. Hello. Lady parts officially engaged.

 She must’ve reacted, showed some chink in her expression. Because as soon as that look was there, he shuttered it, glancing away and offering a flat, “Hey, Sam.”

Everything inside her deflated—the pin of reality popping the balloon of hope. Ugh. Stupid, stupid man. She wanted to grab that thick dark hair and make him hold the gaze, force him to show her the truth. To be real with her. But of course, she couldn’t touch him anymore. And well, that would look a little weird in the bar. Sexually frustrated manager grabs customer by the hair, makes demands. She swallowed past the tightness in her throat, completely forgetting her plan to look seductive and so over him. “Crown and water.” 

She plunked the glass on the table without grace, causing some of it to slosh over the top.

“Thanks,” he said gruffly. 

Silence ensued and Tessa cleared her throat. “Um, do y’all still have those potato things with the bacon? I’m starving.”

Sam snapped out of her daze and turned to Tessa. “Potato skins. You bet. I’ll tell Angie to put in an order. She’ll be handling your table. I just wanted to come over and say hi.”

Gibson took a long gulp from his glass and then brushed a hand over his wavy hair, trying to smooth the unsmoothable. A move she’d learned was his sign of discomfort. God, this was so ridiculous. 

And she was done with it. So things had gotten a little out of hand during that last training session. He’d been helping her out, bottoming for her so she could learn how to use a whip. They’d been through a few weeks of lessons and everything had gone well. All had been done under the assumption that he was a fellow dominant who would be guiding her from the bottom—a friendly exchange. He wasn’t supposed to get hard when she whipped him. And she wasn’t supposed to get so turned on at the sight of him. And they weren’t supposed to kiss. And she definitely wasn’t supposed to let him push her against a wall and put his hand beneath her skirt to get her off.

But all that had happened, and when she’d tried to wrest control back and take him to bed as her submissive, everything had exploded in her face. He’d snapped out of whatever spell he’d been in from the whipping and had told her that nothing could happen between them because they were both dominants. That he had a masochistic streak not a submissive one. The training had ended right there. And she might’ve been able to let it go, to buy that he was just a dominant with a taste for pain, but her instincts were telling her it was far more than that. Not that it mattered what she thought. For whatever reason, he wasn’t going to take the submissive role. Period. End of sentence.

She wasn’t worth the risk to him.

Fine.

“Is there anything else I can get y’all for now?” she asked, her voice coming out a little too bright, too twangy. Damn, she was going Dolly Parton on their asses. Usually that only happened when customers pushed her to her politeness breaking point. Of course I’ll get your hamburger recooked a third time, sugar. I should’ve known when you said medium you meant fossilized.

Tessa’s brow went up, seeing right through Sam’s act.

“No, I think we’re good, Sam.” Kate cut an annoyed look his brother’s way.

Sam hustled back to the safety of the bar, cringing at how easily she’d gotten knocked off her plan. Damn that man.

 

 

Pre-order the book:

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Hope you enjoyed it! Have a great Tuesday! I'll be starting chapter one, page one, word one of a new book today. Always terrifying. :)

 

 

Teaser Tuesday: CALL ON ME is only a week away!

 

 

Guess who's only a week away? Pike! So today I thought I'd give you a peek at Pike playing drum, the heroine Oakley, and for those who've read YOURS ALL ALONG, a little cameo by Devon.

 

Excerpt:

“So,” Devon said, obviously searching for a change in topic, “you know a guy in the next band?”

“The drummer. He’s the one helping out with that music project at Bluebonnet. He gave us tickets, thought Reagan might have fun.”

Dev’s eyebrow arched. “Right. Because he thought your kid might have fun.”

“It’s not like that.”

“Uh-huh.”

Guitar chords blasted through the speaker for a moment as the crew on stage did the sound check. Oakley turned her head as the big screens on the side of the stage lit up with a publicity photo for Darkfall—the wind making the screens ripple and the bodies in the picture come to life. The crowd cheered.

“Look, mom!” Reagan shouted back at her. “It’s Mr. Pike!”

“I see, baby.” Boy, did she. The larger than life image had Pike staring down the camera with his bandmates. Badass. Tough. Beautiful.

“Which one is he?” Devon asked, following her gaze.

“The blond.”

“Whoa,” he said low enough for the kids not to hear. “You had that guy over for pizza and managed keep your clothes on? You have more restraint than I do.”

He had no idea. “I have no interest in being a groupie.”

“Can I be one?”

She shoved his shoulder. “You’re such a tramp. I’m so telling Hunter when he gets back in town.”

“Tell him. He’d agree. But seriously, is the guy a jerk? He looks like he has high potential to be an egomaniac. I don’t want that kind of guy around my baby sister and niece.”

She frowned and dragged her eyes away from the picture. “Oh, he’s got an ego, all right. He’s entirely inappropriate most of the time and a shameless flirt. But I wouldn’t say he’s a jerk. He’s kind of, I don’t know, weird and manic and…funny.”

Devon tipped up the bill of his hat, eyeing her with a sly smile. “Oh, so we have a mad crush then?”

“What? No.”

“Oak, you’re here in the Texas heat at a hard rock festival. You don’t even know these bands. And a few weeks ago, when I asked if you wanted to take Reagan to see that 80s cover band, you told me she was too young for concerts.”

Oakley crossed her arms. “Rae has since proven her maturity.”

He smirked. “Bull. Shit. You’ve got the hots for this guy.”

“He’s not my type.”

Dev shook his head and draped his arm around her shoulders, pulling her close so the kids couldn’t hear. “Come on, don’t freak out about it. You work too hard and spend too much time alone. This could be good for you.”

“An ill-advised hookup with a drummer who will drop me as soon as he gets bored could be good for me?”

“Exactly. Look, I know I’m your brother and shouldn’t be saying this, but there’s nothing wrong with a finding yourself a hot, temporary fuck buddy.”

“Dev!”

He laughed. “Oh, don’t be such a prude. I mean, yes, you’re right. The guy’s probably not boyfriend material. But you’re a grown woman and deserve some fun. You know we’re always happy to have Rae over if you need a date night.”

“I think you just flunked big brother school.”

He gave her shoulder a pat. “Okay, fine, want responsible brotherly advice? Use a condom. And don’t let him take video.”

She poked him in the ribs. But before she could respond to his comment, the lights on stage began to flash and the crowd surged forward, excitement like a contagion moving through them.

“Come on, mom! Let’s get closer.” Reagan grabbed her hand and dragged her with the flow of the crowd.

They’d already been pretty close to the stage, thanks to the special passes Pike had sent, but now they were only a ten or twelve rows of people back on the far left side of the stage. Bodies pressed close to them and she couldn’t help but get caught up in the fervor of the crowd.

She pushed onto her toes, knowing the drummer was almost always the first one to come out.

“Is that him?” Dev asked.

“Where?”

Devon pointed to the other end of the stage, and Oakley froze up the moment her eyes landed on Pike. Tight gray jeans, combat boots, and a black sleeveless T-shirt that showed off his ink. All swagger and sex and guyliner. Pike waltzed onto the stage like it’d been built just for him. He lifted his hand in greeting, earning screams from the audience, then hopped behind his drum kit. He put in his earpiece, raised his drumstick, and leaned over to his mic with a cocky smile. “Y’all ready for us, Dallas?”

The crowd erupted. Sound exploded from his drums.

And Oakley forgot to breathe.

Good. God.

The rest of the band ran onto the stage, adding guitars and vocals to Pike’s heavy rhythm, but Oakley barely heard the words.

All she could do was stare. Pike took command of the drums like he had a personal vendetta against them, banging hard and violent but with a sharp-edged grace that made it look like moving art. Every part of his body worked in perfect rhythm—muscles flexing, tattoos dancing, sweat flying—and the expression on his face wasn’t far from what she’d imagined he looked like in the throes of sex. He was taking the songs in his fists and making them his with every swing of his drumsticks.

Oakley swayed on her feet, the pounding beat taking on an erotic edge, vibrating though her and invading her like a drug.

He looked possessed.

He sounded amazing.

And she was toast.

She felt the urge ride up her throat and she couldn’t stop it. Her hands went up with the rest of the crowd and she screamed Pike’s name like a goddamned groupie.

Fucking. Toast.

***

Pre-order so that Pike is waiting for you next Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday: Pike from CALL ON ME in all his cocky glory

 

Pike is here in only two weeks!!! Are you ready? Here's a snippet from the king of cockiness...

 

From CALL ON ME:

She startled and stiffened, instantly yanked out of her less than PG thoughts. “What?”

He leaned back in his chair, vague confusion on his face. “I asked if wanted to keep working in that back room? We could rehearse at the studio once they’re close to being ready to record. But until then, it’s probably more trouble than it’s worth to cart everyone over there. It’s not that big of a place.”

“Rehearse in the back room?” she repeated, running the words back in her head to make sense of them. “Oh, right, yes, that’s fine. I’m sorry. I thought you said something else.” 

She eyed the small bellini she’d ordered with her meal. Maybe that had been a bad idea. She was hearing things now.

Screw in the bathroom? How the hell had she gotten that out of what he’d said? Of course, now all she could think of was him doing just that—taking her by the elbow and leading her to that dark alcove at the back of the restaurant, pushing her up against that wall with the faded Italian flag on it and putting his hands all over her. She licked her top lip, tasting the sweet remnants of her drink. Pull it together, woman.

Apparently, once her libido had been brave enough to peep its head out, it had decided it was Groundhog Day and needed to run around, declaring spring was coming early. She hated to break the news, but nothing and no one was coming anytime soon.

“What did you think I said?” Pike took a long sip from his drink, his snake charmer eyes never leaving hers.

She followed suit, hoping the fruity drink would cool off more than her throat. “Doesn’t matter.”

His lips twitched. “You’re all red.”

“I think it’s the bellini. I don’t drink very often.”

“No way.” His expression turned smug. “You thought I said something dirty, didn’t you?”

“Huh?” She smoothed her napkin in her lap, trying to loosen the tightness in her voice. “No. Why would I think that? You’ve been very professional since we got here—which I appreciate by the way.”

His gaze slid lazily down her body, like butter melting over toast, and goddamn it all to hell, she could feel her nipples go hard and obvious beneath her bra. No wonder he’d figured it out. Her body was waving all kinds of flags in his face. Hey! Over here! Horny girl, booth eight!

“I am capable of being professional, you know,” he said, but his tone was all sex and sin. “I’m also more than happy to turn that off when the occasion calls for it. So why don’t you tell me what you thought you heard and why it’s gotten you all flushed and nervous?”

“I’m not nervous.”

He grinned.

Dammit. She schooled her face into a stoic expression. “The music is too loud in here. I thought you propositioned me to defile the restroom.”

Hie eyebrow ring twitched. “Now you’re just trying to turn me on with those big, stiff words of yours.”

All she heard was big and stiff at first, but she managed to rein in her temporary insanity. “We’re so not going to do this.”

“Well, probably not here, you’re right. I saw those bathrooms. But—“

“No, I mean, any of this. Flirting. Teasing. Whatever this is.”

He leaned onto his forearms, looking all too pleased that he’d gotten a confession out of her. “You got a guy?”

“No,” she said before she could get wise and fib.

“Then why can’t we do this?”

“Because I’m not interested.”

“Liar.”

She huffed. “Are you always this cocky?”

“No, it’s dialed down right now. I can get way worse.”

She stirred her drink. “Not. Possible.”

His lips spread into a menacing smile. “Challenge accepted.”

***

Pre-order the book: AmazonNook | Kindle UK | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play

 

**Note: The paperback version will contain an addtional short story that will feature Dr. Theo Montgomery who has show up in previous books. 

Friday Reads: ASKING FOR IT by Lilah Pace

 

It's Friday Reads time! I've got another dark romance for you this week (what is with me lately? lol). This one's gotten a lot of buzz because it was just released this week, so you may have already heard a little about it. But the book was fantastic and an extremely difficult topic was handled very, very well. Plus, it takes place in Austin and New Orleans (where I've lived and where I'm originally from) so I liked seeing two of my favorite cities. Be advised: The topics it covers can be triggers for some people. Read the trigger warnings first.

ASKING FOR IT by Lilah Pace - Amazon | B&N

“This is who I am. This is what I want. Now I need a man dangerous enough to give it to me.” 

Graduate student Vivienne Charles is afraid of her own desires—ashamed to admit that she fantasizes about being taken by force, by a man who will claim her completely and without mercy. When the magnetic, mysterious Jonah Marks learns her secret, he makes an offer that stuns her: they will remain near-strangers to each other, and meet in secret so that he can fulfill her fantasy.

Their arrangement is twisted. The sex is incredible. And—despite their attempts to stay apart—soon their emotions are bound together as tightly as the rope around Vivienne’s wrists. But the secrets in their pasts threaten to turn their affair even darker...

Reader Advisory: Asking for It deals explicitly with fantasies of non-consensual sex. Readers sensitive to portrayals of non-consensual sex should be advised. 

 

What are you reading this week?

 

**Disclaimer: This book is published by Berkley, my publisher, but any books recommended here are from my own TBR pile that I buy with my own money unless otherwise noted. I have not been asked to review this book by the author or publisher. I do not take review requests or feature sponsored content.

Sexy Excerpt from Eden Bradley's FALLEN ANGEL and a Giveaway!

Hey, y'all. Today I have a special treat - Author Eden Bradly (aka Eve Berlin). I love, love her books. And I'm not just saying that because she's here today. I'm a fan. So if you haven't read her yet, get to it. Super sexy, smart books. 

And if her stopping by with a hawt excerpt wasn't enough, she's giving away books! Yay! One of which is Pleasure's Edge, which is a fab BDSM romance. So read on and don't forget to leave a comment to enter the contest.

Over to you Eden...

***

Thank you so much to the kind and fabulous Roni Loren for having me here today to celebrate the release of my HQN book FALLEN ANGEL!

This story was in my head for ten years before I wrote the book. The idea came to me while I was listening to a Fleetwood Mac song, Rhiannon. In my head I saw a woman lying naked on the bare earth, strange symbols painted on her body, a hand scattering rock salt in a circle around her in some sort of ritual. I smelled the acrid scent of burning incense, heard a low, murmuring chant…This is how I get my story ideas sometimes-in images and scents and sound, bits of dialogue. Usually it all comes attached to characters who are pretty well fully formed. Sometimes they even tell me their names. But this book was a little more challenging-just pictures and sensations for the first few years, and it wouldn’t leave me alone until I started to build a story around it.

 

And by story I really mean characters, because that’s what it’s always about for me-the people involved. Falling in love and broken hearts and histories of loss and grief-I like my characters complicated! But this time-sheesh! My hero, Declan, is a guy with a really tragic past, and while Angel, my heroin, has had a life of horror few can even begin to imagine, she was the one who was all sweetness and light-not what I expected when I began putting <strong>FALLEN ANGEL</strong> together. And then, of course, there’s the demon Asmodeus…but he’s not what I expected either-and won’t be quite what you expect, but I can’t say more about him or I’ll spoil the story, even though he would love for me to tell you all about him-demons are wicked that way.

 

This is an incredibly romantic story. And because it’s me, it’s also a li’l dirty, because I love to explore those intimate moments when my characters are their most vulnerable, primal selves. Isn’t that why we love to read about sex? Well-partly, anyway…;) Whether you like the romantic part or the dirty part-or both!-I hope you all enjoy my book FALLEN ANGEL.


He would move heaven and earth to protect her

Was she heaven-sent…or more heartbreak waiting to happen?

Haunted by a military mission that ended in personal tragedy, Declan Byrne still bears a soldier’s scars. As a park ranger on the secluded Mendocino coast, he guards his heart while standing ready for anything. Anything except a beautiful, ethereal woman with a mysterious past, falling from the cliffs to the rocks below. Angel, as Declan decides to call her, has no memory of what happened. But as her body heals, disturbing dreams emerge. In Declan’s protective care, Angel feels safe to act on the undeniable passion between them, without the threats from old, unnameable demons. And, in time, she senses Declan needs her as desperately as she needs him. But when her past returns with a vengeance, Declan must decide just how much he’s willing to risk in order to keep the woman he loves safe.

~~~~~~

 (WARNING! X-RATED Excerpt!):

He sat up. They were in his bed, the moonlight shimmering through the curtains, striping the room in light and shadow. But he could see her clearly, her naked body kneeling next to his, her long hair like a veil around her shoulders, flowing over the curve of her breasts.

He was still pulsing with his orgasm, his cock thrumming, his body hot. And she was really there. In his bed, wiping her lips with the back of her hand.

Jesus.

He was shaking. What the hell had just happened? What had he let happen?

“Angel. What’s going on? What are you doing here?”

“I’m here to make you happy. To show you there is no reason to deny your desires. Or mine. Have I not made you happy? Your body is happy. But I still need you, Declan. I need you to touch me.”

“Jesus, Angel. I can’t believe this.”

“I’m real. I’m a woman, Declan, not a child. And I want you.”

She took his hand, and before he knew what she was going to do, she held his palm to her breast.

Jesus. Her flesh was warm, her nipple going hard beneath his fingers. He couldn’t force himself to pull away for a moment. When he finally tried to, she held on tighter.

“Please, Declan. Please don’t send me away again. I need you. And you need me. You cannot tell me you don’t.”

It was nearly impossible to think, his brain still half-dazed from coming. But he had to say something. Had to do something.

“Angel, this is not right. I can’t do this. We can’t do this.”

“We already have, Declan. And it was beautiful, as I knew it would be.”

He swore he could feel her pulse beating in the full flesh of her breast as she leaned into his touch.

“I’m here for you. For you, Declan. This is where I am supposed to be. You can’t tell me this is wrong. I won’t believe it. I love you, Declan.”

Love.

Jesus. Why did hearing her say that to him make his heart pound right out of his chest? His mind was going a hundred miles an hour. “You don’t know what you’re saying, Angel.”

“You cannot deny you feel something for me.”

He couldn’t.

God damn it.

“Of course I do! But this is...I don’t know anymore.”

“Feel this, Declan.” She held his hand closer, crushing her breast beneath their twined fingers. “Feel how my body heats for you. Feel my desire.”

She moved his hand down, over the soft cushion of her stomach. Lower still, in between her thighs. He was helpless to stop her. And when she slipped his fingers into her sweet, wet cleft, he was paralyzed.

“Ah, God...”

She sighed quietly, her breath coming out in a warm puff of air that grazed his cheek like a kiss.

“You are the first man to touch me, Declan. And it is better than anything I could have imagined. Your hand feels so different than mine. Larger. Stronger. And yours.”

She held him there, pressed against her mound. His heart was beating wildly. Totally out of control. He was out of control. Fucking helpless.

“I need you,” she said again. “I need you to touch me, Declan. I need you to quench this thirst. I feel as if I’ll die of it.”

Holding onto his hand with both of hers now, she slid it back and forth, over her cleft. Her flesh was soaking wet, slippery. And all he wanted was to touch her, taste her. Have her.

He knew in his head it was wrong. But his body felt right.

He couldn’t resist any longer. He could not do it.

“Declan, please have me. I will beg you until you do.”

Her hips were undulating against his hand, and he moved then of his own accord, sliding his fingers into her wet heat.

“Oh...” Her voice came out on a soft, whispered sigh.

“Angel.” His voice was gruff, thick with desire in his own ears.

“Yes...”

“I want you.”

“Yes, Declan. Now.”

 

~~~~~~

CONTEST! We can’t have a real celebration without giving something away, so how about I hand out to one lucky winner an ARC (advance reader copy) of the first in my ‘Edge’ series, PLEASURE’S EDGE, written under my alter ego, Eve Berlin, and a copy of my e-book WINTER SOLSTICE. Just comment here and let me know what you love about reading about love! I’ll choose a winner and announce it here in the comments section tomorrow night.

 

 

 

If you’d like more information about my books, visit my websites: EdenBradley.com EveBerlin.com or my group blog Smutketeers.com You can buy FALLEN ANGEL now at Amazon, B&N, Chapters.ca, Books-a-Million and other outlets! Hope to chat with you all soon! Eden aka Eve

 

 

Thanks so much to Eden for stopping by! And remember y'all, you need to comment for a chance to win. :)

Spice It Up Thursday: Music Is For More Than Dancing

Photo by halighalie (click pic for link)Welcome back to my Spice It Up feature. This is a short blog series I'm doing in honor of the release of STILL INTO YOU, a story about a married couple trying to fall back in lust with each other after life has gotten in the way. :)

So far we've talked about Sexy Role-Playing and The Real Girl's Guide to Lingerie. Today I'm covering something a little more basic. Music.

There's a reason movies have music in the background of the sexy scenes. It adds a layer to things, inspires certain emotions or moods. Yet, in our own lives, we often forget that this can be added to our own sexy times with our partners. Yes, it takes extra thought and maybe a little planning, but nothing is sexier than partners making an effort to make something a little more special and less mundane.

 

Tips on Using Music in the Bedroom

Beware of the radio

One option is to just turn on the radio to a favorite station and hope for the best. But be warned, this can often derail more than enhance the situation. Nothing like having a sexy moment and a commercial for the local plumber comes on or a song that you hate. Women, more so than men, are easily distracted in the moment. So don't set yourself of your partner up for losing focus.

Each of you make a playlist on your own. Then maybe have a collaborative one.

What your idea of a sexy soundtrack is and his idea may be two different things. That's okay. Each come up with your own playlists and then take turns using them. And don't judge the other person's. You should each be free to pick what you want when it's your turn.

You don't have to focus only on the romantic love songs.

If romantic slow songs are what make you happy, that's fine, use them. But push yourself a bit and think of songs that are sexy in their own right without necessarily being the traditional love songs. Sex can be slow, romantic, intense, dirty, fun, kinky, whatever. There are all kinds of songs that can play to the mood you want to set. (I always think about this when writing. Even if I don't write it in, when I'm writing a love scene, there is usually a certain type of music playing in the background depending on the mood of the scene.)

Consider having a few afterglow songs too.

See, I told you this takes planning. So maybe you went the intense route and used heavy rock music for your sexy times. Afterwards, you're not going to still want that blaring, so have a mellow, we're in the afterglow playlist you can switch to and enjoy the moment with your partner.

Headphones can be fun.

This is moving into a little bit of sensory deprivation kind of thing, but wireless headphones or earbuds can be a fun thing to try. You can also add a blindfold and then the person can focus on nothing but their partner's touch and the sound of the music. The music via headphone can keep the person totally focused on the moment and what they're feeling. Fun times. :)

 

All right, those are just a few ideas, but hopefully it gets you started on thinking about what could work for you.

Oh, and another reminder...

My STILL INTO YOU contest is still open: Order STILL INTO YOU This Week and Win a Box of Awesome, a gift card, or a 20 page critique from me!

 

Question for y'all: What do you consider the sexiest song ever?

Mine is probably "Cry to Me" from Dirty Dancing but that's because I'm obsessed with that movie and it plays during my favorite scene. :) 

Spice It Up Thursday: Sexy Role-Playing

18+ post

Photo by _rockinfree (Click Photo for link)It's time for another installment of my blog series focused on finding fun ways to spice up your relationship. This is all in honor of my new release (out next Tuesday, yay!) STILL INTO YOU about a married couple trying to rekindle the spark they lost.

And on today's agenda: role-playing.

Role-playing can be a great way to bring something fresh into the bedroom when you've been with someone a long time. It's a safe way to change things up, get that thrill of newness again. And beyond something sexy, it can be fun.

So everyone knows the possible role plays you can bring into the bedroom...

 

  • Nurse or doctor
  • Pirate and captive
  • Professor and student
  • Escort and client
  • Stripper and customer
  • Cop and criminal (I use this one in MELT INTO YOU if you want to see that one played out.)
  • Master and slave (may want to look into BDSM if this one really appeals to you)
  • Delivery guy/girl and customer
  • Stranger picking you up in a bar/one-night stand

 

Of course, you can come up with your own. If you want to play Star Wars roles, more power to you. It's whatever you and your partner find sexy (and fun!)

Then once you talk to your partner and decide you may want to try one of these, make sure you set some ground rules.

1. Laughing together is okay. Laughing AT your partner is not.

Role-playing requires some lowering of inhibitions, which also means making yourself more vulnerable. Acting in a role doesn't come naturally to most of us and can feel awkward at first because you're afraid of looking ridiculous or not doing it "right." Agree with your partner that you're not going to poke fun at each other and that it's a safe environment to relax in. Otherwise, if one partner is meant to feel silly or ashamed, this will never happen again.

2. Establish a safe word that stops the role play.

This is something used in BDSM play but it helpful for regular roleplays as well. If something is uncomfortable or you feel like things are going off course, you can say a word that signals each of you to break character. "Stop" or something simple can work, but if you're doing something where you may be play-acting "stop!" - cop and criminal for instance, then it gets confusing. So make sure the word is something that stands out.

3. Don't phone it in.

You don't have to go buy elaborate costumes (though you can) but make an effort to make it feel real. If you're supposed to be the escort, don't be dressed in sweat pants and a t-shirt.

4. Talk about boundaries

Make sure you know what is off-limits for your partner so that you don't cross some line they don't want you to.

5. Have fun.

If you're totally stressed out about being perfect or how your thighs look in the too tight skirt he asked you to wear, this will just be an exercise in misery. Your partner loves you, you love them. This is just a little fun. Treat it as such.

And if you want to see what a stranger pick-up could look like, here's an excerpt from STILL INTO YOU. Seth and Leila have been married eight years and have gone to The Ranch to try to find their way back to each other. Seth has told Leila she can have whoever she wants at The Ranch. She's been at the dance club when this scene starts...

STILL INTO YOU Excerpt

All rights reserved. Copyright Roni Loren 2012.

When she’d found out Seth was going to go do his own thing tonight, her belly had gone inside out. Not only because of the fact that he was willingly giving her the opportunity to cheat but that he might do the same. Maybe he’d set up this whole thing to satisfy his own eight-year itch.

After that revelation, she’d vowed to jump into this whole thing with both feet. If her husband could so easily turn his vows off and not care if some other guy touched his wife, then he’d earned the consequence. Apparently, she wasn’t even worth jealousy anymore.

But so far she hadn’t been inspired to use that get-out-of-jail-free card. All of the men she’d danced with had been handsome enough, but none had sparked that thing inside her that would push her to take the leap. She’d turned the offers down, and each of the men had handled it without protest or malice, which was another beautiful thing about this place—consent was like religion.

She took the last gulp of her drink and set it down on the bar.

“Still have one dance left in you?” a voice said, low and heavy against her ear.

Leila startled, nearly knocking over her glass. She whirled around to find a familiar face with an unfamiliar smirk staring down at her. “What?”

Seth planted a hand on the bar, half-caging her on her stool with his arm. Her gaze traced down him as she inhaled the scent of a cologne she’d never smelled on him before—a darker, more earthy scent than his usual. He’d changed into a pair of jeans and a snug gray T-shirt that molded over his hard, lean chest. “What’s your name, sweetheart?”

She blinked, confused for a moment, then realized what he was doing. Oh. Her pulse ticked up a notch. “I’m Leila.”

His smile was downright wicked. Who the hell was this person? “Well, Leila, I’m Seth and I think you should dance with me.”

“Oh, and why is that?” she asked, leaning back against the bar and sending him a challenging look.

His other hand landed on the bar, officially trapping her in the scant space between his arms. He bent his head close to her ear. “Because there are at least three dudes in this place who are hoping you’ll go back to their room with them, and I want to show everyone who’s really going to be shoving that dress up your thighs tonight.”

A soft gasp passed her lips, the dirty talk a vast—but effective—departure from the Seth she was used to. She met his eyes and saw the promise backing up his words. A subtle warmth crept over her skin. “My, my, aren’t you confident.”

***
STILL INTO YOU can be pre-ordered on Kindle  or Nook for only $2.99!
Alright, that's all I've got today. Thoughts on this feature? Do you want me to continue with this series over the next few weeks or do something different? And what are some role play scenarios I missed listing?

THE SIREN Takes Over Boyfriend of the Week

Today I have a special treat for you. Tiffany Reisz is back, giving us ALL the boyfriends from her debut novel THE SIREN . If you haven't read this book yet, what are you waiting for? It's gorgeous and dark and beautifully written. Plus hello, it has all these delicious men in it. Really, this isn't because she's a friend, her book is amazing. This story convinced me I could enjoy erotica and not just erotic romance. (Yes, there's a difference.) 

THE SIREN has been early-released in ebook, so you can get it now. The paperback will be out in July.

Now over ot Tiffany and her men--oh, and fair warning if you're at work, Tiffany's excerpts are 18+.

 

Boyfriends of the Week - The Siren

Hi Friends and Fellow Man-Lovers! 

Once again Roni’s bad judgment has gotten the better of her and she’s allowing me to run roughshod all over her blog. I’m not here for the Boyfriend of the Week post. I’m here for the BoyfriendS of the Week.

That’s right. BoyfriendS. Plural. It’s the week of THE SIREN (my full-length erotic women’s fiction debut), and I brought all my men with me. 

At a recent writers’ conference, my agent described THE SIREN as a book with a hero, a heroine, another hero, another hero, another hero, and another heroine. Pretty accurate assessment. After all, THE SIREN is merely book one in an eight-book series called THE ORIGINAL SINNERS. I need a whole lot of sinners if I’m going to fill up eight books. 

THE SIREN is the story of Nora Sutherlin, a quirky and beautiful Dominatrix and her rich and powerful lovers and clients. She’s also an erotica writer on killer deadlines and the world’s sexiest editor is cracking the whip. On top of that, she’s got a nymphomaniac Frenchman for a boss, an all-American, virginal teenage boy for an intern, and you don’t even want to know who she’s sleeping with. 

Oh wait. Yes, you do.

 

Let’s meet our boys, shall we?

 

Hero #1

Zachary “Zach” Easton

Occupation: Uptight editor of literary fiction

Hobbies: Being British and mean to his writers

 

“You do realize that working with you could be bad for my career,” Zach said. “I do literary fiction, not-”

“Literary friction?” 

“I can’t believe I’m doing this.” Zach shook his head.

Nora leaned in close to him. He was suddenly and uncomfortably aware of the long, bare curve of her neck. She smelled of hothouse flowers in bloom.

“I can.” She breathed the words into his ear.

 

 

Hero #2

Wesley “Wes” Railey

Occupation: Full-time College Student, Part-time Babysitter to a Writer

Hobbies: Horseback riding and trying to get Nora to behave for five whole minutes 

  

“It's okay,” he said a little breathlessly. He curled up around the pillow and pulled his legs into his chest. “It's just, you're, I’m…”

“Turned on? I know you are. You’re accent gets thicker when you get-”

“Nora, please.”

“You can tell me, Wes.”

“Yes,” he confessed. “Very. I'm sorry. Just give me a few minutes to think about my dead grandmother and I'll be okay.”

“Can I help you?”

“I don't think so. You never met my dead grandmother.”

 

Hero #3

Griffin Randolfe Fiske

Occupation: Trust Fund Baby

Hobbies: Causing trouble, getting tattoos, lifting weights, going to rehab, flirting with everyone.

  

“Blowjob on a British guy?” Griffin asked with some concern. “You're a braver bitch than I. No offense,” Griffin said turning to Zach. “I have a foreskin phobia.”

“Zach's Jewish,” Nora said.

Griffin nodded his approval. “Mazel tov.”

 

  

Hero? #4

Kingsley Edge (not his real last name)

Occupation: Clubowner and King of New York’s Underground BDSM Scene

Hobbies: Seducing women, seducing men, being French and attractive, shopping 

 

“Miss me?” Nora asked.

“I miss you. My bank account misses you.”

“Your bank account is bigger than the G.D.P. of Luxembourg, King.”

“Oui, Maîtresse.” He took a bigger swig of his drink. “But Luxembourg is such a small kingdom.”

 

Hero #5

Søren

Occupation: You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Hobbies: Playing piano and mindfucking anyone who tries to get in-between him and Nora

  

“You know her that well, do you?” Søren asked, turning to face him full on. “Before tonight she scared you, didn’t she? Her fearlessness, her brazenness, I’m sure it’s terrifying at first. Foreign to those who lead the proverbial life of quiet desperation as I imagine you do. She scared you with the sheer force of her life and being. But now you look around and think her courage is merely a byproduct of her damage. You imagine I abused her, changed her. And you would save her, as Wesley imagines he can? You would be her knight in shining armor? Yes, before you feared her and now you pity her. I assure you, Zachary, you were right the first time.”

 


 Tiffany Reisz lives in Lexington, Kentucky with her boyfriend (a reformed book reviewer) and two cats (one good, one evil). She graduated with a B.A. in English from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky and is making both her parents and her professors proud by writing BDSM erotica under her real name. She has five piercings, one tattoo, and has been arrested twice. 

When not under arrest, Tiffany enjoys Latin Dance, Latin Men, and Latin Verbs. She dropped out of a conservative southern seminary in order to pursue her dream of becoming a smut peddler. Johnny Depp’s aunt was her fourth grade teacher. Her first full-length novel THE SIREN was inspired by a desire to tie up actor Jason Isaacs (on paper). She hopes someday life will imitate art (in bed). 

If she couldn’t write, she would die.

Thanks, Tiffany! Whew, alright, so which hero are you going for? I have a bit of a thing for Wesley, but Tiffany makes all her heroes interestiing so it's definitely a hard choice. :)

Spice It Up Thursday: The Real Girl's Guide to Lingerie

Okay, so as many of you know might already know, I have a novella coming out June 5th (and it's only 2.99!). This novella, STILL INTO YOU, is part of my series (I'm calling it #1.5) and is the first story I've ever written about a married couple. 

Here's the blurb:

Seth and Leila used to have trouble keeping their hands off each other. Passion, desire, love—it was all there. Yet, eight years after their whirlwind marriage and kids, they’ve settled into a life where choosing Letterman over Leno is considered a wild night.

Seth knows things need to change. But when he hears his wife call into a relationship radio show and admit she’s been tempted to cheat, he realizes how far off course they’ve gotten. He comes up with a dramatic plan. Three days. No rings. He’ll take Leila to The Ranch, a resort where any sexual fantasy can be had, and give her the freedom to have whatever or whomever she wants.

However, Seth doesn’t intend to simply stand by and watch other men fulfill Leila’s dark desires. He has a lot more bad boy in him than his wife suspects and he knows there’s only one man who can give her what she needs. Now he has to show her why that man is him.

I had a great time writing about a couple that could be any of us--two people who love each other, but have been together a long time and life has started to get in the way of their romance. Now, I don't necessarily suggest taking the extreme measure my couple does in the book, but I thought it'd be fun for the next few weeks to have a Thursday feature focused on simple ways to spice up a relationship and have some fun.

Fair warning: These posts are for 18 and over.

On today's agenda...lingerie.

Okay, so we all know what's out there. We've seen those skimpy things on the Victoria's Secret models. You can't eat a crouton and still fit into half that stuff. (For those of you who can wear those outfits and look flawless...well, move right along before we spot you and start to hate you.) Most of us can't pull off things designed for models. 

And I know there are some guys out there who will say that it's not about looking perfect. They like the idea of it and see us as sexy no matter what. Or they're good with plain old naked. Okay, we love you for that. But half the appeal of lingerie is that the woman can feel sexy in it. It changes things up a bit and can make everything feel a little different, a bit more exciting. But if she feels uncomfortable or un-cute in what she's wearing, it's going to ruin the mood.

So what's a girl to do? Well, here are some ideas that will probably make both your and your guy happy.

Lingerie Alternatives for Every Day Women

 

 

1. A man's dress shirt and a pair of heels.

Classic, sexy, and very forgiving on body shape.

 

 

2. The sports jersey (striped athletic socks optional)

Just, uh, make sure it's not a team he hates. :)

 

 

3. A trench coat with heels or knee high boots.

The only time it's okay to be a flasher.

 

4. The cowgirl look

This could be jeans or jean skirt, boots, hat, and either a wife beater or plaid shirt tied in the front.

 

 5. The buttoned up business woman or librarian look

Slim black skirt, sheer blouse, heels, sexy lacy stuff underneath (or nothing at all). Glasses for bonus points.

 

There are also outfits that could be fun for role plays, but I think I shall save that for another post. ;)

So what do you think? Think your guy would go for this? Any other lingerie alternatives you can think of? And men, if you're reading this, would you be happy to see your women in any of these?

Kink & BDSM 101 - What It Is & Why It's So Popular In Books #atozchallenge

This is a post I did a while back as a guest post on my blog tour, but with all the talk about BDSM since Fifty Shades of Grey has hit, I figured this was a good time to re-run this primer. 

BDSM 101: What It Is and Why It’s So Popular in Books

Photo by Latente (click pic for link)

When I tell people I’m a writer, I inevitably get the same basic questions—“Are you published?” and then when they find out I’m going to be…“So what’s your book about?”

Depending on who’s asking, I can answer that a few different ways. But if it’s someone who maybe isn’t overly familiar with my genre, the answer is usually something like, “It’s a sexy romance about a social worker who has to find her missing sister with the help of her ex.”  

And for a while, I was able to leave it at that. But as the book got closer and closer to publication and started showing up on Amazon and such, I started getting that other question. “What is BDSM? Is that like handcuffs and whips and stuff?” *insert judgmental, slightly wary expression crossing their face (or a saucy eyebrow raise depending on who was asking)*

To answer: well, yes, it can be about those things. But that’s a very small part under a very large umbrella. Throwing a pair of handcuffs into a story does not a BDSM book make.

So if you’re new to this subgenre, here are some basics:

BDSM stands for Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission, Sadism & Masochism (some of the letters do double duty in the acronym).

  • Bondage – Physically restraining a partner in some way (tying someone down, handcuffs, etc.)
  • Discipline – Giving physical or psychological punishment to control behavior. 
  • Sadomasochism -- Sexual sadism is deriving pleasure from inflicting physical or psychological pain on someone else. But it’s not the same as pure sadism. A sexual sadist (especially the ones we write about in romance novels) only enjoy inflicting the pain because the partner is a masochist and derives pleasure from receiving it. It’s an exchange of mutually pleasurable activities. (As opposed to a sadist who would get pleasure from torturing an unwilling victim. That’s a different thing altogether.)
  • Dominance/Submission (or D/s): This is the power exchange between partners, whereby one partner (the submissive) gives over all the control to the other (the dominant). This may be only in their sexual relationship or it may be in all aspects of the relationship. Also, don’t assume that the submissive partner is always the woman. Though that’s the more popular theme in romance, men can be submissive too. (Read Joey W. Hill’s Nature of Desire series if you’re interested in reading some great female dominant BDSM romances.)

A few other terms you may run across:

SSC (Safe, Sane, Consensual) or RACK (Risk-Aware Consensual Kink) – These are the cornerstone philosophies in BDSM play.  All activities must be consensual and safe (or risk-aware if both parties are engaging in the edgier stuff). 

Safe words – A word is given to the submissive to signal “stop everything right now”. The words “no” or “stop” aren’t typically used as safe words because sometimes in BDSM play, someone may say “no” as part of the scene. So a word that easily sticks out like “Waffles” or something is chosen. When the sub says that word, everything stops immediately, no questions asked. 

Subspace – This is the trancelike or euphoric state for submissives. I won’t attempt my own explanation of the science since Wikipedia does a better job: 

“the intense experiences of both pain and pleasure trigger a sympathetic nervous system response, which causes a release of epinephrine…as well as a dump of endorphins... These natural chemicals…produce the same effect as a morphine-like drug, increasing the pain tolerance of the submissive as the scene becomes more intense. Since the increase of hormones and chemicals produces a sort of trance-like state, the submissive starts to feel out-of-body, detached from reality, and as the high comes down, and the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in, a deep exhaustion, as well as incoherence.”

So when people looking from the outside in wonder why the heck someone would want to be tied up, flogged, and bossed around---well, there you go, subspace is one enticing reason why. 

 

But why are so many romance readers and writers getting into BDSM stories? What need or desire are books like 50 Shades tapping into?

I can’t answer for everyone, but for me, the D/s aspect is really what drives me to write and read these stories. Romance readers have always enjoyed the very alpha hero. Think of all those historical romances where the duke/rake/etc. takes all the control. Or look at the paranormals that have all those alpha wolves going after the heroines. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely an I-am-woman-hear-me-roar kind of chick. But in a world where we are often weighed down with so much responsibility, it can be a nice escape to imagine having a break from that. Of imagining putting ourselves completely in the hands of a guy we love and trust—one that will keep us safe and also rock our world. ;)  

And that’s how I wrote Brynn in CRASH INTO YOU. She’s very in control of her life, very strong, and has overcome a lot in her past. She doesn’t *need* a man. But because she’s always had to be responsible and in charge, submitting to Reid gives her an escape, a place where she can just let go and feel. And I think on some level, we can all relate to that.

All right, hope this wasn’t too much like some whacked-out school report, lol, but I wanted to give anyone who hasn’t read BDSM an idea of what it’s about. If you have any questions for me or any of this is unclear, let me know in the comments! : )

And if you want some suggestions on great BDSM romances to try, check out my favorites here.

*This post was originally posted as my guest post on Riverina Romantics.