Yellow Ribbons by Caitlyn Willows

YellowRibbons

YELLOW RIBBONS
by Caitlyn Willows
Romantic Suspense – Military – Erotic Romance – BDSM
November 2011
Cover Artist – April Martinez
Loose Id www.loose-id.com
ISBN 978-1-61118-580-5 (ebook)
ISBN 978-1-61118-826-4 (print)

He saw her across the room, a beautiful offering strung between the pillars awaiting a master to bring her the rush of bliss. That’s when Greg Landess knew no one was going to have his captain but him.

Lani Hollister didn’t have a clue what release was like until Greg claimed her. Calling it magic didn’t come close. He’d captured more than her body that night, he cradled her heart in his big, wonderful hands.

Their relationship was a secret they kept from the world. Their love a secret they kept from each other. Fraternization between officer and enlisted, between supervisor and subordinate, are strictly forbidden. Neither expected a call to a murder scene would jeopardize their affair and make them the enforcers of the very rules they’ve broken.

BUY LINKS:

Loose Id

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo Books

REVIEWS:

4-1/2 STARS! Everything about Yellow Ribbons exceeds expectations, including a believable military scenario, scorching erotic elements and thrilling suspense. The relationship between Greg and Lani is incredibly emotional, and readers will connect with the conflict of keeping secrets and the turmoil of living lies. Each character has a solid backstory, interactions are well thought out and the pacing is even — all details which strike a perfect balance between erotica and suspense.~Anna Dougherty, RT Book Reviews

EXCERPT:

Lani started awake from a nightmare she couldn’t remember. Strong arms wrapped around her, and Greg swept his hand over her hip, scattering her fears.

“It’s okay,” he mumbled. “I’ve got you. Go back to sleep.”

He was dead to the world a nanosecond later. The man could fall asleep in an instant. She could too, when he was by her side. When he wasn’t, the nights were long, lonely, and cold.

Lani relaxed against him, treasuring the security of his body next to hers and his warmth, her own minifurnace. What a treat in the winter. Come summer, she’d be sweltering next to him and loving every second. If they made it to summer.

God, what a dangerous game they were playing. No, not a game. Lani was very serious about him, and that’s what was going to wind up destroying them both.

She glanced at the bedside alarm — 4:01. They could get another hour and a half of sleep before Greg had to slink away. She missed him already. In the light of day, in public, at work, neither could acknowledge what they truly were to each other. Regulations forbade every aspect of their relationship. It was only going to get worse. In light of tonight’s events, or rather…last night’s, Lani could predict what was going to happen next. She didn’t want to think about what was going to go down at work in less than four hours.

Greg mumbled something in his sleep and rolled to his back. The sheet, blanket, and bedspread were bunched at his hips. Lani turned onto her side to enjoy the view, feeling blessed and cursed at the same time. Lucky to have him, sad it had to be a secret.

Night light from the wall plug rippled over his chest. His pecs looked like desert mesas, the puckered nipples remnants of ancient peaks. Abs resembled rolling valleys, and the dark hair trickling to his navel a shadowed wash. Lani pressed her lips together to try to hold in a gasp. He did that to her — took her breath away. All he had to do was walk into a room. She’d played hell every time fighting her reaction — how her body tightened and sang for his touch.

He knew so much about her. Knew what she needed and when she needed it, and he thoroughly indulged her body’s demands. It was her heart that Lani guarded, that and the biggest secret of all — one even Greg could never know.

She couldn’t pinpoint the moment things shifted. Somewhere in the last six months they’d gone from fulfilling a mutual need for bondage and discipline play into making love. All Lani knew was that Greg held her heart in his big, wonderful hands. Maybe he had from the start, when fate put them both at that private, exclusive event hosted by Oliver Holbrook at his Palm Springs estate. If she lived to be a million years old, Lani would never forget Greg’s words when he saw her there.

“The woman is mine.”

He’d claimed her, his long legs closing the distance between them, chamois flogger dragging the floor by his side. He’d worn soft black pants that rippled over his muscled thighs. The long-sleeved ivory shirt had been open at the throat, loose. He’d looked like Heathcliff stepping off the moors. If she hadn’t been spread between the pillars, Lani still wouldn’t have been able to move. Then he’d reached her side and burrowed his face below her ear, inhaling her soul.

“No one touches my captain but me,” he’d whispered.

He’d ordered her released and taken to a private area where…

Lani shivered at the memory.

Greg stirred and rolled her way. “Cold?”

She should have felt guilty for waking him but didn’t. “No, just…remembering our first time together.”

His penis swelled against her stomach, nudging her belly button. He skimmed his fingers over her ribs and down her spine, then rested them on the curve of her ass. His breath quickened, but he didn’t say a word. She knew the memory danced in his head. God, how she’d wanted him fully that not-so-long-ago night. Well beyond what her body needed from the endorphin bliss. She’d needed him. Wanted him. A month passed before they crossed that line, a month of release at the hands of a true master. Lani didn’t have a clue what release was like until the first time they’d come together outside their roles of Dom and sub. Calling it magic didn’t come close.

Her nipples hardened. She slid her hand over his tight buttock and closed the whisper of space between them.  Greg kneaded his fingers oh-so-gently while he ground his cock into her belly.

“I love waking up to you.” He nuzzled her ear and nipped at her lobe. “Love how you feel in my arms.”

“Mmmm.” Lani arched her neck to his wandering lips. Electricity scored down her body when he crawled his mouth over the tendon under her ear.

Somehow she managed to press her palms against his chest. The barest push urged him to lie back. Greg didn’t hesitate, nor did Lani. She raked the covers to the foot of the bed with her toes. He cupped her cheek, then combed his fingers through her long hair. His lips were parted, eyes half-closed while he waited for her next move.

“You’re mine.” She skidded her hand over his chest, back and forth between his hard nipples. “Just like I was yours that night. God help the woman who steps between us.”

Lani meant it too. Though in reality there was nothing either of them could do about it without giving away the nature of their relationship and facing career-ending courts-martial as a result.

His hand tensed, but his grip on her head remained light. His expression lost the dreamy quality. Something had upset him. Her words?

“And while we’re on that subject… What the hell was that with Jordan last night?”

Her heart alternately ached and cheered at this spark of jealousy from him. “I have no idea.” It was the truth. She and Jordan were coworkers, casual friends. His move last night was…disconcerting. “I didn’t like it,” she admitted. “It threw me off.”

“I was beginning to think I was going to have to throw him off you.” Lani watched as he clenched his jaw, saw his eyes blaze.

You make me feel like a woman. Your woman.

“Frankly, so was I,” she finished in a whisper, lips poised over his nipple.

His tension faded. She stole a gasp from him when she traced a circle around his nipple. Any other man would have tried to shove her head toward his dick. Not Greg. He was always content to let her play, even if it meant permanently wrinkling the sheet in a tight-fisted, sweat-drenched grip.

She plucked his nipple between her lips, loving how it hardened and strained for more. Lani moved to the other one and idly caressed the line of hair running down his chest, stopping just short of the erection waiting for her below. Greg released a shuddered breath and dropped his hand to her hip. His fingers flexed.

“God, you test a man’s control.” His voice was rough, a true testament to the words he’d spoken.

Lani smiled and licked the muscle cut under his pecs. She feathered her fingers downward, skirting his penis to tickle his thighs. Greg spread them, a silent request she couldn’t deny. She moved lower and flashed her tongue over his smooth sac, loving how he shaved there just for her.

“Ga!” He smacked his palms onto the mattress and wadded the sheet.

She slid over him until her shoulders were between his thighs. Greg lifted his knees, then spread them wide onto the bed. Lani sucked one testicle into her mouth, tongue laving circles over it. She pressed her thumbs upward, promising a touch to his erection that she never gave. Greg writhed beneath her. His soft groans made her juices flow, her clit swell. Releasing his sac, she ran the flat of her tongue up his penis.

His hold on the sheet faltered. Fingers flailed to grab her, then fell to her shoulders. He rubbed frantic circles over her skin. Lani flashed her tongue over the tag of flesh near the crown, blew over the tip, sucked in the precum gathered there, and wandered downward once more. Greg whimpered. His sac was harder now, hugging his body. She loved when he got like that, like he couldn’t wait to empty himself in her. She wrapped her hand around the top and tugged his testicles gently downward.

“You’re killing me,” he gasped.

“Am I?” She used her tongue to separate his balls, then sucked the other one into her mouth.

She felt his cock twitch as heat swamped his groin, his body locked. Lani eased away.

“I want you inside me.” She came to her knees and ran her hands over her breasts. Greg’s hands replaced hers, molding around her tits until her nipples were ripe and swollen. God knew her clit was.

She crawled astride his hips and rubbed her pussy over his erection. Greg grabbed his cock with one hand, raking the tip over her clit while his other hand tweaked her nipple. Now she was on the brink, so close to coming, she could taste it. Hands braced on his chest, she rode the oncoming wave.

Greg grabbed her hips and lifted her slightly. “Put it where you want it, sweetheart.” He rubbed his erection over her slit. They found each other at the same time and eased together as one.

“Damn…” He ground into her. “I swear I could fuck you a thousand times and your pussy just keeps getting better and better. So tight. So hot. So wet.” He thumbed her clit. “Ride me. Make us come, baby.”

Her brain shut down, and her body took over. He moved in time with her frantic gyrations, each thrust harder and hotter than the one before.

Lani’s orgasm built, stoked by the relentless drive of his thumb and cock into her, her clenching vaginal muscles. They climaxed at the same time, straining into the force, letting the tension rattle their bones and the blessed release sag their muscles.

Emotion hit her from out of nowhere. A gasp. Her heart squeezed. A sob. Tears.

“Shh, it’s okay.” Greg hugged her close and rolled her beneath him, kissing her, caressing her, soothing as only he could. “I’ve got you, sweetheart. I’ve got you.”

If only he knew how true that statement was. If only she could tell him.

 

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Lies That Bind by Caitlyn Willows

LiesThatBind

LIES THAT BIND

by Caitlyn W

illows
Contemporary – Erotic Romance – Menage – BDSM
March 2014
Cover Artist – Dar Albert
Loose Id www.loose-id.com
ISBN 978-1-62300-706-5

After a year’s absence, Tessa returns to the Texas ranch and two cowboys she left when her life turned inside out. She’s here to bury a friend, cut her ties with this town, that’s all. That may be all that Tessa’s planning, but Rex and Tyler want their woman back and they’re not going to make it easy.

If one good man is hard to find, two are even harder to resist. Tessa’s determination to shut them can’t withstand the fire of their mingled passions. Pretty soon, the fire draws them back to each other. How can she leave when it feels so damned good tucked up nice and tight between them?

It’s not long before Tessa realizes she’d rather bend her pride to be with her men than live the hell of loneliness without them. Also not long before someone else starts threatening their new romance by killing anyone who’ll expose this town’s dirty laundry. Not long before Tessa’s secrets make her a target herself…

BUY LINKS:

Loose Id

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo Books

2015_EBook_WINNER-sm

REVIEWS:

5 out of 5! I was totally hooked several pages into the story. Who doesn’t love a good mystery, romance and toss a bit of kink in as well?! The dynamic between Tessa, Rex and Tyler was great. Wasn’t sure what to expect, but the Dom/sub roles and interchanging between Tessa and Tyler were awesome. Loved how the murder mystery and who did it theme runs through the book in conjunction with the kink. Made for a very easy read, and I couldn’t put the book down. Lots of hints of what happened with Tessa during the year that she was gone from the ranch, would be interested in seeing the secondary characters in a book of their own. Congrats and well done! – Cat, BDSM Reviews.

FOUR STARS! [A] terrific novel by Ms. Willows that combined incredibly hot sex with a cozy little mystery to create a must read for fans of erotic suspense stories. the suspense and mystery in this book were excellent and had me trying to figure out whodunit almost the entire time. I loved the red herrings Ms. Willows throw out there and wound up appreciating the villain more for it. And the sex…seriously. It was out of this world. The reunion scene between Tessa and Tyler and their light BDSM switch roles…OMG, it was fantastic! – Delta, The Romance Reviews.

EXCERPT:

Derek Ford was dead. What that had to do with her, though, was a mystery that dug under Tessa Fairchild’s skin, trumped only by the question of why she’d bothered to come back here in the first place. She’d cut her ties to the ranch and everything that went with it a year ago. The last thing she needed was this haunting sense of déjà vu by returning to the place where it all started. Yet here she was, answering the summons of a dead man. Tessa told herself she was here out of respect. After all, Derek had been as much a victim as she was. Two lives ruined in one fell swoop.

She glanced out the cockpit at her destination below.

Rustlers Retreat, an experience you’ll always remember.

The innocent promotional tagline screamed volumes. She had a wealth of experience from the few years she’d worked on the dude ranch. That one revelation, though, delivered a year ago, had not only erased all the good experiences—it had also chased her away and forever branded her with a horrid reality she’d never be able to forget.

God knew, she’d tried.

Tessa wanted nothing to do with the ranch or the people involved with it. Yet at the sight of the white Suburban pulling away from the large Victorian inn and heading toward the runway, her body trembled and said otherwise. Rex Williams and Tyler Coltrane were coming to greet her.

She hated that she’d missed them so much. Hated herself more for the way she’d left. When she’d cut her ties to Rustlers Retreat, she’d cut her ties to them too. Completely. No harsh words spared.

Had they missed her as much as she missed them?

Not possible. A sudden spate of nerves coiled in her stomach. She wished she’d taken better care in what she’d worn. A threadbare T-shirt from Catalina Island, jeans, and sneakers when she hadn’t seen them, hadn’t had them, in over a year? Tessa laughed at herself and the image that came to mind of her flying the aircraft in fuck-me-now attire. Those nerves broke free of her stomach and trickled over her skin, igniting goose bumps.

“You all right?”

Nate Bridger’s question over the headset—the first words he’d spoken since they’d taken off from Palm Springs—startled her.

“I thought you were still asleep,” she replied, avoiding the question.

He flexed his shoulders. “I heard the landing gear deploy. Appreciate the nap, though. It was a long night.”

For both of them. By rights, flying today wasn’t a good idea. Tessa didn’t care when the only one she had to worry about was herself. Nate had decided to hitch a ride at the last minute. He wouldn’t take no for an answer, and she didn’t have the energy to fight him. Besides, she had to admit she liked the safety net of having him along. Her pilot’s license wasn’t that old, and going solo wasn’t her favorite thing to do, especially when thunderstorms could and did pop up in the blink of an eye between California and Texas this time of year. Plus, she’d need all the emotional support she could get.

“Not a problem. So why, exactly, did you insist on tagging along?”

“Precaution?”

“Avoidance is more like it,” she countered.

“True enough,” he admitted. “I definitely needed a break while I figure things out.”

Tessa almost asked what things? But she already had enough on her plate to worry about. When Nate wanted to talk, he knew he could come to her. That was what friends were for, and Nate was one of the best.

“I felt you shouldn’t fly alone.” He rolled the kinks from his neck. “I know how tired you are. You might think you’re fooling everyone, but I saw how you reacted when you heard about your friend.”

Yes, her shock had been real. Fortunately, Tessa had been able to hide the other emotions that roiled through her—anger, despair, hurt—and the bone-deep hunger that had struck her at the sound of Tyler’s voice on the other end of the line.

“We’re there for each other in other ways. This is no exception. You’d do it for me.” He cracked his knuckles. “And wouldn’t take no for an answer either.”

Again, Tessa couldn’t argue. The casino ribbon-cutting ceremony unveiling her latest design hadn’t been the most convenient time or place for the call. But then, was there ever a good time to hear someone you cared about had died? And Tessa did care about Derek. They were friends, and he hadn’t deserved what had happened any more than she did. Nate had kept the hounds at bay last night while she’d dealt with her emotions and tried desperately to get a flight out of Palm Springs. Weekend traffic and weather delays made that impossible. Thank goodness she had the option of using this private plane.

“You never said how he died.”

Because talking about it opened the door to other questions she didn’t want to deal with. Like how she knew him. Why she’d left Rustlers and cut ties with the two men she could barely live without. But then, wouldn’t Nate be asking those questions once he saw Rex and Tyler? Once he saw how much they meant to her? How much she missed them?

Nope, she didn’t want to open those floodgates. And just because she got all fluttery at the thought of Rex and Tyler didn’t mean they fluttered back. After all, a year was a long time to go without. She sure hadn’t. They wouldn’t have either. And while she hadn’t moved on, men like them…

“Earth to Tessa. Earth to Tessa.”

She snapped her attention into focus. “Sorry. He was killed in a fall from his horse, but I don’t have the details,” she finally replied. No one did at this point. “It doesn’t make sense.” Nothing had since the day Mike Ford died, and the life she and Derek had once known died with him. “He was more skilled than that.” But accidents didn’t play favorites. Unless…

Tessa bit off another round of rambling thoughts. She had a plane to land. Focus had to be 100 percent. She flexed her fingers around the controls and focused her attention on landing the aircraft. She watched Nate from the corner of her eye, waiting for him to say something. His silence forced her to glance his way.

“Nice spread.”

She watched as Nate scanned over the acres of prime Texas hill country real estate from behind his dark aviator glasses.

“It is that.” Acres and acres of rolling green dotted with cattle in the distance, a sprawling ranch house, the three-story Victorian-style inn, and the aviary that had brought her to the ranch in the first place three years before. All upwind of the livestock, of course, and a good distance from the runway. It looked like a small community with all the outbuildings and private guest houses spread around the place.

White oyster-shell roads threaded their way through the green fields to each building. Ancient oaks ringed the property and were also scattered throughout the pastures, providing well-needed shade for cattle and a great haven for picnickers…or lovers. Although most of the time, people took refuge in the climate-controlled aviary.

Scattered ponds mirrored blue sky and fluffy clouds. The nearby creek was filled to capacity and running hard, evidence of the heavy storm that had hit the area early yesterday morning. Wind, hail, and tornado warnings had also played havoc with air travel, thwarting her attempts to book a flight because of overflow filling the planes.

“Is that aviary your design?”

“It is. Mike Ford commissioned it on word-of-mouth recommendation. It was my first major job outside of California. I was beyond thrilled.” But her parents weren’t. Now she knew why. “He’d wanted a little oasis for his wife. Inside there’s a small brook, small waterfalls, glades for picnics. Even a large storm shelter beneath it.”

“Outstanding. She must have loved it.”

“She never lived to see it. Cancer took her first.”

“Damn.”

That about summed it up. She hadn’t known Mary very long but had really liked her.

“How close were you to being finished?” Nate asked.

“I had the blueprints, and that was it. Mike still wanted it built.”

“Derek Ford is his son?” he asked.

How to answer that one. “Born and raised here.” That much was the truth. “Mike died a year ago.” Shortly after she’d finished her work.

“I’d like to say it’s nice you were able to maintain a friendship with his son, but somehow, I’m not sensing that from you. So who is Derek to you? Friend, business associate…lover?”

“Friend.” Yes, they were that. “It’s complicated.”

“It always is, isn’t it?”

Nate sounded sad, resigned, and she couldn’t help wondering what had or was complicating his life. Everyone had their secrets. Secrets that sometimes ruined the lives of others. Tessa wished Mike had kept his secrets to himself.

“I’ve got this.”

Nate folded his big hands around the controls, and just like that, he took the plane from her. Relief seeped into her muscles.

“Here we go.”

The wings dipped as he banked into the final turn to approach. Blue sky and fluffy clouds stirred her memory of fresh-cut grass, hot cowboys, a want that grew every second she was with them, and the reality that had ruined it all.

“The welcoming party’s arrived.” Nate’s chuckle reverberated through the headphones. “Oh ho…cowboys. No wonder you wanted to come alone.”

Another jolt of want wiggled through her. Her heartbeat triple-timed. Her nerves tingled. “I didn’t say I wanted to come alone. I said I didn’t expect to be here long.”

Nate leveled out. The runway was dead ahead. Tessa riveted her attention on the white SUV and the two men standing next to it. They grew closer by the second, giving her a view so startling, she swore she could feel the heat of their bodies, smell the sweat on their skin. Both were dressed in dusty boots, well-worn jeans, and long-sleeved western shirts—Rex in chambray blue, Tyler in tan plaid. Tan cowboy hats shielded their faces from the sun. Sunglasses hid their eyes. Six-foot-somethings with shoulders made to cling to and raw muscle no material could ever hide. No matter what the circumstances, they still were and always would be irresistible. The challenge of stripping them bare and having them laid out for her pleasure—or she theirs—churned her blood and raced her heart.

Rex and Tyler gave as good as they got and then some. It was the then some that had played through her mind the last year, making her reach for her toys at all hours of the day and night, or lure a friend—aka Nate—into easing her woes. No, she hadn’t wanted Nate along. Awkward about summed it up.

A shiver coursed through her. Enough of that. Her body didn’t listen. Her mouth watered. Her clit throbbed, parting the flood of juices below. Tessa had a serious weakness for these cowboys and their calloused palms, wide belts, and strong thighs used to long hours in the saddle. Her insides thrummed at the thought of hot cowboy flesh pressed against hers.

“They’re Derek’s partners in Rustlers Retreat, Rex Williams and Tyler Coltrane.” At least that was the plan when she’d hauled ass out of there a year ago—full partnership in the ranch and inn, rather than the inn alone.

“How do you fit into the picture?”

Very nicely right between them.

Nate’s chuckle hinted he knew what she was thinking. The plane bounced with the landing, a deliberate maneuver meant to rattle her, just like his laughter. Tessa didn’t appreciate it in the least.

“Your landing sucks.”

Nate laughed. “Is that the best you can do?”

She kept her mouth closed, eyes riveted on the cowboys monitoring their stop.

Nate cut the engines and shut down the controls. “I have to say, they don’t look too happy.”

No, they didn’t. Rex’s scowl almost broke her heart. She’d done this—deserted them, walked out like they didn’t matter, like what they’d shared in the time she’d been there was nothing. “They just lost their friend. Their business partner.”

“I’m pretty good at reading people, Tess. I’m not seeing grief. One’s pissed, and the other one’s got walls up.”

True enough. Worse were the feelings stirring inside her at the sight of them—not the ones that curled her toes and plummeted her stomach, but rather the ones that forced her to mirror their actions. Yeah, she might have walked out, but if they cared for her as much as they said they did, they’d understand.

“You spoke to one of them yesterday after the lawyer called, and everything seemed fine.”

The richness of Tyler’s voice over the phone had seeped into her veins, triggering so many emotions she’d wanted to weep. The memory of all the good times they’d shared had lingered throughout the night and had helped take the edge off the ordeal to come. Envisioning his tongue tracing idly through her…nether regions sweetened her dreams in what little sleep she’d managed to get.

“Maybe something’s happened since then,” Nate said. “I’m just saying, having your guard up might be a good idea.”

“No problem there.”

Tessa made the mistake of glancing toward them. She bit her bottom lip.

“I don’t think looking like you want to jump their bones is what you were going for.” He chucked her under the chin.

She flashed him a glare. “Maybe I’ll jump yours instead.”

“I’m crushed you’d use me as a substitute for what you really want.” The glint in his eyes said differently.

Tessa unsnapped her seat belt. “That never seemed to bother you before.”

“Aha. Now you admit you were thinking of someone else whenever we were together.”

“And you weren’t?” She snickered.

“Point made. But”—he pulled off the headphones—”that’s what friends are for, right?” He gave her a wink, released his seat belt, and started to stand.

Tessa fisted his T-shirt, holding him in place. “I need you to have your game face on.” That no-nonsense look that scared the piss out of people and made linebackers quake.

“Why? To scare them off so you won’t be tempted? To teach them a lesson?”

He didn’t have to thread that hint of laughter through the words. “Something like that.” Damn, did her cheeks heat with that statement?

“I’ll consider it.” He whipped up his right index finger. “But if there’s any hint they’re gonna beat me up—”

“What’s so intimidating about two cowboys? You could take them.”

“I don’t know, Tess. You tell me.”

Heat definitely flushed her cheeks this time, giving her away.

Nate’s laughter filled the plane. Tessa was fairly certain Rex and Tyler heard it too.

“Well, well, well.” He leaned into her space. “This should be interesting.” He peeled her fingers from his T-shirt but didn’t release her hand. “All right, then. Game face on for the moment. But I’m not getting in the middle of this. Unless you want me to,” he added with a wide grin, his innuendo loud and clear.

Tessa jerked her hand free. “We’re wasting time.”

She pushed from her seat, anxious to put as much distance between them as possible. He’d scrambled her thoughts, churned her emotions, and hadn’t really helped one damn bit. Some friend he turned out to be.

Tessa released her hair from its haphazard ponytail and fluffed out the long strands. She stuffed her scrunchie into her pocket, then grabbed her carry-on and exited the plane. Texas heat and humidity slammed into her full force, making her wish she’d shoved vanity aside and left her hair up.

Sure strides took her toward Rex and Tyler. False bravado but bravado nonetheless. No one needed to know her emotions danced a fine edge. Too many thoughts conspired against her control. Tessa fought every one, only too aware of the man coming up behind her and the two cowboys in front of her.

Her breath hitched. She wanted to run to them, toss her arms around them both, and feel them press her between them, shielding her from the world. Tessa shoved the emotion back where it belonged, behind her walls, and yanked her badass persona to the forefront. It was her protection against the world. The one that made her a formidable and well-respected businesswoman.

Both men relaxed their rigid stance as she neared, making her second-guess herself. A hint of dimples kissed Tyler’s suntanned cheeks. Rex’s square jaw was set but not clenched. Seeing their eyes would have helped her judge them better. She could tell a lot from a person’s eyes, especially theirs.

She pushed her sunglasses up, using them as a headband. Tyler snatched his off, stuffing the stem into his shirt pocket, lowering his defense shields, as it were. Seeing his chocolate-brown eyes and the hint of sparkle in them helped. Maybe things weren’t as they seemed.

It was Tyler who moved first, stepping forward to close the distance between them. Tessa quickened her pace, her arms opening of their own volition. In seconds he’d swooped her into a hug, lifting her sneakered toes off the ground. She held on for dear life, eyes closed, her face burrowed into his neck, inhaling the scent of one of the men she’d loved yet left. Strong, calloused fingers slipped under her T-shirt and spanned her back.

“God, I’ve missed you.”

His voice rumbled in her ear. The swell of his erection against her stomach backed up the words.

“I’ve missed you too,” she whispered. So much.

He kissed her cheek as he eased them apart. All too soon, three feet of space stood between them. The distance killed her. She wanted to grab his face and seal her lips to his.

“Sorry, we’re a little sweaty.” Tyler swept his hand down his flat torso. “We had a tour group arrive this morning.”

Despite the tragedy, it would still be business as usual. Tessa wondered if any of the guests realized one of the owners had died.

“They’re on a trail ride and picnic.” Tyler pointed to a line of oak trees far to the left. “Our in-house guests are—”

“Smart enough to stay inside in the middle of a hot August day.”

Rex’s deep voice rivaled thunder. There’d be no hugs from him. He wasn’t happy to see her. Judging from the scowl he shot over her shoulder, he wasn’t happy to see Nate either.

Tyler squeezed her shoulder—a touch Tessa took as a silent apology for Rex’s behavior—then let go.

She tried to soothe Rex’s ruffled feathers with an introduction. “This is Nate Bridger.”

“Your lover of the moment?”

Jealousy? So he did care. A pity he’d used a snide tone that ruffled her feathers. She stared Rex down. “And it’s your business because…?”

Rex fidgeted enough to let Tessa know she’d won the round. She didn’t gloat. Somehow she suspected it was the first of many. Rex definitely liked to be in charge. Well, so did she. Being at war gave her the distance she needed to stay away.

“I was asking because of accommodations.” Rex braced his hands on his lean hips. “We’ve got a full house at Rustlers. I’d planned to have you stay in my bungalow for the duration of your stay. I’ll bunk at the ranch house.” One eyebrow lifted behind his dark glasses. “Unless you’d prefer to stay there.”

Ah, the ranch house. The scene of the crime. A reminder that her life wasn’t what she thought it was, that she wasn’t who she’d thought she was. He had a lot of nerve. The cut hurt. Words failed her. Her lower lip betrayed her emotion first, quivering. All the willpower in the world wouldn’t stop it. Her carefully erected walls crumbled.

Tears blurred her vision. She reached for her sunglasses to cover her eyes. A tear had the nerve to trickle down her cheek before she could do so. Gaze locked on Rex’s shadowed eyes, she felt the droplet wiggle toward her chin but refused to acknowledge it by wiping it away.

“The ranch house would be perfect.” She slipped her sunglasses into place. “Be a dear and fetch my bags.”

Tessa walked on to the Suburban, knowing at least two men watched her go and that neither of them was Rex. That was fine with her. She didn’t need him to notice she measured every step, using the energy to shore up emotional buttresses, and that one trip would mire her in a wasteland of agony so great, she’d never pull free.

Wasn’t that already the case? Mike Ford had seen to that a year before.

Buddy System by Caitlyn Willows

BuddySystem

BUDDY SYSTEM
by Caitlyn Willows
Erotic Romance – Romantic Suspense
November 2006
Cover Artist – S.L. Carpenter
Loose Id www.loose-id.com
ISBN 978-1-59632-288-2

What started out as just sex has now shifted to love, but admitting that publicly awakens the jealous beast, one who isn’t afraid to kill to keep what he or she considers “MINE.”

Declan Trent and Pam Donaldson are both divorced and neither is anxious to become entangled in another romantic relationship. But then there’s the sex angle. How can they obtain satisfying sexual liaisons without the entanglements that go with it? The answer is simple—they will become sex buddies.

It’s an arrangement that works exceedingly well. In fact, it sizzles. Never has either met a person they were more sexually compatible with—trust, adventure, play, and soul-screaming fulfillment. Do they dare take the step they swore they’d always avoid? Why not?

Then the murders begin. One by one Declan’s patients are being eliminated. How far will their trust of each other go now? As the pieces of the puzzle come together, they realize someone else has an agenda. Someone who will do anything, kill anyone, to keep Declan.

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REVIEWS:

FIVE HEARTS! What a fantastic suspenseful book! The emotions the characters experience are artfully written and make the reader understand what motivates their actions. The author has written several twists into the plot to keep you guessing as to who the murderer really is. Overall, this is a fantastic suspenseful book with lots of hot, spicy sex scattered throughout. ~Lisa Freeman, The Romance Studio

FOUR STARS! This riveting, emotional book expertly blends highly developed characters with murder and romance. The romance is based on a strong, enduring friendship, and love scenes vary from playful to hot and sensual. Readers will not be disappointed by this complex tale of passion, betrayal, trust and frienship. ~Keitha Hart, Romantic Times

Caitlyn Willows pens a thrilling, roller coaster ride of a story with BUDDY SYSTEM. Declan and Pam are perfect for one another both in bed and out. And both fear rejection so therefore, they keep their true feelings bottled up inside. The sex is highly explosive and beautifully written with emotion and spiciness. I so love stories where the hero and heroine start out as friends and then progress to the next level. Both characters are multifaceted with each layer uncovered, revealing a little more about the inner person. Secondary characters include Pam’s partner and best friend, Gloria, who is about to marry District Attorney Remy Sanchez; Pam’s ex-husband, Hank, Declan’s ex-wife Connie, and Declan’s friend and colleague, Mark Roberts. Quite a menagerie of people, some open and honest while others have a hidden agenda. Interesting if I do say so myself. Suspenseful, erotic, and enthralling are words this reviewer uses to describe Caitlyn Willows’ BUDDY SYSTEM. Her in-depth characterization, and steamy sex scenes make this one hot read. ~Sinclair Reid, Romance Reviews Today

4½ LIPS! With so many twists and turns, this suspenseful story had me guessing until the very end and I STILL had it wrong. Buddy System is a dynamic story that doesn’t allow the reader a single dull moment. If it wasn’t trying to figure out who was doing the killing, it was reveling in the love and deep connection between Pam and Declan. The manner in which they instinctively knew what to say or do in order to make their mate happy and bring them comfort was refreshing and beautiful. Their chemistry ignited the pages and the love scenes were both sensual and erotic while being sexy and creative. Caitlyn Willows is truly phenomenal and I’ll never look at a necktie the same away again. ~Kerin, Two Lips Reviews

FIVE STARS! Without a doubt, Buddy System was the best-written, well thought out story I have read in a long time. The plot was fast paced and kept you guessing with each twist and turn that Caitlyn Willows threw out. I thought I had the answer and then bam! another piece of the puzzle was revealed and had me second guessing myself. The characters were fascinating, including the secondary cast and the background characters. I could not put this one down until I read the last word, then I hated that it was over. Declan and Pam had a sex life that would put low budget porn movies to shame! There wasn’t much that they were not willing to try with each other, and that gave me some great ideas of my own. Be prepared to squirm while reading this–they love sex and they love to spice it up in ANY room they are in–with any object they had on hand. Anyone reading this story will love the beginning, middle and end-it is that good. ~Stacey Landers, Just Erotic Romance Reviews

FIVE STARS! What an enthralling book! Both Pam and Declan stepped right off the pages and spoke to me. Descriptive and fascinating, these characters as well as the secondary characters are very well-written. Pam and Declan’s graphic sexual relationship has a significant place in the story. The sexual interaction between them is extremely loving, more importantly they pulled me right into their lovemaking. When doubts occur, their lives together stretch, but do not break. There are secondary characters, such as Declan’s secretary and Pam’s former boyfriend who add drama and suspense to this book. Ms. Willows has an amazing facility to plot a story and then allow her characters to tell it. I kept reading, finding myself more confused about “whodone it” all the time. When the denouement came, I had just about figured out the mystery. Ms. Willows wrote an engrossing story and I am incredibly eager to read another of her books. ~Marcy Arbitman, Just Erotic Romance Reviews

Caitlyn Willows impressed me with this one! Buddy System pretty much consumed my entire life for almost six hours as I read a wonderful plot, highly intense sex, and wracked my brain as to who the bad guy was. Imagine my surprise when it wasn’t who I thought it was. It stumped me to the very end and I love when a book does that! I am filing this one under “W” on my keeper shelf! ~ Talia Ricci, Joyfully Reviewed

EXCERPT:

Pam Donaldson scissored her crossed legs while she casually flipped through a three-month-old issue of Good Housekeeping. At least she hoped it looked like she was being casual. Waiting like this fired her up until it was all she could do to sit still. She wondered what Declan Trent’s prim little secretary — oops! admin assistant — would think if she jumped up and started pacing a mean streak back and forth across the burnished-gold carpeting.

Probably call the paramedics to have me hauled away. Pam suspected it wouldn’t take much to freak Trish Wallace out. She’d die on the spot if she knew why Pam was really here.

The woman sat on the edge of her seat, perched over her computer keyboard as if she had a pole up her ass. Hair spray welded every strand of her shoulder-length blond hair in place. No wave, split end, or frizz dared disobey. Her cotton-candy-pink suit was just the right length, just the right size, and just the right shade to match her perfectly manicured nails. Real nails, not acrylics. How many women would kill to have nails that perfect? Pam’s nails were nice, but they weren’t that perfect. With her light blue eyes, Trish looked like a china doll someone would seal behind protective glass, pretty to look at, but nothing you were allowed to touch or, heaven forbid, play with.

Pam wondered if that was a façade Trish showed to the world. If behind the hands-off automaton exterior lay a woman of wild and uninhibited passion. It was hard to reconcile that picture with what Pam saw here.

Trish kept her desk perfectly ordered, not one folder out of place. Pam had been tempted a time or two to link all the paperclips in Trish’s lead crystal bowl together just to see how the woman would react. She certainly had the opportunity. Each time Pam visited, Trish would go to the ladies’ room at precisely eleven-twenty. At heart, she couldn’t be that cruel, no matter how much the woman’s idiosyncrasies grated on her nerves.

So Trish was obsessive-compulsive. Why should Pam care? In fact, she was in the perfect occupation to seek counseling for her problem if she wanted. As psychiatrists go, Declan Trent was one of the best. For all Pam knew, maybe Trish was a patient, especially if two diverse personalities existed in that prim and proper mind of hers. If so, Declan sure had his work cut out for him. Pam had never seen anyone so uptight.

She wondered if she should tell Declan that Trish actually raked the footprints out of the plush carpet each time the waiting room was vacant. Pam had caught her in the act shortly after she’d started seeing Declan. That’s when Trish’s little habits started to burrow under Pam’s skin.

Little Miss Perfect. Pam knew from experience the woman was most probably a ticking bomb. She’d seen it too many times in her line of work — women for whom perfection was a lifestyle, a religion. However, it was never enough to keep their husbands from straying or their children out of trouble. Problem after problem pounded against the illusion they’d created, slowly loosening each brick until the foundation crumbled and they were staring down at the blood-splattered butcher knife — or smoking gun — in their shaking hands.

Just the week before, Pam had responded to a homicide at just such a house, an art deco mansion perched back from the winding curves of the Hollywood Hills. The wife made the 9-1-1 call in perfect, orderly fashion. “I’ve just killed my husband and would appreciate it if someone would stop by to remove him.” They’d arrived to find her mopping up the crime scene, rubber gloves and a bucket full of Mr. Clean at her side.

Pam would hate to see Trish turn out that way. She was a good person, pleasant and sociable to all Declan’s clients, and very efficient. All Declan needed to do was think about it, and Trish had it done. Pam wanted to snatch her up by the shoulders and give her a hard snap-out-of-it shake. The last thing she wanted was to arrive at a homicide call and find Trish on her hands and knees cleaning up blood spatter.

She tossed the magazine to the glass-topped table beside her. Trish jumped at the loud smack it made. Then, like clockwork, she pushed away from her desk for her eleven-twenty trek to the ladies’ room.

“I’ll just be a moment, Detective Donaldson,” she said in a smoothly cultured tone that never varied; neither did the words.

Pam gave her a nod as she walked by. Even her shoes were pink.

Just let it go, she told herself. She was here for one reason and one reason only. That should be her focus.

She crossed her arms and slowly rocked her leg back and forth. Without panties, the action gently rubbed her moist labia over her swollen clitoris. Every part of her was primed for her visit with Declan, but if she didn’t pace herself, she’d wind up coming right here.

Pam forced her legs apart. God, she could smell her arousal! Maybe going without panties wasn’t such a good idea. She tugged her black pencil-skirt to her knees, then adjusted the cuffs of her smoke-gray silk blouse. The skirt and the three-inch black heels were a departure from what she normally wore to work, but she considered it more appropriate since she had to testify in court this afternoon — with panties, of course. Besides, she really liked the naughty feeling of coming to see Declan bare-bottomed.

The thought made her smile. What would he do when he found out? A shiver wiggled through her. Trish’s return shattered her reverie. Pam shifted her focus to studying the waiting room.

Cream-colored walls brightened the place. Matching leather chairs cradled visitors in comfort. Watercolors of varying landscapes — rolling hills, seashores, deep forests, mountains — helped create an aura of tranquility. No music flooded the room, just the soft, steady click of Trish’s keyboard.

Pam cocked her head to one side. Maybe that was it. Maybe Trish was part of the illusion of order in the turmoil of some clients’ lives. She’d never thought of it that way. In retrospect, it made perfect sense. Perhaps it was by Declan’s design that Trish behaved as she did. Pam had just let the horrors of her own job spill over. She wouldn’t be the first cop to become jaded by the discouraging vicissitudes of life.

The door to Declan’s office swung inward. “Now remember, Carol, the group session for tomorrow night is cancelled. I’ll be at a conference.”

The buxom redhead glanced up at him with wide brown eyes. “Oh, dear. I’d forgotten.” She draped her fingers over his bare forearm as she stepped into his personal space. “What will I do?”

Declan gave her a soft smile — the one that always turned Pam’s insides to mush — and placed his hand over that of the redhead’s. “You’ll do wonderfully. You’ll see. I wouldn’t go away if I thought otherwise.”

Pam smiled when the woman’s face lit up. That’s one of the things that was great about Declan. He instinctively knew what to say to patients to bolster their self-confidence, or when a gentle touch would ease their concerns and give them hope. Sadly, it was that bedside manner that had ruined his marriage. Connie Trent lived and breathed jealousy and had made Declan’s life a living hell in the process. Despite that, Declan remained friendly and compassionate toward others.

“Yes. Yes, I will be fine. Thanks to you.” Shoulders back, Carol walked to Trish’s desk to schedule her next session.

Pam’s gaze remained riveted on Declan. Even after six months, he still had the power to take her breath away. His dark brown hair scuffed the collar of his white dress shirt. Long fingers smoothed down his blue-striped tie as he raked his gaze over her from head to toe. A smile lifted one corner of his mouth, brightening his golden-brown eyes. She could scarcely breathe. Then he shut the door.

She forced herself to sit still, to wait until Trish called her to go in. Did he realize what he did to her? Of course he did. It was all part of the game.

She tucked her arms tighter over her chest. Already her nipples were poking their little noses against her bra, making their presence fully known to anyone who’d care to look. God, how they ached! Had it really only been fourteen hours since she’d had sex? It felt like forever.

As Carol left the office, Trish’s intercom link buzzed. She lifted the phone in what felt like slow motion.

“Yes, doctor?”

Jeez, her voice actually sounded like a purr. Pam was definitely more than little over-sexed today. But that’s what being with Declan did to her.

Trish smiled as she replaced the receiver. “Dr. Trent is ready to see you now.”

And Pam was more than ready to see him. She flashed Trish a smile and forced herself to walk, not run, to the connecting door. The knob turned easily under her hand. The door opened on silent hinges. The pale gold, vertical blinds were closed against the California midday sun, but brass candlestick lamps on the white pine tables cast a welcoming glow. Declan sat behind his oak desk, chin resting on the points of his fingers as he quietly perused her from the huge black leather executive chair.

Pam shut the door behind her, then leaned against it as she let her shoulder bag slide to the floor. The soft, black leather landed with a plop. Her heartbeat thudded with the rush of her heated blood. All she could see, all she could think about was him. That half smile lifted one corner of his mouth again. His gaze mentally stripped her clothing away.

“Detective Donaldson.” His voice drifted over her, beckoning, caressing like fingers against her hot skin.

She maintained her position. “Dr. Trent.”

Two could play the waiting game. The rewards were still the same. She twisted the lock closed on the door. The click echoed in the room.

“Are you armed, detective?” he asked.

“Yes. My weapon is holstered and in my bag. And you? Are you armed?”

“Cocked and ready, ma’am.”

Pam tried not to laugh, but the giggle came out anyway. “Oh, really?”

Declan leaned back and tugged the knot loose on his tie. “Yep, I’ve been hard as a rock since I saw your name on the schedule this morning.”

“I couldn’t let you go away to a conference without a proper send-off. And I know how you like surprises.”

“I do.”

“How fortunate you can find room in your schedule to accommodate me.”

“I’m always willing to squeeze in you.”

Pam parked her hands on her hips and laughed. “Stop that. This is supposed to be a seduction. I can’t do the come-hither look and fuck-me walk if you have me laughing.”

He tossed back a laugh of his own. “Sorry. Proceed with the come-hithering and fuck-me stuff.”

“Thank you.” She took a step toward him.

He held up his hand, halting her progress. “No closer, Pam. You know the rules. You know what I want.”

Damn it, he knew how to fire a woman up. “Refresh my memory. Tell me.”

He pressed his lips together, then licked them as he pulled the tie free. It whispered against his shirt, a soft sigh that wiggled deep into her core. He twined the length of silk through his long fingers, tying a knot every inch or so in it as he pondered his next move.

“I see you’re wearing hose today. And I love the heels.”

“A concession for court.”

He tsked. “And here I thought they were for me.”

She mirrored his earlier smile. “Well, the hose are thigh-highs and –” She dropped her tone to a sultry purr. “– I have no panties on.”

That earned her a big grin. “My, aren’t we daring and naughty. That’s almost like begging for a spanking.”

“You have repeatedly assured me your office is soundproof.”

“Indeed it is.” He flicked open his belt buckle. Seconds later the leather hissed through its loops. Declan doubled it over and placed it on his desk, the knotted silk tie beside it.

Pam’s knees quivered. So far they’d never gotten into the spanking thing here; just the threat was enough to turn them both on.

He truly was the best sex she’d ever had. Six months and she still couldn’t get enough of him. If only …

“Undo your blouse … slowly,” he ordered.

One by one, she slipped the tiny pearlized buttons through their holes. With each one Declan’s breath became more labored. She knew what his desk hid — an erection that would have made a horse proud. With the last button freed, Pam shrugged the blouse from her shoulders. It wafted to the floor behind her.

“And now the bra.” His voice had deepened with his lust.

Pam reached behind her and undid the hooks. Rather than let the bra fall as she had the blouse, she looped her fingers around the straps and slowly pulled them down, caressing her flesh as she did so. Fully exposed, she dropped the undergarment and kneaded her breasts, plumping them together to form a deep cleavage.

“You want to fuck my tits, don’t you?” she asked. “Nestle your cock into the warmth and pump away?”

“You’re determined to make me come in my pants, aren’t you?”

Pam laughed and twirled her nipples into elongated beads.

“Damn it, Pam. I am going to spank you.”

“Promises, promises.”

“Enough teasing. Skirt off.”

She sliced the zipper down, wiggled her hips free, and stepped out of the garment.

“Good girl.” He pushed his chair away from the desk. “Leave the heels and hose on and come here. You know what I want.”

Did she ever! She’d never been more in tune with a man. Sex was a wondrous adventure with Declan. Nothing was forbidden as long as they wanted to explore. Trust they’d built during their long-standing friendship had shifted easily over into this facet of their relationship. They were free to explore every sexual fantasy they’d ever had without embarrassment, risk of disease, or pregnancy. Who knew agreeing to be sex buddies would be so rewarding?

His wrinkle-free trousers did little to hide his burgeoning erection. If anything, the light gray color enhanced it. His cock was a long ridge behind his zipper and actually managed to cast a shadow from the lighting.

Hot fingers cupped her ass as she straddled his thighs. As she had her blouse, Pam slowly unbuttoned his shirt. Inch by inch the bronzed plane of his chest appeared. She loved to trace her hands against it, to dust her fingers through the light smattering of dark hair that nose-dived into his trousers.

Declan’s breath was ragged. So was Pam’s. She indulged her need to caress his strong shoulders as she peeled the shirt from him. His scent surrounded her, warm and laced with the hint of Old Spice. She leaned in, pressing her lips against his neck, dancing her tongue across his collarbone while her fingers flicked against his nipples.

His soft groan escaped on a gasp. Pam wiggled lower, grazing her teeth over his nipple while her fingers eased his zipper down. He lifted his hips, helping her tug trousers and shorts down. His erection fell against her breasts. She squeezed them together, cradling him, then bent her head down and lashed her tongue against the salty droplet that awaited her.

Declan cried out. Combing his hands deep into her long hair, he held her head in place, desperately seeking the full comfort of her mouth while he thrust between her breasts. Still she teased with feathery flicks over the slit and around the head.

“If you don’t suck me soon …” A long groan cut off the rest of his words as Pam pulled him deep in her mouth.

He pumped her lips in wild abandon. She looped her fist around the base, giving him that extra squeeze and stroke he loved so well — that touch that said, “I might let you come, but then again, I might not.”

More pre-cum salted her mouth. He was close. She wiggled her free hand between his thighs to massage his sac. It was the final push he needed. She felt the twitch on the underside of his cock that signaled his approaching orgasm. Still, the temptation to taunt him was too much. She gave an extra hard squeeze to the base of his cock.

“Nooo,” he cried out. “I swear I’m going to …”

She sucked him hard, yanking the orgasm from him.

Declan shuddered as the release spurted into her mouth. She milked him until the wave subsided, then slowly released him with dotted kisses as the erection faded.

Panting for breath, he grabbed her around the waist and hoisted her to his desk. “Lie back and relax.”

She watched through hooded eyes as he picked up his knotted tie. Tightening it between his hands, he lowered it to her crotch and raked it over her slit.

Pam arched her hips off the desk as the knots rubbed over her clit. “Oh, God!”

He sawed back and forth, gathering momentum as she climbed higher to the peak. Her fingers flexed spasmodically on the smooth wood surface, desperate to clutch at something, anything to help her ride to the top. All she could do was take it. Each swipe swelled her to the breaking point.

Almost there. Almost … 

Her body was rigid with anticipation. Just when she saw the edge, Declan stopped.

“No!” She smacked her palms against the desk.

He merely laughed and thrust two fingers deep and high into her cunt. Pam reared upward with a gasp. A third finger burrowed into her tight ass. He lashed his tongue over her clit as his fingers pumped into her. She cradled his head with one hand while the other toyed with her nipple, tweaking it hard. Then he sucked her into his mouth.

Fire raced across her skin seconds before Pam’s orgasm struck. She quaked with the release, then collapsed against the desk.

Declan dotted kisses over her inner thighs as he gently pulled his fingers free. She’d never felt more relaxed. He always had that effect on her.

Grasping her hand, he helped her up. At least that’s what she thought. Before Pam realized it, she was facedown over his lap. The tinkle of his belt buckle alerted her to his full intent.

“How many, sweetheart?” He danced the leather over her bare ass. Just the feel was enough to turn her on once more.

“I want … I want …”

“To feel your warm ass the rest of the afternoon? To think about it when you’re sitting outside the courtroom while we wait to testify?” Over and over the soft leather caressed her.

Pam spread her legs a little wider. “You know what I want.” He always knew, just as she knew for him.

“Indeed I do.”

He started slow, warming her for the harder strokes to come. With each smack against her bare bottom, her clit swelled more, begging for attention of its own. She wiggled around until she could ride his knee. Declan pulled her gently back into place, wedging his free hand under and straight to her pussy.

The strokes came harder now, faster, her hips lifting of their own accord for each of them. She came quickly, only to be instantly back at the peak. Pam rode his hand while smack after smack heated her backside, and one orgasm after the other rolled through her.

Declan growled low in his throat and tossed the belt to the floor. Hauling her upright, he pushed her facedown on the desk. She raised her hips high, spreading her thighs as far as she could. A hard thrust seated him deep. He froze there for what felt like forever, the head of his cock plugged into her cervix. His fingers dug into her hips, shaking with the effort to maintain control.

Pam kept herself as still as possible, wanting the moment to be as supreme for him as it was for her. Finally, he pulled back, then in again. He shifted his fingers back to her clit. She rocked in rhythm with him, taking and giving back each thrust with equal fervor. Contractions rippled along the steel inside her.

“I’m going to come, Dec,” she panted out.

He gasped. “Me, too.”

And in that instant, they did.

They sagged together in the aftermath, both lazy and sated. Then, reluctantly, they pulled apart and wandered into his adjoining bathroom to clean up.

The tiny room was designed for function — sink with mirror, toilet, tiny black-and-white tile — definitely not for two people. Nevertheless, sharing the bathroom was part of their after-sex routine. Somehow, this snippet of bonding had slipped under their “rules” radar, along with cuddling. So far, neither had brought that violation to the other’s attention.

“I owe you a tie,” she said.

“I’ll just send it to the cleaner.”

Eyes wide, she jerked up her head and locked gazes with him in the mirror over the sink. “Don’t you dare!” she said with a laugh. “They’ll want to know what they’re pre-spotting and …”

His laughter cut her off. Tugging her against him, he dotted kisses along her shoulder. “I’ll seal it in a brown paper bag and toss it in a Dumpster five miles away.”

“After you burn it and stir the ashes. Better yet, I’ll take it and destroy the evidence.”

“Deal.” He stepped away to pee.

She plucked several paper towels from the receptacle, wet them, and cleaned away the evidence of sex.

“You’ll be gone the rest of the week?” How could she begin to tell him how much she was going to miss him during that time? It wasn’t supposed to be like this. They’d set rules. And yet …

“Yeah, I’ll be back late Friday. Want me to call or just come over?”

Pam smiled as his reflection reappeared in the mirror. “Coming over is fine. Doesn’t matter how late.” She didn’t have plans. Hell, she hadn’t had plans since they’d started up.

“Good. I’ll come right over, then. Stinky from the drive and everything.” He smiled back and patted her butt as he slipped the wet towels from her fingers to use on himself.

That’s what she called bonding. “And I’ll have a hot shower and a hot woman waiting for you.”

“Every guy’s dream come true.” He bent forward as if to kiss her, then pulled back. “Sorry. I almost forgot.”

Pam wished he had forgotten and kissed her. That was one of the rules they’d agreed on when they decided to be sex buddies — no kissing. Where the hell had her head been? It seemed a great idea at the time: no kissing, no dating, no spending the night. How in the world could she have possibly thought she could have great sex with a man and not have emotional involvement? Her hormones had obviously been running her life then. And now?

Well, they were still running her life, but her heart was demanding some equal attention. Which left her with quite a problem. Did she risk what they had going and tell Declan she’d made a mistake? That she wanted to move up to the next level and actually have a romantic relationship as well?

They’d been adamant, both of them. Once badly burned, twice shy. Bad marriages had that effect on people. But that was then, when they were both so horny they couldn’t bear it. When teaming up with a trusted friend for sex seemed a better solution than throwing themselves into the treacherous world of dating where your heart was sure to be trampled on.

“So I’ll see you then.”

Pam snapped her thoughts back to the present. “Yes, Friday.”

Declan laughed. God, she loved his laugh. “Well, yes, Friday, but I was talking about this afternoon at the courthouse.”

She blinked. “Yes, of course.”

“Were you a thousand miles away just then?” He wrapped his arm around her waist and hugged her against him.

Pam forced a smile she suddenly didn’t feel. “Looks like.”

She didn’t have the courage to tell him. They had a good thing going. Why risk it by telling him that at some point during the last six months, her heart had ignored the sex buddy rules and fallen truly, madly, deeply in love with him?

Oliver by Caitlyn Willows

Oliver

OLIVER
by Caitlyn Willows
Contemporary – Erotic Romance – Menage – BDSM
January 2013
Cover Artist – Ginny Glass
Loose Id www.loose-id.com
ISBN 978-1-62300-185-8

The last persons Oliver ever wanted to see were Merideth and Lucas. How fitting they’ve come crawling to him for help. It’s the perfect opportunity to extract a little payback and toss their scattered hearts back in their faces as they did him. Yet, one look at his broken Merideth elicits more sympathy than he can bear.

Lucas had forgotten how much he enjoyed being in Oliver’s orbit. Yes, he’d come to him to help Merideth heal emotional scars, but now he’s determined to re-establish ties with Oliver. This is where he intends to stay…if Oliver doesn’t throw him out first.

Merideth needs them more than life itself. Only they can help her recover from an attack that left her physically and emotionally scarred. It’d be so easy to lean on them and let them take full control…and never find her true self again. Only she can unleash her inner Domme and punish those who prey on others. Then will she finally be a woman to match the men she loves.

They burn hot together just as they had before. Each older and wiser than before, strong wills tempered by maturity. Old habits though…and there can only be one true Master.

Related stories are:
Maneater
Soleil
Raven
Oliver

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EXCERPT:

Oliver Holbrook sank into the heated brown marble bench custom-made to cradle his ass. A twist of his wrist turned on the shower. With the touch of a button, he could adjust the showerhead’s direction, the spray pattern it emitted, and the water temperature. Wealth had its privileges. This was one of them.

His cock lifted higher when the gentle warm water cascaded over him. It knew the ritual. Everyone should have a well-trained penis.

Oliver snickered at the thought. As if that could ever happen. The beasts had minds of their own. His was no exception; he’d just managed to learn to control it over the years. The people under him, those who held him in such high regard within the community, would be stunned to learn the extent to which he’d gone to master that control. He didn’t care to enlighten them. It was no one’s business but his.

He filled his palm with soap from the array of dispensers on the wall, lathered it to billowing suds, then wrapped one hand around his cock and shoved the other between his legs to knead his balls. This was how he started each morning and ended each night…unless, of course, he’d found a stunning woman to share his bed. And that was becoming more of a hassle than it was worth. Few saw beyond the trappings of his life or cared about the man inside. That was fine. It helped protect his heart. A higher priority didn’t exist. Guarding his heart underscored most of what he did. Oh, he had those he loved, but it was love Oliver avoided like the plague. Once burned…

He spread his legs and let the soft spray kiss his thighs. Eyes closed, he imagined a lover’s tongue flicking up his legs and tugged at his balls while he flashed his fist over his cock. It wouldn’t take long—it never did—but it relaxed him for the night better than all the booze in the world. Conversely, morning jerk offs energized him.

Fantasies danced through his head, urging him to stroke faster, harder. Images not of the bondage and discipline that were so much a part of his life, but of lace gloves and high-neck gowns that begged to be peeled away to expose the smooth skin beneath. Of corsets straining to be unlaced, and breasts longing to be freed into a lover’s waiting hands and lips. Of long, thick hair that felt like watered satin threaded through his fingers when he unleashed it from its pins. Hair color was irrelevant.

Oliver imagined the woman’s gasp, the blush that rushed her cheeks, that shy tilt of her head when she offered her neck, then her throat, and finally a taste of the rise of her breast. Maybe he’d paddle her at some point, tell her what a naughty girl she was. Because he did love watching a woman’s ass turn rosy red under a good spanking, loved peeling panties down and smelling her arousal, loved adding to the smacks until she writhed and begged to come.

Oliver plunged into his grip and growled as he came. He sprawled there in the aftermath, pretending again that the shower spray was a lady’s fingers feathering over him, bringing him back down to earth. He closed his eyes, too relaxed to move at the moment. But as the wonder of masturbation faded, the sense of something not right rushed in.

No security alarm. No sound over the water. But he never second-guessed his instinct. On alert, Oliver shut off the shower, slid open the glass door, and grabbed one of the Egyptian cotton towels off the crystal bar a hand grasp away. Underwear would have made him feel less vulnerable. A weapon would have been even better. He blotted the water from his body and extended his senses outward.

There it was—a hint of fragrance from the blooming sage that hugged the rear perimeter of his home. Desert monsoons had brought the bushes and other dormant plants to life. The scent never permeated his house unless someone opened a door or window. During August in Palm Springs, that happened as little as possible. And it never happened at night with the house secure and the alarm set. Someone was in his house. Someone who’d somehow managed to override or disable the security system.

Oliver’s adrenaline spiked. His heart raced. Just as quickly he ordered himself to calm. He could count on one hand the people who’d have the code. Any of whom might decide to take advantage of his open hospitality—if they hadn’t left mere hours before.

He missed them. Julia, Lori, and Rachel had been a big part of his life for so long. Not that he begrudged them their happiness. Hell, he’d been instrumental in seeing them get hooked up with the men they loved. But it wasn’t the same without them or their alternate Domme personas— Maneater, Soleil, and Raven—around. Maybe one of them missed him too. Missed him so much she’d come back.

He mentally shook his head. His visitor wasn’t one of the ladies or anyone else he might welcome. This was an intruder.

Oliver tied the towel around his waist. His cell phone was on a dresser that felt miles away rather than a mere twenty feet. There was also a dedicated landline with extensions throughout the house, one right by his bed. Again too far. If an intruder disabled security, he might have cut the house phone as well.

Oliver debated his options. Grab the cell, duck into his walk-in closet, and retrieve a handgun from the safe? Or lock himself inside the closet and call 9-1-1? He opted for the latter…with his gun in hand just in case.

Years ago, he would have cringed at the thought of hiding from danger. He’d definitely gotten smarter over the years. One picked one’s battles with care.

Slow steps took him to the door leading to his bedroom. Soft yellow light from the bedside lamps glowed in invitation. He’d set the stage for sleep: turned down covers, fluffed pillows, placed a book on the nightstand. Another nightly ritual. The book was gone.

At that realization, Oliver heard a page turn. To his right. The corner where he’d placed two chairs and a table—another cozy niche in his little cave. He edged forward and saw the glow from the lamp in that area.

“Don’t worry. I’m not a murderer.”

It took a few seconds for Oliver to process the familiar voice, one he hadn’t heard in years. Lucas Ashmore.

“I noticed you didn’t say you weren’t a thief.” Oliver stepped into the room. Sure as shit, Lucas shot him a smile from the corner chair. He’d made himself quite comfortable with the book and a glass of whiskey from the living room bar. Scotch, if Oliver remembered correctly. Oliver remembered too much.

“Cat burglar, please. One sin of a misspent youth. Show a little respect, Oliver.”

He snapped the book closed and stood in one fluid motion. Evidence of the feline grace that always landed Lucas on his feet. He was more dressed for the rumba than breaking and entering, with tan pants and shirt that skimmed his skin but let him move with ease for all those tight places he might find himself. The clothes also helped him blend in with the Palm Springs crowd. It was the perfect disguise…as always.

The years had been kind to Lucas. Oliver would give him that. His blue eyes were just as bright, and the small laugh lines bracketing his eyes and mouth added maturity and character, not age.

Oliver itched to double-check his face in the mirror for signs of aging. To measure himself against Lucas.

Vanity, thy name is Oliver.” He heard Merideth’s taunt, the one she’d always say when the three of them were together.

You’re one to talk,” was always his retort.

“A rose is a rose,” Oliver replied. “And so are its thorns.” He took an imposing stance, his best Dom scowl in place.

A haunting sense of déjà vu struck him. This was how they’d first met. That long-ago night, when Lucas had broken into Oliver’s home and interrupted killer sex with Merideth. They’d toyed with him that night, intending to scare him straight. Who knew it would bond them so tightly in love and lust? Or that they would wind up tearing each other apart years later?

Uncertainty replaced Lucas’s smile. He took another sip of Scotch, his gaze locked on Oliver’s. Was he remembering it all too?

“I have nothing that might belong to another, even remotely,” Oliver told him. “I have no jewelry to speak of, no prohibitively expensive artwork or sculptures. Most of those are from friends and associates I support. You’d get little from their sale. The loss to me would be sentimental. The loss to—”

“I’m not here to take anything.”

Lucas sounded wounded that Oliver would think such a thing. Even Oliver had to admit it was a low blow, referring to that single incident too many years ago when Lucas had first walked into his life. Lucas’s actions had been borne of desperation and necessity. Still, Oliver couldn’t let this one go.

“What the hell else would you expect me to think? Sneaking into my home in the middle of the night, breaching my security system.”

“Ten thirty is hardly the middle of the night. Besides, would you have seen me otherwise?”

“No.” Oliver turned away and walked to the closet so he could dress. Lucas was one of the last persons Oliver ever wanted to see. He heard Lucas rattle the ice cubes in his drink.

“Would it help if I told you I knocked?”

In a house this size? “Unquestionably polite.”

“It serves me well.”

Paid well too. Lucas was dominant enough to pursue, submissive enough to concede, crafty enough to find the middle ground where everyone thought they’d won. The go-to man when museums wanted to acquire items or return antiquities to the countries where they belonged.

“Yes, you’re quite the hero. But we both know you didn’t start out that way.” Oliver hauled on a pair of gray silk boxers, then followed them with a pair of white shorts and a salmon-colored brushed-silk shirt.

“Ancient history,” Lucas called out.

Let it go. “So you’re here. I’m sure this isn’t a social call. What do you want?”

“Merideth needs you.”

The unexpected words jolted Oliver. Thank goodness the privacy of the closet hid him from view. He recovered quickly and buttoned his shirt as he strode from the closet. “We’ve been down that road before. I couldn’t give Merideth what she demanded.” They’d torn each other’s emotions asunder reaching that conclusion. Even Lucas’s peacemaking couldn’t save them.

“In the end, neither could I.” Lucas drained his glass.

Oliver wanted to interrogate, dissect what Lucas meant. He wondered why he cared.

Lucas scrunched up his face in puzzlement. “You didn’t keep tabs on us?”

“I didn’t care enough to keep tabs on you.” A semi-lie. Word filtered to Oliver on occasion. Business was business, after all. It was the personal aspects of these two people he didn’t want to give a damn about.

“Fair enough.” Lucas conceded the point with a slight nod. “More ancient history as far as I’m concerned. But that was then, and this is now.” He set the glass down hard and stared at the cubes as if willing them to melt or generate more Scotch. “Merideth needs you.”

“She made it clear—”

“She was hurt, Oliver. Caught in the wrong end of a bad scene.”

The news sliced through him. Razor sharp, knife deep.

“Hurt?”

“I don’t know the specifics. A mutual friend told me. She took care of Merideth afterward. I’ve been out of the country. We haven’t been together for a long time.” Shaking his head, Lucas wandered over to the dresser and fiddled with the wooden bowl of coins Oliver dumped from his pockets each night. “It happened about six months ago. Whispers and rumors came my way. Though I’ve yet to find out who’s responsible. She’s not the same person. She’s…broken inside. Fearful, reclusive.” He swallowed hard. “To hear of a woman of Merideth’s strength and caliber reduced to…”

Oliver had a hard time reconciling that description with the woman he knew, the woman he’d heard about over the years. But something that traumatic would screw with anyone’s head. “She needs help.”

Lucas snapped his gaze up to Oliver’s. Tears filled his eyes. “Why the hell do you think I’m here?” he said through clenched teeth. “Do you think I’d come crawling to you otherwise? She’s breaking my heart!” He slammed his fist into his chest. “Again.”

Oliver bit back the words Now you know how I felt.

Lucas pulled in a breath. The tension eased from his jaw. “I went to her the minute I heard. She told me she needed you, to get you. I still love her enough to do it. I’m hoping you still love her enough to help her heal.”

A storm of emotions roiled through Oliver. He didn’t think any of them were love. Too much hurt was in the way.

“Where is she?”

“Where do you think?”

Irritation crawled up Oliver’s spine. Lucas had brought her with him. For a couple who needed his help, they were really pushing it.

Lucas stepped into Oliver’s space and touched Oliver’s arm. Oliver glanced at Lucas’s fingers, then at the man. A smoldering look to warn Lucas he’d gone too far.

“I’ll beg if I have to.” Determination edged Lucas’s voice. “Get on my knees before you. Submit. Hell…” He knelt before Oliver, glaring up at him. “I’ll even suck your fucking dick.”

Oliver smirked. “I’ll keep that in mind.” Lucas could squirm a bit on that one. Frankly, there was only one mouth Oliver wanted wrapped around his cock right now. And the owner was apparently downstairs waiting.

 

Raven by Caitlyn Willows

Raven

RAVEN
by Caitlyn Willows
Contemporay – Erotic Romance – Menage – BDSM
October 2012
Cover Artist – Ginny Glass
Loose Id www.loose-id.com
ISBN 978-1-62300-029-5

Raven is ready to hang it up as a Domme and have an ordinary life. Trouble is, she wants and needs—all right, she craves—both a Dom and a sub in her life. The sub she already has; it’s the Dom that will be harder to achieve. Especially when the Dom she wants resents the fact that she’s the trustee of his estate and business…and that she did a brief stint years ago as his father’s Domme.

Ben never met a woman he wanted more than Rachel. He’s made sure over the years that his Sledge is more than a match to her Raven. Then the truth comes out, dowsing those fires that ran deep when they first met. Fires that refuse to be denied. Obstacles are tricky little bastards.

It’s a golden opportunity for Will to get the two people he cares most about in the world together…with him. Using a few skills of his own, this contented sub knows how to weave the threads that will bind them all as one. That’s when Rachel and Ben learn who’s really in control. But will there be room for him once the flames ignite?

Related stories are:
Maneater
Soleil
Raven
Oliver

BUY LINKS:

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Amazon

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REVIEW:

4.5 STARS! I love a good menage a trois. And this one does not disappoint. What I personally loved so much is that there is SO MUCH CHEMISTRY! Sometimes it felt like I shouldn’t be reading it because it was so private and intimate. But I think what I loved about this one the most is that it felt real. I’ve read many menages before, but Raven was the first one that showed how it really should be. There is feeling and emotion, and not just on her part. Yes, there is jealousy; the men are secretly jealous of one another. That there is time where Rachel can be with one of the men and the other can have some alone time. And there is doubt. That is what made it real to me. It wasn’t just about the sex with this novella. It showed more of a 3D side. I seriously loved this book! And I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a menage. – Hooked On Romance

EXCERPT:

How was she supposed to sleep now? Not that Rachel expected she would in the first place.

She waited until Will was out, then eased from the bed, slipped on her satiny underthings, and wandered to the living room. She’d told him she’d stay the night. This news changed things. Plus, she’d had time to process everything else.

A businessman wouldn’t issue a demand for her to appear, not when he had everything he wanted in his grasp. A Dom…that was a different story. Ben wanted her, front and center. And Will was pushing her toward him. As for Oliver…

The three of them were in cahoots. Rachel had some strong words for Oliver the next time they were face-to-face. For now, she had to decide how to deal with this. Going home was always an option. Traffic this time of night would be light. She could be in her own bed in less than two hours, still not sleeping, and still wondering if Sledge/Ben was everything she’d ever heard about and wanted.

Rachel plopped into the oversized chair and hugged her knees to her chest. He’d be perfect for you. Not words she’d wanted to hear. She wanted to remember how Ben had glared at her over the table at the reading of the will, not how her heart raced when she’d first laid eyes on him. Or how she’d tingled at the mere mention of Sledge. Distance and walls had worked well. She was free and clear of all obligations.

Damn you, Oliver. He’d known all along her interest in Sledge, her want of Ben.

Rachel could damn Oliver all she wanted, but she was the one who’d allowed him to play her. To feed her need to face Ben Welsh one last time…just to make sure he wasn’t as yummy as she remembered.

He’d be perfect for you.

Damn Will too.

Rachel clicked her nails against each other while she pondered her next move. Home or…what? This was ridiculous. She was a Domme, for crying out loud, yet she sat here paralyzed with indecision.

What was it that Will had said? That she’d always had the advantage. What the hell did that mean? She was half tempted to wake Will up and demand more information.

Rachel forced herself to shove that annoyance aside for the moment. There were more pressing issues to deal with. Ben decreed she’d stay at his house. She hated the place, always had. But…so be it. He’d learn quick enough to be careful what he wished for.

She crept back into Will’s room for her clothes and suitcase. She dressed as quietly as possible, one eye always on Will. He woke before she could wrap her fingers around the suitcase handle. The man had always been a light sleeper.

“Do you want me to go with you?” he mumbled from the depths of his pillows.

“I can handle this.”

“Play nice.” He rolled to his back and onto his elbows. “I don’t want to get caught in the middle of something.”

Rachel arched her brow with her smirk. “Really? I thought that’s exactly where you wanted to be.” She covered her hand over a feigned gasp. “Oops, sorry. You want me in the middle of you two.”

The sheet tented at his lap. Her work here was done.

“Sleep tight, love.”

Will had the good sense not to try to stop her or follow. If she had any sense, she’d head for home and not pick up the gauntlet thrown in her path. After all, she had nothing to prove. She was Raven. It was Ben’s demand that got under her skin, coupled with Oliver’s subtle manipulation and Will’s “by the way” suggestion after their playtime. She was Raven. They were all about to learn a lesson they’d never forget.

For all her bravado, though, Rachel’s hands were sweaty by the time she pulled into the long driveway leading to the sprawling mission-style home that had been in the Welsh family since Ben’s grandfather’s time. It was a hideous attempt to reproduce Spanish aristocracy. She found the inside of the manse dark and depressing, a horror movie waiting to happen. Staying here put her at a disadvantage. She wondered if Ben knew that.

Outside, though, was a different matter. A lure to the world. A here-I-am vista his grandfather had built to flaunt his success. Despite the lush greenery and greenhouses that surrounded the house, the bright white building with red tile roof stood out day and night. That, and the vineyards that rolled across the hills behind it. Sunlight brightened the sprawling two-story home during the day; security lights at night gave it a lush allure. The house sat tucked away from the bustling city at its feet. A reminder of her brief time as Roger’s Domme. A reminder of a man she couldn’t get out of her mind, no matter how hard she’d tried. A man waiting just ahead.

Her headlights swept the front windows as she pulled to a stop on the cobblestoned drive. One side of the double oak doors swung open before she could cut the engine. The security system would have alerted Ben to her arrival the minute she pulled into the driveway and through the open wrought-iron gates.

Ben stood on the threshold, dressed only in jeans. The light cast his muscles in shadow, defining every one. Long arms bracketed him in the doorway. His brown hair was tousled. Sweat glistened on his chest. Everything she remembered and more, with the brooding intensity and dark-eyed gaze that were Sledge’s trademark.

Rachel refused to allow him to intimidate her. She dropped her gaze to his crotch and the erection stretching the confines of his worn jeans. She could draw him closer, fish his cock out for her pleasure, and give him the blowjob of his life. Show him who was really in charge. A real Dom wouldn’t let her get away with it. Well, she’d see if all the rumors were true. God, she hoped so.

She wiped her sweaty palms on her jeans, cut the engine, and slipped from the car with an elegance born of countless years of practice. Because she sure as hell didn’t feel the picture of calm inside. Ben swept his gaze down her body, setting off more shivers Rachel struggled to hide.

“I understand you’ve extended your hospitality to me.” Slow steps brought her closer. It was impossible to muster sultry in sneakers. One mark against her. “How could I possibly refuse?” She waved her arm toward her car as she approached. “Be a dear and fetch my suitcase.”

Fire flared in his eyes, sending another jolt through Rachel. She held her ground, but barely.

Ben blocked her passage. “I expect a please with that order, Miss Moore.”

It was the “Miss Moore” that did Rachel in. That subtle, firm, yet strict, cultured tone delivered with precision that told her she was dealing with a true Master. There were a thousand ways she could have responded, but only one would get her what she wanted…needed.

“Please.”

* * * *

The barely whispered word empowered Ben in a way he hadn’t anticipated. Her pulse fluttered at the base of her throat, begging to be licked. There was a slow plunge along her neck as she swallowed.

She was more beautiful every time he saw her. Even more so this close, making her better than any masturbatory fantasy could ever hope to be. Long black hair, dark blue eyes, and a button nose. Plump lips.

He cursed the rise that relentlessly stirred below his belt. He needed control. Having a steel pike of an erection wasn’t going to help. But a man had needs, and Rachel had an allure about her that couldn’t be denied. He’d known that from the minute he met her.

Ben pushed away from the door, allowing her access to the house. She didn’t move until he brushed by her on his way to her car. He swore he saw goose bumps sprout on her arm at the contact. Her reaction played havoc with Ben’s control. He wanted to press her beneath him on the nearest flat surface, wrap her legs around his hips, and hump her through their clothing. His obsession added to the blood threatening to split his erection.

It grated on Ben’s nerves, frustrated the hell out of him. He could deal with it to some extent when there was the physical and legal distance between them. Now that he’d seen her again, reconfirmed how pretty she was, how great she smelled, he wanted her more than he could stand. The fact that she’d essentially turned her nose up at him this past year made it all the worse. Ben wanted to haul her over his knee and teach her a few manners, show her he was every bit her equal, dip his fingers between the wet heat of her thighs. Right here. Right now.

Rachel burrowed under his skin with every second he was near her. It didn’t help that she smelled like blackberries ripe from the bush. She made him nervous, antsy…horny as hell. Why did she have to be so damn pretty? All he could think about was Will and his monthly fuck breaks to see her. All he could think about was how jealous it made him, how much control she had over his life, how she’d been an intimate part of his father’s life and he hadn’t realized it until the very worst possible time—when he was pondering ways to get her into bed. All he could think about was peeling those figure-hugging jeans off her hips and…

He hurried to her car to retrieve her luggage. When he returned to the house, she’d gone no farther than the foyer. She hugged her midriff while she glanced around. The cathedral ceiling and sweeping staircase dwarfed her. For a minute she looked lost, until she realized Ben stood nearby watching. Her shields slipped back into place. Ben didn’t much like it either.

“You’re even more petite than I recall.” He set her suitcase on the brick-red Spanish tile near her feet.

“I might be little”—she leaned forward and grabbed her luggage—“but I’m mighty,” she finished in a deadly whisper.

The words and the promise they held coiled inside his body.

“If you’ll kindly tell me where I might find my room…”

“One would think you’d have the layout of the place memorized.”

“One would.” She sniffed, princess-like. Another dig under his skin. “Far be it for me to be presumptuous. After all, this is your home.”

“That it is, Miss Moore.” A house he could barely stand, historic as it might be. It was dark and depressing, heavy with furniture an elephant couldn’t budge. It was great for business…and pleasure, but the over-the-top attempt at Spanish mission was too much to live in. This place echoed, was too large, too cold. The only sign of life within these black-and-red walls was his father’s playroom tucked away behind the wine cellar. Ben had made the guest house by the pool his home long ago. It was where he’d stayed when he visited his father.

“Did you have sex with my father?” The question, bottled up too long, shot out of him. Rachel actually jerked from the impact. Good, he’d caught her off guard. She recovered quickly, though, releasing her hold on her suitcases. He could see her pulling in threads of control. Ben swore she stole them from him.

“As a fellow Dom, you know the answer to that—”

“Did you?” Ben wasn’t in the mood for games.

“No.” Her nose twitched, like he’d been dismissed. “Our relationship was business and very brief.”

“You have sex with Will.” And it bugged the shit out of him sometimes, only because he couldn’t.

“Our relationship isn’t business.”

“But it was.” He stalked around her, monitoring her reactions, breathing in her scent, soaking in her heat.

“At one time.” Rachel didn’t budge, but her eyes followed his every move.

“But it changed.”

“Yes.”

Ben stopped behind her, close enough to let her know he meant business, far enough away to keep her from taking over, from knowing he was hard as marble. “Why?” he demanded.

Rachel looked around and lifted those deep blue eyes to him. “Because I wanted him.”

“I see.” He passed a slow gaze over her features, looking his fill while her skin flushed and his mouth watered. “You aren’t the only one known for their control, Miss Moore.”

“Until a few hours ago, I was unaware you had any control to…master.”

Was she telling him he had her at a disadvantage, or that she’d never considered him a worthy challenge? Ben began his slow pace around her again, trying to cover his indecision, and stopped in front of her. Judging from the gleam in her eyes, it was too late. She’d seen the weakness. He had to act quickly to salvage this. Ben wasn’t going to let her go now that he was so close.

“Just how mighty are you, Miss Moore?”

She closed the gap between them, coming within inches of slithering against his body. “Very, Mr. Welsh. Would you like a demonstration?” The whispered words kissed his lips.

“I expect much, much more than that.”

“We’ll see.” Rachel gave a small laugh and patted his solid chest. “If you’re a good boy, I’ll show you what I’ve really got.” She was playing with dynamite and looked like she loved every second.

His smile was slow in forming as he leaned her way. “And if you’re a good girl, Miss Moore, I might even participate.”

“I look forward to that,” she softly replied.

Ben acknowledged the agreement with a nod. “Then by all means…let’s go.”

He sidestepped her and led her through the drawing room, the dining room, and the kitchen, then down the stairs to the steel-reinforced cellar. His insides shook. He half stumbled, head buzzing, his body urging him to hurry the fuck up.

Fuck. He dug his nails into his palms. The pain did nothing to wipe out the image of her warring with him. He couldn’t tell which of them had won the skirmish for control, because there was nothing controlled about the way he felt now. He wanted to…

He wanted her, plain and simple. Ah, hell. She’d be like a drug he couldn’t get enough of. Maybe she already was.

The wine cellar opened up to an innocuous oak door set in the concrete wall. Locked against the world, with only a trusted few possessing the key.

He turned to face her. She stood with her hands clasped, midnight-blue eyes monitoring his every move and expression. “I presume you’re ready, Miss Moore?”

A barely perceptible gulp plunged down her throat. Ben closed the distance between them and cupped his hand around her neck. Rachel’s lips parted, ready…expecting a kiss. It killed him not to give her one, but he knew one taste of her mouth and he’d be fucking her six ways to Sunday.

He burrowed his face into her neck, just below her ear, and licked down the column while he breathed deep. She trembled and crawled her fingers up his torso. He clamped his hand on her ass and hauled her close enough to feel what she did to him. Torture was pulling away when she plucked at his nipple.

“Miss Moore.” He dismissed her with a nod.

Rachel stared up at him, mouth open, lips moist. A silent battle of wills ensued. Ben nearly caved. God knew, his cock begged him to. Electricity crackled over his skin, urging his jeans to drop and his groin to tighten. Then her long eyelashes swept downward in clear and unexpected submission.

He’d won. Victory felt like shit. Ben planned to make up for it later.

Those dark eyes peered up at him again. A flush covered her cheeks. He felt her heartbeat thud against his chest. A mask descended over her expression, Raven replacing Rachel.

Ben refused to give her the upper hand. He cupped her chin. “We are equals. Understood…Mistress?”

Rachel hypnotized him with the glide of her tongue over her wet lips. “That would be Lady Raven. Understood, Sledge?”

She ran her finger up his torso, then parked it at the base of his throat. Her eyes locked on that spot, her tongue licking another path over her lips.

“What shall it be? Whip play…or sex? Or both?” she finished in a whisper.

The words did things to Ben he knew were illegal in some parts of the world, even a few counties in California. He curled his hand around hers and drew it down to his thudding heart.

“I’m shocked you would ask.”

“Somehow I doubt that.” She slipped from his arms. “I left my bag of tricks at Will’s. I do hope you don’t mind me borrowing yours.”

“It would be my pleasure.” Ben realized his mistake too late.

Rachel grinned. “It certainly will be.”

Giving her his back, Ben unlocked the playroom. Rachel ducked under his arm and pushed the door open. She flicked on the lights and walked to the padded bench that circled this end of the vast room. Observers could slip in and watch the play on the other side. Of course, there were also those who preferred to watch in stealth, and they could be tucked on the other side of one-way mirrors banking the opposing wall.

Rachel made sure her ass was lifted high while she took off her shoes and socks. His to look his fill. If he didn’t know better, he’d swear she was daring him to do something. Fuck her. Spank her. Hell, he did know better…and the temptation was too hard to resist.

Ben sidled up beside her, pressed one hand to the small of her back, and smacked the other palm against her sweet ass. Most women would shriek in protest, jerk upright, flail—if only halfheartedly—against another swat. Rachel froze.

“You’re playing with fire, Mr. Welsh.”

“I do hope so, Miss Moore.” He landed another smack.

A low groan lifted her backside. “Oh, you’re going to have to do better than that if you hope to impress me.”

Ben chuckled. “Don’t worry. You’ll get everything you need, Miss Moore.” He dipped his hand between her thighs. “And more.”

Her knees buckled, and he swore he heard a tiny whimper. Sheer willpower was all that kept him from hauling her away for an all-night fuck. A woman like Rachel—like Raven—needed so much more than that. If he expected to keep her…

Ben jerked at the errant thought. She’d snagged him from her first smile. He wasn’t willing to let her go. If she knew how much power she held over him, over his emotions, she’d walk all over his heart…and out of his life. His distraction cost him.

Rachel scrambled from his hold and peeled the T-shirt over her head. Full breasts spilled over white bra cups, the nipples a dark shadow dead center. Ripe for the plucking too. Deep cleavage promised sweet relief.

“I usually wear a leather vest for this type of activity, but this will have to do for tonight.” Rachel flipped her hair back; time slowed down.

Ben palmed his crotch and tried to find a comfortable position. He followed every strand of hair up, the purse of her lips, the lift of her breasts as she captured the black tendrils in her hands and wrangled them into a haphazard topknot. A few dared defy her, trickling down enticingly to her neck. God only knew what held her hair in place, because Ben couldn’t see a damn thing.

She gave Ben a playful smack on the shoulder. “Come on, big guy. Time to show me whatcha got.”

Sure strides took her to the far end of the room, past all the playroom equipment to the wall-sized cabinet beyond. No hesitation. Rachel knew where she was going. Ben watched her open the cabinet and peruse the selection of crops, whips, paddles, and floggers arranged inside. Her selection was quick. She tugged on leather gloves that hugged her fingers with as much perfection as her skintight jeans did her ass. It was the way she smoothed the leather into place that made him ache—stroking each finger like she’d stroke his cock.

She damn well knew it too. Ben saw her smirk reflected in the surrounding mirrors. They’d see who was smiling when she was over his lap, those tight jeans binding her knees, and her ass afire from a good paddling.

“You might want to find a safe place.” Rachel edged past him, a six-foot bullwhip looped in her right hand, a basket of white votives and tapers in the other.

Rachel randomly placed the candles around the room on equipment, benches, and the floor, then tossed the basket aside as she took center stage. The candles remained unlit. Ben leaned against the horse, out of the line of fire. He hoped.

Legs braced, fierceness etched in her face, she swung the whip over her head in elegant arcs. He anticipated the crack. Hearing it still generated a full-body gasp. It was the flex in her biceps, the mastery of her control, the power in the follow-through. The candles didn’t stand a chance. Neither did he. It was enough to make a man come all over himself.

Ben knew his crotch sported a damp shot. It was the least of his concerns at the moment. Not coming all over himself held the top spot.

He watched her nail every candle over and over again, splitting each in two. She was the whip, and it was her. Sweat glistened on her skin, trickled down her breasts. And when she’d beaten the unlit candles into submission, she swung his way. The whip curled around his feet, mere inches from his bare toes. Somehow he managed not to flinch…or to come.

“Your turn.” Rachel tossed him the handle. Ben caught it in one hand while she hopped onto the horse beside him, her ass temptingly close.

“You realize I’m going to have to top you.” And he meant that in every possible way.

She cocked her head his way. “I’d like to see you try.” Her whiskey-smooth voice held more invitation than caution.

“I do love a challenge.” Ben slipped his hand over her hip.

Rachel swung around until that hand was poised near her crotch. “So I’ve heard.”

The words seeped into Ben’s blood, raced his heart, and tightened his balls. She’d been keeping tabs on his Sledge self. He cupped her knee and slid his hand up her thigh until his fingers were scant inches from the apex. Rachel gave little away, but the fluttering pulse at her throat sure did.

“I’m waiting,” she singsonged.

Ben grinned. “For what, Miss Moore?”

A flush crawled over her face. “I think we both know the answer to that.”

Ben glided his hand upward, pressing his palm into her belly, then around until his fingers girdled her ribs and his thumb brushed the underside of her breast. He wiggled it under the bra cup and tugged it down, releasing her tit to him. Rapid yet controlled breaths shook the morsel of light brown flesh. He flicked his thumb over it, watched it harden. God, he knew what that felt like.

Rachel curled her fingers around the horse. Those long lashes swept downward. She was his. Ben prayed he didn’t screw up.

He traced his thumb over the other cup. Though he longed to watch it spill into his hand too, he kept his gaze on her face for the slightest glimpse to warn him off. The only thing that changed was her lips, parting on a gasp when his thumb grazed her hard nipple.

“I’m going to fuck you, Miss Moore.” He bent to capture his prize.

A small whimper fell against his ear. “Not if I fuck you first, Mr. Welsh.” She snagged the edges of her bra and tugged it back into place. “I’m still waiting for that demonstration of your talents.”

“You’ll be pleased, Miss Moore.” He skirted his hand down to her hip and stepped away. Only one problem remained—how he was going to maneuver with an erection wedged down one leg.

 

Soleil by Caitlyn Willows

Soleil

SOLEIL
by Caitlyn Willows
Contemporary Erotic Romance – Menage
August 2010
Cover Artist – Valerie Tibbs
Loose Id www.loose-id.com
ISBN 978-1-60737-835-8

Lori knew their demons and desires, knew true horror firsthand. They’d shared the climatic point of that nightmare years ago. It was an event that linked Lori, Mac, and Blake forever and eventually bonded them body and soul. The heart involved, the love, was rarely mentioned. Saying it out loud threatened Lori’s control, and she was very much about maintaining control over every aspect of her life. Blake and Mac have no problem placing control in her talented hands, in and out of the bedroom, especially in the bedroom…between them…safe, comfortable, and oh-so-hot. But the demon who brought them together now threatens the control upon which their bond was built and is now set to ruin everything they’ve worked to have and hide…and them along with it.

Related stories are:
Maneater
Soleil
Raven
Oliver

BUY LINKS:

Loose Id

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo Books

REVIEWS:

This was a good story and was easy to read. Ms. Willows did a good job with character development and in writing a story that dealt with some difficult topics. I was captivated by the elements of suspense that were added to the story and was able to sympathize with Lori’s pain and anger. The main focus of the story is the relationship between the three primary characters and the author did a good job of keeping the focus there. The secondary characters were well-written and made important contributions to both the plot and storyline; I especially liked Oliver Holbrook’s part in the story. I was happy with the story’s resolution and look forward to reading more of Ms. Willows’ work. – Maria, Night Owl Reviews

FOUR STARS! I soon discovered that Soleil is part of a series offered by Ms. Willows and would recommend that you pick up that book to get a better feel for some of the characters, especially the mysterious Oliver, but this can be read as a standalone. My only initial concern was the two male leads worried me for a time when their cocks seemed to have a life of their own whenever our heroine was around. But the story soon picked up, showing the author’s skill at giving us a heroine who is trying to survive as best she can after she lived through a horrific childhood. Ms. Willows touches on some sensitive issues, such as child abuse, though I felt it was dealt with in a sensitive manner with Lori trying to comes to terms with it and Mac and Blake doing all they can to demonstrate their love, understanding and acceptance of her. Her men will do anything to help her heal and we’re able to see some closure.. I couldn’t decide which male lead I liked more, and I felt the sex between them was very sensual. – Aggie Tsirkias, Just Erotic Romance Reviews.

EXCERPT:

Waiting in breathless anticipation, Mac Jordan stood in what little shadow existed in the ballroom, trying to hide a trouser-swelling erection he knew had left a wet spot.

Lori Belcher was the most beautiful woman Mac knew, and he knew a lot of women. Dated them, fucked them, lived with one or two, even considered marrying one in an attempt at what the world considered normalcy, which had failed before he’d executed the idea. Thank God.

No one compared to Lori. She knew his demons and desires. Knew firsthand what true horror was. They’d shared the climatic point of that nightmare years ago. An event that linked him, her, and Blake Patterson forever and eventually bonded them body and soul. The heart involved, the love, was never mentioned. Saying it out loud, admitting it, threatened control — Mac’s, Blake’s, especially Lori’s — and Lori was very much about maintaining control over her life. And he and Blake loved her enough to let her have it, no matter how much they’d grown to resent her dominatrix persona.

It was probably a mistake to seek her out tonight, but Mac couldn’t help himself. He had to be with her one more time while they still had the illusion of anonymity. That would all change come morning. Maybe even sooner.

Come morning, when the news media started rehashing “the Southland’s most shocking murders,” the three of them would be front-page news. Would the limelight reveal the three were a threesome? Probably not. They had been discreet, after all. But it would make future liaisons difficult, if not impossible, for a long time to come. So Mac had to see Lori tonight. Blake wouldn’t be long in following.

A private call for her to meet them would have done the trick. Lori wouldn’t have hesitated to meet them anywhere. But since she and Mac were both scheduled to attend Oliver Holbrook’s fund-raiser for cancer research, why bother with the facade? The event was packed. Someone here was bound to make the years-old connection between him, Blake, and Lori in the days to come. A few would even know Lori as Soleil — one-third of Oliver’s triumvirate of legendary dommes, a trio now minus one since Maneater had announced her retirement the month before.

Mac shrugged. People could think what they wanted. They would anyway. Mac needed Lori in his arms, in his bed. He literally ached to have her, physically and emotionally. Ached all the more because he couldn’t do much to protect her from what was about to happen.

Hell, he couldn’t protect any of them.

Lori’s smile brightened when she spied him. How she managed to see him… Mac smiled back. The woman had excellent radar where he and Blake were concerned.

She truly did look like sunshine. “You are my sunshine.” The song would always feel like a knife to the heart in bad ways and in good.

He shook the memories away and watched her thread her way around the tables toward him, pausing every now and then when a couple on their way to the dance floor stopped to speak with her. Each time she was gracious, patient, a true lady.

A goddess.

Her long blonde hair beckoned fingers into its depths and promised gold in return. Few men knew how soft and thick it felt; only those she truly trusted were allowed the honor. Mac could count that number on one hand.

Her red silk dress draped her body, hinting at generous curves rather than broadcasting them to the world. Understated elegance, unmatched beauty. The hem rippled above her perfectly cut calves; matching red high heels showed her legs to their full advantage.

Lori walked past the last table and picked up her pace. Her smile brightened. His heart did that little hiccup, liked he’d driven over a hill too fast. Mac reached for her at the same time she lifted her arms to embrace him. Then she was flush against him. Relief flooded his senses at the connection. This wasn’t a social hug. It lasted too long, was too tight, too perfect. Anyone paying attention could see the bond between them. It was all Mac could do not to clamp his hand over her ass and grind his cock into her belly, kiss those full red lips.

“What a wonderful surprise.” Lori nuzzled against his cheek and inhaled. Mac loved when she did that, like she was reimprinting his scent on her soul. It made him feel so male.

Lori drew back but kept her pelvis pressed to his. “Is Blake with you?” Her brown eyes sparkled with affection.

Mac slipped his hands to her waist, ordering his thumbs not to wander upward to her breasts. “Soon. Right now he’s circling the wagons.”

The light in her eyes dimmed. She’d been frustratingly stubborn over this whole thing, glaring into space with jaw clenched when they tried to talk about it. Mac knew doing so resurrected the memories Lori tried to bury.

“I see,” Lori finally said. “And you?”

Mac managed a halfhearted grin. “Circling you.”

She traced the smile line bracketing his mouth. “You worry too much.” With a glimmer of mischief, she added, “Have you eaten?”

He chuckled and tapped his index finger against the tip of her nose. “Pot, kettle, black. As for eating, I could fill my answer with all sorts of naughty little innuendos –”

She feigned a gasp. “Is that what’s wedged between us? An innuendo?”

“Well, I’ve never had it called that before,” he said with a laugh.

“And certainly never little either.” Lori winked and put some distance between them. “So…have you eaten? I can have the kitchen whip you up something.”

He cupped her elbow, then tickled his fingers down her arm until he could lace them through hers. “All I want is you. I need you, Lori. Now. Tonight.” Before everything goes to hell tomorrow.

“I’ll get my purse.” No question, no hesitation — that was the nature of the relationship the three of them had. They were always there for one another. She leaned in as if to kiss him, then whispered, “How do you always know exactly when I need you?”

The emotion her words churned was almost too much to bear. He drew in the scent of her, just as she’d done with him. Words escaped him. Mac gave her another hug, kissed her cheek, and spied Oliver Holbrook headed their way, her small red purse clutched in his hand.

“Looks like Oliver’s anticipated our need.” He kept his arm loosely around her waist as she turned.

Lori’s heat shimmered around him. “Ah, he is the best.”

Mac had to agree. Oliver anticipated everyone’s needs and met them with unerring accuracy. The man was ageless. It seemed he hadn’t changed in the fifteen years they’d known him. No gray dared to pepper his blond hair. No lines crept over his tan features. He was as fit and trim as the day Mac and Blake had met him. The man oozed class, whether in a tux and diamond cuff links or jeans and a T-shirt. One of the most influential men in California, if not the world. A business nod from Oliver Holbrook meant success, and he’d nodded at Mac Jordan and Blake Patterson years ago when he suggested they open up their own security and investigation firm. It was by far one of the best moves they’d ever made.

“I thought you’d want this.” Oliver handed the purse to Lori. His subtle smile blessed their need for a private moment.

“Right as usual.” Lori kissed Oliver’s cheek. “Thank you.”

“My pleasure.” Oliver zeroed in on Mac. “I’ll have room service send up a little something. I doubt you’ve eaten much today.”

Two comments in the space of five minutes? Either they knew him too well, or he was looking emaciated. Mac had a feeling it was the former. He hadn’t eaten much. His stomach was too twisted in knots.

Lori pressed her palm to Oliver’s chest. “I’ll call down later.”

Oliver grunted a response, then lifted her fingers to his lips. “Have a good time. If you need anything, don’t hesitate to call. But then, you both already know that.” He dropped a quick kiss to her hand, then walked away.

Hand against her lower back, Mac guided her toward the exit. “I understand Blake finally got you to agree to stay here for the duration?”

“I let Blake book me a suite for a couple of days to appease you both. Plus it allowed me to enjoy a glass or two of wine tonight without having to worry about the drive home.”

Oliver would have seen she’d gotten home. Mac didn’t call her on what he suspected was a half-truth. If she’d caved to Blake’s demand to lie low, maybe she was more worried about tomorrow than she let on. Or maybe she’d done it to shut them up.

“But I’m not missing work tomorrow,” she added.

Okay…perhaps not so worried after all.

He and Blake should have taken a direct stand with Lori on this, convinced her to go somewhere safe with them until the media storm was over. Instead, Mac and Blake continued the pattern so ingrained in their relationship, giving Lori the control she needed in her life. There were times when that was the hardest thing to do. Lonely times. Scary times. Like now. Damn scary. If they fucked this up, he and Blake would never forgive themselves. How hard could they hold on to her before they risked losing her completely?

Mac couldn’t bear the thought. That’s why he’d come here now, while Blake planned a full and aggressive charge for tomorrow.

“Let us at least set you up with a bodyguard to help keep the wolves at bay.”

Lori turned her head his way as they neared the elevator, where several others waited. “Don’t.” Command edged her voice. “If you came here tonight to wear down my resolve, you can leave. I agreed to the suite. Anything or anyone more is only going to draw undue attention to me. You know I can’t have that. You’re making entirely too much of this.”

She glared up at him. What was the sense in arguing? He wanted the night in her arms, not them being at odds…again.

“So what is it?” she asked. “Stay or go? I left a lovely chocolate-raspberry cheesecake back there begging for my mouth.”

Mac’s neck hairs bristled. He hated when she used her domme tone with him. He was one of her men, damn it, not a client, although he more than enjoyed when she took the lead in the bedroom. There was only so much a man could take.

He drew Lori to a stop far enough away from the elevator to avoid being overheard. “Is that what I have to do? Beg for your mouth? If Blake and I beg you to be watchful and have a bodyguard, would you finally agree?” Anger welled up. Mac couldn’t fight it. “Wait, I get it. You’re the domme. It’s your responsibility to see we get what we need. Well, we need you to –”

Lori pressed her palms into his chest, her forehead against his chin. “Not tonight, Mac. Please. I need this. I need you. I don’t want to argue anymore.”

He closed his eyes, breathing in her scent, absorbing the feel of her body next to his. “Agreed.” Mac kissed her forehead, fought the urge to pat her ass, then moved them toward the elevator once more.

“Besides,” she said in a low voice, “if it’s the domme in me you want, then I’m the one who decides what you need. Are you willing to give me all the control in the bedroom?”

Mac managed a chuckle and bent near her ear. “Don’t I always, sweetheart?”

Her sly smile chased the clouds away, and she picked up her pace, silently commanding Mac to follow.

The doors opened as they neared, and they crowded inside the elevator with ten other people. Everyone seemed to have the same destination — the twelfth floor. It made conversation impossible, but the tight quarters wedged Lori against him. She flexed her ass cheeks, somehow using the exercise to stroke his erection. He slipped his hand around her waist, splaying it over her belly, and anchored her against him. Dry humping her where they stood sounded like a damn fine option to him. Mac didn’t mind an audience. The more the merrier.

Lori subtly rocked her hips over his erection. Mac braced himself against the wall and inched his hand higher until his thumb brushed the underside of her breast. He felt more than heard her gasp and nailed her hip in place with his other hand. He indulged in a pivot of his own. She turned her face toward his and licked her lips. By the time the doors opened, her eyes glimmered with the promise of hot sex. Mac could barely see straight.

Lori led the way to her corner suite with a stride that boasted the confidence she commanded as Soleil. He’d be lying if he said she wasn’t intoxicating. Mac would never go the discipline route, but he sure as hell loved when Lori took the reins of pleasure in the bedroom. After all these years, all the times they’d been with each other, the want still existed stronger than ever. And when it was the three of them together…

A shudder down his spine threatened to make him come. Uncaring if anyone saw, Mac squeezed his cock into submission. He caught Lori’s I’m-going-to-fuck-you smile from the corner of his eye. She fished the key card from her purse and handed it to him.

“Want to stick it in?”

Another shudder quivered down his spine. “You’re evil.” He snatched the card from her.

Lori giggled and squeezed his left butt cheek. Her tongue found its way into his ear. His steady hand stabbed the key card into the lock, but his insides were mush.

She danced by when Mac shoved the door open. “I’m going to take my makeup off. I won’t be long.”

Mac admired the sway of her hips. “I’ll amuse myself while I wait.”

She spun around and kept walking backward. “Don’t amuse yourself too much.” Lori gave him her back. Her husky laughter settled in his gut, then slithered to his groin.

“Take your time, sweet cheeks,” he called out. He stroked the ridge of hard cock swelling his trousers, wishing she’d turn around, fall to her knees before him, pull his aching erection from its prison, then suck it deep into her hot mouth. Lori kept walking. He squeezed his cock, gave it a hard stroke, then slid his hand to his abdomen. “I can diddle fart with the best of them.”

“Whew…don’t I know it!” she shouted.

Mac laughed at the verbal uppercut, letting Lori win the moment.

He followed her path through the living area and into a bedroom large enough to fit three king-size beds. Lori had left the bathroom door half-open. Her dress lay in a pool of red silk on the creamy leather armchair.

Mac scooped the dress up to his face, inhaling Lori’s essence as he walked to the closet. The ache grew to a breathtaking intensity. At this rate, he wasn’t going to last long tonight.

He hung up the dress, then did the same with his suit, making sure trousers and jacket flanked the silk and hopefully absorbed Lori’s scent. Mac was down to his boxers when a pair of red heels flew out of the bathroom.

“What? Am I your maid now?” he asked.

Lori responded by throwing her red lace bra and satin panties out. Mac had no choice — he stripped his boxers off and tossed them toward the bathroom. He missed the shot by a mile. Admitting defeat, he snagged the panties on his way to a bed made for loving.

Gold braid secured black bed curtains to the floor-to-ceiling posts. It was the only flash of color in the otherwise neutrally decorated suite. Set on a platform, the king-size bed was the focal point of the room.

Mac yanked the covers down and crawled in. The mattress cradled him in comfort. His cock pointed skyward, harder than any of the four posts could ever hope to be. Mac brought Lori’s panties to his face. The smoky scent of her arousal slithered through him. He rubbed his cheek into the satin, then brushed the scrap of red down his chest, over his nipples, and tickled around his navel before twirling it around his cock.

His balls drew tighter, ready to shoot. Mac fisted satin and cock, squeezing hard to fight the rush. His hips didn’t listen. Propelled by lust, they pumped his erection into his grip. Mac snarled and jerked his hands to his sides. He flexed his fingers into the sheet, pulling in hard breaths to shore up his resolve while he counted backward from one thousand. It wasn’t easy with Lori’s panties dangling over his penis, crotch perfectly poised over the head, taunting him to come into them.

“That’s the most tempting sight I’ve seen in a long time.” Lori stalked his way, naked as the day she was born, long hair pulled over her shoulders so nothing hid her full breasts. She was fresh faced and damned sexy with curves that personified her as woman.

“I look at you, and I want to come.” The bed dipped with her weight as she crawled up between his feet.

“I know the feeling well.” Mac’s words came out shaky.

Her hair fell forward, tickling his legs. Goose bumps lifted the hairs on his body. Lori’s gaze swept over him. She dipped her head lower, draping a curtain of silky blonde over his calves. Her breasts touched Mac; he gasped. Her hard nipples dragged up his legs. His balls contracted, hard and ready to burst. Her soft hair kissed them, then brushed over his cock. She nuzzled her breasts against his thighs and rubbed upward, capturing his testicles first and then his dick between.

Mac wanted to fuck her breasts. Wanted the suction of her full lips while he did so. Wanted to shoot his jism between those beautiful tits, then rub his cum over them. Then let his semen glue them together while he fucked her again, true and hard.

“Fuck me, sweetheart.”

Lori licked her lips, gaze measuring his erection. “I decide when you get fucked and when I allow you to come.” Dipping her head, she blew a hot breath over his balls. Mac’s damned hips pushed his cock higher. The panties trickled down. Lori peeled them away and traced her tongue up the underside of his cock.

Mac groaned and beat his fists against the mattress. “Please. I swear, it’s torture tonight.”

Lori twirled the panties on her finger. Mac suspected she was giving him a chance to rein in some control. He blessed her for it.

“Is it, now? I could bind your limbs to these four posts and show you what real torture is. Pull a cock ring from my bag of tricks and leave you hard and ready for my pleasure only, until your balls turn blue from the cum trapped in them. Trapped like you’d be…at my mercy.” Her low, husky voice sank into his bones.

“God, honey.” His cock twitched, seeking her attention. A word from him and Lori would do all that and more. But for him, fantasy was so much more fulfilling than reality.

Mac snagged a strand of her long blonde hair and curled it loosely around his finger. “Softer than the finest silk.” He tickled it over her cheek, loving the way she sighed and closed her eyes.

He tugged gently, urging her nearer until her nipples brushed his chest hair. Lori moaned and rubbed through it, gasping when Mac cupped her breast and pinched her nipple.

She braced one hand on his chest and eased away. Mac was torn between reluctance and anticipation — he wanted her now, but he also knew from that damn sexy gleam in her eyes that she was planning something good.

Satin panties circled his cock. Mac spread his thighs, inviting her to love his balls with the material. Lori tied the panties around his erection instead. The double knot lay perched in his pubic hair; the ends fluttered down against his testicles.

“I can’t wait either tonight.” Lori swung astride him, aimed, and seated his penis deep inside her pussy.

Mac gripped her hips to keep her still. Fire pulsed up his cock. Tingles crawled over his balls — they loved the feel of her ass pressing down on them. Lori braced her fingers over his forearms, letting Mac have his way. He focused outward, drinking in the sight of her. How was it possible she got more beautiful with every year?

He slid his fingers upward to her breasts, thumbed her nipples until she groaned and rolled her hips. Another rush overwhelmed him. “I’m not coming without you, sweetheart.”

“Damn right you’re not. You don’t come until I’m ready.”

The command in her voice nearly made him a liar.

He brushed his hands under the curves of her breasts, over her ribs, down the stomach she worked so hard to keep flat, yet which still retained that sweet cushion of softness he loved.

Lori tensed when he neared the scars below her belly button. After all this time, she should know they didn’t matter. They never had. But they still made her self-conscious and shoved the Soleil part of Lori aside.

Mac fought memories of his own, and with them, the fear that he and Blake had almost lost her before they’d gotten the chance to know her, a chance for all this. Panic made his heart race.

Lori averted her gaze, cheeks pink with embarrassment. The want between them diminished. Mac refused to let it die.

Smiling, he brushed his thumbs against her pussy lips. Her clit rested atop the double knot — a blood ruby on a satin pedestal. Drawing her juices from her folds, Mac traced his thumbs over the peak, first one and then the other.

“Play with your tits and fuck me, gorgeous.”

“Say please,” she ordered, seizing control once more.

“Please,” he whispered.

 

Maneater by Caitlyn Willows

Maneater

MANEATER
by Caitlyn Willows
Contemporary Erotic Romance – Menage – BDSM
February 2009
Cover Artist – Anne Cain
Loose Id www.loose-id.com
ISBN 978-1-59632-872-3

Good things come to those who wait. It’s a motto Julia Green has come to live by. It keeps her world ordered and structured, and when you are a successful businesswoman by day and a well respected dominatrix by night, order and structure are paramount. But even Type A overachievers need a challenge. How can she resist the lure of three gorgeous men who want to hire all her services? Challenge? These three keep her on her toes, and give Julia much more than she bargained for: an alpha male whose natural dominance lets her submit, a protégé who wants that special lifestyle in which Julia has thrived, and a sexual submissive who craves a woman to take charge in the bedroom. Good things have come…over and over again. Julia needs them all and now that she has them, she’s never letting go, especially not the man who holds not only her body, but her heart.

Related stories are:
Maneater
Soleil
Raven
Oliver

BUY LINKS:

Loose Id

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo Books

REVIEWS:

FIVE BLUE RIBBONS! Caitlyn Willows never fails to delight her readers with unique storylines and loveable characters. MANEATER is a hot story full of sexual tension, humor and self discovery. Evan, Richard and Spencer have buried themselves in work and for the most part ignore their own needs. The dominatrix Maneater forces them to acknowledge their needs and accept who they are and what they need. On the flip side, Maneater/Julia is very confident that she knows best and isn’t used to being answerable to anyone – that is until she ticks off the men and then she learns otherwise. Ms. Willows does a beautiful job showing the various aspects of the BDSM lifestyle and how each person’s needs must be taken into consideration. I’d love to know what happens after this story ends so I’m really hopeful that we’ll be revisiting Maneater and her men. ~Chrissy Dionne, Romance Junkies

FOUR CUPS! This is an exceptionally sexual story that will have you breathing erratically and your glasses steaming up. Wonderful creative characters and a steady dialog along with a deep emotional plot are the center of this fabulous tale. This story lets your imagination run wild as you enjoy romps with these characters. It would take a mighty woman to handle three men and Maneater definitely is that woman. Explosive and very hot erotic sex scenes are the icing on this delicious story. A not to be missed book. ~Wateena, Coffee Time Romance And More

Caitlyn Willows does a good job of grabbing the attention of the reader right away, and continues with witty dialogue and clever secrets. It’s admirable to see how these three really good friends created a successful business, while being so totally different. Julia’s taking over and getting things in top shape shows off her ability to organize and manage the office, and while all the men have something to offer, she can’t help being in lust specifically with Evan. Propositions, steamy, hot sex, unexpected relationships and a fulfilling conclusion, guarantees a good read with Maneater. ~Priscilla Petty, Night Owl Romance

While MANEATER has sizzling sex and scorching BDSM scenes, the emotional interaction between the characters is what makes this tale an enthralling read. Be sure to head on over to Loose id and grab your copy of MANEATER by Caitlyn Willows. ~Holly Tibbs, RRTErotic Reviews

EXCERPT:

“I feel a shift in the Force.”

Spencer’s words might sound like bullshit, but Evan could tell by the faraway look in his eyes that he meant every word. Besides, Evan felt it too. So did the clients sitting beside their desks. Whatever had happened in the lobby was enough to halt all conversation in midstream. A flash of blonde caught his eye, then sunlight as the back door opened.

“Excuse me,” he told the supplier. “I’ll be right back.”

Panic welled up for the second time that day. Evan couldn’t believe Phoebe had made good on her threat to quit. Once he cleared the office door, he darted down the hall and out the back. Phoebe had her sneakers on and was halfway to the parking lot.

“Wait!”

She turned a smile his way and kept walking backward. “I’m going to get lunch. I won’t be long.”

“But the phone…the clients.” Had she gone nuts?

“Julia’s got that covered.” She spun around and bounced off. He’d never seen Phoebe so…buoyant.

By “Julia,” he presumed she meant Julia Green. If so, the woman was as good as her word. It’d been a little over an hour since he’d called her service, and already a temp hire was in place. The fact she hadn’t bothered to introduce herself was a little annoying; since they were up to their ears in work, he could forgive the slight. But he was still going to take a few minutes and meet her.

Evan hurried back inside. He realized the difference in the atmosphere immediately — the shift in “the Force” that Spencer had mentioned. The rock station Phoebe loved wasn’t on. Someone had replaced it with classical music and at a volume low enough to soothe and placate a person, not blast them away. He was surprised at the difference the type of music made.

He paused long enough in his office to tell his visitor he’d be “just a few minutes longer,” then went through to the waiting room. The empty waiting room. Stunned, Evan stared at the vacant chairs. A woman sitting at Phoebe’s desk, juggling phone calls while she organized stacks of mail, design concepts, and sample binders, finally caught his attention. She’d opted for a telephone headset that kept her hands free yet busy. How it managed to stay in place without messing up her French twist was, he was sure, a miracle. Of course, he’d always been mystified how women got their hair to do the things they did with it.

Evan studied her as she worked, processing one call after the other with an efficiency that made Amy’s diligence pale in comparison. Finally it dawned on him what she was wearing. He’d never seen so much brown in one place in his whole life. Everything the woman wore — everything except for those huge, black-rimmed glasses — was some shade of brown. Her faux-suede skirt hugged her hips, then flared to her shins. Her beigeish blouse looked like it was a size too large. Nails? Evan glanced at them. Natural, he decided. Buffed, but not polished.

He had an uncanny feeling that this wasn’t what Julia Green normally looked like. The word “camouflage” came to mind. Like she was trying to hide herself. Yet, while she might be trying not to stand out physically, professionally, his first impression of her was “unforgettable.” The power radiating from her sent shivers down his spine.

God, he loved women who could kick ass.

Somehow sensing his presence, she ended the call and smiled up at him. She extended her slim hand his way. “Hello, I’m Julia Green.”

Evan accepted the handshake. It was firm, confident. More pluses. “Evan Fairfax. Julia Green, as in the owner of Julia’s Gems? I never imagined –”

“Amy and I are old friends. I promised her that if you called, we would supply the very best for her team while she was gone. Needless to say, I was glad that you did. I wouldn’t want Amy to worry needlessly. She should take her time off to enjoy bonding with her baby and firming up her family unit.”

“And not worrying about us,” he added.

“Exactly.” She pulled her hand away and handed him the stack of mail. “Everything’s sorted for you.”

He wrapped his hand around the bundle. “Thanks. I’ll go through it during lunch.”

“Which will be as soon as Phoebe returns,” she answered. “She’s bringing back sandwiches. Perhaps we can all sit in the conference room and get better acquainted, go over the schedule.”

Evan’s eyes narrowed, her take-charge attitude rubbing him the wrong way a little. She was just a temp, for God’s sake, not their real office manager. “Sounds good.”

Were her eyes brown, or did he detect a hint of green there? Hard to tell with those glasses. Did she really need to wear those ugly things? Why not contacts? She was pretty enough, and it looked like she had a weak prescription. Her eyes would really stand out without them. Or was that why she opted for glasses? To help with her little-brown-mouse routine? Her skin was flawless, her makeup light. Evan sniffed. No perfume. And such a long neck. Her pulse fluttered at the base, as if begging for his lips…

Evan mentally shook his rambling thoughts aside. He jerked his head toward the empty waiting room chairs. “What happened to all the clients?”

“I handled it. It was a mix of vendors, decorators dropping off sample designs and swatches, walk-in clients who weren’t scheduled for appointments, things of that nature. I’ll bring in all the information during our lunch meeting.”

Julia turned her back on him to answer the phone. Her apparent dismissal grated on Evan’s nerves. She might be their salvation, but he’d be damned if he let her take over. He raked his gaze down her back to that shapely bottom she’d hidden behind her drab clothes. It’d been a long time since he’d had a woman over his knee. Too long.

“One moment, please.” She placed the call on hold and glanced up at him, yes bright. “Yes, sir? Was there something else?”

Sir…damn right. “No, we’re good now.” And now that he had her full attention, Evan turned his back on her. She still managed the last laugh, only she didn’t know it.

He was hard as a rock.

* * * * *

Julia pulled in a slow breath. She’d wanted a challenge. She just hadn’t expected it to be so soon and catch her so unaware. Seeing Evan Fairfax across a crowded room didn’t give justice to the full impact of the man. He reeked testosterone. The wave came close to knocking Julia to her shaking knees. She expected him to peel her panties off with his teeth and shove his face in her crotch. Even more surprising, she was perfectly willing to let him do so. He called to that submissive side Julia rarely let others see. Or rather, rarely found anyone willing to take that command.

Just a few minutes in the man’s presence and Julia could tell that Evan fit the alpha role naturally. A born leader, a Dominant in all his glory. He’d take her all right. Push her up against the wall with those firm hands, nail her there with a look, and strip her for a leisurely taste. Splay her on top of the counter before her and run his tongue over all her secret places. Then push her to all fours on the floor and stab his cock deep inside. Oh, yes. Julia found herself getting wet. And there’d be nothing she could do about it. Nothing she’d want to do about it, except take every blessed inch.

His blue eyes missed nothing, despite the dark circles under them testifying he needed a good night’s sleep. She’d sensed him delving beneath the surface of her disguise, searching for the woman hidden within. He wasn’t dumb. Evan Fairfax had caught on right away that she was more than she purported to be. She’d have to be oh-so-careful. A momentary twinge of panic hit her. Maybe this hadn’t been such a good idea. She could easily assign someone else to work at Diamond Dust. She’d just tell them that she’d filled in until the temp could come on board. That was plausible. As for the issue of them wanting to hire Maneater…

Indecision plagued Julia, an even rarer event than meeting a man dominant enough to tempt her.

“You must be Julia Green.”

A hand appeared before her. Julia blinked and slipped her fingers into it, wondering how the man had managed to sneak up on her. “Yes.”

“Richard Hall. A pleasure to have you here. We were drowning. I didn’t realize how much we’d grown to depend on Amy. I hope we haven’t sent her screaming from us forever. I can hear her now, ‘I’d take twenty hours of labor over you guys any day of the week.’”

Julia laughed. She liked him instantly: his ready smile, his charm, his sparkling brown eyes. And the man knew how to dress. Where Evan oozed testosterone, Richard’s aura projected self-confidence. She’d been expecting someone self-absorbed, since Amy indicated he spent a lot of time checking his appearance when he thought others weren’t looking.

“Perhaps I can help you and your partners find some middle ground,” she said. “I understand the business has grown by leaps and bounds lately. A new game plan might be in order.”

“I agree, especially now when things are going crazy. A little self-evaluation never hurts.”

Odd that the little phrase had come her way twice today. “We can discuss a few things over lunch.”

“Wonderful. Amy’s office is the first on your right, by the way.”

A charmer with focus, one who wanted to get right down to work with few preliminaries. The pleasing-to-the-eye package hid a shark inside. Julia could appreciate that; however, a little tempering wouldn’t hurt. Then she caught the flash of pink in his cheeks. It happened so quickly, she might have missed it if she’d blinked. Richard was nervous! Hiding inside his business mode and apparent vanity were his shields. Realizing that brought her protective self to the fore.

“Richard, you are such a slave driver.” Julia started as a man appeared around the corner of her desk. “Spencer Griffith.” The last partner she had yet to meet extended his hand, which she shook. He gave Richard a look. “You could have offered her coffee or water, maybe even showed her where the restrooms are.” He gave a slight, disgusted shake of his head. But Julia saw the smile tugging at the side of his mouth and realized it was said in jest. “My apologies, Julia. Can I get you anything? Coffee? Water? Give you a quick tour of the office?”

Another protector, quickly covering Richard’s unease. A caregiver as well. He wanted everyone happy and comfortable, but he’d just demonstrated that he wouldn’t do so at the cost to his partners. For him, though, they would also be his primary concern, even above his own needs. Julia wanted to lay the world at his feet.

“I’m fine. Thank you.” Another firm handshake. “Although knowing where the bathroom is might come in handy.”

The comment earned her a polite chuckle, yet neither of them enlightened her as to the whereabouts of said restroom. Fortunately, Phoebe’s return covered any possible awkwardness.

She jerked her thumb over her shoulder — “Everything’s in the conference room” — and slipped into the seat Julia vacated.

“Excellent.” Julia gathered the work she’d collected in the short time she’d been there, hooked her purse over her shoulder, and sidestepped the men. “Gentlemen, I’ll be waiting.”

Evan cut her off before she could reach the conference room. “Did you see who delivered this?”

He waved Maneater’s signature invitation in front of her — black cardstock edged in gold. She’d calligraphed the penthouse address and time on the back in her own hand. Julia couldn’t tell whether fear or excitement lit up his face. She hated not being able to read a person. This one — Evan — definitely threw her instincts off-kilter.

“It was delivered with the mail.” She moved the heavy sample books to her other arm. “Why?”

He flicked the envelope up between two fingers. “There’s no return address. No mailing address. Just our names.”

“What is it?” Richard took the invite from him and smiled. “Well, I’ll be…”

Spencer glanced over Richard’s shoulder and flushed. “Oh.”

Julia craned her neck. “May I know –”

“No!” they all said in unison.

Trying not to laugh at them was nearly impossible.

“I was just wondering how it arrived. Thanks,” Evan muttered.

Like boys with a purloined Playboy, they ducked in to their office. The last thing Julia heard before she continued on to the conference room was, “There’s an RSVP number. Call it.”

Julia smiled when her cell phone shuddered against her ribs from inside her purse. “Here we go, gentlemen.” And she had exactly one afternoon to lock onto their personalities before Maneater met with them tonight. One afternoon to decide whether her libido needed to take a hike or go for it. Having met the three up close and personal, there was little doubt what she’d do.

She wanted them — all three of them. And she wanted them now. Julia didn’t know whether to laugh or cry over the predicament. Once Maneater took the three, any snippet of a chance with Evan disappeared for Julia. But wasn’t that doomed before it started? She didn’t realize she’d truly wanted a start with Evan until this moment. Now she was mourning the loss of something that had never been and never would be. Was it best to take what she could get rather than nothing at all?

She closed the door to Amy’s office and locked it for ensured privacy while she called Oliver. He let the phone ring four times before he answered. She sighed, growing irritated. Teaching her a lesson, no doubt. She heard the smirk in his voice when he answered. Smart aleck.

“I’m going to need a little help tonight.”

“Really? How odd.”

She reaffirmed her assessment. Smart-ass.

“What can we do to help you with your…challenge?”

Two could play this game. Julia had learned that from the master himself. “Now, dearest, don’t you always know exactly what I need?”

Oliver chuckled. “As a matter of fact, I do. The question is, are you ready to receive it?”

She was glad they weren’t face-to-face.

“I’ll see if Lori and Rachel are available. They always give a good demonstration.”

“Will you be there too?” she asked.

“I’ll be around. Discreetly, of course.” He chuckled. “I wouldn’t miss this for the world.”

 

All The Trimmings by Caitlyn Willows

NicelyNaughty_banner

AllTheTrimmings

ALL THE TRIMMINGS
by Caitlyn Willows
Nicely Naughty, Volume 2
Contemporary – Erotic Romance – Menage (M/F/M)
December 2014
Cover Artist – Ginny Glass
Loose Id www.loose-id.com
ISBN 978-1-62300-823-9

When Chrissy agreed to housesit for her grandparents and prep the place for Christmas, she never imagined the icing on her cookies would be the twins next door. But they were hard-loving men who didn’t play for keeps, and she never played at all…until now.

Joe and Jess crave their neighbors’ cute granddaughter more than they can stand. She’s definitely a game changer they never imagined, blowing into their lives like the approaching winter storm, stirring up their wildest fantasies and making them want with an intensity hot enough to melt the fake icicles draped around her Grandma’s house.

Christmas with all the trimmings. Those were Grandma’s instructions. And while Chrissy knows she wasn’t referring to Chrissy laid out for Joe and Jess’s pleasure­or they hers—Grandma’s got some explaining of her own to do. Like how she knew about those dimples on the twin’s perfect backsides.

Stories in the Nicely Naughty Volume 2 Anthology are:

All The Trimmings by Caitlyn Willows (That’s this one!)

Christmas Candy by Nona Raines: Aidan wants to be more to Val than a friend with benefits, but she’s holding back. Will the night they spent with sweet, sexy Candie bring holiday magic or give Val another reason to hate Christmas? (F/F/M menage)

Gingerbread Photography by Rachell Nichole: When Walker talks his lover into an X-rated, Xmas photo shoot, he and Ben set Lexie’s lens on fire… just before they ask her to join in the fun. (M/M/F menage)

BUY LINKS:

Loose Id

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo Books

EXCERPT:

One would think Chrissy Wallace’s attention would be on the giant Santa being hoisted into the sleigh on top of her grandparents’ house, not on the perfectly proportioned, jean-clad backside of the hunky man doing the work. In her defense, standing on the ladder as he was, the man had a damn fine ass to look at—the perfect peach shape a woman could sink her heels into and ride to the finish line. She’d bet he’d dig those long, thick fingers of his deep into her butt and hold her in place while he pounded her into the mattress.

One hand clasped firmly around the steering wheel, she used the other to fan the heat from her face. This was what happened when she hadn’t had sex in nine months. With her grandparents on vacation and her house-sitting for them, what were the odds she could get lucky? An hour away from home with none of the small-town ogling that went with it? It’d be so much easier than looking for a hookup in one of the clubs on Palm Canyon Drive. If he was helping out her grandparents, he’d already been vetted. So…hell yeah, she was going to go for it. Providing he was available, of course.

Please, let him be available. He can be my Christmas present.

Movement on the roof drew her gaze to the man helping him. Another stunning male specimen. These must be “the nice young men who moved in next door” her grandmother had mentioned. Sunglasses guarded his eyes against the setting sun hovering near the peak of San Jacinto. Those rays bathed his tan skin in gold, highlighting the cut of muscle in his biceps and forearms. Nothing like being able to wear a tank top in December. One of the many reasons she loved living in Southern California.

Her heart somersaulted as she watched him haul Santa to safety on the roof. He handled the decoration like it weighed nothing, and she knew for a fact the thing weighed a ton and was awkward as hell. Much as she loved it, Santa and his sleigh had been the bane of her family’s existence for as long as she could remember. A chore to be avoided at all cost, only to be done under duress and pleading from Grandma to put the decoration in place. Someone always caved. With her grandparents heading out for a Baja cruise, everyone thought they’d be spared this year, especially since Chrissy’s parents were going too. Well…they had been spared. Someone else had been pressed into service.

Probably fell prey to Grandma’s charming smile and bright blue eyes. For a woman nearing seventy, Grandma still knew how to work it. Oh, to have a snippet of that power.

The man on the ladder joined his partner on the roof, taking a stance on the other side of Santa. Seeing their matching smiles made her mouth drop open. Twins. Decisions, decisions. Surely one of them was unattached. Maybe both? Oh, the fantasies that wrought.

She snapped her jaw shut and pulled into the driveway next to Pops’s Prius. Grandma waved at her, love beaming from her eyes. Chrissy was embarrassed to admit she hadn’t seen her standing there until that moment. Her attention had been riveted elsewhere. She sneaked a final mouthwatering glance upward, then cut the engine and got out.

“Chrissy!” Grandma hurried her way, arms open.

Chrissy was conscious of the men above, wondering if they were looking, possibly interested. She was tempted to fluff her hair into some semblance of order, check her breath, flash them a smile that broadcasted her need. She hugged Grandma instead.

Into The Wild by Caitlyn Willows

IntoTheWild

INTO THE WILD
Book 3 – Into The Heart Series
by Caitlyn Willows
Finalist-2011 EPIC eBook Award
Erotic Romance – Paranormal – Shape-shifter – Menage
November 2009
Cover Artist – Marci Gass
Loose Id www.loose-id.com
ISBN 978-1-60737-472-5

They’ve bonded as friends, working side by side over the last six months – jaguar shifter, human, and calico cat. Now a freak lab accident bonds Cristían, Jeremy, and Lupe as lovers.

Lupe delights in her new human form. Wishes can come true. They made her human and gave her the men she loves. She will defeat anyone who dares threaten her new status and her men.

Jeremy thrills yet fears his new role as shape-shifting jaguar, but his relationship with Lupe and Cristían are more than he ever dreamed. The mysteries left to be resolved and the people trying to kill them taint it all. One thing he knows…no one will separate them.

As for Cristían… He’s been blessed with love where he never expected to find it. Now a force from beyond tells him he created a monster only he can destroy. How can he do so knowing it could cost him the two people he loves the most? Or is he the monster he fears?

Related stories are:
Into The Lair
Into The Night
Into The Wild

BUY LINKS:

Loose Id

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo Booksepic2011finalist-sm

REVIEW:

4.5 STARS! Into the Wild is a fun, sexy, quick paced read. I really enjoyed how very well developed all Ms. Willow’s characters are. I felt intimately connected to them, as if I were reading about old friends. Readers will have no choice but to adore Lupe, who, no matter what form, is all haughty cat which leads to some pretty hilarious moments. She commands respect and defends her loved ones relentlessly. Her men pamper her outrageously along with nearly everyone else in the story, with the exception of those too stupid to realize how dangerous she is. I was shocked at just how attracted I was to Jeremy and Cristían. I normally go for the Alpha or beta males. Both of them are quiet academics. They are both very sweet and intelligent heroes. All I wanted to do was curl up between them and let them spoil me rotten. I think that readers will fall in love with both as well. The sex between the three main characters is intense, passionate and emotional. I found myself steaming up the windows as I read. Ms. Willow leads the reader on an emotional journey that is well worth the money. I encourage you to go out read and enjoy Into the Wild.~T.S. Peters, Just Erotic Romance Reviews

EXCERPT:

The soft whirr of the centrifuge hypnotized Cristían Duarte. He stared, unblinking, while the red digital numbers ticked down. There was nothing else to do at this point but wait and hope.

It had to work. Please let it work.

He was running out of DNA. Replicating what he had had failed so far. Each time he needed an original source, and with Rose dead, there was little of the original DNA remaining. He’d extracted it from her toothbrush, hairbrush, the sheets where she’d last slept, and the ground soaked with the blood from her murder.

The memory stabbed through his gut. Her big brown eyes had stared lifelessly at the stars, her mouth frozen in a scream she didn’t have time to utter. The coppery stench of blood had tainted the air, mingling with the stench of the wildfires that had plagued the surrounding area, creating a horror to add to those already crowded in his head. Her throat had been ripped open with one massive bite. She’d never seen it coming, never had the chance to defend herself.

Cristían closed his eyes. Only minutes prior to her death, his clan had been enjoying a well-deserved run in Balboa Park, never realizing death would visit them. Rose’s death blow had been delivered from a threat they never knew existed—mountain lions, another clan of shape-shifters. Until a year ago, the mountain lions hadn’t known about the jaguar clan either, and they weren’t happy about the discovery.

The mountain lions were volatile and quick to defend their people from outside threats. Cristían couldn’t really blame them. They’d lost everything to humans. And discovering other shape-shifters had brought to life stories they’d thought were myths. Tales from their ancestors of other shifters, of wars fought and civilizations destroyed. They were prepared to do whatever it took to protect themselves and their lands, even if it meant killing what they didn’t understand.

Finally an uneasy peace was forged between their two clans. A treaty set in place. However, suspicions still lingered on both sides, and grief still clenched Cristían’s heart.

He lined up the fifteen petri dishes into three rows of five, then laid out two glass pipettes, in the hope keeping busy would banish the memory. It didn’t work.

The jaguar clan had lost a woman that dark night six months ago…and the children she carried. All their hopes and dreams for a future were now dust on the wind, Rose and her babies’ ashes mingled with Mother Earth, as was custom. Cristían wished he could join them and was ashamed to admit he’d thought about it more times than was healthy. He’d kept those feelings to himself and poured out his grief and rage in body-racking sobs each night. Soaking one of Rose’s pillowcases with his tears while he cried, then masturbating in a desperate attempt to reconnect with her. He knew he wasn’t the only one who cried. Her death cut the clan to the core of their being. She was their heart, their hope for the future.

It was one of those things they didn’t discuss; doing so would release the floodgates holding back all the grief and anger pent up from centuries of loss. Their homes and cities destroyed; family, friends, and lovers gone forever. When one was generally long-lived, forever was a very long time. Joining them in death…

Cristían swallowed against the pain. A coward’s way out or a merciful end? He shook the darkness away. Death would mean a complete loss of hope. He refused to accept it. Two friends helped keep him whole. He wouldn’t lay grief over his death upon their shoulders. Jeremy and Lupe deserved better than that.

He couldn’t say when he took that step away from the dark abyss or what prompted his new plan. At some point, he realized Lupe had given him a reason to live, and Jeremy, the faith to try. Once he set foot on that path—remaining alive—nothing deterred him. What was the sense of having a state-of-the-art laboratory if not to use it to its fullest potential? New hope bolstered his morale, followed quickly by one failure after the other. He carried on, though, determined to find the solution, to continue setting measures in place for success.

He’d resurrect Rose or die trying.

“Brrrow?”

Smiling, he glanced down at the calico cat threading herself between his legs. Lupe truly had been his lifeline to sanity these last months. They’d met one day when he was helping Wyatt and Trina Caldwell move. Lupe had let Cristían know in no uncertain terms that she deemed him worthy enough of her attention. Cristían had bought Trina’s old house, and Lupe moved in with him. However, neither of them had seen the place in months. The lab he currently did his research in had become their sanctuary; the sprawling mansion above it, their home.

He hated the cavernous house but loved the superior, high-tech lab. And it didn’t take Cristían long to realize why Jeremy Gibson had moved into the house—why go home when everything you needed was right here?

It probably wasn’t the wisest decision to have a cat in a lab, but Lupe was her own feline and would have her way. It helped that she was respectful of the experiments he and Jeremy worked on. Lupe’s presence helped him and Jeremy deal with any residual loneliness and isolation as well, though that was nonexistent with his best friend by his side 24-7.

Lupe made sure they ate, comforted them when disappointment dragged them both down, and best of all, gave them unconditional love. All she demanded in return was affection, food, and to sleep in one of their beds. She never failed to make him smile or lift his spirits, and she was better than any girlfriend he’d ever had.

Cristían squatted down to her level. She batted the buttons on his lab coat, then tapped her paw against his chin. “No worries, little warrior.” He smiled when he said her nickname. The little cat had earned the title honorably when she’d fought a member of the mountain lion clan and won, paws down. Of course, that made her not very popular with that faction of shape-shifters, but to Cristían’s jaguar clan, Lupe could do no wrong.

“What the hell is that cat doing in here?”

Cristían stiffened. Okay, perhaps one member of the jaguar clan wasn’t a Lupe fan. Barry Page had always had his weasel-faced snout stuck so far in the rules that he shit protocol. Cristían watched as he trotted down the stairs and stormed their way. The loose black trousers Barry wore rippled under his forceful stride, the matching shirt molding to his torso. The color rarely varied. Barry claimed it helped remind him of his true self and their heritage, suggesting he was the only one who did so.

Lupe arched into the hand Cristían ran over her back, then cast her sage green gaze in Barry’s direction and instantly dismissed him with a flick of her tail. Cristían tried not to laugh. He’d flicked his jaguar tail at Barry more times than he could count over their long association. Barry just wasn’t someone he was eager to see.

“Leave her alone, Barry.” Distracted as always, Jeremy still didn’t hesitate to come to Lupe’s defense. He was always so quiet, so focused on his work, that Cristían usually forgot he was in the same room with him.

As Jeremy’s reward, Lupe slinked his way and twined herself around his legs. “You’re my best girl, Lups.” Jeremy gave her head a quick rub.

Barry snorted. “She’s your only girl. You never leave the estate.”

“Everything I want is here, and I’ve got a hand that does just fine for personal tension.” Jeremy held up two beakers, one with clear liquid, the other, blue-green, studying them under ultraviolet light. “I’m on a roll here, and women have a tendency to sidetrack me.”

Cristían had never seen a man more determined to prove or disprove his own theory. Jeremy’s dedication matched Cristían’s. They shared the lab—Jeremy on one end of the long stainless steel counter, Cristían on the other—bounced theories off each other, and never once called the other one to task for seeking answers.

Barry picked a long blond hair from his sleeve, grimaced, then fed it to the flame on Jeremy’s Bunsen burner. “Then maybe you should try a man.”

Jeremy grinned and watched the thickening liquids swirl in their glass containers. “Who says I haven’t? You offering?”

That was a door Jeremy really didn’t want to open. Barry could get…possessive. Cristían knew that from experience. In a clan whose numbers were dwindling, one got relief where one could, or went outside the clan, something Barry would never do. Barry didn’t necessarily take what he wanted, but once he got something, he wasn’t inclined to let go.

Jeremy poured a drop of blue-green liquid into the clear. “I could go for a blowjob. Just make sure you zip me up when you’re done.”

Cristían smothered his laugh. It came out a sputtered snicker instead and earned him Barry’s infamous snake-eyed glare.

“Whoa. Didn’t expect that.” Jeremy drew back from the beaker he held. Lupe craned her neck for a look at what he was talking about. His concoction was now a small vortex of purple and gold. He poured the contents of both beakers into a larger one. He lifted the container to the light, his grin widening. The vortex grew, spinning faster. Pinpoints of glowing white flecked within. “It looks like a tiny nebula or galaxy. A star factory.”

“Just make sure it’s only yourself you blow up when that shit explodes,” Barry said.

“And deprive you of the pleasure that is me?” Jeremy’s grin widened more, his brown eyes glimmering. “Never.”

Lupe meowed and rubbed hard against him.

“Jealous, puss?” Barry laughed when she growled at him.

“Don’t call her that.” Cristían watched the centrifuge’s timer count down the final ten. “She doesn’t like it.”

“What’s wrong, puss? Don’t like a little competition?” Barry swiped for her, grabbing her tail when Lupe tried to dodge him.

“Let her go!” Her yowl barely covered his and Jeremy’s protests.

She hissed and rolled onto her back, claws and teeth bared. Jeremy kicked Barry’s shoulder, sloshing his experiment on the floor. It splashed onto Lupe. She whirled around, eyes wide with fear. Barry grabbed the scruff of her neck and hoisted her into the air, holding the spitting little cat at arm’s length.

Cristían and Jeremy took a step in his direction. However, as Cristían was more than aware, Lupe was completely capable of defending herself. She swung her lower legs up and speared her back claws into Barry’s forearm. He screeched and let her go. Lupe landed on all fours. She gave him a dismissive chuff and a flick of her tail, then tucked behind Cristían’s legs to clean her fur.

“If you had more experience with women, that might not have happened.” Cristían couldn’t resist the jab. Barry deserved the rebuke and the bloody claw marks going down his arm. Cristían scooped Lupe into his arms. “It’s probably not a good idea to lick that, little one. Let’s get you cleaned up. No water. I promise.”

She purred and kneaded her paws into his chest. The centrifuge beeped out the end of its cycle. Great. His own experiment was ready for the next step. Lupe curled herself around his neck, leaving his hands free. He popped the top on the device and lifted out the tray of vials.

“I see there’s no offer to help me.” Barry snagged a wad of paper towels from the stack on the opposite counter and dabbed at his wounds.

“You had it coming.” Cristían watched Jeremy study the glowing mass. Judging from his frown, it looked like another failure. The solution appeared to be losing momentum. Cristían felt his pain. He’d thought for sure Jeremy had had the breakthrough he’d been looking for.

“I’d say ‘fuck you,’ but I wouldn’t want either of you to get your hopes up.” Barry pressed the towels against his arm.

“Our loss. More’s the pity.” Cristían set the vials beside the petri dishes he’d prepared earlier, then carried Lupe over to the sink counter against the wall to wipe her fur. “Did you come down here for a reason or just to harass us about our work again?”

Barry smacked the paper towels into the biohazard trash can and stomped his way. “Your cougar’s waiting for you upstairs.”

Frieda was there? This early in the morning? Was the sun even up yet? What the hell could she possibly want this time of day? She was a beautiful woman, but gods, was she a pain in the ass. If he didn’t need her for the next phase of his experiment, he would have ended it long ago. Hell, he never would have become involved with her in the first place. Beauty only went so far; the woman had no substance.

“Mountain lion, Barry. Have a little respect. You know they’re very picky about their name.”

“Po-tay-to, po-tah-to. Mountain lion, cougar, puma. Lupe or puss.”

Lupe growled at him. Barry wasn’t making any friends here today.

“Who gives a fuck? She’s not happy you’ve kept her waiting, and she sure as hell can’t keep her hands to herself. She was all over me.”

Typical Frieda. That’s why it was so easy to lure her into his bed. She had the morals of an alley cat, not the bearing of a potential queen.

“I’m not very thrilled that one of them is at this estate.”

Cristían blotted a heavy paper towel over Lupe’s thick fur. Deep purrs rumbled up. “It’s part of the treaty the clans agreed to. The treaty you helped broker, remember?” Unrestricted access to everything the other possessed—and that included communal homes like the former Prentice estate—and all technology.

They were supposed to be open books to each other, in the hope their clans could benefit from one another’s knowledge and grow and survive. It was only a matter of time before they all started working in each other’s labs. Cristían hated the idea. They could use the lab at the Braden Science Institute all they wanted, but he sure as hell didn’t want to be rubbing elbows with them at this lab. Here there was the luxury of privacy. Neither he nor Jeremy wanted to give that up. Not even to the jaguar clan. Considering Barry’s near-constant presence, Cristían suspected tensions and suspicions were mounting at Braden over their exclusive use of the Prentice lab. It could be worse. Fortunately, Wyatt and Joaquin were too busy with business and babies. However, that left the worrying and grunt work to Barry.

“Yeah, I know all too well. Trust me, I’m monitoring the situation.” Barry leaned against the counter and crossed his arms. Lupe turned her back to him. “I don’t like Frieda up there unsupervised. What if she comes down here?”

“They’ve all been down here before, and experiments are frequent on both sides of the fence. They won’t know what we’re doing.” Cristían parted Lupe’s fur, chasing a drop that wiggled down to her skin. She sat down with a resigned sigh and started to clean Barry’s blood off her paws.

“Do either of you know what you’re doing?” Barry snapped his finger toward Jeremy. “Our Mensa genius is over there trying to disprove his own theory that celestial impacts helped create us shape-shifters in the first place. There are some who would view that as blasphemy. It’s a slap in the face to all that our people revere.”

True, though Cristían had been too wrapped up in his own quest to think about the religious significance to both their peoples—jaguar and mountain lion. Considering everything the jaguar had been through, it was hard for Cristían to believe in unseen gods anymore.

One thing both clans had in common was the belief they were born of star dust. Jeremy’s linking their ancestral origins with impact craters on Earth seemed to support that. Now he was trying to prove otherwise.

“And you—” Barry thrust that scolding finger at him. Cristían fought the urge to snap it in two. “If they knew what you were doing. Good gods, Cristían, you’re trying to clone Rose!”

He bowed his head. Lupe braced her paws against Cristían’s chest and butted her nose against his. He scooped her into his arms and let her cuddle him. He loved the feel of her soft fur between his fingers. It reminded him of Rose’s when she shifted—soft, thick. Of the old days when their biggest worry was planning the next celebration of life.

Barry dropped his hand on Cristían’s shoulder. “I miss her too. You know that. But this is wrong, especially now that the rest of our people have moved on to new relationships.” He might as well have said leprosy; his tone implied it.

Cristían shrugged off his touch and set Lupe on her feet. She sauntered over to see Jeremy. “I haven’t moved on.”

“Then what do you call Frieda?” He jerked his thumb toward the stairs that led up into the main house. “Much as I dislike our association with these shifters, I certainly don’t want us all to come to blows over a love affair gone wrong. If she’s only a diversion for you, end it now, before things get out of control.”

Cristían squared his shoulders and faced the shorter man. “I can’t. I need Frieda. If I’m successful, Rose will need a compatible host body. With her feline-shifter traits, Frieda fits that role to perfection.”

Barry’s eyes bugged out. “Gods of hell, Cristían! You’re no better than a skinwalker!”

Rage boiled up inside him. They’d fought that entity for years—an evil directly responsible for the genocide of Cristían’s clan. There was no greater insult. Cristían’s claws extended as his hands morphed into his black jaguar form. The clink of glass as Jeremy set his work aside cut through his anger. A moment later, he felt Jeremy’s heat next to him. The intent was clear—Jeremy was making a stand with him, taking sides. Cristían refused to let his friend’s blood spill over words, and fighting among themselves wasn’t going to help matters. But Cristían wouldn’t stand there and be insulted either.

He willed himself to shift back to human and seated the form in place with a deep breath.

“Get out,” he told Barry, jerking his chin toward the stairs. “While I’m still able to remember you loved Rose as much as the rest of us.”

Barry’s lip curled. “If you’re planning to do this, you’ve already forgotten.” A crisp pivot carried him away. His soft soles tapped on the linoleum, then scuffed up the stairs. Barry’s gaze was locked on his cell phone as he punched in numbers, most likely to tattle to Wyatt and Joaquin. The door at the top opened and banged shut.

Blessed silence filled the lab. Cristían pulled in the strands of peace Jeremy and Lupe offered, shoved aside a sudden headache at the base of his skull, and returned to his experiment. Static arced from his fingers to the stainless steel table. Cristían muttered a curse and jerked his hand back. Slender bolts of electricity spread across the table and everything on it before it finally dissipated.

“What the hell…” One stride brought Jeremy to his side. “That shouldn’t have happened.”

A loud pop cut in before Cristían could reply.

He and Jeremy swung their gazes to the reenergized liquid at Jeremy’s workstation. It swirled, sizzled, and grew with every millisecond. Pop turned to bang, and it doubled in size. Sparks shot upward, showering miniature fireworks everywhere. Some kissed the floor spill. The droplets came to life. Spiral bands spread out and began to rotate counterclockwise. Lupe growled and backed away, one foot at a time. Her fur shimmered where the solution had splashed her earlier. And the mass in the beaker continued to grow, to pulse in time with the bands on the floor and the remnants dampening Lupe’s fur.

Gods, what had they created? It looked like the thing was communicating with all its parts!

“Uh-oh,” Jeremy muttered.

Not something one wanted to hear in a lab.

“I think we need to get the hell out of here.” Jeremy scooped Lupe up in one arm. He grabbed his laptop in the other hand, leaving the cords behind while he kept one eye on the out-of-control experiment.

Cristían did the same, shoving as many of the petri dishes as possible into the pockets of his lab coat and praying he could get them to safety without breaking them. Then he stacked the vials on the laptop. They were the last part of Rose he possessed. He clutched the vials and the computer to his chest and spun around for the stairs.

Time slowed. Each step felt weighted. The roar built. Then the flash—gold, purple, beautiful. Breathtaking beauty, earsplitting noise, and then…nothing.

 

Into The Night by Caitlyn Willows

 

IntoTheNight

INTO THE NIGHT
Book 2 – Into The Heart Series
by Caitlyn Willows
Erotic Romance – Paranormal – Shape-shifter
September 2008
Cover Artist – Marci Gass
Loose Id www.loose-id.com
ISBN 978-1-59632-770-2

It’s an experience too farfetched to be real, but Trina Tate knows she holds the memories of another woman’s soul. Memories that cry out to be with the man, the king she once loved. Drawn to the park each night Trina watches shape-shifting black jaguars running…and mating…and craves to be a part of that. Is she shifting herself or is that too only memory?

Wyatt Caldwell has resolved himself to a life without his soulmate. He’s lost the love of his life twice. Duty now occupies him — duty as head of Braden Institute, duty as leader of the shape-shifters. But once he sees Trina roaming, searching the park fully nude, body and soul calling for his touch. How could he possibly resist?

Related stories are:
Into The Lair
Into The Night
Into The Wild

Buy links:

Loose Id

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo Books

REVIEWS:

BLUE RIBBON RATING 4! I enjoyed unveiling the mystery of INTO THE HEART 2: INTO THE NIGHT. The struggles within Wyatt’s pack and the dynamics of Wyatt’s relationship with Trina are just two of the areas I liked. On one hand, she is his least favorite person, but at the same time he is drawn to her in ways he doesn’t understand. Much like opposites attracting and love being the flipside of hate. Wyatt is so alpha that you don’t know if you want to slap him or snuggle with him. This is a heartwarming story of love, betrayal and new found peace. ~LadyBirdRobi, Romance Junkies

FOUR ANGELS! Into the Night is the second book of the Into the Heart series about shape-shifters by Caitlyn Willows. Both Trina and Wyatt are major secondary characters in the first book and it is the events of the first story that have lead to the strange events of this story. In this story, the physical relationships between the jaguar clan and Trina and Wyatt are much more graphic and explicit. Wyatt seduces Trina while he is still in his jaguar shape and the clan doesn’t limit sexual relations to just one-on-one male and female intercourse. If this bothers you then you probably won’t enjoy this story. Both the characters of Trina and Wyatt exhibit changes in their personalities and I think the changes in Trina are definitely for the better. She is becoming less self absorbed and more likable. The sexual relationship developing between Wyatt and Trina isn’t the only thing this story is about. The jaguar clan appears to be being stalked and hunted down one by one to be killed and the clan needs to pull together and figure out why and how to stop their enemy. Trina just may be able to offer them some insight that they need to solve the problem but can the clan learn to trust her in time? If you enjoy a good sexual shape-shifting story filled with drama and intrigue, then you will like Into the Night, but I recommend you read the first book, Into the Lair, first for some crucial stage setting! ~Stephanie B, Fallen Angel Reviews

Focusing on an unsavory secondary character from the previous story, Into the Lair, Caitlyn Willows’ Into the Night has a striking redemptive note to it. Trina is truly a reformed woman. The sex between Wyatt and Trina is scalding, but there are also male-male and ménage interactions. The plot is fairly easy to decipher, however, there is a little twist that may catch the reader by surprise. This story stands alone, but without reading Into The Lair first, Trina’s actions and transformations aren’t nearly as startling. A pleasing tale, Into the Night is a satisfying addition to Ms. Willow’s shape-shifter series. ~Chris, Joyfully Reviewed

EXCERPT:

Trina pulled in a hard breath. A thousand different scents assaulted her. She shook her head to clear it and tumbled to one side. Vertigo. Damn, it was happening again. Trina caught herself before she fell and eased down onto the cool grass. Nausea roiled in her stomach. She wrapped her arms around her midriff in a desperate attempt to keep from throwing up. The buzz in her head grew to a roar. She squeezed her eyes shut against the pain she knew was coming. It slammed into the back of her skull with the force of a sledgehammer.

She tucked into a fetal position, shaking arms clutching her knees. Blackness clouded her mind, and she felt herself drop into a void. Her body convulsed, as if it were trying to leave the confines of her skin. Trina couldn’t say if the seizure was real or just the workings of her troubled mind. Finally, the sensation passed, and she peeled her eyelids open.

She was sprawled on the ground, her fingers digging into the soft grass like a lifeline. Deep gouges bloodied her forearms. She panted, as if she’d run a marathon, each hard breath amplified as the pain in her head drifted away.

Trina pushed herself upright. She felt weak now, every movement an effort. Braced against the tree once more, she hugged her knees. This was why she’d sought the jaguar shape-shifters out. She wanted answers. Needed them. Except the pull of sex, the smell of sweat and hormones, the magic of whatever they were, had taken over instead. She’d been compelled to strip off her clothes, to watch, to join them.

Then Wyatt had been upon her, tracking her, reeking of sex and maleness, asserting his dominance. And she caved, letting him do whatever he wished, take whatever he wanted. The loss of control, the total submission, affected her in ways she’d never imagined. The old Trina would have nipped that in the bud without blinking. But this person she’d become, this person she didn’t recognize…

She buried her face in her hands to squelch the rush of tears. Trina didn’t know what she’d become. She needed help — their help. Somehow she had to convince them to do so, convince them she wasn’t crazy or nosy or whatever she’d been before. She needed to convince herself, too. She didn’t know which task was harder, getting someone to believe she’d changed, or trying to believe it herself.

No, she knew what was hardest — asking for help in the first place. It’d taken her a great deal of soul-searching to get to this point — finding the clan and following them. She couldn’t let the opportunity pass now. The chances of finding them again would be few after tonight; they’d be more watchful now that she’d gotten too close. Of course, Trina could always corner Wyatt at the institute.

Just like he could corner me.

Trina’s pulse leaped at the thought. She hugged herself at the memory — the promise — of his hard, hot body looming over hers. Here was a man who took control without asking, who took it because it was his right. If he could do all this to her in the space of an hour and with an audience, what would he do if he had privacy and all the time in the world? The things he could do to her body! The things he could do to her heart.

She shook her head. No, being alone with Wyatt Caldwell was a big mistake. It was better to get this over with tonight. To make the shape-shifters listen and give her the answers she needed.

If they could.

Trina pushed to her feet and brushed her hands down her T-shirt. Her ragged nails snagged on the cotton. Her forearms stung. She didn’t want to see how much damage she’d done to herself while she was out of it. The truly bizarre thing was that, by morning, any sign of injury would be gone anyway.

It was one of those new mysteries happening to her, like how she could now see in the dark, how her body healed overnight, how her sense of smell rivaled that of a bloodhound. She’d learned to accept the enhanced abilities; after all, what other choice did she have? But the isolation, turmoil, and confusion they caused were driving her slowly insane. Or maybe she’d always been close to the edge, and these events were accelerating her decline. The last few nights she’d spent watching the jaguars was the first time she’d felt connected to anything in six months. No wonder she’d hesitated to shatter that by approaching them.

God, you’re pathetic.

Trina winced at the words her conscience threw at her. The last time she’d heard those exact words had set her on a course from which she’d sworn she’d never deviate. Never again was she going to be the victim in any way, shape, or form.

Trina sighed. That decision had isolated her as well. How ironic she’d be suffering this — she looked at her hands — whatever this was, now.

She lifted her chin and tried to catch the clan’s scent. A cacophony of smells slammed into her — the zoo, the residue from the autumn fires, the ocean, vehicle exhaust. Blood.

Fresh nausea clenched her stomach before she considered it was probably her own blood filtering into the mix. She’d only had six months to learn how to deal with a super-sensitized sniffer. Sorting smells in the rain forest was vastly different than doing so in the city.

Trina shook her head. No, this was a lot of blood. Something big had been killed and recently, too, since the stench of decomposition hadn’t set in. Now that was a smell she’d never had a problem identifying. Living in the rain forest, life and death were never more than a hundred yards away, and nature quickly reabsorbed the loss. But this…

She debated on whether to call the police. The conversation played in her mind. I think something’s dead. No, I don’t know what. I don’t know if it’s a person. No, I don’t know where. Somewhere in Balboa Park. No, I’m not a fucking psychic. This isn’t a crank call.

Trina sighed and let it go. Without specifics, there wasn’t anything she could do to help. She clenched her fist against her thigh and forced her attention on finding the clan. Except too many scents vied for her attention, making it difficult to sort them out.

Now what? Did she wander the park, hoping to run into them? Disillusioned, she wrapped her arms around her midriff as she determined her next move. Wyatt’s scent drifted upward. Trina smiled. Of course, he’d been all over her. His scent would naturally be on her.

She inhaled and felt a rush of goose bumps over her skin. Her breath hitched as her body remembered the hard thrust of his body. She scuffed her hands over her arms in a futile attempt to banish the desire burning inside and then lifted her nose to the air to catch Wyatt’s scent.

There. Trina expanded her senses and caught a whiff of the rest of the clan. They’d congregated not too far away. Pulling in a breath and warning her libido against getting sidetracked, she headed in that direction.