Friday, August 29, 2014

This isn't from LOVE BITES -- this is a taste of my Work In Progress for Berkley Sensation. I'm calling it SOUTHERN SHIELDS, but I'm going to have to change the name. Berkley doesn't like that title. sigh. In this scene, Alexis Rogers meets Frank Murphy for the first time, and realizes he's the dom of her dreams.
Good God, he’s huge, Alex thought, staring up at Frank Murphy as Cap introduced them with a flourish. She wasn’t used to being towered over, especially not in heels that had her scraping 6’1”. If he got drunk and disorderly on me on the street, I’d have to shoot him. Otherwise he’d kick my ass.

Of course, if she did shoot him, the rest of the female population would rise up en masse and lynch her. If anything, the man was even more mouth-watering up close than he’d appeared from across the room. His chest alone seemed to take up her entire field of vision. And she definitely approved of the view.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you at last, Alex,” Frank said, engulfing her hand in a big, callused palm.

“I can definitely say the same.” His eyes were deep and blue-gray, staring into hers in the kind of hypnotic Dom stare that made her want to give him anything he wanted. Especially if what he wanted was her. She suspected her smile looked besotted. Her nipples drew into tight points. His eyes flicked down to the tight silk bodice of her dress, then flicked up again, darkening hungrily. She swallowed. “Impressive flogging demo.”

“You do seem to know your way around a whip,” Ted observed grudgingly.

“Thanks. I sacrificed many pillows to the bondage gods for that knowledge.” Dominants were often told to practice their whip skills on pillows and stuffed animals. He grinned in a flash of breathtaking male charm. “Damned near lost an eye once, too. You can bet I never forgot those safety glasses again.”

“Got any references?”

“Yes, and I already checked them,” Alex told Ted, losing patience. He was deliberately trying to yank Frank’s chain.

Cap moved up behind her friend and clapped a hand on the shorter man’s beefy shoulder. “Come on, Ted, I’ll get you a beer.”

“I don’t drink when I’m sceneing,” the cop replied shortly, his gaze still locked on Frank’s in challenge.

“Then I’ll get you a Coke.” The ex-SEAL dragged him away. Cal rolled his eyes, gave Alex a wink, and followed them.

One thick, dark brow lifted, Frank watched them head for the refreshment table set up beyond the bondage gear. “Protective, isn’t he?”

Alex sent a smile after her friends. “Can’t seem to break him of the habit.”

A woman yowled. A male voice barked a command, deep and rough, the sound ringing over Jim Morrison’s throaty croon demanding that someone light his fire.

Alex had to raise her voice to be heard over the snap and whish of a flogger and the yelps of its target. “Want to step into the other room? We can’t exactly talk in here.”

“That depends. Will Ted feel driven to defend your honor?” Frank grinned, but there was no malice in his gaze as he looked toward the corner where, judging by his expression, the SEAL was attempting to reassure the blond Dominant.

She slid an arm through his, enjoying the warm play of his bare biceps under her hand. “I’ll protect you.”

“Well, if you promise….”

Alex laughed. “Pinky swear.”

“Got a deal. Want something to drink? I’m dry from that flogging.”

“Sure.” She followed him over to a cooler and took one of the canned soft drinks he handed her. Neither of them reached for a beer. Ted was right; only an idiot scened when he was drinking. BDSM was dangerous enough when you were playing stone sober. Besides, the whole point of kinky games was the pursuit of a different kind of high.

Rising to her tiptoes, she said into his ear, “Want to head somewhere quieter?”

Frank nodded. “It’s for damn sure we can’t negotiate if we can’t even hear ourselves think.”

The Millers’ basement was huge, running the whole length of the house. They wound their way through the dungeon with its bondage gear and party furnishings and across a short hall to the home gym.

Frank flipped on the light, revealing a treadmill, a wall-hung flat screen, and a set of free weights. A couple of thick padded mats probably did duty during yoga or self-defense practice. Or, knowing the Millers, sex.

Best of all, the room had a door. Alex didn’t hesitate to close it, cutting the noise. Frank was right; there was little point in negotiations if neither of them could hear what they were agreeing to. And once you were bound hand and foot and a big guy was standing over you with a whip, it was a bad time to discover you didn’t have the same thing in mind.

The skirt of her LBD was just loose enough to let her lower herself down on the stacked mats. Frank sat next to her, stretching his long legs out and crossing his booted feet at the ankles.

“I really was impressed with the way you helped Tara find subspace.” She popped the top on the Coke and took a sip. After she swallowed, she added, “Wasn’t surprised, though. Both those subs had a lot of good things to say about you.” She might be an adrenalin junky, but Alex wasn’t stupid; she’d called his references. It wasn’t a good idea to play with someone you hadn’t checked out, since BDSM did attract its share of assholes. God knew she’d found that out the hard way. “They said you play responsibly, push just far enough without going too far, and have a chivalrous streak that’s surprisingly wide for a guy who likes using a whip. And judging by the way Cap sings your praises, you may be his favorite person on the planet—except for Mrs. Cap, of course.”

“Cap’s a hell of a guy. He taught me the ropes when I was just starting out on the scene.” Frank eyed her over his Mountain Dew. “He thinks a lot of you, too.”

“Really? Cool.” She leaned back on her elbows, and didn’t miss the way his gaze skimmed the length of her legs. “What’d you think of my limits list?” The question didn’t sound quite as casual as she would have liked, though she hoped her tension didn’t show.

He grinned, flashing white teeth. “I’m shocked—shocked, I say—by your kinkitude.”

She grinned back. “Smartass.”

Some Doms might have been offended by the cheerful insult, but judging by his chuckle, Frank obviously didn’t take himself that seriously.

She liked that about him. A lot.

Sobering, he brushed the back of her hand with his thumb. “Our tastes do seem to align pretty well.”

She’d thought the same thing when she’d read his list of hard limits—things he absolutely wouldn’t do—soft limits—things he’d consider doing—and fantasies. It had read a lot like the one she’d written about her own tastes.

On the other hand, she’d thought she was a good match with Gary, too.

He studied her thoughtfully, as if sensing the battle between her doubts and her desire. “Why don’t we see how this evening goes?”

Alex blew out a breath. “That might be wise.”

He started to lean toward her, only to stop. “May I kiss you?” A polite Dominant never touched a sub without permission.

Her heart began to pound. “Yes.” She swallowed, cleared her throat. “I’d like that.”

Hot approval flared in his eyes, and he lowered his head toward hers.

His lips felt just as soft as they looked, tasting of Mountain Dew and masculinity. One big hand came up to cup her cheek, his fingers long and strong and warm. His broad body curled around hers, making her feel sheltered, protected. It wasn’t a sensation she was used to. She was surprised at how seductive it was.

She reached for him, feeling the hot flesh of his ribs under her palm.

And sighed, melting into him.

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