Is he worth the heartbreak? At nearly forty, Julie isnât so sure sheâll ever find a man who is, so sheâs vowed that all her big 4-0 decisions will have zip to do with relationships. A successful theater manager, she agrees to travel to North Carolina and help a friend put her erotic performance theater on its feet. Julie has always been curious and drawn to the BDSM world, and now she can safely explore that world in the environment she knows best.
Desmond Hayes is the roofing contractor repairing their rundown theater building, but heâs also a rigger, well-known in the BDSM world for his rope artistry. Heâs not just a top, though; heâs a Dom whose unexpected quirks mesh too well with Julieâs eccentric personality and awaken her submissive side.
From the time he was born, Des has been fighting the odds against him. Because of that, heâs kept his relationships inside the BDSM scene, with clear boundaries. While Julie has almost given up on finding a person worth loving through better or worseâor pleasure and painâDes never expected to receive that gift.
Heâs not letting that treasure get awayâno matter how much rope he has to use to bind her to him.
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âSo why do you come to the orchid conservatory?â Julie asked. âWhat do you like about it, beyond the obvious that itâs amazing?â
Des stopped before a trio of white orchids. âNotice the shape of the petals. When I look at them, I imagine transforming the female form into the same shapes, using rope. I get a lot of ideas from gardens, particularly orchids.â
He traced the air before one of the flowers. âImagine thatâs her thigh, lifted, bound to her ankle. Her back arched, arms behind her so her breasts form this curve hereâ¦ Iâd suspend her, but Iâd also twist a rope beneath her, so it would become the stem of the flower and anchor her.â
As he described it, she could see it. âWhy does it give you such a charge? Itâs not just about tying a woman up so you can do whatever you want to her. Or is it?â
He gave her a quick, very male smirk. âThatâs a very important perk. But yes, there are other reasons. I explore a lot of rope disciplines, and one of my personal favorites is semenawa, torture rope. Not as scary as it sounds. It's about contrasting stimuli."
He shifted behind her. "Pull all your hair over your right shoulder."
He could say things in a manner that wasnât saying them at all, as much as commanding them. What made it so intoxicating was that he pulled it off in such an unexpected moment. Des didn't appear the commanding sortâ¦at first glance. Yet he could compel a womanâs attention with his unwavering gaze, the set of his jaw and an energy that emitted from him even when he was saying nothing at all.
"The other right shoulder." His voice held heat with humor, acknowledging the reason for her distraction. When he shifted closer, his breath stirred the fine hairs on her exposed neck. His body didn't touch hers, but a dense aura stroked her, a cushion of magnetism between two closely aligned bodies, the strength of his interest in her, his desire.
Curving his hand over her hip, he put his lips over the pounding pulse in her throat. A small breath escaped her, a shudder swaying her into a light brush against him. He moved in, and his lips parted, tongue teasing her.
"See how the top part of the orchid is slightly twisted?"
She nodded, her eyes fixed on it. His grip left her hip and cupped her hand, her knuckles nested in his palm. His thumb came over them to press into the flesh at the base of her fingers while his other fingers constricted, capturing her hand fully. Slowly, as his mouth stimulated a thousand nerve endings in her throat, he began to turn her wrist. Not a lot, but his hold and the angle made her gradually aware of pressure and his strength, discomfort edging toward pain. Just when she thought she was going to have to ask him to stop, he did, holding her hand at that unnerving stress point.
His lips created a lot of mad swirling between her chest and the folds of her sex. His inflexible restraint on her hand sent a bolt straight to her core just as powerful. The mix of sexual stimuli had her reaching for his hand on her other hip to steady her, even as things became far less steady.
"Imagine I can tie you in the shape of that flower,â he said, lifting his mouth a fraction from her skin. âI can. Youâll struggle between pain and ecstasy, and Iâll use both to break you into a world of your mind you can't imagine, where every reaction you have belongs to me. I have full command of your senses, your body. You're not even sure if your soul belongs to you anymore. Youâre stretched to your physical limits, but youâre aroused, too, not wanting the tension to end.
âEarlier, you asked what kind of Dom I am. Thatâs your answer.â
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An RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award recipient in Erotic Romance, Joey W. Hill has well over thirty titles available in contemporary and paranormal erotic romance. Her characters include everything from vampires, mermaids, witches and angels, to boardroom executives, cops and simple housemaids.
Free excerpts from all her works are available at www.storywitch.com, and additional vignettes, character interviews and graphics inspired by the work are at the fan forum site, accessible via www.storywitch.com/community. Subscribe to her newsletter from her home page and receive the latest info about appearances and releases.
Though much of her work is BDSM, she has built her reputation on award-winning romances with absorbing characters who not only attract fans of the genre, but readers who would "never" read BDSM romance. "Whatever genre you're writing, if the characters are compelling and sympathetic, the readers are going to want to see what happens to them. It can be the coolest storyline ever, but if the reader could care less whether the hero or heroine survive (in fact, in some cases they may be rooting for their destruction just so they can be done with the darn thing), then it's not a story worth reading."