And the Game Begins!!! by Lynn Lorenz

poster one
I love games. I’m sort of competitive. (that snort you hear is my family)

So I have the honor of starting the Love, Lust and Laptops Bingo Game!!!
It’s easy to play. We have several Bingo cards with our covers on them. How cool is that?
Email emilia.a.mancini@gmail.com for a board, she’ll send one to you. (only one entry per person please)

Each day we’ll post a different clue. Match the clue to the book cover. Don’t worry, it won’t be hard to do – just check out the covers on the board. And don’t worry if you miss a clue, just check out the previous day’s post. We’ll play until we get a winner.

Keep track of your correct clue match on the board. The center space is free. Once you fill a row up, down, across, or diagonal, no corners please, then email her and call Bingo!
The winner gets a copy of our print anthology Love in the Cards, a selection of hot little stories set in New Orleans on Halloween at a mysterious mansion. The book is signed by several of us ladies.

Here’s the first clue….
clue one

Have fun and may the best reader/player win!!

Love in the Cards — The Lovers

Lea looked up at the Dacre House and smiled as anticipation coursed through her veins and settled in a tingling ball of fire between her legs. Some lucky son of a bitch in there would be thoroughly fucked by the time she got done with him.

She looked down and made sure the red corset she wore was aptly pushing her plump breasts up and out. It was tight around her abdomen, thinning her waist and emphasizing her hips, which were covered in a red latex miniskirt. Her red stiletto boots, which zipped from ankle to thigh, clicked as she sashayed her way toward the front steps.

The man at the door moaned in appreciation as she stopped in front of him. He gestured her in before she even showed him her invitation. “You can have whatever you want, baby,” he mumbled.

Her grin widened. She planned on having whatever she wanted. In whatever way she wanted it.

Lea paused in the foyer to glance in the tall mirror. Her golden locks were still perfectly curled and the little horns on her head were in the right place. It was early, but the ballroom was already abuzz with chatter and activity. There were four cages with dancers hanging high off the floor. The one that caught her attention held a couple dressed like Adam and Eve. Adam was grinding his counterpart, his loincloth barely covering him. It made Lea’s heart flip in her chest as another log was added to the fire of desire burning within her.

She spotted the bar and headed that way. She ordered a pumpkin martini and leaned back while she waited, scanning the room to find the perfect mate for the night.

Some might call her a slut for never seeing the same man more than once, but to Lea it was self-preservation. She’d go insane if she didn’t get laid on a somewhat regular basis. Not that she was a sex addict or anything of the sort.

She just happened to be head over heels in love with the one man she couldn’t have. Tom Malcolm. Her boss. It wasn’t just love. It was desire in its rawest form. She couldn’t look at the man without her pussy quivering with need. Sitting in his office taking notes, listening to him vent or laugh or just bullshit to pass the time, feeling his hand brush hers when she handed him papers or a cup of coffee, just being around him was enough to make her want to orgasm.

Tom had a power over her that she couldn’t understand, had never experienced before, and had kept her cunt starving for attention. She gave in to the urge to pick up a man several months ago and imagined it was her boss the entire time. She even called the man Tom once or twice. If he cared, she hadn’t noticed. By the time she’d been done with him, he’d been too exhausted to say either way.

And so started a new habit for her, one that was completely out of character.

She’d spend weeks letting the lust build to the point she could no longer stand it, to the point masturbation did nothing but make her need more. Then she’d find a man, fuck him stupid, and—for a while at least—regain some control of her desire for her boss.

Then Tom would smile at her as she laid papers on his desk, wink his thanks when she brought him coffee while he was on a teleconference, or just walk by her desk, and she’d almost die from the need to feel him come deep inside her.

Though she’d intended to find a one-night stand as soon as she received the invitation to this party, the catalyst to getting laid ASAP had been when he’d accidentally bumped into her in the break room earlier today and his hand had gone to her hip to steady her.

There’d been nothing intimate about his touch, but her body had thought otherwise. If she hadn’t been so adept at concealing her lust for him, she probably would have pushed him down on the table, ripped his clothes off, and climbed on his dick right then.

Instead, she’d stuttered awkwardly as she always did when he was around. She hated how he turned her into a clumsy little girl. One look from him and she tripped over her own feet, spilled coffee, dropped forks in her lap, and generally acted as if a man had never touched her before. It was embarrassing, but she couldn’t help it. In a strange way, she suspected her constant accidents were why he kept her around. He seemed amused by her.

What she wouldn’t give to be this woman in front of him. The confident, take-what-she-wants-when-she-wants-it woman she was when she went looking for a man to quench the sexual thirst he built in her.

Bringing her martini to her lips, she took a long drink and let her gaze settle on a man in the corner of the room as he looked at a card in his hand. He wore tight black pants and a black cowboy hat. Even from across the room, he radiated a fantastic lover vibe. He stood tall, confident, and when he reached up and tipped his hat as a woman walked by him, she could see his long slender fingers that she would love to feel sliding in and out of her.

Lea gulped what was left in her glass and set it aside. She was strutting across the room, closing in on her target, when she sensed a change in the air that only happened when she was close to Tom. She gasped and stopped in her tracks. Intuition had her turning her head and then she spotted him. He stood in the doorway, surveying the room.

Dressed in tight red pants, a red vest, with red horns sticking out of his dark hair, Tom’s devil was the perfect match to hers. Her gaze swept over him and settled on the bulge clearly visible in his should-have-been-illegal pants.

Fuck.

She’d always imagined him with a gigantic package hidden beneath the designer slacks he wore at the office. But now she knew. Now, she’d never be able to pour him a cup of coffee without imagining him stroking his cock as he peered down her blouse. Which he’d never done. She knew because she watched him closely from between her lashes.

Swallowing hard, Lea realized she had to abandon her plan. She couldn’t be here, couldn’t pick up a fling, while the man she wanted more than her next breath was in the room. Not only that, he couldn’t see her dressed like she was. His Lea was conservative, not anything like the sex-bomb Lea she was tonight. His Lea was awkward and jittery. She couldn’t be “his” Lea tonight, not dressed in red latex and thigh-high stiletto boots.

Ducking behind the guy with huge black wings, she managed a smile when the dark angel turned her way.

“What’s your card?” he asked.

She creased her brow as she tilted her head. “Uh, what?”

“Your card.” He held up half a tarot. Two of Wands.

“Oh.” She reached into the cleavage created by her corset and pulled out her invitation.  She hadn’t even paid attention. “The Lovers.”

He smiled. “Well, I guess you aren’t my match.”

“Sorry.” Lea shrugged as she looked around the man’s large body. Damn it. Tom wasn’t at the door. “Better luck next time.”

She scanned the room, her heart racing half in panic, half with excitement. So what if Tom saw her dressed like this? He wasn’t exactly dressed like himself either. Maybe he’d appreciate this side of her. Maybe he’d finally make a move, drag her to a secluded room, pin her against the wall, push her skirt up, and tear her panties away. Maybe he’d be too damned hungry for her to bother being a gentleman.

“Fuck,” she moaned.

Moving behind a man dressed like the pope—well, if the pope dressed only in his miter and in a white-and-gold thong—she peered over his shoulder and looked around. Tom had virtually disappeared. He wasn’t at the bar. He wasn’t at the buffet table. He wasn’t mingling with any of the scantily clad women prancing around the room.

She looked at the exit door and debated only for a moment before she headed straight for it. She was there, almost ready to make her escape when she heard Tom’s laughter, a sound that usually hit her straight between her legs, but now caused her stomach to tighten with fear. She looked one way, then another, and dashed into the closest room.

Exhaling slowly, she felt momentary relief at her escape before she registered where she was. The room was dark save for flashing lights. The music was louder in here, and the smell of sweat was heavy in the air. People danced to the music, moving, grinding, panting. The sheer sensuality of the atmosphere eradicated the fear of being caught and pulled her into the room.

Lea slithered deeper into the crowd, felt a hand run over her breast as she passed a dancing couple. Someone else touched her ass, groping it shamelessly. She closed her eyes, inhaled deeply, and swayed with a body as it pressed against her.

Okay. Maybe she didn’t have to leave; maybe she could find someone in this room to help ease the ache inside of her. Afterward, she could slip out, go home, and do her damnedest not to imagine Tom in red leather every time she saw him. Decision made, she rolled her hips back against the body behind her, and felt a cock hard against her ass. The man pulled her closer and muttered his approval when she leaned even farther into him. Her head fell back on the man’s shoulder. He moved his palm higher until it covered the fullness of her breast where it threatened to fall out of the corset.

She moved with him, gyrated, and when another body pressed against her front, she gasped out of the sheer pleasure of having two men rubbing against her. A hard cock at her back, another against her stomach, and then lips on her neck. She’d never imagined having two men before, but right now, these men could do as they pleased and she wouldn’t protest.

Opening her eyes, she was about to suggest they take her somewhere with a bit more privacy, when her gaze fell on a familiar face and her entire being froze. There, just a few feet away, Tom stared at her and the two men. His mouth was opened in shock, but his eyes were hot with lust.

Lea forgot how to move, how to breathe as she and Tom stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity. The man behind her squeezed her breast, ground his cock against her harder, and the man in front licked her neck from shoulder to earlobe. And she simply stood there, watching Tom watching her.

Finally, he blinked and the trance was broken. She wasn’t sure what she felt in that moment, other than surprise. Maybe a bit of shame. She respected Tom like no other, and he’d caught her at her worst.

Yet, her lust had been all about him. She imagined him not only behind her groping her tits, but also in front of her nipping at her neck. Two of him. Two Toms. Two fantasies in one.

To have him actually present as two strangers touched her body, thrilled her in a way she didn’t fully understand.

Her gaze lowered. Tom’s cock was erect within those damned tight pants. She was exhilarated. Usually one look from him turned her into an awkward mess. But now, he looked at her and lusted, gave her power she’d never had before.

She lifted her gaze to his and rotated her hips. Licking her lips, she reached for the man in front of her and pulled him closer. She wrapped her leg around him. Her dance partner rammed his crotch against her. The trio moved in time with the music, a sensual dance that left very little to the imagination. All three were sweaty as they groped at and ground their scantily clad bodies. The men put their mouths on her neck, on her face, but she didn’t kiss them in return. Instead, she watched Tom, made sure he saw this side of her which she’d kept so carefully hidden.

The song ended, but her partners didn’t let her go until she pushed them off her. She walked away, ignoring their protests. Clearly they thought they’d found a sure thing, and she would’ve been had it not been for Tom’s presence.

Lea stared at him as she walked toward him. She didn’t know where her courage came from, this new-found ability to look into his beautiful eyes and not trip over her killer heels and fall flat on her face. Yes, she’d done that before.

She swallowed as she neared him. “Good evening, Mr. Malcolm,” she purred. Jesus! Who was she right now?

“Miss Grayson,” he said in the deep voice that never failed to send a tidal wave of lust washing over her. “When you said you were going to a costume party this weekend, I had no idea it would be the same one I was attending.” He looked down, his gaze lingering over her breasts. “You make a lovely she-devil.”

She made a show of looking over him as well. His cock was still hard. She grinned and gave him a come-hither look. “You look quite devilish yourself.”

“So. Um. We, uh, apparently run in the same circles. To be invited to the same party, I mean.”

Lea grinned as he stumbled over his words. How the tables had turned. He was the one looking uncertain, lacking confidence, while she stood tall before him. “Apparently.”

He ran his fingers through his hair and looked around the room, stopping at one of the caged dancers. Lea suspected he would use the scene to continue making small talk, but she didn’t want to hear it. She didn’t want to keep dancing around her lust for him. Her body was on fire and no amount of random fucking would put it out. She needed him. She needed his hands on her, his body between her thighs, his cock buried deep inside her.
Before he could comment on the dancer, she stepped a bit closer. “What happens outside the office, stays outside the office.”

He turned and appeared surprised, either by her words or her sudden closeness or both. “Uh, uh, yes. Of course, Miss Grayson. Your personal life is, uh … yours. And I expect the same courtesy. I really don’t need the office staff knowing I go out dressed in red leather.”
Lea swallowed, knowing it was now or never. “My silence for a dance?”
She grinned as he glanced at her cleavage … again.

Rather than repeat herself, she reached for his hand and pulled him deeper into the mass of bodies. When they were sufficiently surrounded, she stopped and turned to face him. He looked uncertain, and she suspected he was going through all the corporate rules he was breaking―thinking how this was unacceptable for a man in his position. What they were about to do could get them both fired.

She moved closer, determined that if she got nothing else from him, she would have this dance. She would have a few precious moments of feeling his body rub against hers, even if they weren’t naked and interlocked as she wanted.

Putting her hands on his hips, she closed the gap between them. Tom’s cock pressed into her, just below her exposed belly button. His erection was big and firm, and it would give her pleasure if she ever had a chance to feel it inside her. His breath was hot and moist against her face as it left him in quick, short spurts. Her gaze fixed on his eyes and she rolled her hips into him. He stood motionless, apparently not certain if he should be doing this.

She slid her hand up his chest and over his shoulder, then she threaded her fingers in his hair and pulled him to her. Her breasts connected with his chest, and she heard him groan.
Lea took one of Tom’s hands and placed it on her hip. He squeezed her tightly. As the tempo of the music picked up, she turned her body and pressed her back against his chest and, as with her last partner, dropped her head onto his shoulder.

Letting her inhibitions melt away, she ground against him. She’d gone this far, why the hell should she stop now? If he fired her, and he very well could, at least she’d walk away with the next few moments burned in her memory.

Tom’s breath flowed over her neck in a long slow wave. Her stomach clenched in response. His hand tentatively slid around her bared midriff, a light touch that grew in intensity. By the time his arm was fully around her, he was pulling her tightly against him.

The next time she ground her hips, he moved with her. He lowered his head, his breathing rougher, faster, as they found a rhythm that would be the perfect pace for fucking. Her heart nearly exploded when his other hand ran down the outside of her thigh.

God, please let him touch my pussy. Please.

But he didn’t. He moved his hand back up and over her stomach, then to brush over her breasts before he cupped her face. He turned her head and put his lips to her ear. “I need your word that this doesn’t leave here.”

Lea reached up and gripped the back of his head. “This doesn’t leave here.”

A sound, something like a growl, rumbled through him, and a moment later he firmly gripped her breast just as his mouth covered her neck, his teeth gently but firmly sinking into her flesh.

She gasped as the shockwave of his kiss rolled through her. He licked the length of her neck and then bit her earlobe. She reached behind him with her other hand, the one that wasn’t fisting his dark hair, and grabbed his ass, pulling him to her, needing to feel his dick against her.

The party was forgotten. The other guests disappeared from her thoughts. There was only Tom and the music and the goddamned inferno between her legs. Only this time, he was there. When his fingers kneaded the fullness of her tit, she ground her teeth.

Holy shit. Holy shit.

The muscles of her pussy tightened, contracting hard as the sensation of his body rubbing against hers overwhelmed her. She groaned as she realized she was coming, right there on the fucking dance floor. She bit her lip to stop from screaming as she tensed against him, but she couldn’t stop the gasps that left her.

Fuck.

All he’d done was squeeze her tit and lick her neck and he’d given her the best orgasm she’d had in a long time.

She thought she was fairly discreet. Sure, she’d moaned, but the music was loud. No one could’ve possibly heard her, could they? Then Tom’s mouth moved over her neck, and another wave moved through her.

She dug her nails into his thigh as her muscles spasmed with the aftershocks. “Oh, my God,” she moaned.

“Jesus Christ, Lea,” he breathed in her ear.

He’d never called her by her first name before. It was almost as erotic as coming for him surrounded by all these people.

Turning in his arms, weak from her orgasm, she covered his mouth with hers and pushed her tongue between his lips, not caring if he wanted her to or not. Her heart almost burst with joy when he kissed her back just as deeply.

Finally, after what could’ve been an eternity, Tom pulled back and looked down at her. “What happens outside the office—”

“Stays outside the office,” she finished.

“There’s got to be a vacant room around here somewhere.” He grabbed her hand and pulled her off the dance floor. “Shall we find it?”

“If we don’t, I’m going to fuck you right here.”

He grinned and she was happy the idea of pubic sex hadn’t offended him. He merely pulled her closer and led her out of the room. Working their way down a hallway, Tom opened one door and then apologized to the couple who’d already claimed it.

After shutting the door, they proceeded to the next room and again Tom lifted his hand in apology.

“You can join us,” a woman called.

“Maybe next time,” Tom answered causing Lea to chuckle.

The third time was the charm. Tom opened a door and they walked inside. He grinned as he turned to her. Lea couldn’t help but return his smile. The room was a home office, complete with a big oak desk and a high back chair, similar to what Tom had in his office.
He closed the door behind them, locked it, and then exhaled slowly.

Lea wondered what the next step would be and realized he seemed to be having a similar reaction and looked at her to take the lead. Again she marveled that the man who was always so in control seemed so unsure of himself now. She liked it, though. She walked to the desk and then trailed her fingers across it. “Tell me something, Mr. Malcolm. Have you ever imagined bending me over your desk and fucking me?”

He hesitated before answering. “Yes.”

“Have you ever imagined me on my knees, sucking your cock as you sit in your chair?”

“Yes.”

“Well,” she grinned, “tonight’s your lucky night, isn’t it?”

He smiled as well. “Yes.”

“Come here, Mr. Malcolm.”

He walked to her, stopping just inches from where she stood. She held his gaze as she released the clasps on his vest and slowly pushed it off his shoulders. As she unhooked the button and eased down the zipper on his pants, she let her gaze take in his chest. His muscles were toned, not overly so, just enough to indicate he took care of himself. His nipples were dark against his tanned skin. She leaned in and flicked her tongue over one. He hissed.

Then his pants were undone, and he pushed them over his hips.

Lea grasped his dick. He inhaled between clenched teeth. She looked down and sighed. She’d fantasized about his cock so many times, but nothing compared to the reality. It was big, thick, the head rounded, and every single inch begged to be loved by her.

“Sit down, Mr. Malcolm,” she commanded. And he did; his eyes glowing with desire. She stood between his knees, looking down at him. “How can I help you, Mr. Malcolm?”

He exhaled a quivering breath. “Put my cock in your mouth, Miss Grayson.”

“Yes, sir.” Lea eased to her knees, wrapped her hand around the base, and guided his dick between her lips.

Tom tangled his fingers in her hair and moaned.

She then took him slowly, deeply, into her mouth. She couldn’t take his entire length, so she used her hand to stroke what she couldn’t swallow. Up, down, up, down, she moved her mouth over his length. Sucking, licking, tasting the thing she’d desired for so long.

Tom moved his hips, fucking her mouth. When she sensed he was getting close, she pulled back. He wasn’t finishing this, not yet and not like this. While she had no qualms about sucking him off, she wanted to feel his dick inside her. Letting his cock slip out of her mouth, she looked up, licked her lips, and smiled at the intense look on his face.

“Anything else I can do for you?” she asked, lifting her brow suggestively.

“Stand up.” His voice was lower than normal, guttural. His hot stare never left her as she stood. He brushed his hands up her thighs and then tugged her panties down. “Sit on the desk.”

She did.

“Spread your legs and lie back.”

When she was where he’d ordered, he traced his hands up her thighs, this time pushing her skirt up, and then gripped her hips.

Lea swallowed when she felt the heat of his breath between her legs. He inhaled her scent and groaned. A moment later, his mouth was kissing her slit. Then he sucked her clit. His tongue flicked over it mercilessly; her back arched and she grabbed handfuls of his hair, holding him to her.

Tom stuck his tongue deep inside of her, then licked up and down before returning to suck her clit again. When he shoved several fingers into her, she cried out, wrapped her legs around his shoulders, and pulled him to her as she screamed through another orgasm.
He licked her come and then nuzzled and kissed her, easing her down from her climax. When she relaxed onto the desktop, he peppered gentle kisses over her lower stomach and thighs.

Dear God, now she could die happy.

“Stand up, Miss Grayson,” he ordered after moans had quieted to loud panting.

Tom helped her stand and then wrapped her in his arms as he kissed her deeply.
Lea could taste herself on his lips, something she’d never found to be erotic until that very moment.

When she’d been thoroughly kissed, he broke away.

Lea dug into a hidden pocket in her corset, pulled out a rubber, and tore the packet open.
Tom nibbled his way down her neck as she rolled the protection over his cock. When the condom was in place, she turned, bent over the desk, and held her breath with anticipation.

“You are so fucking beautiful.” Tom ran his hands over her ass. “So lovely.” Then he gripped her hips and placed the head of his cock at her pussy opening.

Lea closed her eyes. How long had she fantasized about this? How long had she needed this? Probably from the beginning, from the day he’d hired her over a year ago. But none of her fantasizing or playacting could have prepared her for the perfection of him sliding into her.

She gasped as he slowly filled her. He pulled out slightly, then thrust in deeply. He did so again as she tilted her ass into the air, giving him as much access as she could. He filled her fully again and again. They moved together, in and out, around and around. She moaned, he grunted, and they both panted for what seemed an eternity.

Lea came again, and her body milked his, demanding his release.

She knew he was getting close when he shouted her name, “Miss Grayson, oh God, Miss Grayson.”

She screamed in return. “Harder, Mr. Malcolm, fuck me harder.”

And he did.

And when he came, triggering yet another orgasm for her, Lea could’ve sworn her heart swelled as much as her cunt contracted. She loved him. She’d loved him for a long time, but damn it, now she really loved him.

Lea closed her eyes, pushing her emotions away as he pulled his spent dick from her.
Breathing heavily, Tom discarded the condom in the office trash and snagged several tissues from the container on the desk.

She smiled and thanked him when he handed them to her. They silently took a moment to clean themselves and get their clothes back in order.

Lea expected him to walk out at that point. Instead, Tom stepped forward and kissed her. His kiss was tender and loving, and her love for him hit her again even harder.

Tom pulled back and hugged her to him. “I’ve wanted you for so long.”

Her eyes widened with surprise. “You have?”

“Since the day I hired you.”

Lea hugged him as she buried her face in his chest so he wouldn’t see her tears of joy. “Me too.”

“You know the rules.”

She nodded and braced herself for what she knew he’d say. He couldn’t lose his job over her. This was it. This one night. This would never happen again.
“I know.” She sighed, her heart breaking.

“So … no office sex. Despite how damned tempting it’s going to be.”

What was he saying? She’d heard a “but” in his voice. She looked up at him and asked the question in her heart with her eyes.

Tom grinned. “However … you know the trip to Denver I have next week?”

“Yeah?”

“I’m pretty certain I’m going to need you there. And probably on the trip I have the week after. Where am I going again?”

Lea smiled. “Tulsa.”

“Right. Tulsa. I’ll need you in Tulsa, Miss Grayson.”

“I’ll clear my schedule, Mr. Malcolm.”

He kissed her again. “And I’ll need your assistance on any trip I’m taking after that.”

Tom wrapped his arm around her, and they started for the door. He stopped when he noticed something on the floor. “My invitation. It must have fallen from my pocket when you were tearing my clothes off.”

Lea chuckled, mostly because she couldn’t deny his words. She had torn his clothes off.
Tom picked it up and showed it to her. She grinned and tugged hers from where she’d hidden it in her corset.

Holding her half out, she grinned as he put his against it, reuniting the torn pieces of The Lovers.

Love in the Cards — The Wheel of Fortune by Monette Michaels

Love in The Cards - posterBrendan Cooper adjusted the gaudy vest across his chest and the saber in his belt for what had to be the hundredth time that evening. Yes, he represented The Sultan’s Favorites Sex Toys. Yes, he’d been asked to host a sex toy party at this exclusive Halloween party at Dacre House. And, yes, the sheik costume was appropriate … but he didn’t have to like it―any of it.

If he hadn’t been the classic starving, deeply-in-debt, just-out-of-the-military graduate student, then he wouldn’t be here. But he was … so he was.

The best part of this gig was all the sales he’d made tonight; the worst was he’d been as horny as hell the whole evening from observing―and listening to―his clientele testing toys and then using the ones they’d purchased.

The party host had thoughtfully provided tented chaises in the library for sex play. And Brendan had had a front row seat for every single second of the evening’s sexual activities. While he’d “scened” in BDSM clubs, he really wasn’t into being a voyeur; he liked his sex games to be private. But a job was a job, and he needed the money this one provided.

It had been a damn good thing the sword on his belt was plastic, or his stiff dick could’ve been lopped off several times throughout the evening. The fact he hadn’t taken himself in hand and alleviated his arousal was a testimony to his strength of will―and aversion to jerking off surrounded by strangers.

“Mr. Cooper.”

Brendan startled and turned to find Mr. Benoit, the sepulchral-looking aide to the owner of the house, standing right behind him. The man was unnerving as all get out and moved so quietly that he’d surprised Brendan several times during the evening. If Brendan hadn’t known better, he would’ve sworn the man transported from room to room like something out of Star Trek―or maybe he floated through walls like a ghost. The man was just not … right.

“Yes, Mr. Benoit?” Brendan rearranged the anal plugs, from smallest to “oh-my-god” huge, to give his hands something to do. He wasn’t too proud to admit this guy spooked the shit out of him, and as a former Marine, he’d always prided himself on his courage in the line of fire.

“Has your evening been successful?” Mr. Benoit looked around the room as if he were doing a barracks inspection. The guy reminded him of his drill sergeant during basic training; Sergeant York had the same eerie way of sneaking up on you just as you were about to do something stupid.

“It’s been great.” His regional sales manager would be thrilled―and Brendan would get a huge check about mid-November, just in time to buy books for the spring semester. “Lots of people in and out, and using, well, um, enjoying the atmosphere your boss created.”

“That’s good.” Mr. Benoit picked up a pair of Japanese clover nipple clamps and one of the silicone anal plugs in purple, size large. “I’d like to purchase these.” His lips twisted into what might have been a smile. “My wife has a birthday coming up.”

“Um, sure.” Brendan was shocked the guy had a sex life, let alone a kinky one. He wasn’t sure who’d be on the receiving end of the products, pun not intended, but he was damn sure not going to ask. “Cash or credit?”

Mr. Benoit handed over a Black American Express card. “No need for a bag. I’ll just take them back to my quarters. My wife wanted to visit your sex toy party, but she got tied up.” The man chuckled.

Okay, there was such a thing as too much information. But TMI had been happening all evening. The guests were very forthcoming about their sexual proclivities. He’d been invited to join in several ménages after he shut down. He’d declined. He liked his sex kinky, one-on-one, with him in control.

“Mr. Benoit,” he handed the man his card and a receipt, “when should I shut down? The crowd visiting the library seems to have thinned out in the last hour or so.”

The aide chuckled, a deep, bass sound belying his thin body type. “Yes, the private rooms are where most of the action is now. That will go on all night.”

Maybe Brendan would check out the action and find himself a hot woman to play with and bring her back to the library. After all, he had toys and his choice of tented chaise sofas, which had been cleaned after each bout of sex.

“Stay open for another hour or so.” Mr. Benoit shoved the clamps and plug in the pocket of his black formal jacket. “We’re closing down the entertainment in the ballroom in the next fifteen minutes. Some of the entertainers and servers have expressed an interest in purchasing sex toys. After that crowd dies down, feel free to grab some food and beverages in the bar area of the ballroom. Catering services will continue on through the night and into the morning.”

“That’ll work.” He didn’t have to rush home. There were no classes tomorrow, and no one was waiting for him at his apartment.

As the man turned to leave, he paused. The smile on his face was sly this time. “You’re also welcome to join the late-night festivities. Several ladies have commented on your impressive sword. You never know, you just might meet your destiny tonight.” The man winked and then left the room.

“Jesus, he gives me the willies.” Brendan shook off the strange feeling Benoit created and then moved around the display tables, re-stocking in anticipation of the next wave of buyers. He set out more free condoms and antiseptic wipes so the interested buyers could test a toy before buying. Most of his customers had been like Benoit: they knew what they wanted and how to use them.

As he neatened his pile of receipts and made sure his cash drawer was organized, he came across the half Tarot card, The Wheel of Fortune, which Benoit had given him six hours earlier upon arrival at Dacre House. The man had said something about destiny, Brendan’s destiny. Right then several groups of food servers and dancers entered the room, chattering excitedly and moving for the display tables, so he didn’t have time to ponder Benoit’s words.

Brendan was very busy for the next hour. Lots of sales and lots of risqué sex talk, though this crowd was taking the toys and finding rooms to play in. From what he’d overheard, a lot of them had also made hook-ups for the evening and the half Tarot cards had something to do with those.

What was he missing out on?

The room was empty of customers for the moment, so he pulled out the half Tarot card from his cash drawer and stared at it.

The Wheel of Fortune.

The half-card depicted a half of a wheel with pie-shaped sections and in each section was the image of a woman with varying facial expressions. His half had been split vertically, giving him only one side of the woman’s face at the top and bottom with two full faces between them; the woman’s expression at the top was joyful, while the one at the bottom had a look of despair.

The woman’s face looked familiar. Then it hit him. The face on the card was that of one of his classmates who worked the Computer Help Desk with him, Abby Hart. He’d lusted after the petite blonde since they’d shared an IOS programming class last year. He was fairly sure every other heterosexual male in the Computer Science program wanted her too.

Abby was scary smart, had a great sense of humor, and possessed a body made for sin―and she was sweet. Too sweet for what he’d like to do to her curvy little body.

Plus, she treated all of the guys she worked with equally, showing no favorites. One night over beers, he and a few of the other computer science majors had tried to figure out whether she had a boyfriend or liked girls. The consensus had been she wasn’t a lesbian and that she had to be dating someone and was faithful. So, she was hands off.

“Brendan?” That voice had haunted his wet dreams―and his waking ones too.

“Abby?” He did a double-take. Yes, it was really her and― “Oh, wow, you look…” hot, perfect, sexy “…like you should’ve been helping me sell Sultan’s Favorites toys this evening.”

Lame, Brendan, really lame. Where’s your vaunted Dom persona?

Abby’s husky laugh went straight to his dick, and he resisted the urge to readjust his erect and oh-so-fucking-hard cock.

Her laugh always made him hard. He’d once thought he’d come during a shared shift at the Help Desk just listening to her laugh. He’d had to excuse himself and jerk off in the restroom so no one would notice his erection.

“I do look like I should’ve been in the harem all night instead of that cage above the ballroom floor.” Abby smiled and then belly-danced her way to him.

She stepped and pointed her toe, setting the bells on her ankle bracelets to ringing. Then she undulated her hips and stomach and the coins on the sheer scarf around her hips jingled. With each step and wiggle toward him, she also clicked little cymbals attached to her fingers. Brring. Brring.

Brendan shut his mouth and checked to see if he had any drool on his chin, because she was drool-worthy. A tiny blue bra top and bikini panty with sheer blue harem pants and the purple scarf with coins around her hips were all she wore―oh, and the bells at her ankles which reminded him of ankle cuffs only noisier. The Dom in him wanted to take her to one of the tented chaises, strip her bare, bind her, and give her so much pleasure she’d never look at another man.

“I’d like that, Brendan.”

Fuck, had he said that out loud? What the fuck was wrong with him?

Did you listen, dumbass? She wants us to dominate her.

Was Abby his hook-up? Was Mr. Benoit a psychic or something?

“Do you have a half Tarot card?” he asked.

She smiled and pulled a card tucked in her blue panties and handed it to him. It was the mate to his card.

A frisson of preternatural awareness ran down his spine. It was the same feeling he’d often had during battle just before something important happened. On the battle field, the warning had saved his life. Was the feeling now telling him his life was about to change for the better? Because being with Abby could only be good.

“Brendan, don’t you want me?” She sounded―and looked―forlorn, like the woman at the bottom of the card. That wouldn’t do.

He moved toward her and took her hands in his, removed the finger cymbals, and tossed them on the table. He placed her hands on his chest and then, cupping her sweet ass with his hands, pulled her into his body against his throbbing erection. “That’s for you. Every time I see you … hear you … think about you, I get hard.”

Abby’s mouth formed a perfect O and then she sealed her fate by moving in and placing a tiny biting kiss on one of his nipples peeking out from behind the ugly vest.

“I feel the same way about you,” she whispered into his chest. “Feel me and see.”

Brendan groaned and slid his hand between their bodies and then slipped his fingers under the tiny pair of panties she wore. He rubbed a finger over bare pussy lips and found her… “God, you’re soaking wet, sweetheart.”

He pulled his hand out and brought the fingers wet with her juices to his lips and sucked them. “God, I’m gonna eat you up.”

“Please.” She stood on her tip-toes and nipped his chin and licked it. “I want you so much.”

Brendan wasn’t sure what he’d done to deserve this change in fortune, but he wasn’t about to turn it aside.

“Go to the chaise with the purple hangings. Take off all the bells and jingling things, take off the sheer pants, leave the bra and panties on,” he wanted to take those off himself, “and then sit and wait for me.”

“What are you going to do?” She rubbed her tiny hands over his chest and he rumbled deep in his throat. He liked her touching him … way too much.

He picked up one of her so-distracting hands and placed a kiss on the palm. “I’m locking the damn door, ’cause I don’t do public sex…” He slapped her bottom with his other hand and was happy to see her eyes dilate with arousal. “…and then I’ll take my harem girl in every way I desire.”

And his desire meant he’d visit every orifice before the night was over. Sultan’s choice on where he decided to take his final pleasure.

“God, I knew you’d be like this.” She kissed the hand that held hers. “I always sensed dark depths under your quiet demeanor. Every shift, I’d notice your erection.” She stroked a hand over the bulge in his pants and licked her lips. “I’ve stayed awake many a night and masturbated, thinking about your big, strong body, about how large your cock is, about you fucking my mouth and then making me scream with pleasure as you put this big boy in me.” She squeezed his cock through his pants.

Brendan growled at the feel of her hand on his hard-on, at the mental images of her naked and fingering herself.

“Abby, get your ass to the chaise now,” he gritted out between clenched teeth. It was all he could do not to tear her costume off and fuck her on the floor with no preliminaries. But he wanted this first time with Abby to be long, drawn out, and excruciatingly pleasurable for both of them.

Her coins and bells jingled and rang all the way to the chaise as he locked the library door and turned off the overhead lights, leaving only lamps to light the room. He moved a floor lamp closer to the chaise where Abby sat watching him with hungry eyes.

With the light coming through the sheer purple silk, he’d have just enough light to see Abby’s body and the expressions on her face as he took her over and over again. The way he felt right now, he could fuck her all night.

“Lie down, Abby.” His voice was more guttural than he could ever remember. She brought out the alpha-animal in him. All his sexual relations in the bedroom were Dom-sub. He didn’t do vanilla sex, which was one of the reasons he’d never made a move on Abby. She’d looked to be strictly a vanilla girl.

But looks had been deceiving, and she had a hidden sub side―and a very good Dom-radar. Thank you, lord.

*

God, it was gonna happen.

Abby had wanted to be with this man for a long time. But he was older and so controlled, and she hadn’t known how to approach him. She’d always been able to pick out the Dom in any room, probably a result of being raised in a non-traditional household. She and her siblings “knew,” once they were old enough to understand what sex was, that a locked door meant mom and dad were playing sex games. Since she’d had a wonderful childhood and her parents had a happy marriage and still did, she figured BDSM sex was just another choice to make in life.

She’d made that choice. And while she’d played both privately and at an invitation-only club off campus, she’d never found the “one” Dom who she’d want to be with forever. She wanted what her mom and dad had.

When she’d first seen Brendan, her gut, her heart, and her soul all agreed―this was the man, her Dom.

But how did a proper submissive girl approach a Dom and tell him she was his perfect sub and mate?

Thank God for this party.

“Abby. Stand.” Brendan offered his hand and she placed hers in it, glad for the help, because her knees were the consistency of pudding.

He released her and then pulled her panties down. “Step out.” She did. Then he unfastened her bra and took it off. His gaze heated as he scanned her slowly from top to bottom and back. “You are so perfect.”

And his words and the look in his eyes made her feel so.

Brendan caressed her arms, then moved his hands over her breasts and down her body along the outside of her torso and settled them on her hips. She shivered with excitement as his calloused fingers sent chill bumps racing over her skin.

“Are you cold, little one?”

His Dom voice was lower than his normal speaking voice—a voice that already had the ability to make her wet just from hearing him. Even now the moisture from her pussy coated her labia and her inner thighs.

“No, just excited.”

“Good.” He smiled. “Do you have any hard limits?”

“No scarring me. No needles. No scat. No golden showers. No humiliation. No sharing me with other men. Moderate pain only.” She inhaled sharply as she realized this was going to happen and then her mind went numb.

“That’s good enough to start.” He walked behind her and stroked her back, moving her hair aside to place a kiss at the top of her spine.

She moaned and trembled.

“I won’t hurt you, baby, just push your limits a bit tonight. We’ll go over a complete limits’ contract later.”

Later? He wanted to be with her beyond tonight. It was all she could do not to squeal in excitement.

“You’re pleased.”

He read her well. Her dad was like that with her mom. This boded well for their future.

Brendan nibbled along her shoulder and up her neck. When he reached her ear, he bit her lobe lightly, then sucked on it. He reached around and pinched her nipples hard. She inhaled and then exhaled on a gasp at the pleasure-pain that shot straight to her clit. She moaned as he rolled her nipples between his thumb and finger.

“Let’s clamp these and begin to play.”

“Yes-s-s,” she breathed through the pinches of pain. Her body felt like an over-wound watch, ready to spring loose. She might come from his breast manipulation alone. “I’m close, Sir.”

“Don’t come.” He teethed her shoulder and released her nipples.

She whined at the loss of his touch. The need to come ebbed.

He walked around to face her. He selected some tweezer nipple clamps from the table to the side of the chaise. He put one clamp on her nipple and slid the little ring up, tightening it until she closed her eyes and clenched her jaw against the moan of pain.

“Good girl.” Brendan released a bit of the tension and the pain subsided somewhat. She let out a breath and then he clamped the other nipple in the same manner. He tugged on the chain connecting them and she took rapid breaths to control the urge to cry out. “No sound. What an obedient sub.” He kissed the tip of each tightly clamped nipple. “You will not speak unless it’s to tell me you’re close to coming or to use your safe word which will be ‘pumpkin.’ Do you understand?”

She nodded.

“What’s your safe word?”

“Pumpkin, Sir.” Her throat was so tight with nerves and excitement she could barely get the words out. She hadn’t been this aroused … ever.

“Use it if you need to.” Brendan swept her into his arms. His strength was a turn-on in itself. He placed her on the chaise with her head hanging over the top end slightly. “Don’t move.”

She nodded and then watched as he collected an assortment of toys from the tables and returned to her.

“Abby,” he kissed her lips, “are you okay with being tightly bound? You may speak.”

“Yes, Sir. I like being tightly bound.” A lot.

Brendan smiled. He put cuffs on her wrists, ankles, and thighs just above her knees and a bondage belt around her waist. Then with a combination of leather straps, he bound her to the chaise with her hips elevated and her ass and pussy wide open to anything he wished to do to them.

“You look so beautiful.”

He licked and suckled her labia and clit, again and again, but never stayed long enough in one spot to take her over the top. She hissed and tried to arch into the touch to get the pressure she needed.

Brendan slapped her pussy. “None of that. You may make noises, but you can’t come.” He lapped at her sex, humming under his breath. “You taste wonderful. I’ll enjoy eating you for hours, but not tonight.”

She whined and then inhaled sharply as he shoved a finger into her pussy and moved it to her anus and rubbed her juices over the tiny pucker. “Have you ever taken a man here?”

“Yes-s-s, Sir.” She loved having her ass filled while her lover fucked her.

“Let’s get you ready for my cock.” He rubbed some very cold lube on her asshole and then used his fingers to prep her. “Okay, push out, little one. This is a medium plug and I want you to take it, love.”

She nodded, inhaled and then exhaled, relaxing her asshole as much as possible. There was no pain until the bulge in the plug attempted to go through the tight anal ring.

“Push against it. That’s a girl. It’s in.”

Hell, yeah it was. Every inch of her rectum throbbed around the intrusion. But as she adjusted, her pussy clenched around an aching emptiness; she wanted his cock in her now.

Brendan stood by her head. “You will lick and suck my cock until I tell you to stop. Then I’ll fuck your mouth until you swallow my cum. Then it’ll be your turn to come … and come again and again my love.” He placed a squeaky toy in her hand. “If you get uncomfortable and need to safe word out, squeak that.”

Then he walked behind the chaise and angled her head. “Take my cock.”

Abby began by licking the head and then sucking him in and out of her mouth. He was long and thick; it was the largest cock she’d ever sucked. His taste was briny and somewhat fruity, and she loved it. She was in her own little world, loving his cock, when he pulled the chain to the nipple clamps. She gasped around his cock, and he groaned.

“That felt good. Let’s do it again.” He tugged, she groaned, and her ass clenched around the plug. Her pussy felt so empty and she tightened her vaginal muscles to assuage the ache. She wanted his cock down there.

“Stop sucking.”

She stopped. He held her head steady for his thrusts. He took her rough and fast. She swallowed against the gag reflex and was rewarded with a “Good, little one. So good.”

“Fuck, baby. I’m coming.” His roar of completion was quickly followed by hot spurts of cum down her throat. She swallowed as fast as she could. Finally he was spent and pulled out of her mouth.

Abby took deep gasping breaths as Brendan crooned praise into her ear and caressed her face and hair. “That was wonderful, little one.” He brushed a kiss over her swollen lips before thrusting his tongue into her mouth for a deep, claiming kiss. He tasted of mint and something earthy. She could become addicted to his taste.

When he broke off the kiss, he checked her bindings. “Can you feel your hands and feet?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Now is all about you.” He caressed her body lightly with the backs of his fingers, just enough to tease her, but not enough to add to her arousal. Then he moved to her bottom and turned on a vibrator in the anal plug.

She inhaled sharply as the pulsations seemed to enter her very bones. Then the sound of a Hitachi vibrator filled the air. When he touched the vibe’s head to her labia and clit, she screamed and tried to get away from the too-strong vibrations. “Too much. Too much.”

“Hush.” His order was stern and he slapped her ass hard.

She couldn’t move away from the painful pleasure the powerful vibe caused. Her teeth chattered, her hands clenched, her toes curled, and her body throbbed as every nerve in her seemed to tighten all at once … and then exploded. She screamed, moaned, cursed, and then devolved into mindless mumblings. If she hadn’t been tied down, she would’ve arched into the vibrator while pushing it away at the same time. She wanted it, but she didn’t.

Brendan gave her no choice … and she loved him for it. He kept the Hitachi on her clit, not letting up for what seemed like forever. She lost count of the orgasms after three; they ran into one another. Finally, he pulled the all-too-efficient vibe away.

Abby trembled as mini-spasms seemed to travel up and down her body.

“Prepare, little one. Ice pack.”

She shrieked as he placed and held a towel-wrapped ice pack on her over-stimulated pussy. “Ohgod, ohgod, ohgod.”

When he removed the ice, he licked her labia and clit. His mouth was hot in contrast to the ice. As he suckled and teethed her over-sensitized tissue, a different climb to orgasm occurred; this time it was slow and inexorable. She strained to reach the peak, but couldn’t. It was torture. It was wonderful.

Then Brendan used the Hitachi again. “Two more times, sweetheart.” He tugged on her nipple clamps. She moaned. “Then you’ll take my cock in your pussy and then I’ll come in your ass.”

“Can’t. Too tired, Sir.” She wasn’t positive she was even still in her body. She was sure the last orgasm had her floating over her physical body looking down. Was she dead?

He removed the clamps and she screamed as the most powerful orgasm yet, fueled by the main line from her nipples to her clit jump-started a series of never-ending orgasms.

“That’s my girl.” Brendan leaned over and shoved his cock inside her pussy and began to fuck her, hard and fast, shooting her pleasure into the upper atmosphere.

She moaned constantly now. Words were beyond her. The pleasure was too much, bordering on the knife edge of pain she liked and craved. No man had ever pushed her this far.

“Gonna take your ass now.” He grunted, pulled out of her still-spasming pussy and then removed the anal plug.

She watched with dazed eyes as he lubed her and then himself. She liked seeing him stroke his own cock with his large hand. He was big all over and made her feel conquered and protected at the same time.

“Push out, baby.” She inhaled and blew out a breath as he inserted the crown of his cock head into the opening stretched by the plug. He slowly pushed in, then halted, letting her relax until he could push in even farther. It took four pauses, but she finally felt his balls against her ass. Then he began thrusting, slowly at first, then more rapidly.

And as he shoved his cock into her ass, he murmured, “So tight. Feels so good. You take me so beautifully. Could live in your ass forever.” As he fucked her ass, he fingered her clit and thrust two fingers in her pussy. “Come again, baby. Come now.”

Abby would’ve sworn she couldn’t come again, but his cock rubbed nerve endings that had never been rubbed before, and his fingers and thumb revitalized her clit and pussy. So, when he told her to come, she did. “Brendan!”

As if in response, Brendan came also. “Mine,” he roared. He pummeled her ass so hard it shook the chaise. “You … are … fucking … mine.”

Finally, he slumped over her and peppered kisses over her face and shoulders as they both shuddered against one another.

Brendan nuzzled her neck and whispered, “Let’s get you loose, sweetheart.”

He released her and then scooped her into his arms and carried her to another chaise where he lay her down and joined her. Spooning her, he held her close and then pulled several silk throws over them.

As Brendan kissed her shoulder and back, Abby sighed with pleasure. He was a post-sex cuddler. He liked to force orgasms. Her dream Dom.

“I’m so glad you were here tonight. You’re the best thing that has ever happened to me.” Brendan kissed the edge of her jaw. “You’re moving in with me.”

It was an order, not a request.

“Yes, I am.”

Thank God, her Uncle Benoit had helped to create this meeting. Brendan never would’ve made the first move. So, she’d taken Fate in hand.

The End

Love in the Cards – Empress by Cherie Nicholls

Love in The Cards (small)
Lucy looked down at the invitation in her hands.
There was a man sitting in the chair on the other side of the room, waiting for her.
So far, this night hadn’t been like anything she’d expected. First, she’d managed to get herself fired from a job she loved. Second, she sort of crashed a Halloween party. But hey, she’d been invited when she’d worked in the Michaelson’s office; the party’s hosts didn’t need to know that technically she wasn’t a Michaelson employee anymore.
Finally, she’d made the mistake of turning over the invitation and looking at the back. Printed on the reverse side was the image of half of a tarot card. The Empress card. Lucy didn’t know much about the mystical element, but doubted the picture had much to do with reading peoples futures at this party.
There were also some instructions printed on the card. Basically, someone would have the other half of her card; her mission was to find that person. Lucy had almost rolled her eyes, but something about the image pulled at her and here she was … a party-crasher.
Upon arrival, she’d headed to the bar and ordered a soda. Lucy had barely taken a sip before a man in a scarlet suit approached her.
“Madam, I believe the person holding the other half of your card is in a room upstairs.”
“How do you know what card I have?”
The man had merely smiled and walked away. She’d had no intention of heading to a room away from the main crowd; she was not stupid.
But the more she’d thought about it, the more she’d felt the need to have a look. A quick peek she’d promised herself as she walked up the ornate staircase.
Lucy had worried she’d not know what room, but she shouldn’t have. One room stood out―a gold shining plaque on the door clearly stating it was the Empress Suite.
She’d taken a deep breath and opened the door.
That was where she found herself now, looking at a man in an expensively cut suit sitting in a chair, watching her.
A suit that had to have been tailored on Saville Row, leather shoes made in Milan, and a haircut that had to have cost one hundred dollars. She’d worked as an assistant to one of the brothers who ran the Michaelson company, and her boss had always made sure he had the best of everything. Lucy had learned to spot the cut, make, and model of everything he liked.
The man in the chair brushed a hand over his head, letting his fingers run through the strands. Lucy’s own hand tingled with the need to follow the same path.
Dark chocolate-brown eyes watched her every move. His gaze scanned down her body, taking in the tight red dress she’d poured herself into and the killer four-inch heels she wore.
Lucy pushed her long brown hair over her shoulder and let him look. She had curves and was proud of them. If he thought he’d fluster her, then this guy really didn’t know who he was messing with.
“Like?” she asked,
“Red is definitely your color.” His voice was deep, vibrating across the room and hitting her square in the pussy.
“Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.”
Lucy walked farther into the room. A small part of her was questioning the sanity of being here; another part was simply enjoying what would likely be her last night in high society. Tomorrow she would be job hunting and doubted she’d find a position like the one she’d messed up.
She pushed the images from earlier that day out of her mind.
The man moved, bringing her out of her reverie.
“I knew you’d come.” Again, his voice affected her pussy.
“Hmm, did you?” Lucy dropped her bag on a table.
“Yes, they said you wouldn’t, but I knew you would. I never doubted it.”
“And what made you so sure?”
“Because I know what you need.”
“What would that be?”
He was taller than her, even with her in heels, but she wasn’t scared or intimidated. As he walked toward her, Lucy admired the grace of his movements.
He stopped in front of her and looked down.
Lucy waited and wondered what his next move would be. A smile that bordered on a grin spread across her face as he fell to his knees. She looked at the top of his head before turning to the door and with a soft snick, sliding the lock closed.
When she turned back, her face fell. She took a deep calming breath and walked away from him. After moving several feet away, Lucy turned back to find him in the same position―on his knees, his head down, and hands locked together at the base of his back. She took a second to admire the view. Good Lord, he was stunning like this. She snorted. She should’ve known this was all a set-up, damn him, and she’d walked right into it.
“Are you the reason I was fired this morning, Mr. Michaelson?”
His shoulders stiffened at her question, but he didn’t answer.
Lucy rolled her eyes and walked back to stand over him. “I asked you a question. I expect an answer.”
“I spoke to my brother, yes,” David Michaelson, the older and, in her opinion, sexier brother answered.
“So, what exactly happened? You walked into little brother’s office, said ‘hey bro, I kinda need to fuck your assistant, but I need you to fire her first?’ is that it?”
“No! It wasn’t like that.”
“Then tell me how I woke up this morning employed, and now I’m here wondering where my next check is coming from?”
His jaw clenched, but he said nothing. Lucy sighed and put a finger under his chin, forcing his head up.
“Was that question too hard? Okay, let me try something else. What is it you want from me, Mr. Michaelson?”
The tip of his tongue peeked out, running between the seam of his lips. It took more control than she expected to stop her groan. He was such a tease; from the glint in his eye, he knew it, too.
Lucy released his chin and then ran her hand up his cheek and into his hair. David turned his head into her palm as she scraped her nails across his scalp. The tension eased out of his shoulders. She maintained a steady pressure and rhythm as she stroked his head. When he closed his eyes, she smiled. The trust he’d placed in her was humbling.
She waited a minute more, letting him truly relax into his submission. When she was sure he was ready, she grabbed a handful of hair and tugged, making sure he felt the pin pricks of pain.
David’s eyes flew open. Lucy bent down, so close she could speak directly into his ear.
“Listen close, brat. I’ve asked you two questions, and you refused to answer either of them. You seem to think you’re in charge here, but you forgot … I don’t work for you anymore. I’m not on my knees in front of you.” She pulled back so he could see her face. “Since you don’t want to answer questions, how about we try obeying my orders instead? Take your clothes off.”
She let him go and stepped back.
For a second, he didn’t move. She could almost see his mind whirling away behind his eyes. Amazed as she was to have David Michaelson on his knees in front of her, she didn’t forget for a second who he was. He was testing her; she’d seen him do this to others a hundred times before.
This time he’d met his match. Lucy was more than capable of handling a stuck-up, bratty sub.
“Fine, you can’t answer questions. You can’t follow orders. Really, I don’t see the point of taking this further. Have a good life, Mr. Michaelson.” She turned and picked up her bag before stepping toward the door. She hadn’t even reached for the lock when his voice stopped her.
“My brother knew I wanted you. He also knew I’d never do anything about it while you worked at the company. So, he took steps.”
“Steps? Such as firing me?”
“Yes.”
“And what is it you want from me?”
“Whatever you want to give me.”
Lucy gave him high marks for that answer.
“Have you played like this before?” She wanted to know how experienced he was, how sure of his needs he was. She’d played with newbies before, but she always preferred men who knew exactly what they desired.
“Yes.”
Interesting. Lucy turned to face him again and dropped her bag back on the table.
“I gave you an order.”
This time, David rose to his feet without argument or hesitation. He started to shrug out of his jacket.
“Wait, she ordered.
He halted.
Lucy walked to the other side of the room and sat in the chair he’d used. “Now slowly, don’t rush, kitten.”
He let the jacket slowly slide down his arms before he turned to face her. The thousand-dollar suit coat forgotten as it hit the ground.
“Now the tie.”
He pulled the knot free, then tugged the end slowly around his neck before stepping forward and dropping the tie into her lap.
“Shoes.”
Those were off and kicked away quickly. “Tut tut, kitten I said slowly. Now the socks.”
When his feet were bare she raised a hand, stopping him. “Tell me, kitten, do you have a safe word?”
He nodded.
“And what is it?”
“Mathwell.”
That shocked Lucy.
“A little sure of yourself aren’t you, kitten?”
“That’s my safe word.”
“My surname is your safe word?”
“Yes.”
“Such a tease. Shirt off next.” She leaned back in the chair and waved him on.
She had to keep control of this situation, of herself. There was still a voice in her head, telling her this was all a dream. Her day had gone from one extreme to another.
His shirt fell into a white cotton pile on the floor. She’s never needed to sneak peeks at him as he walked past her desk or if she spotted him in the staff canteen. No, this time, Lucy was able to look her fill and there wasn’t anything he or anyone could do about it.
“Do you have on underwear?”
“No.”
“I want to see you naked in ten seconds or … well, you really don’t want to know what the ‘or’ is.”
David nodded and rushed to comply
“Five, four, three, two … one.” As she finished the countdown, he stood gloriously naked. His trousers were puddled at his feet. The sight brought a smile to her face. “Aren’t you a good boy, kitten?”
His cock stood at attention, and she hadn’t even touched him properly yet. The thought made her wet, the power she had over him was a thrill.
“Bit of slut, I see.”
“Only for you, Lucy.”
“Lucy? I don’t remember giving you permission to use my name.” The corner of her invitation peeked out of her bag. “No, you get to call me Empress.”
“Yes, Empress.”
“Now bring that pretty cock over here.”
Lucy sat forward as he came closer. Good Lord, he was big. If she’d been anywhere else, she’d have clapped her hands in childish glee. Oh the fun she planned on having this evening.
“I can see you’re clean shaven. Do you prefer that look?” She took his cock in her hand and stroked down the length of his hardness.
“No.” He spoke through gritted teeth.
“No?”
“I asked around. I wanted to know what you liked in a man … a sub.”
“Is that right? So tell me, kitten, what else did you find out?”
She released him and sat back, interested in hearing hear what he had to say.
“Nothing.”
Lucy raised an eyebrow. He was lying, she could tell. Again, she sighed. He was going to be a handful.
“Knees,” she instructed.
He was on his knees in seconds.
Lucy sat forward, opening her thighs so they bracketed his waist. She wanted him to feel trapped, but safe. She wouldn’t restrain him, not by force, anyway.
“How many times are you going to avoid my questions or lie before you realize I know you too well? I’ve worked with your family for years. Trust me when I say, I know each and every one of you better than you realize.”
His eyes narrowed and a flash of anger shone in their depths. It took a second to comprehend what she was seeing. Jealousy.
“I’ve worked for your brother for five years, and in all of that time, I’ve never seen him naked.”
The tension eased from David’s shoulders.
“Now tell me, kitten, what made you go looking for information on me?”
Again, his cheeky little tongue peeked out, wetting his lips.
Lucy couldn’t resist it any longer; she leaned forward and captured his mouth with hers. At the same time, she slid her hand down his chest and over his stomach to rest just above the tip of his hard-on.
The appendage was rock-hard and standing tall, begging for her attention. Lucy refused to pay it any mind; instead, taking her time, she savored his soft lips.
Their tongues parried. He didn’t submit easily, making her work for it. She enjoyed the challenge.
No Domme worth her salt wanted to be given someone’s submission, she wanted to earn it. A Domme needed to prove she was worthy of the sub’s trust.
Lucy used her other hand to grip the back of his head, tipping it to allow her better access.
When she finally pulled away, they were both breathing hard.
“Well, aren’t you a talented little kitten?”
“Thank you, Empress.”
“Aww, and you thank me so prettily. But your sweet words won’t make me forget all the ticks you have in the naughty column. Now,” she sat back, “how shall I punish you?”
There was fear mixed with excitement in his eyes. David Michaelson was most definitely a submissive. How had she missed the signs all these years? Perhaps, because she didn’t think the self-assured, aggressive older brother of the Michaelson clan was anything but dominant. She’d been a blind fool.
“Tell me, kitten, do you know the traffic light system?” She ran the tip of her shoe up his inner thigh, loving the shudder it drew from him.
“Yes, Empress.”
“And how are you feeling now?”
“Green, Empress.”
“Good boy.”
Green meant he was fine, enjoying himself; yellow would mean he needed to stop and take a break; and red would mean whatever they were doing needed to stop immediately.
“Does this room come complete with condoms?” David nodded. “Good, I need you to get me three things: the condoms, your tie, and a paddle, I assume we have those, too?”
David nodded again before getting to his feet to do her bidding.
She ogled his naked body, not caring he could see her doing it. That body was hers to do with as she wanted, and they both knew it.
When he came back, he handed each item to her. Lucy made a big show of checking them. She placed the condoms and the paddle onto the arm of the chair before she took the tie and ran its length through her hands.
“Knees.” She instructed again. When he was kneeling, Lucy leaned forward and dragged the tie over his shoulder. “I’m going to place this around your eyes, blinding you so you can’t see what I’m going to do. Okay?”
“Yes, Empress.”
“Good boy.” Lucy made quick work of it, tying the material tight enough so it wouldn’t slip, but not so tight it would cause him discomfort.
“I’m going to do something now that I’ve thought about from the minute I first met you.”
He nodded, and Lucy smiled. What was he imagining her thoughts had been?
She took his hand and placed her palm against his, marveling at the size difference. His hand engulfed hers, yet she didn’t fear him. She knew he wouldn’t hurt her.
Lucy watched him closely as she pulled down the top of her dress and strapless bra, exposing her breasts. She scooted to the edge of the chair, bringing her chest closer to him.
When she placed his hand over a breast, his mouth dropped open for a second before he could stop the reaction. She’d shocked him. Good and it wouldn’t be the first time, that was for sure.
“You know, kitten, I have really sensitive breasts. The feel of a man’s hands on them makes me so wet, see?” She took his other hand and placed it against her core. Her panties were soaked and had been from the second she’d seen him in this room.
“Sometimes, when you’re in meetings, I’ve watched you, wondering what it would be like to have control of these hands, have them do exactly as I instructed, and knowing your only concern would be my pleasure.” She moved his hand to press against her pussy. “Mmm, feels good.”
He began to pant; pre-cum leaked from the tip of his cock. Lucy released the hand on her breast. She took hold of his hand and placed it to the side of her breast.
“Squeeze.”
He squeezed the soft globe gently.
“Harder.”
He tried again, a little rougher this time.
Lucy tutted. “I’m not one of those socialites traipsing in and out of your office, kitten. I won’t break. Now, either you touch me like I want or you don’t get to touch at all. What’s it going to be?”
Before she’d even stopped speaking, he’d become rougher. Her skin tingled, loving the feel of his fingers digging into her sensitive flesh.
“Oh, kitten, that’s much better.” She pulled his other hand up and placed it on the other breast. He kneaded, stroked, and tugged until she thought she’d come just from breast manipulations alone. She closed her eyes for a second, seeking control, grateful he couldn’t see how easily he could arouse her. It hadn’t ever been like this. Yes, she enjoyed being touched, but never had she had to fight for control. Damn him and his talented hands.
When Lucy felt she’d regained enough control, she caught sight of his teasing tongue tip peeking out of his mouth again.
“Oral sex, kitten, is that something you can do?” She tried to make her voice sound as casual as possible, even though the blood was practically boiling in her veins.
“Yes, Empress. I’m the best.” His breath was labored as if he’d run a hundred miles.
“That’s quite a claim.”
“I don’t make claims. I state facts.” For a second, the David Michaelson she was used to seeing in the board room made an appearance. It pleased her, knowing the man she’d lusted after all this time was still there.
“Prove it. Make me come, and maybe I’ll reward you … if you’re a good boy.”
She didn’t need to give him further instruction. He caught hold of her legs, raising them so they lay over his shoulders. In seconds, he was between her thighs, showing her exactly how talented he was with his tongue.
The sound of material ripping as he pulled her panties free from her body brought a smile to her mouth a second before it opened in a silent O.
Lucy had planned on making him work for her orgasm, but she’d been too close. In mere minutes her orgasm burst through her. She gripped his head and came, screaming her pleasure.
She used her grip to pull his head away from her. She kept moving until she had him flat on his back. She reached back and grabbed the box of condoms. It was a moment’s work to put the protection in place.
“You’d better fucking scream for me, boy.” She rose up and then plunged down, taking his hard cock into her waiting heat.
“Shit!” He yelled as she started to move. His hands gripped her waist as she rode him. He moved his hips, meeting her thrust for thrust.
Lucy reached forward and pulled the blindfold free of his eyes. “This body belongs to me now, do you understand?”
“Yes.”
“Not just for the night. This is mine now.”
“Yes.”
With a hand on his shoulder, she pulled and rolled them so that he was now over her. She grabbed the paddle that had fallen to the floor in her haste to get him on the ground.
As he thrust into her, she spanked his ass.
“Please,” he begged.
She knew he wasn’t asking her to stop. She spanked him again. “I own this ass.”
“Fuck, yeah.”
“I want to hear you scream as you come, boy.” She struck him again, forcing him to pick up the pace.
His orgasm hit a second before hers did. He screamed her name and pride flooded her chest. Her vision clouded at the intensity of her own orgasm.
As her sight cleared, she looked at her hands, the invitation with the image of half of the Empress tarot card held in them.
“Lucy?” She looked up.
“Are you okay? You looked stunned.”
Lucy shook her head, trying to clear the fog from her brain, and looked around her. She was back in the Michaelson offices. “I’m fine, just surprised we’re already receiving invitations for Halloween parties.”
“Well, you know what it’s like. They like to make sure at least one of us attends.”
Lucy looked up at Simon Michaelson, her boss, and smiled. “In such high demand, I guess.”
Her boss winked and walked back into his office. Just then David’s door opened and he walked out.
Lucy looked at him with a raised eyebrow. At first, he frowned at her, but before long, his gaze dropped. He turned and walked away; he didn’t speak to her. He rarely did.
The half-Tarot card, still in her hands, called her.
Sometimes being able to touch something and see into the future was horrible. So much so, she’d trained herself to block off that part of herself. But the invitation had called strongly to the hidden part of her soul, and she’d been unable to resist.
She’d seen a night, a month into the future. She’d seen a naked David. And she’d seen the days after that night.
Lucy looked toward his empty office. The smile on her face could only be described as predatory.
“Oh, kitten, I can’t wait to claim you.”

The End.

Love in the Cards- Judgment Day by Rosanna Leo

Judgement Day

by Rosanna Leo

Love in The Cards (small)

Chapter One

Even from behind the closed salon door, Verity sensed him coming. Despite the party atmosphere in Dacre House, and the sounds of lusty revelers, she remained attuned to his particular footsteps. The determined thump of his footfall made her as excited now as it had three hundred odd years ago.

She perched on the edge of a velvet settee, crossing her leather-clad legs. And then, as she heard him reach the salon door, she decided against her pose and stood to reposition herself behind a scrolled chest of drawers. Tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear, she stood up straight and gazed toward the door, her heart heavy with anticipation. As much as she wanted to present a brave face, standing behind the bulky piece of furniture made her feel safe. In her hand, she gripped half of a tarot card as if it were a map leading to buried treasure. She glanced at the card.

Judgment Day. How appropriate.

So long. So very long. How had she existed all this time without him? Of course, she thought bitterly, it wasn’t as if she’d ever had a choice. He’d turned her away every time she’d pleaded with him over the past three centuries, a victim to his all-consuming guilt.

The old brass knob turned and the door creaked opened. John Martin walked in, the other half of the Judgment Day card in his big hand, and surveyed one corner of the room. Verity’s heart leapt, something it hadn’t done since the last time she’d appeared before him several decades ago. He was still beautiful, more so, if it were possible. His tall, bulky frame still filled a doorway. His brown hair was cut in a short, modern style that did nothing to erase the memory of the appealing curls he’d once worn. He wore black dress pants and a black shirt, reminiscent of his former Puritan garb. His blue eyes still burned fire.

He saw her and jumped back, dropping the tarot card. As he moved, his swan-feather angel wings unfurled and lifted him off the ground. He hovered and pointed at her. “I reject you, Satan, and your foul temptations!”

Despite wanting to cry, Verity forced her rouged lips into a smile and slid out from behind the chest of drawers. As a succubus, she had powers of her own, and needed no wings to take flight. She flew in his direction, wafting her gardenia perfume toward him in a teasing embrace. “It’s just me, John. Your Verity.”

The slight crinkle in his brow signaled his distress, but he hid it well, clenching his jaw and forcing his face back into a mask of cold calm. Damn angels, unfeeling creatures. “I don’t believe you.”

“Why not?”

“Very well.” His grim smile lanced right through her. “You wish to play games. That must be why you lead me to this … this place of perversion.” He dropped his gaze to the floor, to where his tarot card fell. “I don’t believe the creature before me is Verity Chisholm because the Dark Lord has seen fit to conjure her image before me many times, only to make her disappear. I have been taunted by what I cannot have time and again.”

Her heart broke for him. It was just like her employer to engage in such savage sport. There was nothing he enjoyed more than mocking God’s company. Could this be why John had ignored her many entreaties over the centuries? Because he didn’t trust she wouldn’t disappear too? So much wasted time, and all because of her master’s games.

She hated Lucifer even more now.

“I swear on my life with you, John, it is me. Not some cruel phantom.”

He narrowed his eyes, looking her up and down, trying to see through her. His hard gaze stung, but she held it. And then, after the longest moment of her existence, she spied a softening in his eyes. Something in him broke. Her hands moved at her sides in restless surrender. He spoke in a cracked voice. “Verity?”

Thanks be to God! He believed.

Relief fanned its warmth through her core. She thought he’d turn her away again. So many times over the past centuries she’d approached him, but he’d warded her off. Casting her away like the demon she was, but which she’d never felt comfortable being. Anticipating another rebuff, she’d invited him here to Dacre House, New Orleans’ own “House of Sin,” hoping he’d succumb to a little Halloween temptation.

Only now she was tempted. Oh, to feel his arms around her again!

“I’d hoped by inviting you to this den of flesh and writhing bodies, I might convince you to do something crazy with me. Like hold my hand.” She pasted on what she hoped was a beguiling smile, but it trembled, crooked on her face.

“I can’t.” He shook his head, his eyes haunted.

Oh, how his guilt still dictated his every move. However, Verity knew underneath the stoic demeanor that was his angel armor, he was a man. One who hadn’t been averse to a little temptation in his past life.

Determined to crack his shell, she landed back on the floor, extending an arm to him. “John, it wasn’t your fault.”

He, too, dropped to the floor, unfurling his majestic wings behind his back. He took up a spot against the far wall, the farthest away from her he could get. “It was my fault! I didn’t save you, and look at the creature you’ve become. It’s because of me that you were damned, and I’ll never forgive myself.”

“Oh, my John.” He’d never come to her while guilt burned through his stomach like acid.

Perhaps a little temptation wasn’t amiss.

She took a step toward him, the click of her stilettos sounding loudly on the hardwood. “Surely an angel is permitted one small sin?”

He rushed forward like an ominous wind, a thunder cloud. Verity closed her eyes and let his power inundate her as he grabbed her arms. “Do you know how long I’ve dreamed of holding you?” he uttered, his nails biting into her skin as he squeezed her. “Even in going to Heaven, I was sentenced to hell.” His gaze seared her, so fiery it was almost neon.

“Existing without you has been hell for me too.” She closed her eyes, relishing the feel of his fingers on her body, and then opened them. “I love you still.”

“How? Why?” He released her arms and shoved away from her, pain etched in every line on his face. “It’s because of me they killed you. You should hate me.”

“Even as the noose was placed about my neck, John, I never hated you. I’ve spent the last three hundred and twenty-one years counting each dismal second away from you.”

She bit her bottom lip, determined not to cry, but her time away from him had worn her down. Despite her best efforts, those damn tears fell.

He flew to her and brushed away her tears. “Sweet Verity. Please don’t. Your tears are about the only thing that could kill me.”

Her lungs constricted. He stood so close. His breath warmed her, making her body break into goose pimples of delight. How this man tempted her. Satan had seen fit to make her a succubus, with legions of men at her disposal to choose from if she wished. Her role was to tease men into states of infidelity, but she’d proven a failure because the only man she wanted was John.

Before his guilt claimed him again, she leaned in and brushed her lips against his. Temptation in its softest form. Raw energy sizzled and wove between their bodies even with an innocent kiss. Her succubus hunger, while rusty, was still strong. She hooked a fingernail into his shirt collar and pulled downward, slicing clear through all the buttons. She watched them fly out of the corner of her eye. Inserting her hand between the open flaps of his shirt, she reveled in the smooth skin of his nipples and tugged at his chest hair. When she traced his mouth with her tongue and he moaned, she experienced the sweet thrill of triumphant reunion.

Still mine.

Chapter Two

Still mine. John gazed at the beautiful succubus in his arms, Satan’s instrument of lascivious evil, and the angel in him wanted to recoil. His role demanded he recoil and repent. He was supposed to be a fucking paradigm, for God’s sake. His role had been detailed to him with celestial clarity: lead lesser beings out of temptation. Show them the way.

Right now, he just wanted to find the way into her skin-tight pants and devour her heat.

He stared at Verity, wanting to glimpse evil, but seeing only the woman he’d loved in Salem. By St. Michael’s sword, she was still there. He could see her under the red lipstick and unnaturally long lashes. Could feel her generous curves under clothing that would have given an old Puritan minister a coronary. If he looked hard enough, he could almost see her as she was then—a sweet girl with black locks and a smile that lit up her green eyes. He’d always known she was a curious thing. After Sunday service, she’d pull him aside, full of questions about his views on Scripture. Her eyes warmed by something other than religious fanaticism.

Her interest had been for him, and it hadn’t taken them long to succumb to their mutual passion.

John had been a young teacher in the Salem community, a pillar, a man recognized for his scruples. But when Verity Chisholm flounced by him the first time, her soft hair peeking out from her cap, he’d been smitten. And when she’d brushed by him at a barn raising, her shy smile made his chest expand, and his thoughts had swiftly turned irreligious.

Their first transgression had been a kiss one night, a mere touch of the lips in the woods behind the parsonage. Neither of them had been able to sleep and had sought solace in the stillness of the outdoors.

“Mister Martin,” she’d whispered upon encountering him. Her bosom had heaved under her woolen garment. “John.”

Aching as he’d never ached for anything in his life, he’d taken her in his arms. It wasn’t long before he took her up against the outer walls of the parsonage. They’d continued to meet at night while the good folks of Salem were abed. He’d swallowed her cries of ecstasy so they would not echo in the woods. And with each velvet thrust, John’s love for her grew.

However, the Chisholm’s had promised Verity to another—Samuel Williams. The man was a jealous so-and-so who’d spotted them in the woods not long after they’d begun their nightly trysts. When he’d seen Verity on her knees before John, he’d spread the rumors about them being deviant witches. How they’d worshipped the devil during their foul nocturnal practices.

And of course, the citizenry of Salem were only too pleased to add their names to the growing list of accused witches. Being a community leader, John had been so sure they’d both be acquitted.

They’d been promptly condemned.

On June 30, 1692, they were led to Gallows Hill. Verity had screamed, had struggled in her captor’s arms. Ignoring the sweat of terror on his own brow, John had turned to her and implored, “My love, cease your struggling. We will soon be together in Heaven.”

Her green eyes had taken on a bright sheen, a wildness, and somehow John had known she didn’t believe God would reunite them. As the noose was placed around her delicate neck, he’d expected her to call out in supplication to the Lord, but she hadn’t. Crazed by the deranged proceedings, his lover had instead cried out for the Lord of Hell.

“You want a witch,” she’d screamed. “Well, I’ll give you one. I curse you all, and I pledge to serve Satan in the afterlife so that I may return and plague you. God of hell, save me!”

Even as the executioner fitted the rough noose around John’s own neck, her curse rang out in his head, the greatest torment of all. And as he died, he’d prayed to God to release him from the prison of his body and to forgive his lover her crazed outcry. Made insane by terror, she’d cried out for Lucifer, and he’d answered, just as God had heard his prayer and let him join the ranks of the angels.

He’d spent an eternity plagued by guilt, a guilt so powerful and vile, he’d run from her every time she’d appeared before him, pleading.

“I need your forgiveness, Verity.”

“There’s nothing to forgive. Just be with me.”

Her gardenia scent teased him. Her soft skin beckoned. He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to master his urges, but his head still swam.

“We’ve wasted too much time, John. Please.”

“But we serve different masters. If we give in, what then?”

For the first time since he’d seen her in the salon, she appeared angry, a bitter sparkle in her eye, her ruby lips twitching with nerves. “I don’t know. We’ll probably be punished. Again.”

He watched as her breasts rose and fell within the confines of her corset. John knew angels didn’t sweat, but the strange moisture at the back of his neck sure felt like it. He cried silently to God to intercede, but heard no response.

Did that mean this wasn’t so wrong?

Expecting an outcry from the gates of Heaven, but unable to stop, he leaned forward and slid his tongue across the tops of her heaving breasts.

She still tasted like sweet manna.

Would he risk his soul for this woman? Fuck yeah. Why hadn’t he done so already?

Even as he moved to pull her closer, Verity resisted, a victim to her own nerves. Slowly, he embraced the shaking creature, ready to burn in the pits of Hell for another small taste of her. Something primal inside him snapped into place, and his long-denied need for her flared. His devotion flew away and even prayer wouldn’t save him. Right now, all he wanted to worship was her.

He touched her cheek and forced her to look at him. “We’re in a den of sin, my love. Sin with me.”

Chapter Three

Verity gawked at John as he pressed against her, and her mind reeled. She’d been so sure he’d turn her away as he always had, but when he’d licked at her breasts and she saw the demon cast to his eyes, it scared her. She hadn’t ever wanted to lead him astray … not really. She’d merely wanted another moment in his arms, knowing that was probably all she could ever have. However, the famished look in his luminescent eyes spoke of much more than a moment.

How on earth had the seducer become the seduced?

Would he hate her in the morning when he was called before the Almighty for his grave transgression? “Now I feel guilty,” she whispered.

He gritted his teeth. “No. I refuse to let you suffer how I did. I want you, my soul be damned.”

He traced the length of her bare arms, smoothing his thumbs along her skin, and she shivered. By the time he dug his hands into her hair, she was ready to beg. Damn! Didn’t he know having her scalp massaged made her giddy with pleasure? Of course, he did. He knew the effect of all his touches on her. He took her mouth in a deep kiss, his tongue playing her like an instrument. As he did, he spread his massive wings behind him as if sheltering them from God’s view.

Suddenly, she regretted the garb she’d chosen for this shindig. Maybe she should have left the stilettos, tight pants, and corset at home, because the sight of them seemed to be driving her angel into a frenzy of need. His hands shook as he caressed her. He bit at his bottom lip, and the veins in his neck throbbed.

John blinked once and uttered words that would make the seraphim blush. Her clothes fell away from her body, leaving her as naked and vulnerable in front of him as she’d once been against the parsonage wall. “What are you doing?”

His answer was to fall to his knees before her, the angel venerating the demon. He placed his hands on her thighs. His eyelids fluttered as he glanced at her. “Just a taste.”

“Dear God,” she moaned. Finally.

As John’s tongue made contact with the folds of her pussy, they took flight together and soared around the cavernous salon. They hovered about two feet from the ceiling, buoyed by powers of flight. His tongue on her skin made her feel like the curious girl she’d once been in Salem, rather than a jaded demon who’d seen and done everything. With each swipe, with every soft suck, memories of their love filled her, the love which had been ripped away from them and which she’d mourned for eons. Its loss had turned her into a cold, vile thing, one who spent its days half-heartedly leading men into sin, and then spent its nights dreaming of John.

How she longed to start over with him.

His large wings slid against her body as they floated. Their soft caress was echoed in the reverent glide of his tongue into her pussy. John opened his mouth, covered her mound, and sipped at her juices. His most intimate kiss was ruthless and demanding, something he’d only ever been during their lovemaking. His fever for her had eradicated the gentle angel and replaced it with one of the avenging variety.

As his licks and bites once again made her feel like a blushing virgin experiencing her first orgasm, she writhed and shouted. Luckily, her crazed moans were muffled by the sounds inside and outside the mansion. Hook-ups were happening all over the house; the evidence was heard within the walls of each room as they seemed to groan and sigh. And the atmosphere only made her hotter.

John tortured her clit by locking his lips around it and sucking for all he was worth, giving her the pleasure that had so long been denied. And as he saw to her needs, he reached down between his legs, palming his cock.

Just as she was ready to succumb to the delicious torment, he removed his mouth from her swollen pussy and caught her eye. She looked at him, almost afraid of the devilish cast in his gaze.

“My little devil,” he said, chuckling.

Then he blew on her pussy and caused a hurricane of sensation to roll over her body. Even as they continued to float around the room, he spread her legs wider so she remained captive to the overwhelming volleys of pleasure. He’d removed his mouth, but his magical breath made it feel as if a thousand mouths were on her, all of them seeking to make her come harder. One blow, and she felt tongues on her clit. Another soft breath and invisible teeth tortured her nipples. Yet another exhalation and fingers claimed all her intimate entries, filling and stretching her. Any orgasm he’d given her back in Salem, life-changing as they all were, was nothing compared to the monumental wave now crashing over her. She threw her head back, felt her womb seize and contract with pleasure/pain, and screamed in a language she didn’t understand.

John, the man, had been a generous, clever lover. Clearly, John, the angel, had learned a few new tricks.

Her climax seemed to go on forever. John continued blowing on her quivering mound, and the invisible mouths assaulted her until she had no choice but to close her eyes and roll over. Her angel caught her in his arms and flew her to the floor and then laid her on the velvet settee. She turned away from him and pressed her feverish brow against the smooth upholstery. Her body still jolted with each breath she took, and her screams of ecstasy still echoed in her ears.

John sat next to her, caressing her hip, and then turned her toward him. He was naked now as well, having disposed of his clothes in the blink of an eye. And even though his perfect, muscled form called to her, she resisted.

“No more,” she implored, feeling less like a demon than she ever had.

“You wanted this, Verity,” his deep voice rumbled. “And there will be more. Much more.”

As he positioned her on the settee, she groaned.

*

What am I doing? Why am I doing this?

It was because Verity Chisholm’s cries had haunted him for ages. He’d meandered through the centuries, happy to be doing God’s work, but always knowing something was missing. He’d prayed, led countless souls to the light, and had led lost souls out of harm’s way, but nothing had ever given him the satisfaction he’d felt holding the woman he loved.

Making her come, as they’d flown around this New Orleans salon, had filled his soul with happiness and reawakened desire. For centuries, he’d forced her memory to the back of his mind, knowing she was off-limits. She was one of Lucifer’s own; he was pledged to the Lord. There was no way this could have had a happy ending.

And yet he’d missed her so much. Had fretted and tortured himself about her, had wondered what sins the devil inspired her to commit in his name. Right now, she didn’t look like a sinner. She looked like the sweet woman he wanted to take to bed night after night.

Starting tonight.

He pulled her into a sitting position and grinned. She was boneless within his arms. He’d dazzled a demon. And Lucifer had once said angels were boring.

His cock hardened further, straining for her. He pulled her over his legs so she straddled him. She looked at his cock as if she were afraid of what it would do to her. He slid its bulk back and forth along her wet seam, teasing her, teasing him. Gripping her with one arm around the waist, he lifted her a few inches. With the other hand, he readied his cock head at her entrance.

“Verity,” he choked out in anticipation of fucking her. “Close your eyes.”

“Why?”

“Do it.”

She obeyed, and he impaled her on his cock, finally finding his way into the sweet bower that had been his only real home. She wiggled on his lap and took him deeper. He held her, unmoving. Saints alive, her tight channel felt better than ever.

Before he lost himself completely, he used his powers to whisk them away, away from the salon, away from New Orleans. Flying through the air on a stratum no human eye could discern, he carried her to the place that meant the most to them. The place where they’d fallen in love.

Once they were in Salem, he commanded, “Open your eyes.”

She did and gasped. Even though they were still joined and he ached to start thrusting, he held immobile as she looked around with tears in her eyes. They were behind the parsonage, back in the year 1692. Even though the building had been in ruins for years, it now stood as if untouched by time. It was nighttime, and all the good souls were in bed, leaving them quite alone, without even Samuel Williams’ prying eyes for company. As much as Verity’s perfume filled John’s senses, other scents made themselves known: embers from a dying fire, pine needles, and the delicious aroma of someone’s mutton stew. It took him back in time and made him happier than ever.

Verity wrapped her legs around his waist. She held on to him and kissed him hard. The succubus part of her showed through when she nibbled his bottom lip. After several loving, biting kisses, she gazed at him and smiled. “I was so happy in this place with you.”

He cupped her cheek. His heart pounded with love for her. “One last time here, my love.”

She nodded as fresh tears coursed down her cheeks.

After wrapping his wings around her so her skin would be protected from the rough wooden wall, John pinned her to it. He moved his hips against her, luxuriating in the tight grip of her pussy. She seemed to know just how to squeeze him. She’d always understood what he’d needed, more than he had. A smile. A gentle caress. She’d given him so many gestures of love during their short lives together, and he’d wasted the last few centuries denying them both an eternity of love.

On a grunt, he plunged deep inside her, moving so slowly he could have been turning back time. Verity cried out, her head falling forward onto his shoulder. He nipped at her neck and thrust again, faster this time, building up a momentum that was as painful as it was blissful. He fucked her, making silent promises with his possession that even he didn’t fully understand. All he realized was her body unraveling all around him and the delicious tightness of his balls as they slapped against her bottom. She squeezed his ass with her small hands, and he clenched, moving faster against her, sliding ever deeper.

Becoming one with her again.

As they reached climax together, John burrowed his face against her neck. When he finally looked up, his face was as wet with tears as hers. Stars shot across the sky, and he knew God’s angels were on guard, ready to take them down on a single word from on high. What they’d done was blasphemy, treason.

And for the first time in his long life, he didn’t give a fuck. This was his woman. Hell, she always had been.

Before any angelic warriors could take aim, John whisked her back to New Orleans. They landed in the salon, on the settee. He gazed at her fragile beauty, transfixed. Still so hungry, he touched her moist pussy, and she gasped. With a smile, he knelt before her, spread her legs and drank from her one more time. Verity wiggled under him, her hips moving with a sinful grace that would cause angels to barricade Heaven’s door. She grasped his head, burying her fingers in his hair, and held him fast. Summoning his powers to delight, he tongued her clit and absorbed her body’s soft sigh as she came in his mouth.

Complete wonder. His personal Paradise.

When he swallowed her last tremor, he got up and sat with her, holding her to his heart. After several minutes, they reached for their clothes without a word. Neither of them addressed what might happen next.

The Halloween party was in full swing. Loud music pumped from speakers, a musical segue to new debaucheries of which he wanted no part. He dressed and watched as Verity slid into her tight pants. When it came time to adjust her corset, he walked over and gently removed her hands, and fastened it himself. She stared at him. All hope had disappeared from her eyes. The twinkle was gone, replaced by shadows.

He laid his forehead against her. “I was so wrong to run from you. So wrong to let my guilt stand in the way.”

Her eyelashes fluttered over eyes that no longer held the allure of the temptress. She was all softness and vulnerability now. “John, what I said at the gallows … it was my fear talking. I don’t want to be a succubus. I want to be with you. I love you.”

“I know. I always knew. And I love you, too.” He kissed her as a new sense of determination filled him. He could fix this. He had to fix this. “Maybe we can still be together. Maybe you could join me in the ranks of angels.”

She shook her head. “What if Lucifer won’t let me go? What if God won’t take me?”

God couldn’t be so cruel. They’d spent centuries apart for their innocent follies. They’d made their mistakes and had paid for them. Surely heaven wouldn’t refuse a soul who was truly penitent. They’d already suffered through one judgment day. Surely God wouldn’t make them endure another.

He tipped up her chin and absorbed every beautiful detail on her face. “Whatever happens, we’ll do it together this time. I won’t let you go.”

Verity let out a deep breath and swallowed. He could tell she was willing to take on the powers of heaven. This time, he’d be with her every step of the way. He wouldn’t let anyone take her. He’d fight and bargain and beg for his woman. Reaching for her hand, he offered her a grin of encouragement.

With one more kiss for luck, they left the mansion and swiftly took flight.

Love in the Cards – Strength of a Lion by Lynn Lorenz

The Party
Leon Manx stood in the corner of the large front parlor of the Ducre mansion and watched the Halloween partygoers. In front of him, costumed couples danced to the pounding music, dressed in everything from a nun in a mini-skirted habit and black fishnet stockings to a Mexican wrestler including the skeleton lycra mask.

His own costume, a big game hunter, was a last minute decision and a bit ironic, like his sense of humor. He’d enjoyed the joke, but now he was here, Leon might have made a deadly mistake coming to the party.

Perhaps for him and perhaps for whoever thought he or she could fuck with Leon.

He’d received the invite, one half of a Tarot card, three days ago, not in the mail, but in an envelope slipped under the door of his uptown shotgun house. The torn card and a business card with the date, time and address of the party.

Meet your mate had been printed on a small card included in the envelope.

Some would look at it as just an invitation to a Halloween party. Leon took it as a warning, a threat, to his very existence. And he didn’t take threats lightly. He’d never killed before, not even in his line of work, but there was always a first time. And if it came down to exposure or capture, Leon planned on being the last man standing in whatever battle occurred.

He suppressed a shiver as he touched the card nestled in the pocket of his hunter’s jacket. The top half of a woman held a leash leading to the head of a lion.

Never mind that whoever sent the invite knew where he lived, a carefully guarded secret, when he’d googled the card to find out what it meant, it shook him even more, leaving him with more questions than when he’d found the card.

Did someone, somewhere, know who he was? What he was?

The card meant strength. Captured strength.

The thought of being leashed, captured, his freedom gone, raised the hairs on the back of his head, and a slow hiss escaped through his clenched teeth.

He’d kill before he let that happen.

David Reese had no idea what he was doing at this party. Or who had invited him. But he hadn’t anything else to do, it was Halloween, and hitting the gay bars in the French Quarter just didn’t appeal to him. Nothing there but twinks and blowjobs and disappointment.

So he’d thrown together a costume — a lion tamer — and showed up. It was the perfect costume for him: Black pants nearly painted on, a white button-down shirt open to his navel, a bright red sash wrapped around his waist, and tall black boots. David slicked back his red hair and applied a little black eyeliner. To complete the look, he’d coiled his bullwhip around and looped it over his shoulder and wore a holster with a gun that fired caps. He had everything, except for the chair.

He made his way through the crowd to the makeshift bar and got a glass of white wine. He took a sip. Not as bad as he’d thought it would be. Whoever was throwing this bash had spent a decent amount on the food, spirits, and decorations.

The house was a real New Orleans Garden District gem. David admired it as he moved from room to room, checking out the people. He’d slipped into party mode with a smile he hoped wasn’t too fake on his face and his gaze searching for anyone he might know, to give him a clue as to who left the invitation under his office door.

A woman dressed as a flapper slinked up to him. “What are you supposed to be?” Her slight slur gave her away as being on the wrong side of tipsy. When she leaned in close and put her hand on his arm, he could smell the liquor on her breath.

Alcohol wasn’t a turn-off, but for David, her being a woman was enough to soften his dick. “I’m a circus lion tamer.”

She stepped back and looked him up and down. “The circus?” She blinked, not understanding, then her eyebrows went up. “Oh, yeah, right. I get it.” She pointed to his face. “Cute.” She giggled.

Cute?

Definitely not cute. Not with the parallel set of three white scars running across his cheek. She probably thought it was part of the costume.

David wished, not for the first or third or thousandth time, the scars were fake too
The gay men he met? Most of them turned their heads, diverted their gazes, or gave him pitying looks when they thought he couldn’t see them.

He leaned in. “I’m gay.”

She sobered and shrugged. “Sorry.” Off she went, swaying over to another guy.

David took another sip of the wine. A few friends said with his “professor” vibe he came off boring and standoffish. Add the scars? Unapproachable. Closed off.

Maybe it was true. His self-confidence about his field and his teaching didn’t extend to his personal life. How could it with his face ruined? Other than going to the bars to find someone who didn’t care what he looked like as long as he paid for drinks, he rarely went out. He stopped dating friends of friends who never gave him a second chance. He’d have blown this party off, if not for the Tarot card piquing his interest.

When David was a kid, the lion tamers at the circus mesmerized him, ordering the tigers around the cages and fighting off the lions with nothing but a chair, a whip, and a fake gun. His fascination with big cats fueled his passion to work with them when he grew up.

He’d gone to college, gotten his PhD in zoology, and now, at forty, taught freshman zoology at Tulane University and worked part time at the Audubon Zoo with the big cats.
His dreams had come true. He had all he’d ever wanted, except one thing – a guy who’d hang around longer than a night or two. A man who would look him in the eye, not shy away from his face. Someone who saw past the damage on the outside to the man inside.

David moved back into the ballroom where people were dancing. He stood in the large arched opening between rooms and glanced around. Feeling bold, he decided to ask someone to dance, if a slow song came on and his gaydar didn’t fail him.

Taking another sip, he caught the gaze of a man, tucked against the far wall, near one of the floor to ceiling windows. Large. Wild blond hair, like a mane, haloed his head. Something familiar about him niggled in the back of David’s mind, as if he’d seen or met him before. Maybe this was the guy who’d invited him?

David put his drink down on a nearby tray and made his way around the side of the room, avoiding the dancers in the middle. The man was dressed as a big game hunter. Okay, that was too much of a coincidence. This had to be the guy who sent the Tarot card.

As David approached, the man straightened, and they locked gazes. David’s cock filled, tight and hard in his painted-on pants, and he pulled out the half of the card, ready to show it to the guy.

Maybe this time, maybe this man, wouldn’t care about his face.

Leon’s heart thudded as the man he’d spotted across the room approached. He knew immediately what he was dressed as – a lion tamer. Hell, no, it couldn’t be that fucking easy. Did this guy think this was joke?

Maybe no one told him not to poke a stick at a dangerous animal.

The room was dark, but not so dark Leon couldn’t make out details, like the bulge in the man’s pants, the fake smile, and matching fake scars on his face. What was he trying pull? Was he trying to piss Leon off? Make him look like a fool?

Leon growled low in his throat and controlled his instinct to attack as the man came to a stop in front of him. What the hell? He smelled like a…sniff…a…lion. Leon took a step closer and inhaled deeper, taking in the scent, registering it in his mind. His cock filled and his balls ached.

Up close, Leon saw details: the man’s slicked back hair was red, strawberry blond really, bright blue eyes lined in black, and full pink lips. Leon’s growl deepened, and his body tensed as a primal urge swept through him.

Fight? Flee? Fuck? Oh, fuck.

“Uh, hi.” The guy held out the card. “Did you send me this?”

He didn’t look dangerous, he looked hopeful. Confused. Delicious.

Leon swallowed. “No. I have one too.” He pulled out his card and held it up.

The man put his half next to Leon’s. “Hey, they match!” He chuckled. “Do you know who sent them?”

“No.” Leon stared at the man for a moment, until even he knew it had become awkward.

The man frowned, then put the card back in his pocket. “Oh, okay. My name’s David. David Reese.” He stuck out his hand.

Leon’s gaze shifted from face to hand. He wanted to knock his hand out of the way, push him against the wall, and just inhale. Breathe him in. Lick him.

“Leon Manx.” He shook hands. Warmth, a strong grip, and skin-on-skin contact just heightened the urge. “I don’t know who sent it either.” He let his hand fall away.

“Well, whoever it was, he or she must know us.” David rubbed his cheek, the one with the fake scars, but they didn’t smear off.

“Why?”

“Because, look at us. You’re a big game hunter and I’m a lion tamer? Sort of the same thing, isn’t it? You’d have to know us to guess we’d wear similar costumes.”

“I guess.” Leon couldn’t figure this out. His mind reeled between what he thought and what he felt and what he wanted. David wasn’t a threat. So what was he?

“I think someone is matchmaking.” David shrugged.

“Matchmaking?”

“Do you always repeat what people say? Are you trying to buy time? Trying to…” David exhaled. “Look, let’s get this straight right now. I’m gay. I’m single. And yes, the scars are real. They don’t wash off. So if it’s a problem, let’s just say goodbye.” An aching bitterness tinged his words. He waited for Leon to answer, brow furrowed, and hope no longer in his eyes.

David stepped back to turn away, Leon grabbed his wrist. “I’m gay. Single. Don’t care about the scars.” He tightened his grip, unwilling to let this man go, but completely baffled as to why.

David stared at him, mouth open, and head tilted to the side. “Okay.”

“Okay.”

They stared at each other for a long moment. Leon could feel David’s heartbeat on the inside of his wrist, pounding fast and hard. He glanced down at the noticeable bulge in David’s pants. Wanted to stroke…

“So Leon, what do you do?” David swallowed.

“I’m in private security.”

“That must be very interesting.”

“It has its moments. You?”

“Nowhere near as exciting. I’m a college professor at Tulane and work part time at the Audubon Zoo.”

Leon pushed David’s hand away as if touching him burned. “The zoo?” Warning bells pealed and Leon stepped back. Hatred of the cages, the iron and steel bars, the cramped quarters, warred with his desire for this delicious stranger.

David frowned. “Yeah. I help out with the big cats. Lions. Tigers. Jaguars and panthers. I’m a zoologist. Is that a problem?”

Leon’s didn’t know what to say; he’d been thrown off kilter by this entire meeting.
So that’s why he smelled so good. He worked with cats. That was good. But he worked at the zoo. That was bad.

“Well, fuck me,” he muttered. This wasn’t what he’d thought would happen tonight.

“If you want, but I prefer to bottom.” David smiled, slow and a bit shy and incredibly sexy. “I can use this whip, you know.”

Leon growled.

“Okay, no whip.” David chuckled. “Hey, do you know you’re growling?” He stepped forward and put his hand on Leon’s chest, over his heart. “I can hear it beneath the music, like the bass drum in a band.”

“Yeah. I do that. Habit.” Leon knew what habit he’d like to form, the one where he was fucking David and taking him over and over.

David bit his bottom lip. “Sexy. Do you purr too?”

“Yeah.” Leon put his hand over David’s, trapping it against him. He gazed into David’s eyes and saw a spark of hope rekindled. He liked it. He licked his lips watched as David’s gaze tracked the path of his tongue, and liked the hunger showing in the man’s eyes.

“Yeah.”

“Turns you on?” Leon leaned in, putting his face near David’s cheek.

“God, yes.” David pressed against him, rubbing their cheeks together. The feel of stubble against stubble got Leon harder.

Leon slid his hands around David’s back and pulled them deeper into the shadows of the room. David moaned as Leon massaged David’s firm ass and pressed his hard cock against David’s. He spun them around and shoved David against the wall, where he’d wanted the man since the first moment he’d seen him.

He stared into David’s eyes, searching for answers to questions he hadn’t even formed yet. They were of the same height, but David was more muscled.
David whispered, “Here?”

“Now.” Leon pressed his lips to David’s and the man opened for him without being asked. Their tongues tangled, fought, and David relented, his body slumping fully against the wall, as Leon rubbed against him. David’s soft moan and total surrender hit Leon hard, like the most potent aphrodisiac.

He wanted nothing more than to kiss David, touch him, mouth his cock, make him feel pleasure over and over.

Leon slipped his leg between David’s thighs, making their contact more compete. He pushed his cock against David’s and got a groan for it. He liked the way it sounded, deep in David’s chest, a bit desperate, a little surprised, and all sexy.

He rutted against the other man, seeking pleasure and something more, trying to connect on a deeper level, something he’d not wanted in a long time. Not since he was younger and foolish. Before he’d learned about deception and betrayal and about keeping his secrets, even from his lovers. Especially from his lovers.

David broke their kiss. “Not here.”

“Your place.” No way would Leon bring this man to his place. He might want to fuck him, but he had to keep his head about letting David get too close. “How far?”

“Fifteen minutes.” David leaned his head back, a silent encouragement for Leon to nip along his throat. Leon obliged, working the tender skin on David’s throat with the rough of his tongue.

“Close enough.” Leon gave him a final nip, pulling a surprised “ow” from David.

“Did you drive?”

“Yes. We’ll take my car.” Leon wanted to be in control of this situation.

“Sure. You can drop me back at my car in the morn—after.” David looked at him. Leon read the vulnerability in his eyes.

“In the morning.” Leon didn’t know why he said it, but knew David needed to hear it, and Leon wanted to make David feel…safe? Wanted? He gave David a smile, the first time he’d truly felt like it all evening.

Leon took David’s hand and dragged him through the room to the front door. They stood to the side as it opened and more people, laughing and in costumes, entered. Almost midnight and the party was in full swing.

He’d come here tonight ready to fight for his life, if needed. Instead, he had a terrifying feeling the words on his invitation might have been true.

David matched Leon step-for-step as they went down the stairs to the walkway, and then down the block to his car. Leon opened the passenger door, David got in, and watched as Leon trotted around to the driver’s side.

The overhead light stayed on while Leon put his key in the ignition.

Leon hadn’t seen David in full light, hadn’t really seen the scars. He turned to Leon and let him take a long look. David could see the color of his eyes, not the brown he’d thought in the dark room, but a curious mix of amber and green.

David bit his lip. “You sure you want to do this?”

“Yes. Nothing’s changed.”

“I just thought, the way you looked at me…” He shrugged.

“I looked at you, because you’re even sexier in the light.”

David couldn’t suppress a smile. “Smooth talker, huh?”

“When I need to be.” The light went off and Leon started the car.

David chuckled. “Right. I’ll bet you don’t have to use that talent often.” He gave what he hoped Leon would think was a sexy leer.

Leon snorted. “I don’t use it at all.”

What was that supposed to mean?

“Wow. Now I really feel special.” David looked out the window.

Leon glanced over at him. “Shit.” He pulled over and threw the car into park. “Look.” He took David’s chin in his hand and turned him to look him in the eye. “What I meant was I usually don’t do this.”

“Pick up guys? I don’t think I believe that.” David jerked his chin away. “Maybe you should take me back to the party.”

“Fuck.” Leon slid his hand around the back of David’s neck and pulled him over, despite David’s resistance. “Look at me.” He put his forehead against David’s. “Man, I don’t get involved. Ever. I don’t go home with anyone. Ever.”

David sighed, brushed his lips over Leon’s mouth. “So you’re saying you’re breaking your rules with me.”

“Something like that.” Leon kissed him, sliding his tongue deep into David’s mouth. They traded kisses and then parted. Leon put the car into gear. “Where to?”

David knew he meant back to the party or to David’s place. “My place.”
“Good.”

David gave him directions as Leon drove.

David’s House
David opened the door with Leon breathing down his back. The man hadn’t taken his hands off David since they’d gotten out of the car. It turned David on that Leon was turned on by him.

Leon pushed him inside, kicked the door closed, and buried his hands in David’s shirt. He dragged David to him, taking his mouth like a man possessed, eating at him, and licking the inside of David’s mouth with his oddly raspy tongue.

David groaned. At this rate, they might not even make the bedroom. Leon yanked the whip off David’s shoulder and over his head, tossing it away from them with a growl.

Then they humped at each other, desperation oozing out of their pores like too much garlic. David gasped when Leon finally released his mouth.

“Fuck. You taste good.” Leon growled again as he rubbed his face against David’s neck.

David chuckled. “I’m like catnip, huh?”

Leon jerked away. “What? Why did you say that?”

“No reason. Just a cat reference. I make a lot of them. You know, zoologist. Big cat lover.” David shrugged.

“Oh, right.” Leon looked relieved.

Perhaps he’d hit close to home…no, it couldn’t be. That was just nuts.

“Bedroom?” David wiggled his eyebrows.

“Hell, yeah.”

David led the way down the hall toward the back of the house.

“You got stuff?” Leon followed on his heels.

“Lube? Condoms? Sure. What gay man doesn’t keep a supply for just such an occasion?” Even if David hadn’t used them in months. Okay, six months, but who’s counting? Shit, were they still good?

Leon grunted. David guessed it was his way of laughing. The man was sort of a tight ass. Wonder if he has a tight ass? David laughed.

“What?”

“Nothing.”

Leon grabbed him. “Something funny?” There was that growl again. Leon acted almost like an animal, maybe a big cat, sleek and powerful. And his tongue, that soft rasp. David had never felt anything like it, not on a man, anyway.

David turned. Leon looked pissed. “Yeah. You.”

“What?” Leon’s voice lowered, and his eyebrows shot up, telling David not many people joked around with this man.

“You’re kind of a tight ass, you know. I give you some of my best quips and all you do is grunt and growl. Where’s your sense of humor?”

Leon opened his mouth to say something, but closed it with a snap.

David stepped up to him. “Look. I like to joke around. Laugh. Tease. It’s just who I am. Sort of a defense mechanism.”

“Oh. I guess I don’t laugh much.” Leon looked down at his feet.

“You’re really intense. I get that with your line of work. But seriously, dude, you need to lighten up.” And with that David grabbed Leon’s crotch and gave his balls a little squeeze.

Leon’s eyes widened. Then he closed them and moaned. “Okay. Got it. Laugh at your jokes.”

David ran his hand down Leon’s arm. “Good. Now, let’s get naked and get busy.”

David had no idea what made him so bold, but Leon made him feel secure, sexy, and safe enough to be himself.

Leon nodded. “Don’t have to ask me twice.” He unbuttoned his jacket, shrugged out of it and dropped it on the floor. His look dared David to match him.

David undid the holster and it fell to the floor. Unwrapped the sash and dropped it. Then he pulled the shirt over his head and stood bare-chested in front of Leon.

Leon grinned. “Damn, you’re fine. Want to fuck you so bad.”

“Want you bad too.” David turned and jerked his head toward the bedroom. “In my bed.”

David walked down the hall, unbuttoning his pants. Behind him, the sound of Leon’s zipper going down made David’s cock fill in anticipation.

He turned on the light. “Bed sweet bed.” He waved his hand at his queen sized bed. Thank God he’d made it this morning. He wanted to make a good impression on Leon and he had a suspicion Leon would look down on a slob. And what Leon thought of him was important, which was really odd, since they’d met less than two hours ago.

All of this was odd, but he was going with it.

Leon sat and pulled off his boots. David sat in the wing chair across from him and tugged his boots off also. Then he stood and took his pants off.

“You wore a jockstrap?” Leon leered at him.

David looked down. “Yeah. No lines.”

“Fuck that’s hot.” Leon got out of his pants, and naked, stalked over to David. He wrapped a finger under the strap and jerked it down, exposing David’s eager cock.

“That’s even hotter.” Leon looked into David’s face.

“Look who’s talking. You’re…God, you make me hard.” David groaned as Leon pulled down the strap to cup David’s balls.

“Bed?”

“Bed.”

David climbed on and stretched toward the side table. He opened the drawer and got out the lube and condoms. “I haven’t done this in a while, so be gentle with me.” He batted his eyelashes and waited for Leon’s reaction.

Leon laughed. “Oh, baby, I’m going to treat you so fine.”

David winked. “See, your ass isn’t so tight after all.”

“Not as tight as your ass, I hope.”

David rolled over, got on his knees, and looked over his shoulder. “Find out.” He slapped his butt cheek in an open invitation.

Leon knelt on the bed behind him, ripped open a condom, and rolled it on over his stiff, beautiful dick. David licked his lips, eager for that first press of cockhead to his hole. The touch of heat. The pressure growing until his muscles gave way to the slick slide of cock inside him.

His lover squirted lube onto his fingers and slicked up his cock. He added more to his fingers and painted David’s hole. David moaned and leaned back, ready to be breached. “Forget the foreplay. I’m ready. Fuck me.”

“Easy, baby.” Leon petted David’s ass. “Want to take this slow and easy. You said be gentle, remember?”

Damn the man, did he have to choose now to show David he could joke?
“I lied. Hard and fast. What I meant was –“

Leon grabbed David’s hips and pressed in. David’s backdoor collapsed, and Leon’s cock entered him, cutting off David’s ability to speak.

“Oh, fuck, you’re so tight. So hot.” Leon closed his eyes and threw his head back as his body shuddered. His fingers dug into David’s skin.

“You feel good, Leon. So hard and thick. Fuck me good.” David loved the way Leon stretched him. Leon leaned over him, pressing his chest against David’s back, locking his arms around David’s chest, capturing him.

Leon buried his head against the back of David’s neck, licking him, as he fucked David at his leisure. The sensations drove David wild, the slow in and out, Leon’s breath hot on his neck, his voice whispering soft words in David’s ear.

Leon’s words gave him away, allowed the vague suspicions in David’s head to slide into place and finally make sense.

Leon swallowed in an attempt to keep his feelings for this man, this stranger, deep inside him. Instead, they bubbled to the surface, along with words he thought he’d never say.

“Mine,” he whispered as he fucked David. God, his dick fit inside David perfectly, as if they’d been meant to pleasure each other. “Mine.” As if he’d lost control of his mouth, the words came out like punctuations to his thrusts.

David groaned, taking Leon’s thrusts and asked for more as he pushed back. Leon let go of David’s waist and grabbed his hand. They joined fingers as their bodies locked together, slick and hot.

“Mate.” Leon closed his eyes, unable to stop the flow of words as he hammered into David. “My mate.” He bit David on the back of his neck, hanging on as he rapid fired his dick into his man.

David shuddered beneath him. “Leon. My lion.”

With those words, Leon tasted his mate’s blood and spilled his seed, frozen as he filled the condom.

David gasped, and Leon smelled the heady scent of David’s cum, felt the man shudder through his orgasm as it pulsed around Leon’s buried cock.

Both of them groaned as Leon slid out, and he fell to lie by David’s side. David collapsed onto the bed. Their harsh panting and the smell of sex filled the air.

“You bit me.”

“Had to.”

“I know.”
Leon turned his head to look at David. “Fuck. When did you figure it out?”

David ran his hand down Leon’s chest. “I kept thinking something was familiar about you at the party, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. How we were attracted to each other.

Your hair looks like a mane, you know.” He tugged on a strand of Leon’s hair. “You smelled me. Your tongue is like a cat’s, and you growl. A lot.”

“So, I growl, smell you, and have a rough tongue?”

“Yeah.” David laughed. “And the way you just took me–classic big cat mating.”

Leon sighed. “I never meant for you to know my secret.”

“Are you going to kill me?” David rose up on his elbow to look Leon in the eye.

Leon rolled onto his side to face David. “Do you care? If I’m a…”

“Shifter? Is that what you call it? I’ve heard of it, you know. When you work with big cats you hear all sorts of stories. Legends. Fables.”

“Do you?”

“Care? Fuck no. It’s sort of cool.” David laughed. “It’s like were made for each other.”

Leon laughed, and then sobered. “Never thought I’d find you.”

“Never thought anyone like you would want me.” David raised his hand to touch his scars.

“Because of those?” Leon shook his head. He cupped David’s cheek in his hand. “How did it happen?”

“Made a mistake. I had just started working at the zoo.”

“What do you do there?”

“Mostly I help with the cats, make sure they’re healthy, not just physically, but mentally. They need stimulation. I work with the keepers to insure they use methods like hiding food, making them hunt for it, that sort of thing.”

“Details.” Leon cocked his head.

David sighed, fell backward, and stared at the ceiling. “I was helping them move one of the jaguars for a medical checkup. Thought the cat was knocked out. It wasn’t. I was too close, it lashed out.” He waved his hand at his face.

“What happened to the jag?”

“Nothing. He was fine, checked out good.” David looked at him and smiled. “I’d never let anyone punish a cat for doing what comes naturally and for my mistake.”

“I get that.”

“So, you trust me with your secret?”

“I have to. You’re my mate, remember?”

“Yeah. Not sure what that means, though.”

“Well, it means you’re mine. I’m yours.”

“So, it’s like we’re married?”

“Sort of. I guess. Never had a mate.”

David rolled back and sat up. “So, uh, do you, uh, love me?”

Leon mirrored his mate. “Can I be honest?”

“Yeah. Please. ‘Cause I got nothing here.”

“I don’t know if I love you. I know I want you. Know now I’ve found you, I can’t let you go. Know if you refused me, it’d be the end of me.”

“Okay. And for the record, back at you.” He chuckled, and Leon joined in.

“What? Were you expecting a declaration of undying love? We just met.” Leon rolled on top of David, pinning him down with his body and his hands on David’s wrists.

“So…” David sobered. “Does this mean we’re doing breakfast?”

“Yeah.”

“Good. You’re buying. We can start getting to know each other.” David reached up and kissed Leon.

“Good.”

“By the way, you’re going to have to meet my parents. Ask my dad for my hand,” David deadpanned.

“Joking, right?” Leon raised his eyebrows.

“Right. You’re getting better at the teasing thing, dude.”

“I’m a fast learner.” Leon pressed his semi-hard dick into David’s belly.

“Me too. I’ve learned that means my lion wants to go again.” He arched up, pushing back.

“Smart man.”

Love In The Cards – The Star by Christy Gissendaner

The party was already in full swing.

Teetering on hooker heels, Eve Montgomery pushed her way through the crowd. Several partygoers stopped to gape at her costume … or lack thereof. A mix-up at the costume shop forced her to make do. Instead of the leafy bikini she’d ordered, she’d ended up with only a fake plastic snake and a shiny red plastic apple. Not very much of a costume.

Luckily she was an artist, if a bit of an underpaid one, and a stroke of ingenuity led her to paint on her costume. It was a very Playboy bunny thing to do. Although she’d sworn never to take her clothes off again to make a buck, five hundred dollars for a few hours of dancing was an offer she couldn’t refuse.

Unfortunately it was hard as hell to paint one’s own backside, so she’d had to call in a favor from a friend. Shazzer was a decent painter, more than capable of slapping on some green paint and glitter to cover Eve’s ass.

“Knock ’em dead, girl.” With a wave, Shaz headed for her own cage.

Eve gazed at the other three cages, seeking the one she was supposed to dance in. With a groan, she caught sight of a very familiar male body cavorting a few feet above her head.

Adam London was the bane of her existence. He lived a few doors down from her and made no secret of the fact he found her attractive. When she’d first come to New Orleans after hanging up her Vegas showgirl heels, he’d tried to get her to dance for his company. She’d gone to a few performances. The productions were much too sexy and avant-garde for her liking. Tits and ass had made her career, but she doubted she had the acting chops needed to join The London Company.

The party’s host had sent out invitations to all partygoers, even the staff. She’d received a torn half of a tarot card, The Star. Upon arriving at the party, the dancers had been ordered to find their match for the night. What sort of fucked up luck had made Adam draw her card? She wasn’t into astrology or voodoo mumbo jumbo, and she was sure something other than Fate was responsible for Adam getting the matching half of her card.

The cage was tiny, barely four feet wide. There was no hope of avoiding him in such close quarters. Gritting her teeth, she climbed the steps leading to the cage and slid inside.

Adam whistled after a full six seconds of checking her out. “Sexiness.”

His British accent, combined with a firmly muscled body, was the stuff dreams were made of. Just not her dreams. She’d been burned way too many times in the past to fall for a handsome face.

She put a hand against his chest … his sculpted pecs! … and made him keep his distance. “Listen, London. I’m only here to work. Keep your hands to yourself, capisce?”

His bluer-than-blue eyes twinkled. “Adam and Eve, huh? Very apropos. Are you here to tempt me to sin, darling?”

“You could only be so lucky,” she said with a laugh.

Turning away from him, she wrapped her hands around the bars of the cage and sent a sultry smile toward the crowd. A man in a mask and feathered wings caught her eye. Then his gaze moved to man behind her and lingered. Figures.

Huffing, she glanced over her shoulder. “Seriously, dude. Is there anyone immune to your good looks?”

“So, you do admit I’m good-looking?” Adam’s hand slid around her waist and pulled her toward him.

The feel of his tight body against her bare skin sent shivers racing down her spine. He bent down, his cheek resting on the mass of upswept curls pinned at the back of her head. “These people came to see a show. I can’t have you dancing way over there.”

She arched her spine, which brought her bottom into shocking contact with his crotch. Only a tiny slip of felt leaves and imitation fur covered his manhood. Gasping at his size, she tried to move away.

He clamped his hand against her hip and held her in place. “That’s it, darling. Keep that up and the crowd just might be fooled into thinking you like me.”

Truth be told, she liked him a little too much. Not that she’d ever admit it to him or anyone. Adam was so far out of her league, it was laughable. While she struggled to make ends meet, rooming with Shazzer and two other girls in one of four units created out of an older house, Adam owned a successful dance company and a large, beautiful home.

“Loosen up,” he whispered. “Just dance. This is your favorite song, isn’t it?”

She didn’t even question how he knew. The catchy beat of the latest Robin Thicke song poured through the speakers. No matter how many changes she went through in life, one thing remained constant. Her love of dancing had carried her through some really rough patches. Although her dream of Julliard had been cut short by a torn Achilles, she’d never given up. Instead of a career in ballet, she’d made a name for herself in Vegas. Not exactly the life her parents had dreamed for her to have, but a successful one nonetheless.

That was until the Vegas revue’s married producer had hit on her one too many times backstage. His wife had caught him attempting to kiss her and that had been the end of her career. Names like homewrecker and whore were hurtful, especially when she was innocent. Not that anyone had believed her.

She’d left Vegas behind and returned home to New Orleans to pursue her second hobby, painting. Unfortunately, it didn’t pay the bills. She supplemented her income with waitressing, but it was still hard to make ends meet. The offer of five hundred dollars had come at just the right time. She’d been worried about making her share of the rent.

So here she was, shaking her ass for all she was worth and pretending the man holding her didn’t turn her on. And damn, was she ever. A costume of paint couldn’t hide her response. Her nipples puckered. The green paint and twirling vines were no match for her body’s reaction.

“When this is over, come home with me.”

His audacity made her gasp. “Is sex all you think about?”

He spun her around and dipped her. He brought her body up. His sexy smile made her knees go weak. “Who said anything about sex?”

Pressed tightly against his oh-so-drool-worthy chest, she struggled to remember the reasons why she shouldn’t get involved with him. Not a single one came to mind. “It’ll never work between us.”

“Why?” He calmly stared at her, his eyes daring her to tell the truth.

“I’m not the type of girl you think I am.”

A dark look crossed his face. “I’m probably not what you think either.”

She shivered at his expression. The noise of the music and the crowd seemed to dim. Staring at him, an irresistible attraction pulled her. Why did she keep fighting it?

*

After sixty minutes of dancing, Eve took a break. Adam, who hadn’t even broken a sweat, joined her. Carefully making her way through the sea of guests, she went out a side door that led onto the verandah. For October, the weather was pleasantly mild, which was a good thing considering her lack of clothing.

“The party seems to be a success,” Adam remarked. He propped a hip on the railing and turned to face her.

She kept her distance, stretching her arms and legs to relieve the tired muscles. After an hour of dancing with him, her body hummed with unfulfilled desire. He was sex personified, lounging in his barely-there loincloth.

Moonlight peeped through the overhanging branches and illuminated Adam’s face. A glimmer of white flashed as he smiled.

She blinked. “Are you wearing fangs?”

His smile faded, only to be replaced by an intense look. “Why do you ask?”

She took a step forward, curiosity and an undeniable pull making her gravitate in his direction. “No reason.”

Eve peered at him and wondered if exhaustion had made her imagine the pointy teeth. He smiled again, his canines perfectly human-shaped. Despite the easy smile, his eyes remained guarded.

How could she have missed it? Adam was a freaking vampire.

Everything made sense now. His ageless skin. His seemingly inexhaustible energy. The lack of perspiration. Even her undeniable attraction to him. For centuries, the women in her family had become entangled with vampires, some sort of curse the Montgomery females suffered.

“I’ll be damned,” she whispered.

Adam straightened and reached for her. “What’s wrong? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

Judging from the cemetery across the street, it was quite possible a spirit or two lingered around the mansion. But right now the only paranormal creature she was concerned with stood less than three feet away. “I’ve never seen one of you up close.”

“One of me?” He frowned. His accent grew more pronounced.

She lifted her hand and touched his arm. Curiously warm, as though blood still moved within his veins. Was it possible she was mistaken and he was merely human after all? Her fingertips tingled where their skin met. She had to be right. “You’re a vampire.”

He moved swiftly and clamped a hand over her mouth. “Are you crazy? You can’t go around blurting out nonsense.” He glanced around as if he were worried someone had overheard her.

She tugged his hand away. There was no one but them on the verandah. “It’s not nonsense. You should’ve told me.”

Resignation appeared. “And risk scaring you off?”

Why wasn’t she scared? She should be. Shouldn’t she? “My family has an odd sort of … history with vamps.”

“Really?” Disbelief colored his expression. “What sort of history?”

A blush tinged her cheeks. “I can’t believe I’m going to tell you this.” She put her hands over her eyes and winced. “Both my grandmother and great-grandmother had vampire lovers.”

“I’m intrigued. What happened to them?”

She lowered her hands and shrugged. “They ended up marrying normal men.”

“So, does this mean I have a shot with you after all?”

She chuckled at the hot look he sent her way. “Keep dreaming, Romeo.”

He moved closer. Bending down, he brushed a kiss across her cheek. “Why break with tradition? You know you want to.”

She did. She really, really did. And not just because he was a vampire. She wanted to know what it was like to be with him … with Adam.

Shaking off the lust swamping her, she glanced at the door they’d exited. “We should get back. Break is over.”

She turned to leave. Adam’s whisper of “Coward” haunted her.

* * * *

Several hours later, long after the party guests had left, Eve lingered in the cage. The other dancers had collected their pay and left a few minutes before. A pink and gray dawn peeped through the windows. It was time for her to go, but she sat in the cage and examined the torn half of the card she’d been given. The Star. The image was of a kneeling woman grasping two water urns. Supposedly the card’s meaning offered hope or possibility. Speaking of possibility…

Had Adam already left?

No sooner had she thought of him than he appeared. He leaned inside the cage and hovered over her. “Do you need a ride?”

She’d ridden to the party with Shazzer, who’d ended up leaving with her dancing partner. Not wanting to be a third wheel, Eve had decided to call a cab instead. “I’ll be fine.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. We live on the same street.” He took her hand and hauled her out of the cage. “I promise not to bite.”

A glimpse of fang appeared. She narrowed her eyes in suspicion. “Funny.”

“I thought so.” His fangs retracted as he gave her a slow, sexy smile.

She picked up her bag. A T-shirt and a pair of jeans were stuffed inside. Although she hated to go out in her painted costume, the thought of ruining her favorite pair of jeans was worse. “I’m afraid I didn’t think this costume all the way through.”

Adam’s gaze moved down her body, lingering on her green-tinted breasts and hips. “I can’t say I mind.”

“Of course you wouldn’t.” She rolled her eyes. “I don’t want to ruin your car seat though.”

“You won’t. I have a towel in the trunk.” Looping his arm through hers, he escorted her outside and to his sleek black sports car.

The ride home was mostly silent. When he pulled up in front of his large house, she didn’t question him. She knew what he wanted. The only question was whether she was prepared to give it to him. Not wanting to barge in on Shazzer and her male guest, it wouldn’t hurt for her to visit with Adam for a little bit.

“I’m not sleeping with you,” she pointed out as he opened her door.

Early morning sunlight gilded his dark hair. She’d learned from her grandmother that the whole no sunlight thing was a myth. Thank goodness. The last thing she wanted was to see him burned to a crisp in his driveway.

He seemed amused. “Sleeping is the last thing on my list right now.”

She strolled into his house, pausing briefly to admire the elegant furnishings. What in the world was she doing in Adam’s house, practically butt naked, at six o’clock in the morning? Pushing aside her reservations, she moved toward the living room. Then she remembered the paint. No way was she sitting on his plush white leather sofa.

“Would you like a shower?”

The sound of his voice directly behind her made her jump. “You just want to get me naked.”

He winked. “Of course.”

She looked down at the paint covering her breasts. Sweat and hours of dancing had smeared it. She looked a mess. “I suppose a shower would be nice.”

“Follow me.”

The bathroom was gorgeous. She ignored the king-sized bed in the room they passed through. It had to be the master.

“Here you go. I’ll go get your bag.” He handed her a fluffy white towel and then left her alone in the massive marble-lined bathroom.

The water ran green for several minutes as she scrubbed at the paint. Sudsing up her hair and body, she washed the remainder of the glitter away. The expensive shampoo and soap softened her skin, even though it made her smell like a dude. The enticing scents of citrus and sandalwood reminded her of Adam.

After she’d showered and dried off, she cracked open the door. “Adam?”

He entered the room, carrying a small pile of clothing. He dropped her shirt and jeans on the bed and stared until she felt self-conscious. He must’ve taken a bath in another bathroom. Gone were his costume and the faint traces of glitter that had transferred from her body to his during their dancing. Nylon shorts were all he wore, leaving his delectable chest bare.

Gripping the towel around her body with one hand, she patted her damp hair. “What’s wrong? Did I miss some paint?”

“No.” He strode forward. Nothing but mere inches separated their bodies. The heat in his eyes consumed her. Passion, desire, whatever synonym she could think of, flared to life.

She wanted to be with him.

Opening the door fully, she stepped across the threshold and fully into his bedroom. Her fingers curled into the soft cotton and slowly undid the knot she’d tied across her breasts.

Adam grew quiet, his gaze locked on her chest. She opened the towel, baring her body. Without missing a beat, he stepped forward and wrapped his arms around her waist. The towel dropped to the ground as she clung to his shoulders.

The kiss was hot and openmouthed, everything she’d dreamed it could be.

Nothing mattered but skin and sensation as she glided closer. Broad shoulders, firm biceps, tight pecs. She explored his body with the palms of her hands, memorizing every part of his upper body.

Adam did the same as he traced his hands over her breasts and waist. Then he slipped his fingers lower, seeking out the warmth between her legs. She gasped. Her hips moved in tandem with his questing fingers.

She slid her hand down and palmed the heavy weight of his cock through the nylon he wore. She curled her fingers around his length and slowly stroked up and down. Adam dropped his head onto her shoulder and groaned. A second later, she felt the tiny prick of his fangs on her neck. Her knees went weak.

Sweeping her into his arms, he carried her to the massive bed and placed her upon it. She sank into the feather-soft mattress. Sweetly scented sheets and the intoxicating feel of him covering her body made her mind spin wildly out of control. What was she doing? Was she really about to have sex with Adam?

Oh, fuck yes. Nothing short of an atomic bomb could make her leave his bed now.

“I’ve dreamed of this. Dreamed of you,” Adam whispered as he cupped her breasts. He lowered his head, his tongue flicking out to lave one nipple. His fangs scratched the tender surface, but not enough to draw blood.

Would he drink from her? The thought intrigued her more than it scared her. She’d overheard her grandmother say that giving her blood to her vampire was better than any orgasm she’d ever had.

Adam moved lower and traced a path down her belly with his wicked tongue and then further south. She held her breath as he gently parted her pussy lips and rolled his tongue across her clit.

“Holy shit.” Her fists curled into the sheets in an effort to keep from screaming.

He lapped at her sex, his tongue teasing all the sensitive spots around and inside her opening. Moving her hips restlessly, she yearned for more. She was close to coming when he turned his head and sank his sharp fangs into her thigh. He sucked and she felt it all the way to her toes.

“Oh. Ohhh!”

He fingered her clit as he drank from her thigh. The sensation of her blood moving through her veins and the tickle of his fingers sent her over the edge. Crying out, she came hard. Harder than she’d ever dreamed possible.

She was limp and trembling from her climax as he lifted his head. His fangs glinted, a dark look of bloodlust in his eyes. With disheveled hair and flushed cheeks, he was sex personified.

“More,” she whispered. “I want more.”

Adam smiled. The sight of his sharp canines sent a delicious shiver down her body.

In a blur of motion too quick for her eyes to track, he moved off the bed. He came to a stop beside the bed and shoved off his shorts. Adam was larger than any of her previous sexual partners. A thrill of anticipation shot through her.

Climbing back into bed, he covered her body with his. His hard, lean physique fit perfectly against her soft dips and curves. It was as if they’d been made for each other. Perhaps they had been. Who knew what sort of odd magic was at work?

Softly kissing her lips, he nudged her chin up until she met his gaze. The emotion in his blue eyes made her suddenly feel like weeping. “Tell me you won’t regret this.”

It was eerie how well he knew her. With most of her other lovers, she’d known it was a mistake to sleep with them. If he’d asked her the same question thirty minutes ago, her answer would have been different. But now, she knew it was the right thing to do.

“I want to be with you.” Her heart melted as he threaded their fingers together. “I won’t regret it.”

He kissed her again. A bit of tongue came into play and soon she was breathless from the dizzying effect. His cock moved against her mound. His naked cock. “Condom,” she gasped out.

“It’s not necessary, but I can wear one if you prefer. I can’t impregnate you or transfer disease.” He planted tiny kisses to the corner of her mouth. “Your call.”

If there was no possibility of harm, she saw no reason to use one. “Forget I asked.”

He re-positioned himself between her legs. Easing his steely cock inside her, he urged her to wrap one leg around his waist. She gasped as he slid inside. The width of his cock stretched her wide open. A delicious tingling came from their joining.

At first, he went slowly. It took her some time to adjust to his size. Once she had, the tension left her body and she clung to him. She felt boneless, all her senses engaged by the sensation of him inside her.

“The things I want to do to you,” he whispered into her ear. “You can’t imagine the many ways I want to fuck you.”

She came apart at his naughty words. Crying out, her hips lifted and cradled his cock. His thrusts came harder and faster. The bed frame knocked against the wall as he fucked her. She clung to his shoulders, the thin line between pain and pleasure driving her close to the edge again. Was it possible for her to come a third time?

With a harsh groan, Adam reached his peak. He thrust into her and held still as pulses moved up and down the length of his shaft. The tiny reverberations nearly made her come, but her orgasm remained just out of reach. Her body was too exhausted.

Adam’s gaze flicked to her face. Worry etched across his handsome features. “I’m sorry. I didn’t hurt you, did I?”

“Don’t you dare apologize for the best sex of my life.” She cuddled against him as he moved to lie next to her.

“The best?” His eyebrow cocked. “I’ll be sure to top it next time.”

“Can’t wait.” She yawned, suddenly tired despite her desire to remain awake.

Adam tenderly kissed her forehead. “Get some sleep. I’ll be here when you wake up.”

“Hope and possibility,” she murmured against his hard chest.

“Hmmm?” His arms tightened around her.

“The tarot card. I think I like our fortune.” Closing her eyes, she went to sleep, dreaming of the endless possibilities to be had with one sexy vampire.

Love in the Cards – Two of Cups

Love in The Cards (small)

Two of Cups

By Parker Kincade

Mason hated the desert.

Other than being hot as the devil’s ass crack, he swore he’d never be rid of the sand that had worked its way into his skin. From the tiny grains that snuck into his boots each day to the dusting he swallowed off his coated lips each time he’d managed to stop long enough to eat. Hell, cut him and he’d probably bleed the shit.

One thing was for sure―he’d never long for a vacation on the beach again.

Under the cover of darkness, Mason dug in his heels and pushed himself up and over the jutted rock formation. He rolled to his belly and snaked around until he could see the roof of the compound below.

It had all come down to this.

He’d given up his life, his future, the woman he loved beyond measure—all because of the evil fuck bedded down in the building below.

Omar Travinskov was the scum of the earth as far as Mason was concerned. He traded in drugs, women, and children, and used all three at his leisure. Each time Mason, and the team of special operatives he’d been assigned to, had caught up to Omar, the bastard would slip through their fingers. Over and over.

For eight fucking years.

Slippery motherfucker had connections all over the world. Men and women who were either too stupid to care, or too scared to say no. The fact that Omar had run here, to the middle of the Afghan desert, had caused Mason’s bosses some concern. With the financial backing Omar could provide, he could prove to be real trouble in this part of the world.

Omar had probably believed the war in this area would render him invisible, thought no one would bother with him here. He was about to get a rude awakening.

Literally.

Mason felt no guilt for what his team was about to do—what he was about to do―because it was his job to get the ball rolling, so to speak. The only life Omar valued was his own, and Mason was more than willing to rid him of that miserable asset.

“Yo, Steele. You taking a nap over there, bro? We go in five.”

The voice in Mason’s comm link tickled his ear. He raised his middle finger into the air, knowing he’d be seen through the scope Jace, the team’s spotter, used. “Bite me, slick. We could go in two and I’d be ready.”

Mason was an expert in explosives. Setting the charges had been the easy part. The hard part would be holding his position while the others went in. He wanted to be down there, protecting the backs of the men who’d become his brothers, but his job was no less important than theirs. He’d placed several of the small, lightweight demolition devices he’d developed over the last eight years. Timing was everything with these little babies, and he had to be the one to detonate.

“Let’s finish this, boys,” came the voice of their team leader, followed by a round of various whispers of affirmation. The sense of closure in the air was palpable. They all knew this was it. They had him. Dead or alive, Omar was theirs tonight.

Then they were going home.

Mason was more than ready to see if he could salvage the life he’d left behind.

My beautiful Kenna.

Eight long years.

His lip twitched as he pulled a device from his pocket; he caressed the warm, plastic cover with affection. This little baby would be his salvation, in more ways than one.

“Let’s do this.”

* * * *

“Miss Blackwell?”

Mac paused from dipping amaretto-soaked cherries in white chocolate and glanced over her shoulder. “Yes?”

“Delivery.” The young man indicated a garment bag draped over his arm and large envelope in his hands.

She shook her head. “I think you have the wrong—”

“Makenna Blackwell? Owner of Private Nights Catering?”

She nodded slowly. “That’s me.”

He held the items out. “Delivery.”

“What the…” It was all she could manage as the kid shoved the items into her arms and promptly made his way out of the kitchen.

Rick, her business partner and dearest friend, grinned and moved in beside her. “I think someone has a secret admirer.”

Mac set the garment bag and envelope aside. “Don’t you have work to do? Those figs aren’t going to cut themselves, you know.”

He picked up a knife. “Rumor is, each invitation includes a tarot card. Half of a tarot card, actually. The invitee is supposed to find the person with the other half of their card, and that person will serve as their date for the evening. Isn’t that a fantastic way to break the ice? Meet new people?”

“Sounds risky.” She turned the invitation over in her hand, testing the weight … stalling. Why the hell would she be invited to a party she was catering? She had no interest in dating, let alone hooking up with anyone. It wouldn’t be fair. She loved another man, and she was done pretending that she didn’t.

Mason Steele―the man who’d taken her virginity when she was sixteen and loved her more fiercely than any man had since. He’d left for boot camp the day after he’d made love to her. The next two years consisted of stolen moments during his weekend leaves. They’d made plans. She’d expected to spend her life with him. She’d believed the fight they had the last time they’d spoken would be just like the others. They would cool off and then spend hours making it up to each other. Mason always made the making up more than worth the argument.

Time does funny things to one’s memory. Mac couldn’t even remember what the fight had been about. But she did remember that had been the last time she’d heard from him.

In her heart, she’d believed there had to be a reasonable explanation for his silence. He loved her. She’d been young—they both had been—but she’d never doubted what they had together. A love like theirs changes a person.

It sure as hell changed her. She’d never been able to find another man who even came close to making her feel what Mason made her feel. Lord knew she’d tried.

After a year of jumping every time the phone rang, she’d had enough. She’d picked herself up, moved from her small town in Alabama, and attended culinary school in New York. It was there she’d met Rick. He’d been so good to her, helping her with the ugly process of moving on. Finished with love, she tried to lose herself in sex, desperate to find what she’d lost after Mason left her. When that had failed, she’d thrown herself into her work, and she and Rick had opened Private Nights Catering.

Sensual delights were their specialty. Their menu had somehow gained the attention of the owner of Dacre House, who had hired them to come to New Orleans to cater his exclusive party.

“Sounds deliciously exotic and fun. Open it, Mac. The host is rumored to know things.”

She wiped her hands. “What? Like psychic, magic stuff?” She broke the seal and pulled out the pristine sheet of white linen. She didn’t care if the host was the king of all things hoodoo, as long as he paid them what he’d promised. She reached back into the envelope and pulled out the tarot card. A whole tarot card.

Huh?

“It’s all very mysterious, don’t you think?” Rick asked. “The man hired us, yet we’ve only talked to his assistant, Mr. Benoit. Stuffy old bastard, that one. So formal and … pale. Anyway, it’s strange, that’s all I’m saying.” He finished slicing the fresh figs.

Mac had already made the dark chocolate cups that would cradle the sweet fruit, and they’d pair it with a small square of fresh honeycomb and a drop of freshly made vanilla whipped cream. Everything they made was small, easy to handle—and a delight for the senses—whether being enjoyed by lovers looking to enhance an experience, or just for the pure sake of enjoyment.

“Okay, smarty pants.” She turned the card in her hand and waved it at him. “Why is this card not torn in half? I’m being invited to go stag? What kind of crap is that? I’m already here, so why all the theatrics? It doesn’t make sense. You wanna start the cream while I put the fig treats together?”

Rick waggled his eyebrows. “You just want to get your fingers into all that honey.”

She barked out a laugh. “Get to whisking. It’ll be good for your muscles.”

“Which card is it?”

“Huh?”

“The tarot card, Mac. Which card did you get?”

“The Two of Cups. You know what it means?”

Rick picked up a whisk and started whipping the cream. “Not in the slightest.”

“Me neither.” Mac set the invitation on the counter and unzipped the garment bag. “There isn’t enough what the hell to cover what I’m feeling right now.” She looked over the slinky red dress, matching shoes, and various accessories.

“Someone obviously wants you at the party.” He held his hand up to stall her. “As a guest, not as the hired help. Come on, Mac. Where’s your sense of adventure? Don’t you think it’s time you stopped pining for a man who’s been gone ten years?”

Eight years, four months, and twelve days, but who’s counting?

“I’m not pining.”

Rick waggled the whisk at her, the newly thickened cream clinging precariously to its silver threads. “That sounds like denial. He’s gone, Mac. You’ve got to stop hanging on.”

It was true she hadn’t had a real relationship since Mason. And she hadn’t planned to have a relationship with anyone but Mason. She had her work, and occasionally—when the need arose—she’d had sex. She did what she’d had to do to get by. Mason would expect nothing less from her, just as she knew—wherever he was—he was doing the same.

Mason would come for her, she knew it. She felt it.

But Rick was right. She’d been working constantly and was due a little fun. Maybe the Dacre House Halloween party was just what she needed.

Mac smiled and kissed Rick on the cheek. “Stop worrying about me. I’ll go, if for no other reason than to prove that I know how to have fun. Besides,” she waved the tarot card, “there’s magic in the air.”

* * * *

She glanced around the room and couldn’t stop the smile from curling her lips. She’d actually done it―made it through the evening as both a guest and an unofficial hostess.

Her stomach had been in knots when she’d first poured herself into the dress. It was expensive and beautifully made, one of the finest dresses she’d ever had the pleasure of wearing.

The cut-out sleeves tied just above her elbows, leaving the length of her arm exposed, and made her feel like a butterfly when she’d extended her arms. The bodice hugged her curves, the low neckline accentuating her breasts, while the short length made her legs look as if they went on forever. The outfit left nothing to the imagination and paired with matching blood-red, three-inch spiked heels—Mac felt sexy and daring.

She’d managed to untangle the mass of chestnut curls that had been forced into submission while she was in the kitchen. She’d pinned the sides up, but left the rest to cascade down her back. It was a treat to be able to let her hair hang loose—as if she were sharing a tantalizing secret, one that normally stayed shoved into a bun.

But that was the point of Halloween, wasn’t it? To explore the world from someone else’s eyes?

Tonight, she’d seen the world from the eyes of a siren. A wicked enchantress. A woman who’d attracted the attention of every man around her. She’d let them touch her gently—on the hand or the arm—as she passed them by. She’d smiled and greeted―played the perfect hostess.

That’s why she’d accepted the invitation, of course. To work. It was her job to make sure the partygoers were happy with the treats she’d provided. If a couple had needed her to instruct them on the proper way to eat honeycomb and figs, then she’d dipped her fingers through the sticky indulgence, spread it tenderly on the woman’s lips, and guided the woman’s escort to his lady’s mouth.

Mac was nothing if not thorough.

Something told her the host would appreciate her hands-on approach, and hopefully, he’d hire her again.

The party had quieted down over the last few hours, some of the attendees making use of the private rooms scattered throughout the house, no doubt. The host hadn’t spared any expense for his carnal playground—from the handsome sultan selling sex toys to the theme-driven rooms—he’d made sure there was something here for everyone to enjoy.

Several couples still danced to a slow and sensual tune. Low murmurs could be heard, giving the room a heartbeat, a steady thud that reverberated up and down Mac’s spine. The atmosphere was charged with sexual energy, so much so she found herself squeezing her thighs together to alleviate the pressure that had mounted with alarming speed.

She’d enjoyed herself immensely—no question—but it was time for her to go. Maybe there was still time to catch the sex toy dude in order to pick up a new trinket or two to use when she got back to her hotel. Anything to relieve the ache that pulsed between her thighs.

“Miss Blackwell.”

Mac turned. “Good evening, Mr. Benoit. It was a lovely party, don’t you think?”

His cadaverous complexion wrinkled into what Mac hoped was a smile. “Yes, dear. Lovely, indeed. Now, if you’ll be so kind as to follow me, I’ll escort you to your room.”

“M-my room?” Mac stuttered. “Mr. Benoit, thank you, but that won’t be necessary. I have a room across town.”

“Nonsense. The owner of Dacre House has made arrangements for you. Come along, dear.”

When she didn’t move, Mr. Benoit clapped his bony hands with impatient glee. “Chop, chop. I’ve left my wife in a … shall we say … precarious position, and I’m sure she’d like me to do something about that as quickly as possible. So please, do hurry. I’ve purchased some delightful items this evening, and I’d like to use them before the sun comes up, if you don’t mind.”

Don’t. Don’t.

She couldn’t stop herself. Of their own accord, her eyes fell to his crotch. Shit. There was no way to undo the fact that she’d now seen the shape of Mr. Benoit’s erection, such as it was, tenting against his slacks.

“By all means…” she mentally rubbed the image from her eyes as she gestured her arm in an “after you” gesture. She sensed arguing would do no good. And what the hell?―she could crash here for a night, “…lead the way.”

They wound through the corridors until Mac was completely turned around.

Mr. Benoit finally stopped. “I believe you’ll find this room to be adequately … stocked. If you should need anything, well, don’t call me. I shall be busy the rest of the night. I expect you shall be as well.” His grin made her uneasy. “Good evening, Miss.”

“Wait, Mr. Benoit. The card.”

His impatience was evident. “The card, Miss?”

“The tarot card that came with my invitation, the Two of Cups? It wasn’t torn in half like the others. Why would the host go through the trouble of a formal invitation if he wasn’t going to give me a partner?”

“Ah, but who says he hasn’t? The Two of Cups signifies a balanced partnership, Miss Blackwell. An equal union, two become one. Perhaps your soul has already been joined with your life mate. It is not for me to say why the host does what he does. Really, dear. You should go on now.” He made a shooing motion with his hands. “The night waits for no one.”

Mac shook her head in wonder as she let herself into the room and locked the door. She rested her forehead and palms against the cool wood, trying to catch her breath. Her creepy, late-night escort, notwithstanding, her body was still ramped up from all the sexual energy in the mansion. Top that off with thoughts of her life mate and her skin was alive with sensation, so much so she tugged and pulled—unable to stand the binding garment a moment more—until her dress pooled at her feet.

Ah, better.

The smooth fabric had been replaced by the chill in the air and her nipples tightened. The dress hadn’t left room for anything underneath―no bra, no panties. God, what a miserable waste. She’d gotten all dressed up, her body primed for action, and all she had were her own fingers to satisfy her.

Her fingers and the fantasy of her dark-haired warrior. The only man who’d ever made her come screaming. And that had been when they were young and inexperienced. What would he be like today, a man full grown?

She groaned and reached between her legs, brushing her fingers over her smooth, wet folds. Her stomach coiled, need coursed through her veins. God, the pressure. She felt like a live wire about to explode.

She turned from the door, her intent to stretch out on the bed and release the inferno raging under her skin. Instead, she froze … and stared into the dark eyes that haunted her dreams.

His smile was brilliant, blinding, and his chest rumbled with an animalistic sound of appreciation. “Hello, my beautiful Kenna.”

* * * *

“Mason.”

His name sounded like a litany as it came from her lips with whispered reverence. She was even more beautiful than he’d remembered. She moved with a graceful sensuality she’d not had when he’d first met her. As if in her maturity, she’d discovered the pleasure of being in her own skin.

And damn, the years had been good to his Kenna.

“Mason?” Her soft, melodic voice was music to his weary ears. “Is it really you?”

The hopeful look in her eyes made his gut clench. He had so much to tell her, so much to explain. It would be damn hard to do while she was naked, but he’d work through it. They’d work through it together.

He’d been relieved to learn Kenna was still single. Unattached, as Mr. Benoit had informed him. Yeah, well, if Mason had his way, her status was about to become attached. Very attached. Carved-in-stone attached.

He approached her slowly, drinking in the beauty of her body. Her full lips and slender neck. Breasts, full and round, and tipped with the prettiest rose-colored nipples he’d ever seen. Her hips flared delicately from a trim waist, leading to the bare, glistening juncture between her legs.

Oh yeah, the years had been very kind. She was fucking gorgeous.

Mason brought her palm to his cheek and closed his eyes as he absorbed the warmth of her skin. “It’s really me, Kenna.”

“Where’ve you been?” Her words were breathy as if under a spell that wouldn’t allow her to engage her vocal chords.

He opened his eyes and looked around, searching for something to cover her. Her body tempted him beyond reason. If he didn’t get a robe on her in the next thirty seconds, he’d do what he’d damn well dreamed of doing every night for the last eight years. And once he was inside her, he wouldn’t stop until they were either exhausted or dead.

“Where?” she asked again.

She cupped her breasts.

God, he’d always loved her breasts, a perfect fit for his hand.

She massaged the tawny globes before rolling the darkened tips between her fingers.

Fuck.

“Deep cover. Special Ops. Couldn’t tell.” He was reduced to three-syllable sentences. Her playful fingers made him crazy. He was as hard as a fucking rock, and if she didn’t stop pulling on her nipples he was going to—

“Take off your clothes,” she demanded.

Mason barked out a surprised laugh. “Kenna, maybe we should talk first.” He could feel his manhood being ripped from his body even as he said the words. The woman he loved demanded he get naked and he wanted to talk. What a pussy.

“No one calls me Kenna anymore. And it’s not your words I need right now. Take your clothes off.”

He narrowed his eyes, trying to reconcile the woman before him with the girl he’d known. She was almost twenty-seven now, sexier, definitely mouthier than when she was younger, and he loved her. Deep in his soul, he knew that hadn’t changed.

“Kenna—”

Her smile was pure sultry vixen. “Still stubborn, I see. Well, there’s something you should know about me, Mason.”

He grinned, enjoying her sass. “And what’s that, sweetheart?”

She gripped the front of his shirt and jerked it from his waistband. “I’m not as patient as I used to be. And I’ve waited for you for a long time.”

The growl that rumbled from his throat was the only warning he gave her. He pulled her into his arms and took the kiss he’d been dying for. She didn’t want to talk? Fine. He could work with that, but they’d talk. Later.

Much, much later.

Her fists gripped his shirt as he deepened the kiss. He shoved his fingers into her hair, the silky strands warm and inviting to his senses. Before he knew it, his shirt was off and her hands were on him. Skin-to-skin. Rubbing, caressing, teasing. She flicked a fingernail across the flat disc of his nipple. His breath caught as she grabbed it and lightly twisted.

Mason felt the tug clear to his balls. He pulled back and raised an eyebrow.

Her cheeks were flushed with arousal. “I like it. Figured you would too.”

“Yeah,” he groaned as she did it again, “I do.”

She took his hand and pulled him toward the king-sized bed. She slid onto the wide surface and sprawled on her back, her smile inviting him to have his way with her. “You’re still wearing pants.”

Mason went to work on his boots and jeans, stripping both off in record time. “I’ve been waiting to touch you for so long, Kenna. I’m not sure where to start.” His hands shook as he climbed onto the bed and stretched out next to her. “God, you’re more beautiful than ever.”

He brushed his fingers down her neck and across her collarbone. She was so soft. Her skin was tanned to a rich hue, accentuating her emerald eyes and long, dark lashes. He covered her mouth with his, swallowing her moan as he feathered his fingertips across her breasts. Need strangled him as he pressed harder, forced her mouth open, and took possession.

When he was done, there wouldn’t be any question about who she belonged to.

She was his, and he’d never leave her again.

She broke from the kiss and reached for the tray on the side table. She picked up some sort of confection, a piece of honeycomb with some kind of fruit thing. “This is what I do now, Mason. Did you know that?”

He watched, mesmerized as she dipped her fingers into the honey and traced the sticky liquid around the swirl of her nipple. “You made that?”

“Well, the bees made this particular treasure. I’ve just found excellent uses for it.” She cradled her breast, lifted it in offering. “Would you like to try it?”

Hell yes. He dragged the flat of his tongue over her tightened bud, lapping up the rich honey before closing his lips around her. “Fuck, Kenna. You taste so good,” he growled. “I’ve missed this, sweetheart.” He nipped and sucked her nipples; first one, then the other. “I’ve missed you so much.”

“I knew you’d come back. I’ve always known, Mason.”

Her words set him free. Made him feel alive. Made him whole.

“You’re mine, Kenna. Always, mine. I need you, baby. I need you now.”

* * * *

“Yes.” His.

Kenna was overwhelmed by sensation. Mason was here. In her arms.

He was here. Kissing the shit out of her.

He’d obviously taken excellent care of himself. His broad shoulders and hard chest were all she could see as he came over her. His biceps pulled tight as he held himself above her, and she didn’t even attempt to resist the urge to trace all the hard lines and ridges. Oh no, her hands worked double-time to make sure she didn’t miss an inch.

She caressed his narrow waist, moved farther down his torso until she could wrap her hand around his thick length. She remembered the velvety steel heat, and how good it felt when he stretched her. And he would stretch her—to her very limits—just as he’d always done.

She traced the bead of moisture that spilled from his crown, slicking it over him with the pads of her fingers, and delighted in the tortured groan that came from his chest. She pulled away from his kiss—her lungs desperate for air, her tongue eager for the taste of him. She brought her fingers up, brushed them over her kiss-swollen lips.

Mason’s eyes flared wide as she sucked his taste off her fingers. His warm, rich scent filled her head, made her dizzy. Her pussy clenched hard, her body more than ready for him.

“Are you going to fuck me, or just play around?”

He grabbed a condom from the bedside table and sheathed himself. “Oh, I’m going to do more than fuck you, Kenna. I’m going to marry you. Someday, I’ll give you babies. I plan to spend the rest of my life with you.”

“Doesn’t sound like you’re asking.”

He shifted until his cock nudged her entrance and then stopped. “I’m not.”

“Do you really want to talk about this now?” She arched her hips, trying to get him to finish what he’d started. “My life is in New York.” She figured she should warn him.

“Then that’s where my life will be.”

“Just like that?”

“Just like that,” he confirmed, his tone dead serious. “I don’t give a shit where we live, Kenna. My life is where you are. My life has always been where you are. I can’t change what I had to do, baby. I hope you can forgive me for that. I’ve secured our future. A tiny little device I’ll tell you about later. I promise, I won’t leave you again.”

“You’ll explain it to me? You’ll tell me what you’ve been doing for the last eight years?”

His expression softened. “What I can, yes. I never wanted to leave you.”

“Are you back to stay? For good?”

“Forever.”

“Then marry me, give me babies, whatever. But, I’m not the same young girl you once knew. I know what I like. I know what I want.”

“And what do you want, sweetheart?”

“You. Now. And don’t even think about slow and easy, Mason. I’m not—” Kenna cried out as he thrust inside her. A surge of pleasure raced through her body, tiny sparks of electricity shooting off in different directions.

God, she’d missed this. The hot, thick penetration that bordered on pain—just enough to keep her on edge, keep her wild for him. She lifted her legs, sharing a groan with him at the change in position.

“Kenna. Jesus.” He stared at her with a hunger and need that matched her own.

She pulled him down and welcomed his weight on top of her as she nuzzled his neck. She loved the way he smelled, tasted. She loved everything about this man. And he was all hers.

She wrapped her legs around him and held tight as he worked his hips, driving his cock deep. Her body was on fire, sweat covering them both by the time her muscles tightened and prepared for release.

Mason’s breath was hot against her as he nibbled the sensitive skin behind her ear. The shadow that always seemed to adorn his face gently scraped her skin. Still she needed more.

“Mason,” she begged.

“I’m with you, sweetheart. Right here with you.”

He shifted to his knees. He hooked her legs with his arms and spread her wide.

Kenna watched as he stared intently at where they were joined, as if he were mesmerized by the sight. “I know what you need, but I don’t want to let go of your legs. You’re so wet, Kenna. So beautiful and delicate. God, you’re burning me alive. I want to feel you explode around me, sweetheart. Touch yourself, Kenna. Give us what we need.”

Kenna didn’t waste any time reaching between them. Her fingers, slick with her own juices, teased over his cock before finding the tight bud of her clit. Tortured nerve endings sizzled with excitement as she stroked.

Their gazes locked and then Kenna flew, her body exploding into a million fragments as wave after wave of pleasure rushed over her.

“I love you, Kenna. Love you so fucking much.” Mason’s voice was dark and rough.

She felt him pulse, felt the rumble in his chest as he came. She tightened around him, her body shuddering hard as the last tremors rolled through her.

This was what she’d dreamed about. Mason, her life mate, keeper of her soul … here … with her.

Forever.

“I love you, too, Mason.” She pulled his face down to hers. “Welcome home.”

Love in the Cards — Two of Wands by Vanessa North

Two of Wands

When I say my best friend Pierre is “not my type,” I don’t mean I’m not interested in completely hot, slightly-fem, Creole twinks with lips for days and the roundest perkiest little asses on the planet. ’Cause that’s kind of exactly my type.

When I say Pierre is “not my type,” I don’t mean I’m not interested in the kind of guys who bring you coffee just because and also sometimes fold your underwear because you left it in the dryer. ’Cause that’s kind of also my type.

When I say Pierre is “not my type,” it’s not because I don’t love it when he comes over a week before Halloween with a bag of feathers, a million yards of tulle, and a sewing machine, strips down to skivvies and says, “Cher, I need you.”

It’s one hundred percent self-preservation. Pierre is not my type.

So, since I’ve known him since grade school and we were the only two out queers at our high school and we roomed on the same hall at Tulane—and not because he’s my type—I let him set up his sewing machine on my kitchen table and I get him a cup of coffee, and bless my own rotten heart, I ask him what’s the matter.

Of course, now that he has room to sew without his roommates giving him a hard time, he hums along with the machine and smiles up at me, all blissed out. Apparently, his needs are met by a little bit of space and whatever he is doing with those feathers.

“I got you an invite to this Halloween party. There’s this whole Tarot theme going on, it’s going to be fabulous, and I need my best wingman.”

“You need the straight-looking jock BFF to make you look extra-precious by comparison to the resident bears?” Oh, hey, where did that bitterness come from? Maybe from last Halloween when he called me to pick him up at a leather club at three a.m.? Or the year before that when we went camping because he was so over masquerade parties, cher. There is nothing even remotely fun about camping in the bayou in October. It’s wet, and it’s—no, really it’s just wet—and fuck, it’s colder than you think it would be. Really, self-preservation dictates I don’t need to be Pierre’s best wingman ever, but most especially not on Halloween.

Of course, when he bats those pretty eyelashes at me and says, “Oh, cher…”

I’m so fucked. And I take the cheesy Tarot-card invite and I nod my head and I pull out my phone and start looking for a costume online.

“This better not be some hoodoo Halloween hookup party.” I grunt as I ponder whether I can recycle that pimp costume from the frat party senior year.

“Oh, no, Jakey. Would I drag you to some tawdry frat party in disguise?” He looks offended, but then giggles. “No, don’t answer that. It’s classy as fuck, I promise. So, do not even think of ordering a costume from one of those online party stores. I have enough feathers for both of us.”

****

Which is how I find myself standing on the sidewalk, wearing a glitter-covered mask and goddamned hand-stitched black wings, staring up at the house in front of us. Dacre House is a typical Garden District mansion done up like a haunted house, the kind of place that reeks of money. How the hell does Pierre score invites to parties like this? And how the hell am I supposed to make small talk with the type of people who come to these parties while my best friend—who is not my type—is on the prowl?

“I will blow you if you don’t make me do this,” I whisper to Pierre. I mean it as a joke, but the annoyed huff he makes tells me he doesn’t share my sense of humor.

His face is all hard in a way Pierre’s face is never hard with me, and it fucking hurts.

“What? Did I say something wrong?”

He shakes off the pissed-off expression, flutters his lashes at me, and smiles. “No, cher, it’s good to know my cock rates somewhere above social interaction in your list of likes and dislikes.”

Now what the hell is that supposed to mean? I’d ask him, but he’s already ten steps ahead of me, disappearing through the front door of the house. I bolt up the steps and follow him, showing my invitation to the dude at the door. The guy tries to tell me something, but I brush him off, not wanting to let Pierre get away before I can apologize.

I manage to catch up to Pierre in the foyer of the stunning house, grabbing his arm with one hand. “Pierre.”

“What?” He looks over his shoulder at me. I’m not sure what his costume is supposed to be exactly, but it involves black leather epaulettes and something about them makes him look dangerous.

“I’m sorry, it was a joke.”

“Whatever.” He brushes off my apology with a dramatic eye roll. “I’m here to have a good time. You can go sulk by the bar if you want, but I am not about to let your bad attitude ruin my night.”

My bad attitude? He’s the one pouting!

But before I can say it, he’s flounced away. Have you ever seen a grown man flounce? It’s sort of heart-wrenching, and now I’m all ashamed, again, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to chase after him to apologize twice in the same night.

Without Pierre in his avant-garde costume to capture my attention, I take in the scene. Bass thumps around me in a sensual beat, and the crowd of masked party-goers throbs with the music. A dancer in a cage catches my eye—he’s wearing next to nothing and his skin glistens with body paint and glitter. His movements walk the line between sensual and sexual. My cock chubs up a little in appreciation of the sight, but I really wish Pierre could see him. This dancer guy might be a pro, but Pierre moves like his spine is made of liquid. Where the dancer walks the line between sensual and sexual, Pierre dancing is pure sex. Pierre would take one look at the cage dancer, smile, and say “that ain’t nothin’, cher” and he’d proceed to put that professional dancer’s skills to shame.

Yeah. Time to go sulk by the bar.

I don’t know when I started resenting my friendship with Pierre, and I don’t want to think about it.

A few people by the bar are sipping something orange and frothy. “What is that?” I ask one of the bartenders, gesturing at the concoction.

“Pumpkin martini.”

I can’t quite suppress a shudder, but the bartender laughs so I guess that’s okay.

“Let me guess, you’re more of a tequila guy?” He leans over the bar, a bit of flirtation in his eyes.

“Maybe. But it’s no fun doing shots alone.” I place my hand on the bar, close enough to his that he’ll move it if he wasn’t flirting.

“Hmmm. Got it.” His hand brushes over mine as he turns to fix a drink. Definite invitation there. He’s cute, with blue eyes and dark hair, a little cleft in his chin. I would normally be all over that.

But he’s not wearing leather epaulettes and feathers and he doesn’t have pouty, sultry lips or move as if his spine is made of liquid. He’s attractive and flirty, and that isn’t enough. So when he hands me a glass of bourbon, neat, and leans in to brush a kiss over my cheek, I pull back so he’s kissing air.

“Sorry,” I mutter, blushing.

“It’s okay. You’re not here to kiss the bartender I guess.” He winks, and I smile back.

“Guess not.” I pay him for the drink, and he smiles again. “So, which card have you got?”

“Card?” What’s he talking about?

“The invitation—the tarot card. Which card?”

Oh. I fish it out of my pocket. It’s half a card, actually. “Two of Wands. Why?”

He laughs. “Didn’t they tell you at the door? The other half of your card is with someone else in the house. It’s kind of a party game. Icebreaker. Go play.”

I shove the card back into my pocket. “Thanks.” I salute him with my glass and turn back to the throbbing music. Sure enough, people are talking and laughing over their half-cards, clearly getting into the game going on all around them.

A petite blonde bumps my arm. I look down and steady her with one hand. She smiles at me from behind a red mask.

“Thanks. I’m Ellen.” Ah. Ellen with a charming smile. There’s something hypnotic, almost fey about her smile. She’s looking at me as if she expects me to say something. When she holds out her hand for a handshake, I blush.

“Jake. Sorry, not so good with the social stuff.”

She laughs. “Thank goodness for icebreaker games then. What card do you have?” She holds hers up so I can see it. Three of Cups.

“Sorry. Two of Wands.” I shrug apologetically.

“Oh well!” She grins back at me. “Kinda funny though, a gay guy getting the Two of Wands.” She giggles at the innuendo.

“You either have the best gaydar on the planet or I know you from somewhere.”

“Nah, I saw the bartender fail to close, but it didn’t look like it was because he was a dude. I’m a people-watcher.”

“So, do you know anything about these?” I hold up the card. I don’t buy into all that fortune-telling business. After six years in New Orleans, I’ve seen some strange shit, but none of it made a believer out of me.

“A little. I mean, this is New Orleans, who hasn’t seen a tarot deck? Three of Cups is about family, being in tune with the people around you. Your card is a little more interesting. It’s about choice. Courage. Two paths before you, and once you go down one, the other is closed forever.”

“Cool.” I smile. “Well, guess I should…” I wave the hand with the card around.

“Yeah. Have fun.” A flash of the fey smile and she disappears into the crowd.

I wander through the house, trying to push aside my ennui and get into the game, but I can’t quite get my head into the right space for this. I didn’t even want to come to the party, I just couldn’t stand the idea of turning Pierre down. Coming to a party like this by himself, he could be hurt, or taken advantage of, or…or he could go home with someone else.

I need to get out of here.

I set my long-empty glass on the nearest horizontal surface and head for the door. If I could just clear my head. I don’t want to leave Pierre alone at the party, but suddenly the house feels oppressive and the music is too loud and the shrill laughter of a woman in the next room is piercing.

Outside, the air—or my mind—is a little clearer. I wrap my feathered wings around me like a jacket and head across the street for the cemetery to walk off some of my angst. Something seems fitting about walking between the crypts when you’re in a shitty mood on Halloween.

It’s a clear night, if a little cold, and moonlight silhouettes a figure sitting on a bench outside a huge crypt. I would recognize that shape anywhere, even without the leather epaulettes. I trudge over.

“Hey.”

Pierre looks up and smiles weakly.

“Don’t you look like an avenging angel?” He gestures at the seat next to him, and I sit.

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t, Jake. It’s my fault. I know you don’t like parties. Our history with Halloween is shit, and it was super selfish of me to impose on our friendship by inviting you to come with me.”

“If it’s a real friendship, your company is not an imposition. I shouldn’t treat you like it is. The thing is, Pierre—”

Oh God. I’m really about to end a decade-long friendship. I swallow hard. Courage.

“Don’t say it.” His eyes glitter in the moonlight. “I don’t think I can handle hearing you hate me. I know the only reason you’re friends with me today is because we were friends yesterday. I don’t want to hear we wouldn’t be friends if you met me tomorrow.”

God, he doesn’t even get it. I shake my head.

“We wouldn’t be friends if I met you tomorrow, Pierre, but not because your friendship isn’t important to me. Your friendship is the most precious thing. But we wouldn’t be friends if I met you tomorrow, because I’d be trying my damndest to make you my lover.”

His little gasp sounds loud against the thud of my heartbeat in my ears, but he doesn’t say anything. He just stares at me, his lips open in shock.

Slowly, slowly…so fucking slowly I could cry, he reaches up and traces the planes of my face with soft fingers. This isn’t the touch of a friend. For the first time ever, Pierre LaVoie is touching me as a lover.

“I thought I wasn’t your type,” he whispers.

“You’re exactly my type.” I catch the side of his thumb with my teeth, then draw it into my mouth with a hard suck.

His eyes flutter closed, and I’m struck by how perfectly fucking gorgeous he is. I let go of his thumb. He surges into my lap just as I reach for him.

Our first kiss isn’t tentative or quiet or even playful.

It’s reckless and hot and explosive. He thrusts against my hip, grinding his cock into me and biting my lip.

God, the things I want.

I grab his legs and pull them apart around mine so he’s straddling me, and then I place a palm on his bare chest and push him back enough to look in his eyes. Ellen’s words come back to me in a rush. Choice. Courage.

“We do this, we can’t go back. We go down this road, the other is closed to us,” I warn.

He nods, his face serious. “I don’t want to go back.”

I kiss him again, drawing him out, making him mine. I run my hands down his back and palm his ass, kneading it hard until a shudder runs through him and into me. His hands seem to flutter around me as if he can’t decide what he wants to touch first. So when they land on my chest and rub hard across my nipples, it’s a shock. A delicious, achy shock that lights me up from inside out. It runs down my body and sparks at the base of my cock.

Pierre grinds against me and rubs my chest again. It’s a hard touch, a claiming touch. It’s not something I’d have expected from him, but it feels good. How many times had I fantasized about him over the years? How many times had I wanted him to touch me just like this?

I thrust up against him, knowing the base of my cock is pushing up behind his balls and knowing exactly what it will feel like to him—the pressure, the little ache which isn’t quite pain and isn’t quite pleasure, but somehow desperately wants to be both. He shudders again and tears his mouth away from mine to suck in a deep breath. His eyes are closed and his chest heaves. I can’t remember ever wanting another person like this.

“If you have something against public sex, we need to get a cab right now.” His voice shakes, but his eyes open and the lust I see there hits me straight in the gut.

I can’t answer him, and fuck if I’m going to stop what we’re doing to call a cab. I unzip his jeans and pull his cock out. It’s beautiful. It’s darker than the rest of him, intact, the glans peeking out of the foreskin. The very appearance of it makes me greedy. I want to taste him.

“Up,” I murmur, using my hands to urge him higher. He moves over me, bracing his palms on the back of the bench. I wrap my fist around his cock and push the foreskin back to expose him. I run my tongue around the sensitive head, teasing at the frenulum and drawing a whine out of him.

I open my mouth and take him inside, sucking with a slow, steady rhythm as he rocks forward into my mouth. I love the weight of him on my tongue, the salty-bitter taste of his skin and pre-come. He moves one of his hands from the back of the bench to cup my face and strokes his thumb along my jawline, urging me to open farther. I take him as deep as I can, letting him take my breath for just a moment before he draws back. I pull off him, still working my hand over his shaft, pulling the foreskin over the head and then pushing it back.

I’m rewarded by a hot, throaty noise and a visible shiver down his spine. It’s a gift, seeing him like this, knowing I’m making him this hard, this aroused. I put that tremble in the hand that grips my hair and guides me back to his cock. When I suck him deep again, I’m the one who makes him shake and groan.

“Oh, God, Jake, cher…” His hips snap forward more aggressively, and I want to make him come. I want to see his face. I tilt my head so I can look up along his body as he thrusts into my mouth again, and the sight of him is perfection.

His skin, so much darker than my own, shines under the moonlight. His nipples are drawn up hard. Leather epaulettes add a strength to his shoulders, and the cloak made of feathers and tulle flows back from his shoulders like a mantle.

But his face, his face is magic. His head thrown back, his features contorted in the grimace of lust, he looks like a gladiator claiming victory as he shouts out his climax with another vicious thrust. Tears spring to my eyes as his semen spurts onto my tongue. My Pierre, my best friend, is coming in my mouth, and I’m the one who made this happen. He might look victorious, but this is my celebratory moment.

When he draws back with another shudder and sinks back onto my lap, I claim his mouth in a salty kiss. I run my thumbs along his cheekbones, wiping away tears. I shush against his lips.

“Why tears, Pierre?”

“Mais… oh fuck, Jake. I’ve wanted this for so long.” He’s boneless in my arms, a warm, solid weight, and I want to protect him from the whole world.

“Me too.”

He kisses me again, and I can’t help but thrust up a little. I can’t fuck him now, not so soon after he’s had an orgasm, but God, I want him.

“I got you.” He reaches between us, cupping me hard. It’s my turn to whimper as I thrust into his hand. I close my eyes, enjoying his possessive touch. I feel his weight moving off me, and I open my eyes to watch him sinking to his knees. I scoot forward to the edge of the bench as he opens my jeans, then shoves them and my briefs down. The bench is cold on my ass, but his lips and hands are warm as he takes me into the haven of his mouth.

“God, yes.”

He pulls off as quickly as he took me in. “Go ahead and just let go. I don’t mind if you get rough, but don’t pull my hair.”

That’s all he says before he starts sucking hard. My hips roll up and my eyes drift closed. I take him at his word and fall into a lusty, rutting rhythm as he takes me completely apart with his lips and tongue.

He slides one of his hands under my legs to tickle and tease and push at my taint. I lose all thought beyond seizing the orgasm looming right fucking there for me to take. He groans around my cock, and that’s the moment I lose it. Pleasure rolls over me in a great huge tsunami of a wave. I feel him swallowing, and I can’t help but thrust a little harder, wrenching a grunt from him and another spurt from my cock.

He pulls off me slowly. Now it’s his turn to pull me into a rough celebratory kiss, his turn to feed my own taste back onto my tongue, and even though that’s never been my kink, I love the taste of both of us mingled together.

“We just had sex in a cemetery, cher.” He buries his face in my neck and giggles.

“We just made love in a cemetery,” I correct.

“Made love.” He agrees. “I do love you, Jake. I’ve loved you for a long time. I was scared to do anything about it.”

His eyes are serious and sad as he pulls away from me. Is he mourning the friendship we’ve forsaken tonight, or is he mourning the time it took us to figure out we loved each other?

We straighten our clothing and zip up. As we stand on shaking legs, I take his hand and kiss the back of it, offering him my reassurance. “I love you, too, Pierre. Love you so much.”

This time our kiss is sweet, unhurried. He rubs my chest again, not in possession, but in exploration. As I slide my tongue into his mouth, I frame his face with my hands and skate my thumbs along his cheekbones.

I pull away. “Can we go home? I don’t want to go back to the party.”

“Your house? My roommates are home.”

“Yeah.” My house. Maybe he’d consider moving in and then it could be our house. I’ll talk to him about it in the morning over coffee.

“Hey, Pierre?”

Cher?”

“Your invitation … what card is on it?” I don’t know why I’m curious, but for some reason, I just want to know.

He pulls it out of his pocket. “Two of Wands. Stupid party game.”

I take his card from him and pull my own out. Sure enough, they’re the same card, cut in half. I feel all warm and happy, like the afterglow of our lovemaking has been given some sort of blessing. “I’m going to take these home, tape them together, and frame this fucker.”

“A souvenir from your hoodoo Halloween hookup?” he teases.

“A souvenir from the first time you said you love me.”

“It won’t be the last,” he promises.

“Prove it.”

“Jake Forrester, I love you.” The declaration isn’t any less poignant for having been demanded.

“I love you, too, Pierre.”

Buried in Edits!

…It’s what happens when you write too many books and they all come out in the fall/winter. 🙂 With so many releases this fall, I’m buried in edits! I eat, sleep, and breath edits. Sometimes I run them and shower them too!

On this weeks editing list: Love in the Cards! That’s right. The ladies at Love, Lust, and Laptops have put together another anthology. Ten free reads! I’ve buried my head in all of them this week and they are fantastic stories! They will start releasing daily later this month. You won’t want to miss them!

After I get through that stack, I have several edits to do for others, and then I shall be found buried in the edits for next year’s release, my Emergence series. Bound to be Taken, tBound to be Taught, and Bound to be Tamed. This BDSM series is kicking my butt! It’s all new to me and I’m loving the journey, but writing in a new genre, and then insisting each book be about 90k, takes its toll! I’m pretty sure the rest of October and November will be spent solidifying these three books.

But, there is some fun to be had! I’m going to RomantiCon this year for the first time! And, oh my, that’s next week! I have so much editing to do before I can leave…

Editing, editing, editing… It’s my middle name!

When do I get to go back to writing?

Becca