Mid Week Tease: Lady of Thorns #MidWeekTease #MWTease

MWTease15Hello, lovelies! This is the last snippet from the third book in my Two Thrones series Lady of Thorns that I’ll be teasing you with. And I mean that this time!

Many thanks to Angelica Dawson for hosting us, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!

Amelie held up the missive. “I received a letter from Marcus, of all people.”

“Oh? What does he have to say?”

Clearing her throat, she read:

My dear Amelie:

I’ve just received word of your upcoming wedding to Counselor LaPorte. Allow me to pass along my best wishes, as well as an explanation for my hasty departure in the spring. As you know, I left Illium due to my dear brother Antonious’s clumsy efforts to frame me for his attempted assassination. I had hoped that my grandmother would temper matters at the palace, but it seems that Antonious is still determined to see me dead, and had sent assassins to Lierdhe to achieve this. I was able to dispatch them with Roylus’s help, but I couldn’t bear the thought of putting yourself or your good lady mother in danger so I decided to leave and take any further threat with me. Please know that I will always have the greatest affection for you, and if LaPorte puts a foot out of line I will be pleased to sweep you away and make you the happiest woman on the continent, as well as the richest.

All my love,

She laid the letter aside and slid down into Alain’s waiting arms. “So he didn’t leave because of me. Well, not because of my looks, in any case. I feel a bit guilty now for being so angry at him when all he was doing was protecting me.”

Alain kissed her temple. “Don’t feel bad. I’m afraid our friend will always have an adventurous life, what with his family and all. If he truly does care about you, the best thing he could do for you is take the target off your back.”

“Which he has.” She slid her leg up his. “As long as you keep me happy, of course. Who knows, I might enjoy being the kept woman of a robber baron or whatever scheme Marcus is pursuing these days.”

“Oh, really.” Alain clambered over her, giving her a firm kiss. “Is that a challenge, my lady?”

She grinned up at him. “I do believe it is, counselor. What are you going to do about it?”

“Well, clearly I need to stop my wayward bride-to-be from looking elsewhere for her pleasure.” He slid a hand underneath her pillow and pulled out pieces of soft cotton rope. “Perhaps if I tied you to the bed and drove you insane with pleasure, that might keep you from straying?”

A delightfully wicked heat flared to life inside her. “Perhaps,” she drawled. “But you’ll have to be very forceful to hold my attention. I’m quite strong-willed, you know.”

“Yes, I’m quite aware of that,” he drawled back. Plucking up one of her hands, he tied one end of a rope around it, then bound it to the headboard. “Luckily for me I’m equally as strong-willed. Quite a match for you, don’t you think?” Repeating the process on her other hand, he tugged the bedcovers from her body before sliding down the mattress with more ropes. He secured her ankles to the footboard, siting back to admire his work. “There. You’ll be hard-pressed to chase after Marcus like that, sweetheart.”

She squirmed in her bonds, enjoying the soft but firm grip on her limbs. Pretending to yawn, she arched her back, letting her nipples rub against the thin fabric of her nightgown. “Oh dear. It seems that I’ve been captured by the most dangerous, vicious street rat ever to stalk the streets of Mons. Whatever shall a poor, innocent noblewoman do?”

“Surrender to her captor, of course.” Running his fingertips along her calf in a ticklish caress, he stroked the underside of her knee. “Especially as he plans on ravishing your helpless body.” His fingers trailed upwards, dragging the hem of her gown up and exposing her spread thighs and the fluff of dark curls between them. “Look what we have here. Could this be where her ladyship hides her secret treasure?”

Amelie tossed her head, fully into her imaginary role now. “You’ll never make me give in, villain. Never!”

“We’ll see about that.” His fingers dipped between her legs, stroking and teasing. “It seems you like this, you naughty girl. You’re wet as a spring shower.”

She held in a giggle, relishing the way he played with her slick outer lips and clitoris. “Nonsense. I hate everything about it.”

Smirking, Alain leaned down and kissed her mound before shifting his oral attentions to her damp, aching flesh. Amelie wished he’d gagged her because the way his tongue was dancing on her clitoris promised to bring her to climax quickly and very strongly. Dammit, and Sibeal and Tomas are in the next room, and Maman and Stefan are down the corridor. It’s not fair!

Just as she was about to tumble over the edge, he stopped, blowing a cool breath over her. “Not yet. Not until I say, my lady.”

She whined, raising her hips in a silent plea, but he ignored it in favor of scattering kisses and nibbles on her inner thighs. Once her passion had ebbed sufficiently, he returned to his efforts, sliding two fingers inside her and adding a wonderful massaging tease to the sensual work being performed by his lips and tongue.

He backed off twice more, leaving her more and more wound up until she was straining against the ropes and biting her lip deep enough to taste blood. “Alain, please,” she finally begged in a ragged voice. “I can’t stand this anymore!”

He lifted his head, licking her wetness off his lips. “You don’t climax until I say so,” he murmured. “And quite frankly, I don’t think I’ll be letting you do it anytime soon. If I do, you’ll just get up and run after Marcus.”

“I won’t, I swear it,” she gasped. “I’m yours, now and forever.”

He kissed her clitoris and she shuddered at the sensation, so powerful now that it was just this side of pain. “Mm, still not convinced. You’ll have to do better than that.”

“How?” It came out as an embarrassing wail.

“Tell me how beautiful you are.”

She stared down at him, momentarily drawn out of her erotic haze. “What?”

He rested his chin on her mound. “Tell me that you’re beautiful. Make me believe that you believe it. You do that, and I’ll let you climax.”

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Editing, juggling, and #metoo

Lady of Thorns is off to the editor and the betas (would have been off earlier but I had to juggle that with edits for “Gentleman Jackson” and get those back to Evernight toot sweet), and I’m feeling very happy about it. It’s got a good rhythm to it that I think will resonate with readers and covers some topics, namely the beauty culture and issues with self-confidence, that I think affect a lot of people.

So I pretty much spent the week slogging away on second round edits, which is why I didn’t immediately get involved with the news about Harvey Weinstein and the #metoo hashtag movement. While I think so many women coming out and telling their stories about their sexual harassment and/or assault has been a positive thing, I really wish it hadn’t been forced by an utterly disgusting and reprehensible mindset that’s embedded itself deeply in our culture (and some people don’t feel comfortable using the hashtag because their story still hurts too much. I completely understand that and support them). But it’s a positive thing because when this many people say something’s wrong, it’s hard to ignore that. It’s hard to sweep it under the carpet and pretend that it’s perfectly okay to let men with power get their rocks off by harassing or assaulting women.

Me, I’m one of the lucky ones. My harassment has been minimal, compared to others. But I’ve been harassed. And even now I feel weird admitting it because I think people will look at me and think, “But you’re overweight. Why would anyone sexually harass you?”

Because it’s not about sex. It’s about power, and being able to dominate someone and make them feel small and afraid. And that’s the sick little charge that abusers really want. I just found out yesterday that an individual (now dead, and I feel nothing but relief for it) who harassed me at local SF cons had also harassed a friend and colleague for far, far longer than I had to tolerate his sleazy, assholish ways.

Oh, why did I tolerate them? Because he was very, very good about never overstepping the line into actual, actionable territory where I could ask a concom to boot his ass. Even now it’s difficult to explain to a concom that a particular puddle of pus had behaved like a skeevy pervert outside of that con (protip: don’t ever, ever, EVER sneak up behind me and grab me in a bear hug. These days I will try to rupture your liver with my elbow first and ask questions later) and now you don’t want him to attend your readings because he sits in the front row and stares at you in a way that makes your skin crawl. Or stands off to the side while you’re doing a signing and silently looms. Or makes sotto voce comments about showing up at your house and “taking you for a ride” on his Harley. It’s like fighting fog.

Anyway, my friend wrote an amazing piece on her FB page detailing the situation and telling other women that she will always believe them and will make noise if this ever happens to them. And I will, too. Because there’s more of us than there are of them, goddamn it, and we’re not putting up with this shit anymore.

So stand ready, assholes. You’re about to be introduced to a whole new world.

Mid Week Tease: Gentleman Jackson #MidWeekTease #MWTease

MWTease15Hello, lovelies! This week I’m teasing you with the last snippet from “Gentleman Jackson,” the hot hitman on the run story that will be appearing in Evernight’s new Lawless antho.

Many thanks to Angelica Dawson for hosting us, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!

There was something about knowing people wanted her dead that kicked her libido into high gear. Feeling wicked, Ria guided Colton back to the bedroom, urging him into a sitting position on the edge of the bed. She untied the knot on her robe belt and let the terrycloth slide free.

His eyes darkened in need as he eyed her nude body. “Oh, yeah. So fucking gorgeous, baby girl.”

“So are you, papi.” She coaxed his knees apart and knelt, studying the thick bulge that poked through his dress pants. No underwear held it down, and she could see the thick mushroom head against the fine wool cloth.

Dios, she missed this. She loved giving head, taking a man’s dick in her mouth and driving him wild with her lips and tongue. She wanted to taste Colton’s cock and see if it was as yummy as the rest of him.

She unzipped his fly and the head popped through immediately, as if searching for her mouth. She leaned forward, licking a broad stripe up from the base to just below the plummy head, under the corona where a man had a sensitive triangle of flesh. She teased it with the tip of her tongue, wanting to learn what pleased him.

He leaned back on his hands, watching her. “That’s it, baby girl. Suck it. Yeah.”

Following his lead, she took the head in her mouth, careful to cover her teeth with her lips. He was so big that there was barely enough room to swirl her tongue over the smooth, rounded head. The tiny slit in the center wept salt into her mouth and she swallowed, enjoying the fresh taste.

There was no way she would be able to deep throat Colton. Instead, she wrapped her hand around his shaft, fingertips just barely meeting her thumb, and brought the ring of her fingers to her lips. She started bobbing her head, careful to breathe through her nose while she sucked and slurped the thick flesh in her mouth. Veins throbbed against her tongue and she could taste more pre-cum as she brought her left hand up and wrapped it below her right, giving him the illusion of an impossibly long, tight throat.

He’d started cursing softly, running thick fingers through her hair but not trying to press her head down or control it. She was getting wet from sucking him off, but feeling him strain for control made her pussy clench in greedy need. His cock stiffened even further and his balls started to pull up in their sac as he chanted, “Baby, please, stopstopstop.”

She pulled her mouth off, licking her lips. “Getting close?”

“Yeah. Don’t get me wrong, I wanna come in your mouth, but not right now.”

That worked for her. She scrabbled for the remaining condom packets on the night stand, opening one and sliding the latex sheath over him. “On your back, caballero. I’m taking you for a ride.”

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My brain hurts

This is my word count for the day, and that’s on top of getting a half hour in on the treadmill and making dinner. I figure the target is a lie and I have at least another 7.5K to go. My brain hurts, but I’m so close to the end I can taste it.

State of the Author

Mrgh. Does “headless chicken” count as a status report?

As of Friday Lady of Thorns became available for pre-order on Amazon, and I just got the pre-order notice from Kobo a few minutes ago. Release date is 10/31, and I’m currently plowing through edits and getting PR graphics and info lined up. As soon as I have ARCs ready I’ll be sending those out to my sweet, sweet group of volunteer readers.

The picosecond I’m done with this I have to turn around and get back to work on Cross Current because I want that done and off to Evernight before November, which is when I plan on tackling Uncertainty Principle (Pacifica Rising 2) and Shifter Woods: Snarl. I’m also going into the doctor (yet again) this week because I clearly have a sinus infection now and it’s dragging me down like you would not believe and I do not have TIME for that right now, dammit.

And for some reason 4/5 of the J Crew are being complete pains in the butt right now. I see a lot of coffeeshop time in my near future at this rate.

Oh, and Evernight’s Lawless antho with my short story “Gentleman Jackson” will be out in November, and I’ll be doing promo for that as well. If you want to see a little snippet of the story, read on. In the meantime, back to work for me, tra la (weekend? What means this word, weekend)…

Mid Week Tease: Gentleman Jackson #MidWeekTease #MWTease

MWTease15Hello, lovelies! This week I’m teasing you with a another snippet from the short story “Gentleman Jackson,” which will be in Evernight Publishing’s new romance anthology Lawless. Colton Jackson is a hitman from Shreveport, Louisiana who accepts a contract on a shady Dallas lawyer, but when the lawyer’s secretary witnesses the hit things get complicated. It doesn’t help that Ria Guzman turns out to be the younger sister of one of the most powerful gang leaders in the US. What’s a gentleman hitman to do? Take her into his own form of “protective custody,” of course.

Many thanks to Angelica Dawson for hosting us, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!

Colton pulled his hand out, tugging at her rucked skirt. “Take this off, baby girl.”

Obediently Ria wiggled out of it, sprawling naked across her bedspread. He gazed in admiration, drinking in her beauty. “Letting a woman like you wear clothes is a downright sin. You’re meant to be as bare as Eve, and just as beautiful.”

“Thank you. I think.” She poked at him with a toe. “So why are you still dressed?”

She had a point. Kicking off his shoes, he skinned out of his shirt and tie, then paused with a hand on his belt buckle. “Hold on.”

He slid the gun and silencer out from the back of his waistband, considering the room. Leaving it on the bedside table where she could reach it was asking for trouble, but putting it on the dresser was farther than he liked. He compromised by pushing down his pants and briefs in one tangled bundle, leaving them on the floor and placing the gun on top. His newly released cock bobbed and he swore he heard the damn thing sigh in relief.

Ria’s eyes widened as she took in his pride and joy. “Mierda. What are you, part bull?”

“Bullheaded, according to my momma.” He wrapped a hand around his cock, squeezing firmly. The veins stood out even more and the head swelled, looking like a dark red mushroom over the thick shaft. “Told you I’m gonna make you come at least two more times. And this is gonna help me do just that.”

She squirmed on the soft bedspread, staring at him as she unconsciously rubbed her thighs together. “I don’t know. That thing’s a monster.”

“Don’t worry about a thing. Remember, I had my tongue in your pussy. I know you can take it.” He slipped a hand between her thighs, urging them wider and paddling his fingers in the sticky wetness coating her flesh. She was tight, yeah, but she wasn’t a virgin. As long as he went slow and let her get used to him, it would be all right.

He rolled between her legs, letting his cock rest in her warm cleft as he push-dragged it across her clit. Her eyes closed in pleasure and he was tempted to do the same, but it was too sweet watching her react to him. She coated him in her wetness, and he was about to slide back and start easing his way in when her eyes flew open. “Wait. Condom.”

“Damn. Hold on.” Rolling to the edge of the bed, he fumbled for his wallet and the three-pack he always kept there. Pulling one of the squares free, he opened it and fished out the XL condom, rolling it down over his aching shaft.

Getting back into position, he reached down and guided the tip of his latex-covered cock between her pussy lips into tight, wet heaven.

She sucked in a breath, wincing at the stretch. Fighting his eagerness, he slowed down, letting her get used to his girth. Inch by inch, he buried himself inside her in increments until she was snugged down around him. “Good?”

Her hips rolled experimentally, and she gave him a sunburst smile. “Uh-huh.”

“Thank Christ, because my head’s about to explode.”

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Mid Week Tease: Lady of Thorns #MidWeekTease #MWTease

MWTease15Hello, lovelies! This week I’m teasing you with yet another snippet from the third book in my Two Thrones series, Lady of Thorns. By this point Alain’s sensual education of Amelie has progressed admirably — perhaps too admirably. I believe a certain lawyer’s heart may be thawing just a bit towards his fractious, sexy student, muwahahaha…

Many thanks to Angelica Dawson for hosting us, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!

Alain had set Colombe onto the task of procuring some soft cotton rope. His clerk had performed admirably as usual, and a hank of the stuff, neatly cut into useful lengths, now resided under the pillows.

But erotic restraint required a certain mindset for both parties to enjoy it, and he’d nettled Amelie with his questions about young Vandenberghe. His concern was honest; the earl’s heir was certainly handsome enough, and his blood made him an appropriate candidate for the Lady’s Consort, but there were neither shared interests nor frisson between Amelie and Vandenberghe the Younger. A pretty face would pall if there was nothing interesting behind it; with that lack of connection, Alain feared that Amelie would wind up turning to a lover for comfort within the first year.

And it won’t be me. By that point he would be back in Mons, pursuing his legal career and his next bed partner. There was nothing more than physical attraction between the two of them, he was aware of that, but he was surprised to find that he wanted her … happy.

He tugged her into his arms, brushing a soft kiss across her lips. She responded, molding against him with that mind-melting ease that made him re-consider the hidden ropes. No, another time. I know what I want to do with my spirited little minx tonight.

He eased the nightgown from her shoulders, kissing them as each one was bared. “Have you ever heard of soixante-neuf?”

She blinked up at him. “I have not. I wasn’t aware there were that many positions.”

“It’s not a number so much as a description of what the participants look like.” He smiled at her confused expression. “Let me remove my clothes and I’ll demonstrate.”

He stripped quickly, laying his breeches and shirt across the footboard of the bed while Amelie crawled onto the golden velvet bedspread. The color lent a glow to her pale skin and dark hair, making her look like an otherworldly goddess waiting to receive her due devotion. He felt himself thicken in anticipation, but didn’t try to encourage his erection more than that.

He joined her on the bed, stretching out in such a way that they were roughly top to tail. It gave him a wonderful view of the dark moss that crowned her mound, with a hint of the feminine cleft at the bottom. “This position allows the participants to enjoy each other orally at the same time.”

“I see.” She reached out and stroked his shaft, running a fingertip around the edge of the head. “Oh, I see. Sixty-nine. Yes, we would look like the numbers, wouldn’t we?”

“Indeed.” He leaned forward and rubbed his nose against her crispy curls, following it up with a kiss. He could already smell her desire, warm and humid, and looked forward to dipping his tongue in her honey. “Granted, it’s not as straightforward as lying back and receiving your lover’s attentions and then returning the favor, but I find the distraction rather useful in extending the festivities.”

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Medical Stuff

(Ceit, you should be interested in this one. All others, medical details that involve a scalpel and blood lie ahead, so peel off now if that sort of thing bothers you.)

Just in case you thought a romance writer’s life was one of unending glamour and delight, allow me to pop your bubble and assure you that it’s nothing of the sort. Witness today, when I went in to my doctor’s office to have an epidermoid cyst removed from my upper back. Basically, an epidermoid cyst is a buildup of keratin under your skin, sometimes caused by an injured follicle. It’s benign, slow-growing, usually painless, and very common, but I kept noticing it over the past two months and finally thought, nah, I want it gone.

I already knew the procedure, but the doctor was kind enough to explain everything as he went along (he seemed a little surprised that I wasn’t saying ow or complaining about the lidocaine needle. I explained that I used to work in a Peds ER department, medical procedures didn’t scare me, and as long as I was numb I didn’t care what he did). After injecting some lidocaine to numb the skin, he made a small incision, broke up the cyst and removed it, cleaned out the space left behind (super tiny, maybe the size of a pea) and packed it with sterile gauze. It was small enough that I didn’t need a stitch, and my beloved Ramón will be called upon to remove the packing over the next two days, after which I keep it bandaged and treated with antibiotic ointment and all will be well.

Plus I’ll have a tiny little scar as a souvenir, which I will have to come up with an interesting cover story for. Hmm. Oh, and be grateful that I didn’t take the advice of a friend on Twitter and have a nurse film the procedure for your entertainment. Because there’s openness, and then there’s openness

Mid Week Tease: Lady of Thorns #MidWeekTease #MWTease

MWTease15Hello, lovelies! This week I’m back to Lady of Thorns for my teasing snippet (mainly because I’m on deadline to finish it by Friday and yeah, WHEE). Amelie is back in Alain’s bedroom for more one-on-one instruction when he mentions an, um, advanced course of study. Ahem.

Oh, and yes, that is a Star Wars in-joke there. I do love my meta pop culture references…

Many thanks to Angelica Dawson for hosting us, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!

Alain got to his feet when he heard the scratching on the door. It opened and Amelie peered around the oak panel. “May I come in?”

He couldn’t stop the curl of anticipation that went through him. “Yes, please.”

Tonight she wore the same plain wrapper she had the night before, but when she undid the belt and let it slide off her shoulders he almost swallowed his tongue. Underneath she wore a short, silky gown of pale yellow with a low décolletage that framed her collarbones and the subtle curves of he breasts. Lower down it clung to her hips, and he imagined he could see the pink dots of her nipples and the dark fluff at the tops of her thighs through the delicate material.

“I’d forgotten I had this,” she admitted, draping the wrapper over a chair and walking into his arms. “It’s one of my ceremonial gowns from when I was younger. Do you like it?”

The way he was rapidly swelling in his breeches was physical proof of that, and he pressed his groin against her. “You are absolutely luscious. Although I have to wonder why a girl was wearing something so revealing.”

“It was an overgown. I wore a white chemise underneath.” She draped her arms around his neck and sighed happily. “Although I have to say, I much prefer wearing it this way. It’s extremely soft, don’t you think?”

He groaned as she executed a little shimmy against his throbbing cock. “You’re a minx, woman. It’s soft and very lovely, but I’d much rather be touching your skin.”

“I see.” Another wiggle. “The nice thing about this gown, counselor, is that it’s short. Quite easy to lift.”

He was never one to overlook a hint. Sliding his hands down, he gathered the hem of the gown and pulled it up until he’d bared her firm, silky rump. “If you continue to be this naughty, I may have to spank this beautiful bottom of yours.”

The glint in her eye turned challenging. “You might find that something of a challenge.”

He stroked the lovely curves, gently pinching one. “Not if I tied you to my bed first.”

A soft inhalation and a widening of her eyes was his answer. Interesting. She likes a bit of spice with her lovemaking. “Would you enjoy that?” he purred.

“I … I don’t know.” But her sped-up breathing and the color in her face indicated otherwise.

Tying a beautiful woman up and turning her into a writhing bundle of sexual need was one of his favorite activities. “I’d be very careful and use the softest ropes so that your skin wouldn’t carry a mark. But you wouldn’t be able to move when I was done. You would be completely at my mercy, your body turned into my own personal playground. And believe me, Amelie, I would play with you for hours until you begged me for release.”

She shivered deliciously at his words. “I don’t know if I could stay quiet if you did that.”

“Oh, a soft cotton gag would mute any noise you made.”

“Then how could I beg you?”

He brushed his lips over her ear. “You would whimper, of course. Widen your eyes and plead with me silently. Strain against your bonds towards my hands, my mouth, my cock. There are all kinds of ways you can beg without words.”

That lovely scent of fruit and cream from her skin deepened, taking on a hot note of mulled cider, and she squirmed. “You’re a wicked man, counselor.”

“Mm, I know.” He pushed his thigh between hers, gently rubbing against her heated flesh. “It’s why you like me, my lady. You need more wicked men in your life.”

She groaned as his hands cupped her ass, squeezing. “I like nice men, too.”

“I can be nice. Allow me to demonstrate.”

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Marvelous Monday Reads: Abel’s Obsession

Welcome to another edition of Marvelous Monday Reads, pumpkins! Today I’m featuring Lynn Burke and her hot new romance novel Abel’s Obsession. And now, here’s Lynn to answer some questions!

Abel Beiler’s story came about while visiting my parents in Amish country this past April. While leaving for home early Sunday morning, I pulled up to a stop sign at a four-way intersection as horses labored to pull their Amish owners and families in their buggies to Sunday worship. 

One young man in an open buggy sat to my right at the stop sign, unsmiling, leaning forward, elbows on knees and reins slack in his hands. I had this overwhelming urge to smile at him, trying to bring a little sunshine to his miserable countenance. 

My plan didn’t work, and even though I was in an SUV with 3 children, the idea of Abel and Dani slammed into my brain, occupying my thoughts the whole way home. I voice-to-text in my phone’s notepad off and on the entire seven hour ride back to Massachusetts as Abel whispered his struggle to find himself in my brain.

Abel’s Obsession is by far the raunchiest story I’ve written to date, and I’m hoping the most eye-opening as well. An oppressed life isn’t a joyful one, and finding the strength to free yourself isn’t always easy. Neither is the choice to take wing and fly.

A young man of religious fervor and self-control, Abel Beiler has every intention of honoring his parents and being baptized into the Amish church. The woman with red curls and flashing green eyes in the back of a convertible, however, makes Abel wonder what life with the English might be like.

He strives to withstand temptation, but the memory of the woman he yearns to dominate, coupled with the explicit images in his cousin’s filthy magazine, threatens his restraint.

Red, his sinful obsession, haunts his shameful dreams and becomes a secret part of his life. When faced with truth beyond faith, Abel must decide where he belongs—with the Amish community, or the woman who owns his heart.


Story Excerpt

Much later and hoarse from singing for two hours, my curiosity overrode my better sense, and I followed Eli into the hayloft of their barn. While I held the kerosene lamp, he climbed high into the rafters and returned with a magazine clutched in his hand.

“Got this from my new English friend, Toby.” He sat on a bale, opened the magazine, and turned it toward me.

Lust kicked me in the gut, and I couldn’t speak.

A naked woman lay spread eagle and bound by ropes to a bed, a blindfold and some sort of ball gag in her mouth. A man loomed over her, whip in hand. Tear streaks lined the woman’s face. Red slashes marked her thighs. Wetness coated the pink folds of her sex, glistening, and set my mouth to watering.

The image burned into my brain—submission in an entirely different way than the Old Order’s definition of the word. Spirituality is submission, is what had been reiterated in my ears since childhood. Self-surrender. The willingness to give up oneself to the community and Gott’s chosen leaders.

I soaked in the sinful picture, and for the first time in my life wanted power. Wanted control. I wanted a woman’s submission like the man in leather beside her owned. Unable to tear my gaze off the image, I struggled to swallow.

“Didn’t know people actually did this shit.”

Eli’s curse, the first I had heard from him, barely registered past the blood rushing in my ears. My body tensed as longing to be the man standing over that woman, whip in hand raced through me faster than any thoroughbred—or car.

The image of Red flashed in my mind, and suddenly it was her bound to the bed in the picture, breathing heavily, trembling, and begging for me…

Where to Buy

Evernight Publishing | Amazon US | Amazon UK

About the Author

Lynn Burke is a full time mother, voracious gardener, and scribbler of spicy romance stories. A country bumpkin turned Bay Stater, she enjoys her chowdah and Dunkin Donuts when not trying to escape the reality of city life.

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