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Ravaged

By: Cassandre Dayne
Published By: Blushing Press
Copyright: ©2017 by Blushing Books® and Cassandre Dayne
Fifteen Chapters / 90,600 Words
Heat Level:
4.4 Out Of 5 (4.4 on 5)   |  Write a review
Price:
$4.99

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When the final draft of erotic thriller author Carrington Winters’ latest book turns up in the wrong hands, the mistake sets off a chain of events, some involving a complete stranger. Her manuscript details her darkest desires, as well as mirroring a series of real-life murders, and she finds herself drawn to the mystery man, throwing her inhibitions aside. 

Architect Jackson Devereaux finds Carrington's manuscript in his email inbox and he can’t help but read it. Surprisingly, he finds her hidden needs too tempting to ignore. As they learn to trust and explore their growing desires, they begin a cat and mouse game of guarded rendezvous until a murderer seeks revenge, targeting their budding love. 

As new and heinous murders rock Chicago, Carrington is forced to face a past she was determined to shelve in an ugly black box. Jackson is forced to face a tragedy from his past that he hoped to forget, but secrets and lies refuse to be denied. What secrets do they both hold that could tear them apart? Is their new romance strong enough to survive a murderer intent upon destroying their lives?

Publisher’s Note: This dark tale is not your typical chocolate and flowers romance, but is a romance with a spicier side. It contains elements of danger, suspense, power exchange, adult language, and explicit scenes. If any of these elements offend you, please do not purchase.

*** Currently available exclusively at Amazon ***

Chapter One

Do you hunger like I do?

Do you crave what only I can give you?

Come… be with me forever…

Hiding in the shadows, he stood watching her. It would be impossible for her to detect his presence. He was always very careful. Cocking his head, he scrutinized every aspect of her appearance and nodded in approval. There was something beautiful about her and the way she handled herself. He’d watched on more than one occasion, studying her every move and aspects of her daily routine, but tonight was somehow more special. Every cell in his body ached to touch her but he was strong in his convictions. Never would he allow himself to interfere. Instead, he remained a voyeur simply indulging in a fantasy. Inhaling, he followed closely behind as she moved through the darkened streets toward her car.

Given the light breeze, he garnered a whiff of her perfume and the musky scent filled him with hunger. Licking his dry lips, he was forced to adjust his aching bulge. He longed to taste her, fuck her then kill her. This was his way and she was interfering, but he wasn’t ready yet for the end to come—for forever. No, he wanted more time to play. Resisting a dark chuckle bubbling to the surface, he placed his hands in his pockets and glanced up at the star filled sky. After the bars and restaurants were closed for the night was the only time he was comfortable, tempting his fantasies and stalking his prey. Here he was out before curfew. Smiling, he knew he was risking his entire plan but she was too desirable to resist. She’d called to him unknowingly and he had to see her. There was something so delicious about knowing her schedule.

The thought gave him a deep-seated desire. If only he had the courage to reach out and take her here and now. No. It simply wasn’t time yet and he had to mask his true identity from her powers. They’d be growing soon enough and when they did he’d be forced to end the game completely. There was much to be done. The sounds of the city filtered into the dark area and while she was cautious, hugging her purse to her body, she was confident in her manners, her steps. Merely going about her business, she was unaware a monster lurked in the shadowed light.

As she turned what he knew to be the final corner, he heard the blipping sound as she unlocked her car door. He continued to watch her, from the way she brushed her hair back from her face to the moment she scanned the perimeter of the parking lot before she climbed inside. She was perhaps the most beautiful woman he’d ever laid eyes on. Too bad she was going to die. At least in her death would be redemption.

He took a stride back further into a dark alcove as the engine roared to life. Headlights flashed in his direction and she took off, heading straight for his hidden location but he wasn’t afraid she’d see him. He was nothing more than a ghost. When the car roared past, he stepped out into the hazy light and emitted a strangled sigh. Standing still for several minutes, he cocked his head and attempted to calm his desires. He was in too much need. Perhaps it was time for a snack to squelch the growing rage.

As he moved up the street he kept his head down until a noise caught his attention. The scent of a woman was difficult for him to resist. Hearing feminine laughter coming in his direction, he could see what appeared to be a young woman talking on a cellphone. Perhaps this was karma. He kept his stride even as he walked toward her. There was no reason for her to be afraid. This was a fashionable part of the city near some of the most eloquent clubs in town, many of them catering to the darker side of sex for the wealthy and privileged. The closer he came to her the more he hungered. Not only was she a beautiful creature but she also reminded him of the one he really wanted. From the girl’s long hair and creamy white skin to her very sensual manner of dressing, she was almost breathtaking and very innocent. Or was she? Homing in on her call, he grew incensed.

"No, Kiki. Seriously. That’s not what he was talking about. I tried to tell you this before," she said as she brushed her hand down her skirt. "I know. He’s an asshole. There’s no doubt about it. I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt but he was just trying to get me into bed. Not that I would mind, but on my terms period. He thinks he’s all that and a bag of chips. Hell, he just pretended to be rich but I Googled him and know better. The man’s almost broke. Can you believe the nerve of him?"

Clenching his fist, he emitted a low hiss. Why were they all the fucking same? He slowed his gait, allowing him to hear more of her conversation as he eyed the darkened storefronts. They were closed for the evening. Stepping into the shadows, he waited for the perfect moment. There was no doubt in his mind he was right in doing this, saving the bitch from herself.

"Like I said, I’m going home to slide into a tub with a glass of wine, then I’m going to read a romance novel about men in shining armor. You know, real men instead of these cheap bastards. I’ll talk to you tomorrow." The second she closed the phone shut she started walking faster, the clip of her heels echoing into the dense air.

When she passed he stepped out behind her, inhaling a scent of not only her perfume but sex. The woman had engaged in some manner of carnal activity only recently. Sighing, he pushed up his sleeves and closed the distance. All women were alike—bitches. Ridding the world of their kind was his good deed for mankind. Sighing, he smiled at the thought. If only the little people knew how much he was really helping them.

The second he wrapped his arm around her neck she issued a strangled gasp that was immediately cut short by the brute strength of his muscles. "Oh…" She struggled, kicking out and catching him in the shins only causing him to clamp down harder.

Squeezing with a practiced force, the sharp crack of her neck breaking was a delicious reward for all the hours he’d suffered. "So beautiful and so damn stupid." Chuckling softly, he dragged her lifeless body into the shadows. As he turned her around to face him, her vacant eyes held the moment of shock and instant death. He shivered from the utter beauty of the kill. "My. You’ll be a perfect addition." He grazed the tips of his fingers down the side of her face before lowering his head and brushing his lips across hers. Her body sagging in his arms, he pulled back and allowed a low growl to erupt from his lips. He dragged out the knife and gazed at the serrated edges, licking his lips. As he held the sharp point to her throat he thought about the love of his life.

"Soon, my beloved. Soon."

* * *

Do you hunger like I do?

Do you crave what only I can give you?

Come… be with me forever…

Carrington Winters snapped her head up and sighed before catching a glimpse of her notepad. She’d been doodling again. As she read the words twice she grimaced and looked down at the small trashcan nestled against the corner of her desk. She’d written the same passage at least six times in the last two nights. And every time in red ink. Hell, she didn’t even know she owned a red pen. "What’s wrong with me?" The answer was far too damning to think about. Push away the ugly thought. Yeah, that’ll do it. Growling, she shook her head. She was simply exhausted from her self-imposed brutal schedule. That’s all. Time to get back to business.

Brushing a damp strand of hair from her face, Carrington fingered her teacup and sighed. "It’s almost done. Almost?" Blurry eyed, she gazed at the screen and realized all the letters were starting to melt together. Groaning, she sat back in her chair and took a sip of the lukewarm tea. What she really wanted was a tall glass of merlot, but if she didn’t hit send on her manuscript tonight there would be hell to pay. Her editor had been patient. The wine could wait until she was absolutely done. The damn errand had cost her nearly two hours. She hated traffic and traffic jams and assholes that acted like the road belonged to them.

Chuckling, she knew she would probably kill off the bastards in her next book. Probably? She was in the business of killing creatively. The thought gave her a smile. Mixing erotic and mass murder was an interesting twist but one she loved. There was no doubt she was enjoying being able to murder some of her characters and not simply have them romp in bed. Brushing the tip of her finger back and forth across the seam of her mouth, she reread the last two pages then read them again. Dear God, she was bone tired but she had to finish. "You can do it." Giving her computer the finger, she moaned. Sleep was highly overrated. Still, she loved the book and was thrilled with the outcome.

Her Hidden Desires , Carrington’s highly anticipated second in her gritty erotic crime thriller novels, was already pre-sold to the tune of thousands at every major e-book shelf internet store and failure to deliver wasn’t an option. The remaining brick and mortar stores had surprised her with the quantity of their orders—or shocked her editor anyway. The story was headline material. Centered around an incredible real-life event in her hometown of Portsmouth, Ohio almost three years before, Carrington knew this one could be a best seller.

Climbing to her feet, she walked to the bulletin board nestled in the back corner of her office and fingered the copious newspaper clippings pinned across the four by six corkboard. She’d read every article, every internet piece to garner the feel of the dark story. The murders had shut down the small town for two months and the killer had escaped. Shivering, she held her arms and wasn’t able to go down the road of wretched memories. She’d come too far to fall into the trap again. Her story was simply a way of giving a voice to the mutilated women and to allow them retribution within the pages of her novel. While completely fictional, with every scenario totally different than the actual chain of events, the haunting piece was certain to ruffle a few feathers. Carrington only hoped the publication wouldn’t drag her into hell.

In truth, changing from being what some called a fluffy erotic romance author to an erotic crime storyteller was a calculated risk and one she welcomed with open arms, hence the name change to C.W. Wynters for the planned series. Exhausted, Carrington sauntered toward the bank of windows, allowing her a spectacular view of the great lakes, and sighed as she palmed the glass. There was no doubt she loved Chicago but she remained homesick for her small town nestled at the banks of the Ohio River. Shaking her head, she gazed out at the star filled sky and smiled.

There was something so peaceful about working from home in the wee hours of the morning. More committed than ever, she headed back to her desk determined to finish the book, grab a glass of wine and ease into a sudsy bath. Then maybe when she finally fell into bed she could sleep without the vicious nightmares jolting her every other hour or so. Shivering, she exhaled and pushed the ugly thoughts away as she glanced at her watch. Thank God, she didn’t have any early appointments.

Staring at the last paragraph for what had to be a full five minutes, she rubbed her eyes then repeated the passage out loud, unsure if anything she’d typed for the last hour made any sense. "And as Sheila glared down at the killer, knife nestled in her bloody hand, she smiled. His vacant eyes shimmering in the moonlight remained mesmerizing. After all, she’d seen his domineering expression every time they’d made love. Her body shaking, she remembered all the lies and the promises. Hell, she’d been such a fool but no longer. She was different now and one who would never allow a man to take advantage of her again. Hearing the subtle plop, plop sound she finally tilted her head, enabling her to look directly at the slickened tile floor. She brushed the back of her hand over her swollen lips and caught a glimpse of the knife, glistening in the dim lighting and couldn’t help but smile. The pool of red blood reminded her she was very much alive and the monster, her monster was dead. Dropping the knife, Sheila held her hand in front of her face and began laughing as the realization hit her hard. She’d become the monster she’d so feared."

"Not bad." Rubbing her arms as a cold shiver trickled down her back, Carrington nodded in respect to her work. The ending was much grittier than the one before, her editor gave her some great advice. Then again, this was a far different ending than the real story. Finally satisfied, she saved the piece and opened up her email. As she searched for her editor’s email address she laughed. A new computer, a new operating system and a new email account meant no saved email addresses. Sadly, the switch had been a necessary evil since her entire life had been hacked and certain files corrupted while she’d taken a few days off.

Hissing, she grabbed her notebook full of her contacts and flipped to the page listing her editor. Blinking furiously, she chastised herself for wearing her contacts for so many long hours. Hell, she could barely see a damn thing. Jennifer Devereau had more than one email and only the favored authors had her private one. It seemed Carrington had come up in the world. The thought giving her a mischievous grin, she typed in the address, added the attachment and couldn’t help but tease. Here you go. As requested and I think you’ll find the haunting ending much more to your liking. And no more teasing about the kinky moments being what I want.

Carrington nodded in satisfaction and hit send. The sad thing was Jennifer had no idea just how much she craved every single one of the acts portrayed in the book. From bondage and the kinky clubs to acts of domination as explored by her heroine turned killer, Carrington had always enjoyed the kinkier sides of sex—if no other place than in her dark fantasies. The few experimentations had left her breathless and hungering for more but she wasn’t sure she could ever trust anyone that much again. Then again, with one call she could have exactly what she craved. No, she wasn’t going there. Period. Sighing, she turned off the large monitor and padded into the kitchen. Now she could relax and celebrate. What a shame no one was up at almost three in the morning.

Pouring a hefty glass of wine, she stood gazing at nothing but her mind was already reeling around book number three. Halfway done, she needed to put herself in the middle of the victim’s world and that might mean a trip to the location where the horrific crimes happened. She loved doing research and this one was centered around the seediest kink clubs patronized by the upper crust of society. Murder and sex knew no age or money brackets. Even Jennifer was excited about the additional aspects of the series. If she could keep up the pace putting out four of these a year, along with her other erotic pieces, she might make a name for herself by the end of 2018. Nibbling her bottom lip, she walked past the bulletin board and stood staring at the ugly pictures, bloody photographs of the real victims. How could the woman have endured so much pain? Swallowing hard, understanding wasn’t difficult.

Do you hunger like I do?

Do you crave what only I can give you?

Come… be with me forever…

The words haunted and terrified her as well. The sad aspect was Carrington knew where they came from and wanted no part of the situation. As she turned her head and eyed the scribbled and almost unrecognizable passage on the scrap of paper, she hissed and snatched it from the desk. Balling the paper in a tight wad, she pitched it into the trashcan. "No. You won’t do this. It’s gone. You don’t have to think about the past any longer." Unfortunately, the wretched details were all she could think about. The ugly memories filled her nightmares. Get out of my head.

As she turned off the desk lamp and headed for her bedroom, she thought about Preston and cringed. Damn it! The nightmares were easing into her daylight hours and she didn’t have the control to stop them from happening. Somehow, she knew nothing would ever ease the painful memories and the ugly visions and thoughts haunting her every night. Too many years. Too much horror. And now she didn’t even know herself any longer. Turning on the radio on her nightstand, she found a light jazz station and moved into the bathroom to start the water, adding her favorite scent of bath beads. Something had to soothe her nerves.

When she finally slipped into the tub, she leaned her head against the back and slid all the way into the warm water, dreaming. She could see Preston’s face as they walked hand in hand along the beach, thinking and planning for the future. They’d always dreamed of owning a beach house and while her writing career hadn’t taken off they knew one day she’d be rich and famous. Grabbing her glass of wine, Carrington chuckled hearing his words echoing from nowhere and everywhere  . You’re already famous. You just don’t know it yet. And that had been almost two full years before. Before… Before her entire world had been turned upside down. Well, for the second time in her life. How much could one woman endure?

"Oh, Preston. Why?" Taking a gulp of her wine Carrington knew this wasn’t going to do any good. Pining away for a dead man only continued the horrendous dreams. Maybe her best friends were right—time to get out and mingle. Snorting, she wasn’t certain she was ready for the benign party crowd but playing the lonely bump on a log wasn’t becoming either.

Minutes later she eased out of the tub and slipped into fresh panties and a silk robe. Her heart was heavy but finishing the book did give her a sense of accomplishment and yet she couldn’t get Preston out of her mind. But she’d made a promise to herself when she completed this book she was going to buy herself a treat and it was high time she remembered to put herself first.

Carrington moved into the kitchen and refilled her wine. She walked the entire perimeter of her living room before padding back into her office, glancing first at the bulletin board. The photographs were horrific reminders yet beautiful to her. There were days she studied every one of them almost to the point she had the articles and the positions of the bodies memorized. Sighing, she sat down at her desk and contemplated her next level of research. She’d been avoiding heading feet first into the gritty portions of the next book but now she had no excuses. A contract was a contract and Jennifer had proven to be a tough taskmaster.

She licked the rim of her wine glass before taking a sip. Preston’s death had been the final reason she’d allowed herself to finally start writing, a childhood dream. Holding up the glass, she saluted him in her mind. He was her lover and dominator but never really her friend. In truth, they hadn’t built a relationship on friendship and nights in front of a comedy or romantic dinners out. No, her rather curious side about all things erotic had led to a chance meeting and one thing had led slowly to another. Preston was all consuming and very narcissistic and both hated and feared by his peers. Neither of them had many friends at the time so he became her whole world. His terrifying words continued to reverberate in the back of her mind.

You don’t know what you need but I do. Give in to your dark desires. Allow me to take you to where you hunger to visit. Only I can give you the level of ecstasy you truly need. Only I can train you to become the woman you not only want to become but have to be in order to enjoy—in order to come. Submit to me completely and I’ll take you into ecstasy.

Every time Carrington thought about the words she trembled. The first time the man had said them to her they were on his boat drinking champagne in the moonlight. The evening had been so damn special and while he’d hinted at tying her up and spanking her before, Preston had never acted on his needs. Then again, she didn’t know he was deadly serious.

The memory of him handcuffing her near the bow of the ship, using a strap across her naked ass for the first time, had been both exhilarating and terrifying and yet when he’d finished she’d begged for more. Licking her lips, the images remained, burning in the back of her mind like an electrified haze of lust.

The dazzling event had given her the courage to try more and to allow Preston to begin the slow path into domination. When he’d died, she refused to think about returning to the lifestyle. But she craved it. The passion for her writing began in earnest, giving her a much-needed outlet. Dear God, if she wasn’t almost desperate to have relief. How long since she’d been with a man? Living out her fantasies vicariously in her books was getting old and her collection of sex toys more extensive.

Pushing her wine across the desk, she sat back in her seat and slid her hand into her robe. As she opened a desk drawer she pulled out a folder she kept for her private moments. Opening the thick file slowly, she fingered the colorful clippings she’d collected over the last two years. Flicking her finger back and forth across her nipple, she allowed a single moan to escape past her lips. Rock hard and aching, she could almost feel Preston’s mouth wrapped around first one, then the other nipple sucking and biting down until he drew a stream of blood.

Shivering, Carrington pinched and twisted her nipple between her fingers until the slice of pain coursing through her system became a powerful thirst. Swallowing hard, she moved her hand to the other nipple, repeating her almost savage actions until both were swollen. When she flipped to a glossy, she smiled and fingered the transparent edges of the photograph. My God, there was something so amazing about watching people engaging in acts of BDSM. Carrington tried to tell herself the file was for research purposes only but the lie was wearing thin. For a few months after Preston’s death she’d gotten close to a man who’d become her drug. Tripp was the reason she left Los Angeles in a hurry and mostly because she almost lost her entire identity to the man. But Preston was her true and only Master and sadly she knew Tripp was merely a slip toward damnation.

"Mmm…" Memories of Preston’s domination were sweet and forced her pussy to ache with need. Every move practiced, she opened her legs wide and eased her fingers under the thin lace of her panties, swirling the tip of her finger around the tender tissue as she allowed a hot breath to skate across her skin. She growled and stole a glance over her shoulder toward the open window blinds. As if remembering her husband’s commanding tone, she rose to her feet and untied the sash on her robe. Carrington remained quiet as she opened the bottom drawer of her desk and pulled out a set of nipple clamps. Holding them into the dim light, she trembled and nipped her bottom lip.

"I can almost see you smiling." As she moved out of her office and further into the adjoining living room, she turned on a torch lamp, illuminating the area in front of the back wall. Walking toward the bank of windows, she pushed the soft material down from her shoulders and allowed gravity to take the robe to the floor. Easing her fingers under the elastic of her thong, she stopped long enough to push the thin slip of lace down her legs and kicked out of them.

Exhaling slowly, she closed the distance to the windows and stood gazing at the surroundings. While no one could see her directly without a telescope or set of binoculars, the thrill remained inside. What if someone could see her? What if they knew she wasn’t the woman they thought she was? Glancing down at the steel clamps, she opened and closed one of the pinchers. As the sound of metal scraping against metal filtered around her, Carrington issued a slow hiss.

Every part of her body shaking, she slid her hand down between her legs and opened them wide as she continued scanning the adjacent buildings. Fingering her clit, she sighed then moved her hand back up to her breasts, cupping and squeezing first one then the other. She was wet and horny. Plucking one of her nipples, she opened the clamp and carefully placed the vice like grip around her hard bud. When she released the tension, she tossed her head back and gasped. "Ooh!" Biting pain coursed through her body.

Panting, she placed the second pincher around her other nipple and allowed the clamp to bite in. "Oh, yes." Jolts of current pulsed up and down her legs until she was breathless. Carrington stood as close to the window as she could stand, as she eased her fingers down to her pussy, swirling the tips around her clit until her heart was racing. As she tugged on the chain, forcing her nipples to stand at attention, she grazed her fingers up and down the length of her pussy, darting the tips just inside.

Blinking furiously, she teased her tender skin dipping her fingers just inside and pulling them back out. Carrington leaned her head on the cool glass and continued her actions, finally driving her fingers as deeply inside as she could. Flexing them open, she thrust harder and faster as her cunt muscles wrapped around the tight invasion, clamping and milking. "Oh! Oh, oh." When she opened her eyes, she remained stoic as she emitted a series of husky pants and continued yanking on the chain.

"God." Every move brought her closer to a moment of sheer joy and yet she refused to come, refused to allow herself the blissful moment of joy. As flashes of light swirled around her field of vision Carrington tossed her head from side to side as her legs shook almost violently.

Afraid she was going to fall to the floor, she palmed the glass and stopped her actions. There was no command telling her to come. "Fuck!" Staring out into the night sky, the series of lights turning on and off were more thrilling than the action itself. Suddenly unsure, she stepped away from the window and growled before releasing her aching nipples. She tossed the clamps onto the sofa and rubbed her tender breasts. Carrington turned off the light before grabbing her robe. This wasn’t nearly as good as the real thing. As she slid into the silky material and walked slowly back into her office to retrieve her wine, she realized Preston continued to usurp his brand of domination over her even from beyond the grave.

She gulped several sips of wine and gripped the edge of the desk as she eased back into the chair.

The deal made with her personal devil, she set the glass down, leaned back and closed her eyes. As an overwhelming moment of sadness enveloped her entire system she threw her hand over her mouth and allowed the tears to flow. When was it ever going to get any easier? A dark chuckle seemed to float across her from nowhere. Startled, she opened her eyes and hissed. The haunting note was back on her desk.

A shiver of terror raced down her spine.

* * *

"You have me at a disadvantage," she purred as she gave him a heated look.

"How’s that?" Jackson Devereaux asked as he glanced down the length of her. He’d been seeing Betsy Michaels on and off for the last six months and while they certainly weren’t exclusive, she knew how to push all his buttons. They’d started out as friends in a support group for widows and after months of late night coffees that turned into dinners, they’d finally succumbed to fleeting moments of shared passion.

"Well, you’ve been to my work and you’ve met my employees and I’ve never been to yours. I only know you’re an architect building some of the finest locations in the city." Her look nothing but playful, Betsy swayed her hips back and forth.

"You mean all the really big buildings I design, not build?" Wagging his finger, he had to admit he loved their camaraderie and he wished he could feel more than just admiration, friendship and lust, but they both knew the score. Still, there was no doubt it was wonderful to curl up next to a warm body every once in a while. "Besides, I barely go into the office. You know that. Mark handles almost everything." He was grateful he had an employee he trusted and who looked beyond the naysayers.

"Very funny, big man and still, I’d love to know more about what you do. How about a cognac?"

Glancing at his watch, Jackson sighed. The time was already after two and while he worked from home and certainly didn’t have to be very presentable for any clients, he was exhausted from a long week and a very long project. Just a few finishing touches and he would be done. "Sure, why not."

"Ugh. You make my request sound so terrible. Why don’t you go sit by the fire and I’ll join you?"

He could tell by the way Betsy gazed down the length of his body very slowly what she had in mind. His cock twitching, Jackson had to admit he wouldn’t refuse her advances. "Sounds good." Heading into the living room, he walked to the window and gazed out at the buildings still bright with activity. There was no doubt Jackson loved being close to friends and family. Sadly, the day to day grind of trying to make his business grow after so much disruption was more than difficult.

Fleeting thoughts about the past swept through the back of his mind. Sighing, Jackson leaned his head against the glass and couldn’t help but see her face in his mind. Stasia. As he closed his eyes, he envisioned the last time he’d seen her laughing and could almost hear the sound. Inhaling deeply, he held his breath as he reminded himself she’d always be with him.

"Quarter for your thoughts."

"Big spender."

"You know me," Betsy purred.

Jackson turned and smiled. "You’re such a good friend." Instantly he regretted the way he said the words. "I’m sorry."

"Don’t be sorry, Jax. You and I know the score and it’s okay. I still think about Tom, too. I don’t care what they say. Time does not heal all wounds." Betsy edged closer, her eyes never leaving his. "All we can try and do is remember how important they were in our lives. You know?" Handing him a glass, she allowed her finger to brush back and forth across to top of his hand.

Instantly a series of electric jolts coursed through his system. "You’re right," he muttered as he lifted the glass to his lips and took a gulp.

Betsy licked the rim of her glass, gave him a look full of mystery and nodded toward the fire. "Allow me to keep you warm for a little while."

"Just warm?"

"We’ll see." Her look full of mischief, she sat down slowly and held her knees with one arm as she turned her head toward the fire.

"Something’s been bothering you all night long."

"You know me too well," Betsy whispered.

Crouching down behind her, Jackson wrapped his legs around her and pulled her into the heat of his chest. "You wear your love and your emotions on your sleeve, which is one of the things I adore about you. You know you can tell me anything, right?"

"I know. It’s just that…" Her words trailing off, she took a sip of her cognac and exhaled slowly. "Do you remember the big promotion I’ve been going for?"

"You mean the one you talk about constantly?" Jackson bantered.

Groaning, Betsy elbowed his stomach and moved far enough away she was able to cock her head and allow her eyes to dart back and forth across his. "Very funny. Yes, that one."

"Does that mean you were offered the position?" He knew making partner was something she’d longed for. In the engineering world, where men continued to garner the majority of the higher-paying jobs and positions, Betsy was considered an anomaly.

"I was and I… I don’t know."

"What do you mean you don’t know? That’s fantastic! Why didn’t you tell me at dinner?" Jackson kissed the top of her head and grinned. Then he saw a shadow cross her face. "What’s wrong?"

Tilting her head, she gazed into his eyes. "Accepting the position means a transfer to San Francisco."

"Oh." Swirling his drink, Jackson took another gulp before setting his glass down on the hearth. "This is what you want and I know that. You have to take the promotion. This is your life."

"But what about us?" Absently rimming the glass with her finger, she stole quick glances into his eyes before turning to face him as she crossed her legs. "I mean we’re not exclusive and I didn’t think this was about forever but I care about you."

"The last time I checked planes crossed the country still." Seeing her continued look of worry, he took the glass out of her hand, set the dense crystal on the hearth and took both of her hands into his. As he caressed her fingers he sighed. "Look. You’re right in that it’s too soon for either of us to consider anything serious. What we have is wonderful but I just don’t…"

"You don’t see a future in it, in us. Do you?" she interrupted as she studied his eyes.

He realized she was looking for any sign of hope. Lifting her hands, he kissed both before shaking his head. "Not right now. You know I’m not your knight in shining armor. I’m a man who has understood all the pain you’ve been going through and someone you can trust. However, I refuse to hold you back based on some fairy tale notion we might be able to be more than we are."

"You mean you don’t want to rescue me?" Her playful stance returning, she finally shook her head. "I know and I’m not making light of what you said. I guess I just enjoy what we have and know that two thousand miles between us will probably mean the end of this… What are we doing again?"

Jackson burst into laughter. "Having wild sex?"

"Oh yeah." Brushing the tip of her finger down the bridge of his nose, she leaned forward and traced around his lips with the tip of her tongue. "You always smell so wonderful."

"And you’re always a flirt." Capturing her mouth, he tipped her head back as he pressed his tongue past her lips, savoring the flavor of her. Their tongues entwining, he eased his hand around her neck, holding her tightly. As she moaned into the kiss he could feel her body trembling.

Betsy eased up onto her knees and slid both arms around his shoulders as the moment of intimacy became a roar of passion. Breaking the kiss, she palmed his chest, kneading the soft material of his shirt, and panted. "I want you. Right here. Right now."

There was something almost savage about the timbre of her voice. Nipping her lower lip, he drew the soft flesh between his teeth as he rose onto his knees, easing the flat of both hands down the length of her back. Cupping her buttocks, he allowed his fingers to crawl the hem of her dress up the back of her thighs. "I love when you wear a thong."

"How about when I don’t?" Her voice barely more than a series of scattered pants, she shifted backwards and tugged the dress up her body slowly. Easing the thin material off her shoulders, she swung the slip of a dress into the air before tossing it toward the couch and giving him a brazen look of desire. "Or perhaps nothing at all." Wearing only a slip of crimson lace between her legs, the tiny thong barely covered her mound. "You like?"

"Fuck me." Jackson shook his head and brushed a hand through his hair. "Where did this woman come from?"

"This woman just wants to make sure you don’t forget about her."

Betsy was always the soft and romantic type and to see her trying to usurp a level of control was more than just a powerful aphrodisiac, her behavior was driving the savage beast from his inner depths. Jackson grunted and yanked the shirt off his shoulders without unbuttoning and as he pitched the unwanted material away, he gave her a feral look. She’d never seen this side of him and in truth no woman should. There were times he was afraid of losing control, something he’d promised himself he’d never allow happen again.

Instead of being frightened by his reaction of lust filled bravado, Betsy stood slowly, swaying her hips back and forth in a provocative manner as she cupped and squeezed her naked breasts. Twirling in a full circle, she fanned her fingers over her breasts as she pursed her lips. "Do you like this side of me?"

"What’s not to like? You turn me the hell on." Slowly standing, Jackson kicked off his shoes and fumbled with his belt.

"No, no. That’s my job." Shaking her finger, she pinched her nipples between her fingers with enough force she tipped her head back and groaned. "Ooh."

Jackson couldn’t take his eyes off her. His heart racing, he hadn’t been this turned on in years. There was no doubt he needed an uninhibited woman in the bedroom and one who was willing to try anything at least once. While Betsy was slightly adventurous, he knew she couldn’t handle his brand of dark hunger. Still, this side of her was more than enticing. "Don’t tease me too long."

"Or whatever will you do?" Betsy repeated the move before gliding her hands down the side of her chest to her waist, all the while undulating her hips back and forth. Slipping her fingers under the thin wisp of lace, she shimmied the thong past her hips, her eyes never leaving his. Giggling, she stepped out of them and held them up for Jackson to see.

Snatching the thong from her hand he issued a dark hiss before bringing the panties to his face, breathing in her feminine scent.

"Oh my. You’re in need tonight."

"You have no idea." As Jackson tossed the panties on the floor, his eyes blazed a trail down the length of her body, admiring every inch of her feminine form. Betsy was one beautiful woman. He beckoned her with a single finger. "If it’s your job then come suck me."

"With pleasure." Every move dramatic and deliberate, she sunk to her knees onto all fours, crawling toward him slowly. She stopped and purred, swaying her hips back and forth as she pressed her long curls over her shoulders. "Hungry?"

"Famished. Get over here." Jackson was aware of the hint of dangerous husk in his voice and to his delight, she simply smiled and obeyed.

Closing the distance, Betsy rose to her knees and palmed his chest before easing the flat of her hands down to his belt and pants. While she licked her lips and made soft cooing sounds, she finally freed his cock. "So delicious."

The second she wrapped her hand around the base of his shaft, Jackson had to fight the strong urge to thrust her head down, forcing the entire length of his dick into her mouth. Clenching his eyes shut, he inhaled deeply and held his breath as the first swipe of her tongue across his sensitive slit gave him a series of electric jolts.

"Mmm. So good." Betsy slid her hand down his chest until she cupped and squeezed his balls, rolling the tender sac between her fingers as she swirled her tongue around the blood-engorged tip. Easing back, she grinned. "I see I didn’t even need to touch you and you were already hard." Opening her mouth wide, she took his shaft down halfway, using her strong jaw muscles to clamp around him.

"Jesus!" There was something so incredible about her actions tonight and for several minutes Jackson was lost to the heat of her mouth, sucking and licking. He jutted his hips forward, tossing his head back and growling as he wrapped one hand in her tight curls.

Easing him all the way out, she purred as she raked her nails up and down the length of his shaft before following with the tips of her teeth. Every move deliberate, Betsy moved down until she swirled her tongue around his balls in a lazy circle. Keeping her hand around the back of his cock, she began pumping up and down as she took first one, then the other ball into her mouth. Moaning, she sucked with enough pressure Jackson’s legs shook.

"God!" His blood sizzling, Jackson panted as he fought back every dark urge. Clenching his eyes shut, the second she had his cockhead back into her mouth he thrust his hips forward with a hard enough move the tip hit the back of her throat. Hearing her strangled sound, he opened his eyes and pulled back.

Betsy had other things in mind. Placing her hands on his hips, she jerked him forward until his dick was all the way inside her mouth. The sound of his balls slapping against her chin mixed with her hungry mewls.

"Dear God!" He began fucking her mouth and the action forced his pants to the floor. Harder and faster he plunged into her mouth until every part of his body was on fire. But he wanted more. He had to be inside of her, filling her. Fucking her. "Stop!" Pushing her shoulders hard, she toppled to the floor. His entire body shaking, he stared down at her and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. "I want more."

"More? You can have what you want." Giving him a mischievous grin, she rose to her knees.

"Turn around. On all fours." As he jerked off his pants he could tell she was taken aback but didn’t hesitate. This was without a doubt his favorite way to take a woman.

Betsy purred and opened her legs wide, as if offering her sex in no unconditional terms.

Of which Jackson completely accepted. Easing between her legs, he grazed two fingers down the length of her spine to the crack of her ass, going up and down until he parted her ass cheeks and teased her dark hole.

"Oh…" Panting, Betsy dropped her head. "Yes!"

They’d never engaged in anal sex and while he wasn’t sure why, Jackson simply didn’t think she’d enjoy something so carnal. The moment he saw her excited reaction he grunted and repeated the move before slipping his hand between her legs and darting two fingers into her pussy. "So hot!" Instantly her pussy muscles gripped around his thrusts and for a second he remained still, enjoying the way her muscles pulsed.

Betsy wiggled and tossed her head back as she opened her legs even wider. "God. Fuck me."

Jackson slid the tip of his cock up and down her crack, teasing until he couldn’t hold back his ravished needs any longer. Impaling her pussy with the entire length of his shaft, the power of his strong thigh muscles drove her face into the soft pelt.

Grunting, she clawed the rug trying to regain control as she issued a series of ragged squeals. "Oh…oh, oh, oh!"

He tossed his head back and forth and repeated the move, holding her hips in place. How he loved the moments of being completely in control of her body and her wants. Easing his shaft out until just the tip was inside, he repeated the move again and again, his guttural sounds filling the air. As she squealed and groaned beneath him he wanted—no, he had to have all of her. "I want to fuck you. In. The. Ass." His voice barely a raspy hiss, he withdrew his cock as he slipped two fingers into his mouth, sucking until they were dripping with his saliva.

"Yes! God, yes." Betsy arched her back as her entire body quivered.

Grazing his soaked fingers down to her dark entrance, he rimmed the hole before pressing just the tips inside. "Tight."

"Yes."

"It’s going to hurt."

"Yes!" This time her voice was more insistent as if begging him to take her hard.

Jackson pressed his fingers in further, flexing them open until they hit the tight ring of muscle.

Moaning, Betsy dropped her head and issued a long hiss.

There was something so enrapturing about her ass muscles clenching around his fingers, drawing them in deeper. Issuing a keening growl, Jackson thrust the rest of his fingers into her tight ass until she issued a single sharp cry.

"Ah!" Panting and writhing, she wiggled her ass back and forth.

He pulled his fingers out and impaled her again as stars floated across his field of vision. Unable to wait any longer, he slipped the tip of his cock to her puckered hole and eased it inside. "You sure?"

"God, yes! Fuck me hard."

Needing no further encouragement, he thrust the entire length of his cock into her ass as both of them roared from the intensity of his actions. "Fuck!"

"Ooh!" Betsy lowered her face to the rug and moaned softly.

"I know it hurts."

"Yes. I more… harder…"

Every blatant word only fueled his savage beast. He repeated the move again and again until he slowly drove in and out of her as he clenched his eyes shut. A series of vibrant visions flashed through the back of his mind and suddenly he was no longer in the room with her. Instead he was in the dark place, the place he told himself he would never go again and in those terrifying moments where he wasn’t certain who or where he was, Jackson Devereaux lost his humanity.

susan landowski on 11/10/2017 10:55am
If you like a mystery with well developed characters than read this book. Also contains mild BDSM elements. I enjoyed this story and feel you will as well so please read.
Goldienut on 09/16/2017 04:18pm
Carrington Winters is an erotic writer that writes about her dark side
with all of her desires going into print. She emails the manuscript to the
wrong person. She meets up with the person that got her manuscript.
He says he will delete it but doesn't This causes her old feelings to resurface from a tragic background. This has so many ups, downs, twists and turns you will need to read this one.
Pettigg on 09/02/2017 06:30pm
A thriller and a BDSM book. Engaging characters you really felt like you were in the story. Carrington and Jackson take you one a wonderful ride.
lillie1922 on 08/31/2017 04:44pm
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book. Carrington Winters meets Jackson Devereaux and feels a desire she hasn't felt since her husband and Dom died. She is a writer of erotica and now murder mysteries. While a vicious killer is at work, he is also touching Carrington's mind. Can he be stopped? Murder mystery with spanking and aspects of BDSM.
Hope W on 08/31/2017 08:53am
Wow, this book is incredible!! The story is well written with a storyline that is beyond my expectations. The characters are complicated and well developed. The always kept me guessing what their actions would be and the motives behind the behavior. The author wrote each part of the story with descriptions to help the reader fee as though they were right in the middle of the action. While reading, I felt as though I was on the edge of my seat with my heart racing from start to finish! Whether it was the explicit sex scenes, spankings, action, mystery, danger, and completely unexpected reveal of the killer, I just could not put this book down. What an incredible read!! I HIGHLY recommend this for your reading list! I look forward to reading more from this extremely talented author. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.

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