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The tide of Callie’s mediocre life is about to turn…
When she moves away from the city and rents an isolated lighthouse with a chequered past, Callie starts to have intense, sensual dreams.
Being made to submit to her dominant dream lover is something she finds extremely pleasurable. He heightens her anxiety as he heightens her passion, each dream more intense than the last…
At least, she thinks they’re dreams…
Publisher’s Note: This steamy paranormal romance contains elements of power exchange.
The boat rocked hard against the waves as the old craft chugged in the direction of the rugged Maine island. The darkening sky and low rumble of distant thunder spoke about the intentions of the approaching storm, increasing Callie’s feelings of apprehension. Heavy strands of damp hair whipped at her face as they were pulled free of their confinement by the unrelenting ocean wind. The distant moan of a marker buoy added an eerie quality to this new segment of her life. No matter, she’d made her choice— it was time to get on with it.
Through the fog she could make out the salt-stained gray of the old pier. She knew the lobster boat captain was eager to drop her off and be on his way back to the mainland before the storm broke. Who could blame him? Churning dark water and cold blasts of wind gave the atmosphere a frightening feel. Callie was shivering from more than just the damp, chill air sneaking under the hem of her lightweight cotton jacket.
A white-capped wave slammed into the starboard side just below the railing and the salty spray splashed up, stinging her eyes. The reverberation was strong enough to force her to reach out to prevent falling onto the slippery wooden deck. As her fingers glanced off the side rail, they pushed through the metal frame of a lobster trap tied below it and tangled in the Kelly-green netting, preventing her from falling. Still Callie’s elbow came down hard on the steel corner eliciting a yelp of pain from her wind-chapped lips.
The first mate glanced up and she quickly nodded her reassurance that she wasn’t hurt, though she could feel the flush of embarrassment staining her cheeks. She was a city girl and at this moment she felt sure it showed.
As the island neared she could see the sheer rock face and the outline of the keeper’s cottage sitting just above it on the point. Only the bottom half of the looming phallus of the lighthouse proper was visible in the gathering clouds and deepening dusk. A luminescent glow circled in the air as if a strange alien spacecraft hovered above, casting its greedy light onto a liquid world. Four seconds of red, four seconds of darkness—the cycle repeating itself as it had for nearly a hundred years.
This certainly wasn’t the postcard-perfect homecoming Callie had imagined it would be when she’d first seen the lighthouse three weeks earlier accompanied by nothing more than a sharp-tongued realtor, a need to run away from her life, and her checkbook. She was tired of the hustle of New York and needful of a place of rest and beauty. She needed an escape from the ordinary life she lived and a way to take back her ability to look for what she needed instead of just meeting the needs of everyone else.
Jack had suggested she was running away from civilization, but Callie knew better—she was running away from the mediocrity of their relationship. He professed to believe they were meant to share their lives. She did love many things about him, but she didn’t need him in her life. What she did need was an intensity of passion that he didn’t seem to possess. The longest commitment she could make to him was to stay awake for the whole forty-five minutes it took for him to get from home plate to a home run in the bedroom. He wasn’t a bad lover, just a predictable one, and Callie was tired of predictability in the bedroom, and a platonic relationship in the rest of her life.
As a writer, she made her living by exploring the limits of her imagination. Jack, as an agent, made his by living off the imagination of others with no care for developing his own creativity.
She remembered when they’d first met about a year ago. Callie’s own agent had introduced them at an all-night, over-the-top artist’s party. Jack couldn’t take his eyes off her fiery red hair and she couldn’t stop wondering why he was the only one wearing a suit. The reason hit her eventually—he was working, not partying. Jack was always working, and it was all that work, and no play, that made Jack a dull boy.
Still she was drawn to him. He was intense to the point of brooding, but not in the right areas. She never figured out whom he was working for in his mind, he seemed compelled to compete, to squash his own needs and desires to meet the demands of work success. He held back, even when they made love. He seemed to hold himself away from her, whether to protect her from his inner demons or to protect himself from Callie, she didn’t know. His self-control was amazing, and she could never crack the armor to get a peek at what he hid. Eventually, it all came to feel so hopeless and stifling. She still didn’t feel able to look deeper at what ending their relationship might do to her, so she hadn’t ended anything, she had simply asked for some time off. She only wished she had realized faster and walked away before he became so entangled in her life that he balked at being removed from it.
Balked, Callie barked a derisive laugh into the wind, he’d more than balked. When she’d first told him she wanted to move out of the city, he’d tried to talk her out of it. In fact, he’d seemed confident in his ability to do so. When that hadn’t worked he’d gotten angry and tried to intimidate her into staying—if he’d only showed that strength earlier in their relationship she might never have wanted to leave in the first place. Once he’d realized that browbeating her was hopeless he’d called in a favor and enlisted a realtor friend to help Callie find what she was looking for—a beautiful hideaway. That was how she’d found the Island, Lecher’s Point to the locals. Callie remembered smiling at the nickname, it was too funny to consider telling her friends about it, but after seeing the idyllic photos the realtor sent she couldn’t wait to drive up for a look. Callie rented a car in New York and drove the six hours to Maine.
She’d arrived on the first day of April and laughed to herself that it was some kind of April Fool’s Day joke her mind played. It didn’t seem possible for such a perfect place to exist in this world and be available for immediate occupancy.
The air had been unseasonably warm and the sky gloriously sunny. The white-painted stucco of the lighthouse and the wooden clapboard siding on the keep had been dazzling. Sea birds called to her from overhead and the rush of the tangy sea air had exhilarated her city-worn spirit. She’d felt instantly connected to this place and impulsively signed a one-year lease. The Coast Guard serviced the light as needed so she didn’t need to worry about its care. She could concentrate fully on her deadlines.
After the success of her first nonfiction book, The Personal Revolution of Annie, her publishing house was eager to get the next in the series out to the public. Four were planned in all, and this next one needed to be as big a hit as the first—if the last two were going to sell well.
Smart, funny books that appealed to women from every walk of life and crossed most social and moral boundaries always sold. Callie knew her audience well and she exploited that for her own gain.
This incoming storm may have dampened her homecoming, but it wasn’t going to derail her outlook. Callie was no stranger to storms and she would weather this one too, knowing that sunny days, and probably even flowers, would follow.
The boat shuddered when the Captain reversed its powerful engines as they neared the dock. The deck hands scrambled over the side to secure the lines as the vessel’s old car-tire bumpers gently nudged the side of the dock. She stopped to pay the captain as the crew unloaded her two bags and the soft-sided cat carrier. Her pampered feline, Muse, cowered in the back, meowing in protest.
“Welcome to Lecher’s Point,” the Captain bellowed. Half-deaf from a lifetime of working over the engines of the boat, the man obviously had no idea how loud he really was. “You know why they call this Lecher’s Point, don’t you?”
She nodded. She’d found the story on the Internet when she’d returned to her tiny New York apartment to pack her things and put her plan in motion. It was believed that the original lighthouse keeper had tended the light by night and his sex slaves by day. The pervasive Victorian morality of the mid-1900s led the locals to dub him as lecherous and the name stuck. Fletcher’s Point Lighthouse became Lecher’s Point, and it was now her home. Forcing a brave smile Callie thanked the Captain for the ride and stepped onto the wooden pier just as light rain started to patter around her on the scarred planks.
“That all you brought?” he asked. “If this storm blows for a few days you’re going to be mighty hungry by the time you can get yourself back to the mainland for supplies.”
“Thank you but I’ve got what I need already up at the house.” She waved and grabbed her bags, eager to get inside before the rain started in earnest.
Callie reached the kitchen stoop just as the fat drops began to land around her. Thankfully the security light came on as she approached the step and sliding the key into the modern deadbolt was easy and fast. Stepping into the dark kitchen she placed her two bags and the cat carrier on the floor while she felt along the wall for the light switch.
One flip brought the kitchen into bright view. Callie sighed in relief. The electricity and phone line cables ran along the ocean floor to the mainland, so even strong storms had little chance of disrupting her power. She had heat, water and lights, and from the boxes lined up on the kitchen table and along the floor, she had enough food for weeks. Callie found the refrigerator and full-size freezer also full. The house was built to wrap slightly around the lighthouse tower, so the tower was accessible from the outside, from the kitchen, and upstairs hallway where both bedrooms were located. There was only one way to get into the basement, from the kitchen. Her nervous anticipation switched to a sense of excitement in her new-found independence. There was much to examine both on the island and within herself.
Reaching down she unzipped Muse’s carrier and gathered the warm bundle of yellow fur to her chest. He settled in her arms and began to purr. Cuddling the cat, Callie began to explore her new home. Yellow light chased away her apprehension a little more with each snap of a wall or a table lamp switch.
In the living room she found the thermostat and turned up the electric heat to remove the chill and dampness brought in by the storm. She also found her books, CDs, and clothes that she’d shipped to Maine from her New York apartment. She was ready to settle in for a year. Thank goodness the home came furnished. From the cream-colored chenille sofa to the deep green and cream carpet the house had an elegant charm that felt inviting and peaceful. It was exactly what Callie needed.
Retrieving her laptop from one of her bags she set it up on the table in front of the big picture window in the living room. This would be the perfect spot to work on her new book.
Back in the bright kitchen she rummaged in the cupboards for a sturdy mug and added a tea bag. After filling the teakettle and turning on the stove, she picked up her luggage and carried the two bags up the stairs to the master bedroom. Muse followed her and plopped on the pillows at the top of the bed. The realtor had thought of everything to aid Callie in starting a comfortable journey. The cleaning woman he recommended did an excellent job of getting the house ready for its new occupant. The beds were made, the linen freshly washed, even the glass panes were spotlessly clean. Mrs. Dupree would be coming out to the island every Monday with groceries and mail and to clean for Callie. Everything seemed perfectly planned, she thought, to offer her just enough company to keep her from getting lonely, and more than enough time to concentrate on completing her next book.
Rummaging around in her overnight bag she pulled out the basics: a soft pink camisole top, long flannel sleep pants, and a pair of hand-knit woolen slippers that Callie had made herself. Stripping quickly, she padded into the bathroom and made quick work of washing all the essential areas and headed back to the bed where her change of clothes waited. She pulled on the slippers and pants and was reaching down for the camisole top when she felt the breath of chill air shimming up her spine from waist to neck. Grasping the small shirt to her naked breasts, Callie turned quickly. She’d half expected to find someone staring at her, but she was alone. She pulled the top over her head, chose a large sweatshirt jacket to add another layer of warmth, and headed into the hallway. Again, she felt the cool draft of air.
She wondered if the cleaning woman had left a window open in the spare bedroom and headed in that direction, but that thought quickly slipped away as she noticed the upstairs door to the tower stood open a few inches. She reached out for the knob handle and pushed the door shut, sliding the lock into place with her other hand. As she let go of the knob she noted a slight resistance, like it was held from the other side. Tentatively Callie reached out to test the knob again, but the whistle of the teakettle called her to the kitchen. She chuckled at her nervousness, and headed off to the kitchen for her tea.