Friday, April 15, 2011
Night Owl Reviews Web Hunt Prize Peek!
As part of my contribution to the Night Owl Reviews Spring Fling Web Hunt, I put up a print copy of An Invitation: Ariel's Pet and Diablo Blanco Club: Unfair Advantage.
Then I got to thinking, if you've never read my books before, why would you even want to win them, so.... I decided I'd post a short excerpt from Ariel's Pet today, and another short excerpt Unfair Advantage on Monday, April 18th.
Oh, and keep your eyes out -- May 13th is my birthday and I'm thinking I'll be giving away a prize or two on my blog...more details later, after I get them all ironed out. (This year is extra special to me since my b-day falls on a Friday!!)
So, here you go, a quick look at Ariel Valerian and Dane Reese, my heroine and hero of An Invitation: Ariel's Pet.
Ariel's body went stiff, her chin came up, and her arms folded over her chest. Every particle of her being seemed to vibrate with displeasure. She looked up at him, bright blue eyebrows arched. “Who's the chef around here?”
“You are, I'm—”
“Just because you wormed your way into handling some of my sister's duties, don't get ideas about horning in on my territory,” she warned as she fidgeted, shifted her feet, and settled her hands on her hips.
I knew it wouldn't last. Dane resisted the temptation to roll his eyes at her pugnacious attitude. “I'm not. I merely thought sea-salt-and-black-pepper chips would add an extra kick to that sauce you made,” he suggested and kept his tone cool and reasonable.
“As long as you remember who's in charge here.”
“In the kitchen, yes.” He crowded closer to her. There didn't appear to be any rationale behind her animosity. It could be her determination to avoid any kind of change. It could stem from the resentment he knew she carried because he was the one to coax her sister away from the café for a month. No matter what the cause of her anger, he'd be damned if he would back down now.
Her gaze narrowed. “And out of it.”
Dane shook his head. “Sorry, doll, but only in the kitchen. I run the rest of this place until your sister gets back.” The fire that flared in her eyes probably matched the one in his gaze.
“You are not in charge.”
“If you have any complaints, talk to your sister,” Dane offered, his arms crossed over his chest. “I have no doubt she'll side with me when it comes to who should run the financial side of your café.”
“Why do you think that? Because you've played on her interest in sexual submission?” The flash of varied emotions in her gaze disappeared, replaced by icy disdain. “And I would contact her, but you seem to have forgotten the rule about no communication with the outside.”
“Ah, so Alayna did discuss the rules with you.”
“Rules?” Ariel scoffed. “Prison sentence is more like it. Thirty days trapped at your mansion with no way to contact anyone.”
Dane shook his head, marveled at Ariel's dogged misinterpretation of the facts. “Not trapped or without a way to contact anyone. Alayna chose to accept the rules for her training, as a submissive is expected to do—”
“Without the right to think for herself, without being allowed to—”
“Again you show your ignorance of the D/s life.” The deepened pitch of his voice silenced Ariel. “Negotiation is key between a Dominant and a submissive. Nothing happens until both parties agree and expectations, limitations, and safe words are in place. You have this fanciful notion that Alayna languishes under a whip, bound and helpless beneath the control of some faceless, nameless man.” Dane leaned forward, and his tone dropped to a whisper as he held her gaze. “Maybe because that's a particular fantasy of yours? Fostered by a lover who tempted you to push the boundaries you desperately cling to?”
Resolved to make the little shrew see the errors in her thinking, he continued. “There is a difference between BDSM and D/s, Ariel. Dominance and submission do not require bondage and discipline practices. They are an exercise in trust and control. Leather, whips, ropes to tie a partner up—those can be part of the play, but at its core, a D/s relationship is about an equal exchange of power.”
Dane was sure Ariel didn't realize her expression was a mixture of disappointment and envy. He knew she would heatedly deny any desire to be in her sister's place, to experience the training Alayna was undergoing, but her gaze and the tone of her voice betrayed her curiosity about it all. Or perhaps his increased interest in controlling her was coloring his analysis. “What has you so angry, Ariel? That your sister asked me for help to navigate a new world? Or that she's doing something for herself for the first time in ten years but didn't include you?”
She blanched at the observation, and Dane cursed his impulsive comment. Retracting it would be useless; he watched the cool mask Ariel consistently adopted around him slip into place. It reflected her refusal to listen to reason. At least from him. This only seemed to exacerbate the fact that his ability to maintain a professional attitude toward Ariel was a facade. One that crumbled easily when she pushed him.
“You have some sauce on your face.” She pointed toward his chin.
He reached up to wipe away the gooey spread, wary of the keen look she gave him. It made him wonder what form of retribution she might concoct.
His suspicions grew when she stepped in close and gripped the tie he'd loosened earlier. “You may have my sister thinking you're needed here, Master Reese”—she tugged his face closer to hers—“but we both know it isn't true.”
Taking her time, she smoothed the tip of her tongue along his chin and licked away the smear of sauce before swiping upward to his cheek.
The damp track of her mouth removed any of the spread. “Be careful who you try to push. I'm not Al. And I have no intention of ever calling you my master.”
And that's where his problem lay, Dane admitted as he watched Ariel scoop up one of the covered containers on the prep station and carry it to the walk-in cooler. In that moment he realized those were the words he wanted to hear. My master. His imagination readily conjured images of Ariel kneeling before him, her bright green eyes ablaze with desire, her naked body dewed with sweat as she trembled at the cusp of orgasm, requiring only his touch, his words, to slip over the edge.