When I think of spring I think of an explosion of fragrances and colors. Flowers of every variety, height and hue. White and pink buds popping out from barren limbs with a promise of fruits and citrus to come, and thin blades of grass breaking through last year’s dry, brown groundcover to create a carpet of green.
There’s spring-cleaning and yard work. Maybe some people toss out their old and worn items, replacing them more vibrant and fresh new ones. It’s almost as if we’ve hibernated along with the animals these past several months. Even the children seem more energetic, their voices rising and joining the sweet chirps of birds. Well, except for the woodpecker who has been thrumming out a tune on the tin around my fireplace at 5 a.m. LOL
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As Sydney passed by the bar, a short and stocky cowboy grabbed her hand, pulling her to a stop. “Dance with me, darlin’?”
She glanced toward Cameron and her sister smiled.
“Sure. Why not.”
A rousing two-step played as his calloused hand took hers, and he led her out onto the floor. Twirling her before he pulled her to him, he placed one hand at her waist and the other interlocked with hers. Gently, she placed her palm on his shoulder and they began to dance, two quick steps and then two slow ones. With ease he maneuvered her into a turn and back into his arms.
Beneath a large Stetson, he smiled and inched her closer. “Justin Timbers, ma’am. You’re not from around this neck of the woods.” It was a statement, not a question.
Was her city persona that obvious?
Another turn and they came together, chest to chest, and hip to hip. The cowboy held them in the intimate position, their bodies rubbing as they moved across the floor. Then he twirled her again and they resumed a more decent distance between them.
“I’m Sydney.” She inhaled his spicy cologne. Maybe what she needed tonight was a cowboy. It had been so long since she’d had a man in her bed. “I’m from New Jersey.”
“Please tell me you’re moving here.” His brown eyes twinkled in the dim lighting.
She chuckled. “No. Just here for the long weekend.”
Dropping their clasped hands down to their sides, so that once again their bodies were touching, he leaned in and whispered, “Wyoming’s loss for sure, darlin’.”
Sydney’s eyelids drooped. She loved to dance. For the moment, she allowed herself to enjoy the rustic atmosphere, the music, and the man in her arms.
When the band stopped playing, Sydney and Justin drew apart. Her mouth opened to thank him, when suddenly a hand on her shoulder spun her around. She shrieked and then froze, coming face to chest with Sean. Her gaze rose. Judging by his frown, he didn’t appear happy. He leveled a glare on Justin.
Wonderful. Big brother to the rescue and a pissing contest just for her. Yippee!
When she glanced over her shoulder at the cowboy, he stroked the rim of his hat and grinned. “Later, darlin’.”
Sean mumbled something inaudible. Then he wrapped his arms around her waist and crushed her body to his.
Startled, she raised her eyes to his. When they met his, sexual energy leapt between them, stealing the cutting remark she had perched on her tongue. Instead, her insides quivered and the air from the room seemed to disappear. She couldn’t breathe.
Uh-oh, her mind screamed. Something wasn’t quite right.
“You need to be more careful,” he grumbled.
Sucking precious air into her lungs, she desperately attempted to hold on to her control. “Of what?”
The urge to laugh bubbled in her throat, but the merriment never left her mouth as a dreamy melody began and Sean swept her away.
Cocooned in his embrace, she damned her traitorous body for buzzing to life with his touch. One hand nestled in the small of her back, fingers resting lower so that they rode the swells of her ass, while his other palm lay warm between her shoulder blades. Her cheek was pressed to his chest, his heady masculine scent having a field day with her senses. With each trembling breath she dragged in his cologne, a touch of evergreen, amber and musk that made her dizzy.
Shifting his hips, he wedged a knee between her thighs and she went liquid. His jeans-clad leg rubbed seductively against her sex. The developing ache made her nipples pebble into taut peaks. Her breasts swelled, growing heavy with need. This was the last thing she needed.
What was happening? A brother didn’t dance with a sister like this.
Sydney attempted to adjust her position, but his palms and leg made the endeavor impossible. Instead, he only increased the pressure, and the tightening low in her belly. Unanticipated arousal dampened her thong, while embarrassment heated her cheeks.
Please. Please. Don’t let him discover how he affected her. A damp spot on his jeans when they parted would be the ultimate humiliation. Sydney attempted to swallow, but the lump in her throat prevented anything so simple.
What on earth was Sean thinking, holding her so close, so intimately? And if her active imagination hadn’t gone completely bonkers, he was aroused too. Surely that wasn’t his belt buckle biting into her hip.
Could it be that he felt something for her?
Laughter almost burst from her mouth. You’re such an idiot.
Neither spoke as they drifted slowly across the floor.
Yeah. As if she could articulate a single, logical sentence even if she had dared to speak. Pressed so tightly against him as she was, every cell in her body screamed for fulfillment. In fact, Sydney would be lucky if the second he released her she didn’t fall into a puddle of goo at his feet.
On a turn, his knee gave her some reprieve, but before she could sigh with relief that damn pressure was back, teasing and tormenting her. The coil between her thighs wound tighter and tighter, the ache intensifying at alarming speed.
A whimper squeezed from her lips. Again, heat flamed across her face and she found herself praying, no pleading, that Sean hadn’t heard the pitiful cry.
What if she was wrong? What if this was just a show to keep the other men away from her?
When the song finally ended, Sydney didn’t know if she was relieved or disappointed. Hell. She didn’t know which end was up or down. Every tendon and muscle inside her was strung as taut as a bow. His grasp on her lessened, and he stepped back to hold her at arm’s length. The emptiness of his touch was bittersweet. Their gazes came together with a magnetic pull.
Without thinking, Sean slid his fingers into her silky hair, dropping his head to capture her mouth, but before their lips met they were interrupted.
“Ma’am, may I have this dance?”
Sean slowly raised his head to see yet another cowboy eyeing Sydney. This one was a little taller than the last and built like a Brahma—and raised by a coyote by the gleam in his eyes.
“The woman’s with me.” Sean spoke without thinking. Judging by Sydney’s widened eyes, his words had shocked her as much as they had him.
“Sean?” His name was almost inaudible on her lips.
“Excuse us.” He maneuvered her through the dancers and toward their table. Before they reached their destination, she pulled to an abrupt halt.
“Uhhh…what just happened?”
He bristled, reaching for the only thing that came to mind. “You don’t want to get involved with the likes of these men.”
“And why not?”
“Look at them, Sydney.”
No sooner did he say it than he regretted his words. Because look, or more to the point ogle, was exactly what she did, receiving several interested smiles in return that made his hackles rise to the surface.
“Okay. That’s enough,” he barked.
Licorice ropes may not be enough to contain the desire and wrath of this woman scorned…
Note: Although set in the same universe as ECSTASY: THE GAME, FORBIDDEN FRUIT can be read as a stand-alone story.
Note for Readers: You must be of legal age in your country of origin to read this excerpt.
“First, that attitude has got to go. Damn it, woman. I’ll be damned if I spend this night feeling guilty over something I couldn’t help. Niki, I need to tell you—”
“Guilty!” she huffed. “You don’t owe me an explanation. In fact, it doesn’t matter, Drake. That’s all in the past. We’re both different people. It doesn’t matter,” she repeated as if trying to convince herself. “Let’s just get on with the evening and be done with it.”
“I’m serious, Niki. We’ve got to talk.”
Her jaw clenched. “There is nothing to talk about.”
“Fine.” One way or another he’d force her to listen.
“We’re going to play a little bondage and domination.” He crossed his arms over his chest. “From this point on you will refer to me as Master.”
“What?” Her eyes widened, her lips clamped tightly together. She was magnificent when she was angry.
“You will not speak unless granted permission,” he continued. “You will stand with your feet apart, your head bowed and your hands behind your back.”
He raised both brows and waited for her to comply. It took longer than was acceptable, but he felt lenient…for the moment. “If I say drop to your knees and take my cock in your mouth, you’ll not hesitate.” Her mouth gaped wide. “You will not question me. It is your job to pleasure me. If you do not obey, or you hesitate too long in complying, you will be punished.”
As her jaw dropped farther, he said, “My word is law.”
The pink in her face shot to scarlet in point two seconds. Still, she remained quiet. A good sign… Or perhaps not.
They’d always had their share of arguments. Both of them were hardheaded—proven by how long it took for them to reveal their feelings about each other. Now it was nothing but a huge FUBAR—fucked up beyond all recognition. She wanted nothing to do with him, and he wasn’t leaving until things were resolved between them. But he had to work fast, before he shipped off—in three short days—to complete his tour of duty.
Somehow he would win her over. Show her that she could trust him, and perhaps even love him again.
“Come here,” he growled.
Her chest rose as she took a deep breath and a step towards him, then another. When she was standing before him, he reached up and cupped her chin. “Smile, Niki. I want to believe that spending the night with me is the best thing that’s ever happened to you.”
A shadow crept across her face. She forced a smile that didn’t quite make it to her eyes. “Yes, Master.” The words were correct, but her tone edged on the derogatory.
“Kiss me,” he demanded.
She went up on her tiptoes and planted a quick kiss on his cheek.
“Kiss me like you mean it.”
She swallowed hard and crushed her mouth against his. There was anger in the way her tongue dueled with his, and in the strength she used to meld their lips together.
He gathered her into his arms, breaking the kiss and starting anew. Gently, he nibbled on her bottom lip. Her eyes were closed. She took deep breaths, releasing them slowly. When she finally opened her eyes he met a shield of indifference, a detachment from him and the situation at hand.
“Fine,” he barked. “To your knees.” He ripped open his pants and his erection sprang free.
Niki’s glared at his cock as she drifted to her knees. He bobbed a mere inch from her mouth. Slowly her gaze traveled up his body until the fire in her eyes met his.
“If you don’t want to kiss my mouth, then wrapped your lips around this.” Drake cupped the back of her head and guided her towards his cock. He was a little hesitant—a pissed off woman’s mouth was probably the last place a man wanted to stick his Johnson.
A shiver racked his body as her wet, warm mouth closed around him. She was tentative at first. Then she surprised him by gripping his erection, moving her hand up and down to the rhythm of her suction. She cupped his sac in her other hand and gently kneaded. He clenched his teeth, sucking in a tense breath. Her expertise was unnerving. He hadn’t taught her this, someone else had. The knowledge hurt, but what had he expected?
For her to stay celibate as he had these past five years.
He trembled beneath her touch. “Stop!” God, give me strength. Though his body screamed “No!”, he stepped backward pulling out of her warmth.
She blinked as if dazed and started to rise.
“I didn’t give you permission to stand.” He needed a moment to gather his resolve, to ease back from the climax, and the betrayal he felt when he thought of her in someone else’s arms.
She stopped midway and sank back to her knees, her head bowed.
Drake’s fingers curled into fists. He wanted to conquer her indifference, wanted her to listen to him.
“Come.” He offered her his hand. She accepted his help in rising. “Follow me.”
The suite had many amenities, but it wasn’t where he intended to stay the night. Before he’d made the party arrangements, he’d visited Zygoman to ensure everything would be as he had requested. The adjoining room was the fantasy room.
The room had sky blue walls, ceiling and floor, no furniture and no windows. Even the door they came through blended into the blue walls.
Drake led the way. “Across the room is a door.”
“I don’t see a—”
He placed a finger to her lips. “You are not to speak without permission, Niki, until you choose to listen to me. You will be punished for disobeying my rules. And remember, you must refer to me as Master.”
She flashed him her best “fuck you” glare. Followed by an “in-your-dreams-buddy” stance—her backbone erect, her shoulders squared, her chin elevated slightly.
He was glad to see her spirit had returned.
“There is a door. As you approach, the heat of your body will reveal it. Inside is a dressing room with three numbered white boxes. Tonight you will take part in my fantasy and make my dreams a reality. Now get dressed.”