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May 19th 2015

Woo-Hoo! Provoked made Amazon’s Top 100 Bestselling for Romantic Erotica! Time for a giveaway!

May 25, 2015

Downloads137

Best Sellers in Romantic Erotica

Provoked (Make Me Book 1)
Kindle Edition
$3.99
To celebrate I’m giving away one signed paperback edition with a 25.00 Amazon gift card to be emailed separately to the winner! I will be drawing on 06.01.15!! If you are already a subscriber to my blog you’re entered. If you’d like your name to be entered twice leave me a comment. If you don’t subscribe to my blog but would like to be entered just leave a comment or contact me via email or on facebook. Easy, right?
Here some of the first reviews!!!
5silver-stars

5 first rate STARS!

I never thought I’d love a heroine more than I did Colin from Reluctant Surrender, but Charlotte, a.k.a. Charlie, grabbed a hold of me from the very beginning and never let go. I loved her! She was funny, a little sad sometimes, smart, feisty and oh, so much more all wrapped up in predicament that kept me turning pages! Her twin sister, Cat was hilarious and I can’t wait for that story.

 

Master Neil…

 

Neil is one of the best Doms I’ve ever read. He’s the man for Charlie. He’s gorgeous, strong, and level headed. When she pushes, he pushes back. He’s firm when he needs to be tough, and then a real charmer when the mood and circumstance allow. He’s my kind of hero. A little scary at times, but always trustworthy.

5silver-stars

5 OUT OF 5 STARS!

VERY GOOD!

 

Loved the twins. Loved, loved, loved Neil. Oh he would be so upset with the 2 extra ‘loved’. Great humour. Smoking chemistry between Charlotte and Neil. This book could also be classified as a mystery. Riley could write in another genre if she wanted to. Can’t wait for Catharine’s story. Such a brat. Hope Jude gets lessons on being a strict Dom.

I loved the ups and down of the developing relationship between Charlie and Neil. Their story was very poignant and well written.

5silver-stars

5 OUT OF 5 STARS!

5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great BDSM Romance From Riley Murphy!

 

Riley Murphy has a gift for portraying complex characters and building relationships between her heroine and hero. I love the way that , although Neil is the Dom, Charlie has him on his knees by the end. This story also has a good mystery element and great secondary characters. Riley has a unique voice amongst Bdsm writers: there is always so much humour in her stories which actually makes Bdsm seem like it could be fun whereas so many other Bdsm authors make it seem over intense and bleak. That scene at the end where Charlie and Cat distract the bad guys is hysterical! The emotional connection is sweet and romantic too -Charlie’s letter to Neil- Ah! I also loved the relationship between the twins- hope Cat’s story is next!

So many good elements in this book. Riley just seems to know that you need so much more than hot sex ( and there is plenty of that!) to make a perfect Bdsm story. She just gets everything right: the relationships; the characters ; the romance and , above all , for me, the humour! She really stands out amongst Bdsm romance authors. Can’t wait for the next one.

5silver-stars

5 OUT OF 5 STARS!

Another keeper from Riley Murphy!

I received an ARC and could not put this one down!! Charlie is so funny and together, she and Cat will make you laugh…and cry… and wish you had a sister like that. Neil – you want to be mad at him, you want to smack him sometimes… but, well before the end, you love him and by the end you absolutely get what he was trying to do! The story… wow… just wow… it hooks you from the beginning and doesn’t let go…

Neil and Charlie together… magic.. they’re not perfect.. which makes them fun to read. Together they make you root for them.. and although you will shed a few tears throughout… inside you still do the happy dance a truly well written story gives you.. there are some amazingly hot scenes that will definitely have reaching for the ice water!!

5silver-stars

5 OUT OF 5 STARS!

Provoking a delicious Dom can have its advantages.

Imagine twins, Cat and Charlie, who just can’t manage to stay out of sticky situations, a map where X marks the spot that was stolen from Jude, who has “connections”. Then enter Neil, a gorgeous Dom who has no trouble corralling a sub, who doesn’t know that she’s a sub (at least at the beginning). To be totally honest, Neil has a little bit of trouble keeping Cat, or maybe it’s Charlie, under control and out of harm’s way. How can anyone pass up the opportunity to make this incredible journey? You’ll laugh, shed tears of joy and sadness, search for answers to an unsolved crime, and discover a poignant Dom/sub relationship. A story where differences and opposites pull, attract, and draw together for one thrilling adventure.

5silver-stars

5 OUT OF 5 STARS!

The best from this author! I didn’t think that was possible!

The best from this author! I didn’t think that was possible, but wow!!! This story is better than Reluctant Surrender IMO, and Reluctant was one of my favorite all time books ever! This one had everything I liked. Plenty of hot sex, witty banter, great plot and a hero that makes you melt and fall in love with him. So good! Can’t wait for Cat and Jude’s story!!!!!

If you’d like to read the first two chapters (click here)

As always, thanks for stopping by!!

Riley


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First Scene Of Our Story and You Get To See What’s In The Mystery Box!!!

May 22, 2015

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Isn’t it purdy? That’s part of the giveaway when we finish our short story. :) Make sure you leave a comment or suggestion for the next scene. I’ll be looking for words you want me to use, or a situation…maybe what you’d like to see happen when they run into each other again.

 

Now onto our story….

The Meeting: Scene one…

He made note of the white metal blinds, light blue drapes, one yellow plastic vase with a half dead daisy wilting out of it and a sweet potato. The latter of which was pierced with toothpicks and half submerged in water. The result was that it had grown some aggressive sprouts. Aside from that rather pathetic science project in the window, principal Dodd’s office was tidy to the point of being sparse.

“Sorry I’m late. I’ll take it from here, Victoria. Oh, did you tell him why I’ve decided they’ll be a three day suspension?”

Xander Reid never moved fast. Snapped was not part of his repertoire and yet, he found himself snapping around when he heard those words. He’d completely dismissed the office secretary who couldn’t have been much older than eighteen, but he was paying attention to her boss. Principal Dodd had a soft, but confident voice that had an edge of steel to it that begged to be ground down and melted. “Suspension?”

There was only one kind of suspension Xander liked and it had nothing to do with his nephew being kicked out of school.

“Yes.” She ushered the secretary out and then closed the door. She seemed to take a fortifying breath and then she spun around, looking right at him. What a rush. “You obviously got my message otherwise you wouldn’t be here. Surely you’re not going to fight me on this decision?”

Xander most definitely would. He waited for her to go to her desk and sit down before he answered, “I believe I will.”

“Did you listen to my whole voicemail?”

He nodded, wondering if her hair was as silky as it looked. The color and shine reminded him of highly polished onyx.

“And you’re still going to question the suspension?”

He ignored the way she motioned him to the chair opposite the desk. For this discussion he’d remain standing. “What they were doing was no more than a cliché. Alice Cooper wrote a song about it.”

She tilted her head and studied him. Then she arched one of her perfectly shaped brows and said, “Yes, but I believe in that song they were smoking cigarettes in the boys room.” That brow came down and she sat back in the chair. “The last time I checked, Mr. Reid, our state hadn’t legalized marijuana, so a three day suspension looks pretty good from where I’m sitting. Far better than a juvenile record, right?”

She had great skin which only became more appealing to him when she leaned forward and extended her arm, tapping her index finger at the dotted line on the release form. He couldn’t help sizing up her delicate wrist. That part of her would look perfect secured in his brown leather cuffs. The scrapes and dents in the well-worn hide would be a beautiful contrast against all that alabaster.

“Mr. Reid, I assure you it’s a standard form.”

He lifted his gaze, meeting hers directly. “Nothing is ever standard, Naomi.”

Not a flinch or a flicker when she said, “My name is Ms. Dodd.”

“Your nameplate says differently.”

Her eyes narrowed just a touch, but enough that he noticed. “Maybe I should call you Xander?”

She used his first name. This interested him. “Have you been checking out my nameplate, Naomi?”

Her cheeks turned a very telling pink color. Nice. “Or maybe I should just call you ‘Z’.”

“You could,” one side of his mouth lifted in a ghost-like grin before he could help it, “but I wouldn’t answer.”

“Oh?”

Now he’d take a seat. Yeah, he’d get comfortable for this. “I prefer to be called something altogether different at times. Can you say the same?”

“I’m not sure what you mean and I really don’t know how we got here. I would like you to sign the release so you can take your nephew home for the balance of the week. He’ll be cleared to come back onto school property next Monday.”

Xander gave a curt nod toward the window and asked, “What’s with the sweet potato?”

“The…” She shot a look to the vegetable and then scowled at him. “Why do you want to know?”

He shrugged. “I’m curious.”

“You’re stalling.” She let out a deep sigh. An aggravated one if he had to name it, and then said, “It’s a personal challenge. That’s all you need to know.”

For this he’d sit back and relax. “No it’s not. I think I need to know everything about it. Tell me.”

“I will not.” She laughed and the sound was surprisingly deep. “Not unless you stop being obtuse, and sign the form. I have another meeting with the delightful parents of one of the other boys caught smoking with Spencer. That couple is going to be here in less than hour. The father’s a lawyer and his mother’s a psychiatrist so I have to make notes and probably find a bible. No doubt when I’m not being analyzed by the one, I’ll be getting cross examined by the other.”

“I’ll sign it if you tell me about the spud.”

She reached across the desk and handed him a pen. As though he were ordinary. A regular guy. No one who carried any weight with her. He didn’t like that.

“It’s blue ink. State law and all that. So about the potato…”

He was barely listening and he didn’t know why. Two minutes ago he wanted to know everything about the vegetable mystery, but now all he wanted to know was what kind of man turned her on.

“That’s why I did it.”

He blinked. “Did what?”

“The potato project. After the boys suggested that guys were better suited to the sciences I took a personal interest. I think they’ll be a little surprised when the teacher in that class goes to measure those slips on Friday morning. I’m betting that overnight the girls greenery is going to go through a—” she sized up the leafy sprouts growing out of the potato in the window and turned back to him, “a six inch growth spurt, give or take a few.”

“Is that fair?”

Her smile remained strong. “Yes.”

He leaned forward and put the pen down on the paper without signing it. “But you’re cheating so the girls can win. That tells me that the boys might be right after all.”

She shook her head. “Not a chance. The boys were the ones who cheated first and not very carefully either. We have them on tape sneaking into switch their less than stellar project with the girls.”

Xander frowned. He hadn’t predicted this. “So why didn’t you out them and let the girls win by forfeit?”

“Too easy. This way they’ll really have to eat humble pie when they lose. They’ve been strutting around the last few weeks like they’re kings.”

His heart beat faster and his voice automatically dropped an octave when he asked, “You don’t like commanding men?”

She reached forward and picked up the pen. “I don’t like sneaky cheaters no matter what sex they happen to be. Are you going to sign this? I only have forty-five minutes to prepare myself for my next meeting.”

Xander searched her eyes. There was nothing there but open and honest clarity. It was as if he was nothing more than a…than a…than an uncle there to sign his nephew out of class. And no matter how much he tried to tell himself that’s all he was. That’s all he should be. That’s all he needed to be, especially now, he couldn’t do it. “What if I renege on the deal?”

“Well then.” She sat back and folded her arms over her chest. All signs of open and honest were gone and in their place was a wall of ice. Ice he could deal with. Ice could be chipped, and chewed, and sucked on until it melted. “We would have to reconsider our options with Spencer.”

“Such as?”

“For starters, I’d have to tell the uptight and very religious teacher who found them passing around that joint this morning that he was right. We should have called the authorities immediately and let them deal with it. After that I’d have paperwork of my own to fill out as forms would need to be submitted to Spencer’s new school for transfer.”

“You’d make him change schools?”

“I wouldn’t make him do anything. I’d be forced to follow the rules as they pertain to these kinds of situations. Rules that I didn’t put in place, but that as principal, I’m governed by and must follow to the letter, unless I endeavor to put my job and reputation on the line and break them the way I’m doing now by offering a different course of action. Why? So I can cut a few good kids some slack. Kids I think that are dealing with their issues as best they can. But sometimes those issues follow them here.” Unbelievable. She gave him the once over and then added, “Indulgent relatives mostly who care more about their own egos than fixing the problem at hand as smoothly and expediently as possible.”

He grinned. Not because he thought she was cute. She wasn’t at the moment. And not because she was smart, although she really was, he grinned because she was right. Plain and simple. Sure he had time on his hands for the first time in over a year, but if he was ready to jump back into the available singles pool, he’d be doing it with a woman who suited his particular tastes. It didn’t matter how much she appealed to him.

He had no doubt he needed a challenge, but one of which the scales would already tipped in his favor. An obedient little pet who would listen, behave, and hold him in much higher regard than just some ordinary Joe. He was so far from that. Too bad she didn’t know it.

Now it was his turn to give her the once over. After he did it took him less than ten seconds to draw one conclusion.

Ms. Dodd would certainly be a challenge for any man. Intelligent women were. He loved smart women, but she wasn’t the woman for him. Picking up the pen, he signed the form before he handed it to her. “You make a stellar argument. I should think you won’t have any trouble convincing the lawyer and the shrink. They’ll probably run home crying after you’re done with them.”

“Perfect. That’s what I’m going for.”

She got up and came around the desk. Was her skirt that tight when she’d first walked in? Were her breasts straining that blouse so spectacularly? He didn’t think so.

And as he stood and towered over her, he came to another conclusion. She’d be a joy to dominate. A treasure to be claimed and hoarded. As he followed her to the door, transfixed by the sexy swing of her hips, he knew why.

Ms. Dodd was comfortable in her skin. She had a certain confidence that radiated a power he wanted to own.

Good thing he was leaving. The kind of draw he was feeling toward her was dangerous. Intense. There’s no telling what he’d decide to do to her if he ever had occasion to get his hands on her.

“I’ll call down and have Spencer meet you.”

It was the oddest sensation shaking her hand when what he really wanted to do was have her shaking beneath him moaning his name. The only moniker he’d allow her to use. “Thanks. I’ll speak to Spence and make sure we won’t have to meet like this again.”

*****

The minute Naomi closed the door she breathed a sigh of relief. She couldn’t afford to be crushing all over one of her student’s uncles. Not when the man she’d been waiting to meet was finally in town.

Master X.

After eight long months of listening to the whispers about the new owner of the club she was ready to play nice. If the rumors were true and she had no reason to believe they weren’t, he was on the lookout for a new play partner.

Friday night was going to be her night. She fully intended to throw her hat into the ring of subs who wanted to be considered for the position. She was done with middle of the road men. She was aiming for the top.

Although…

She peered through the window in the door, easing two metal blind slats to part to get one last look at Mr. Reid. There he was. She eyed him from top to bottom and back again.

Damn.

Spencer’s uncle sure did have a nice physique. Tall, broad shoulders, slim hips. Nice–

He spun around and she gasped, letting go of the blinds. Did the guy have eyes in the back of his head?

She didn’t want to check again. She was too afraid he’d be staring at her door. Drilling holes through the metal.

Double damn…

(end)

Thanks for playing!

Now for some news on Provoked!!!

Neil teaser Provoked 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early reviews!!! This is what readers are saying:

5 OUT OF 5 STARS!! “The best from this author yet!”

5 FIRST RATE STARS!!! “This author has a way of making you fall in love them (her characters) and she did a superb job here.”

5 OUT OF 5 STARS!!! “I could not put this one down!! Charlie is so funny and together, she and Cat will make you laugh…and cry… and wish you had a sister like that. Neil – you want to be mad at him, you want to smack him sometimes… but, well before the end, you love him and by the end you absolutely get what he was trying to do! The story… wow… just wow… it hooks you from the beginning and doesn’t let go…”

5 OUT OF 5 STARS! “How can anyone pass up the opportunity to make this incredible journey? You’ll laugh, shed tears of joy and sadness, search for answers to an unsolved crime, and discover a poignant Dom/sub relationship.”

I love readers! You guys make my day!!! I’ll be posting all the reviews on Provoked’s Book Page after the weekend. :)

And for those of you who’ve asked. Yes! The PVC tape scene was the one that Honey and discussed over coffee. He was the one who came up with the clever way to structure that scene. That’s one of the biggest reasons I love him. Just when I think I’m not going to be able to pull something off, he gives me that grin and makes my worst fears fun. I LOVED writing that scene.

And for the readers who emailed to say that they nearly had an accident reading about the twins trying to get themselves out of trouble with the bad guys – I say YAY! I love to hear that! So please, feel free. Even if you don’t leave an official review, drop me an email and let me know what you thought about Charlie and Neil’s story.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Riley

 


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IT’S TIME FOR OUR STORY!

May 18, 2015

 

release day promoSo since has been released and I’d already sent the advance copies last week to five of my subscribers (names I picked out of the hat) what do we have so far for the lucky winner to-be after we finish our story?

The mystery box.

photo 1

A signed copy of Reputable Surrender.

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A signed copy of Stare Her Down.

A Gunn note pad.

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A 25.00 Amazon Gift card (to be emailed separately to the winner with this image on it)

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We have this stuff

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A David Post It Note pad

A Requested Surrender Magnet

A “You had me at spank” dog-tag

And an Aries heavy duty magnet clip

And now I’m going to show you what’s inside the mystery box:

photo 1 (11)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ready?

photo 2 (9)

 

 

 

 

Yes it true! I’m one of those people who puts a box in a box! Heh. But the one thing I don’t do is show you the wrong box so you can safely assume that whatever’s in that box is GUESS and judging by the size I’d guess…well, I’m not going to tell. 😉

Now the next item has something to do with the my new release so bear with me. Here it is:

photo 3 (7)

 

It’s an apple candle! It smells great. Anyways, it’s not the candle part that relates to the story. It’s the apple. Master Neil is a really funny guy when he’s provoked so the little scene where the apple is mentioned still makes me smile.

This is what we’re adding for now. Once we finish our little story we’ll do the drawing. It should be fun.

For our story I’ve taken these suggestions so far.

Our hero’s name in Xander a.k.a Master X. He’s back in town for two reasons. The first, he’s recently acquired a club he needs to check in on, and two, his brother is having marital problems so while he and his wife are away getting counseling, he’s taking care of their 13 year old son – who is acting out over the parents having problems.

Our heroine’s name is Naomi – because…well, how could I not? I moan! Love it! She’s the school principal who has just suspended the 13 year old for smoking in the boy’s bathroom.

Uncle Xander to the rescue…NOT. Turns out? Naomi is no slouch when it comes to dealing with indulgent parents and/or relatives. *leans in to whisper* And she thinks Xander is indulging the boy.

Uh-oh…

Haha! Once I have this first scene polished I’ll be posting and you can let me know what you think.

Thanks for stopping by! And I can’t wait to write this short story with you. You’ve given me such great suggestions so far.

Riley


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PROVOKED: MASTER NEIL AND CHARLIE’S STORY (THE PROLOGUE AND FIRST TWO CHAPTERS)

May 16, 2015

This is Charlie…

charlie

This is Master Neil…

Master Neil Provoked teaser

This is their story…

provoked-cover-15-2

PROLOGUE

 

June 1992

 

He waited for her to say something. To cry or scream. To do anything besides rocking back and forth in that chair that didn’t creak. He knew better than most that silence was the enemy when life went bad. It turned against a person until they turned against themselves. That’s where she was now. A soldier on the internal battlefield trying to find the moment in the war when things went wrong.

Unfortunately, the unpredictable couldn’t be predicted. Which meant she’d get no answers looking back, and he’d get no closure moving forward.

These were the thoughts in his head. The clear reasoning of a man who’d been to hell and back, surviving the trip because he’d made the journey alone.

He wasn’t alone anymore.

The heart of him was rocking in that chair.

Devastated.

Broken.

She was hurting in a way that brought him to his knees. He’d lived through pain and suffering. He’d shouldered agonies most men would have died from…did die from and yet, standing here in the pale pink nursery faced with his woman’s sorrow he knew there were worse things for him than death.

Without a word he went back downstairs and made his decision. She had enough to mourn. A lifetime of tears to shed. She didn’t need to know what else the bastard had done to them. It would be his secret until he had the one answer she was looking for.

He examined the torn map for the hundredth time and then scooped up the note that had been delivered with it, reading.

 

She picked the wrong man when she chose you. I want her to suffer like I suffered and experience the pain of losing someone she loves. You stole my world and now I’m stealing yours. The only chance you have of getting it back is to find the box. It will be like the good old days. You and I working together, only this time you’ll be hunting alone. Do you recognize the terrain?

 

He glanced at the map and then scowled, returning to read the rest of the note.

 

You should. It’s your own backyard. Somewhere out there I buried your past, present, and future. I locked up your biggest dream. You always said the ranch was worth a fortune, and now it truly is. ‘X’ marks the spot. Oh and there’s a little surprise in there for your wife.

 

His chest muscles involuntarily tightened and for the second time tonight his knees felt as if they were going to buckle under. The half of the map that was missing had the all-important ‘X’ on it, and the familiar terrain the bastard had referred to was the seventy acres of bush and grazing land that ran the entire length of the property. Dragging a finger under the last sentence he read it out loud.

 

Me and she will be, but if you want to see the key you’ll need to pay a fee.

 

He closed his eyes and let his head fall back, thinking about that cryptic clue. One day maybe he’d be able solve this, but not tonight. Tonight he had to comfort the woman he loved, while he walked with her through their darkest hour. All because of a sick bastard he’d once called friend.

 

 

 


 

 Chapter One

 

The fury of a woman scorned leads to quiet desperation…

 

 

September 2015

 

 

Charlie stared at her twin and said, “We have a problem.”

“Besides that?”

She followed when her sister pointed to the neat bundles of cash on the table between them, and then sighed. “Because of that.”

“Did you win it?”

“Nope.”

Cat’s index and middle finger walked over the hundred dollar bill on the top of the pile asking, “So where did it come from?”

Charlie wasn’t ready to get into all that until she knew how her sister had made out. “Did you get yours?

“Already sent.”

Relief flooded her and she nodded. Time to spill. At least about the money. The part about the other stuff would have to wait until they pulled this off. “I stole it from Wilde.”

“Jude Wilde?”

She wasn’t going to let Cat’s incredulous tone unnerve her. “He’s the one.”

“Do you have vodka around this place?”

Yeah, it was bad, but surely not that bad. “It’s nine o’clock in the morning.”

Her sister craned her neck this way and that, examining Charlie’s counter. “It’s either that, or a gun. Wilde’s connected.”

“Pure speculation.”

“Oh?” Her sister stopped looking around and gave Charlie her undivided attention. “Why push to find out? And I thought what I had to tell you was bad.” She got up and started opening and closing cabinet doors. “Vodka? Scotch? I’ll even do gin.”

Charlie smiled at that. Cat was freaking out. After their second year in college when her sister drank a cup of gin straight-up on a dare and wound up being hungover for two full days, she couldn’t even smell the stuff without turning green. “There’s a wine cooler in the fridge. Go for it.” After Cat returned to the table with the drink in hand, Charlie had to ask. “I suppose you broke the club rules again to get your half of the money?”

“In the most disgusting way imaginable. Are you sure this is the strongest you got for booze?”

Charlie leaned around the frosty bottle her sister held up, and answered, “You know me. I’m the tea drinking book worm, remember?”

“I bet you weren’t thinking that when you were shaking your ass on that stage last night.” Charlie watched her down half the wine cooler, before she placed it on the table, and shook her head. “How did you not win? You’re fucking gorgeous.”

With everything they had going on here that’s what had her sister confused? “Nice of you to say, being that we’re identical, but as to me not winning? The opportunity to do so kind of got swallowed up by Jane Remington.”

Cat sat forward and snatched the bottle off the table. “No. The Marilyn Monroe wannabe? She entered the contest? She’s got nothing on you. How’d she win?”

This time, Charlie purposely waited for her sister to take another mouthful. “She promised to swallow Wilde’s meat so he’d vote for her. He was the last judge bribed with the promise of sexual favors to come before the contest.”

After she finished coughing, Cat choked out, “That’s not fair.”

“I know. So I made him pay for it.” She indicated to the money with a glance.

Cat’s gaze dropped and her tone was matter-of-fact. “This isn’t going to be good for either of us if he finds out— Hey, how come there’s so much? I thought the cash on hand for the contest was ten K?” She looked up. “There’s the full twenty here, no?”

Charlie tried to sound casual about it. She didn’t want to deal with Cat’s usually chipper-doom predictions. “Twenty-one thousand actually.” She held up her hand and patted the air. “Before you ask, this money didn’t come from the contest.”

Cat mouthed the phrase, “Holy fuck”, then gently put the bottle down and whispered, “Where did it come from?”

She was willing to take one more shot at trying to keep the situation contained. After all, if Cat didn’t know everything she’d be more believable if she was questioned about it. “You want the truth or do you want to hear the story I’m going to tell Mom and Dad when I send them my half?”

“Charlotte.”

She hated when her sister pulled the formal first name thing on her. “You know I would have robbed the U.S. Treasury to get the money we need.”

“Me too as it would have been safer. They play nice with criminals. We’re in this together so give me the lowdown.”

“Okay. A few of us losers went home with Wilde and a couple of his friends. The boys were going to have an all-night poker tourney—”

“Gambling! No. How could you even think about that after—?”

“I wasn’t going to play. None of the girls were. We were invited to,” she popped her brows to emphasize, “entertain them.”

No surprise that Cat nearly fell off her chair when she heard that. “You? You were going to entertain them? With what? Your razor-sharp tongue and holier-than-thou feminist attitude?”

Charlie chose to ignore those comments and glowered at her. “As I was saying, one thing led to another and before we knew what had happened—”

“We?” Cat prompted.

“Me and Regina.”

“You brought your weird assistant from the museum to the crime scene?”

“She was my wing-woman.”

“Wing-woman? More like the link in the chain they’re going to lock you up with.” Cat looked away and then turned back. Her expression grim. “Oh, no, no, no, this isn’t good. Didn’t I always tell you to never mix business with pleasure? Vagina will hang you out to dry the first chance she gets.”

Charlie could always tell when Cat was jealous. She became over dramatic to get her point across and then started lobbing insults. “Regina, but she goes by Reggie, actually. Don’t be crazy. She’s my friend. She’s not going to hang me anywhere. Now, as I was saying, I had Wilde in his room with two of the other redheads. After that there really isn’t too much more to tell. While the girls did each other on the seat in his bay window, pills were slipped into his drink before I stole his poker money, and left him to sleep it off in his warm and cozy bed.”

Cat blinked, and then scowled. “There isn’t too much more to tell? I beg to differ. You roofied him?”

“I don’t even know what that means.”

Cat’s expression? Bland, was putting it mildly. “Since when do you entertain strange men? Or hang around when there’s a ménage situation going on? What the hell happened to you last night? I thought you were participating in a legit suntan lotion bikini contest for the ten grand you needed?”

“Legit?” She snorted. “The second I saw all the redheads that made the final cut it should have tipped me off. We don’t do sun well, so why all the gingers? Wilde. He loves them.” When Cat continued to glare at her she went on the defensive. “What? It would have been a perfect plan if…”

“If?” Her sister fell back in her seat, and cried, “Oh no. You got caught?”

Charlie pointed right at her. “Not yet.” There was still room to hope. She got up and started pacing. “Reggie sent me a text a few hours ago. It seems Wilde and his buddies are planning on pulling a Cinderella.”

“What the fuck does that mean? He thinks you rocked his world and he’s looking for you?”

She stopped pacing and swung around. “Kind of. He’s looking for the redhead with the tattoo.”

It was Cat’s turn to point. “I told you not to get that. But nooo, you wanted to be different.”

“I did.” Charlie nodded, as she sat back down. “So sue me. For once I wanted to have something you didn’t have, and since I do it’s going to work to our benefit with this.”

Cat folded her arms over her chest. “How?”

“We’re swapping lives for a couple of days. Don’t look at me like that. I’ve called in sick so you don’t have to go into the museum. All you have to do is wait around here until the guy shows up and finds out you’re just one of his harem of redheads without a tattoo. Easy-peasy.”

She expected an argument, so when Cat slapped her palm on the table, and smiled, she cringed waiting to hear what she had to say. “I’m in. This is perfect. It solves my most recent problem.”

Charlie was almost afraid to ask. Her sister had a way of attracting trouble, that’s why the current situation with Wilde was extraordinary. To her recollection, this was the first time they were in deep with man problems and Cat wasn’t at the root that had caused it. “Which is?”

“My boss was furious when he found out I did some freelancing last week. You know, to get the last of my share of the money. Anyways, as punishment I either get to work reception at the club, or do a timeout in the hole. I’ll simply pick the hole and while I’m watching TV here being you waiting for Wilde to examine my ass, you can read your books and sip tea in the hole being me, doing my punishment. It’s a win-win for both of us.”

“I’m probably going to regret asking. What’s the hole?”

“It’s like a rich guy’s prison cell. Cozy, but confined. Ever since Maxie built the extra dungeon when he expanded the club, no one uses the room anymore. I usually take my breaks in there. It’s very relaxing. Calming. A veritable oasis tucked away from the chaos.”

Chaos? More like whip smacks.

“I’m sure.” Charlie wasn’t buying it. Her bullshit flag was snapping in the wind of her sister’s overblown selling of the idea to her. Cat had been known to be a little on the eccentric side when it came to her personal tastes. Just thinking of some of the shit she did prompted Charlie to ask, “Did you have to sleep with the client to make your share of the money?”

“Worse. I had to take a bubble bath in front of him.”

“That’s it?”

“No.” Cat turned away and plucked imaginary lint off her T-shirt. “There were rubber duckies floating all around me.”

After everything she’d done over the last few days, Charlie gritted out, “I repeat. That’s it?”

“No.” Cat stopped plucking, and turned back. “I had to talk in baby talk and suck on a soother.”

Charlie deadpanned, “That’s just not right.”

“There was a rattle too.”

“Stop.”

“And—”

Charlie covered her ears and sang, “Lalalala.”

After a few seconds of her doing that, her sister gave up. There was a companionable silence between them, and then Cat said, “Seriously. Is there something you’re not telling me about this?”

Charlie didn’t want to outright lie, but neither did she want to share the fact that for months now she’d been gathering information on Wilde with Reggie’s help. The museum may have logged that long ago shipment as “missing in transit” and insurance claimed “paid in full”, but she hadn’t. Her most important donor had never forgiven her. He’d entrusted her with that item when he loaned it to them, so she’d done her own investigation. And after nearly two years of searching she found it. Whether Wilde had stolen the original shipment, didn’t matter. He’d been the man in possession of the very item she wanted back. Reggie was the one who discovered that he had it. There’d always been the chance that they were wrong. That’s why Charlie hadn’t known whether to laugh or cry when she’d found it in his safe last night.

“There is something, isn’t there?”

Charlie blinked and then recalling what her sister wanted to know, she quickly shook her head.

“Okay, then. No turning back, I guess. We have to pull this off for the folks, right? I’ll call Maxie and tell him I’ve decided my punishment.” She dug into her purse and pulled out keys. “Here’s the car key.”

When Charlie saw the swing of metal hanging from her sister’s hand, a burst of adrenaline surged through her. “I get to drive the Vette?”

The swinging stopped. “Yeah, but remember it has a low undercarriage. No driving into the potholes.”

Charlie made a grab for the fob, but was unsuccessful. “I don’t do that.”

“You do.” Cat tossed her the keys. “The one for the house is on there. I’ve got a mechanic coming at noon to install a new filter in the Porsche. After that you’ll have some time before you need to go to the club. You won’t have to report to Maxie until eight o’clock. The bed in the hole is pretty comfy, but you may want to bring your own pillow.”

Charlie adjusted to shove the keys in her pocket and snorted. “Pillow? I’ll be bringing a body sleeping bag. Can you imagine the germs in there?” She figured her sister was ignoring that comment because this was where they parted ways. When it came to a chosen lifestyle? Charlie had chosen wisely and Cat hadn’t. Of course they never saw eye-to-eye on that so they agreed to disagree on the subject. Over the years they’d learned to come together whenever it benefitted the greater good and right now was especially one of those times. “You were getting your baby in shape to sell it if I couldn’t come up with my half of the money, weren’t you?”

Cat shrugged. “It’s only a car.”

Charlie reached across the table and took her sister’s hand, squeezing it. “It’s something you worked hard for. Five long years of saving.”

Cat dropped her chin and gave her an “oh really” look. “What about you? You shook your tightly, over-conservative ass in a bikini contest and then became a drug dealing felon.”

Charlie smiled until she realized most of that was the truth. This was a big deal, and her sister didn’t even know the other half of it…but then it wasn’t like Wilde could have her arrested for either of the things she’d done without implicating himself.

Charlie threw her shoulders back in a stretch. “Yeah, well, I better get out of here before Prince Charming shows up to examine your ass.”

Cat took her cue. “Can’t wait. You sending the cash today? The sooner the better.”

“I have a few things to pack with it. Then it’s going direct by courier.”

“That’ll work, but afterwards you better do something about that.” She pointed to Charlie’s perpetual ponytail. “Let it down, and get some groove going on.”

She watched Cat fluff her own crazy mass of curls, and said, “You too.”

“Aw, man, are you telling me you wore your hair up last night? Like that?”

“Through all the auditions and the contest itself. If I have to put it all out there to be you, then you have to pull it back in to be me. Those are the rules of the twin swap.”

“You broke the fucking rules when you maimed yourself the first year in college.”

Charlie stood. “I had to. You were ruining my reputation.”

Cat didn’t miss a beat. “I was earning you one.”

When they were face to face Charlie tilted her head and reminded, “That’s not how your boyfriend saw it when he found out. Did you really think you could sleep with those guys as me and get away with it?”

“I would have if you didn’t get the tattoo. Why did it have to be that?”

“Because you fear needles as much as I fear the water, so I never had to worry you’d copy it,” she called over her shoulder on her way to the door.

“And ink a duck on my ass? Never.”

Charlie gripped the door knob and took a deep breath. After she slowly exhaled, she said, “It’s a dove. It represents personal freedom…from you.”

“It’s stupid, but whatever. Is there anything I have to worry about besides Prince Charming? By the way, how charming was he last night?”

Charlie glanced over her shoulder. “Not a bit. The pills kicked in fast. He passed out before I joined him on the bed.”

“He was awake enough to see the tattoo.”

“Yup.” She turned the knob, but before she could pull on it Cat’s hand landed on the door right by her cheek.

“Wait, where did you get the drugs?”

Charlie had been hoping to escape without having to tell her. Crap. She let go of the door knob and turned around. “I never took the stuff Mom gave me to help me sleep the last time we were home to visit her. I still had the pills in my purse and the idea just kind of morphed when Wilde was being a misogynistic asshole.”

Her sister scrunched her nose. “Huh. Another misogynist according to you. How many does that make this year? Ten?”

“Not funny.”

“Not cool. When are you going to have the broomstickectomy so you can start having fun?”

She stared at her. “When all this over.”

“All right. I’m holding you to it. Now when the mechanic shows up, make sure he wipes my baby down. The last guy who came to work on her had to be spanked for leaving marks.”

When she saw the grin that accompanied Cat’s words, she pulled the formal first name tactic. “Catherine?”

“What? He deserved it. And you almost forgot these.” Charlie accepted the cash bundles, while her sister continued, “Maxie was pissed when he found out about the mechanics. I had to apologize to their boss. Turns out the guy’s a respected leader in the club circles.”

Charlie was nearly done stuffing the cash in her purse, when she halted. “Mechanics? How many of them were there? And? Ha! You apologize. That’ll be the day.” She glanced over, seeing her sister’s joy-filled expression and she knew something was up. “What?”

“Maxie told me I had to write it out. So I did. I wrote ‘I’m sorry your grease monkeys can’t clean up after themselves’ on a piece of brown hand-towel. Then I mailed it to him in a crisp white envelope stamped with a set of black paw prints all over it. I figured a Dom like him would appreciate the irony.”

“You didn’t.”

“Sure I did. I felt bad about it in the end because the guy wasn’t the one who told Maxie in the first place. In fact, even after I sent that to him, he never ratted me out. There’s a reason why some Doms are highly respected.”

“Normal guys can be respectable too.”

“Yeah.” Cat reached around, and pulled open the door. “But according to you there aren’t any. Every guy’s a misogynistic pig.”

Charlie wasn’t going to argue with that. “Speaking of women haters, don’t fall for Prince Charming. He’s right up your alley. Bossy, mean, tattooed, and gorgeous.”

“Yay!” Cat beamed and clapped her hands. “I always have fun when I’m playing you.”

“This isn’t college, and the last I heard, he wasn’t amused. Let him do his thing. No more and no less, got it?”

“I hear you.” Charlie was halfway down the front steps when her sister called, “After you stop by the courier’s—it’s going to take you a good two hours to get to my place—make sure you’re there by noon. Oh, and don’t forget the hair. I can’t be seen looking like that.”

Charlie went down the last few steps. When she reached the bottom she didn’t turn around. All she did was flip her sister the bird as she headed to the car.

“That’s the spirit. You’re nailing me.”

As she slipped into the driver’s seat of the Vette she wished she had some of Cat’s good-natured enthusiasm. Just once it would be nice not having to worry.

The second the engine purred, she worked hard to let the tension ease out of her. It was game on. Two days. For two short days she had to lay low and play Cat. What could go wrong?

 Chapter Two

 

The fury of a man scorned leads to quiet determination…

 

 

“Mr. Cannon?”

Neil looked up. When he saw it was one of his guys, he slipped the latest report from his investigator under the blueprints of the street racer he was currently engineering and called, “Yes?”

“Sorry to bother you, but you asked us to tell you if that woman, Catherine Woods, called to book a service.”

For this Neil would put aside the concerns he had about what he’d just read. He’d deal with those later. “Did she?”

“Yeah. I caught Jason heading out to go over there. That Porsche filter on back order that came in first of the week? It’s hers.”

“You don’t say.” Clearly primates didn’t bother her if she was looking for one of his “grease monkeys” to service her precious car again. “Tell Jason I’ll take care of it.”

The kid nodded. “Will do.”

“Oh, and Tommy?” The young apprentice swung around. “Good catch. Thanks.”

Neil checked the schedule. He’d have to hurry if he wanted to be on time. And he did want to be on time. He’d been waiting months for this opportunity. For no other reason than to end her flirty little antics. He knew her type. Bratty with a side of brazen. From what he’d gathered from Max when he casually asked about her, she hadn’t found a suitable Dom to keep her in check, so she was on her own. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem, but according to the club owner the woman was mischief personified. He’d described her as wildly entertaining, clever, and smart. When Neil had accused the old guy of being in love with her, he didn’t deny it. He swore if he were twenty-five years younger and had a healthy heart he’d enjoy the pleasure of reining her in.

Neil wasn’t impressed. To him she was a cockteaser with an over-reaching ego. To his guys she was the forbidden fruit. They found her irresistible and she knew it. In fact, she had used that power over the last year to toy with his crew. Last time she was booked for a repair call, he discovered his guys had flipped a coin under one of the lifts to see who got to do her service. Now, to normal vanilla guys, getting one’s balls stepped on by a gorgeous babe might seem like a privilege, but she wasn’t vanilla, she wasn’t even a Domme. Therefore she should have known better. A sub pulling this kind of shit on a regular Joe was unconscionable. She was getting a “belonging to the lifestyle discount” on labor, for fuck sake’s, so there was no excuse for her taking this kind of advantage of it. Unfortunately, he hadn’t learned about what she was doing until the last time, four months ago, when his boys finally came clean.

There would be no titillating ball busting this time. He was going to make sure of it.

When he pulled into her driveway, he was mystified. Far from the rich-bitch mansion he was expecting, the sassy sub’s home was modest bordering on poor. Maybe he was at the wrong place? He double checked the address. It was her house, no doubt about it. So he got out of his truck and that’s when his first appearance got a facelift. She must have seen him in the drive because the garage door opened revealing a gleaming expanse of floor, pristine walls, and soft showcase lighting glowing within. When his eyes landed on the 1955 356 speedster, matte gray with sexy high polished chrome everywhere, he was speechless. Damn it was a beauty. He whistled and then stopped when the interior house door opened and a different kind of beauty stepped into the space.

A fucking redhead. A soft and sensual one. No hard lines and no freckles. No wonder his guys were drowning in their own drool, salivating to get near her. She had all the makings of a handful. How much of a handful? That was yet to be seen.

She took stock of him and then asked, “Where’s your uniform? How do I know you’re the mechanic from the garage?”

He made his way in, putting the filter down on the workbench to the right of the car, and said, “I highly doubt a robber or rapist would show up to your house at precisely the scheduled appointment time, with a specially ordered filter, driving in a huge tow truck with the logo Cannon’s Custom Motors painted on the side just to snatch your purse or get into your panties.”

Her chin lifted a notch or two. “Wow, we haven’t been in the same room for more than a minute and you’re already talking about my underwear? Maybe I should tell your boss.”

“Maybe you should write him another letter on bathroom tissue. I’m sure he’s already used the last one for what it was intended.”

She gasped. He took that as a good sign and then he walked over to the tail end of the car to release the rear latch.

“Hey, what are you checking the trunk for?”

Neil lifted the lid and eyed her over it. “Don’t play with me, little girl. I’m not in the mood.”

She blushed, but then why wouldn’t she? Women usually did when he deepened his tone to admonish them. She’d learn soon enough who she was dealing with.

“I will—” She seemed to catch herself and then said, “Fuck you. I’m going to get the toilet paper.”

Neil stared at the closed door for a full thirty seconds before he realized he’d been dismissed. It had been a long, long time, as in never during his adult life had a woman slammed a door in his face, so to speak. The experience was unnerving and exhilarating in the same turn. A sub who behaves like she just did was in sore need of proper training. You already knew that. A firm hand. It’s not going to be yours. Hell, she needed guidance and discipline if this was how she normally conducted herself with men. Maybe he should have told Max about what she’d done to his guys? At the very least he should have mentioned the insulting note she’d sent him all those months ago.

He thought about that as he changed the filter and ignored her stomping around. When he heard her behind him on the driveway talking in hushed tones to someone on her cell, he assumed she’d called his shop.

Too bad the boss was out.

For some reason he wanted to let her know he was the boss, but as tempting as that was, he fought the urge. She had personality problems and he wasn’t going to get involved in them. She was Max’s liability not his. After today, her discount privileges were going to be revoked. Hell, for swearing at him, she could find another garage to do house calls for services like this. That’ll fix her.

With the filter installed and the car back to the way he’d found it—without a fingerprint on it, he pulled the invoice and a pen out of his pocket. The second he exited the garage the huge paneled door came down and closed. Good to know she was still watching him.

After he put the paper up against the house to write, adding fifty bucks to the total, he was going to shove it in the mailbox so she could pay it later, but it was snatched out of his hand when she sailed by him.

“I’ll take that.”

He watched her head to the sleek black Vette parked on the street, and shrugged. “Suit yourself.”

She opened the door and then held up the invoice and waved it at him. “Hey, what’s the extra fifty for?”

“Burning my sensitive ears with your potty mouth.”

She made a face he didn’t like one bit, and then she laughed. “You big baby. If you’re bothered by a little word like fuck, you need to get a life. And while you’re getting that maybe you should see if someone can remove the chip weighing down your shoulder. You came here and started a fight and when I did nothing more than answer you on it, you whine over it? Typical male behavior. Have a nice day!”

As she drove off all he did was stare after her until the Vette hit one of the potholes in the road. At that point he cringed, and then blinked coming out of his shock. Not over her abruptly leaving. That in itself was astonishing. But, no, his surprise came more from what he was feeling at the moment.

Challenged.

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He wasn’t going to be drawn into taking her in hand. He’d promised himself the next time he took on a submissive she was going to be a lamb. A bunny. A sweet little pet who adored him.

“Keep telling yourself that, Cannon,” he said out loud before he mentally added, You’ve successfully faded into the background, so stay the course. The last thing he needed at this point was renewed notoriety. He was sure taming a brat like her would make him famous all over again. Yeah, that’s why he was going to stay the hell away from her.

He probably would have if he didn’t open his truck door and see the note she must have tossed through his open window when she was talking on the phone.

He picked up the four sheets of plain white semi-transparent toilet paper and read the bold script that was written in bright pink lipstick.

If I wanted to play a game it wouldn’t be with you. Neanderthal!

And that was the equivalent of a strike three.

He was totally drawn in. Fuck his promise. Screw the lamb, bunny, and pet idea. Was he up for taming a shrew? In a heartbeat.

The first thing he did was call the shop. “Hey, Tommy, can you check the client files for Max Kaber’s cell number? I only have his work one, but he won’t be there until tonight.”

“Sure. How did the install go?”

“Great. We’ve moved up in the world. From grease monkeys to Neanderthals.”

“Oh boy.”

“The number?”

“Once I find it, I’ll text it to you.”

While Neil waited for that to arrive, he took a moment to think about what he was doing. How this could be perceived. Hell, it wasn’t like he was stepping back into the limelight he’d walked away from. He’d made a promise, there was a plan, and after reading that report this morning, he needed to stick to both now more than ever.

He eyed her little note, hoping it would dissuade him from making the call, but it didn’t. It only solidified in his mind that the woman needed to be set straight. She was courting danger, behaving the way she did. In the circles she travelled, he knew only too well what would happen to her if she crossed the wrong man.

The longer he stared at her note, the more convinced he became. Especially when he realized the last time he felt this strongly about intervening on a sub’s behalf was when he ignored his own instincts, that were later proven to be correct.

An image of that tragedy flashed in his mind so clearly he swore, before he worked to push it away like he always did. He buried it, and then refocused on a similar sub courting disaster.

If I wanted to play a game it wouldn’t be with you. Neanderthal!

He read that line a few times until it resonated. She definitely needed some guidance. Some? He mentally scoffed. In terms of requiring supervision she’d probably be a fulltime job. Trouble-in-the-making always was.

He loved trouble

No wonder he couldn’t wait to get his hands on her.

Damn. Was that excitement he was feeling?

He’d missed the sensation for so long it took him a second to identify it. He’d also missed the rush of expectation that came from a daunting challenge ahead. One that would put his power and authority to the test.

He glanced at the toilet paper, thought about her, and smiled.

Nothing like ending a dry spell with a deluge.

When the number lit his cell screen he tapped it. “Max? Hey, it’s Neil Cannon. I’m calling to collect on the ‘I owe you’. It involves a sub…”

(end of excerpt)


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