First taste of Out of Control, out April 22.
“Do you need a hand with anything? More coffee maybe? Or should I leave you alone to unpack?” Drake stood in the doorway, and Jen couldn’t tell if he wanted her to ask him to stay or dismiss him. He was wearing his serious, professorial face, but there was something in his eyes, something in the way he watched her, something in the way he leaned on the doorframe, lazy as a cat, but like a cat sometimes was, active in his laziness, that suggested his thoughts might be more serious than fun. Naughty, even.
“I can think of a few things I could use a hand with.” She stifled laughter. She honestly hadn’t meant it to sound suggestive, but it came out that way.
“I imagine.” Drake came closer and suddenly the room seemed very warm. Or maybe that was just her panties. “What can I do for you?” The words could just refer to all the million things involved with getting settled in a new place, and on one level, probably did.
But Drake felt that tension too. She could hear it in his voice, see it in the way he carried himself. He was studying her like she was prey, or maybe an opponent in some kind of contest, trying to figure out his next move. Funny thing was, he probably thought he was being subtle, but he was obviously trying to decide whether he should jump in where they’d left off or pretend it had never happened and start their acquaintance fresh.
Still, he wasn’t as awkward as a lot of guys might be. He wasn’t slobbering like a puppy who thought she had a treat in her pocket, but wasn’t ignoring her either. More like he was waiting for a clear signal.
What the hell. She decided to give him one, an opening he could take in several ways. Otherwise, she’d never get anything done, and that would be bad, right?
She’d never been the type to wait demurely for a guy to make up his mind. That was like waiting for everything to fall into place so you could quit your horrible nine-to-five job and commit to art—a great way to be old and gray and still waiting. You had to make things fall into place, whether you were talking about work or relationships. Create opportunities. The worst that would happen in either case was you’d fall on your face. And then you got up, brushed yourself off and tried something different.
She stood up from the floor, where she’d been sorting through a box. “How about welcoming me to the house properly,” she said, her voice slipping to a sultry whisper almost despite herself, and held out her hand.
Drake took her hand, shook it in a friendly but businesslike way. “Glad to have you here.” God, his hands were big.
He stepped closer, not letting go of her hand, close enough she could feel the heat of his body. A shudder ran through her, made up of equal parts desire and confusion. She felt paralyzed. Jen’s normal impulse would be to kiss this man, who seemed like he wanted desperately to kiss her but was holding back. At least pull him into a hug, make it clear she was interested. Yet she couldn’t move, trapped by his serious gray eyes, the heat of his touch, the set of his mouth under that tidy beard.
“You confound me,” he said, his voice harsh, dark. “Jen, Jen, Jen, what am I going to do with you?”
“I have a few ideas.”
“So do I. Problem is, while we’d both enjoy these ideas, I’m not sure they’re smart.” Jen froze, unable even to breathe. At least they were on the same page about wanting each other. She wanted to ask him if he truly cared if it was a bad idea, to make it clear she was all about the good-bad ideas, say she even had a clue what those ideas might entail, but she couldn’t speak.
“The hell with it. Smart is overrated.” Drake’s voice came out as a growl, nothing Jen could imagine in a civilized Cornell classroom but could definitely imagine in a bedroom. He reeled her in, pulled her against his hard body.
She felt small and soft. Normally that would make her want to demonstrate her strength—which, thanks to her active life, was surprising for someone who looked more like the petite-flower type. But she liked feeling small and soft in Drake’s arms, with Drake’s mouth crashing down onto hers.
He lifted her up effortlessly, not breaking the kiss, and carried her toward the unmade bed. My God, what did this man do for a workout? This mathematician had muscles like a cowboy. Holding her with one arm, he swept piles and bags of clothes off the bed onto the floor. She saw a wince cross his face as he did it, as if it offended the sense of order she’d seen reflected in his side of the house. “Don’t worry,” she joked, “my clothes are used to spending time on the floor.”
“Not for much longer,” she thought he said. She would have puzzled at the words, except Drake distracted her by pulling her T-shirt off with one decisive motion. She had accidentally packed all her bras last night. At the moment, this seemed like the best accident ever. Drake studied her bared curves, running his big hands along her sides. She purred and arched up. His hands moved to her nipples, began caressing in a gentle, exploratory way, not what she would have expected from his earlier fierceness. Lovely but too light for her taste, it teased and tickled as much as it aroused. She squealed and tried to squirm away at the same time she arched her hips up to meet his, turned on and tormented at same time. The pleasure was almost painful, in the same paradoxical way pain, in the right circumstances and with the right person, could be pleasurable.
“Too little. I like it rougher.” Not something she’d admit to most guys this soon, for fear they’d take it too far, but Avi’s words inspired confidence. The woman wrote about safe BDSM practices for a living, after all, and she’d said Drake was all right.
Drake chuckled. “Good.” Her brain was whirling like cotton candy in one of those machines at the county fair and felt just about as pink and fluffy, but his tone registered. Evil glee, definitely. She was in trouble, but it was the kind of trouble she loved. With one hand, he began pinching first one nipple, then the other, tugging and kneading. Delicious pleasure and equally delicious pain seared through her. “Good girl. Put your arms over your head.”
She obeyed. She couldn’t help herself. She didn’t want to help herself. Why wouldn’t she play along? This was the best thing that had happened to her in a long, long, long time that didn’t involve making art.
He grabbed her wrists with his other hand, his grip viselike, unbreakable. Heat pooled in her belly, and she couldn’t help whimpering.
“Do you enjoy restraint, Jen?”
She nodded. “Oh yeah.” She felt like she should say something more, something about their mutual friend, even, but the time for intelligent dialogue was either past or yet to come, at least on her end. Drake was talking just fine, but maybe it took longer for hormones to shut down his extra-smart brain.
“Would you enjoy a lot of restraint? Rope bondage, maybe?”
She nodded again, unable to speak. Her eyes felt like they were as wide as a cartoon character’s, taking up her whole face. Avi had experimented on her with rope back in college—just practicing a few ties on her, nothing more—and she’d gotten a kick out of it. With Drake in charge, and actual sex involved, it would be heaven.
“Excellent.” Drake chuckled, and it was the kind of chuckle you’d expect from a supervillain whose evil plan was coming together.
Maybe she was in a bit over her head.
Hurray! Over your head was fun.
And she had it on good authority that he was an ethical perv, not an ax murderer.
“Right now,” he said, “I think we’re both feeling too impatient for rope. Which means we should do it anyway, once we’ve gotten a few things out of our system. You need to learn patience and order. Luckily, I’m here to help you.”
Jen’s head spun. She knew how to sprinkle kink into sex, like a touch of brilliant color to set off clear glass. Still, beyond playful spanking and casual bandana-and-stocking bondage, beyond flipping a coin to see who’d take tongue-in-cheek charge in bed on a particular night, she hadn’t explored very far since rooming with Avi in college. She’d looked at Web sites, especially ones Avi had recommended on her own site, and she’d listened to a few erotica audiobooks, but she was definitely a beginner.
Drake wasn’t. Even if she wasn’t already clued in, she could guess. It was in the way he’d been touching her ever since she’d told him she liked a firmer touch, but more than that, it was in his voice. In his eyes.
She strove for words, tried to say the words that hovered on her lips: You’re a dom. Not just a guy who liked to dabble in kink once in a while, but a serious dom. But she couldn’t make the words come out.
Out of Control buy links:
Samhain / Amazon / Amazon UK / B&N / Kobo