Teaser: Seduction Most Wicked

When he whispers, you will come.

Here is a sneak peek at the second book of The Prince of Whispers Trilogy, Seduction Most Wicked. I’ve listed some content forewarnings beneath the blurb. This prince isn’t for everyone. Please proceed with caution. No readers under 18 years old. (This book contains explicit language, adult situations, and violence.) Releases on July 12th. Enjoy…but be warned, this book ends on a cliffhanger. Book 3 releases August 9th.

With Ruby by his side, Crispin Saville takes his place on the throne as King of Meradin. The first months of his reign are fraught with rumors of treason and deceit. Crispin and Henry, his trusted ally, search the kingdom to root out those who threaten the stability of the monarchy.An unexpected guest shakes the foundation of Crispin’s kingdom, setting off a series of events which could destroy not only the kingdom but his hard-won bond with Ruby.Deception runs rampant within the walls of the castle. Secrets and lies infiltrate those closest to the king. Ruby uses her influence to calm the raging tempest inside him, but his wicked heart may be stained beyond redemption. It will take more than love to save his soul and the future of Meradin.

Contains: Still Morally Gray Hero, Possessive Hero, Questionably Poor Decisions made by Secondary Characters, Dubious Consent, Explicit Sex Scenes, Mature/Graphic Language


Chapter One

Was Crispin dead?

The concern for her husband’s life weighed as heavily upon her as the bounty once had. Ruby wrested herself from those distracting thoughts, determined to focus on the task before her. The harvest festival would take place within a fortnight and much of the planning remained. There was no time to worry about something over which she had no control. She wandered among the tables in the great hall, her gaze skimming over the selections brought for her approval by the villagers to decorate the town.

Two moons passed since her marriage and the coronation, and still, she could not find comfort in her new position. While she knew her life as queen would not be as exciting as her life as an outlaw, it granted her small windows of opportunity to place her mark upon her kingdom without being branded a traitor. She longed for the freedom of the forest, but the path that lay before her bound her both to Crispin and the people of Meradin. This truth proved unshakable.

“Have you made a decision, your majesty?” The servant girl, Ivy, stepped forward. Her hands folded demurely in her lap, eyes downcast.

“I have not.” Ruby waved her hand across the selections. “I am indecisive. They are all beautiful in their own way. Perhaps you could offer some perspective, Ivy.”

Ivy’s gaze snapped up to meet hers. “You wish for my opinion?”

Ruby regarded her with a smile. “Aye, I trusted your judgment when it came to my trousseau, why would I not grant you the same leave when it comes to decorating for the harvest festival?”

“I am your humble servant, my queen. Truly.” Ivy hesitated when the door opened behind her and Vivienne entered the room. “I do not wish to overstep the bounds of propriety.”

“How in heaven would you selecting some garland be overstepping?” Ruby inclined her head to Vivienne who came to a stop beside her.

“I agree.” Vivienne brushed her fingers over the woven garland. “Which would you choose, Ivy?”

“This greenery would stand out the best against the individual stands with the red and gold accents. These garlands would be best around the inner and outer bailey.” Ivy itemized each piece placing it perfectly in the mind’s eye. When she finished, she bowed her head.

Ruby motioned to the other servants. “Take these with instructions for the villagers to have more made for the celebration.” The weight on her shoulders lightened with the decision. She turned to Ivy. “My thanks for your help. I am confident in your selection.”

“As you wish, your majesty.” Ivy bowed and followed the other servants out of the room bearing an armful of garlands and fabrics.

Once the solid doors closed leaving her alone with Vivienne, Ruby collapsed on a nearby bench. Longing and exhaustion clawed at her chest. She gazed at the vaulted ceiling wishing it were canopied expanses of blue sky.

“Come, my dear.” Vivienne ventured toward the staircase leading into the heart of the castle.

Ruby pulled herself to her feet wondering where Crispin’s mother intended to take her. They wove through the corridors and passed Crispin’s chambers. Her heart ached. She missed him desperately.

The day after the wedding, Henry’s family disappeared from the capital of Culver without taking their leave. They gave no indication as to the reason for their sudden departure. Even though Ruby felt nothing but relief at their absence, Crispin and Henry immediately banded together in his private chambers only to emerge and leave the castle the next morn, abandoning the tournament which was to be held in honor of their marriage. He kissed her thoroughly before leaving without a word of explanation.

After two moons passed, the only assurances of his safety she received were from the messenger relaying information to the privy council. Part of her resented him for departing with such haste and shrouding his intentions in secrecy.

Vivienne stepped through the archway leading to Crispin’s personal garden. The flowers faded on the vine, retreating from the burgeoning chill of the approaching winter. Ruby brushed her fingers over the bruised petals.

“Come, let us tarry a while.” Vivienne sat on the stone bench against the wall and gestured for Ruby to join her. “Speak to me, child. I cannot offer comfort if you do not unburden your heart.”

“My apologies.” Ruby settled onto the bench and leaned against the wall.

“I do not want your apologies, I desire to know what thoughts plague you.” Her soft voice held no censure, only concern.

“I cannot help but wonder if I have made a mistake.” She toyed with the gilded hem of her gown. “I made a much better outlaw than I do a queen.”

“You judge yourself quite harshly.” Vivienne took her hand.

“’Tis the truth. I may be of royal blood, but deep in my breast beats the heart of an outcast.” Ruby attempted to collect the chaos of her thoughts into coherent reasoning. “I cannot even make the simplest of decisions in preparation for the festival, how am I going to influence the kingdom?”

“You are adrift in an unfamiliar sea. I understand.” She nodded with sage understanding. “Even though I was raised in the court from birth, I had not been the first choice. With three elder sisters, my parents placed low expectations on my marriage ever forging a strong political alliance.”

Ruby studied her profile as she spoke. Everyone knew Queen Vivienne was the Bavarian cousin of Catherine of Valois. But these intimate details of her past were not something often discussed among courtiers. Vivienne knew better than to foster any gossip of the royal courts.

“The first time I saw Edgar, I wanted to strangle him. He paid me no mind, focusing all his attention on my elder sister, Sophia. They were engaged within a fortnight.” Vivienne chuckled at the memory. “Before they were to leave my parents’ estate and return to Meradin for the wedding, Sophia eloped with the stable master’s son. My father offered me as a replacement for Edgar’s stolen bride.”

“Against your will?” Ruby bit back the fury of indignation on her mother-in-law’s behalf.

“Not completely against my will.” Vivienne winked with a grin on her lips. “I seized it for the opportunity it was. A chance to become queen and exert some influence, even if it came through my husband. Although, I found myself floundering the first few years. Nothing prepared me for the reality of wearing the crown.”

Her story tugged at Ruby’s heart. “So there is hope for me?”

Vivienne drew her close and pressed a kiss to her head. “Aye, my child. There is hope for you still. Do not be disheartened. I shall instruct you, should you need it, but trust your intuition. It will not lead you astray.”

“How can you be so certain?” Doubt fluttered in the pit of her stomach even though the words bolstered her confidence.

“When you were in the forest living as an outlaw, which did you rely on more, your training or your intuition?”

Ruby pondered the question for a long moment, but the answer formed in her mind immediately.

“You saw my son in trouble and acted on intuition alone, relying on your training to come naturally.”

“Aye.” The reasoning behind her assessment soothed the chaos in her mind.

“Even with all the training in the world, it means nothing if you do not trust your intuition. It will guide you to the right path, as it always has before.” Vivienne’s gracious smile warmed her.

“My thanks for your words of wisdom.” The restless unease in Ruby’s soul settled leaving just a smidgen of lingering doubt deep in the pit of her stomach.

“I have faith in you, my dear. One day, you will be the regaled as the most beloved queen in all Meradin’s history.”

Ruby snorted at the statement but covered her mouth quickly. “My apologies. I did not mean to laugh.”

“You will see. One day.” Vivienne stood and brushed her hands over her fine crimson velvet skirt. “I have some things to attend. Perhaps you should take some time to rest in your chambers, you look pale. Have you been eating?”

“Aye. I have not slept well since Crispin departed.” Inside, relief washed over her. She was exhausted but did not wish to retreat from her duties. “A rest will do me wonders.”

“I understand. I shall send Ivy with some warm broth.” She paused in the doorway and glanced back at Ruby. “And do not fret, my dear, Crispin will return soon. Lord knows you will need your strength for when he returns.”

Ruby’s face warmed at the implication of her words. After their wedding night, the entire castle witnessed the ferocity of Crispin’s desire for his bride. The thought of his return left her body warm and planted a desperate ache deep inside her.

Once she reached her chambers, she freed the pins from her hair and loosened the plait before lying on the coverlet. Images of her husband floated through the haze of her memories. His wicked mouth on her skin. His teasing fingers parting her folds. His body fitting perfectly to hers. Ruby’s breathing came in shallow bursts as the restless ache consumed her.

A knock at the door pulled her from her sensual thoughts.

“My queen.” Ivy entered the room bearing a tray. “My apologies, I did not realize you were abed.”

“’Tis no matter.” Disappointment replaced the aching need. She rose from the bed and settled in the comfortable chair beside the hearth.

Ivy placed the tray on the table beside her. “Will you require anything more, your majesty?”

“Nay, I shall be quite content.” She lifted the bowl to her lips and sipped the broth. Her stomach twisted and lurched against the scent, making her flinch.

“My queen.” Ivy knelt beside her upon observing her distress. “Are you well?”

“’Tis nothing more than a passing pain.” She pressed her hand against her midsection and groaned. “The taste does not bother me, but the aroma leaves me ill. Perhaps I should have some peppermint tea.”

The maid studied her for a long moment, her sharp gaze narrowing. “I shall fetch it now.”

Ruby nodded, bracing her head in her hands. The door closed behind Ivy leaving her alone with her thoughts once more. She attempted a few more sips of the broth, but the scent became more unbearable. With a groan, she pushed it away and returned to the bed.

Lying down seemed to soothe the persistent discomfort, but removing the scent eased the churning in her abdomen even more so. Ruby rubbed her hand over her stomach. A tendril of fear crept into the back of her mind.

When Ivy returned, she urged Ruby to sit up in bed and made her comfortable by propping cushions around her before providing the steaming mug of tea. The pungent mint immediately soothed her. It brought memories of her childhood with Marian and Guy to the surface. A tendril of homesickness wove around her heart constricting it. How she missed them. Perhaps she should send for Marian to come visit. She possessed ways to ease her concerns when all others failed.

“My queen, I hope this is not forward of me, but I am concerned for your health.” Ivy met her gaze directly. “Shall I send for a healer? Or perhaps the Queen Mother?”

Ruby sipped the tea. “I appreciate your concern, Ivy. But I do not wish to cause anyone undue worry on my account. I am perfectly well.”

Ivy fidgeted with the hem of her kirtle but her gaze remained steady. “Ma’am, ’tis possible you are with child.”

Hearing the words aloud voiced the fear she refused to acknowledge. Ruby pinched her eyes closed and conceded. “Aye. ’Tis a strong possibility.”

“Such news should be cause for celebration, should it not?” Ivy asked, her green eyes bright. “The king will be overjoyed at the news of an heir. The whole kingdom will celebrate!”

Ruby grasped Ivy’s hand and held it tight. Fear pulsed through her, threatening to tear her in two. “Promise me you will tell no one. Not a soul. Not until…well, until I am certain.”

Ivy took her hands between her own, her expression softening. “I promise, my queen.” A frown pulled at her mouth. “But you must at least inform the Queen Mother. She will understand your plight.”

“I will think on it.” Ruby swallowed hard not allowing herself to consider the implications of the conversation with Vivienne. “I do not wish to give her false hope.”

“A child is a blessing.” Ivy smiled, and her face transformed, revealing a hidden beauty.

“Aye.” Ruby took another sip of her tea. How had such a lovely maid escaped the notice of every man in the castle? The passing thought made her pause, but she pushed it away.

A child would be a blessing if only she could be certain of who the father was. Even though she had been faithful to Crispin, one night created chaos and conflict in her mind. Her body warmed at the memory of being blindfolded. The touch of two men. The pleasure they wrought with little effort. And the shame that stalked her every day since.

She hung her head. Could it be possible this child belongs not to the king but to his closest friend and confidant? The thought alone left her filled with a writhing agony. What if the truth somehow emerged? Was it not treason to betray the king? To tarnish the monarchy with this blatant infidelity. Would Crispin consider such a revelation treason?

“All will be well.” Ivy took the cup from her hands and set it on the bedside table. “You will see. The king will return soon and all will be well.”

“I do hope so.” Ruby settled back against the cushions and closed her eyes.

“If you require anything, I shall be in the kitchens.” Ivy retrieved the tray with the bowl of uneaten broth.

“Grammercy, Ivy. You have been a gift from heaven during the king’s absence.”

“I live to serve you, my queen.” Ivy bowed and left the room.

 “What am I to do?” Ruby whispered against the coverlet, clutching the fabric tight. The sound dissolved in the empty room. “I cannot tell Crispin. I cannot tell Vivienne. Where else can I turn?”

Panic consumed her in waves. Slowly it pulled her down into the darkness of her deepest fears. If this child were not truly the heir of Meradin, what horrors would Crispin unleash upon her? Even though the events of that night were of his ministrations, his command, would he still blame her for fostering a bastard in her womb? She buried her face against the cushions.

Unable to quell the rising panic, Ruby rose from the bed and darted into the hallway. With determined steps, she wandered the corridors until she located Mina, her young maid, outside the king’s presence chamber.

“Fetch the swordsmith’s apprentice, Matthew. Have him meet me in my chambers. Quickly.” Ruby kept her voice low.

With a nod, Mina darted down the hallway and around the corner.

Ruby returned to her chamber and paced the floor near the window overlooking the inner bailey. The autumn wind rattled the thick pane of glass. Her hand settled on the curve of her stomach. Truth be told, whoever the father of this child, she would treasure it regardless. She would defend and protect it until her dying day.

A knock at the door shook her from her thoughts, and she bid them enter.

“You summoned me, your majesty?” Matthew bowed low. His young face smeared with dust and dirt. His rough hands twisted his cap.

“Aye, Matthew. I require you to travel to my mother’s cottage and bring her to the castle post haste.” A calm settled in the depths of her soul as she issued the directive.

“At once, ma’am.” Matthew bowed once more and retreated from the room.

Ruby detested using the young man as her own personal messenger, but she trusted no one more than she did the young blacksmith. She came to the aid of his family on multiple occasions and gave him a position within the castle to ensure his family a comfortable life. In response, they swore fealty to her. A fact she chose not to exploit. However, in her desperation, she required someone who could be trusted completely and knew where to find Marian.

Until she spoke to her mother, she would remain in her chamber. Vivienne would certainly be understanding and supportive if she chose to trust her with this revelation, but she required the comfort and advice of a woman who knew the depths of her soul like no one else.

Marian would know what path to take. How to best reveal the news to Crispin and the kingdom. But this conversation would entail revealing the sinful details of the night of passion spent with both Henry and her husband. Could she face the shame of revealing such information to her mother?

She bit her lip. Perhaps she had been hasty in summoning Marian, but it was too late. She would need to reveal the truth sooner or later. If anyone could understand without passing judgment, it would be her mother.

After retrieving her now cold tea, she settled before the hearth and stared into the flames. The moments drifted away until the sun set beyond the window and darkness filled her chamber. When Ivy arrived with some bread and dried fruit, she nibbled on the fare and found it fortified her without making her ill.

Before she drifted off to sleep, Matthew arrived breathless at her door. “I did as you commanded, my queen. But the cottage was empty.”

Disappointment gripped her heart but it also gave way to relief. “My thanks, Matthew. Please find something to eat in the kitchens before returning to the smithy.”

“Many thanks, ma’am.” His youthful grin infected her with hope.

Once Matthew took his leave, Ruby prepared for bed. On the morrow, she would visit her mother. Crispin was not present to dictate the boundaries of her royal prison and determine whether she could leave the castle grounds. She would take two guards and make the journey without incident.

For the first time in weeks, a sense of peace settled over her. Perhaps she merely needed to escape the confines of these stone walls. Ruby could not run forever, but she could embrace the opportunity to forget for a while.

Comforted by her plan, Ruby nestled beneath the blankets. Soon Crispin would return, turning her whole world upside down once more. While she longed for his return and the comfort of his touch, his presence hung like a shadow over the castle.

In truth, they were still so little acquainted and newlywed. There was still much to learn from and about one another. But one thing she knew for certain. She would never be able to keep a secret from the King of Meradin. Especially not one with such monumental consequences.


Thanks for reading!

Love,

Jen Bradlee

Romantic Short: The Blindfold Agreement

First Place winner of the Summer 2021 Writers’ Competition at RomanticShorts.com. This steamy romp excites the imagination and gets the blood boiling. Warning: This story contains explicit sexual content and coarse language. If you are under 18 or prefer content with closed-door romantic encounters, I suggest you leave now. This is highly NSFW. Read at your own discretion.

Oh, and by all means, enjoy!

The Blindfold Agreement

by Kirsten S. Blacketer

The instructions are simple. Do not remove the blindfold.

I stare at the card in my hand and swallow the rising uncertainty. My friends think I’m crazy indulging in something so reckless, but you only live once, right?

My hand skims over the silk embroidered duvet covering the king-size bed. The four mahogany posts rise up like sentinels at the corners of the mattress. I admire the plush carpet beneath my feet, but it makes walking in heels a challenge. So, I slip off the monstrous three-inch Louboutins I borrowed from my best friend in an attempt to look sexy for my special night and set them by the door.

The suite hosts a bedroom, a full bathroom complete with jetted tub and dual shower heads, a fully stocked kitchen, and a living room with a flat-screen built into the wall. In the space between the bed and the couch, there’s a single chair facing the floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the city. A small sign is taped to it. Sit here and wait.

When I received the email with the details, I nearly fell off my chair. This hotel is nicer than any place I’ve ever lived, and one night costs more than my monthly rent. But I’m not paying for the hotel.

He is.

I glance at the clock on my phone ignoring the dark alluring gaze of the handsome actor on my wallpaper background. Two minutes to seven.

“Shit.” I quickly pull the black silk scarf from my purse and set the bag on the nightstand.

Inside, my phone is safely tucked out of sight with my location settings on. I’m not completely reckless. The girls know exactly where I am.

Once I settle into the chair overlooking the vibrant city, I place the smooth fabric across my eyes and secure it firmly careful not to get my hair tangled in the process. The room plunges into darkness. I tug the edges into place ensuring I’m in full compliance with his instructions.

It may be my evening, but he makes the rules. I am at his mercy. 

God, I must be fucking crazy. Letting a stranger lure me into such a vulnerable situation.

My skin prickles with awareness as the cool air brushes across my bare shoulders. I should have worn something with layers. But Jen convinced me to wear the halter wiggle dress I had tucked in the back of my closet. I bought it for a vintage ball but never had a chance to wear it. The fabric hugs every curve I’ve tried to hide beneath layers of baggy sweaters and yoga pants.

I won’t lie. My confidence bolstered the moment I saw my reflection in the mirror. I missed my calling as a pin-up girl. The looks I got crossing the lobby downstairs definitely made my ego purr with delight. The poor maintenance man will have to use a mop to clean the drool off the floor.

My hands rest in my lap. I fidget with the edge of the press-on nails. The silence is unnerving. I swear I can hear the air circulating through the room. My mind teases me with horrible possibilities. What if he’s going to kidnap me? Harvest my organs? Kill me?

Damn. This was a bad idea. My mother warned me about this. Stranger danger. 

Especially when you meet them in an online forum. My heart pounds in my chest. I swear it’s echoing in the room growing louder with every passing moment. I take a deep breath to calm down, but the anticipation has me on edge.

I feel everything. The slide of the leather beneath me. The warm air filling the room through the vents. The thundering of my heart. The plush carpet between my toes. The pulse of the city beyond the glass.

How long has it been? Probably only a few minutes, but it drags like hours. I shift in my seat considering my alternatives.

I should rip off the blindfold and haul ass out of here. That would be the wisest course of action. But I’m rooted to my seat. My curiosity is stronger than my self-preservation.

Regret and uncertainty fill me. I should never have joined that site. I silently curse my ex for bringing it up. I hate that my friends encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone. It’s not too late. I can rip off the blindfold and walk out the door.

The click of the electronic lock and subsequent beep tells me the opposite. He’s here.

Oh god, what the hell am I doing? I focus on keeping my breaths steady, but my heart rate slowly increases when he enters the room. The air changes shifting from neutral to pure static. Goosebumps cover my arms. I resist the urge to rub them.

Instead, I remain perfectly still. Eyes closed even though the blindfold is securely in place.

The carpet muffles his footsteps, but I feel him behind me. His heat surrounds me just before his scent. I moan when I recognize the faint aroma. Gucci Guilty. Mixed with the undercurrent of his chemistry, it’s damn near intoxicating. I lick my lips fighting off the urge to remove the blindfold and see if he looks as good as he smells.

His deep chuckle sets off a chain reaction of butterflies in my stomach. “I haven’t even started.”

Oh, sweet mother of all that’s holy. His deep voice catches me unprepared. I bite my tongue, pressing my lips together to keep another moan from slipping free. There’s a hint of an accent behind his words, but I can’t place it.

“You’re such an obedient girl. Eager to please.” The soft words are like a caress against my throat. His breath warm against the skin below my ear.

My heart skips a beat. I feel the heat blossom across my chest and up into my cheeks at his observation.

“This dress.” He purrs with appreciation making me shiver. “I want to see what it’s hiding.”

I gasp when his fingertips brush against my collar bone.

“Do you want me to stop?” He whispers the question, but its intent is clear. “Say the word, kitten, and it stops.”

My mind drifts back to our chat conversations. He’s asking for my safe word. Did we ever discuss one? I mean we joked about it, but there was never a conversation outlining details in any sort of agreement. I shake my head unable to remember.

“Tonight is yours. I want you to feel safe.” He presses his warm lips to my shoulder. “Treasured.” Another kiss, this time against my throat. “Worshiped.”

I whimper and catch my lower lip between my teeth. It takes every ounce of restraint to keep from reaching for him. I clench my hands into tight fists.

His hand covers mine. Holy shit. Long fingers intertwine with mine and his palm dwarfs mine.

“Nothing goes beyond what we agreed.” He gives my hand a gentle squeeze. “Promise.”

I open my mouth to tell him I’m not scared of him, of this. I’m so turned on right now I can’t think clearly. If he keeps going, I’ll be a pile of goo on the floor. My panties are ruined. I’m ruined. No other man will be able to top this. Ever. It’s the single most erotic moment of my life, and he hasn’t done anything yet.

When he releases my hand, his heat disappears. For a moment I think he may have reconsidered until his hand encircles my throat. Fingertips graze the sensitive spot beneath my ear.

“You lied to me, kitten.” His gruff accusation stings, making me bristle. “I…” He places his fingers over my lips silencing me. I want to lick him.

“The description you gave me was incomplete.” His fingertip rubs across my lower lip teasing me.

“That’s not lying.” I gasp when his other hand finds the clasp holding the halter portion of the dress together.

“Lies through omission.” He unfastens the button and the fabric loosens.

I grasp the top of my dress as the straps slide down out of habit. He tuts at my reaction. “I thought we had an understanding.” He grasps my wrists and peels them away from where they cover my chest.

My breasts aren’t exposed, but one shimmy and they’ll slip free with little effort. My nipples tighten at the thought. I relent, if only because he’s right. Tonight was not a drunken invitation, it was carefully calculated and discussed. We both consented to this. And even though my insecurities won’t allow me to relax into the moment, I crave what he offers. My hands fall to my sides.

“Stand up.” His order cracks like a whip.

I suppress a shudder of need and rise to my feet, thankful I removed the heels before he arrived. My knees are weak. I sway at the disoriented rush. His strong grip catches my shoulders holding me steady. Once I find my balance, he releases me.

He locates the zipper on my dress, and I stiffen at the touch. “Kitten, trust me.” His heat warms me.

“I don’t know you.” My insecurities rise like bubbles to the surface. He exhales, almost a sigh, and drops his hand.

“But you do.”

I shake my head, need twisting with uncertainty in my gut.

“From conversations online. Did you lie to me during those conversations?” he asks softly.

“No.” I shake my head again more fervently and the blindfold slips. I reach to catch it but he grasps my wrist and moves it away before securing the scarf over my eyes. “Did you?”

He hesitates for the briefest moment. “No.”

“Omissions are lies,” I repeat his words back to him.

“Damn it.”

My heart sinks. Is it over? A deep regret settles in the pit of my stomach. I reach up to pull off the blindfold when he catches me around the waist pinning me against his body. Oh, shit. He’s tall and broad. His chin brushes the top of my head, which means he’s at least six feet. I try to pull away, but he holds me tight. Damn, he’s strong. I want to melt into him absorbing the strength and the heat.

“If you keep squirming, I may forget I’m supposed to be a gentleman.” His growl reverberates through me. I go completely still. His hands rest on my ribs beneath my breasts, and I’m hyper-aware of the pressure of his fingertips.

I want him. More than I did before. More than I’ve ever wanted anything in my life. My breath quickens and his heartbeat pulses against my spine. It’s racing. Like mine.

“Why were you in that forum?” His tone is deceptively calm, but tension radiates off him in waves.

“It’s a fan fiction site.” I snap as though the reason is obvious.

“Yes, but that forum is reserved for role play only.” His grip tightens, pulling me flush against his torso. The evidence of this exchange presses against the small of my back. I groan.

“Curiosity?” I arch my hips back, smiling when he curses.

“Bullshit. If it were idle curiosity, you wouldn’t have posted that first message.”

“I posted that a year ago.” My amusement evaporates at the implication. “We’ve only been chatting six months.”

“Oh yes, kitten.” He sways his hips almost like a dance, grinding against me. “I’ve been a fan of your work for quite a while.” My lips part when his breath caresses my ear. “Imagine my delight when you joined the same group. It gave me the perfect opportunity.”

“To do what? Stalk me?” I tease him. How does he manage to distract me so perfectly with his hands, his hips, his heat? It’s getting difficult to focus on anything but the tension building between us.

“Stalk is a strong word.” His hands drift to my hips. He’s effectively pinned my arms down and the only thing I can grab for stability are his thighs. “Do you stalk those actors you write about in your fanfiction?”

“No, of course not.” I snap. I shouldn’t be defensive. We met as mutual fans in the same fandom. Even though he’s never written anything, he’s a voracious reader, devouring as much as any dedicated fan would. He’s drawing me out, making a point with the comparison.

“You admire them. Study them. Appreciate them.” His voice deepens. “They inspire you, and your creativity is an homage to theirs.”

I nod and my soul takes flight. He understands without judgment. It’s one of the things I enjoyed about our conversations. One of the things that drew me to him. Made me open up to him. We were kindred spirits bonding over art that inspired us to create something that would inspire others.

“Your words inspired me.” His hands wander over my hips.

I dig my nails into his thighs. They’re powerful and lean, the way I imagine the rest of him is. A panther poised to strike the moment his prey is in sight. I want him to ravage me. He’s already seduced my mind and my imagination, and yet the hesitation remains.

“Why me?” I ask, seeking reassurance, a sign, something to tear down this last remaining wall between us.

He gently turns me in his embrace until my hands are pressed against his broad chest. I want to rip the blindfold off and see the sincerity in his gaze when he responds. I want to drown in whatever color his eyes are. But I promised. The only rule I would not break. Do not remove the blindfold.

“Because I’m a fan.” He’s close. So close. His breath ghosts over my lips.

He smells of mint and desperation. I want to close the gap and steal his words with my kiss. But I refrain, hanging on every syllable of his confession.

“Your first post. Your fantasy.” He grips me tight. I fist my hands in his shirt when his pecs flex beneath my palms. “I have the same one.”

My breath catches. My fantasy. What fantasy? I have so many. My mind reels as I try to remember what I posted. It could have been anything. I’ve posted so many times in the group trying to find a connection. Someone who understands me within the fandom.

He must sense my confusion and chuckles. The sound shoots a bolt of lust straight to my already aching clit. I want to bury my face against his chest even though half of it is already hidden by the blindfold. He tips my chin up with his finger. I wish I could see him, but I can only feel him surrounded by the darkness hindering my vision.

“Don’t you remember?” His accent shifts, making me pause. He sounds so familiar.

There’s a lilt to his words now. Sexy and soothing.

I freeze. He’s someone I know. I’ve made a fool of myself exposing my innermost desires to someone who could reveal them to the world. Oh god, what if it’s someone I work with? One of my family friends? Horror floods me, and I push away from him.

“Ah-ah, no, kitten.” He shackles my wrists in his massive hands. “Remind me. What was that fantasy you posted?”

“I don’t remember.” I take a breath to calm my racing heart wishing I could rip off the blindfold and see him. I need to know who’s tormenting me with my own desires. “Please. Daddy.”

I murmur the final word in shame. It’s my safe word. We joked about the DaddyDom trope and its prevalence in fan fiction. I swore I would never use it. It sounded too childish, too ridiculous. He teased it would be my safe word since it was the last word I would ever use in bed. I hang my head and whimper when he releases me.

Part of me wants to take it back the moment his heat vanishes. But instead, I tug at the top of my dress and clear my throat. My hand pauses halfway to the blindfold when I drop it to my side. I promised not to remove it. At least I could avoid meeting the gaze of the man who brought me to this humiliating moment.

In the distance, I hear the sound of running water. A few moments of stillness pass and his hand takes mine.

“Drink this.” He places a cool glass against my palm.

“Thanks.” I raise it to my lips and drink, swallowing every drop. I hadn’t realized how thirsty I was. He takes the empty glass, and I wipe my lips with the back of my hand.

He chuckles. “You smeared red lipstick all over your mouth.”

Shit. I forgot about my lipstick. He takes my elbow and leads me across the room until my bare feet hit the tile. With the flick of a light switch and the click of the door, I know I’m alone. I pull the blindfold off and stare at my reflection.

Sure enough, my cherry red lipstick is smeared across my mouth. I look like a clown. Oh, God. Embarrassment floods me. I take some tissues and clean my mouth. A little pink lingers where it smeared, but it’s nothing more than the shade of kiss bruised skin.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” I murmur beneath my breath. I toss the tissues in the bin and stare at myself. At least my mascara didn’t smear from the blindfold.

My gaze drifts to the door separating us. Who is he? Why would he bring up one specific fantasy? I rack my brain trying to remember. After so many years of writing fan fiction and one-shots, it’s a wonder I can keep anything organized in my mind. I struggle for a few moments until it hits me.

Hard. Like a plane falling out of the sky, plummeting toward an unsuspecting pedestrian walking across a football field. I cover my mouth with my hand and watch the blush creep over my skin turning my face six shades of red.

My fantasy. The one where I run into my favorite actor, Ben Harris, at a hotel bar during comic con. We hit it off, and there’s a spark between us. He invites me to his room where we have wild, crazy passionate sex. No. It wasn’t that one. Was it?

I gasp against my hand. No, wait. What did he say about my fantasy?

I have the same one. His voice. That accent. HOLY SHIT.

“Oh, god. No. It can’t be.” I hyperventilate at the possibility. It takes a few moments before I’m able to calm myself down. I grip the blindfold tight in my fist.

The blindfold. I stare at it. Son of a bitch. His only rule. Do not remove the blindfold. Mustering whatever courage I possess, I rip open the door and storm into the living room.

I come up short at the sight of him standing in the window with his back to me. The tall, broad stature I joked about wanting to climb like a tree. His dark hair in waves down to his collar I’ve imagined running my fingers through on sleepless nights. Bastard.

I stop an arm’s length from his back. “Did you really think the blindfold would work?”

Ben turns, his dark eyes are fathomless in the shadows. A charming smile curves his sinful lying lips. “No. Not really. I figured it would give me an advantage.” He cocked his head. “What gave it away?”

“Your accent slipped.” I almost smirk. “Don’t worry, even the most talented actors break character once in a while.”

I want to be angry but seeing Ben Harris in the flesh has me disoriented. Then I remember his body pressed against mine only minutes before. The feel of his lips on my skin. His hands caressing me. I grip the blindfold so tight my hand hurts.

“I wasn’t trying to trick you.” He ran his hand through his hair in a careless gesture. “I needed to be sure.”

“Of what?” I snap, hating myself for still wanting him after he made a fool of me. “That we had that spark.” He steps closer.

“What spark?” I inhale sharply when he approaches me and tugs the blindfold from my grip.

“You know what I mean.” He drags the silk across his lips. “That connection. I felt it every time we spoke online.”

I scoff. “I won’t deny it. But you can’t play fast and loose with your fans like that.”

“I don’t.” He regards me pensively. “Do you think I seduce every fangirl who posts erotic fan fiction about me?”

“Don’t you?” I stumble back when he shifts his weight toward me.

“No, kitten. I’ve never even been tempted until you.” His hooded gaze searches mine, and I’d give anything for that barrier between us again. Anything to save me from losing myself in the intensity of his dark eyes and bring back the uninhibited sizzle cracking like electricity between us.

“Why me?” It’s the second time I’ve asked him this question, but now I know who’s seducing me and I want full disclosure before I allow this fire to consume us.

“I’m a fan.” He grins and my heart flips. “I stumbled on your fan fiction a few years ago.

Your retelling of the cursed knight from one of my earliest projects. It was before I hit the mainstream with the bigger studios.”

“I remember that one.” My face warms. One of my first attempts. I lost myself in the comfort of films and stumbled onto Ben Harris before he became a heartthrob and the coveted darling of one of the largest fandoms in the industry. It was poorly written and ridiculous, but it was the first story I wrote featuring one of Ben’s characters.

“I loved it.” He confesses, searching my face in earnest. “I followed your page. Read every story you posted.”

My jaw drops. “No, you didn’t.”

“I did.” His signature smirk returns. “I’ve spent many nights in my bed with only your stories for companionship. Not because they feature me. But because of the way you write it. The emotion. The intensity.”

“The sex?” I tease him.

“Of course.” He chuckles. “I debated messaging you privately, but it never felt right.

When you joined the group, I couldn’t believe my luck. The fantasy post though—that was the sign I needed.” He runs his hand over his jaw. “I can’t tell you how many times I imagined that exact scenario, and I don’t even do comic con appearances. Although I considered it briefly in passing a few times, I knew if it wasn’t you, it wouldn’t be enough.”

“It wouldn’t?” I ask unable to believe his sweet words. “But you can have anyone you want.”

He shrugs. “They’re not you.”

“You don’t even know my name.” I snort.

“Teresa DeLuca.”

“How—?” I snap my mouth shut. Disbelief replaces my skepticism. “Never mind. I don’t want to know.”

“Oh but you do, Teresa.” He closes the gap between us and runs his thumb along my jaw. “That curiosity of yours is what got you into this situation in the first place.” Ben winks. “And aren’t you so very glad it did?”

Lord, I want his hands all over me. When he touches me, I lose all sense of reason. This is madness, insanity. I try to convince myself what a horrible idea this is, but I can’t seem to pull myself out of his reach.

“If you want me to stop, all you have to do is say the word.” This time I see the wicked glint in his eyes. He loves to toy with me, and I admit, I’m enjoying the attention. It’s been so long since anyone’s shown genuine interest in me.

But I’m not going to say the word again. Not even if he tosses me over his shoulder and has his wicked way with me. I shift my weight from one foot to the other. That’s what I want, and the look in his eyes tells me I have a terrible poker face. He can read me like a goddamn book.

“What are we doing?” I ask when he fills the space before me, and all I can smell is him. His lips twitch when he thinks. It’s endearing and so arousing. I want to rise up on my tiptoes and taste him.

Those impossibly long fingers wrap around the back of my head, threading through my hair. I lick my lips and let him take control. My pleasure. His rules. That was the agreement.

“Whatever you want, kitten. You want it sweet? Rough?” He smiles when my breath hitches. “Ahhh, you want me to bring out the villain, is that it?”

The thought alone has my body weeping. If he touches me, I may implode, I’m spun that tight with his words alone. I always enjoyed dirty talk, but this far exceeds anything I could have ever imagined.

“All those fics you wrote with my villains featured as the hero.” He clicks his tongue in amusement. “Gets you off, doesn’t it? The play of power. Him taking what he wants without regret or remorse.”

I whimper when he leans down pressing his cheek to mine, his lips beside my ear. He whispers, “But deep down, he’s not a monster and knows exactly what she needs.” He draws back until our gazes lock and his mouth hovers over mine. “Tell me I’m wrong.”

“I can’t.” I moan when his free hand comes to rest on my hip, his fist gathering handfuls of fabric drawing my skirt up until my soaked panties are exposed. “Play the villain. Make me beg.”

The heat of his fingers against my clit makes me groan. He nudges my thighs apart and slides beneath the fabric. “Oh kitten, you’re full of surprises.” He slides his long fingers into me, and I grip his shirt with both fists gasping at the delicious pressure.

“Ben.” His name slips free like a whispered plea.

“I’ll give you exactly what you need, kitten.” He kisses me, and the moment our lips meet, I’m drowning in a sea of sensation. I cling tighter to him wanting to feel his whole body pressed to mine. Friction, heat, skin to skin. I want it all. I want it now.

Ben’s tongue steals across mine. It’s an explosion of need. He takes me by the waist and steers me toward the bed never breaking contact. The kiss is a battle of desperation. His breath mixes with mine, and I can’t seem to get enough.

He pushes me back onto the king-size bed and climbs over me. What little reprieve this gave me from his kiss disappears in a flurry of teeth and fabric. He unzips my gown and pulls it off with little effort.

I fumble with the buttons on his black shirt. When the fabric parts, I rake my fingernails over his chest making him hiss before pushing the fabric off his shoulders. He tosses it aside with my dress.

He tugs my strapless bra down until it’s pooled around my waist and takes my nipple in his mouth. I arch off the bed and bury my fingers in his hair pulling when he bites gently on the nub. Somehow I manage to unfasten the bra and shimmy out of my panties amidst his ardent attention on my bare torso.

Ben settles between my thighs, his wicked grin flashes before he laves his tongue across my clit and sucks it into his sinful mouth. I have one hand fisted in his thick hair and the other twisted in the comforter.

“Shit!” I gasp when he repeats the action and tug on his hair. “Ben, please. Please.”

“What’s wrong, kitten? Too much for you?” He kneels and unfastens his belt with both hands. Still recovering from his tongue, my mouth waters when he slides his pants down over his hips and kicks them aside.

Big hands and an even more impressive cock. He’s grinning. I shake my head and try to bury my face in the pillows. Turning my back on a predator might be the most unwise thing I’ve done all night.

Ben snatches me by the waist and pulls me back until his cock nestles against my ass. His hand wraps around my throat, his chest slick against my back. His hand slides over my stomach and down until he’s circling my clit.

I writhe against him. He knows exactly what I want. What I need. It’s like he can read my mind, but deep down I know it’s because he’s read all my stories. He found the pieces of me in those scenes and now he’s playing out every fantasy in vivid detail. I’m helpless against him.

He’s my weakness and my salvation, and right now, all I can focus on is his wicked torment and the orgasm building in my core.

“That’s it, kitten. Tell me how good it feels.” I buck against his hand and bite back a loud moan. He guides his cock into me from behind and this time I cry out. He fills me, hitting every sensitive spot I never realized I had.

As he toys with my clit, he moves inside me. I meet his thrusts, bending at the waist enough to take him deeper. He groans and buries his face in my shoulder. His teeth graze my skin, and my orgasm rushes up in a tsunami washing over me, pulling me under.

My moans echo off the walls of the suite. I’m too far gone to care if anyone hears me.

Ben’s name flies from my lips amid a flurry of curses as he quickens his pace and takes his pleasure. He pulls out and the warmth of his come marks my skin.

The well-intentioned discussion about contraception and testing within the emailed instructions flitted across my mind for a moment, but it didn’t matter at this point. When Ben nuzzles his cheek against my shoulder, I dismiss it completely. He makes me reckless.

He slides away, cleans us both, and pulls me against him when he rejoins me on the oversized monstrosity of a bed. We lay face to face in silence, and I’m struck at how surreal this whole evening has been. I chuckle.

He smirks. “What?”

“This. No one will believe it.”

He tucks a stray curl behind my ear. “Do we have to tell them?”

“No. But my friends will ask, and I don’t want to lie.” I rest my hand on his heart.

Ben shrugs and covers my hand with his. It engulfs mine. “Tell them the truth then.”

“They’ll laugh me out of the house.” I memorize the angles of his face and the sweet imperfections. He’s so much different in person than on the screen. More real. More human. My heart aches. I can’t fall for him. I shouldn’t even want something from him, but I can’t help it. He sees the part of me no one else does.

“Then I’ll come home with you. If you want me to, that is.” He’s being sincere, and it leaves me stunned. “Problem solved.”

“You’d do that?” I prop myself on my elbow. “Why?”

He grins and the lines around his eyes soften. I see the hero beneath the dark, brooding villain he often plays. “Because I like you, and I want to see where this leads.”

I snort-laugh. “Your fans will tear you apart for dating someone like me.”

“Who I choose to date is none of their business.” Ben gathers me against him and kisses my lips. “I’m yours, kitten if you’ll have me.”

“This could end badly,” I warn him.

“True, but it could be a happy ending too.” He squeezes me. “What do you think? Shall we give it a shot?”

I make a show of thinking long and hard about his question knowing full well I’m not going to turn him down after only one night together. “Are you going to blindfold me again?”

“Absolutely.” He winks and reveals that snarky grin I fell in love with on-screen so long ago. “Then I’m going to reenact every single one of your fanfics with you as my leading lady.”

“You’re not going to let me live this down, are you?” I bury my face against his chest.

“Never.” He forces me to meet his gaze, his fingertips gentle beneath my chin. “I plan on making you live out every fantasy you’ve ever had about me.”

“Oh, god.” I pinch my eyes closed and heat fills my cheeks. “Why?”

“Because I’m your biggest fan.” He kisses me and makes love to me the way a hero should with all the passion of a villain succeeding in his plot.

Naughty Feels So Nice at Romantic Shorts

I wanted to share this with ALL my readers and followers. ❤ Today, I’ve had a new short story published by the amazing Romantic Shorts. If you’re looking for a steamy holiday short story to warm you up tonight, I highly recommend it.

We’ve got:

  • Hot Grumpy Boss
  • Sexy Santa Claus
  • Holiday Office Party
  • Bad decision making skills
  • Thirsty Heroine
  • NSFW, literally

You know you’re curious now. Go…check it out. Leave a comment and some love for my RS family. ❤

All my love,

Kirsten