While I wait for some new releases (and some re-releases) in the next few months, I thought I’d share an excerpt from one of my previous releases that is still available. Bound by Design is not only available on its own as an e-book, it is also part of a print anthology, Binding Ties.
He may bind her body, but can he bind her heart?
A Binding Ties story.
Jenn spends her days crafting custom-designed slave jewelry, but wear a collar herself? No, thanks. Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. That whole Master/slave scene was too much of a roller coaster ride. Then Scott, an architect with a dominant side, enters her life. Something about him makes her body come alive with longings for another taste of the lifestyle.
Scott’s life fell apart when he tried to deny his dominant tendencies. He’s determined to convince Jenn that denying her submissive needs would be a big mistake. Her response is so strong, so sweet, he finds himself falling again and falling apart for the smart and sexy sub.
Suddenly, something he thought he’d never have seems within reach—a forever love tied up in a nice leather bow. But any mention of 24/7 sends Jenn flying away in panic. If any real healing is to take place, he’ll need to take a giant step back and design a new approach using ropes, chains…and a whole lot of trust.
He led her through the crowd. Amazingly, people just seemed to move out of his way. Before she knew it, she had a tall rum and coke and she and Scott were seated on a small loveseat tucked into an alcove in the back of the room.
Jenn wrapped her hands around her glass and stared down into the drink. The ice cubes must have been tinkling against each other, but she couldn’t hear it over the noise in the room. Or was it because of the rush in her ears from the blood tearing wildly through her veins? She was so aware of the man sitting next to her. His scent surrounded her. His khaki-covered thigh pressed into hers. She’d never been good at small talk, so she didn’t say anything. Somehow she didn’t think any talk with Scott would be small.
“So how far back do you and Tori go?” he asked her, lounging back into the cushions of the loveseat. He seemed relaxed while Jenn’s entire body was on edge.
“Since kindergarten.” She took sip from her drink and savored the smooth burn. “We used to get yelled at by the teacher because we whispered together when we were supposed to be taking a nap.”
“Ah, troublemakers from an early age.” She noticed the little crinkles at the corner of his eyes when he smiled. They shouldn’t make her like him more.
She tried to lean back, to show him he didn’t affect her. But she was too restless. “If I told you it was all Tori’s fault, would you believe me?”
“I’d believe anything you tell me, Jenn.”
His tone was light-hearted, but she had a feeling the words were serious. She was so not ready for serious. ”So, Tori said you just moved to town?”
He nodded and didn’t comment on her change of topic. “I was ready for a change. Doug seems to like it here, so I concentrated my job search in this area.”
“No family around here?”
Okay, that sounded like a touchy subject. That was all right, she didn’t like to talk about her family either. “So you’re an architect?”
“Yes. I just joined a new firm that’s doing some interesting work in the area.”
“Well, you did a great job on this house.” She’d always dreamed of having her own house someday, built especially for her, not someplace owned previously by someone else. Left by someone.
“Thanks. I’d like to say Doug and Tori were easy to work with, but they were pretty stubborn about what they wanted, even when it made the design a little tougher.”
Jenn laughed. She was already feeling her drink. “I know what you mean. I helped Tori with the decorating and she didn’t compromise one inch.” Someday she’d be able to decorate her own place, but it would be a long time before she could afford to buy even an old, rundown house, much less an awesome new construction designed just for her. She took another swig of her drink. “What are you working on now?”
“My first project with my new firm is for an office building on the edge of town. It’s going to be a challenge, but I really love taking the customer’s ideas and making it real for them.”
“That’s just how I feel.”
He leaned forward and placed his empty glass on the trunk that served as a coffee table. “I didn’t realize you did custom design.”
“Actually, most of my work is custom design.” Her mind again flashed to the piece on her workbench. The intricate collar connected to the nipple rings. Her nipples prickled.
He reached out and traced his finger along the chain of the necklace she wore. Her skin tingled where he touched her. “Did you design this?”
She nodded. He didn’t drop his hand. His finger was warm against her skin as he played with the silver teardrop pendant hanging from the chain. “Yes.” She swallowed the last of her drink. “I design and make all my own jewelry.”
“It’s lovely.” He swept the back of his hand along her throat and sent her dangling earring swinging. “You’re very talented.”
She felt her face grow warm. She’d never had such a hard time accepting compliments before. “Thank you.” She jiggled the ice cubes in her empty glass. When had she finished the thing?
He played with her earring for a moment while he studied her. She caught his gaze and then lowered her eyes to her glass.
“Do you have a shop?” he asked, leaning even closer. The drink and the heat from his body made her warm and a little off-center. “A store front?”
“I wish.” She wished he wasn’t so close, but she couldn’t seem to move away. “No, I work out of my apartment. I turned the dining area into my workshop. Most of my commissions come from word of mouth and my website. I’m actually very busy. Any more business and I’d have to hire someone to help with making the pieces. But I don’t want to give up that part of the process.” Still, if she expanded the business, she might finally make enough money to buy a house.
“I’m impressed.” He tangled his fingers in the tips of her hair. She could almost feel his touch, as if the strands of hair were as sensitive as her heated skin. “With all the jewelry stores out there, I wouldn’t think there would be such a great business for custom-designed pieces.”
She shifted on the cushions. The tingles from his touch tickled her between her legs. “The majority of my work is for a specialized market.” Shit. Why had she said that? Now she’d have to explain.
“Really?” His fingers dropped from the edges of her hair and he traced the neckline of her dress. “What market is that?”
She swallowed before she spoke. She was never sure how people would react when she told them. “I craft erotic jewelry.”
She could have lied. She could have been vague. She’d like to blame the rum and coke, but she couldn’t. There was something about Scott, something that put her at ease and on edge at the same time.
“Erotic jewelry?” Scott’s brows lifted and he leaned in even closer to her. His breath was warm on her cheek. “As in…?”
He hadn’t twisted his face into a smirk, so that was good. He seemed interested. Intrigued, even. “Collars. Cuffs. Chains.” Her mouth was dry, but her drink was gone. “I specialize in chains actually.”
“Really?” His deep voice seemed to vibrate through her body. “I’m fascinated. There are a lot of people who want custom-made chains for erotic purposes?”
“You wouldn’t believe some of the crude, ugly chains out there. My clients are people who have been disappointed in the quality of the standard bondage jewelry available. They care for their slaves, their subs, and want them to be able to wear beautiful jewelry. Luckily, I have enough clients who are willing to pay the price for custom pieces.”
“So, how did you get into creating erotic jewelry?”
She shrugged. It had started so innocently and then things just went wild. “A friend of Tori’s wanted me to make her a pair of nipple rings. Then she asked if I could craft a pretty chain to connect them. She recommended me to some people she knew. And before I knew it, I was getting calls from all over the world.”
“Interesting.” Scott trailed his hand down her arm, until he reached her wrist. He circled it with his long fingers, just as she had imagined him doing when she first saw him. The thrill that shot through her system was troubling, but it was there all the same. “Do you ever wear cuffs and collars, Jenn?”
The room shifted and her breath shortened. She didn’t want to answer him.
He tightened his hold on her wrist, caught her chin in his other hand, and lifted her face to his. “I asked you a question.”
Her heart was scrambling in her chest. She licked her dry lips. “I have never worn any of the cuffs and collars that I make.”
“But you’ve worn them before, haven’t you?” His voice was deep, compelling.
Just because she made the jewelry didn’t mean she ever wanted to wear it. She didn’t want to examine that part of her past. Didn’t want to think that she could possibly become active in the lifestyle again. She was afraid of what would happen if she ever did.
He leaned over and brushed his face against her hair. His lips moved against her ear, his voice soft, yet clear. “Jenn, do you like to be tied up?”
She shuddered. She dropped her gaze to her wrist, shackled by his fingers. Her pussy gushed. Her stomach tightened.
He nipped her neck, just below her ear. “During sex, Jenn. Do you like to be tied up while a man plays with your body? While he gives you pleasure? While he takes his pleasure?”
She couldn’t answer. Couldn’t admit she loved it. Couldn’t admit the idea of getting back into the lifestyle scared the hell out of her and excited her at the same time. Or that the idea of him tying her up tempted her more than she could say. So she did the only thing she could think of.