Tomorrow is a big day. Bondage Unlimited, the sixth book in the Desired Discipline series, is coming out for general release and Against the Rules, the first book in my new series, Bound for Justice, will be available for an early download. Sounds like the perfect excuse for a happy dance!
As the music started and the wedding party began to take their places, Giovanni Parma couldn’t believe his eyes. His attention should have been on his sister, Adriana. It was, after all, her big day, yet his gaze was fixated on her bridesmaid.
She couldn’t possibly be the same woman he’d fallen in love with back in college. The same woman that he dreamed of night after night and the same woman who he’d run out on the day after he’d taken her virginity.
His brother Alex elbowed him in the ribs. “What’s your problem? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“Who is that girl?” He tipped his chin in the girl’s direction and whispered as calmly as he could manage.
Alex shrugged. “Some friend of Adriana’s. I think she’s the bartender at DiscipliNation.”
Gio’s eyes went wide. “The bartender at a kink club?” He scrutinized the woman again. “No way. What’s her name?”
André, his sister Adriana’s soon-to-be husband, was one of the founding partners of DiscipliNation, a chain of sex clubs and a highly profitable sex-toy line.
“What the fuck’s your problem? Did you forget what we do for a living, asshole? Don’t be judging her.” Alex shoved him hard and scooted away from him on the church pew.
His brother didn’t understand and he wasn’t about to explain it to him. Not here anyway, in the middle of his sister’s wedding ceremony. Gio couldn’t care less what she did for a living. He just found it hard to believe that the girl he’d known in college would go anywhere near a sex club. She wasn’t like that.
The girl turned her head and looked as if she was scanning the bride’s side of the aisle. He felt her gaze fall on him and he froze like a deer in the headlights. He would have crawled under the pew and hidden, if it hadn’t already been too late.
There was no doubt about it. Eva Anderson was only a few dozen feet away, breathing the same air and smiling at him sadly. Fuck.
Her long blonde hair, tiny waist and deep blue eyes he’d never forget. Especially her eyes. So expressive. Six years ago, they’d been wary but optimistic. Now, they just looked sad, resigned even.
How in the hell had she gone from majoring in education to tending bar at a kink club? He had the sickening feeling he’d played a role in the switch.
Wait a minute… Why wasn’t she shocked to see him?
He hadn’t been around much since his sister had started dating André, and if Adriana knew about the connection between Gio and Eva, she would have said something. Lots of somethings. Lots of loud, ugly somethings. And he would have deserved every last one of them.
Alex nudged him. “She cleans up well, doesn’t she?”
“She’s stunning.” But she always had been. He would sit in class and stare at her, unable to draw his gaze away.
“Our sister, you dolt! Who the fuck is this girl that has your tongue dragging the ground? You’re embarrassing me, bro. You act like you’ve never seen a woman before,” his brother ridiculed him.
Gio ignored Alex. He was just talking shit anyway and Gio had better things to think about—like what to do about Eva. Beautiful, innocent, straight-laced Eva, now working in a kink club.
He’d known he’d screwed up, had regretted it every day since, but until now, he’d had no idea how much. Emotions he’d thought long buried came crashing back. She was even more beautiful than he remembered but just as unattainable. Eva was so far out of his league, he couldn’t believe she’d ever given him the time of day.
Gio had been attracted to her looks at first. He hadn’t thought it would be hard to get what he wanted. She was a fish out of water, quiet and shy, keeping to herself. She hadn’t seemed to have a social life. When she hadn’t been in class, she’d been studying or doing volunteer work. The more he’d learned about her, the more intrigued he’d become. She’d been unlike any girl he’d ever known.
Eva had been homeschooled and raised in a strict environment. She’d been the first woman in her family to go to college. It was a responsibility she hadn’t taken lightly. She’d acted like the future of every woman in her family counted her on doing well.
“Hello?” Alex waved a hand in front of Gio’s face.
Gio looked around. Everyone was standing, but him. Shit! Eva really had him rattled. How in the hell was he going to face her?
* * * *
Eva had known that Gio would be at the wedding. How could he not attend his sister’s big day? Yet, she hadn’t expected it to affect her so. She’d come to terms with him leaving long ago—or so she’d thought. One look at his handsome face, dark hair and striking ebony eyes, and it had all come flooding back.
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“So, I created this spreadsheet to help me keep my schedule straight. I color-coded the games to align with the level I’ve achieved. That way I can spend the same amount of time on each game, yet track my advances…”
Chantel knew that her eyes had glazed over an hour ago. Rodney hadn’t seemed to notice. He still prattled on about video games and spreadsheets. Neither appealed to Chantel and she sure wouldn’t combine the two. Abstractedly, she wondered if he had a spreadsheet tracking the number of times he had picked his nose tonight. She’d lost count.
She looked longingly at the exit. It was so close. She could be out of the door in seconds. Then what? Go home to her empty house, curl up with an erotic romance novel and wait for the alarm to go off so she could go to work again. Oh yeah, that sounded like fun.
The slurp of beer brought her attention back to Rodney. Oh, God, there he goes with the nose thing again.
“Excuse me,” Chantel murmured reaching for her purse and bolting for the bathroom. There was only one for both men and women.
Chantel leaned against the sink and dabbed at the tears trying to escape. “You knew Rodney was a loser and you went out with him anyway. You deserve crappy-ass pizza, wobbly, squeaky chairs and watered-down diet soda.” She turned toward the ceiling, hoping gravity would help keep the tears from rolling down her cheeks. Seeing the rain-stained ceiling tiles only added another candle onto her pity party cake.
In college, she and her friends had once cast a spell imploring the gods to bring forth a bodacious man to live out her fantasies, a strong man who could satisfy her needs sexually and have an intelligent conversation afterward. She’d wanted a man who could set her panties on fire with just a look or a whispered command. Hell, now she’d settle for a man who was more interested in her buttons than the TV remote.
Chantel fell back on her mantra after each rotten date. Life doesn’t need to include men to be meaningful and fulfilled.
She almost groaned at that thought. Being filled… When was the last time she’d had sex? No, don’t go there! It’s not like it was that great anyway. Messy, sweaty and quick.
Another glance at the polished steel that passed for a mirror told her she was presentable. With her head held high, like a prisoner determined to face her sentence with dignity, she pulled open the door.
* * * *
Teague knew that he was being stupid. He knew he should have left temptation alone, but here he stood listening to the quiet sniffles and the one-sided conversation she was having with herself on the other side of the door. The beady-eyed twerp she’d been sitting with had Teague’s radar going off and his protective streak on full alert.
As the door swung open, he used his body to block her exit. She responded by jumping backward away from him and farther into the restroom. He let the door close behind them. She clutched her purse and the vein in her neck beat fast, but she had a confidence about her he really hadn’t expected.
“I’m sorry I startled you. I just wanted to make sure you were okay. You looked so unhappy.”
Her response was a very feminine laugh.
God, her tinkling giggle teased his cock in such a wicked way. It also pissed him off. “What’s so funny?” This woman had no self-preservation skills. A man cornered her in the restroom and she started giggling. What the fuck?
“Well, it’s a laugh or cry kind of night. I’m trying to keep to the lighter side.” She flashed him a sexy smile.
He was watching her closely. She seemed to like what she saw. “Fight with your boyfriend?” He was clipped and terse. This hadn’t gone as he’d expected.
Her jaw tensed and an eyebrow shot toward the ceiling. “Blind date,” she corrected with a haughty air that sent his balls ratcheting a notch tighter.
“Dump his ass and I’ll see you home.”
She ran her tongue across her upper lip and her eyes dilated. She sighed as if she’d considered his offer, but her conscience had won.
“I’ve got my own ride, but thank you for the offer. It was sweet of you.” She met his gaze as if he was no threat to her at all.
Her confidence and poise under pressure intrigued him. He’d have liked to spend the evening with her. She would have been a delight in bed, too, but she’d said no. He needed to be a gentleman and respect it.
Mustering all the self-control he’d gained over the years, he made his feet move away from the door.
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