Every passion has its price . . .Journalist Sophie Ryder has been following Emery Lockwood’s story since she was a little girl. There has always been something in his haunted eyes that she couldn’t resist and now, when she’s certain he holds the key to solving a string of kidnappings, she’ll do anything to speak to him. Even if it means venturing deep into the seductive world of the Gilded Cuff, a luxurious BDSM club on Long Island’s Gold Coast and Emery’s personal playground. From the moment Sophie enters his shadowy, sensual domain, Emery Lockwood knows this tantalizing new little sub was meant to belong to him. However, Sophie wants more from Emery than just pleasure . . . she wants his past. And that is something he isn’t willing to give—no matter who is asking. But every moment he spends with Sophie, Emery feels his control slipping and he knows it’s only a matter of time before he surrenders to her heart, body, and soul.
Emery peeled off his suit jacket and tossed it over the surface of one bar stool. Sophie licked her lips at the sight of his muscled shoulders and slender hips. Perfect for fitting between her thighs…
Down, girl. She shook her head at the way her body kept trying to take over. She’d never seen a man so good-looking. He shot her a look over his shoulder, a mischievous grin on his face. He had to know he could kiss her senseless, but there was no bravado, no arrogance in his manner. He seemed to know his very presence had her hungry for him. She wanted him to take her now, hard and fast. It was as though she could barely wait another minute to have him touch her again.
“I can read your face,” he teased. “Save those wicked thoughts for later tonight. Now, have you ever had breakfast for dinner?”
Sophie stifled a giggle as he spun to face her, wielding a spatula and carrying a big skillet. He waggled his eyebrows and smiled. Her breath caught. Gone was the tortured soul; in his place was a seductive man, all smiles and trouble. Despite her questions, her need to know his story, she wouldn’t wreck the miracle of his good mood.
“Promise me there’s bacon. I’ll do just about anything for bacon.” She meant it too. Bacon was one of her life’s little pleasures, just like chocolate. Her hips hated her for it, but bacon couldn’t be passed up.
Emery stalked toward her, eyes warm as honey. He circled behind her, wrapped his arms around her waist, and nipped her right earlobe. Sophie stiffened at the intimate contact despite the flood of wet heat between her legs. She wasn’t used to physical contact from a man, especially one she desired.
“Rule number one, relax into my touch. Unless I’m punishing you. Then you may anticipate me all you like. Now…relax.” He curled long, elegant fingers around her throat, not squeezing, merely holding her in place as he flicked his tongue into the shell of her ear. Sophie jolted up, only to be jerked back down by his arm around her stomach, to be held down, pinned helpless for his exploration of her sensitive spots… It was too much. She liked it far more than she should: the helpless feeling, the surrender to even so small a domination.
Sharp tingles stabbed her lower back, responding to the mind-bendingly erotic sensation of his tongue in her ear. He licked behind it, nibbled at the soft skin there, and she thrashed, desperate to get away, but wanting more at the same time.
“Mmm…,” she moaned as he repeated the delicious torture, and her nerves seem to fray. She knew she wouldn’t be able to take much more of this. Sophie dug her fingers into the skin of his arms, trying to alert him that she was at her wits’ end.
Finally, slowly, he relented. Fire still licked up her spine and she shuddered, trying to shake off the arousal that had nearly soaked her underwear. Emery took her by the arm, forced her to stand up from the bar stool. She squeaked in sheer surprise when he swatted the metal spatula against her bottom and then sighed when he set the spatula aside and ran his palm over her bottom, rubbing soothingly at the place where he’d spanked her.
It only made her wetter, hotter.
“Sweetheart, with me, bacon is always guaranteed.” Releasing her, he chuckled and walked over to the fridge. In rapid succession he tossed a stick of butter on the counter, slid a carton of eggs alongside it, and smacked down a package of bacon. He spun, nudged the fridge shut with the toe of his elegant dress shoe, and reached above his head to retrieve a grease splatter shield.
She gawked at him. He acted completely normal, as though he hadn’t just brought her to her knees, desperate for sex, and then whacked her on the ass with a kitchen utensil.
Closing her eyes, she drew in a fortifying breath. Then she expelled it and opened her eyes again. “You do realize this is insane, right? We’re total strangers…and this—” Sophie waved one hand in the air between them— “is crazy too. I don’t sleep with guys I haven’t dated and I definitely don’t let strangers spank me.” He raised one brow, that single action a challenge.
“Or boyfriends?” The soft stroke of his voice stirred honeyed desire in her.
“Not boyfriends either.”
One corner of his mouth kicked up into a rakish smile. “I’ll be the first man to lay my hand on you.” He played with the spatula, eyeing it in serious contemplation. “Maybe not just my hand…but don’t worry, sweetheart. You’ll love it when I give it to you.”
Lauren Smith is an attorney by day, author by night, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app. She’s a native Oklahoman who lives with her three pets: a feisty chinchilla, sophisticated cat and dapper little schnauzer. She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including being an Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist and a Semi-Finalist for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award.