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I absolutely LOVE this cover!!! Mmm! And wait until you read the teasers. Whoa!
Maddie O’Neill has always wanted to be a reporter, but after two years in Washington, D.C. working at a daily coupon paper, she can feel her dreams slipping through her fingers. Suddenly, with a single phone call from a friend at The Washington Post, everything changes. They have an open position, and he wants her to have it.
There’s just one problem – he wants a story first, and she has one chance to impress him.
With the deadline for the job fast approaching, Maddie finds herself spending her nights inside Runway, investigating why the elite of the nation’s capitol are showing up at the hottest new club in the city. None of it makes sense until she stumbles upon a secret buried beneath its floors, and walks right into the arms of Thomas Hathaway. Gorgeous and dominant, with a sinful smile, he is more than willing to show the feisty redhead just how he likes to play inside the exclusive BDSM club, Black Light.
Now Maddie is trapped in a web of lies, getting tied up in ropes by one of the hottest congressmen in the House, and as she sinks deeper into this world of pain and pleasure she knows she will have to make a tough choice before time runs out. But will she follow her dreams or her heart?
Get ready for spankings, bondage, drama, and heartache, as you follow Maddie and Thomas through all of your deepest fantasies in ‘Black Light: Exposed’, a stand-alone book in the Black Light Series!
Teaser 1 (Warning: Might not induce flames but this one will bring on smoke and sparks!)
“So, Maddie, I have a question for you.”
“Ask away.” She smiled, toying with the stem of her wine glass, turning it one way and then the other.
“I’d love to know why you told Daniel that Jaxson Davidson invited you to the club.” The slight curve to his lips didn’t change at all as he spoke, and she tried desperately to read him as her lungs clenched tight – but it was to no avail. Was he amused? Angry? How had he even known?
Maddie cleared her throat, sat up in the chair, and told the truth. “I’d looked up some stuff about Runway and read that he owned it. When he put me on the spot for a name it just sort of came out.”
“Hmm.” All he made was the single humming reply as he studied her face. “Well, that wasn’t very smart, and we both know how smart you are.”
“Did Daniel tell you what I said?”
“No, Jaxson did.”
She almost choked on the sip of wine she’d taken, but managed to swallow it down instead of spitting the cabernet sauvignon all over the white linen. “Jaxson told you?”
“Yes, he was… irritated that you used his name.” Thomas’ smirk grew a little. “It’s one of his pet peeves.”
“I – um…” Her words trailed off as her mind went into overdrive, and panic made her heart race a little faster. Thomas Hathaway apparently knew Jaxson Davidson well enough to be told about her little indiscretion. He knew him well enough to know about his pet peeves, and she was planning to blow the lid off of Jaxson’s secret little club. Fuck.
“Don’t worry though, I handled it. Jaxson’s temper has been appeased.” Temper?
“How?” Maddie asked the word on a breath, so quiet she was worried he hadn’t heard her.
“By telling him that I would handle you.”
“Handle me,” she repeated.
“Yes, and you’ve been a very bad girl, haven’t you, Madeline O’Neill?” Thomas leaned forward on the table, nudging the dessert to the side so he could reach for her hand. Holding it palm up he traced his touch across the center, leading up her pointer finger. “You lied more than once trying to get into the club, and didn’t admit all of it to me on Sunday. That’s one.”
“One what?” Her heart was pounding from the borderline panic attack, but the tingle rushing over her skin from the point of his touch was from something entirely different, and much farther south.
“You sent me so many teasing messages in the last few days, just begging to be punished.” He traced over her palm again, up her middle finger. “That’s two.”
“I thought you liked them?” she whispered, incapable of making her voice any louder.
“Oh, I did, but I was always planning to oblige your requests.” Again he traced over her palm, leading up her ring finger this time, the smooth edge of his nail sending a shiver over her skin. “And then you were four minutes late, so that’s three.”
“Three what, sir?” The title seemed to insert itself onto the end of her question without a conscious decision, but the dark flash in his eyes made it clear it had been a good choice.
“Three sets of whatever punishment I deem appropriate, unless you’ve decided you don’t want to play anymore?” There was a wicked edge to his words again, more promises of corruption hidden in the breaths between them. He paused, waiting until she lifted her eyes to meet his again. A storm cloud of desire swept through her, and his next words were as powerful as a clap of thunder. “Well, Madeline O’Neill, do you want to be forgiven?”
He removed his hand from under hers, leaving it on the linen tablecloth that suddenly felt much cooler without the heat of his skin. Forgiven? She found herself nodding, chewing on her bottom lip again to keep the words she wanted to say inside.
Yes, she wanted to be forgiven, for all of it.
Not just the things he’d listed, but the whole situation.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible.
Teaser 2 (Warning: you'll probably need a fire extinguisher!)
“What was the first reason I gave you for punishment tonight?” The question floated over to her and she looked away from him, turning her eyes up to the sight of her hands loosely fisted on the other side of the leather cuffs. What had he said at the restaurant?
“I told them Jaxson invited me,” she answered, and Thomas returned to his place behind her.
“Do you know Jaxson, Maddie?”
She shook her head, feeling her wind-torn hair catch on her shoulder. “No, sir.”
“Have you ever met Jaxson Davidson?” There was an odd tone to his voice, but she couldn’t think straight enough through the fire in her blood to evaluate it further. Her heartbeat was picking up speed as she waited.
“Then you understand why that was a mistake? To name him as your invite into Black Light?” Leather stroked over her skin, and she dug her nails into her palms in preparation.
“I do. Yes, sir.” Nodding, she tried to focus on him, on the cross pressed into her skin, on what was about to happen – but at the mention of Jaxson her mind was pulled back to the teensy, tiny, itty-bitty detail that the man behind her knew the Jaxson Davidson, the owner of Black Light, the man who had built ridiculous levels of security to keep out people just like her.
A line of fire across the right side of her ass lifted her onto her toes as she hissed air between her teeth. Its twin landed on her left, and she jerked her wrists against the cuffs on instinct, biting down on the cries she wanted to release as the pain segued into heat.
“I promised him that I would deal with your little indiscretion…” In the pause between his next words he delivered a hard swat of the leather a little lower than the first set. “Ten sounds like a good number, doesn’t it?”
Two more blistering stings, and he paused when she shouted something unintelligible. Maddie was tense, up on her toes, pressing forward against the cross as if she could escape – but she was bound, exposed, and had no intention of avoiding whatever punishment he’d deemed appropriate. No matter what fell from her lips, it wouldn’t be red.
If only naming Jaxson was my worst sin here.
“What number are we on?” Thomas’ voice was lower, a rolling thunder that made her shiver as she tried to think through the stinging skin and the throbbing need between her thighs.
“F- five?” The word turned into a question as she doubted herself, and his chuckle behind her didn’t help to validate it. Another snap of the leather and she arched, biting down on the cry, but he tapped her foot with his shoe and she pressed her heels back to the floor.
“Right, so now there’s just four more with the strap.”
Her mind wrapped around the word, focusing on the differences between this and the belt. The belt was slightly more forgiving, longer, and it stung more, while this felt more powerful, heavier.
Sting versus thud.
All of her research snuck that phrase into her brain, and she knew exactly what they meant now. There was more weight to the strap, more – “Fuck!” she yelled as he landed the next one just below the curve of her ass.
“Oh no, we’re not even done with the first set yet, beautiful. Any possibility of fucking is still far off.” Another hard swat.
“Please,” she begged, but his only answer was the last two snaps of the strap on the backs of each thigh. The whine that left her lips had more to do with the sudden assault on the delicate skin of her legs, than with the plea for him to have her, even though the visual had her hips shifting.
“Strap is done, Madeline, but that set wasn’t for me, was it?”
The sound of him moving behind her was distracting enough that she was able to let the heat of the strap settle. There would be new bruises, she was sure of that, but she was also sure he wasn’t done. He was close again when he spoke, “That set was to appease Jaxson. So, tell me, are you sorry?”
“Yes, sir.” She tried to swallow down the pique of troublesome guilt that attempted to emerge from the waves of confusing arousal, discomfort, and newfound submission.
“Say what you’re sorry for.” Thomas’ voice was colder, stronger, and she felt a little breathless as something swished through the air behind her.
“I’m sorry that I said Jaxson Davidson invited me to Black Light. Sir.”
“Forgiven.” There was a snap just behind her, and she jumped, but nothing touched her. The purr to his tone became more seductive than threatening as he asked, “What is your second punishment for tonight?”
“It’s for, um…” Maddie wracked her brain. “You’re upset about the texting? Sir?”
His shirt brushed against the bare skin of her back, his lips grazing her shoulder. “I’m not upset at all, Madeline. This set you asked for yourself. Each time you referenced the belt.” Teeth caught her skin for a moment, sending a vibrant rush through her nerves. “Every time you told me how much you wanted to feel it again. Did you lie about that?”
“No,” she whispered. Truth.
A spank landed atop the marks from the strap and she gasped.
“Such a good girl. I’m just giving you what you asked for now. Another ten –” A swish through the air again made her tense. “With the crop this time.”
A riding crop.
“Shit!” she shouted as the hard, thin, leather bound object landed almost perfectly across both globes of her ass, the barest hint of a sting wrapping to her right hip.
He had said ten, but then two, three, and four landed in such quick succession that Maddie found herself squirming against the cross, her arms pulling at the leather cuffs as she tried to stifle the sting of the tears in her eyes while the already blistered skin of her ass screamed.
“Please what, Maddie?” There was humor in Thomas’ tone, a hidden challenge there, and she bit down on the request for him to stop. Swallowed it. Each line was still vibrant, somehow different than the lingering burn from the strap, but the initial panic had ebbed as he paced behind her, as the throbbing faded into a dull ache surrounded by heat.
“Nothing, sir,” she whispered.
“Are you sure?”
“I have six more, right?”
A sharp snap of the crop at her sit spot, that painful place where the curve of her ass met her thighs, had her bouncing on her toes, and the tears she’d been struggling to hold back spilled onto her cheeks. “Five now,” he answered.
Despite the pain, there was something else inside her. The beginnings of a blur to the peak of each painful swat, the hum of her arousal filling the gaps, and there was the promise she’d sought. The dark promise of more, of oblivion, if only she could hold on. Steeling herself, she settled her body on the cross, reveling in the hard press of it against her ribs, the way she could brace her knees into the wood so she could take it. Five more. “Yes, sir…”
Two more, back to back, but she held in the cry. Three more.
Another across her thighs, and she jerked, crying out as her mind walked some indelible line between pleasure and pain, teasing her with the possibility of some warm and sparkling quiet place just beyond the bite of the damn crop.
“Your screams are lovely.”
The impact of the crop on his next swing criss-crossed with a blur of other marks, waking them all up, and sending out another cry out to echo in the room. As she tried to breathe, tried to sniffle and hold back the tears that were blurring her vision, a single thought floated to the surface – could all of those D.C. elite hear her through the door? Did they think her screams were lovely too? Were they listening to each powerful crack of leather against her skin?
“Are you wet for me, Maddie?”
“Sir…” her voice wobbled, her breath catching on the next inhale.
“Answer me.” A command. Cold, and dark, and hard.
She nodded. As insane as it was, she could feel all of the heat in her skin focusing between her thighs. Her clit was pounding in time with the still throbbing ache of her ass, and while there was no way she could have explained it to anyone, the answer was, “Yes, sir.”
“Fuck, Maddie…” Thomas’ words were almost a groan, and then the crop landed for the tenth time, forcing her up onto her toes as she shouted, whining as more tears fell.
This hurts. It hurts.
There was a buzzing in her head, a delirium that was mercifully dulling the edges of the lingering pain.
“How’s my girl doing?” he asked, stepping around to lift her head up and push back her hair. It took a minute for him to brush it off her damp cheeks, his thumbs running over her skin. Beneath the hazy green-brown of his eyes was a veritable forest fire, an intensity that stole the last of her breath. “You are so beautiful like this, you know that?”
Slowly, she shook her head. Her nose was trying to run from the crying, and it had to be as red as her cheeks at this point. With her luck, her mascara and eyeliner had probably smeared into raccoon eyes – and Thomas Hathaway was calling her beautiful? Impossible.
A smile crept over his face, and then he kissed her fiercely, one hand shifting to tangle in her hair and pull, holding her lips in place as tiny sparks raced across her scalp. His tongue clashed with hers, fierce and hot, and he was breathing as hard as she was when he broke away. “Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Can you take more?”
There was no doubt inside her that he would stop if she said no, that he would take her off the cross and do all kinds of wonderful things if she just refused. Her body was a conflicting swarm of messages, urging her to end it, and begging her to continue. Questioning her sanity at staying tethered to the wood, and rewarding her for holding on with a tingling rush that flooded over her skin in a shiver. As she stared into his hazel eyes again, she knew one thing for sure – she hadn’t lied – she trusted him. “Yes, sir. I can take the last set.”
He groaned and kissed her again, nipping at her lip and tightening his fist in her hair until pinpoints of electricity burst into life and rushed across her body to nestle between her thighs. His voice purred against her lips when he spoke, “I’m going to make you scream.”
WOW! *Fans self*
Jennifer Bene is a best-selling author of erotic fiction who loves wine, hiking, whiskey, and keyboards – not necessarily in that order. She’s been writing for years, but it’s always been the dark stuff that makes her tingly, so her books are full of aggressive alpha males and Doms, feisty women who may or may not have a submissive streak, and intense, psychological storylines. Whether it’s showing up in erotica, paranormal romance, ménage, or anything else she decides to venture into, it’s always a little dark. But, don’t worry, she also insists on having a nice little happily-ever-after! After all, without the dark, we’d never notice the light, now would we?
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