Sleeping with the Devil [NOOK Book]

Overview

USA Today bestselling author Cheryl Holt wanted to free herself from all restraint and write a novel exploring the darkest, most secret reaches of the erotic imagination So she created the alter-ego Vanessa Marlow, and the novel she wrote is…Sleeping With The Devil

Meg White leads a comfortable life as a chef in Portland. Nothing prepared her for a man like Jordan Blair, the rich, magnetic stranger who seduces her and introduces her to a life of luxury--and sin. Obsessed with ...

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Sleeping with the Devil

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Overview

USA Today bestselling author Cheryl Holt wanted to free herself from all restraint and write a novel exploring the darkest, most secret reaches of the erotic imagination So she created the alter-ego Vanessa Marlow, and the novel she wrote is…Sleeping With The Devil

Meg White leads a comfortable life as a chef in Portland. Nothing prepared her for a man like Jordan Blair, the rich, magnetic stranger who seduces her and introduces her to a life of luxury--and sin. Obsessed with Jordan and drawn to his dark sexual kinks, Meg allows him to transform her into a sophisticated beauty with no ties to her past. But soon she’s trapped in a web of lust and sexual depravity. She doesn’t know whether the man who’s consumed her life is good or evil, whether her nights are filled with pleasure or pain--or how she’ll ever survive.


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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

A dream of love becomes a nightmare in this creepy erotic thriller from Marlow, the pen name of bestselling romance writer Cheryl Holt (Too Tempting to Touch). After a chance encounter with attractive Jordan Blair and his girlfriend at a resort hotel on the Oregon coast, 23-year-old Meg White, who works as a dessert chef at an upscale Portland restaurant, and her boyfriend agree to go to Jordan's beach house for a night of fun. Though Meg is uneasy when their hosts expect them to participate in kinky sex games, Meg allows Jordan to seduce her. In dizzy detail Marlow charts Meg's growing obsession with the abusive Jordan, who manipulates her into marrying him. The nasty secrets Meg learns about Jordan during her ordeal strengthen her resolve to escape his sadistic clutches. This sordid cautionary tale will leave readers in the mood to donate to the nearest abused women's shelter. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466848153
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/2/2013
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 386,158
  • File size: 339 KB

Meet the Author



Vanessa Marlow is the pseudonym for bestselling author Cheryl Holt, who has written over 22 novels and has been acclaimed as one of the twenty-five greatest erotic writers of all time.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

I met Jordan Blair on a rainy day in January.

At the time, I assumed it was a quirk of fate, that we’d crossed paths at the right cosmic moment and everything had clicked into place. Our immediate and potent connection seemed so natural and effortless that it must have been preordained.

Of course, now I realize it was a tad more complicated than that. I was fairly sure he’d seen me somewhere prior, and I often wondered if he hadn’t been following me and become obsessed, but I never stumbled on any evidence to prove how it had happened.

He was the most organized, meticulous person I’d ever known. Nothing with him was random or haphazard, so it was difficult to decipher his motives. Very likely, he’d schemed for months to arrange bumping into me, but the notion of it having been so calculated was too sinister, so I forced myself to believe it had all been chance.

I was vacationing on the Oregon coast with my boyfriend, Steve. We were celebrating the one-year anniversary of the first occasion we’d had sex—an event I scarcely remembered, but which he recalled fondly.

We lived together in a dumpy but cozy apartment in Portland. Steve worked as a salesman in his dad’s restaurant supply company, while I was employed at the upscale Mozart’s restaurant, where I was a dessert chef.

I was twenty-three years old, and I had been in the city long enough for my acquaintances to decide I was a true Oregonian. With my passion for expensive coffee and exotic food, my brown hair with its spiky blond highlights, my clunky jewelry and trendy black wardrobe, I was too typical to be an outsider.

I rode the train and pedaled my bike rather than driving a car, although this was a financial choice and not an environmental one. I didn’t wear leather and rarely ate meat. I marched in demonstrations at Pioneer Square and was a regular shopper at organic grocery stores. I knew all the dance clubs and where the hottest bands were performing, and even though it rained incessantly, I didn’t own a raincoat or umbrella.

My salary was pitiful, so I was usually broke, but I loved my job, my life, and Steve. Or at least I thought I did.

We’d rented a tiny cottage at a beach hotel, and soon after our arrival, a huge winter gale had blown in. The rain came down in torrents, wind gusts shaking everything so violently that part of the cottage’s roof blew off during the night.

Though our apartment was only two hours from the beach, I had never visited before that disturbing day, so I wasn’t prepared for how awful the weather would be. In Portland, it drizzled politely. On the coast, it was an unrelenting, tempestuous deluge.

Steve and I had been trapped inside for nearly twenty-four hours, and we’d started to go stir crazy.

We spent the morning in bed, having sex and coffee, but we could only copulate so many times, and we were anxious to do something else. The hotel furnished slickers and boots, so after lunch we donned them and ventured down the stairs that led to the sand. The scenery was fantastic, what we could see of it anyway, with towering cliffs and slamming surf.

We lasted about ten minutes, then we were soaked, and we headed back to our room. We read books, we played checkers, and we watched television until the electricity flickered out. Initially it was romantic to sit by the fire, but by evening the thrill was gone, and Steve was pacing like a tiger in a cage.

The front desk gave us directions to a restaurant and bar just through the trees, so we bundled up and trudged over, hoping to dine, then quench our boredom with cocktails. Luckily the restaurant was open but serving a limited menu due to the power outage. We were the only souls hearty or desperate enough to stop by, and we had the place to ourselves.

After eating, we went into the lounge, which was very small, with a couple of stools and four tables. As we were chatting, another couple entered, and I couldn’t help but notice them—because they were the only other customers, but also because their appearance screamed money. They were so attractive, and so stylishly attired, that I speculated as to whether they might be movie stars.

We were close to the exclusive resort village of Cannon Beach, where lots of Hollywood moguls were rumored to keep summer homes, so it was entirely possible that they were famous, and I wanted them to be. It would add an aura of mystery and excitement to an otherwise dreary adventure.

The woman was glamorous, like a fashion model, with long, curling blond hair that probably wasn’t her natural color. She was thin as a rail, but her breasts were plump and round and too large for how slim she was, so they probably weren’t natural, either.

She had on a slinky red gown with red heels and red lipstick to match, and the dress clearly showed that she didn’t have an ounce a fat on her. I gained some satisfaction by imagining her exhausting herself in the gym, a slave to the stair machine, which I would never do.

Of course, Steve—being a typical male—honed in on her right away. He leaned over and whispered, “Did you see that woman?”

“Yes.”

“If I bought you a dress like that, would you wear it?”

“If you bought me a dress like that, I’d have to kill you.”

He chuckled as we resumed drinking and tried to ignore them, which was hard. They were too magnificent to be in the same establishment with us, and I kept sneaking peeks at them, curious as to what had spurred them to brave the storm and follow us in.

The woman seemed to be our age, mid-twenties, but the man was older—maybe mid-thirties or forty—and I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He was tall and thin, too, with black hair, high cheekbones, and a full mouth. He was enigmatic, smoldering with a charisma and maturity that fascinated me.

He was obviously rich, his wrist sporting one of those watches that told time in twelve countries and cost thousands of dollars. His clothes were tailored to hang correctly so that you couldn’t miss the terrific torso beneath the fabric. He was in jeans and a leather jacket, slip-on loafers and a denim shirt, as was Steve, but where Steve looked okay and even a little frumpy, this guy looked dynamic and sexy.

They sat at the table farthest from ours, and the woman was propped forward on her elbows, giving the man—and Steve—a great view of her fabulous cleavage. She was sipping her wine, her tongue occasionally flitting out to lick her bottom lip.

Every so often she’d giggle, and it was a sultry sound, her voice suiting her gorgeous anatomy. The man never laughed in return, but would cock a brow or murmur a quiet reply, and I was intrigued by him and what he might be thinking.

Was he wishing she’d shut up? Was he annoyed by her? Or was he simply the sort who didn’t exhibit much emotion?

I studied their body language, trying to figure out if they were married, but there wasn’t a wedding band in sight, so I didn’t suppose they were. There was definitely something sexual going on with them, though.

Were they lovers? Were they about to be?

Since I couldn’t hide my piqued interest, I got up and went to the bathroom. I dawdled, evaluating myself in the mirror, checking how I stacked up with the beauty in the bar and cataloging all the ways I came up short. Literally, I was several inches shorter, my black outfit and the thick soles on my black boots making me appear taller than I was.

I was slender, but pleasantly so. I was a cook, and had sampled my share of the broth, so I had a butt and thighs, and my boobs were the appropriate size for my torso.

With my big brown eyes and pale skin, I looked very young, like a waif, like I should be standing on a corner with a cup in my hand, begging for change.

I started back to the bar when, to my amazement, I ran into the man. He was heading toward the lobby—I wouldn’t flatter myself into presuming he’d sought me out on purpose—and we were stuck, alone in the hallway.

Up close, he was more handsome. He was tan, as if he spent a lot of time outdoors, and he was whipcord lean, his stomach the kind of rippled washboard found on male models. His eyes were an icy blue, and they were assessing me so thoroughly that I was completely undone by the scrutiny.

I’d pegged his age as between thirty-five and forty, and I decided forty was the better guess. His face had a few crows’ feet and wrinkles, but they gave him a weathered air that was very seductive.

I couldn’t quit gawking or move on as I ought, and he seemed swept up, too, perfectly content to tarry as he analyzed me. His intent gaze blatantly wandered to my breasts, his attention so potent that it felt as if he’d reached out and caressed my nipples. They throbbed and poked against the cotton of my T-shirt, and I was so glad I’d kept my jacket on.

I stumbled away, mumbling, “Pardon me.”

“Certainly,” he politely responded, and we danced about, maneuvering around each other in the cramped space, which only brought us nearer. His thigh brushed mine, and my arm was pressed to his. We both paused, locked in place, a tangible energy flowing between us.

He focused in, as if probing for all my petty secrets, and in a deep, mellow baritone he asked, “Have we met?”

The line was such a cliché come-on that I laughed. Because he was attractive and wealthy, I’d envisioned him as being overly sophisticated, but apparently I’d imbued him with traits he didn’t possess.

“I’m sure we haven’t.”

“You’re so familiar. Would I have seen your picture somewhere?”

I almost stupidly blurted out, There was a photo of me in The Oregonian!

I’d recently been featured in a “Best of Portland” charity calendar, where twelve female chefs posed provocatively, arranged behind wedding cakes and ovens, to seem as if we were cooking without any clothes on. The Oregonian had carried an article and matching photo about the calendar, with my name, Meg White, in the notation.

I was proud, but embarrassed by my fifteen minutes of fame. Fleetingly, I hoped that he’d noticed it, that he’d recognized me, which was absurd.

As if he would have recollected me from the paper! And if I was to be remembered by someone like him, I didn’t want it to be because I’d posed naked, against my better judgment, in a charity calendar.

“No,” I said, “you wouldn’t have seen me anywhere.”

It was the moment to leave, and I ordered myself to go, but before I could, he stepped in so that I was wedged to the wall. I was overwhelmed by his height, by the yummy smell of his leather coat. There was a manner about him that was all male, a tough, dangerous masculinity that men always yearn to have but are never quite able to muster. It was indefinable but thrilling, and it appealed to my feminine side, making me wish I was a damsel in distress so he could rescue me.

He bent in and slipped his fingers inside my jacket, resting them on my waist, and I just stood there and let him. I didn’t shift away. I didn’t frown. I didn’t do anything at all. My nipples were so inflamed that if he’d slithered up and stroked one of them, I’d have let him do that, too.

Why was I loitering in a public corridor, allowing him to grope me? I had no idea.

“What’s your name?” he inquired.

“Meg.”

“Meg. Hmm.” He pondered it, then nodded as if that’s what he would have picked for me, as if he deemed it to be absolutely right. “How old are you?”

“Twenty-three.”

“You’re very pretty.”

The compliment broke whatever weird magnet held us together. I’d been called many things in my life: interesting, exotic, different, but never pretty. Not even by Steve, and to my ears it sounded contrived, another come-on.

“Thanks.” I chuckled, spun, and walked away.

I didn’t glance around to see if he was following me, but I was positive he was. I could feel his hot gaze on me like a brand, as if he had X-ray vision. The sensation was eerie, but cool, too, and I reveled in it, a small, vain part of me tickled that he was intrigued enough to stare.

In the bar, I wasn’t surprised to discover that while I was off flirting—or whatever it had been—with a stranger, Steve had struck up a conversation with the blond goddess. He was a salesman, so he had a gift for gab, which was the reason he was so good at his job. He genuinely liked people, had tons of friends, and in a situation where I would be too shy to speak, he’d already have learned everybody’s address, phone number, where they’d gone to school, and their employment history.

I was relieved that he hadn’t moved to her table, that they were still sitting where I’d left them. They talked as if they were old chums, and they were discussing French painters of all things, about which Steve knew nothing, but he was a bullshit artist so he easily carried his share of the exchange.

I ignored them and sipped my drink, thinking about my encounter in the hall and how it had rattled me. Eventually, the dark-haired man returned and slid in next to the blond. He sipped his drink, too. We gaped at each other as Steve and the woman continued to chat, but they were totally absorbed and unaware that the man and I were having our own little drama.

I tried my best to avoid eye contact with him. I studied the ceiling, my reflection in the window, the bartender washing glasses. Whenever I peered straight ahead, the man was observing me with such a determined gleam of appreciation that I wanted to leap up and shout, What? What are you looking at?

But I didn’t. I didn’t care to have Steve realize that the guy was watching me, or that I was watching him back.

He whispered to his companion, and whatever the remark, it brought a sly grin to her ruby lips. She said, “I’m Kimberly, by the way.”

“I’m Steve,” Steve replied. “And this is Meg.”

“Hi, Meg,” Kimberly cooed.

I flashed a wan smile and murmured hello. All through the introductions, I felt as if the man was judging me or waiting for me to make a mistake, but what could I possibly do or say that would be wrong?

“We’re off to Jordan’s beach house,” Kimberly mentioned, providing the information that the man’s name was Jordan and that he had a beach house. “Would you like to join us? I thought we could soak in the hot tub. Wouldn’t that be fun?”

Knowing that it was precisely the sort of invitation Steve would accept, I immediately declined. “Oh, we couldn’t impose.”

“Nonsense, Meg,” Kimberly responded. “The weather is so awful. What else is there to do? You have to come with us.”

She was bent forward, the bodice of her dress drooping so that Steve had an unimpeded view of her breasts. I had to admit that they were terrific, and we could see most of them, so it was an easy call to make. The posture wasn’t an accident; she was intentionally tantalizing Steve, when I couldn’t imagine why. Steve was nice enough, but I mean, really!

She was with Adonis. Why torment poor Steve with what he couldn’t have?

Yet, he was hooked like a fish on a line.

“Yeah, we’ll come,” he agreed, countering my refusal. “It sounds great.”

Jordan and Kimberly stood, and we stood, too, but I was very nervous and not able to understand why. We’d gone off before, partying with people we scarcely knew, so why was I hesitating?

They were just so different from us, and the differences mattered in a way I couldn’t identify.

“I’m parked out front,” Jordan said. “You can follow us.”

“We walked over from the hotel,” I resisted. “We should be getting back.”

“No problem.” Jordan seemed to be upping the ante. “You can ride with me, and I’ll bring you down when we’re finished.”

Steve was eager and excited, like a kid with a new toy. “Cool! Let’s do it.”

Jordan and Kimberly exited into the rainy, blustery gale, and we trailed after them. I slowed my pace, so that Steve would have to debate the situation with me before we climbed in Jordan’s car.

“I don’t want to go with them,” I hissed once they were far enough away not to overhear.

“Why not?”

“I don’t know. I just don’t!”

“Don’t be a stick in the mud. It’ll be fun.”

“We don’t know anything about them.”

“So?”

“Jordan might be an ax murderer. Maybe he’s scouting us as his next victims.”

“Right!” Steve laughed. “Why are you so worried? Lighten up.”

We were outside and huddled under the awning at the entrance to the restaurant. Jordan was across the parking lot, helping Kimberly into an expensive SUV. Through the shadows, I could see his eyes glimmering, focused directly on me. Although he hadn’t uttered a word, I perceived how keen he was for me to go with him. I was certain he’d intervene to guarantee I didn’t escape. Why? Why would my presence or absence be so important to him?

I grabbed Steve’s arm and pulled him to a halt.

“This is too weird. Why would they ask us over?”

“Because it’s storming, and boring as hell out here, and they’re dying for some company.”

Even though I’d never previously met them, I couldn’t shake the impression that they’d picked us, or had been searching for us. “But why would they want us?”

“We’re the only human beings available in a twenty-mile radius.” He gestured around the deserted lot. Jordan’s car was the sole one in it. “Don’t make me hang out at the hotel, Meg. Please. If I have to sit there all night, with no electricity and nothing to do, I’ll go crazy.”

“We could play cards,” I petulantly reminded him. “That wouldn’t be so bad.”

“I played cards with you for three hours today.” I scowled, and he hastily added, “Not that it wasn’t entertaining, but Meg, they have a hot tub.”

He pronounced hot tub as if it was the Holy Grail, and I knew I was whipped. It was a luxury he relished and hardly ever had a chance to indulge.

“Okay,” I finally grumbled, “but promise we can leave whenever I tell you I’m ready, and that we won’t have a big argument about it.”

Now that he’d gotten his way, he was all benevolence. “Sure.”

“And I want him to take us over to our car. I don’t want to be without it.”

“Fine. Whatever.” He marched across the lot, and I trotted along behind.

“Hey, Jordan,” he called, “could you swing by the hotel so we can get our car? Then you won’t have to drive us back later.”

Jordan nodded and smiled—not at Steve, but at me. It was settled. He’d won whatever battle we’d been waging. I was going, and I couldn’t evade him or the disaster I sensed approaching like an inevitable train wreck.

Copyright © 2008 by Cheryl Holt. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 10, 2011

    my all time favorite!!!!!!!

    I loved this book!! creepy but I could not put it down. I want more.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2010

    Not Romantic, Not Erotic and Most Decidedly Not Thrilling!

    The only thing this book did for me was to teach me a good lesson; when in doubt about the true nature of a book...pick another one. There are too many other books out there waiting to be read to waste time on something that does not entertain. How this charming piece of literature ended up in the romance section of my local store I'll never understand. There was no romance and no eroticism. There was only abuse and depression. Only too late did I realize I'd picked up a novel from Oprah's Book Club. If this book was intended to be thrilling then the prologue should have been omitted. Once the reader determines where the book is headed, and let's be honest.that happens pretty fast, it's obvious our Courtney Love heroine pushes him over the edge and as the reader we're going to be subjected to scene after scene of sexual, mental and physical abuse. Yeah!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2009

    Not the typical romantic erotica

    This book is a complete deviation from the author's past romance novels. On one hand, I am pleased to see the author taking a bold move towards such as unusual plot (pyschological thrill about spousal abuse). On the other hand, I wish I read the review in more details before I picked up the book because I personally do not find spousal abuse sexy or erotic at all, no matter how many kinky sex scenes in the story. So I gave 5 stars to all categories from a technical writing stand point of view but I can only give it a 3 starts overall rating because I did not enjoy the story - spousal abuse is a tradegy and there is nothing positive of it.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    chilling character driven psychological thriller

    Desert chef Meg White enjoys her mundane middle class lifestyle although she almost always is broke as her pay stinks. However, when she meets affluent older Jordan Blair while vacationing with her fiancé Steve the salesman on the rainy Oregon coast, she is immediately attracted to his sophisticated charm. He is just as hooked. She ends her engagement rationalizing Steve is hooked on Kimberly whom he just met, gives up her job, and quickly moves into Jordan¿s expensive penthouse. --- He expands her sexual encounters into a variety of S&M and other partners, but reduces her world to his apartment. Meg soon becomes concerned as she realizes Jordon is controlling every aspect of her life. She fears if the bird escapes the gilded cage, this control freak will hunt her down. --- This chilling character driven psychological thriller focuses on control by an obsessed person using any means from sexual to economic to guilt inducement in order to maintain domination and supremacy. Meg¿s first person account showcases her change from euphoria to doubt to abject fear as she reassesses just who Jordan is. With a superb final twist, fans will appreciate this strong look at abuse that comes in many ways not just physical and emotional, but sexual and economic terrorism. --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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