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3.0 156
by Megan Hart
     
 

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don't think don't question just do

The anonymous note wasn't for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not in the habit of reading other people's mail, but it was just a piece of paper with a few lines scrawled on it, clearly meant for the apartment upstairs. It looked so innocent, but decidedly—deliciously—it was not.

Before replacing the

Overview

don't think don't question just do

The anonymous note wasn't for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not in the habit of reading other people's mail, but it was just a piece of paper with a few lines scrawled on it, clearly meant for the apartment upstairs. It looked so innocent, but decidedly—deliciously—it was not.

Before replacing the note—and the ones that followed—in its rightful slot, I devoured its contents: suggestions, instructions, commands. Each was more daring, more intricate and more arousing than the last…and I followed them all to the letter.

Before the notes, if a man had told me what to do, I'd have told him where to go. But submission is an art, and there's something oddly freeing about doing someone's bidding…especially when it feels so very, very good. But I find that the more I surrender, the more powerful I feel—so it's time to switch up roles.

We play by my rules now.

"Realistic characters, natural dialogue, beautiful erotic and romantic trysts, and thought-provoking insights on life, death and love all exemplify Megan Hart's signature style of erotic fiction." —BookFizz

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780373605392
Publisher:
Spice
Publication date:
01/01/2010
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

Sometimes, you look back.

He was coming out. I was going in. We moved by each other, ships passing without fanfare the way hundreds of strangers pass every day. The moment didn't last longer than it took to see a bush of dark, messy hair and a flash of dark eyes. I registered his clothes first, the khaki cargo pants and a long-sleeved black T-shirt. Then his height and the breadth of his shoulders. I became aware of him in the span of a few seconds the way men and women have of noticing each other, and I swiveled on the pointed toe of my kitten-heel pumps and followed him with my gaze until the door of the Speckled Toad closed behind me.

"Want me to wait?"

"Huh?" I looked at Kira, who'd gone ahead of me. "For what?"

"For you to go back after the dude who just gave you whiplash." She smirked and gestured, but I couldn't see him anymore, not even through the glass.

I'd known Kira since tenth grade, when we bonded over our mutual love for a senior boy named Todd Browning. We'd had a lot in common back then. Bad hair, miserable taste in clothes and a fondness for too much black eyeliner. We'd been friends back then, but I wasn't sure what to call her now.

I turned toward the center of the shop. "Shut up. I barely noticed him."

"If you say so." Kira tended to drift, and now she wandered toward a shelf of knickknacks that were nothing like anything I'd ever buy. She lifted one, a stuffed frog holding a heart in its feet. The heart had MOM embroidered on it in sparkly letters. "What about this?"

"Nice bling. But no, on so many levels. I do have half a mind to get her one of these, though." I turned to a shelf of porcelain clowns.

"Jesus. She'd hate one of those. I dare you to buy it." Kira snorted laughter.

I laughed, too. I was trying to find a birthday present for my father's wife. The woman wouldn't own her real age and insisted every birthday be celebrated as her "twenty-ninth" along with the appropriate coy smirks, but she sure didn't mind raking in the loot. Nothing I bought would impress her, and yet I was unrelentingly determined to buy her something perfect.

"If they weren't so expensive, I might think about it. She collects that Limoges stuff. Who knows? She might really dig a ceramic clown." I touched the umbrella of one tightrope-balancing monstrosity.

Kira had met Stella a handful of times and neither had been impressed with the other. "Yeah, right. I'm going to check out the magazines."

I murmured a reply and kept up my search. Miriam Levy, the owner of the Speckled Toad, stocks an array of decorative items, but that wasn't really why I was there. I could have gone anyplace to find Stella a present. Hell, she'd have loved a gift card to Neiman Marcus, even if she'd have sniffed at the amount I could afford. I didn't come to Miriam's shop for the porcelain clowns, or even because it was a convenient half a block from Riverview Manor, where I lived.

No. I came to Miriam's shop for the paper.

Parchment, hand-cut greeting cards, notebooks, pads of exquisite, delicate paper thin as tissue, stationery meant for fountain pens and thick, sturdy cardboard capable of enduring any torture. Paper in all colors and sizes, each individually perfect and unique, just right for writing love notes and breakup letters and condolences and poetry, with not a single box of plain white computer printer paper to be found. Miriam won't stock anything so plebian.

I have a bit of a stationery fetish. I collect paper, pens, note cards. Set me loose in an office-supply store and I can spend more hours and money than most women can drop on shoes. I love the way good ink smells on expensive paper. I love the way a heavy, linen note card feels in my fingers. Most of all, I love the way a blank sheet of paper looks when it's waiting to be written on. Anything can happen in those moments before you put pen to paper.

The best part about the Speckled Toad is that Miriam sells her paper by the sheet as well as by the package and the ream. My collection of papers includes some of creamy linen with watermarks, some handmade from flower pulp, some note cards scissored into scherenschnitte scenes. I have pens of every color and weight, most of them inexpensive but with something—the ink or the color—that appealed to me. I've collected my paper and my pens for years from antique shops, close-out bins, thrift shops. Discovering the Speckled Toad was like finding my own personal nirvana.

I always intend to use what I buy for something important. Worthwhile. Love letters written with a pen that curves into my palm just so and tied with crimson ribbon, sealed with scarlet wax. I buy them, I love them, but I hardly ever write on them. Even anonymous love letters need a recipient… and I didn't have a lover.

Then again, who writes anymore? Cell phones, instant messaging and the Internet have made letter writing obsolete, or nearly so. There's something powerful, though, about a handwritten note. Something personal and aching to be profound. Something more than a half-scribbled grocery list or a scrawled signature on apremade greeting card. Something I would probably never write, I thought as I ran my fingers over the silken edge of a pad of Victorian-embossed writing paper.

"Hey, Paige. How's it going?" Miriam's grandson Ari shifted the packages in his arms to the floor behind the counter, then disappeared and popped back up like a jack-in-the-box.

"Ari, dear. I have another delivery for you." Miriam appeared from the curtained doorway behind the front counter and looked over her half-glasses at him. "Right away. Don't take two hours like you did the last time."

He rolled his eyes but took the envelope from her and kissed her cheek. "Yes, Bubbe."

"Good boy. Now, Paige. What can I do for you today?" Miriam watched him go with a fond smile before turning to me. She was impeccably made up as usual, not a hair out of place or a smudge to her lipstick. Miriam is a true grande dame, at least seventy, and with a style few women can pull off at any age.

"I need a gift for my father's wife."

"Ah." Miriam inclined her head delicately to the left. "I'm sure you'll find the perfect gift. But if you need any help, let me know."

"Thanks." I'd been in often enough for her to know I liked to wander and browse.

After twenty minutes in which I'd caressed and perused the new shipment of fine writing papers and expensive pens I couldn't afford no matter how much I desperately wanted one, Kira found me in the back room.

"Okay, Indiana Jones, what are you looking for? The Lost Ark?"

"I'll know it when I see it." I gave her a look.

Kira rolled her eyes. "Oh, let's just go to the mall. You know Stella won't care what you give her."

"But I care." I couldn't explain how important it was to… well, not impress Stella. I could never impress her. To not disappoint her. To not prove her right about me. That was all I wanted to do. To not prove her right.

"You're so stubborn sometimes."

"It's called determination," I murmured as I looked one last time at the shelf in front of me.

"It's called stubborn as hell and refusing to admit it. I'll be outside."

I barely glanced up as she left. I'd known Kira's attention span wouldn't make her the best companion for this trip, but I'd put off buying Stella's gift for too long. I hadn't seen much of Kira since I'd moved away from our hometown to Harris-burg. Actually, I hadn't seen much of her even before that. When she'd called to see if I wanted to get together I hadn't been able to think of a reason to say no that wouldn't make me sound like a total douche. She'd be content outside smoking a cigarette or two, so I turned my attention back to the search, determined to find just the right thing.

Over the years I'd discovered it wasn't necessarily the gift itself that won Stella's approval, but something even less tangible than the price. My father gave her everything she wanted, and what she didn't get from him she bought for herself, so buying her something she wanted or needed was impossible. Gretchen and Steve, my dad's kids with his first wife, Tara, took the lazy route of having their kids make her something like a finger-painted card. Stella's own two boys were still young enough not to care. My half siblings got off the gift-giving hook with their haphazard efforts when I'd be held to a higher standard.

There is always something to be gained from being held to the higher standard.

Now I looked, hard, thinking about what would be just right. Don't get me wrong. She's not a bad person, my father's wife. She never went out of her way to make me part of their family the way she had with Gretchen and Steven, and I surely didn't rank as high in her sight as her sons Jeremy and Tyler. But my half siblings had all lived with my dad. I never had.

Then I saw it. The perfect gift. I took the box from the shelf and opened the top. Inside, nestled on deep blue tissue paper, lay a package of pale blue note cards. In the lower right corner of each glittered a stylized S surrounded by a design of subtly sparkling stars. The envelopes had the same starry design, the paper woven with silver threads to make it shine. A pen rested inside the box, too. I took it out. It was too light and the tiny tassel at the end made it too casual, but this wasn't for me. It was the perfect pen for salon-manicured fingers writing thank-you cards in which all the t's were dotted by tiny hearts. It was the perfect pen for Stella.

"Ah, so you found something." Miriam took the box from me and carefully peeled away the price sticker from beneath. "Very nice choice. I'm sure she'll love it."

"I hope so." I thought she would, too, but didn't want to jinx myself.

"You always know exactly what someone needs, don't you?" Miriam smiled as she slipped the box into a pretty bag and added a ribbon, no extra charge.

I laughed. "Oh, I don't know about that."

"You do," she said firmly. "I remember my customers, you know. I pay attention. There are many who come in here looking for something and don't find it. You always do."

"That doesn't mean it's the right thing," I told her, paying for the cards with a pair of crisp bills fresh out of the ATM.

Miriam gave me a look over her glasses. "Isn't it?"

I didn't answer. How does anyone know if they know what they're doing is right? Until it's too late to change things, anyway.

"Sometimes, Paige, we think we know very well what someone wants, or needs. But then—" she sighed, holding out a package of pretty stationery in a box with a clear plastic lid "—we discover we are wrong. I'd put this aside for one of my regular customers, but he didn't care for it, after all."

"Too bad. I'm sure someone else will." I wasn't surprised a man didn't want the paper. Embossed with gilt-edged flowers, it seemed a little too feminine for a dude.

Miriam's gaze sharpened. "You, perhaps?"

I waved the flowered paper aside and shoved my hands in my back pockets as I looked around the shop. "Not really my style."

She laughed and set the box aside. She'd painted her nails scarlet to match her lipstick. I hoped when I was her age I'd be half as stylish. Hell. I hoped to be half as stylish tomorrow.

"Now, how about something for yourself? I have some new notebooks right here. Suede finish. Gilt-edged pages. Tied closed with a ribbon," she wheedled, pointing to the end-cap display. "Come and see."

I groaned good-naturedly. "You're heartless, you know that? You know all you have to do is show me…oh. Ohhh."

"Pretty, yes?"

"Yes." I wasn't looking at notebooks, but at a red, lacquered box with a ribbon-hinged lid. A purple-and-blue dragonfly design etched the polished wood. "What's this?"

I stroked the smooth lid and opened it. Inside, nestled on black satin, rested a small clay dish, a small container of red ink and a set of wood-handled brushes.

"Oh, that's a calligraphy set." Miriam came around the counter to look at it with me. "Chinese. But this one is special. It comes with paper and a set of pens, not just brushes and ink."

She showed me by lifting the box's bottom to reveal a sheaf of paper crisscrossed with a crimson ribbon and a set of brass-nibbed pens in a red satin bag with a drawstring.

"It's gorgeous." I took my hands away, though I wanted to touch the pens, the ink, the paper.

"Just what you need, yes?" Miriam went around the counter to sit on her stool. "Perfect for you."

I checked the price and closed the box's lid firmly. "Yes. But not today."

"No?" Miriam tutted. "Why is it you know so well what everyone else needs, but not yourself? Such a shame, Paige. You should buy it."

I could pay my cell phone bill for the price of that box. I shook my head, then cocked it to look at her. "Why are you so convinced I know what everyone else needs? That's a pretty broad statement."

Miriam tore the wrapper off a package of mints and put one into her mouth. She sucked gently for a moment before answering. "You've been a good customer. I've seen you buy gifts, and sometimes things for yourself. I like to think I know people. What they need and like. Why do you think I have such atrocities on my shelves? Because people want them."

I followed her gaze to the shelf holding more porcelain clowns. "Just because you want something doesn't mean you should have it."

"Just because you want something doesn't mean you should deny yourself the pleasure," Miriam said serenely. "Buy yourself that box. You deserve it."

"I have nothing to write with it!"

"Letters to a sweetheart," she suggested.

"I don't have a sweetheart." I shook my head again. "Sorry, Miriam. Can't do it now. Maybe some other time."

She sighed. "Fine, fine. Deny yourself the pleasure of something pretty. You think that's what you need?"

"I think I need to pay my bills before I can buy luxuries, that's what I think."

"Ah. Sensible." She inclined her head. "Practical. Not very romantic. That's you."

"You can tell all that from the kind of paper I buy?" I put my hands on my hips to stare at her. "C'mon."

Meet the Author

Megan Hart is the award-winning and multi-published author of more than thirty novels, novellas and short stories. Her work has been published in almost every genre, including contemporary women’s fiction, historical romance, romantic suspense and erotica. Megan lives in the deep, dark woods of Pennsylvania with her husband and children, and is currently working on her next novel for MIRA Books. You can contact Megan through her website at www.MeganHart.com.

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Switch 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 155 reviews.
CeCeSG More than 1 year ago
I spent over a day trying to read this book and finally just had to put it down. It was so hard to read. The concept seems very interesting, but the execution is a following a woman the the daily, hourly trudgery of her life. It was boing, and what made it worse, is I had no idea where it was going. My first problem is that in as far as I read there was no romance. There's plenty of sex, although through what I read she's not having a lot of sex, but remembering her past sex life in great detail, which I was never really sure of the purpose of those flashbacks. The sex was pointless because it seemed to have no emotional connection The first 30-50 pages I was confused as to who Paige was as a person, becuase the person i thought she was in the first couple of pages isn't who she turned out to be after reading further. The personality confusion is especially confusing since it's all written in the first person. I am not a fan of the first person perspective and this time I was faced with a question that had never come up before: does first person really work when being inside the perons head makes you want to know them less? After reading a few reviews on another website I skipped to the last two pages of the book. What I read made me glad I had not trudged through the entire story just ot get to that point. If I had read the whole book for that ending I would have been ticked off. Save yourself the frustration and move to the next book on you're list.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book was a big let down it built you up and in the end it just lacked the oomph. would like to have seen where it could have went. it was just a tease it left me feeling like is that all would not recommend and i wont read again.
BookaholicTracy More than 1 year ago
Great book I couldn't put down. Would recommend
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldnt wait for this book. So i picked up sat at target, for 12.99! before release date....this book was horrible to say the least! The plot was poorly defined, to me there was 3.. her boss, her ex, and the the which the book was suppose to be written of, sucked. Where is the bdsm relationship? Falsley advertised. Second alough some sexual decription or memories are written, there is no typical submission or domiant. I have read free/ indie authors that are amazing. I dont know i would waste your time. AND TO NAME THE BOOK SWITCH? WHEN WAS SHE A SUBMISSIVE? HER DREAMS? NOTHIMG WAS ARRIED OUT OR ACTED UPON! CONFUSSING PLOT AGAIN, UGH SO DISAPPOINTED!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was slooowwww to start. The idea was great but not executed well. Too bad, I had high hopes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really wanted this to be a better read. Have a better ending after so many mundane, boring ,daily and exasperating details. I will not be reading any more if her books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't waste your time... I was sorely disappointed. I deserve a medal just for finishing it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read some of her stuff in the past and thought I would give this one a try. I was pulled in by the cover, I mean seriously who wouldn't be however, I wanted Paige to have more "interaction" with Eric. The plot was so so to me. Not a bad read just not in my top ten of book.
ladyrider67 More than 1 year ago
Was not happy... Boring.. I am an avid reader of erotic and romance and this book put me to sleep... Pretty sure I won't ever read this writer again. First impressions mean a lot to me. So disappointed. This Book went everyplace except were it needed to go. And really did we need to spend so much time with the little siblings???? Was there a reason? NO..... and the ending REALLY??????
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not what I consider erotica. This was one of the most boring books I have ever read! Avoid this and seek better!
RayeRC More than 1 year ago
It's a Megan Hart novel. Everything I expected and more. Sometimes you need to discover who you are before you are able to move on with your life. Have to say it once again excellent writing Megan Hart. A definite 5 stars... Powerful and Brilliantly written. Great-character development. A marvelous passion filled, tragic, enthralling and breath-taking read. "There’s something powerful, though, about a handwritten note. Something personal and aching to be profound." "Sometimes, you turn back. Sometimes, you walk away. And sometimes, you find the place you’re meant to be, and you stay there. You find a way to make it work. Whatever it takes."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I almost didn't get this book based on the reviews, but I love MH books so I did get it. It's not my favorite book of hers but still definitely worth reading. At first it doesn't seem to be going anywhere. You just need to stay with it and hopefully, you'll feel the emotions at the end.
samieOH More than 1 year ago
this was a great book and I advice all to read it, great!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely enjoyed this book, i cant wait to start reading other books by megan hart!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
But I would like a follow up story about Erik and Paul.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I rarely cry when reading.... but Meagan Hart's story telling builds her characters so the reader feels what they feel. I cried for Austin and Paige. I only wish the story would continue. I am also hoping for a story about Eric. Just a suggestion Ms. Hart. If you are only looking for menotinous sex, then maybe this isn't the book for you. If you want to take an erotic journey then read this book.
HCLabarre More than 1 year ago
While the book is not a heart pounding lust-fest, there were sexy scenes and a good story overall. The book is a little slow at times, but I felt as if that was Paige…she is down and out and looking for changes in her life. Paige is trying to start an independent life away from her family and past love but struggling to make ends meet and feel fulfilled. Her insights into her family and past relationships do make her relatable to the reader. The dynamic of the letters/commands, add a spark to a seemingly drab life. The commands coupled with the drama of an ex, a sexy guy, dysfunctional family, and her only female “friend” leads Paige down some interesting paths. The book made me think about the dynamic of power and control; how much Paige relied on the control of the commands and how much she liked exercising it when it was in her own hands. Overall, it was a good read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very unique and interesting read, but if kink isn't in your vocabulary, this may not be the book for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the story line, would recommend to all the people who loved reading fifty shades of grey, not that detailed. Does have sex in it, but awesome story line. Loved the ending. would defiantly read more by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have never had to stop reading a book before, until now. Poorly written, unorganized and difficult to get through. I was very disappointed.
USAF_Wifey More than 1 year ago
It was just OK. Nothing I would re-read or recomend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the drama & originality of this story by Megan Hart, well done. Was a tiny bit bummed at the ending, I really wanted to see where this situation could go...might have made for a great series of books! This book was tough to put down and appealed to all senses!
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