Mya believed she didn’t deserve love. Jake thought he could never love again. But a threat to Mya’s life galvanizes Jake’s protective instincts—and opens his heart.
Mya has finally escaped the slums she grew up in and made a life for herself as a chef in the Catered Affairs kitchen, but she has never been able to shed the feelings of inadequacy that were beaten into her by her abusive father. So she stays in the shadows, the quintessential voyeur at the Playground, the BDSM club she belongs to.
Jake is attracted to Mya’s beauty when he spies her across the dungeon at the Playground. But he’s only looking for a play partner for the evening. Ever since he lost his wife in a car crash, he hasn’t been able to commit to anyone again.
After a disastrous evening at the club, where Jake pushes Mya out of her comfort zone, it looks like Mya and Jake will not even be friends. But dangerous circumstances push them back together, and Mya must rely on Jake to keep her safe. When a stupid mistake puts her in terrible jeopardy, will Jake be able to come to her rescue in time?
About the Author
Rose has been an avid reader all her life and pursued that obsession into the publishing business, where she worked in both production and editorial for books and magazines. When her son went off to college, she decided to fulfill another passion and went to culinary school, thinking she would write a cookbook but loving the cooking so much she became a caterer. But her love for books is ever-present and she finally decided it was time to follow her own creative muse and write the kinds of books she enjoys reading. She hopes her readers enjoy them as well.
Read an Excerpt
Copyright © Rose C. Carole 2017. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Totally Bound Publishing.
Mya stood in the darkness of the BDSM club the Playground, watching Ethan lock the collar around Rebecca’s throat, happy for them, yet a bit jealous. At least someone she knew was getting a happily ever after. It wasn’t going to be her. The shadows were where she belonged, away where no one could see the desire on her face, the need in her body, the yearning of her soul.
She didn’t deserve happiness. That message had been imprinted on her ever since she was a little girl. So she made her home in the shadows, peering out at those who were able to let go and indulge in the pleasures being enjoyed all around the Playground, the BDSM dungeon she frequented. She was the quintessential voyeur, soaking up the energy from those around her. She stored up the images so that she could see them in her dreams, the only place she let herself explore the sensations of a Dominant pushing her to the brink, cracking her open till she spilled out all the heartache bottled up inside her then putting her back together with love, affection and care.
“Beautiful ceremony, wasn’t it?”
Startled by the rich baritone voice at her side, Mya turned to regard the stately Dom who had come up beside her. She had seen him around before, but she had never spoken to him. Tall, well-built and attired in a perfectly pressed black dress shirt with gold cufflinks, black wool slacks and shiny black wingtips, he was the image of a man so out of her world, she wasn’t sure if they would speak the same language. And yet he had spoken to her. In an effort not to be rude to him, something she had finally learned to control while working with Rebecca, Mya pasted on her polite smile and responded.
“Yes. I’m so glad Rebecca and Ethan were finally able to make it work. They deserve each other.”
“Do you know them well?”
“I work in Rebecca’s kitchen. I’ve known her a while.”
“I’m Jake, Ethan’s lawyer.” He extended his hand to shake, something so unusual in this environment of D/s protocol that it took her a minute to realize what he had done before she reached out to clasp his hand.
“Pleased to meet you, Mya.”
She made a motion to retrieve her hand but he held it firmly, gently caressing her with his thumb. His deep blue eyes held her in place as firmly as his handshake. She withered under his gaze, unable to retreat but incapable of standing up to his intense scrutiny without feeling wholly inadequate. He seemed to sense her discomfort and gently pulled her to him, encircling her in his arms. She allowed him to hold her a moment, caught in a dream she never wanted to wake up from with this man she never could imagine would ever want her in the real world. He made her feel truly safe and protected for the first time in her life and she wanted it to last forever.
Except she didn’t live in a world where men wore gently starched Supima cotton shirts so soft to the touch that she wanted to remain resting against it for a long time. Breaking free from his arms, she gazed up at him in discomfort.
“Sorry, Mya, but you seemed like you needed a hug. I apologize if I overstepped my bounds.”
“It’s okay,” she said in barely a whisper, backing up from him. “But I have to go.”
She turned to flee.
“Mya! Stop.” The Dom command rooted her to the ground, but she couldn’t turn around. What could he possibly want, anyway? Certainly not her. And yet as he came up close behind her, invading her space even though he didn’t touch her again, she could sense a gentle pull from him.
“Turn around and look at me,” he demanded.
Slowly she turned to face him, but she couldn’t meet his eyes.
“I said look. At. Me,” he directed in a quiet but firm tone.
This time she tipped her face upward and was again caught by those penetrating blue eyes, eyes that would see her for who she was and find her lacking. She waited for the disappointment to reflect back at her.
She was like a skittish doe ready to bolt the moment he relaxed his hold on her. Jake resisted the impulse to run his fingers down her cheek to settle her. He didn’t want to push too hard. There was a sheen of unshed tears clouding her beautiful chocolate-brown, almond-shaped eyes surrounded by that mass of flowing blue-black curls. Tension showed in the muscles of her high-cheekboned face and her shoulders were almost to her chin. He hadn’t meant to scare her, but he suspected it didn’t take much to make it happen.
“Are you here with a friend, Mya? Someone you trust?”
“I came with Sam and Allegra, but I think they went off to play. I don’t see them anywhere.” She started to back away from him, but he shook his head and she stopped.
Nice, a perfect submissive.
“Would you let me buy you a drink? I think it would be good for you to sit and relax for a while.”
An expression of real panic crossed her face.
“Mya, I’ve been friends with Ethan for many years. I know that if he weren’t otherwise engaged, he would tell you I’m trustworthy.”
She hesitated for a moment, appearing to consider his request. Her thoughts were reflected on her face—there was no guile to this one. Finally she nodded her acquiescence.
“After you.” He held out his hand, waiting for her to precede him. He followed her, resisting the impulse to settle his hand on her lower back to guide her. It was very tempting, though. Her round ass was covered in a short knit skirt that showed the up-and-down movement of each cheek as she walked, cheeks that were begging for a smack of his hand.
Down, boy, he admonished himself. You’ve got a long way to go before that will happen, if ever.
He wasn’t even sure what he was doing with her in the first place. He had approached her because he was attracted to her voluptuous figure and intrigued by the small rose tattoo that sat atop her right breast, peeking out from her corset. He only wanted a play partner for the evening and this woman was turning out to be a lot more emotional effort than he was used to expending on a one-night sub. But having obviously upset her, he was obligated to make sure she was okay before he moved on to someone else.
Once they had their drinks, Jake suggested they make themselves comfortable on one of the sofas. It would be easier for her to relax there than sitting on a barstool. Again, she hesitated before agreeing, clearly finding the intimacy of sitting side by side intimidating. But she did it, and he was careful not to sit too close, which in turn allowed her muscles to relax and her shoulders to drop.
Progress. “So, Mya, how long have you been working for Rebecca?”
“For the past four years. But I met her a long time ago. She came to my high school for Career Day when I was in ninth grade and inspired me to go into the culinary program. It’s because of her I became a chef. I couldn’t believe when I went to interview for the job at her catering company that I was going to work for her. It’s been everything I dreamed it would be.”
His question had been intended to take her mind off her insecurities, but he was amazed by her metamorphosis when she started talking about cooking. As she continued to describe to him what she loved about it, how Rebecca’s example had changed her life, her whole demeanor transformed. She sat up straighter and her eyes took on a lovely sparkle that was only matched by her incandescent smile. She became so animated, her hands moving quickly with her words, that she almost spilled her drink. And she knocked him totally off his pins.
What the hell happened to this gorgeous woman to put her into the shell I saw her in when I first approached? This was a vibrant woman with great passion that she had bottled up so tightly she almost exploded when she let it out. She was getting to him, her increasing intensity stirring his interest. Against his better judgment, he decided he wanted to get to know more about her. Maybe he wouldn’t need anyone else this evening.
“Would you like to scene with me this evening, Mya?”
Her eyes shuttered immediately and her shoulders rose once again. Dammit!
“I prefer to watch,” she responded, once again in that low thin voice of insecurity.