When he’s working, Mike Heyer is all business—every inch the alpha male, with the hard, capable body to back up his persona. But at home he can be a different man entirely, harboring appetites only his wife gets to glimpse...
When Samira first learned of her husband’s fantasies, she was reluctant, even alarmed. But after witnessing the way they set him on fire, she yielded, and happily indulged. As their games have intensified, so has the rush. And now so has the risk—they’re poised to take Mike’s indecent desires to the next level, by opening their bed to a sexy, brazen stranger. A man seeming custom-made to grant every last one of Mike and Samira’s sinful wishes.
Welcoming someone new into their lives was always a dangerous proposition, but the couple imagined if anything was at stake, it was their privacy…not their hearts.
*New York Times Bestselling Author Jaci Burton
About the Author
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With the tab settled, Samira hugged her best girlfriend good night outside the bar, exchanging promises to meet up again soon.
She checked her phone’s clock. Just enough time. On legs the tiniest bit languorous from the cocktail, she crossed Walnut Street and headed for Sephora, making a beeline for the fragrance wall. She held sample bottles of the various men’s colognes to her nose until she found one she liked—a fresh, citrusy smell. Samira misted the cologne into the air and walked through it. She replaced the tester, pleased not to have earned herself any odd looks, as she had from the makeup counter ladies at Macy’s.
Back in the open air, she had only a quarter mile’s walk home. It had rained that afternoon, and the cool early-April air felt electric, charged with life and possibility. She breathed in spring, along with the cologne, imagining what man might have left that scent clinging to her hair and clothes.
She’d tried a different drink that night, a greyhound—vodka and grapefruit juice. Who was this mystery man, she wondered, who’d ordered her that cocktail?
Her husband would want to know.
He was tall, she decided as she crossed the street. Tall and built, with clear blue eyes and lean muscles, a soft, deep voice, and slow hands.
He was hung.
That was a given. That was what Mike would want to hear above all else. Sam named her imaginary lover Nick, and decided he was a rower. He rowed every weekend morning on the Allegheny, so he had big, cut arms, and during the day he was . . . an EMT. Nice.
What a dreamboat her imaginary piece on the side was.
Their apartment made up one half of an old brick Victorian, and as she drew close, she auditioned the faces of her favorite actors until she hit one that fit the bill. Sam felt giddy as she mounted the stone steps and dug out her keys, as though she really had just met this handsome, athletic, altruistic Nick for a drink and a fuck. No matter that she’d spoken to no men at the Elbow Room aside from the one who’d mixed her cocktails. Ooh, bartender. Her next fake fling would be with a bartender, she decided, pushing in the door. Not that Mike cared about their occupations.
She smiled to find no mail waiting on the floor before the slot. That meant he’d gotten out of work on time and had hopefully been home for a while, winding himself up with his own fantasies about where she was, what she was doing, and to whom she was doing it. The notion had a smile tugging at her lips.
Such a contradiction was Mike Heyer. Outside these walls, he was a badass—a lead narcotics detective with the Pittsburgh police, maker of snap decisions, with a body to match his demeanor. Rough and ready. Beyond these walls he was always on, always acutely aware of his rank and others’ perceptions. Confident and sure. He could be the same in bed, and often was. But once or twice a month, within the bounds of these games, he let the burden of authority drop from his shoulders and embraced what Sam suspected to be his deepest, most defining fears.
You’re weak, this game told him. You’re outmanned, and you can’t measure up. You’re failing. Sam smirked as she locked up behind her, smug to know she was the sole keeper of his secret desires, the only one who got to see him reduced to such a happy mess. The only one who got to do the reducing.
There had been a time when she’d wanted nothing to do with those secret desires.
When he’d first confessed them to her, Sam had reeled from the blow they dealt to her confidence in both herself and the relationship she’d once felt so sure about. She hadn’t known what had been going on with her then-fiancé; she’d known only that she’d begun feeling like a criminal in his eyes and that the sharper edges of their sex, which she’d enjoyed so much, had become too sharp, too coarse. Where he’d once been possessive, he’d become, at times, mean and accusing.
She’d dumped other lovers for less than that, but Mike had been different, right from the start. From the night they’d met. She had never felt so free with a guy before—so free it was like meeting herself for the first time, discovering how goofy she could be when she was relaxed around a man and how much better the sex was when it felt like an adventure instead of like a performance. But it had become painfully clear that there was something else at work that he wasn’t telling her. So she’d threatened to leave, and meant it—the most painful decision of her life—if he didn’t tell her what was going on. And he had. Since then, their motto had been: Truth only. Always.
She’d been intimidated at first, and even repelled. But the truth had told her, It’s nothing you’ve done wrong. It’s what he secretly wishes you’d done wrong.
In time, Sam’s feelings about it had morphed from shock, to skepticism, to acceptance, and eventually all the way to curiosity. It had taken her close to a year to get to the point where she was on board with his needs, and over the course of those months, Mike had changed as well. She came to realize that confession had been a ten-ton weight hovering above him, and with that crushing pressure gone, all those old red flags ceased to wave. No more accusations, no more confusing signals, no more too-edgy sex. The Mike she’d fallen in love with had returned, just with a kink openly in tow. And once she trusted that it wasn’t her enemy, she decided to make it her friend. Her partner in driving her husband insane in the ways he craved most.
When they’d first started exploring Mike’s kink, Sam did as she had this evening—stayed out past dinnertime and came home smelling of alien maleness. Back then she’d simply worked late, then swung by the drugstore and rubbed samples from the men’s style magazines on her wrists. But having seen in the past couple of years what their games did to her husband, she’d learned to revel in it herself. The same kink that had once belittled her now turned her into a powerful, wicked devil-goddess. A sexual supervillain.
And goddamn, it was fun having these powers.
Once or twice a month, Sam would meet friends for drinks, secretly scouting the bar for men to imagine she’d gone there to meet. She’d try new cocktails, pretending they’d been sent to her, and browse those cologne samples with relish—all part of the casting process. Now, nearly three years after the ultimatum, it was hard to remember the time when Mike’s kink had repelled her; now she couldn’t imagine their marriage without it. It would’ve been like having a favorite spice taken away, their meals still nourishing but missing that exotic kick.
“Hey, baby,” Mike called back from upstairs.
His office was up there, and he must have brought the day’s paperwork with him. He preferred to finish that stuff up at the station and leave his job where it belonged, but Sam knew that doing this at home was all part of the game. Waiting up, imagining her out somewhere, getting nailed on some strange man’s bed.
Her pulse quickened as she hung her jacket on the rack, spiked as she slid off her wedding band and stowed it in a pocket. She smelled the cologne on her, breathed in that citrus zing, tasted the lingering bite of grapefruit on her tongue, and conjured the imagined man she’d just fucked behind Mike’s back. This was great, Nick, but I have to get home or my husband will suspect . . .
She went upstairs to their bathroom, slicking herself with a measure of lube from the bottle in the cabinet. One, two buttons to free on her blouse, low enough that someone standing close could see she was wearing a lacy mint green bra. She gave her hair a mussing and decided she looked as if she’d been thoroughly, recently, convincingly ravaged.
Down the hall, Mike’s office door was open. He swiveled in his chair when she knocked on the frame, looking her up and down with a tight smile. Game on.
“How was your day?” she asked innocently.
“Busy, and still not over. Guess I’m not the only one, huh? You’re awful late. I had to heat up leftovers.”
“Sorry. I had this conference call that just would—not—end.”
“You’re dressed up.” He took in her skirt, her heels, her cleavage.
“Some of the donors were visiting,” she lied, averting her gaze.
Mike got to his feet. He had changed out of his work clothes and into jeans and a T-shirt, the latter snug, which let bad guys know his morning rituals involved weights, not doughnuts, and that there was no softness to be found in Mike Heyer’s body or justice. But as much as his physical capability excited her, Sam wouldn’t acknowledge it that night—not while they were playing. When they played, he was a weak man, incapable of keeping his cheating wife out of the arms of stronger, more handsome, more virile men. Sam hadn’t so much as kissed another man on the lips since her first date with her husband five years before, but according to the parameters of this charade, she’d fucked half of Pittsburgh.
“You smell . . . different,” he said, coming closer. “What is that?”
“Gosh, I’m not sure. I don’t smell anything.”
“Smells like . . .” He brought his face to her temple and breathed her in. “Like men’s cologne.”
She shivered from his deep, smooth voice—a contradiction to his rough native accent. Tamping the sensation down, she slid into her role, shrugging. “That’s weird. Maybe it’s that new detergent.”
“And your breath smells like liquor.”
“I used some mouthwash before I left the office.”
His blue eyes narrowed, calculating. He clasped her wrist, holding up her bare hand. “Where’s your ring?”
“Oh. I must have taken it off before I went to wash out my mug at work.” She felt around in the little pocket of her skirt and produced the band. “See?”
He watched her slip it back on, frowning. “Who was it?”
She finger-combed his soft, sandy brown hair, not meeting his eyes. She wanted to run those same fingers down his throat, over his chest and abdomen, and cup her palm between his legs to see how hard he might be, but her role was that of an ambivalent, dissatisfied wife just now, and his cock was beneath her interest. She’d found a better one, his fantasy dictated. She couldn’t say she was turned on by these dynamics, herself, but knowing what it did to him . . . Nothing had ever made her feel so fiercely desired.
“I don’t know what you mean,” she bluffed. “Who was who?”
“Don’t play games with me, Sam.”
Oh, but I will. She huffed an unconvincing little laugh. “I’m not. I honestly don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You were out with some guy again. Who was he?”
Sam sighed, pretending to feel weary—not guilty—over being busted. Bored. She crossed her arms and leaned against the door frame. “Does it really matter?”
“Yeah, it does. You’re my wife.” He took her by the arm, leading her out of the room and flipping off the lights behind them, just the city’s glow from the window at the end of the hall showing the way to their bedroom. An old floorboard on the landing before the door creaked. So many times she’d been awakened by that creak—that wonderful noise that told her Mike had come home from a late night, from a bust or investigation or stakeout, safe and sound . . . So many nights it was her cue to relax, though at moments like this it spiked her pulse, setting heat humming low in her belly.
He coaxed her into their room with a bossy hand on her lower back—a lingering glimmer of his domineering side, soon to be shed alongside his shirt and jeans. It had no place in this room with them tonight.
Sam switched on one of the bedside lamps. “It’s Friday, Mike. We’re both exhausted. Let’s deal with this tomorrow.”
“No, we’re going to deal with it now. You’re going to tell me what happened.”
She sat on the bed, pulling off her shoes. Her throat was dry, as though she were thirsty for him.
He stood before her, hands on his hips. “Who was he?”
“Just some guy named Nick.”
“What’d you do, find him at a bar?”
She nodded. “We only had a drink. Nothing happened.”
“If nothing happened, how come you smell like him?”
She ignored the question, getting up and unclasping her necklace. “I’m tired, honey. Let’s not get into this tonight.” The heavy beads rattled as she set them on the dresser, and her fingers moved to her buttons. She could feel Mike getting close before he even touched her, his fingertips easing the top from her shoulders.
His voice heated her neck and the sternness had left him. “Tell me about him.”
“I just met him at the bar, when Lisa stood me up for a girl’s date. He bought me a drink, that’s all.” A greyhound. She pictured her imaginary fling, his warm, wicked gaze as he slid her glass across the wood, his cruel smirk as his eyes darted to her wedding band. Her imaginary flings were always colossal dicks, whatever that said about her.
“That’s all, huh?”
Considering the size of his hands, Mike had deft fingers. They slipped free the clasp of her skirt and lowered the tiny zipper, thumbs sliding under the band of her tights before the skirt even hit the floor.
“Tell me about him,” Mike said again, and his voice had gone gruff. The time for play denials was over. His kink was loose, pacing the room, and it wanted feeding.
“He’s tall,” she said. “Tall and handsome and built. With this smile . . . I wanted to tell him no, but I just couldn’t, not the way he smiled at me.” A couple of years ago this performance would’ve made Sam feel silly and self-conscious, but practice made perfect. She could teach a class on improvisational dirty talk now. It was all about commitment—better to say something cheesy and over-the-top and to own it than to clam up or hold back, afraid of sounding dumb.
“What else?” he demanded.
“Strong hands.” She felt Mike’s fingers at her bra clasp. She imagined her mystery man having freed those little hooks an hour or two earlier, imagined his palms as Mike slipped the straps from her shoulders and cupped her breasts. Electricity crackled through her body, a sharp, hot bloom snaking from her belly out to her fingertips and feet.
“You fuck him?”
“No.” She sighed and paused for a beat. “He fucked me.”
She heard the click of Mike’s belt and finished her own undressing, dropping her panties and stepping free of them and her tights. Their bodies met at the bed. His touch was needy now, and unsure. He pushed her onto her back and knelt between her legs, sliding two fingers along her sex, slick from the lube.
“Christ, you did fuck somebody.”
She smiled. “Like I said, he fucked me.” She kept a stash of condoms in their bathroom, too, and sometimes she’d rub one along her labia, then make Mike taste the latex—the so-called evidence of her infidelity. The realism deepened the fantasy for him, and his pleasure spurred hers in this kink she couldn’t quite call her own.
He was already hard, ready to go. A generous lover with a more than adequate cock, he was the best she’d ever had, whether their sex was tender or rough or desperate or any other flavor she might crave on a given night. But she wasn’t allowed to say so, now. In this game Mike was poorly endowed, borderline impotent, hopeless at pleasing her. He was a weak, pathetic husband who drove his wife into the beds of superior males—and for whatever reason, that thought turned him utterly feral.
Even after two years of this play and a virtual dissertation’s worth of research on cuckolding kink, Sam still didn’t entirely get it. And she’d come to accept that she didn’t need to. She didn’t know precisely what caused a thunderstorm, either, but that didn’t make the lightning any less exciting.
If she had to guess, she suspected it was something to do with letting go. Something to do with Mike surrendering to the pressure he felt to be in control, to be fearless, commanding, the leader with all the answers. His greatest fear, professionally, was that he wouldn’t be good enough, that he’d let his partner down, that he’d fail his team, lose their respect, maybe even cost someone his life. But his job was dangerous and left no room for self-doubt. So it was here, in their bed and in their games, that he got to relieve himself of all that stress—not only to admit that he wasn’t perfect and strong and capable, but to wallow in the idea. Wallow in whatever sensation it gave him to feel like a lesser man—some great gulp of air when the pressure of his job felt thick enough to drown in.
Sam stroked his cock. “I need more than you can give me, Mike.” She felt his flesh twitch and tighten at her words, but she kept her touch lazy, fingers flaccid to help them pretend he wasn’t as hard or big as he was.
“Tell me what happened.”
She coaxed him to lie next to her and their legs tangled. She traced his collarbone with her fingertips and spoke against his throat. “He took me back to his place. A beautiful loft, with a view that overlooks the river. He rows on the weekends. And he’s an EMT during the week. If we’d had the time, I bet he could have fucked me all night.”
Mike’s hand slid between them to hold his erection. She was meant to ignore it, scorn it, reject it.
“What else?” he asked, that deep voice sounding strained in her ear.
“He was a great kisser. His kisses got me wetter than fucking you ever has.”
“How old is he?”
“Thirty. I’d almost forgotten how much energy younger guys have.” No matter that Mike had completed a triathlon the previous summer. This other man was younger, fitter, hotter, better in every way. “And Jesus, what a body.”
“And his dick?”
“Big. Thick. Long. I worried that maybe I wouldn’t be able to handle him at first. But it didn’t matter,” she said with a mean smile. “He handled me just fine.”
Mike shifted, getting to his knees, between her thighs, taking her quick and smooth. He’d be pretending she was wet from some stranger—wet with arousal or the other man’s come. But even without the lube, she was wet for Mike, for her hot, fascinating, wonderfully warped husband. Though she ought to get the stars out of her eyes and focus on Nick if this was going to be an A-plus performance.
“Where’d you fuck him?”
“On his couch,” she riffed, hatching the fantasy in her head. “I could see the park. On my hands and knees, and he took me from behind, right there in the window. The entire North Shore was watching. It was so hot.”
It was Mike who truly wanted to see, though.
He had never come out and asked her about it, but she knew he was up for taking the past couple of years’ play to a new level. A level that involved her actually sleeping with another man, and telling him all about it, perhaps taping it or having him watch from a crack in the door or listening from the next room. Having it rubbed in his face.
And after several months’ deliberation, the idea had gone from an impossibility to something quite different. Something quite intriguing. At first Sam had dismissed it without any consideration—they could play out these scenarios, but nothing more, of course. Monogamy had always been implied, and anything beyond that was cheating. And she could never cheat on anyone, least of all Mike.
Then she’d asked herself—what made an affair cheating? Answers came back to her in time.
Deception. Secrecy. Selfishness.
Cheating was a greedy decision made by one partner, resulting in pleasure that the other got no part in. If Samira and Mike invited another man in together, though, it would be none of those things. It would be the precise opposite. A mutual decision, and far from a greedy deception—it would be her gift to him, in fact. Maybe even a gift to her.
Before, the idea of being with another man had stirred nothing in Sam. Not at first. Though the past couple of months, when Sam would be out, scouting those bars for fantasy men . . . and then back at home, in bed with Mike, remembering them . . .
Maybe I could. For me, as much as for him. Touch a new man, for the first time in five years. Kiss one. More. If that didn’t threaten their marriage, was she really so saintly that she couldn’t admit the idea excited her?
She held Mike’s strong, pumping body tight, stroked his hair.
She could nearly see it happening, now. She wanted it . . . if the circumstances were exactly right. She was a levelheaded woman, a planner, a risk minimizer. Her marriage was the most precious thing in her life, and it couldn’t be treated as some petri dish and experimented in—not impulsively. Plus she’d invented so many perfect strangers in her head, how could she possibly find a real one who’d measure up?
Mike drew her from her thoughts. “What else?”
“He was rough. And so strong.” She pictured imaginary Nick’s strained face and taut muscles. “I begged him to take me face-to-face just so I could watch his body.”
“Just his body?” Mike’s own body was as powerful and commanding as the one she’d made up—and never more so than at moments like this, when he was riled up beyond belief—but he mustn’t be allowed to know that.
“And his cock,” she said. “I begged him to let me watch his cock while we fucked. God, he was thick. You can probably tell that, though.” She ran a patronizing palm over his short hair. “You can probably feel what he did to me.”
He cranked into an entirely new gear at those words. Proving mode. Every muscle had hardened, along with his expression and his thrusts. He’d set his insecurity aside, overcome by the burning competition he felt toward this made-up rival. Those were the three acts in this filthy play they put on together—suspicion, humiliation, reclaiming.
“You think I’m not enough for you?” he demanded, taking her roughly with a dozen deep pumps. “This dick’s not big enough for you?”
“Let’s just make this quick. I’m sore.” She let her tone imply more. Make it quick—like you’d know how to make it any other way. She slid her fingertips to her clit.
Just make it quick. She smiled to herself, remembering the vacation they’d taken to San Francisco after they’d been dating for two years. That first evening, Mike had made love to her for no less than an hour, woken her up twice in the night for more, and left her smirking and a touch raw the next day, in no doubt of what he was capable of. He’d proposed to her that afternoon, one knee sunk into the sand beside the bay, blue eyes full of hope and fear in the sunshine.
That—a marathon of sex preceding the proposal—should have been her first tip that he was a little different sexually. Skewed in such a way that his worthiness was wired to his cock, with not quite the right voltage conversion. After they’d gotten engaged, he’d gone through that brief but potent period of irrational jealousy, one that had grated on her terribly, made her feel hurt and distrusted and nearly had her giving back the ring.
But in the wake of her ultimatum and his confession, she learned that the jealousy didn’t make his blood boil—it made his dick hard. He hadn’t wanted reassurance that she wasn’t cheating. He’d craved the fearful rush that maybe, just maybe, she was.
She stroked his neck, so in love with this quirky man. Though now wasn’t the time to tell him so, not when insecurity had him this hard and frantic between her thighs.
“You should have seen him,” Sam said, urging his hips with her own. “God, I wish you could have. I should make you watch so maybe you’d get a clue how to fuck me.”
He answered with a pained sound, as though she’d struck him with more than her words. It gave her a moment’s pang, but she trusted their game. A bit more intensity with her fingers had the heat and tension gathering, a tangling knot of pleasure in her belly growing tighter, tighter.
“He was just so, fucking, big. So deep. And I wish I could have stayed there the whole night. He could’ve gone that long. Next time you’re out on a case,” she promised, “I’ll have to find him again. Maybe bring him back here.”
“Not in our bed.”
“Yes, right here.” She stroked the pillow under her head and the sheets at her side. “Then every time I let you fuck me I’ll remember how much better it was with Nick.”
“You used a condom, at least?” His voice was a needy whisper.
“Oh, he offered. But I said no. No, I wanted to feel him that way. Inside me—like proof I really had been with someone like him.”
Mike groaned. Proof was one of his trigger words—a verbal spur that jabbed his heart, a tight hand that stroked his cock. He had others as well: ruined, dirty, wrecked. His reaction had her arousal sharpening in turn.
“I wish you could have seen it. I really do.” She’d taken to repeating that notion, a veiled signal she hoped he might pick up on. Maybe I’ll just let you watch was the hidden message. Though for all she knew, he’d loathe the idea of actually going there, and that was fine. And for all she knew, it’d blow his mind clear into the next county. She was starting to suspect she was capable of it, herself. So she kept planting the seed, waiting to see if Mike would water it.
“He make you come?” he panted.
She laughed, a derisive, pitying noise. “So many times. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that good, coming on such a big cock. God, I just felt . . . owned.” Another trigger word, and Mike’s thrusts grew rougher. “He just owned me with his body. I was begging for him: Nick, Nick, Nick,” she whispered in his ear. “Fuck me, please. Fuck me like my husband can’t. Show me what a real man feels like.”
Sensing he was nearing the end of his rope, she touched herself with purpose. She kept talking, as though the thoughts were what was edging her toward release, and not the hard, needy motions of her husband’s gorgeous body and the exquisite expression on his face, that ecstatic psychological torture.
“Oh, it’s got me close, just remembering his cock.” She watched Mike’s cock surging, and her imaginary male faded to a faceless shadow, no match for her real-life lover. “So big,” she murmured. The pleasure had her body hot and angry, aching for relief. She wanted to touch Mike, and feel his damp skin against her fingertips, taste the sweat gleaming there. But for the game’s sake she kept herself aloof, a limp, grudging vessel.
In lieu of her hands, she let her gaze stroke his strong arms, tight stomach, pistoning hips, flashing shaft. “So big,” she muttered again, and when the pleasure flared and burst in her clit, it was from thoughts of one man alone.
Mike surrendered a dozen harried thrusts later, back arching to bathe his chest and shoulders in warm lamp light, his hips grinding her thighs with the sweetest twinge of pain.
After a few steadying breaths, he collapsed beside her.
Now she was allowed to smile fondly, to stroke his face and kiss him and admit whose name had been at the tip of her tongue as she’d come.
“Baby,” he muttered, then laughed softly.
She pressed her lips to his temple. “Good?”
“So good. Always.”
“I love you.”
He wrapped her in powerful arms and she locked a leg around his hip. “Not half as much as I love you,” he said.
And she let him believe such a thing, because there were no words available to mankind that could ever express how much she adored him.
Mike woke late—nearly ten thirty, the alarm clock told him.
The smell of coffee had wafted up from the kitchen, and he pictured Samira cross-legged on the couch in her pajamas, with a book or magazine propped on a pillow in her lap, her mug’s steam lit all pearly by the morning light. She’d go jogging later, as she did most Saturdays, and her unwashed hair would be wild and wavy, her face bare. She never looked prettier than she did on weekend mornings, and Mike had taken the mental snapshot so many times he could shut his eyes and relish every detail.
He smelled sex in the sheets, a scent darker and more exotic than the coffee in the kitchen. Fucking hell.
He rolled onto his back, remembering last night’s game with a flush of fond, sheepish arousal, and a grin curled his lips. He and the other guys in Narcotics liked to one-up one another with evidence of whose long-suffering girlfriends and wives were the best. The women who waited up until two a.m. keeping dinner warm, who always covered for forgotten family birthdays in the midst of messy, endless cases, who never failed to record a single game.
Mike couldn’t exactly crow about his own wife’s beyond-the-call-of-duty cred. Well, boys, he imagined saying, every few weeks my wife stays out late and brags about fucking another man, then makes me come so hard it’s a miracle I haven’t had a stroke. How about those Steelers?
Still smiling, he tossed the lust-smelling covers aside and swung his legs to the floor. He was heading a small bust, starting at midnight tonight, but he and Sam had the day, and after next Friday, he was on vacation. Staycation or whatever the fuck it’d been dubbed of late, but that was fine by Mike. He could finally diagnose the mysterious squeak in the car, sleep in, putter and nap and breathe easy with no one relying on him for an entire glorious week. No one but Sam, and the rare demands his easygoing, self-sufficient wife might make were his pleasure to address.
He pulled on some clean shorts and jeans, a tee and sweater to cut the morning chill. He headed downstairs and found Sam just where he knew he would, mug in hand, gaze on an open book.
She smiled up at him from the couch, brown eyes sweet and dark as she liked her coffee, and shining in the sunlight. He wanted to record each and every detail of her, her laugh lines and the way she squinted, how her ears stuck out a bit, the molasses brown of her glossy hair. She was thirty-six and she looked it, but he wouldn’t have her any other way. She might rue every new line and gray hair she found, but Mike loved them, each a tiny hint about the woman she’d one day be.
“Morning, handsome. Coffee’s ready.”
He stooped to kiss her forehead. “Thanks. When’d you get up?”
“An hour ago, maybe. So weird to out-sleep you.”
He headed for the kitchen to fill a mug, speaking to her over the breakfast bar. “You must have worn me out.”
“Oh yes, blame your wife for your laziness,” she teased.
He grabbed last Sunday’s paper from the table and joined her on the couch. Leaning over, he planted an extra kiss on her temple. “It wasn’t a complaint.”
His cock gave a twitch at the memories of last night. He’d come home that evening wound up from work, every muscle strung tight enough to snap, a stress headache brewing behind his eyes. Then he’d texted to see when she’d be home, and her curt Stuck at work late was all he’d needed to know what was in store for him. Work drama forgotten, the tension had shifted, and he’d started growing hot and impatient as he waited. He’d already been playing their game in his head for an hour by the time she’d come home. When he’d collapsed beside her after the sex, every muscle and nerve had been slack, all the tautness erased from his body and brain.
Other men could keep their anti-anxiety meds. Sam was the only therapy he needed.
Tonight he’d spoil her rotten. Whatever she wanted—be it an entire hour of head or just a quick peck and a night’s reprieve from all sexual demands—it was hers for the asking.
He scooted closer so his thigh touched her knee. He reached under her pillow, disrupting her reading to give her chilly foot a squeeze. “Thanks.”
She met his gaze, oh so innocent. “For the coffee?”
“For last night.”
She smiled deeply. “My pleasure.”
Maybe, but probably only to the extent it was his pleasure. “Whatever you want tonight. Or this afternoon or right now. Whenever.”
“All I know is that I want to get takeout for dinner.”
“I was thinking Soba.” She shut her eyes, smiling. “Pot stickers. Oh yes.”
“That all it takes to spoil you? Where’s the challenge in that?”
She looked him up and down, mischievous. “I’m sure I’ll think of some other ideas as the day goes on.” Her tone confirmed his hopes, warm with flirtation.
“Anything,” he said, and let her foot go with a final squeeze.
For a long time they read without speaking, the calm enriched by the smell of the coffee, the rustle of pages, the sounds of traffic and activity outside. After a half hour or more, Sam broke their companionable silence.
“You know last night,” she said lightly.
A familiar, irrational surge of anxiety jabbed Mike—fear that she was done with their games. Though she gave him no good reason to, he felt this worry now and then, aware of how strange his needs were and how thoroughly he’d already been spoiled. She was patient and more than indulgent. But would she grow weary of their games, in time?
He spoke casually to mask his fear. “I seem to recall last night, yes.”
“All this stuff we do. All the stuff you like . . .”
Mike’s field had conditioned him to always expect the worst, and his heart sank in selfish mourning. “Sure.”
She met his eyes. “How far were you thinking you wanted to take it? Further than we have?”
The fist around his heart loosened. “Oh, honey.” He turned and cupped her jaw, stroking her cheeks with his thumbs. “I love what we do. I’m not going to ask you for anything more. I’m not going to ask you for anything you’re not comfortable with.”
She’d been dropping hints for a couple of months now, clearly curious to know if he intended to leverage his kink beyond fantasy talk into something serious. He should have assuaged her fears the first time he’d sensed them. “Were you worried I was planning for us to take things further?”
She averted her eyes, her expression not evidencing the relief he’d hoped to offer. “No, I wasn’t worried.”
“I can read you like this book,” Mike said, tapping her paperback. He pulled her into a hug, but her body stayed rigid. “Jesus, Sami. I’d never ask you to do that.” He searched her face for signs of impending tears but found none, thankfully. “Is it not fun for you anymore?”
She didn’t answer right away, gaze focused on some nowhere-space between them and the far wall. “It’s still fun.”
She bit her lip and met his eyes. “Have you ever thought about taking things further?”
He wouldn’t lie, as much as he feared freaking her out. “I’ve thought about it, sure. But that doesn’t mean I’d ever—”
“Would you like to?”
“I . . . In theory, yeah, maybe. But what we’re doing, it’s great. It’s enough. Hell, it’s plenty. Don’t worry. I’m not biding my time, waiting to ask you to do anything you’re not into. I’m not grooming you for some skeezy three-way.”
Finally, a tiny smile. “I’ve thought about it, too.”
His fearful heart thumped hard, then froze. “Thought about . . . ?”
“About maybe taking things further someday.”
His mouth was dry as sand. “Like . . .”
“Like us, and another guy. Maybe.”
For a couple of breaths, he felt that sensation he dreaded so much—that suffocating feeling of inferiority, of worthlessness, of being not-enough, never-enough, not-even-close. Then, as always, it shifted, like gas dousing fire. His cock grew heavy between his thighs and a flush crept from his chest up his neck. “Like, you and a guy, and me watching?”
She nodded, a practical gesture, as though they were discussing whether to get the Focus’s tires rotated. “Yeah. Something like that. Whatever gets you hot.”
Fucking Christ, he was hot right now. But it wasn’t simply a matter of turning up the volume on their role-playing. They were talking about a real live other man, the real live sanctity of their marriage, and a scenario that demanded they both trust his turn-on wasn’t going to go sour and rot through the foundation they’d built together over the past few years. He’d nearly driven her away once before with his jealousy—the scare of a lifetime.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Do you think we’re up to it?”
“I think we’re up to talking about it. The idea, and the logistics. Whatever consequences could come of it.” She smiled. “I am an actuary, after all—I get off on risk assessment.”
It reminded Mike of the conversations they’d had as newlyweds about whether to have children. Weighing the urges against the risks and reality; their easy, low-stress home life versus the ticking clock that demanded a decision be made. They’d ultimately decided against, and why? To keep things simple, keep each other at the center of their lives.
To keep ourselves free and open to exploring this marriage to its fullest, Mike thought. Would it be a disservice to their decision to let this question mark go unexplored?
He took Sam’s hand and linked her slender fingers with his big ones, and focused on the baby steps. “How would we even find somebody?”
“Probably online,” she said. “Put an ad on a personals site. Like, a kinky personals site. The background check would be a piece of cake, at least.”
Mike nodded. True, he could get the dirt on any guy with a few keystrokes. But that didn’t cover STIs, character, intentions . . . He wasn’t exactly a public figure, but he was a public servant. If some sexual tourist found out Mike’s position, what was the worst that could happen? Three-ways weren’t illegal, and they wouldn’t be soliciting. He’d face a hell of a lot of judgment and scrutiny and humiliation, but his job wouldn’t be at risk. Neither would Sam’s, though she still had her privacy and reputation to consider.
“What about if the guy, like, talked about us online or something?”
She smirked. “I think you’re underestimating how likely you look to break his neck, honey.”
“Or that invisible gun that’s always hovering at your side, even after you’ve taken your holster off. But if that’s not enough, we could make him sign some confidentiality agreement, I bet. So we could sue him if he told anyone. But really, people do this stuff all the time.”
“I know. I’m just trained to expect the worst.”
She leaned into him, a hug without arms. Her hair was a whisper against his neck. “I know you are. Do you think if we did find someone, theoretically . . . How do you think you’d actually feel, watching another man with me? Would it be as hot as what we talk about, or would it be upsetting, in reality?”
Tell her the truth and risk crossing some line, being too kinky for her to stay on board with . . . ? Truth only. Always. “I think it’d be the hottest thing I can imagine.”
She sat up and smiled, a mysterious, beguiling little gesture. “You’re such an interesting man.”
He felt his face heating and cast his gaze down at their linked hands.
“And after the sex was over?” she asked. “Would the hotness be tainted once the deed was done? After you went back to being Mr. In Control?”
“Once the deed was done, I’d know that guy would realize I have the sexiest, most decadent wife in the world. And that I’m the one who gets to wake up with her every morning, while he was the one who had to go home alone.”
She nodded, seeming to like his answer. Her attention shifted and she picked up her phone, checking the time. “I better get running soon. I’ve got a haircut at one.”
“You driving there?”
She shook her head and stood. “Walking.”
“Cool. I’ll check out that whining noise in your car.”
She smiled and leaned in to kiss his forehead. “You’re lovely.”
He got to his feet, tailing her down the hall. “You need the bathroom, or can I grab a shower?”
“I’m good. I’ll see you when I’m back.”
“Have a good run,” he said.
“I will. Could be a long one. I’ve got a lot on my mind now.” She shot him a grin over her shoulder. “I think maybe I’ve got a project to start planning.”
Samira’s plotting officially kicked off two evenings later, when Mike was out on a bust that might take three hours or thirty. After a couple of days’ soul-searching, she’d decided to give the first stage of planning a shot as a treat for him, a bit of wicked news to keep him buoyed through his rough assignment.
Step one was creating a post on a kinky personals site.
BULL WANTED FOR CUCKOLD SCENE, GREATER PITTSBURGH
Even typing that one line had her heart pounding, pleasure and fear mingled in every beat. It felt as though somebody were behind her, reading over her shoulder. But she’d already given herself permission to bail—if she got replies and they creeped her out across the board, she’d hit the abort button. If she received replies and they didn’t all creep her out, but her intuition wasn’t happy, she’d still abort. Though maybe she’d print out the more intriguing replies, in case they gave Mike a thrill, and further deepen the unlikely groove they’d been steadily etching into his libido.
But the more she reread the subject line, the less it intimidated her. She took a fortifying sip of wine, and a half hour later she examined her composition.
Me: married female, mid-thirties, professional, pretty, curvy, Persian roots, great skin and smile.
My husband: late thirties, calm, submissive cuckold fetishist, indulged in role-playing only so far. That’s where you come in.
You: can pass for early thirties/late twenties. Single, safe, handsome, tall, built, and hung. No race preference, brunet a plus. Open-minded and kind on the inside, gruff and cocky on the outside. No penetration during the first visit or two—we can build up to more explicit stuff if things feel right. Ultimately my husband wants to watch us together and should be made to feel belittled and outmanned, and generally have his nose rubbed in how much manlier you are than he is.
We’re fun, sane, childless, and STI-free. Ideally we’d love to find a man we have chemistry with, for a longer-term, casual arrangement. Please, no leather/rubber/intense BDSM stuff. You will pretend to be my normal old piece on the side, who just happens to be gorgeous and bossy.
If interested, let’s chat via e-mail. Please send a photo, including face. If it feels like a good fit, I’d love to meet for a drink. Then if the chemistry’s right, we can flirt and kiss while my husband watches from afar, pretending I’m meeting up with the guy I’m cheating on him with. We won’t take you home on the first date, but if it feels natural, the sky’s the limit for the future. Be warned, we will require your real name before we invite you into our home, and we will run a background check as a formality.
“Not bad,” she decided aloud.
She fussed with the wording for another hour—and another glass of wine—and was shocked at the confidence with which she hit POST.
Her nerves tingled, but her curiosity far outweighed her fear. She wouldn’t get her hopes up—the fact that she was genuinely rooting for the ad to result in some candidates was thrilling enough. There was no deadline, after all. It would happen if and when it was supposed to.
The next morning, Sam sat with her coffee mug hovering near her chin, blinking, shocked by the e-mail flood that greeted her. Shocked and terrified and flattered and excited.
She was at her desk in the corner of the living room, and Mike was puttering in their tiny kitchen, beyond the breakfast bar. He’d gotten in around four a.m. and had to leave again in just a few minutes, but maybe this would give him a boost. The coffee alone probably wasn’t enough on three hours’ sleep.
“Honey, come here a sec.”
“What is it?” He rounded the counter with his own mug in hand, and peered over her shoulder at the subject lines. “Whoooaaa . . .”
“I know.” She’d opened a new e-mail account specially for the task, and it looked like a big old in-box full of sin, staring at her with accusing messages titled Bull found! and Can’t wait to meet a hotwife and the like.
“Forty-three messages,” Mike said.
“In about twelve hours. And here I thought you were an outlier.”
“Wish I could stick around and see what the hell they say.” But instead he kissed her cheek with a mischievous little grin. “Another late one tonight.”
“But maybe you’ll have some developments to share with me when I get in.”
But the number dwindled as Sam filtered out men who lived halfway across the country, ones whose pictures turned her off, ones who claimed to be “a very youthful fifty,” and some plain old creepers. It ruled out a lot of candidates.
“We’re down to six viable options,” she told Mike when he got in at eleven that evening. She slid his dinner into the oven. “Is it unreasonable of me to also get rid of the guys who didn’t bother punctuating or capitalizing their messages?”
He came up behind her, wrapping his strong arms around her waist and planting a kiss on her neck. “We’re shopping for a man we think deserves to sleep with you. Be as picky as you want. It’s not the kind of decision you should rush or force yourself into.”
She smiled at that, pleased to know that no matter how much he wanted this, there was no pressure. He valued their relationship and her feelings above his fantasies. Of course, she’d known that all along, but having spent her evening in front of that intimidating screen, the reminder was welcome—as reassuring as the hug.
He left her to shower, and as Sam headed back to the computer, she gave herself permission to dismiss the messages with bad spelling and lazy capitalization.
It left only two candidates, but she liked their photos and introductory messages. She replied to both conversationally, asking if they were local, how old they were, if they had any experience with cuckolding, and what about it appealed to them. She also included a photo of herself. It seemed only fair, though she chose a long shot, one with an erstwhile haircut. It gave a sense of her body and her face, but wasn’t detailed enough that the men would be able to recognize her in the supermarket, should she chicken out and abandon the mission.
After Mike ate his late dinner and disappeared to sink into a much-deserved coma, she sat down again at her laptop, intending only to shut it off. But there it was, a message in her secret in-box.
The reply was a disappointment. The guy was way too eager, with only fifteen minutes having passed between the time she’d hit SEND and when he had. His reply consisted of a rather dirty and not at all arousing missive about the things he wanted to do to her, and he was too antsy about setting a date for Sam’s taste. Enthusiasm was one thing, but her gut said this was quite another. Pass.
The second reply was worse, in that it didn’t arrive—not that night, nor by the time she was heading out to work the next morning. Two dozen new responses had come in from the ad, none of them especially appealing, all of them totaling discouragement.
“It’s fine,” Mike said when she debriefed him that evening. “What were the chances we’d strike gold the first time out?”
He was right. And having him home at dinnertime was treat enough.
But the following day, something changed.
Sam had checked her personal e-mail while her hair dried and her coffee cooled. She’d decided she wouldn’t check “the dirty account,” as it might just overwhelm her, the task now feeling impossible. Not a cloud she needed following her to work for the third day in a row. But even as she got her shoes on and shouldered her purse, curiosity had her crossing the floor, sitting down, clicking the bookmark, and typing in her password.
Ten or so new messages, but she didn’t have it in her to tackle them beyond reading the subject lines. Then she recognized the e-mail address of the second short-listed respondent.
“You took your time,” she muttered, opening the message. Though had he, really? Taking a day or more wasn’t criminal. In fact, it struck her as rather encouraging that he had other things to do in a given day besides pursue his chances at playing sexual tourist in other people’s marriages. A hobbyist, not a fanatic.
She sipped the last of her cold coffee and read the e-mail.
Thanks for the reply, S.
Bless him and his use of commas and capitals. She opened a new tab and found his first e-mail, wanting to confirm he was the one she was picturing. Yes. Oh, good photo. It was a shot of him in a park, crouching with his hand on a yellow lab’s collar. He looked big and strong, with a fearless sort of smile and a lot of stubble, messy dark hair. Could be any ethnicity—Italian or Hispanic, or just a white guy with a summer tan. She liked the shape of his shoulders under his T-shirt, and wished this were like Zappos, so she could rotate him and examine his design from multiple angles and browse other women’s reviews.
What People are Saying About This
Praise for Cara McKenna
“McKenna is a master.”—Maya Banks, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of Taking It All?
“The sweet, smoking hot, standout erotic romance you’ve been craving.”—Beth Kery, New York Times Bestselling Author of Only for You
“Cara McKenna knows how to write sexy-as-hell bad boys.”—Jaci Burton, New York Times Bestselling Author of Quarterback Draw
“Dirty and mesmerizing.”—Fiction Vixen
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
: 3 stars--CROSSTOWN CRUSH is the first installment in Cara McKenna’s adult, contemporary Sins in the City erotica series. This is husband and wife Mike and Samira Heyer, and Bern’s storyline- an erotic tale of a cuckold, his wife and the man who makes all of their fantasies come true. NOTE: CROSSTOWN CRUSH contains erotic and graphic sexual imagery including strong language, infidelity, role play, voyeurism and M/F/M, M/F, M/M sexual situations. A cuckold by definition is considered the man of an adulterous wife-often regarded as an object of derision; a husband whose wife is in a relationship with another man; or a man who derives pleasure from humiliation. Told from three third person perspectives (Mike, Samira and Bern) CROSSTOWN CRUSH focuses on the kink in Mike and Samira’s marriage wherein several times per month Mike wants to feel emasculated by the idea of his wife in a sexual relationship with another man. For two years the fantasy has just been that, a fantasy role-play acted out in bed with his wife-but Samira offers to make the fantasy a reality inviting another man into their relationship and their bed. When feelings and emotions come into play a line will be crossed and there will be no going back. CROSSTOWN CRUSH is a psychological study in paraphilia or sexual fetish- a sexual interest that is atypical and goes against what is considered the norm by society but one that is entered into wholly aware of the actions and consequences. There is no secondary storyline development-the focus is on the kink, the cuckold, and the wants and needs of everyone involved. There are no hearts and flowers; the wooing is staged; an act to create the illusion of an affair; but the heartbreak is painful and real. The conflict arises when the heart becomes involved when the body and mind lose control. I am having a difficult time putting into words my thoughts and feelings about this particular storyline. I wanted to like the premise but the presentation and execution felt out of sync; I did not feel invested in the action or the players. A cuckold trope is not my ‘ideal’ storyline situation but who are we to judge another’s lifestyle that is different from our own. In the end, it wasn’t the sexual fetish but the overall ‘feel’ of the story that left me disappointed As you can read I had some issues with CROSSTOWN CRUSH and perhaps it was my inability to place myself into this particular storyline. For me, I have to be able to connect with the players and feel their emotions; to be pulled into a storyline where I become one with the characters or one of the characters but CROSSTOWN CRUSH left me standing on the sidelines where I felt like a voyeur in the window of someone’s personal life.
This book is like a drug i will never stop taking
If there is one thing you can rely on, it's that Cara Mckenna will push the boundaries of erotica in new ways that readers will either love or hate. Lucky for me, it's usually a love affair from my end and this story is definitely one of those, with a complex and interesting plot and lots and lots of hot sex. Samira and Mike are happily married, and exploring a kink that Mike eventually broke down and told his wife about when his actions threatened their marriage. I learned a lot in this book about cuckolding, the situation where a man gets sexually excited by the thought of his partner being in a sexual relationship with someone else and himself being made to feel inadequate and humiliated by his unmanliness, before reclaiming his partner in a show of dominance. At first they enact this kink via fantasy only, with Samira inventing elaborate scenarios that she's involved with other men because Mike isn't enough to satisfy her. Eventually they invite a third person, Bern, into the mix. Bern has his own fantasy, that of being watched and the idea of being with another woman while her husband is a voyeur is too good to pass up, especially with the reassurance that everything will be consensual and private between the three of them. As they three of them explore, Samira finds herself fascinated with the dynamic of being with two men, something she never knew she wanted but now has discovered as her own kink. It's not a menage story though - the two men involved do not share an attraction or any affection for each other, in fact quite the opposite. It's a three way relationship that explores three types of sexual preferences, in a daring and explicit way. I have to say that I really enjoyed this story. Besides exploring Mike's kink (and to a lesser degree Bern and Samira's as well), it's an interesting treatise on what constitutes cheating in a marriage. If you have a couple committed and in love with each other, and they choose to invite a third person in, then the definition of what is cheating must be well defined, because while in a normal monogamous relationship cheating would imply a sexual relationship with a third party, that's not the case here. The sex is expected with the third person. In this case, it's the development of an emotional connection with someone else that is going to cause the problem, and that's what happens here, when Samira and Bern begin to find themselves becoming more than just sexually attracted to each other. There lies the conflict then, when a permitted sexual relationship goes beyond those boundaries and starts to involve real feelings and emotions. Mike's kink therefore leads to forbidden territory, but not the way he expected. There is a lot of sex in this story - if the characters aren't having it, then they are thinking about it, talking about it, texting about it, and generally from the start to the finish of the story, the sexual tension never lets up as you wonder how this can possibly work out and have a happy ending. Someone is bound to get hurt. But rest assured, it is still a romance (if not in the traditional sense) and there is a satisfactory conclusion for everyone. I can't wait to see what this author will come up with next! There is a reason she is an auto-buy for me, and part of that is that she's willing to go where a lot of other authors won't in exploring human sexuality and all that comes with it. 4.5 stars.