From bestselling ebook author M. Pierce comes Night Owl, the first novel in a provocative erotic trilogy where an anonymous online writing partnership turns into an uncontrollable, passionate obsession
At twenty-eight, Matt Sky has the perfect life. He has a beautiful girlfriend, a massive inheritance, and four national bestsellers all penned under his airtight alias, M. Pierce.
At twenty-seven, Hannah Catalano is a train wreck. Her boyfriend is a deadbeat and her job is abysmal.
Matt and Hannah meet online as writing partners. Their relationship is safe, anonymous, and innocent...
Until Matt sees a picture of Hannah. Hannah's picture sparks an attraction Matt is powerless to ignore. When circumstance brings Matt and Hannah together, the strangers begin a love story that's passionate, poignant, unforgettable, and unstoppable.
Related collections and offers
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
I lied to Hannah about the picture.
I lied to her about a lot of things.
No relationship should be built on lies, but I was in no relationship—at least not with Hannah. She was a girl I met on the Internet. Bethany was my girlfriend, who shared my apartment, my bed, and my life.
Hannah got the scraps.
“No pictures,” I told Hannah on Skype. “No specifics, no last name, no phone number. Nothing. I don’t want to know you, and I don’t want you to know me. We write together online, that’s it. I’m not looking for a new friend. I’m looking for a writing partner.”
“Got it,” she replied.
I remember staring at the text on my laptop and wondering if she was hurt. It was impossible to tell, the words hanging there with no tone.
Hannah broke two of my rules within a month when she sent me an e-mail from her personal address, email@example.com. Beside the e-mail was her account picture. A picture of her.
I glared at the tiny square image, then at her last name, then back at the picture. I should have gotten on Skype and chewed her out then and there, but I didn’t. I clicked on the picture, which took me to her Google+ page and a larger version of the image.
She was wearing a strapless cream-colored top with a fringe of black lace along the neckline. Deep cleavage disappeared into the lace. Her skin was incredibly pale, flawless, and her hair fell in thick black-brown curls around her face. She wore dark-rimmed rectangular glasses with little gems on each side. She was blowing an air kiss at the camera. At me.
I should have closed the window immediately.
Instead, I stared at Hannah’s picture—and stared at it—until I felt my cock getting hard in my slacks. I tried to ignore it, but the longer I looked at Hannah’s picture, the harder I got. She was beautiful. And I was furious with her, for foisting her picture and last name on me.
I slid my hand between my legs and closed my eyes.
That was the second time I got off thinking about Hannah.
The first time was a week before. Bethany had just left on a tour of Brazil. I could have joined her, but I had no desire to sightsee in South America with Bethany’s parents in tow.
I found myself chatting with Hannah every day.
It was late—about 2 A.M. Hannah’s boyfriend had gone to bed. That meant Hannah was alone in their basement office. As for me, I was on my laptop in the guest bedroom of my Denver apartment.
“I sent you a few paragraphs,” I typed, “but don’t worry about replying tonight. Aren’t you tired?”
Little.Bird: Not yet. I haven’t been sleeping well.
Little.Bird was Hannah’s Skype name. Mine was Night.Owl.
Night.Owl: You could take something. I don’t know, melatonin?
Little.Bird: Never works for me.
Night.Owl: Well, damn.
We were in unknown territory with this conversation. As a rule, we dialogued about our collaborative story and nothing else.
Our story was an ongoing fantasy. We e-mailed pieces back and forth. That was how we met, and why: on a fiction writers’ forum, seeking writing partners.
Hannah’s character was a human with supernatural powers, and mine was a demon.
She was Lana. I was Cal.
Little.Bird: Sometimes I smoke a little bit of Mick’s weed to help me sleep.
Night.Owl: Is that right.
Little.Bird: Yeah. *Shrugs* Mick smokes 24/7 and drinks every day, too. I’m not like that. Anyway, it’s legal here.
My stomach clenched. Colorado had recently legalized marijuana for recreational use. So had Washington. God, did Hannah live in my state? Why did that possibility have my stomach flip-flopping?
Night.Owl: Yeah, it’s legal here, too. I’m in Colorado.
Little.Bird: Okay, Mr. Secret Agent No Specifics.
I smirked. Oh, so Hannah wasn’t going to volunteer her whereabouts. I deserved that.
Night.Owl: I’m allowed to break my own rules.
Little.Bird: Just ask.
Night.Owl: What? Ask what?
Little.Bird: Oh please, Matt. You’re waiting for me to tell you where I live.
Night.Owl: Then tell me.
I felt a funny twist in my gut. Washington, not Colorado.
Night.Owl: Ah. I’ve never been out that way.
Little.Bird: You should visit sometime. Great food, great atmosphere.
Night.Owl: Your boyfriend sounds like a real charmer.
Little.Bird: Lol. Sure. Doesn’t matter, I won’t be with him much longer. Brb.
Hannah was gone for ten minutes. Fuck, had I upset her?
Night.Owl: Wb. Are you okay?
Little.Bird: Yeah, I’m fine. I wanted to change into something more comfy.
I stared at the screen for a full minute before forcing my fingers to type what my brain was screaming. After I typed it, I stared at the words for another minute before hitting Enter.
I must have been losing my mind. Or turning into a creep. Or both.
Night.Owl: So what are you wearing?
Little.Bird: Lol! All the walls are coming down tonight …
Night.Owl: Haha. God, sorry. I have no idea why I just typed that. Ignore that. Such a creeper right now.
Little.Bird: No, it was funny, that’s all. You’re not a creeper, trust me. I’m a girl who used to play online games. I know what creepers are.
Night.Owl: Well, whatever.
I felt my face heating. Hannah and I were having our first actual conversation, and I asked what she was wearing.
I, a successful and very taken twenty-eight-year-old man, had become the equivalent of a horny fourteen-year-old. Real smooth.
Little.Bird: Matt, I said trust me. You. Are. Not. A. Creeper. You’re like the anti-creeper. That’s why I laughed. It’s like suddenly Mr. I’m Not Looking For Friends So Don’t Piss Me Off With Details About Your Life wants to know what I’m wearing. Do you still want to know?
My blush of embarrassment was rapidly turning into a flush of anger.
Night.Owl: Yes, I still fucking want to know. That’s why I asked, so either tell me or drop it. I don’t need you to make me feel like a dipshit for asking.
Little.Bird: Okay! I’m sorry. Don’t get angry. I’m wearing a blue bathrobe.
Night.Owl: A bathrobe…?
Little.Bird: Yes. It’s a soft fuzzy blue bathrobe. Hits me about midthigh.
Night.Owl: Is that all?
I felt a throb between my legs. At the time, I had no idea what Hannah looked like, but that fact didn’t seem to matter to my dick. I slid the laptop off my thighs and onto the mattress. I pressed a hand to my sex. And I waited. Where was this going?
Little.Bird: Do I … get to ask what you’re wearing?
Night.Owl: Lounge pants.
Little.Bird: Is that all?
Little.Bird: Yummy …
Night.Owl: Hannah. You should let your robe hang open.
Little.Bird: All right.
My mouth gaped. My erection pushed against my palm. All right? She took my order so calmly and without hesitation. Was she really doing it?
I conjured up an image of a young woman seated at a computer desk, her small robe hanging open and her full breasts bared to the screen. I shoved my pants around my hips and freed my shaft. My whole body was tingling.
I needed to tell Hannah to stop and that I wasn’t single and that we were going to ruin our pleasant anonymous online friendship.
Night.Owl: Describe your body. Spread your legs. God, my heart is pounding.
Little.Bird: Mine too. I spread them. Telling you this stuff is making me wet.
Night.Owl: God, Hannah.
I began to pump my cock with one hand, pausing to swirl my thumb over the head. I could feel the lean muscles along my thighs and arms locking up—tensing in excitement or else willing me to stop. I needed to stop.
Little.Bird: My breasts are … big. 34DD. They sit high on my chest for natural breasts. My nipples are dark pink. They’re really sensitive. I’m curvy. Hourglass figure I guess.
I was ready to come. Already. I let myself moan into the silence of the apartment and rocked my hips into my hand. Oh God oh God oh God. I groped at the laptop keyboard.
Night.Owl: Help me come.
Little.Bird: I shave my legs all the way up. And I’m … really tight. And wet. So wet. I’m making a mess.
Night.Owl: God, you’re a slut Hannah.
Little.Bird: I am. My legs are spread so wide it hurts. I wish you were pounding into me right now.
My orgasm took me by surprise, the pleasure unfurling all at once. I gasped and sat up sharply. I came into my hand with a groan.
I’m making a mess.
I wish you were pounding into me right now.
I collapsed against the pillows. My chest was heaving. A rivulet of sweat trickled from my dirty-blond hair to my jaw.
What just happened? I stared at the laptop and waited. I couldn’t log off; I had to say something. Thanks? Sorry?
Night.Owl: I should go.
Little.Bird: Wait. That was all right, Matt. If you’re going because you feel awkward, don’t. We don’t have to talk about it.
Finding the words “I should go” had been difficult enough. I had nothing else to say. I needed to think, or not think. I most definitely needed to get away from Hannah.
Little.Bird: Listen. I don’t normally do this. I don’t want you to think I’m like that.
Night.Owl: No. Neither do I.
Before Hannah could type a reply, I closed Skype and shut my laptop.
I didn’t log back on for a week.
And what a week it was. Thoughts of Hannah invaded my mind. I woke up thinking about her, often hard, and I went to sleep thinking about her. I thought about her in the shower. I thought about her when I tried to work, my latest project open on the computer screen and my head locked in a daydream.
Hannah, Hannah, Hannah.
Over and over I turned the few details she had given me. Large breasts, a curvy figure, a tight cunt.
A friend took me out to lunch on the weekend.
“What do you know about Seattle?” I asked, striving to sound nonchalant.
“I’m putting it in a story. Figured I’d ask. I’ve never been, no idea about the place.”
“Well, I’ve been to the Pacific Northwest a few times.” My friend chewed and watched me thoughtfully. I stared at my plate. I had hardly touched my meal, but under his careful gaze I shoved a forkful of risotto into my mouth.
“Tons of hipsters,” he said. “All that unflattering facial hair. And I’ll tell you what, it’s depressing as fuck, the weather out there. It’s gray. I mean if you like that kind of thing, it’s great. But it’s wet, Matt, it’s basically wet all the time.”
I slammed down my fork. I nearly choked.
Wet. So wet. I’m making a mess.
Hannah e-mailed a story installment after two days. Usually she replied within hours. Maybe she was having second thoughts about me.
Hell, I’d be having second thoughts about me.
Her writing was perfectly normal, though.
Our characters were traveling to a port city in search of information to help Lana harness her powers. I could feel my character falling for Lana as we wrote. I tried to steer him away from it, but Hannah wrote the girl in such a clever, engaging way. She was quirky and strong, a lover of laughter, by turns tomboyish and then disarmingly feminine.
I began to make connections.
She described Lana as buxom, short, and curvy. An hourglass figure. Was Hannah playing a thinly veiled version of herself? And for that matter, was I? Like me, Cal was tall and fair-haired, cynical in the extreme, and neurotically secretive.
I booted up my laptop a week after the bathrobe incident with the intention of continuing our story. Or maybe with the intention of logging on to Skype to chat with Hannah. I missed her.
That’s when I saw the e-mail from firstname.lastname@example.org.
The e-mail with her picture.
The picture that made me hard.
Subject: Come back …
Sender: Hannah Catalano
Date: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Time: 11:15 PM
Matt, hey. I really hope you read this. You haven’t replied to my post. I miss the story. And I miss talking to you.
I can’t stop thinking about what happened.
I met Mick through WoW (I’m a reformed nerd) and we cybered like twice over private messages. He’s a really bad writer. It was really bad. Then we started dating long distance and I used to do things with him over video chat. That’s all.
I don’t know why I’m telling you this stuff, except that I want you to know that what happened between us isn’t normal for me. I liked it, though. Knowing you were getting off turned me on.
Speaking of Mick, I’m leaving him. My sister is flying out here on Thursday to help me pack and we’re driving back together. I’m moving in with my parents for a while. Pretty awesome, since I’m 27.
I guess the point is, we’ll be on the road for two or three days and I’ll only be online on my phone.
After jerking off to Hannah’s picture like a desperate juvenile, I must have reread her e-mail three times. I mentally filed the new information.
Hannah has a sister.
Hannah is twenty-seven.
Hannah is leaving her boyfriend.
Hannah liked helping me get off; she can’t stop thinking about it, and it turned her on.
And now she had a face and a name, both of which I expressly asked never to know.
So she was Italian. That explained the knockout figure and the dark, heavy hair.
I logged on to Skype.
Little.Bird: Hey! That was quick, lol. I sent you an e-mail like fifteen minutes ago.
Night.Owl: Don’t I know it.
Little.Bird: Haha …
Night.Owl: Let’s get one thing straight, Hannah. I’m not sure what you think it means that you helped me get off with your rudimentary descriptive skills, so let me clarify. It means nothing. It definitely does not mean you can now assault me with your life story.
Little.Bird: Wow. Wow …
Night.Owl: Use your words.
Little.Bird: You … are such an asshole right now.
Night.Owl: You say this like it’s news.
Little.Bird: It’s news to me. God, I’m SO SORRY that I decided to tell you I’d be gone for a few days. We WERE telling a story together basically every day, but since you haven’t replied to my last post, I guess that’s off.
Night.Owl: It’s not off. Don’t get all hyperbolic on me, Hannah. However, let’s pause and consider the distance between 1) telling me you’re going to be MIA for a few days and 2) forcing your name AND picture on me.
Night.Owl: Yes, shocking but true. Our minor indiscretion does not suddenly negate my wish to preserve mutual privacy. No full names, no pictures, etc.
Little.Bird: Wtf. I didn’t send you my picture. Or tell you my name.
Night.Owl: Okay email@example.com.
I rolled my eyes and sat back in my chair. Maybe I had been a little harsher than necessary, but I got my point across. I was angry. I was angry with Hannah for plaguing my thoughts, and angrier that she was gorgeous and forced me to know it.
Somehow, my life would be easier if I could imagine Hannah as a fat pimply stranger on the Internet, or even a faceless stranger on the Internet. Anything but that dark-haired beauty blowing a kiss at me with her pink, pouty lips.
Five minutes passed and Hannah said nothing.
I fiddled with the desk calendar.
Night.Owl: Do you have anything to add to that stirring articulation?
I opened my e-mail, then opened Hannah’s e-mail. Her account picture had changed. Gone was the tiny portrait of Hannah Catalano, replaced by a purplish swirl of galaxy and stars.
Panic chilled me.
It was gone. Her picture was gone.
I clicked on the galaxy and it took me to a larger picture … of the galaxy.
I already couldn’t remember the details of Hannah’s face.
Night.Owl: What the fuck. You just changed your account picture? You do realize I have already seen it …
Little.Bird: Matt, I am so, so sorry. I know you’re never going to believe me, but this is the truth. I e-mailed you from my main account by accident. I am so embarrassed right now, I want to die. I would never infringe on your boundaries like that. God, everything’s been so insane in my life lately. I was worried I’d scared you off. I sat down to write you an e-mail, and bang.
Night.Owl: Oh …
Little.Bird: Yeah, I … I’m so mortified. I’m so sorry …
Night.Owl: I … really thought you did it on purpose. Obviously. Wow.
Little.Bird: No, I would never. I swear. I love writing with you. I respect your privacy. Or I try to …
I frowned and considered the words on my screen. It was an accident. And thanks to my overblown reaction to that accident, I had lost access to my only image of Hannah, the girl who was steadily setting my mind on fire.
I ran a quick Google image search on Hannah Catalano.
Night.Owl: Do you even want to know what I thought?
Little.Bird: What you thought?
Night.Owl: Of how you look.
Little.Bird: Oh. Um. It doesn’t matter.
Night.Owl: Doesn’t matter?
Little.Bird: Yeah. It’s … no big deal. I’m just so embarrassed.
Night.Owl: Well, in that case, you’ll be pleased to know I barely looked at it. It was a tiny picture and as soon as I realized what it was, I closed the window.
Little.Bird: Oh … okay …
Night.Owl: Yeah. And thanks for changing it so promptly. I appreciate that.
Little.Bird: Sure. So … I should … probably get back to packing.
Night.Owl: Mm. Good luck with that. I’ll reply to your post soon.
Little.Bird: Sweet. I’ll reply when I can.
Night.Owl: Don’t worry about it. I know you’ve got a lot going on, and you’ll be tired after the move. What state are your folks in?
Little.Bird: Oh … didn’t I tell you? Haha. Gosh. Super awkward night.
Little.Bird: Nothing. They still live in the house I grew up in. In Colorado …
Copyright © 2013 by M. Pierce