- Pub. Date:
Danielle Sosna has no problem denying herself in order to achieve her goalsafter all, that attitude landed her a dream job at Vogue Paris. But in New Orleans for one last assignment before heading overseas, she's faced with the most decadent of temptations. Seductive Cajun chef Bobby Prejean takes Dani's strength of will as a challenge, and offers her a night of wild indulgenceif she will agree to obey his every command
Dani can't resist Prejean's invitation to join him in a world of carnal desire, complete with fetish costumes and masks. Determined to keep her emotional distance, she gives Prejean everything but her name. A night becomes a week, as she spends Mardi Gras suspended in the delicious space where pleasure meets pain.
Too late, she realizes the cloak of anonymity has not protected herand that chasing her dream might come at the expense of her heart.
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About the Author
She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, a border collie, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.
Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy.
Read an Excerpt
"No," Dani said into her cell, "I need more than that."
She listened to the local contact drawl on about docks, something about the river being high, or lowshe'd lost track of which was the problemand eyed a vine spilling over a crumbling stone wall. It tumbled with florid blossoms, glowing scarlet, deep-throated blooms that seemed nearly sexual. They could work in one of the shoots, a metaphor for allure. The very lushness of the bloom might put the models to shame, however.
Besides, the concept for the "Fashion Masquerade" piece focused more on contrivances and layers of artifice. Not the real sensuality of nature.
Her stomach sent up a hollow signal and she glanced at her watch. If she didn't get a move on, she'd miss an opportunity to eat anything at all.
"Look," she finally interrupted, breaking what she knew was a cardinal rule of the South, "either you can deliver or you can't. It's as simple as that. I don't want to play the bitch here, but if I can't have the location, then I have to come up with something else. Okay? Fine. Call me later when you know."
She swiped the phone to silence, tucked it, along with her sunglasses, into her purse and hastened through the stone archways of the next restaurant on her list. No way would she entirely miss the fabulous dining New Orleans offered. Following a strict calorie budgettighter even than the monetary one for this location shootshe could flirt with temptation for one lunch each day, without completely succumbing to the dark side.
A little denial never hurt anyone.
Sometimes it was better when it hurt. Pain is just weakness leaving your body.
Settling at her table in the shaded courtyard, her pin-striped jacket felt like just the right weight. Fortunate, since the damp cling of her white silk shirt told her she didn't dare take the fitted top layer off. It might not be all that hot yet in the city, but it was humid as hell.
"Welcome to the Court des Deux Pendus," the smooth, impeccably garbed waiter greeted her, snapping a linen napkin open on her lap after setting a basket of fragrant rolls on the table. "May I offer you a cocktail or bring you water? We offer a Perrier sparkling or an Evian still."
"The still, please, with a wedge of lime."
She handed back the wine list and, resolutely, the bread basket. "And, if you have a kind heart, save me and take this away."
He glanced from the rolls to her with a raised eyebrow. "These are rosemary yeast rolls, made in the traditional style, with whipped honey butter. Are you sure?"
She groaned and fluttered her hand over her heart. "Maybe half, but that's all."
With a conspiratorial smile, he offered the basket and she plucked out a single roll. He promised to be back with her water and to take her order. Dani cut the roll, set the slightly larger half on her coffee saucer and scooted it to the other side of the table.
The first nibble melted in her mouth, sweet, heavy, with that perfect spike of rosemary. Resisting the wild desire to devour it, she forced herself to set the rest down and opened the leather-bound menu to decide what she could be allowed to have. The embossed image on the cover caught her eye, a stylized icon of two women, hanging by manacles. Les Deux Pendus, apparently.
She had just started to read the italicized story on the inside flap, when the waiter returned, pouring her water from a glass bottle with a neat twist of his wrist and setting a salver of lime wedges at her elbow.