I was his.
Any time he wanted . . .
Abby is ready to agree to anything to stop her brother from going to prison, but Kameron Maldondo, the owner of MalTech Corporation, is asking for the unexpected. Enthralled by his commanding brilliance, she agrees to be his assistant, at his beck and call for whatever he needs—whenever and however he wants. What that means is for him to decide and for her to submit to.
Frightened yet fascinated by what he promises, Abby becomes a willing captive to his caress, undone by his peerless touch, a quivering submission to an aching need for complete carnal surrender . . .
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By Tawny Taylor
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2014 Tawny Taylor
All rights reserved.
I closed my eyes. I pulled in a long, deep breath. I exhaled. My mind was racing, images flashing behind my eyelids.
The sharp blade of a nose.
The chiseled jaw.
My heart was pounding. Hard. I felt a little dizzy.
I hadn't even talked to him yet. How would I ever convince him not to throw my baby brother in jail?
Pull it together, girl.
Twenty-three. Twenty. Three. That was how many times I'd heard Joss say, "Abby, I'm in trouble. Big trouble," since our father died. Twenty-freaking-three times too many.
I knew Joss could pull through his crap and get himself together, so I shouldn't have bothered stepping in to drag him out of one scrape after another. But I did. Because, despite his long, difficult struggle with addiction, Joss was a good person. He didn't go out of his way looking for trouble. Trouble seemed to always come looking for him.
And this time there might not be anything I could do about it.
If Kameron Maldonado, owner of MalTech Corporation, decided to report my brother's alleged crime to the police, he could end up in jail. For years.
My brother. A felon.
My brother. In prison.
The only family I had left, gone.
My sweating palms were sticking to the leather couch. I dragged them down my thighs. My scratchy polyester skirt wasn't going to dry them. But I wiped my hands on it anyway. When I heard the door to my right rattle a little, my heart skipped a beat. I jerked my head, glancing at it, then at the young woman sitting behind the reception desk directly in front of me. She was staring at a computer screen.
I glanced at my watch. Twelve twenty-five. I'd been sitting here for almost a half hour. My appointment had been at twelve.
God, this was torture.
The doorknob rattled again, and once more panic charged through my body. My head spun. The door swung open, and my breath caught in my throat.
Kameron Maldonado stepped out, moving out of the doorway. He was smiling over his shoulder at the man behind him. "We'll get together later this week to talk about the details. Thanks." Kameron extended a hand, and the man shook it.
The visitor returned Kameron's thank you and then, as he passed me, gave me a fleeting look before waving good-bye to the receptionist.
I turned my attention back to Kameron. He was standing next to the door, looking at me.
"Abigail Barnes?" he asked.
I nodded, stood on wobbly legs that felt boneless and heavy. Not expecting a handshake, but preparing for one anyway, I dragged my palms down my legs again as I shuffled toward his office.
After a quick, formal introduction and a brief handshake, Kameron closed his door behind me, circled his desk, and stood, waiting for me to sit in the chair facing him.
My stomach twisted.
Of all the situations Joss had put himself in, this was by far the worst. He had put not only his job in jeopardy, but mine too. Somehow I had to convince this man not to fire us both.
I sat, back straight, body stiff, heart thumping so hard I could hear it.
"How can I help you, Mrs. Barnes?"
"Miss," I corrected. My mouth was dry. I licked my lips, but that did nothing to help. My tongue was as dry as the Sahara.
He nodded. "Miss Barnes."
"I'm here on the behalf of Joss Barnes. My brother." A huge lump of something coagulated in my throat. I tried to swallow it. It didn't budge. I tried again.
Kameron's brows lifted. "Are you all right, Miss Barnes?"
Swallowing a third time, I nodded.
He stood, strolled to the cabinet recessed into the wall behind me, and opened a door. Within a second, he was standing over me, a cold bottle of water in his hand.
I accepted with a weak "Thank you," unscrewed the cap, and sipped.
"Better?" he asked as he leaned back against his desk.
Looming over me, he crossed his thick arms. God, he was big. Intimidating. Extremely intimidating.
"Your brother is in serious trouble, Miss Barnes. If what I heard is true, he not only violated more than one clause of his employment contract, but also broke the law. I was told he stole company property and sold it. I can't let that go with a warning."
We were so screwed.
Feeling utterly defeated, I nodded. "I understand." My nose was starting to burn. Dammit. This was just too much. It was all too much. Our father's death. Mom's disappearance. And my brother's rebellion and addiction. I was a fighter. I was a survivor. If I hadn't been, my brother and I wouldn't be where we were today. But I was too young to deal with this much crap. Every time things started to turn around, something new would come up and drag me right back down into the gutter.
When would life stop kicking me around? When?
My hands were shaking as I lifted them to drag my thumbs under my eyelashes. My eyes were burning now too. A sob was sitting in the pit of my stomach, but I was holding it in. Holding my breath.
I needed to get out of there. I couldn't cry in front of this man. No. No-no-no. I stood too fast and felt myself stumble. He caught me, hands clamped around my upper arms. Our gazes locked.
Something really strange happened. A crazy, unexpected bolt of electricity charged through my body. I heard myself gasp.
His eyes widened slightly. "Don't go." He gently forced me back into the chair. "I haven't finished yet."
What was there left to say? Was there any chance he was going to help me?
Afraid to hope anything decent could come out of this mess, I nodded and waited.
He released me, stared down, arms crossed over his chest once again. "Your brother has put me in a hell of a position."
"Is there anything I can do?" I asked, my voice cracking.
His eyes narrowed slightly. He tipped his head to the right. "Why? Why are you so willing to put your neck on the line for him?"
What kind of silly question was that? "He's my brother."
"But he just about got you thrown out of here. You understand that, don't you?"
I wasn't fired yet.
"Yes, sir. I do," I said, screwing and unscrewing the cap on the water bottle I clasped in my hand. "If my brother was a complete lost cause, I wouldn't have bothered trying to help him. I would've let you fire him. Hell, I would have stood by and watched him be arrested, too. But I can't. Because I know there's more to this situation than you and I know. He's not a bad guy. Sure, he's hit a bump or two lately. He'll get it figured out."
"Maybe you're right. Maybe there is more to this situation than we know. But, say he is guilty. What do I do with him until I figure out what really happened?"
"If he did do it, how could I risk keeping him on, knowing he might steal something else?"
"Another good question."
Leaning closer, he placed one hand on each arm of my chair, trapping me. I felt myself pushing back into the chair. I could smell his cologne, could see the flecks of silver-blue in dark, dark gray-brown eyes—the color of my favorite chocolates. I could feel the warm caress of his breath on my face.
My heart jerked again. But this time it wasn't because I was afraid. No, I was ... warm. I was breathless. I was staring at his lips and wondering what they might taste like.
What was going on?
"How long have you been working for us, Miss Barnes?"
"T-two years," I stuttered, my gaze locked on his mouth. What was he getting at? What was he thinking?
My gaze inched up, following the line of his aristocratic nose to those dark eyes again. I saw something there, the flicker of something obscure, something wicked. My heart rate tripled, quadrupled, maybe. "Sir? Please don't fire me. My job is our primary source of income. Our father died. It's been really hard on us both, but especially Joss. He was only thirteen and a boy with no father—"
He leaned closer. "I'm sorry about your father." I was trapped, his body like a big wall hovering over me. Why was he standing so close? Why was he looking at me like that?
"Sir?" I murmured when he inched even closer. I'd never had a boss act this way with me before. If I didn't know better, I would swear he was ... he was ...
His head dipped down. Now, his mouth was hovering over mine. Not inches. No. It was a tiny fraction of an inch from mine. His breath softly caressed my lips. Warm. Sweet.
Was he going to kiss me?
Was he expecting some kind of bribe? A payment in return for my job?
I was frozen. Shocked. Unable to move. Unwilling to move. It was wrong for him to use his position to try something like this. Wrong. Illegal. Unethical. Immoral.
But, wow, was he a beautiful man. Sexy. Intelligent. Mysterious. I wanted him to kiss me. My lips were tingling already, and he hadn't even touched them yet. My blood was pounding hard through my body, too. My heart was slamming against my breastbone. I let my eyelids fall shut, enclosing myself in darkness and swirls of red.
"Sir?" Something soft brushed against my lips. And again. Little sparks of electricity sizzled and zapped under my skin. Heat whooshed through my body, up to my face, down between my legs.
The intensity of my body's reaction took my breath away. And still I couldn't move. A crazy impulse popped into my head. I wanted to throw my arms around his neck, tangle my fingers in his silky hair, and pull him to me.
I can't do that. I can't.
"I'm not going to fire you," he whispered. As he spoke, his lips grazed mine. The touches were minute, almost imperceptible. And yet the effect was mind-blowing. I wanted more. I needed more. A real kiss. Lips. Tongue. Teeth. Full body contact.
"Thank you." I shuddered. My fingers wrapped around the seat of the chair.
"Before you thank me, you need to know one thing."
His mouth claimed mine. At last. And ohmygod, what a kiss it was. It started out smooth and gentle, a slow, patient seduction. But within seconds, his tongue traced the seam of my mouth. And once I opened to him, I was swept up into a wild, thrashing world of carnal need. His tongue stroked and stabbed, possessed. His hands cupped my face, holding me captive. I couldn't escape. I didn't want to escape. I craved more.
A moan swept up my throat, echoing in our joined mouths. Finally able to move, I lifted my hands, sliding them up his arms. I could feel the bulge of thick muscles under his crisp, starched dress shirt. They moved over his wide shoulders. My fingertips brushed silky curls at his nape.
Ohmygod, what was I doing? Kameron Maldonado was kissing me. The owner of the company! His tongue was stroking mine. One of his hands gliding down the column of my neck. The other slid to the back of my head. My scalp stung as he fisted a handful of my hair and pulled, forcing my head to one side.
I groaned and licked my lips. They tasted like him. Sweet. Delicious. The swirls behind my eyelids were spinning now, and my heart was doing leaps in my chest.
His tongue flicked along the pounding pulse beating beneath my skin, down my neck to the ticklish spot at the crook. There he nipped me, and a shock wave of heat blazed down my body. Goose bumps coated my right arm. My nipples hardened.
Inside my head, I just kept saying, Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod. I was lost in sensation, overcome with need. Eager to feel his weight and heat pressing against me, I pulled. But he didn't budge. The hand that had been at my neck inched lower, the palm sliding down to cover my breast. I whimpered, arched my back, pushing into his touch.
"Miss Barnes, you don't have to do this to keep your job," he murmured against my neck.
"I ... I know." I didn't really know anything. I had no clue what this meant. I had no idea what would happen after it ended. But I did know I wanted what was happening and wished it would never end.
He kneaded my breast through my clothes, and I bit my lip, stifling a cry. "I want you," he said.
"I ... I want you, too."
"No." He palmed my face. "Open your eyes."
I did as he asked, and my breath left my lungs in a soft huff. Wow, was he sexy. His hair was slightly messy, the curls a little unruly and wild. I'd never spoken to this man before. I'd only seen pictures of him down in the company cafeteria. In the pictures he looked good, but not anywhere as amazing as he did right now.
"I want you to be my assistant."
Was he offering me a promotion? And if he was, what kinds of strings were attached? There had to be strings.
"I ... don't understand," I admitted.
"I'm offering you a job. You'll be my assistant. You'll be paid a salary that should meet your needs, and you'll have access to a company car, expense account, and business phone. But there is one condition, a fairly significant one."
I could imagine what that condition would be, considering where his hand was.
I felt the heat draining from my body as my brain started functioning. Reality was like a cold, hard slap to my face. It stung.
I would have to sleep with Kameron Maldonado. Not because I found him incredibly sexy. Not because I wanted to. But because I had to. I would be one of those women, the kind that fucked their bosses to get a job.
Me. Pretty-but-not-beautiful me.
I'd never, ever thought I would even consider such a proposition. For one thing, I'd never expected to have something like this come up. I wasn't a perfect ten. With a chest that was a little too small and hips a little too wide, eyes a little too big and wide-set and a jaw a little too narrow, I wasn't exactly Playboy Playmate material.
But it seemed Kameron Maldonado didn't care....
"What about my brother?" I asked.
"He's going to be let go. But I won't report what he did to the police or to my associates. It'll be kept between you and me. This is why I need you working as my assistant. Depending upon the fallout, I may need your help."
"I'll do anything I can to help."
"Good. I expected you to say that. And, as far as that condition I mentioned ..." His hand inched down my stomach, stopping just above my pubic bone. "I'm accustomed to getting exactly what I want, when I want."
Despite the fact that I was so aroused, my panties were sodden, I whispered, somewhat coolly, "In other words, to keep my job, I have to sleep with you?"
"No, you'll sleep with me because you want to. I won't ask you to do that. I'll only ask you to allow me the liberty to touch you whenever, however, and wherever I want."
That was some "condition." But it wasn't exactly what I'd expected. By having pulled the actual act of intercourse off the table, Kameron had made it a little more palatable to me. I wouldn't be forced to have sex with him. Though I could almost believe he was telling the truth when he said I would want to. The way he touched me made me melt. What girl could resist?
After a few moments I nodded. "You have yourself a new assistant."
"Very good." The hand that had been resting, hot but softly, above my mound wandered down my thigh. It found the hem of my skirt. "Open your legs for me."
The way he'd said that made me melt, his voice husky. So, so sexy.
My face burning, I parted my knees slightly and watched as his gaze inched down my body. He placed one hand on each of my knees.
I moved them wider apart.
He shook his head. "Lift your hips." He slid his hands under my butt and raised it off the chair. Then he pushed my skirt up and forced me back onto the chair. Now I was sitting there with my skirt wadded up around my waist and only a pair of cotton panties between his eyes and my most private parts.
What would he do next?
Hands on my knees, he pushed so they were opened in a wide vee. He visibly inhaled. "You smell so good, Abigail."
My insides clenched. I felt a gush of liquid heat saturate the crotch of my panties. Already I was aching for him to touch me there, to slip a finger into my aching center and stroke. I couldn't believe it. A throbbing need was building deep inside. With every second that passed it was getting worse.
I reached down, but he knocked my hand away. "A couple of ground rules. First, I can touch you. How I want. When I want. Where I want. You may not touch me without express permission to do so. Do you understand?"
That was a strange rule.
"Yes," I said.
"Good. Hands down. Where they were."
I curled my fingers around the edge of the chair's seat.
He placed a single index finger on my thigh. One little fingertip, and oh so slowly it wandered up, up, up. My insides did triple flips when it reached the crease between my inner thigh and pussy lips.
Every cell in my body wanted that finger to keep going, to dip into my center. Instead, it circled around the places that ached the most for his touch, skimming over my skin, leaving a trail of tingling need.
"Are you a virgin?" he asked.
My face burned. "No. I've ... I've had sex."
"How many partners?"
I was mortified by his question. What did that matter, how many? Did I really have to admit that I was almost as inexperienced as a virgin? I started to pull my knees together, but he stopped me, holding me wide open. "No, you won't hide from me. Not your body. Not your past. I want to know everything about you. Every secret."
A frigid chill raced up my spine. "That wasn't part of our deal," I snapped.
He laughed. It was a deep, throaty guffaw, accompanied by
Excerpted from SURRENDER by Tawny Taylor. Copyright © 2014 Tawny Taylor. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I loved this book. The sexual tension between the characters was so hot my ereader's screen steamed up. And I loved that there was an actual plot to the book, rather than just two characters whining and fussing about why the can't be together because they're too damaged to love, blah, blah, blah. It is a fast, steamy, entertaining read. A perfect summer vacation beach read.
4.5 Sizzling Stars Favorite Quotes: “Time crawled slower than a sleeping turtle.” “When we were… making love… all I could think about was having you, taking you.” Something flashing in his eyes. “Keeping you.” My Review: Hot. Steamy. Well written. Swoon – I am new to Tawny Taylor but will be watching for more of her work. This story gripped me from the beginning and maintained the heat and suspense throughout. The writing was evocative, sensual, and emotional. I had a hard time putting my kindle down when I needed to stop to eat, sleep, or answer my husband - after his 3rd attempt at getting my attention. The near ending was a bit out of sync for the characters, but the result was exactly what I was hoping for. Sigh, now I just need to find me a rich handsome man to work for.
This book may have been about passion and SURRENDER, but I wanted to run. Run for the hills and never look back. I might have done it, too, but I felt a compelling need to finish this tale. Maybe so I could write this review, expunge this novel from my brain, and pretend that my life is filled with rainbows and pixie sticks. Or maybe I have a slightly sadistic nature when it comes to my reading material. I like candy, and therefore I like candy books. I had hoped to add this book to my pastel collection. This novel, however, left a taste so sour in my mouth that I swallowed a bottle of Listerine, and yet the last hint of sourness still lingers between my teeth or under my tongue or maybe it’s at the back of my throat. Any way you slice it, though, it’s a battle that I lost, and come to think of it, I probably was never really in this fight to begin with. Let’s start with the good. The sex. There was plenty of it to saturate my male fantasies, and still leave me with a few bated breaths for the next rip-roaring horizontal tango. And now I’m done with the good. So, in that regard, this book probably fits right in with Karen’s monster porn series. Only there were no monsters, unless you count acting like teenagers well beyond your teenage years in the monster category. Yeah, it scared the crap out of me, too. I didn’t just dislike Abby and Kameron, although I’d rather not delve into another four-letter word just yet, so we’ll skip on by that particular calamity. The dialogue made me cringe in fear and cower in the corner. Both of these mishaps affected the sex, but we’re still in a plus on the BDSM factor. Call me a generous soul. But then we get to the plot. Which was a bit all over the place. Had this book intensified its focus, we might have been able to add another plus here or there. But, yeah, we’ve got another minus in this particular realm. The rest of the characters proved to be mostly idiots and miscreants, and the supposed pretzel twist was a bit too easy to unravel. The story loop skipped ahead a few frames as I turned the pages, similar to a movie reel that someone had hacked away at with a pair of scissors. Possibly one of the “teenagers” from this novel. The loves me-hates me-loves me dance grew mold way too quickly, and I had to clamp down on whatever ridiculous notions were about to pop into my brain. So, yeah, I made it to the end, but I’m not particularly happy about it. I received this book for free through NetGalley. Robert Downs Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator
Surrender, Tawny Taylor. Review from jeannie zelos book reviews I really liked the sound of this, sexy and a bit of BDSM....but sadly in practice it was one of those that just didn't work at all for me and I ended up skim reading just to finish. What was the problem? Well, first off Abby. She was such a doormat, a wimp and I just couldn't take to her. There she was having all these inner reservations, and yet she didn't say a thing. Not One Thing...just let everything happen. Then the boss, Kam, he was simply just weird. Hot, then cold, then hot again, and all for no reason. I'll believe in insta lust, but I have to feel a real sensual attraction and that both have a bit of depth to them to go for insta love but here...well Abby just seemed to lay eyes on the guy and roll over. Thinks “oh no! You can't do that” - Acts: opens legs.... Then there was the plot(s) – they just didn't make sense. We learn that Abby and Kam need to find out who the person who's filed on her brothers phone is; all they have is the letter T, so they go through employee files etc, and then when the person is revealed the name begins with an S? So what was all that T stuff for? Pointless unless I’m missing something obvious. Then there's the involvement ( or more to the point the non involvement) of the police, frankly that was so far fetched as to be off the wall. One moment Abby is on the news as wanted in connection with a serious crime, then someone else is taken in and she's free, never had to answer a question, never even saw a policeman. As she was supposed to be complicit, they'd want to speak to her if only to rule her out . Then the multi billionaire Kam doesn't have a PI contact? Or even know anyone who can recommend one....please. It was all just too far fetched for me, I know its fiction, but even that if its posing as reality needs to have a base in real life. Sadly the hot sex, and there was lots- though the BDSM link was very, very tenuous and barely credible, didn't make up for the rest :( I'm sure Tawny worked hard, I'm sure some readers will love it, but for me its the one I’m happy to let get away :-( Stars: sorry, I hate doing this but it's just a two. I really didn't enjoy it. ARC supplied via netgalley