The first novel in the explosive new Southern Shield series from New York Times bestselling author Angela Knight explores the intoxicating games between a female cop and a Navy SEAL—and the killer instincts of a secret enemy watching every move they make.
Atlanta deputy Alexis Rogers and Navy SEAL Frank Murphy know all about power and restraint, necessary force, and pushing their limits. When they meet in the darkness of a BDSM club, their skills are put to use. With each successive night comes a new adrenaline rush, and while they’re falling into something perilously close to love, their games are still too private, too extreme, and too daring ever to be exposed.
But their intimate lives are upended when a fellow deputy of Alex’s is killed. It’s not a tragic hazard of the job. It’s cold-blooded murder. And he’s not the last to be taken out. Now Alex and Frank have found themselves more vulnerable than ever—and exposed to a killer with a twisted vendetta who turns desire into the most dangerous sensation of all.
About the Author
Angela Knight is the New York Times bestselling author of the Mageverse novels and former newspaper journalist. She lives with her family in South Carolina.
Read an Excerpt
Bruce Greer had always had a talent for breaking and entering. Of course, it had been years since he’d done it—he’d been walking the straight and narrow for almost a decade now. But after what he’d done six weeks ago, that was over and done.
Besides, he was really pissed.
The lock was a good one, but he’d learned to break into houses at his daddy’s knee. Steve Greer’s interests had been too expensive to fund on a mechanic’s salary, so they’d had to find other sources of income. Daddy was so good, the cops never caught them. Otherwise Bruce wouldn’t have his current job.
He used the picks with delicate skill, ignoring the sweat cooling on his face in the October air as he sought the familiar click and give of the lock’s pins. I’ve got plenty of time. The bastard won’t be back from the gym for another hour.
Good thing his target was such a creature of habit. He’d had the man under surveillance for weeks since he’d learned what they’d done to him. How they’d lied to him.
The thought of her betrayal sent a hot knife of anger slicing into his heart. He’d loved her since they were kids, and she’d done nothing but lie. Only pretended they could become lovers again.
All a lie. She’d been laughing at him the whole time.
Nobody laughed at a Greer.
There had to be an accounting. By the time he was done, they’d all bleed. Her. Her family. Her friends.
They all owed him blood.
The lock clicked open beneath the delicate manipulation of his picks. He lifted his bag, opened the door, and walked into the house.
Alexis Rogers had never been this turned on in her life. Especially not from watching somebody else have sex.
And how the hell did Frank turn swinging a bullwhip into a sex act? Not just a kink act—something that aroused you if you had a little twist in that direction. Which admittedly, Alex did.
The big man used the lash with sensuality, as if he were eating out the blonde lying across the spanking bench. Plump, pretty, and naked, Tara merely groaned in woozy pleasure.
The overhead spotlight caught the wet glisten of her rosy vaginal lips. She lay with wrists and ankles cuffed to the bench’s legs, the wedge-shaped custom padding raising her hips higher than her head.
Forty people surrounded Frank and the girl in the house’s sprawling basement dungeon, watching the scene with rapt interest. One of them was Tara’s husband, who leaned a shoulder against the nearest oak support column. Roy was a wiry Dominant with thinning blond hair and a long bony face. His hazel eyes were fixed on his wife with protective intensity. Though he loved bondage and emotional domination, Roy often said he couldn’t bring himself to hurt his masochistic submissive. Rather than deprive her of what she needed, he liked to arrange for someone else to provide the impact play Tara craved.
Apparently, Frank had volunteered to provide the foreplay this time. And foreplay was all he’d be getting out of it; Tara and Roy never had penetrative sex with anyone but each other.
Alex intended to make it up to Frank—and God, she couldn’t wait. Captain Kyle Miller, host of tonight’s party, had been singing the big Dominant’s praises for years. She gathered they’d served in the Navy together before Cap retired and returned to Atlanta with his wife, Joanne.
Now Frank and his bullwhip had moved to the area, too. Alex looked forward to sampling his skills. If Cap was to be believed, Frank was the Dom of her dreams. Alex believed him, since the Millers took their kink seriously.
Just look at their basement dungeon.
Running the whole length of the huge brick colonial, it was a suitably menacing space with cement block walls painted flat black, recessed lighting, and square oak support beams, also painted black. Home dungeon or not, it was as well furnished as any upscale New York sex club, with spanking benches, St. Andrew’s Crosses, stocks, cages, manacles, and just about anything else horny kinksters could use in pursuit of an orgasm. Cap had built the majority of the equipment himself; he was, according to his wife, good with his hands. She usually leered cheerfully when she said it.
At the moment, several pieces of that gear had been shoved aside to give Frank room to swing his whip. Tara lay at one end of that space, spread wide and chained down in all her glorious submissive nudity.
CRACK! The popper—the fringe at the very tip of the bullwhip—struck her reddening ass. The lash ought to sting like a bitch, but Tara seemed to feel no pain. Just the reverse, judging by her pleasure-drunk moans.
He’d built the intensity slowly, starting with a spanking, then progressing through two different floggers—the first deerskin, the second with thinner tresses that left thin red lines against her creamy skin. The blows he’d given her were just hard enough to make her squirm, pant, and occasionally yelp. Only when he judged her properly warmed up had he brought out the bullwhip.
A single tail could cut like a meat cleaver if you didn’t know what you were doing—or inflict nothing more than a sharp sting if you did.
Frank knew what he was doing, and he was careful about doing it. He had to be. He was a Dominant, a practitioner of BDSM—a blended acronym for Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, and Sadomasochism. It was too easy to hurt somebody badly if you were careless playing BDSM’s edgy sexual games. No orgasm was worth that.
Still, for people like Alex and Frank, sex was an extreme sport: at its most exhilarating when spiced with danger.
Between clusters of strikes, the big Dom caressed Tara’s pussy and reddening ass. The combination of pain and pleasure had sent her flying into what the community called “subspace,” a high caused by a combination of endorphins and adrenaline. Pursuit of the floating euphoria drove subs to seek out Dominants like Frank. Skilled, a little sadistic, with a keen understanding of a submissive’s sexual needs.
The whip cracked into another hissing arc. Frank watched Tara as if savoring every twitch of her lush ass and flex of her fingers, every heartfelt plea and whimper. As he moved, he swung the whip with a bullfighter’s elegant grace.
Alex figured him at 6 feet 5 or 6 inches, maybe two hundred and forty deliciously muscled pounds. Frank’s shirtless torso was brawny enough to make Michelangelo’s David grit his marble teeth in envy. Adding to his erotic appeal, his long legs were clad in faded jeans tucked into polished leather riding boots. God, she’d always had a thing for riding boots.
He had the perfect Dom’s face, handsome but intimidating. His nose was just short of hawkish, while his broad jaw had a strong cleft chin. He wore his black hair in a military cut that emphasized the angularity of his features.
As if to belie the stark male aggression of the rest of his face, he had a dreamer’s mouth. Lower lip plump, upper with a pronounced bow, it looked soft, deliciously kissable.
Alex couldn’t wait to kiss that mouth—and work her way down the rest of Frank’s glorious body to the erection bulging behind his fly. Sweet Jesus, it looked like he’d stuffed a rolling pin in there.
Patience, Alex. Captain Kyle, their kinkster matchmaker, had promised to introduce them after the scene.
Powerful muscle rippled along Frank’s right arm as he popped the whip against Tara’s ass. The sub caught her breath, then let it out in a long, erotic groan.
“Rate it,” he ordered. His smoky voice seemed to curl around Alex’s aroused body like sandalwood incense.
Tara moaned something that definitely didn’t sound like pain. He strode around the spanking bench, wrapped a huge fist in her cascade of curls, and jerked her head back with a Dominant’s showy snarl. “When I ask you a question, you damned well answer. Talk to me!”
“Uh . . .” The girl panted. “I don’t . . .” Yeah, she was definitely flying, as stoned on endorphins as a Woodstock hippie on a joint the size of a redwood.
Frank glanced toward Roy. Tara’s husband nodded and picked up the blanket and bottle of water he’d had waiting for this moment. The physical aftereffects of subspace could include a drop in body temperature and blood sugar; a responsible Top came prepared.
Crouching by Tara’s head, Frank began talking to her in a low voice as her husband joined them.
“I’ve always thought you can tell the most about a Dom by what he does after he puts down the whip,” Calvin Stephens commented from Alex’s right. He was a tall young man with the build of a marathon runner, flamboyantly displayed by a submissive’s leather harness and snug black shorts. “An asshole would walk away and let Roy handle the aftercare. Frank’s doing his part, which says something about his sense of responsibility.”
Cal turned to the man next to him with a wicked grin on his narrow, clever face. His white teeth appeared to glow against his dark skin. “You give great aftercare, too, sir.”
Ted Arlington snorted and folded his arms. His black tee revealed impressive biceps. He had a broad, intensely masculine face with a wide mouth, a round bulb of a nose, and a thick blond mustache. Though a head shorter than his lover, he was all muscle and power. Anybody who tried to target Ted in a game of “beat the cop” soon regretted it. “You’re just saying that because I always give you cock as part of the package.”
Cal grinned wickedly, dipping his dark gaze to the zipper of his Dominant’s black leathers. “And what a nice package it is, sir.”
“But you like it when I suck.”
“You’re pushing it, subbie.”
“Every chance I get, sir. More fun that way.”
As her friends flirted, Alex’s gaze slid across the basement in search of Frank.
He’d helped Roy unbuckle Tara from the spanking bench so the two men could wrap her in the blanket. Roy half-carried her to one of the couches that stood against the walls. Pulling what was probably an energy bar from his pocket, Frank sank down beside the couple to unwrap it for her. Meanwhile, Roy helped her with the bottle of water she was too buzzed to manage on her own.
“Cal’s right, Frank does look like a good Dom,” Alex said, with a nod toward the trio. “I’m impressed.”
Ted eyed her, a blond brow lifting. “That’s not saying much. Hell, Gary impressed you.”
Alex forced a smile to hide her flinch. “Well, Gary was very pretty.”
“So’s a coral snake. I still wouldn’t fuck one.”
“Sir,” Cal put in, “you do know gay men are supposed to be sensitive, right?”
“Sass me one more time, subbie, and you’ll be sensitive for the next week.”
Cal sighed under the weight of world-weary skepticism. “All I get are promises. Sad, empty promises.”
“You do know your ass is getting more stripes than a zebra’s?”
“God, I hope so.”
Ignoring that, Ted turned to her. “As for you, I want to talk to this Frank before you traipse off to scene with him. You ain’t getting hurt by another Danger Dom on my watch.”
“Ted, Cap wouldn’t fix me up with somebody like that.”
“I somehow doubt the Captain has ever slept with Frank, much less subbed for him.”
“You’re not mistaken, sir,” Cal assured him. “Cap definitely doesn’t bat for our team.”
“And how would you know?” Alex narrowed her eyes in mock suspicion. “Been flirting?”
“With the Captain?” He recoiled in mock horror. “God, no. He scares me. He looks like Captain Picard’s bigger, meaner brother.”
“You are such a nerd, Cal.”
“Hey, my mom’s a fan. She raised me on reruns of Next Gen.”
“Your mom,” Alex drawled, pumping skepticism into her voice. “Riiiiiiight. Tell it to somebody who doesn’t know you and fellow fanboys. I’ve heard y’all argue Kirk versus Picard on the Captain Coolness scale too many times.”
“I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again—Kirk is much cooler. Take how—”
“I’m serious, Alex,” Ted interrupted. “This Frank guy makes Gary look like the ‘before’ fatty in a Bowflex ad.”
“Don’t worry, Dad, I’ll be careful.”
“None of your lip.” He glowered at her. “Don’t think I won’t whip your little ass as hard as the subbie’s.”
“Better watch out, PoPo,” Cal put in, using the slang term for police he’d made her nickname. “He means it.”
“Yeah, okay, I hear you.” Her gaze slid back toward Frank again.
Ted turned to his submissive. “I just wasted my breath, didn’t I?”
“Might as well try to blow out a forest fire like a candle on a cake. She’s completely under his evil spell.” Cal’s voice turned dreamy. “His muscular, towering, evil, evil spell.”
“I am definitely whupping your ass.”
Cal merely grinned, looking distinctly smug at the prospect.
* * *
The redhead was driving Frank Murphy crazy. Alex—they’d exchanged e-mails, but she hadn’t revealed her last name yet—wore the proverbial little black dress that hugged some luscious curves. Throw in lace-stocking-clad legs in stiletto heels, and it was no wonder he was tripping over his tongue. Which was unacceptable, especially when he was providing aftercare to somebody he’d just whipped into subspace.
Focus on Tara, dammit. He’d told Roy he’d take care of his wife, and he’d do it if it killed him.
Be easier if he could throw a burqa over Alex, though. Those legs . . . God, the Leg Fairy had been good to the girl. Endless as a Fallujah patrol, with long, lean muscle in thigh and calf that flexed every time she twitched a do-me heel. He’d bet his Budweiser she ran every fucking day. He’d love to have her wrap his ass in those legs while he ground in nice and deep . . .
No wonder he had a hard-on up to his navel.
Tara, dammit. Get your mind back on Tara. Discipline usually wasn’t this big a problem. Between Iraq, Afghanistan, and his mother—and all their respective IEDs, whether literal or not—Frank knew how to gut through almost anything.
Roy looked up at him over Tara’s blond head. “I can take it from here. Go talk to Alex.”
He stiffened. Was his distraction that damned obvious?
“You done good, Frank,” the Dom reassured him. “It’s going to take me three hours to pull Tara down out of orbit . . . assuming she stays awake that long. I only know about Alex because Cap’s been planning to set you two up for months.”
“Ah. All right. Look, thanks for trusting me to scene with your wife.” Smiling, he shook Roy’s hand as he rose to his feet. “You’re a lucky man.”
“Don’t I know it.” The blond Dom gave his wife a tender smile as she leaned against his shoulder. Tara sent him a slow, dazed blink in return. “See you later, Frank.”
“Later.” Starting off through the crowd, Frank scanned for his host, wanting the introduction Cap had promised him.
“Nice scene, son,” a voice rumbled from behind him. “You flew that girl like the space shuttle.”
He turned with a smile. “Not as high as you’d have sent her.”
“Now you’re just flattering an old man’s ego.” Captain Kyle Miller was a tall man, wiry and tough, with a fringe of gray hair around an otherwise bald head. That blue-eyed stare of his could make even Frank want to drop his gaze. His black slacks and navy golf shirt covered a build that was still respectable, though his SEAL tours in ’Nam were forty years in the past.
“Let’s go get you properly introduced,” Cap said, and turned to lead the way through the basement. Classic rock pounded in the background as people in latex, lace, and leather gathered around assorted bondage gear, preparing for their own kinky scenes now that Frank’s bullwhip demo was over. “Y’all made contact yet?”
Frank shrugged, sidestepping a naked girl walking on a leash behind a short Domme in a green leather catsuit. “Exchanged a few e-mails, a photo or two, chatted on the phone a couple of times. Enough to know both of us have tested negative for STDs recently. I’ve been so busy getting all the requirements done for the new job—not to mention stuff with my mom—that we haven’t managed an actual date yet.” He frowned. “Alex hasn’t told me much, beyond that she’s not married.”
Cap shrugged. “I’m not surprised. She’s pretty deep in the closet, as far as the Scene goes. Most everybody at the party tonight is.”
“Including me.” Being known as kinky could get you fired or ostracized. People had even lost their kids over BDSM.
Which was why, as in the movie Fight Club, many kinksters never publicly discussed what they’d done, where they’d done it, or who they’d done it with. The price of running your mouth could be entirely too high.
As his attention focused on Alex, Frank put out a hand to stop his friend. “Who’s the guy? The glaring blond fireplug with Alex and the black kid. I thought she wasn’t involved with anybody.” The man wore the leather pants and black T-shirt that was a popular uniform for Dominants. The kid—he looked to be in his mid-twenties—was dressed in an artistic arrangement of straps, the male submissive’s answer to lingerie.
“That’s Ted. He and the kid are a couple.”
“So what’s with the glare? They in a ménage with Alex?” Frank was the last man to poach. Not after Sherry.
“That’d be damned near incest, the way Ted is about that girl. You’d think he was her daddy, he’s so protective.” Cap grimaced, as if at an unpleasant memory. “The glare is probably because Ted absolutely hated her last Dom. Not that you could blame him. That one was such a prick, he should have worn a condom over his head as a warning to the rest of us.” Correctly interpreting Frank’s wary expression, he added, “Don’t worry about Ted, I’ll deal with him. You concentrate on Alex.”
“Okaaaay,” Frank said, dubious. He wasn’t sure he needed any more drama in his life.
Alex turned toward him, pivoting on those incredible legs, gleaming red hair curling around her shoulders, her little black dress hugging bra-challenged breasts and curvy hips. When she saw him, a smile lit her face like a sunrise.
On the other hand, what’s life without a little drama?
* * *
Good God, he’s huge, Alex thought, staring up at Frank Murphy as Cap performed the introductions. She wasn’t used to being towered over, especially not in heels that had her scraping 6 feet 1. If he got drunk and disorderly on me on the street, I’d have to shoot him. Otherwise he’d kick my ass.
Of course, if she did shoot him, the rest of the female population would rise up en masse and lynch her. The man was even more mouthwatering up close than he’d appeared from across the room. His chest alone seemed to take up her entire field of vision. And she definitely approved of the view.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you at last, Alex,” Frank said, engulfing her hand in a big, callused palm and long, strong fingers.
“I can definitely say the same.” His eyes were deep and dark gray, staring into hers in the kind of hypnotic Dom stare that made her want to give him anything he wanted. Especially if what he wanted was her. She suspected her smile looked besotted. Her nipples had hardened into tiny erections. His eyes flicked down to the tight silk bodice of her dress, then flicked up again, darkening hungrily. She swallowed. “Impressive flogging demo.”
“You do seem to know your way around a whip,” Ted said. The words were complimentary. The tone was dubious.
“I’ve sacrificed many pillows to the bondage gods.” Dominants were often told to practice their whip skills on pillows until they could throw a lash precisely where they wanted it. It was a hell of a lot harder than it looked. “Damned near lost an eye once, too. You can bet I never forgot those safety glasses again.”
“Good for you. Got any references?”
“Yes, and I already checked them,” Alex told Ted, losing patience. He was deliberately trying to yank Frank’s chain.
Cap moved up behind her friend and clapped a hand on the shorter man’s beefy shoulder. “Come on, Ted, I’ll get you a beer.”
“I don’t drink when I’m sceneing,” the cop growled, glaring at Frank like a protective father trying to warn off a Hells Angel.
“Then I’ll get you a Coke.” The ex-SEAL dragged him away. Cal rolled his eyes, gave Alex a wink, and followed them.
One dark brow lifted, Frank watched them head for the refreshment table set up beyond the bondage equipment. “Protective, isn’t he?”
Alex sent a fond smile after her friends. “Can’t seem to break him of the habit.”
A woman yowled as her Dom barked a command over the classic rock booming from the sound system. At the moment, Jim Morrison badly wanted someone to light his fire. Alex had to raise her voice to be heard. “Want to step into the other room? We can’t exactly talk in here.”
“That depends. Will Ted feel driven to defend your honor?”
“I’ll protect you.”
He grinned at her, gray eyes crinkling over wolfish white teeth. “Got a deal. Want something to drink? I’m dry from that flogging.”
“Sure.” She followed him over to a cooler and took one of the canned soft drinks he handed her. Neither of them reached for a beer. Ted was right; only an idiot drank when he scened. BDSM was dangerous enough stone sober. Besides, the whole point of kinky games was the pursuit of a different kind of high.
Someone yelped as his Domme swatted his ass with her riding crop. Morrison was getting insistent about his fire.
Rising to her tiptoes, Alex called into Frank’s ear, “Want to head somewhere quieter? There are a couple of private scene rooms across the hall.”
“Yeah!” Frank called back. “I can’t even hear myself think in here. It’s for damn sure we can’t negotiate.”
Together, they wound their way through the crowd and out of the main dungeon into a hallway. Three smaller rooms and a powder room lay opposite, with the stairs leading to the rest of the house at the other end of the hall.
Two of the rooms were occupied, judging by the lusty sounds coming through their closed doors. Fortunately for Alex’s frustration level, the door to the third room stood open. She threw Frank a questioning look. He shrugged. “Why not?”
Leading the way in, he flipped on the light to reveal a home gym instead of the pocket dungeon they were expecting. A treadmill, a small wall-hung flat screen, and a set of free weights shared space with a stack of padded mats that probably did duty during yoga or self-defense practice. Or knowing the Millers, sex.
“What do you think?” Alex asked.
Frank shrugged. “At least we can hear what we’re agreeing to.”
She closed the door, muting Morrison’s wail. Frank was right—nobody scened without negotiating. There was a BDSM saying: once trussed like a turkey, you didn’t want to discover your plans differed from those of the guy with the whip.
The skirt of her Little Black Dress was just loose enough to let Alex lower herself down on the stacked mats. Frank sat next to her, stretching his long legs out and crossing his booted feet at the ankles.
“Nice job getting Tara into subspace, by the way.” She popped the top on the Coke and took a sip. “Not that I’m surprised. Both your references had good things to say about you.” She might be an adrenaline junkie, but Alex wasn’t stupid; she’d called his former subs. BDSM attracted its share of abusive assholes, as Gary had painfully demonstrated. “They said you play responsibly and have a chivalrous streak that’s surprisingly wide for a guy who likes riding crops. And judging by the way Cap sings your praises, you may be his favorite person on the planet. Except for Mrs. Cap, of course.”
“Cap’s a hell of a guy. He taught me the ropes when I was just starting out on the scene.” Frank eyed her over his Mountain Dew. “He thinks a lot of you, too.”
“Really? Cool.” She leaned back on her elbows, enjoying the way his gaze skimmed the length of her legs. “What’d you think of my limits list?” The question didn’t sound quite as casual as she would have liked, though she hoped her tension didn’t show.
He grinned, flashing white teeth. “I’m shocked—shocked, I say—by your wanton depravity. And I’m wanton to fuck your brains out.”
She grinned back. “Smartass.”
“You do know I’m going to have to punish you for that?” He delivered the threat in a velvet purr that made her want to squirm.
“Mmmm.” Frank gave her a slow, wicked smile. “Our tastes do seem to align pretty well.”
Alex had thought the same thing when she’d read his list of hard limits—things he absolutely wouldn’t do—soft limits—things he’d consider doing—and fantasies. It had read a lot like the one she’d written about her own tastes.
On the other hand, she’d thought she was a good match with Gary, too.
Sobering, Frank studied her, as if sensing the battle between her doubts and her desire. “Why don’t we see how this evening goes?”
Alex blew out a breath. “That might be wise.”
He started to lean toward her, only to stop. “May I kiss you?” A polite Dominant never touched a sub without permission.
Her heart began to pound. “Yes.” She swallowed, cleared her throat. “I’d like that.”
Hot approval flared in his eyes, and he lowered his head toward hers.
His lips felt just as soft as they looked, tasting of Mountain Dew and masculinity. One big hand came up to cup her cheek, his fingers long and strong and warm. His broad body curled around hers, making her feel sheltered and protected. It wasn’t a sensation she was used to. She was surprised at how seductive it was.
She reached for him, feeling the hot flesh of his ribs under her palm.
And sighed, melting into him.
God, she tastes exquisite, Frank thought, his mouth moving gently, carefully, on hers. His tongue traced over the soft curves of her lips until they parted in a low moan of passion. He entered slowly, drinking in the sex and sin of her mouth.
Alex moaned, her body lithe against his, hands pleasantly cool on his bare chest. Her nipples felt hard as cherry stones beneath the snug bodice of her dress. His cock, already hard from the sight of those prima ballerina legs, jerked at the sensual promise in her kiss.
Before today’s flogging demo, it had been a year and a half since he’d even spanked a sub. Between training for his new job and taking care of his mother, he hadn’t had time to search for a lover. After what had happened with Sherry, he hadn’t been in a hurry to look. At least not until Cap had started singing Alex’s praises.
No wonder I’m losing it. I’m deprived. His lips twitched. Or maybe depraved might be closer to it.
She eased back a fraction and opened her eyes, vividly green, a little dazed. He reached up, unable to resist stroking a hand through her blazing curls. Her hair felt like cool, raw silk and smelled of pomegranate shampoo. “What do you want in a Dominant? What drew you to the scene?”
Swallowing, Alex licked her lips. He almost bent to take her mouth again. “I like . . .” She paused to consider. “Testing myself. Being tied up, helpless, while a Dom does whatever the hell he wants. The risk, the heat . . . It’s sexy. Seeing how much I can take when he tests me, tries to drive me past my limits with pain or need.”
He traced a forefinger across her lips, was gratified when her little pink tongue darted out to taste him. “And what do you want in a Dom?”
She lifted her gaze, met his eyes steadily. “If my Dom wants me on my knees, I want him strong enough to put me there.”
He gave her a slow smile. Resisted the urge to flex. “I think I can manage.”
Her answering smile was a wicked scarlet curve. “Oh, I don’t doubt it.” The smile faded into seriousness. “If you’re looking for a twenty-four/seven sub to kiss your boots, I’m not your girl.” Her gaze flicked down his legs. “Though they are really nice boots.”
“You a brat?” He’d never liked brats.
“No, I’m an adult. I don’t need somebody to spank me for being a bad girl. I’ve already got one daddy—two, if you count Ted. I don’t need another.”
“Then what do you need?” His voice sounded a trifle hoarse.
“A demonstration.” She paused as if at a sudden thought. Her brilliant green eyes widened, and she grinned in delight.
Alex wasted no time acting on whatever idea she’d just had. Despite her heels and snug skirt, she rose in a smooth surge and skimmed the dress off over her head, revealing a long, strong, sweetly curved body clad in a lacy garter belt and stockings. Her breasts were lush as mounds of cream, topped by taut pink nipples. Her narrow waist flared into a gorgeous ass, then sleeked down into those dancer’s legs.
As Frank stared in stunned hunger, she balanced on first one foot, then the other to slip off the fuck-me heels. “I want you to prove you can master me. Two out of three falls.”
It wasn’t that unusual for a sub to undress at a BDSM party; half the women here weren’t wearing a stitch. But Frank hadn’t expected Alex to strip before they’d even finished negotiating.
He watched hungrily as she rolled the stockings down the sleek muscle of thigh and calf. However he’d thought their first scene would go, this wasn’t it. “Two out of three falls? Are you suggesting some kind of fight?” He didn’t fight women. Not if he could help it anyway; sometimes the women had other ideas.
“More like a practice bout. No punches, kicks, or choke holds—you’d kill me.” Alex sounded utterly matter-of-fact about the whole thing. “Just joint locks and throws. And pins. Loser taps out of the hold.” She looked up from rolling the other stocking down her calf. She’d bent almost double to do it, making him imagine all the erotic possibilities of a sub that flexible. “Unless you don’t want to.”
His cock lengthened, on the verge of escaping his waistband. Frank ignored its dicky demands; he needed to know exactly what she intended. “So you’re not talking about me actually hitting you? Because there’s a big difference between flogging somebody with a deerskin cat and punching her with my fist.”
She snorted. “I have no interest in trading punches with you, Frank. You’re too far out of my weight class.”
“Yeah, I am. What do I get if I win?” When he won was more like it; not only was he a SEAL, he outweighed her by a hundred pounds of muscle. She didn’t have a prayer.
Alex grinned at him as if reading his mind and shifted her weight, calling attention to those lush female curves. “What do you want?”
“You.” He bared his teeth and let the hunger show.
She smiled. “If you win, you get me.” When his head tilted in question, she clarified. “Sex. With a condom. However you want it.”
His smile broadened, and he started pulling off his boots. “I’ll win.”
“Maybe. I don’t intend to make it easy.”
“Good.” After dropping his socks into his boots, he stood, barefoot. And looked down at her from his seven-inch height advantage. Her eyes drifted down his bare torso to the fly of his jeans, which bulged from the pressure of his erection. “Dicks are off-limits,” he added quickly.
“Well, not completely, I hope.” Alex glanced around before he could come up with a suitably suggestive response. “Let’s put the mats out.” Bending, she grabbed one of them to pull it into position in the center of the room. The sight of her round, perfect ass as she bent made his mouth go dry. Dragging his attention back to business with an effort, he caught the other mat and wrestled the bulky thing around beside the first one.
Frank straightened as she stepped onto the padded surface, falling into an easy crouch that did interesting things to her breasts. He moved to face her, his attention on those pale globes. Her nipples looked as pink and tempting as candy.
“What’s your safeword?” He referred to the emergency code a sub used to let the Dom know something had gone wrong during the scene, whether physically or mentally.
“Red for stop, yellow for slow down. Green for okay.” The stoplight system was commonly used because it was so easy to remember. “Stop,” ironically, was the one word that was never used, mostly because some subs liked to scream it when what they really meant was “Keep going!”
When he hesitated, Alex smirked. “We going to go, or are you just going to stand there looking sexy?” She crouched like a knife fighter.
“Oh, we’re going.” Frank felt a hot smile spread across his face. He’d heard of a lot of inventive ways to play BDSM games, but this was a variant he’d never tried.
Eyeing her tempting curves, he lunged, meaning to trip her and pin her to the mat. Shouldn’t take long, he assured his impatient cock.
Alex stepped to the side, smooth as oiled silk. Before he could whip around, she seized his wrist, kicked one foot out from under him, and fell backward, jerking him over. They landed on their backs, Alex at a right angle to his torso, his captured arm trapped between her strong thighs. Both hands gripping his wrist, she levered his arm across the fulcrum of her hips. If she chose, she could easily break his elbow, crippling him permanently.
And it hurt like a son of a bitch.
He tried to roll toward her, but she had his chest gripped in her legs. There was no way to reach her in this position, no way to fight her hold, despite his far greater physical strength. It was a classic Juji Gatame, a combination judo throw and joint lock, expertly applied.
“What dan black belt are you?” Despite the painful pressure she was exerting on his elbow, the sensation of her bare pussy against his trapped arm made his cock jerk.
“Don’t have a black belt,” Alex told him cheerfully. “I’ve just been studying Krav Maga with Ted for the past five years.” The deadly fighting style was a hodgepodge of martial arts techniques from judo, Karate, and similar fighting systems. Unlike most modern martial arts, it wasn’t a sport. Israeli commandos had created it for use against terrorists. If you studied Krav Maga, you weren’t fucking around.
Alex cranked back on his wrist until the vicious pain nearly tore a yell from his throat. “Tap out.”
He did, thumping the mat with his free hand despite howls from his male ego almost as loud as his elbow’s. She released him. As he rolled to his feet, Alex did the same, meeting his gaze with cool, watchful eyes.
That was when Frank realized this was a test. “Smart. Better to find out if I’m a hot-tempered prick with twenty people ready to come running if you scream.”
“Given the towering SEAL thing, yeah. I can handle most guys, but you’d take me apart.”
That stung. “I don’t hurt women.” Honesty forced him to add, “Unless they want me to.”
“Sorry, but my last master was an asshat.”
“He the one that demanded you kiss his boots?”
“Among other body parts. I’m afraid I’m not real good at being anybody’s slave girl.”
Frank unzipped his jeans and stripped them off, freeing his cock to bob at her. Now as naked as she was, he gave her a slow, hot grin and gestured for her to come at him. “Let’s find out what you are good at.”
* * *
Anything you want to do, Alex thought, eyes widening.
Naked, he appeared even more powerfully built, between brawny shoulders, narrow waist, and legs elegant and strong. The thick length of his cock jutted, its shaft curving upward above the furry, heavy weight of his balls. Gray eyes glinted at her, hungry and intensely male. His smile shone white and predatory as he spread muscular arms wide, hands flexed and ready.
Frank had underestimated her once. He wouldn’t be doing that again.
A cautious woman would have hung back, forced him to come after her. Alex had never been cautious. Sinking into a combat crouch, she darted in, seeking a grip on his wrist. He knocked her hand aside, pivoting clear with fluid skill. They circled in a flurry of attacks and blocks, attempted throws and dodges. She was faster and a bit more agile, but he had the advantage in reach and strength.
Spotting an opening, he stepped in and hooked a foot behind her ankle and his arms around her waist. A twist of his hips, and she found herself flying, held securely in his grip. He hit the ground first, taking the impact of their landing before rolling over on top of her.
Now she was the one trapped. His long legs coiled around her calves as he pinned her wrists to the mat. She bucked, writhing against his hold, but he was too just strong.
Bracing on his knuckles, he reared over her with a hot half smile. “Tap out.”
His erection pressed into her belly, burning and hard. She swallowed at the raw eroticism of being helpless, the feral need in his eyes. “Why should I?”
“So I can put you down again—and fuck you.” Leaning down, Frank kissed her, his mouth moving over hers in a slow brush of velvet and heat. His tongue slipped between her lips in an erotic thrust. When he drew away, his gray eyes gleamed. “Hard and fast and balls-deep.”
Alex licked her lips. “Maybe I’ll take you down . . . and fuck you.”
“Well, as long as one of us gets fucked. Tap out.”
Instead she writhed. Deliberately. Slowly. Mostly to stoke the heat in that wicked Dom stare, to feel his cock thrust against her belly. “Not yet. I want to see if I can get loose.”
“You can’t.” He lowered himself on flexing arms until his mouth hovered a breath above hers. “I’ve got you. You’re mine—if I decide you’re worth keeping.”
She bared her teeth. Snapped, just short of that taunting mouth. “You want me to tap out, I’m going to need a hand free to do it.”
He freed one wrist, his gaze challenging. “So tap.”
“Okay.” Quick as a cat, Alex darted a hand between them and tapped his cock twice. It bounced against her belly, and she wrapped her fingers around it for a slow, teasing pump. His eyes widened. Glazed, just a little. “Well?” she breathed. “Think I’m worth keeping?”
Frank growled like a puma, a rumbling note of threat. Grabbing her hand, he pinned it to the mat and leaned down to seize her nipple in his mouth. He began to suck, drawing hard, his tongue lapping sensitive flesh.
Alex moaned at the sweet, swamping lust. “I thought . . .” she panted, “you wanted to take me down and fuck me?”
“I’ve got you down. Maybe I don’t see any reason to wait on the fucking.”
He claimed her other nipple, giving it the same head-spinning treatment as the first. She fought his hold, but he leaned into her, letting her feel his weight, his hot strength, the brush of his body hair across sensitive skin. His teeth closed on her peaked tip, and he drew back, raking gently, then swirled his tongue in erotic patterns across her areola.
Alex bucked against his grip, just to feel that implacable male strength, to savor the arousing power of it. Heat stormed her senses in a sweet flush that raced the length of her body. Still he teased her, teased until she twisted on the piercingly sweet barbs of lust and pleasure. “Oh, God! Frank, please, Frank . . .” She had no idea what she was begging for, was barely even aware of what she was saying.
Frank released her and shot to his feet in an abrupt male surge. Powerful legs braced on either side of her thighs, he stared down at her, breathing hard. “Get up. Get up so I can put you down again.”
Panting, Alex crabbed away from him on palms and feet. He watched her stagger upright with a cat’s predatory intensity. She felt like a particularly juicy canary, a helpless ball of fluff and feathers, plump and slow.
Frank lunged. She leaped back, only to realize from his wicked smile that it was only a tease. A feint, designed to tire her out.
I think I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. Never mind that this was only supposed to be a game, something to get the blood pumping with arousal and need. For the animal deep in each of them, it was a lot more than that.
In a real fight, there’d be things Alex could do—punches, kicks, head butts. All the dirty little tricks Ted had taught her for use against drunks and thieves. But she’d specified those things off-limits, knowing perfectly well she’d handed him the advantage.
Not that Frank needed it.
Even if she could use every trick she knew, he’d still be able to put her down. Yet somehow she sensed he’d never inflict real harm on her. Yes, he might hurt her, but only as a means of giving her a soul-searing climax. But her gut insisted he would never do actual harm in their games, though she had no logical reason for that belief. She barely knew the man.
She needed to be sure. Needed to know she could trust him. That he wouldn’t abuse her as Gary had, fists and Gucci loafers striking her in a frenzy of jealousy and resentment and vodka. Shedding her blood to prove his dubious masculinity.
Instead, Frank came after her with carefully measured force, hands flashing, seeking out holds, joint locks, and leverage. She twisted away from his lunges, and danced over the ankle sweeps that would have taken her down. She made him work for it.
Until Frank snatched her right out of the air and tossed her facedown on the mat. Alex rolled, tried to scramble away.
Too slow. He landed on her, hot and hard and strong, one big palm thrusting her right shoulder flat on the mat. The other hand grabbed her left wrist and cranked it up between her shoulder blades. “Tap out.”
“Fuck off,” she growled, hoarse with lust and excitement. His cock pressed against the curve of her lifted ass. She rolled her hips against it. Teasing.
“Don’t piss me off.”
“Or what?” God, she was wet. Bondage games often had that effect on her, but this was even more intense than usual. “What will you do, big man?”
Frank rolled his hips, let her feel his width pressing hard against her cheeks. “Keep it up, and you’ll find out.”
“Maybe I want to know.”
“Maybe you don’t.” Frank pulled her upright by her captured arm, gently enough to avoid causing true pain, rough enough to arouse. Pumping his hips, he slid his erection between her pussy lips, almost entering—but not quite. The smooth head of his shaft glided across her clit in long, luscious strokes. She gasped as he whispered in her ear like a demon tempting a sinner. “Maybe I’ll ream your little pussy until your eyes cross. God, I want to. I want to impale you on my dick like a cocktail olive. Drive it in nice and deep.” His teeth closed over her earlobe in a sharp bite. Released. “Grind.”
Alex gasped as streamers of creamy need heated her blood. “Bastard.”
“You’re pushing it hard for a girl with such a wet pussy.” His tongue swirled over her ear, making her shiver. “I’ll bet you’re tight. Are you tight?”
“Shouldn’t tease me like that, baby. I could drive my cock somewhere you don’t want it to go.” Another thrust, this one bucking against her anus.
She shuddered at the velvet threat, imagining it. The merciless entry, his width working in, remorseless and thick. “I’ll take my chances.” Her voice rasped. Shaking.
“I ought to take you up on that.” He cranked up on her wrist, taking it right to the scarlet edge of pain. His free hand teased her bare torso, stroking heated, hungry skin. Gliding down to her sex, then between the lips, pausing there to circle and dance in her cream, a fraction of an inch from her aching clit. “Ought to give that snug little ass a fucking you won’t forget.” His teeth closed over the straining cord of her throat. Bit. Released. “Make you love it. Every. Single. Minute.”
He could do it. He could make me love any damned thing he did.
Big fingers stabbed up her cunt, ripping a gasp from her throat as he claimed the slick opening. “Good thing for you your pussy is soooooo wet. Sooo tight. I never could resist tight, wet pussy. Feels good gripping my dick while I slide in. And out. And in . . .”
He fucked her, fingered her, made her writhe on his hand, helpless and lost in animal lust. Until his hand tightened on her wrist, levering her back down on the mat in a helpless ball, ass lifted for entry. “Oooh, God!” she groaned, lifting her hips to grind against his, barely even aware of the pain he was inflicting on her twisted wrist. “Frank . . .”
“Do you want it?” He rolled his dick between her slick lips.
“Yes! Christ, yes!”
Maddened, she banged her free fist down on the mat, once, twice. Surrendering to him. To whatever he wanted, however he wanted her.
He let go. Before she could protest, he grabbed his jeans and pulled out a foil packet. Ripped it open. Found the slick opening of her pussy with his long, ravenous shaft. And thrust, impaling her.
The bliss was brain-melting. Cock, so thick, so long, sliding into her cunt, filling her to the brim. He began to fuck her, his hips slapping against her helplessly lifted ass. “You like that?”
“Oh, God! Yes! Christ, don’t stop!”
“That’s what I want to hear.” Shifting over her, he angled his shaft to rake right against her G-spot, grinding over her clit, sending pleasure stabbing through her in strokes of fire.
Alex panted into the mat, angling her ass up into his pounding. “More!” she cried out, the word all but a scream.
He swore, a hard gasp of pleasure as he fucked her.
The fire he’d been stoking built. Built. Exploded, a searing wave of it that tore a scream from her throat.
She heard him roar, a deep male bellow, a moment before he drove to the balls and stiffened, shuddering against her as he came.
* * *
Moments passed as panting gasps became hard breaths, heartbeats slowing from jarring thunder to a steady, banging thump. Frank’s arms tightened around her waist, his skin damp against her own sweating flesh. He stroked a hand through her tangled hair. She sighed and closed her eyes a moment. “God, you’re amazing.”
“Mmmm. So are you.”
Slowly, he sat up. “I can’t remember the last time a scene got me that hard, that fast—and made me come.”
With an effort, Alex rolled over. She felt delightfully sore, sated, all but purring. “I figured since you’d just finished doing a whipping demo, you’d probably enjoy something a bit different. I always love combat practice, so I thought, why not combine the two?”
“Yeah, well, it worked.” Frank hooked a big hand around the back of her neck and swooped down for a kiss. She kissed him back, drinking in the taste of his mouth. With a groan of pleasure, he shifted his hold to cradle her face between his palms.
A damned promising beginning, Alex thought.
* * *
Frank and Alex got dressed reluctantly. “You sure you don’t want another scene?” he asked.
“I would love another scene.” She dug a brush out of her purse and whipped it through her hair. “I’d love to continue the last one. Unfortunately, Ted and I have to be at work on Monday, and it’s a three-hour drive. We both worked third-shift Saturday, and I swore to him I wouldn’t keep us out too late if we came tonight.”
“Yeah, I have the same problem. Doubt I’d mind the missed sleep, though.”
“Neither would I.” Alex leaned in for another dreamy kiss, then murmured against his mouth, “Unfortunately, it’s not up to me. Ted is my ride.”
Frank stepped back and cocked his head, giving her a long look. “Not to be pushy . . . Oh, hell, who am I kidding? I’m a Dom, I am pushy. I want to see you again.”
Pleased, she smiled at him. “I want to see you, too. You know, there’s a munch next Saturday at two p.m. We can get together then.” A munch was a type of BDSM social event held at a restaurant or other public venue, usually once a month. It was a vanilla way for kinksters to meet other kinksters in a nonthreatening, nonerotic setting. “I’ll bring my own car next time.”
He grinned. “You’ve got a deal.”
Frank walked her across the hall, where they found Ted looking mellow and Calvin moving as if his ass hurt. Which it probably did, in more than one sense of the word. No wonder he looked so pleased with himself. I know just how he feels, Alex thought, every bit as smug.
Next weekend would probably be even more delicious.
Cap joined Frank in accompanying Alex out to Ted’s battered green Jeep, one of a row of kinkster cars parked along the curb in front of the house. Ignoring the glare he got from the driver, Frank opened the rear door for her, then pulled her into his arms.
The kiss tasted hot and sweet, her tongue stroking and circling his as he sampled the softness of her lips. His spent cock stirred as arousal slid lazily through him.
When they finally drew apart, Alex gave him a sensual smile and traced a finger over his bare chest. “I’m looking forward to next week.”
“Me, too.” Reluctantly, he stepped back to let her slide into the backseat. The vehicle was already running, a rumbling testament to Ted’s impatience to be gone. “Take care.” Frank closed the car door and stepped back on the sidewalk. Alex gave him a little wave as the Jeep pulled away.
“Judging by that kiss, it must have gone well,” Cap observed as red taillights disappeared.
“Yeah. Alex surprised me. Subs don’t often manage that.”
“Did she?” They turned back toward the big brick Colonial.
“She challenged me to hand-to-hand.” Reading Cap’s lifted brows, Frank added, “No kicks or blows. It was more of a judo thing. Two out of three throws.” He felt his mouth stretch into a wicked grin. “Winner fucks the loser.”
Cap laughed as they walked back into the house. The basement soundproofing was good; no audible cries or thumps sounded from downstairs. “Sounds like you won either way. I assume you did win?”
“Oh, yeah. After I underestimated her on the first engagement and she put me on my ass. She’s good. Got me in a joint lock. Could have snapped my elbow like a bread stick.”
“I’m not surprised. She’s been training with Ted for years.”
“That’s what she said. I gather he’s something of a badass.”
“Former Green Beret.”
“I’ll keep that in mind the next time I piss him off. He’s pretty fucking protective.” They passed through the living room with its stone fireplace and elegant fine leather furniture.
Just beyond that, the Millers’ kitchen looked something out of the Food Network programs Frank had grown addicted to. White-painted cabinets piped in burgundy surrounded stainless steel appliances that testified to Joanna’s love of cooking.
Cap walked over to the coffeemaker that steamed and burbled on the gleaming black Silestone counter. Frank inhaled appreciatively. The air smelled like fresh beans from somewhere they grew expensive coffee. “What’s the story with this ex-Dom of hers?”
“Like I said, he was a dickhead.” The old SEAL turned to the refrigerator and pulled out a tiny white pitcher of cream, then rattled around in drawers and cabinets looking for the sugar bowl, mugs, and a couple of spoons. “Most of us become Doms because it turns us on when a woman gives herself. Then you have your plain vicious bastards. It can sometimes be tricky for a sub to tell the hardasses from the assholes until things get the hell out of hand. That’s what happened with Alex—fell in with a Dom who liked to use his fists even more than a crop.”
“Her Dom beat her?”
“Once. Only once. And then she kicked his ass.” He poured them each a cup. “That’s why Ted kept giving you the stink eye. He feels guilty he didn’t figure out what Gary Ames was before the prick started using his fists.”
Frank swore viciously.
“Yeah, that’s exactly what I said when she told me.” He paused, doctoring his coffee as Frank did the same. “For what it’s worth, Alex made ol’ Gar pay, but the cocksucker did get in some nasty shots—including kicks—before she managed to put him down. He had thirty pounds and two inches on her, so she had to work at it.”
“You and Ted bury him in the county landfill?”
“I was seriously tempted, but Ted convinced me jail would suck at my age. I hate it when Ted’s the voice of reason. Sure sign you’ve fucked up somewhere.”
“I admire your self-control.”
“Wasn’t easy. For what it’s worth, Alex made sure the little shit was charged with domestic violence.”
“Good for her. Did he get any time?”
“Probation. Apparently he’d never beaten the hell out of a woman before, so the judge decided to give him a stern talking-to.”
Frank wasn’t surprised. South Carolina law treated criminal domestic violence like one man beating another man in a bar, instead of the brutal act of betrayal it actually was. “So where does this future corpse live?”
“Sorry, ’fraid somebody beat you to it. Literally. Clubbed him like a baby seal a month ago.”
“And you say he’s not in the landfill?”
“Hey, don’t look at me. Alex’s daddy wasn’t exactly a fan either. Luckily, we were all in Columbia with ten thousand of our closest witnesses.” When Frank lifted his brows, he explained, “Her father’s the Harrison High football coach. They were playing Irmo.”
“Alex is Ken Rogers’s daughter?” The man was practically a legend. He’d led the Harrison Hawks to four state championships and was universally worshiped by every man who’d ever played for him. In Morgan County, that seemed to be most of them.
“Yup.” Cap bared his teeth over the rim of his cup. “As for the douchebag ex, his murder hasn’t been solved. Hell, they only managed to ID him from his tatts.”
“Oh, it was. The killer did a really thorough job on his head with some kind of thick, heavy object. Flashlight or a rolling pin or something equally well deserved.”
Frank toasted Cap with his mug. “Long may he rot.”
“The world is a better place.” A companionable coffee-drinker’s silence fell. Finally Cap asked, “So you enjoyed your scene with Alex?”
“That’s putting it mildly. Though she’s not particularly submissive. Basically told me if I was looking for something twenty-four/seven, she is not my girl.”
“No, Alex doesn’t submit anywhere but the bedroom. But the question is . . .” Cap contemplated Frank, his blue gaze shrewd. “She may not strike you as particularly submissive, but is she submissive enough?”
Frank hesitated. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “But I do know she has my attention.” My complete, undivided attention.
* * *
Alex leaned her temple against the cool glass of the left rear passenger window of the Jeep. Calvin was gossiping cheerfully in the front seat, something about another gay couple. She let his voice wash over her, her mind drifting to the pleasure of Frank’s hips slapping her ass, his cock grinding deep and hard just where she needed it. There’d been a raw heat to the scene she’d never known with any other lover. Even—especially—Gary.
Cal looked over the seat at her. “PoPo, did you even hear a word I said?”
Ted spared her the embarrassment of a confession. “Hell, no. Bastard’s got her halfway to subspace. I hope your ass is up to eight hours in a patrol car, Rogers, no matter how many stripes he put on it.”
“Nope, I’m stripeless. We didn’t do any impact play.” Though “halfway to subspace” did have the ring of truth.
Calvin twisted in his seat, the better to peer. “Yeah, well, he obviously did something, PoPo, given the way y’all vanished for the better part of an hour. When you did come back, you looked dazed. Frank looked like a cat with canary feathers clinging to his muzzle.” He gestured at her hair. “Red canary feathers.”
What People are Saying About This
Praise for Angela Knight and her novels
“If you like alpha heroes, wild rides, and pages that sizzle in your hand, you’re going to love [Angela Knight]!”— J. R. Ward, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“The sex scenes were explosive and should have come with a warning for the reader to have a fire extinguisher handy during reading.”—Euro-Review
“Delicious…Angela Knight brings such life to her characters...”—Romance Reviews Today
“Romance, humor, and mind-blowing sex.”—Publishers Weekly
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I just finished Without Restraint and loved it. It's a great start to Ms. Knight's newest series. I'd like to take a moment to counter some of the 'negative' comments posted by the editorial review. The first being the fact that the 'villian' is unmasked so to speak on page one. If you are familiar with Angela's Mageverse series you know that she often gives the reader an omnipotent view into the characters. It's not about creating a Who Dun It? type mystery, but giving a glimpse into the mind of someone and then watching as the protagonists work to figure out the details for themselves. I personally wasn't bothered by this information one bit. And as to the " frequent interruptions that deliver clunky exposition on the ideals of BDSM" I don't think these 'expositions' were clunky at all. I think they were a well thought out and professional nod to the BDSM community. Angela wanted to put out a kink novel that actually researched the nature of kink and the Safe, Sane and Consensual mantra. I think Ms. Knight did a wonderful job writing Without Restraint and I think any fan of hers, fan of erotica, and even fans of police-themed writing (with a healthy dose of great sex ;-) ) will enjoy this book!
Review: Without Restraint (Southern Shields) by Angela Knight http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-2Or Publication Date: August 4, 2015 Genre: Romantic Suspense/ Erotica Reviewed by: Reading in Pajamas/ Donna Rated: 5 Stars REVIEW: This novel hit all the checkmarks for me; romance, hot sex and explosive danger. The best part was that nothing overshadowed the other and it all flowed believably throughout the book. I liked Alex and Frank right away and their chemistry was a foregone conclusion. The BDSM was not too hard for the casual reader and I liked the imaginative interplay between the two. That made it fun and slightly different than the usual BDSM novels. The murder mystery and danger was a real page turner as well with a bad guy you love to hate. A very fun book that has me excited for the next installment in the series. *Review copy provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review.