Saturday, September 29, 2012

Behind the Iron Fist by JC Szot

This title is offered at a 10% discount. Offer ends midnight CST, October 18th.
[Siren Classic: Erotic Contemporary Romance, HEA]
Emasculated by his father’s prejudicial behavior, Drew Walker lives an inward life, avoiding social situations as well as women. Boxing is an outlet for Drew, enabling him to vent his pent-up aggressions. When his father is injured in an accident, he becomes a bedridden liability, forcing Drew to care for a man he loathes.
Though dedicated to his fitness regimen, Drew battles the escape that alcohol provides. Mia Riley, a compassionate LPN who fled from her career after losing a patient, resorts to slinging beers in Troy’s Tavern. Drew looks the way she feels, empty. Her need to heal has her preoccupied with Drew.
Witnessing a bar brawl leads to their first encounter. As their relationship slowly evolves, Mia learns of Drew’s tumultuous childhood. Drew is confident that he can fight his way through any physical confrontation and win, but as his attraction to Mia grows, he questions whether he’ll ever have the confidence to emerge from behind the iron fist and be the man that Mia wants.
A Siren Erotic Romance

Excerpt Coming Soon!

STEAM PUNK by Barry Lowe

This punk musician’s got everyone all steamed up!
Harvey, a slightly overweight, hairy, middle-aged bus driver, lives a very ordinary life that revolves around TV, take-away pizza, and one-night hook-ups with men he meets on the net. An act of kindness to a young punk musician drags Harvey out of his comfort zone. He can either ‘go with the flow’ and open himself to new experiences or he can shrink back into his shell. Problem is, he’s falling for his new friend – their respective lives are worlds apart and they have nothing in common.


There were signs everywhere for Wankers, Circle Jerks, and Carpet Munchers. I felt like I was in some sleazy sauna or rave party instead of at an inner city pub where it looked as if you could forfeit your life or pick up some sexually transmitted disease, just by going inside. I had no virginity to offer up being a bored hairy 36-year-old bus driver putting on a bit, okay more than a bit, of excess weight because of my sedentary job sitting behind the wheel all day.
I had intended sitting in front of the telly with a beer and a takeaway pizza until late that night before I’d head out on the prowl. The advantage of living in a gay neighborhood was that gay men seemed inordinately reluctant to lower their blinds. That was a godsend for me.
Then he came along. He being one of The Wankers. Yep, that’s right, a band. It was Neo-Punk night, the torn canvas sign flapping in the breeze proclaimed as much, as did the worn and torn second-hand clothing of the crowd lounging about the entrance of the Duke of Clarence Hotel. Knowing what sort of crowd it would be, I’d done my best to camouflage my age, my weight, and my natural musical inclinations, although I knew I’d never assimilate with this mob. The best I could hope for was an uneasy truce. After all, I could be someone’s supportive uncle or older brother or, even better, a record producer scouting new talent for his independent label.
I didn’t even know his name. I was driving the bus he’d hopped on at one of the busy suburban stops. Jet black hair hung over one eye, his skin as pasty white as kindergarten potato glue, he sported the obligatory piercings to eyebrows, lips, ears, and nose. I could see more, outlined through his black T-shirt, around his nipples. I also suspected he had piercings in much more intimate places.  In all, he was carrying enough metal to build a small patrol boat.
As soon as he opened his mouth to speak there was the tell-tale sparkle of a stud through his tongue. I got hard. There was something about this kid. I judged he was in his early twenties: that sure warmed my balls. But he was short forty-five cents for his fare.
“Aw, dude, I didn’t know the fares went up today. This is all the money I got,” he moaned. “Please, man, I gotta get to rehearsal. We’re playing an important gig tonight.” He brandished his guitar as if that were proof of what he was saying.
“Are you any good?” I smiled.
“We suck, man. We play like shit,” and he smiled back.
“If you don’t got the fare, get off the bus,” a passenger yelled.
“Come on, driver, get this bus moving. I have appointments to get to,” some anonymous person called from the back. There was a general murmur of irritation.
He glared at the passengers, some of whom pretended they had no interest in our little tête-a-tête although others glared back belligerently or busied themselves in their books and their newspapers. I knew if I let him on the bus at least one of them would be on to my supervisor complaining about ‘human trash’ being allowed to ride for free. Reaching into my pocket I dragged out some cash and gave it to him. I made a show of it because I wanted the cheap uncharitable fuckers to see it, more to protect myself than from any expectation of public gratitude.
He handed his fare over and I duly gave him a ticket. And change. That way he’d have enough for the fare back, at least. He whistled loudly and tunelessly, his ‘fuck-you’ gesture to the other passengers as he made his way down the aisle to the back of the vehicle. I had to chuckle. It was a very small highlight in my otherwise pitifully dull life. I adjusted my uncomfortably hard cock and steered the bus out into the traffic. 

Friday, September 21, 2012


Gay Vampire & Other Paranormal Erotica
Gay erotica you can really sink your teeth into.
If around 10 per cent of the male population is gay then it stands to reason 10 per cent of vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and other paranormals must lean toward a predilection for their own gender. This volume of erotica explores the world of gay male ‘monsters’: from a dentist who treats a vampire with a fang problem, through a young man who has the annoying ghost of his favorite gay porn star living in his wardrobe, to an Icelandic troll who finds a new career on a gay cruise ship as a Viking stripper. These and other stories, told with Barry Lowe’s infectious good humor, will give you shivers of hot pleasure.
** This Complete Digital Edition includes – The Vampire’s Guide to Dental Hygiene, Stupid Cupid, Pride & Joy, My Dad’s a Vampire, Gadigal, Guys & Trolls and Seeing Things – All originally published as individual eBooks by loveyoudivine Alterotica.**

From The Vampire’s Guide to Dental Hygiene
The dark, deserted, and pot-holed car park was no place to linger at any time; let alone at night. I shuddered that I had been reduced to this. When I decided on dentistry as a career, there was the prospect of a rapid rise up the ranks of the middle classes followed by a comfortable middle age and fulfillment in my senior years. But it seems people’s teeth, and the care thereof, feature very low on the rungs of the ladder of necessities when money is tight.
Silly really, considering a good set of chompers is essential to good health as well as the ability to savor one’s food, be it succulent home-cooked, restaurant-prepared or even the ubiquitous take-away meals that prevail today. But when dental hygiene costs as much as a plumber or electrician, then a trip to the dentist is going to slip to the bottom of the Must Do pile. Especially as only the most tooth conscious or masochistic are going to actually enjoy a dental visit. Unless the oral emergency is life threatening people shunt it aside in favor of more important everyday items, such as eating or paying rent and utility bills.
It seemed a good idea when I moved into the area to set up my practice. There was not another dentist within a twenty kilometer radius which should have told me something, I guess. Plus the suburb was relentlessly depressed. House prices were tumbling, crime was on the increase, repossessions and evictions rife. I was egotistical enough that I thought I could make it work. Now I knew how wrong I was.
Even more wrong was my choice to set up in the far from choice Brookston Mall, home to a fast food outlet that hedged its bets by selling chicken and burgers as well as noodles and curry, and a pharmacy with reinforced steel bars across its shopfront and a huge sign that declared No Drugs of Addiction or Cash Left on Premises. The sign was all-too-true as the owners had left the premises vacant months earlier, tired of the constant muggings and attempted robberies in the area. There was also a forlorn convenience store that sold essentials such as cigarettes and sugary soft drinks but very little in the way of nutritious foodstuffs, and a DVD hire where the shelves were lined with horror movies and teen sex comedies, a fitting comment on the tastes of the denizens who dared patronize the otherwise boarded up shops.
Bill who ran the DVD rental business was the only retailer who dared remain open after dark, mainly because his customers were usually the ones who lay in wait for the more defenseless souls in the darkened car park. I had won a sort of immunity from the gang leaders, having patched up a number of mouths that had come in contact with baseball bats or other sporting equipment – not on the fields of endeavor but rather on the streets where most major gladiatorial battles took place. I asked no questions, merely got on with the job at hand. There were still a few rogue elements, however, and I could never be sure they wouldn’t mistake me for an easy target.
I avoided the mall after dark as far as possible but this particular evening I needed to collect important paperwork which I wanted to examine at home. As things stood it looked as if I would be another casualty of the economic climate within the month if my practice did not pick up and the likelihood of that happening was on a par with Doris Day making a comeback.
There was something spooky about the above-ground car park, the lights barely illuminating the gloom. I locked the car, striding quickly toward the darkened mouth of the arcade where my dental surgery lay. There was enough light pulsing from Video asty, the proprietor had never bothered to fix the N after it burned out, for me to see my way to the reinforced door of my shopfront. The plate glass bore the declaration that this was a DENTAL SURGERY, in large bold capitals, below which my name and qualifications were tastefully inscribed in gold lettering using a clean modern typeface. I’d escaped the more outrageous vandalism inflicted on the mall, having replaced the glass frontage only once after a break-in, and the only graffiti was the spray painted Jameel is a wanker down the tiles on the wall dividing my premises from those next door. Some of the lettering had splashed over onto my glass frontage but my attitude was that if it upset Jameel, let him clean it up.
Inside I was rifling through the desk in my consultation room when I heard the bell above the front door jingle. I could have kicked myself. In the hurry to get in and out, the security was such a complicated bugger I didn’t want to have to go through it twice, I had left the door unlocked. I’d also left the waiting room light blazing which must have been an open invitation to Rob Me.
Quickly picking up the cricket bat that I kept handy for such eventualities, I summoned up the courage to confront my would-be tormentors. Having the element of surprise in my favor, I switched off the desk light and crept toward the door, wrenching it open and launching myself into the waiting room with a loud and, I hoped, fearsome cry. I guessed I looked more like a frightened dickhead than a formidable opponent.
I did succeed in my intention, however, as the young man sitting patiently in one of the uncomfortable molded plastic waiting room chairs dropped the magazine he was flipping through to raise his hands to his face. He had that startled expression of a chook with its head cut off.
In the split second or so it took me to appraise the situation I realized he was actually a patient who had mistaken my surgery hours because the light was on. It was an easy surmise as his mouth was covered in blood which was still bubbling from between his lips. He mumbled something that sounded suspiciously like terror and shot to his feet ready to bolt. I dropped the bat, my eyes glued to his wound. The poor chap must have noticed my preoccupation and that I had dropped my weapon for he sat down with a look of utter defeat in his eyes.
Hoping I was conveying sympathy after my look of horror, I mumbled, “You poor bastard, what have they done to you?” I led him back to the surgery. This time I did remember to lock the door in case his attackers were still in the neighborhood, and switch off the waiting room light. I helped him into the chair and donned gloves and glasses before turning my attention to his plight.
“Can you open your mouth?” I asked.
Grimacing in pain, he opened up slightly. From a quick observation, the volume of blood obscured a thorough examination, it probably looked worse than it was although at this stage I didn’t understand where all the blood was coming from.
“This is going to hurt. I’m sorry,” I said as I began spraying saline solution into his mouth. He jerked a little at the initial contact but trusted me enough to go with it. Poking and prodding, scraping as gently as I could, I cleaned out his mouth then told him to rinse and spit. I was puzzled. His teeth were in fairly poor shape even apart from a plaque build-up and the beginnings of a cavity or two, but there was no sign of the source of the copious amounts of blood. One explanation that occurred to me but which I banished from my mind as far too fanciful for the 21st century was that he’d been snacking on a live animal.
Putting the instruments down, I righted the chair to take a good look at my patient now that I'd cleaned the blood from around his lips and chin. An involuntary gasp escaped my lips. He was a young man of exquisite beauty, his skin paler than I would have expected for the hot southern climate. He wore black clothing in the style of Goth and emo youth but his black shirt, now unfortunately stained with blood, hugged his body to reveal he had definition while his tight black jeans clung to a surprisingly inviting package. He wore a pair of fashionable leather boots with chains dangling around the ankle. He was a magnificent creature. I’m ashamed to say a primitive urge stirred my loins.
He must have seen me examine him almost forensically for he smiled and, in that moment, I was quite giddy with desire. I never allowed myself this sort of familiarity with my patients, it was highly unprofessional, but it was almost as if I were hypnotized by this succulent stranger.
I managed to drag my professional face back with great difficulty.
“I don’t know what happened but your teeth are fine. I pity the other guy; it must have been his blood. Were you attacked?”
He nodded. “A group of them. They bashed me with a metal bar.” He lifted his shirt and I saw the red slash across his stomach which was threatening to become a nasty bruise.
“Would you like me to call the police?”
“No, that won’t be necessary. The people who attacked me will be long gone. I managed to bite one of them in the neck before they fled; otherwise I believe they would have killed me.”
“Look,” I said kindly. “You’re probably a bit shaken. Would you like me to make you a coffee or tea? Or something stronger. I have brandy in my drawer.” Shit, I suppose I shouldn’t have offered alcohol without knowing the extent of his injuries.
“That’s very kind,” he said. He had a peculiar old-fashioned manner of speaking which probably attracted unwarranted attention. I watched as he seemed to struggle with something that was bothering him. “You seem like a kind man, and I have to trust someone or I will die.”
“I like to think I’m a nice man as you put it,” although I was glad he couldn’t read my mind and see what I would like to do to his body while he lay in my chair.
“I can, you know,” he said.
“Can what?”
“Read your mind.”
Oh no, I had a crazy in my chair. This was bound to end badly.
He smiled. “No, I’m not crazy.”
That was just a fluke.
“It wasn’t a fluke.”
I’m actually home in bed dreaming or I’ve been the victim of a mugging and I’m lying in the gutter hallucinating.
“Neither dreaming nor hallucinating.” He put his hand up to stop me. “Look we can keep this up all night but you’re never going to believe me. But please believe this. I am in incredible pain and if you can’t help me I will surely die.”
I switched my brain off to concentrate on his needs.
“Okay, doc. Thanks for that at least.”
“I’m not a doctor, I’m a dentist, so if there’s anything medical you need that’s not to do with your teeth I’m afraid I won’t be able to help. You need to go to a hospital.”
“It’s to do with my teeth,” he mumbled.
The way he flinched and fingered his jaw as he spoke convinced me there was indeed a problem – unlike me to miss something.
“I guess we were destined to meet because I’ve been driving around looking for help when I noticed your light on. Providence.”
I wish we’d met under better circumstances. A gay bar or something.
“Me, too,” he said.
I shook my head, bemused by the stranger’s ability to second guess my thoughts.
“I think I’m perilously close to passing out from the pain. I will have to trust you. Either way, you are my last resort. I ask that you keep my presence here a secret until I can explain. You are in no danger.”
“I promise. Now, lie back, so I can take another look.”
“You will be surprised but I reiterate you are in no danger. Please believe me.”
He opened his mouth. I watched as he reluctantly concentrated and revealed all. It took me a few seconds to work out that the volume of blood gushing into his mouth came from a broken tooth that he had retracted into the roof of his mouth. I was so shocked I reeled back. My chair skidded across the highly polished vinyl flooring, crashing against the cupboard on the other side of the room.

The Importance of Being Serviced by Karen Mercury

AVAILABLE: Friday, September 28th
This title is offered at a 15% discount. Offer ends midnight CST, October 5th.
[Siren Ménage Everlasting: Erotic Western Ménage a Trois Romance, M/M/F with M/M elements, with paranormal elements, time travel, sex toys, HEA]
When Jessamine Swainbank’s treasure stagecoach is held up, the outlaw Owen Crow has a heart. Owen hides with her in the station, terrified by his fellow highwayman Ryan—Owen swears he is a traveler from another place and time, wearing strange clothing and shooting an odd smokeless pistol.
A messenger for the stage line, callous adventurer Gideon Storms escorts the widow and outlaw prisoner back to Laramie. Because Gideon can read Jessamine’s sultry thoughts, he knows their destinies are entwined. Owen had idolized Gideon since the war, following tales of Gideon’s bold travels and exploits. Flattered by the attention, Gideon opens his heart to the reformed gunman who is being pursued after wanted posters of him as the “Diaper Bandit” are plastered all over town.
Ryan reappears with some shattering news that turns the trio’s bliss upside down. They must help the strange traveler or risk the ruin of their happiness.


“I’ll ride with you,” said Zeke, already heading to the front door. “I want to make sure that Russian guy didn’t steal any of my vital papers.”
Jeremiah’s voice was weary. “Oh, vital papers, my ass. The most vital paper you’ve got at Vancouver House is your dishonorable discharge for getting stabbed in the ear with a knitting needle.”
Zeke sputtered, “The Big Calico Battle was one of the most heinous of the entire war. And I’ll bet you don’t even have a high school diploma!”
“My dear sir, I’m a notary public who constantly attests to the validity of various public and legal documents, in my work as clerk to a senator and a doctor…”
Gideon was alone with Jessamine on the front porch. The sound of silence was quite nice, and Jessamine seemed content to allow it to linger. Gideon needed to absorb all of the odd things he’d just heard.
At length she said, “You’re not afraid of Owen running? Your handcuffs are on your saddle. You’re just going to leave him there with the man he stole from?”
Gideon shrugged. “Owen ultimately wound up stealing nothing, if you want to be practical about it. He was wounded before they made off with the Ironsides.”
Jessamine grinned knowingly. That he was letting Owen off the hook seemed to make her randy and affectionate, for she took his arm. “I know Owen won’t run.”
“How do you know that?”
She tilted her head and regarded him with her warm chocolate eyes. Odd she had such white hair and such warm brown eyes and brows. “Because he’s worshipped you since you served together at Appomattox. He admired you shooting some rebel general at a Battle of Petersburg.”
What? How was that possible? “That stripling? He must’ve been a lad during those incidents, hardly old enough to join up. Besides, you’d think I’d recall a regal fellow like that, with his purple eyes and blond hair almost as white as yours.” But things back then were so hurried, confusing, and violent. Gideon had hardly been perusing the face of each man he crossed paths with.
Jessamine shrugged. The action rubbed her luscious titty against his arm, and Gideon’s prick expanded to remember sucking on that nipple. “His entire family was wiped out—”
“At Hanover,” Gideon finished for her. “Zeke was sobbing something about Owen being the Diaper Bandit from Hanover, Pennsylvania. My parents raised us a stone’s throw from Hanover. Jessamine, we should go see one of those reward posters of Owen as soon as we’re done at Mr. Hudson’s. Here. Let me lift you upon the horse.”
“I think Owen is a bit in love with you, Gideon. He wanted to be like you, to be brutal and brave like you were at Petersburg. That’s why he became a bandit.”
Truthfully, Gideon was quite flattered to be worshiped like that. He had always downplayed shooting the rebel general as something anyone would’ve done, but now it was handy that it had caused Owen Crow to idolize him. Not only would Owen not run if he wanted to be around Gideon, but Owen would continue to pleasure Gideon even if Gideon did nothing kind to warrant it.
Gideon could not admit he had enjoyed it when the slender, elegant fellow had frigged his prick then swallowed it down his hot throat. But Owen might do it again without Gideon’s approval, since Owen adored him so ardently. Gideon would not violently refuse an offer like that.
He sat behind her with his arm comfortably around the diminutive woman’s waist. She looked at him coyly over her shoulder. “You liked that, didn’t you?”
“Liked what?”
“When Owen pleasured your beautiful penis.”
Gideon was apoplectic with shame and rage. If he denied liking it, he would have to admit it had actually occurred. He was glad when the front door of Albuquerque House opened and Zeke stumbled out, creating a distraction.
Zeke headed toward the hitching post, still yelling at Montreal Jed. “Oh, yeah? Well, at least I don’t prance down the street dangling puppets from my fingers!” He tried to stalk off self-righteously but tripped over a flowerpot or other, nearly diving into the hedge.
Montreal Jed appeared in the doorway, yelling through a cupped hand. “Those are little people, Mr. Smart Aleck, and all of them are hand-carved from wood, with love!”
Zeke made a good save, pretending he had meant to take a detour through the hedge. He emerged out the other side in a suave stroll and shouted, “Yeah? I’ll bet you’re real familiar with hand-carving your wood with love!” There was a gaping hole in the hedge that would not please Levi’s wife when she saw it.
Gideon was relieved to hear and feel Jessamine giggling as they headed west down Garfield Street. He tried not to think about how shapely she felt in his arms, knowing she would read his thoughts. But it was starting to not matter to him anymore.
Let her know what I’m thinking. I’ve got nothing to hide.


Then Gideon swayed his hips against her bustle, and even through the layers of fabric between them she could feel his formidable erection. She wiggled her ass, the better to feel the size of the tool he rubbed against her. These damnable skirts were five or six layers thick, and Gideon grabbed a handful of the draperies that weighted down her legs and scrunched them in his broad hand. Now Owen dipped his fingers beneath her bodice while tickling her breastbone with the tip of his tongue. It occurred to her that the two men were competing to impress her with their techniques.
There was certainly nothing wrong with this. Jessamine nearly swooned—it made her feel so feminine that the two men battled like stags to impress her. When Owen brought one of her titties into the open air and leaned down to take a giant slurp from it, she gasped and wove her fingers through his satiny silver hair, holding his sweet face close to her bosom.
This must have spurred Gideon. He lifted his handful of draperies nearly to her hip. Now only one layer of her cotton drawers covered her, and she felt the outline of his meaty cock as he rotated it against her ass. He humped her like this effortlessly. He was so athletic he could have bounced her petite frame up and down on his cock as easily as lifting a whiskey glass and not broken a sweat.
One of his palms came around the flat of her abdomen and gripped her to him. She was being pushed and pulled in two directions at once. Owen guzzled and lapped at her breast, and Gideon massaged his massive dick against her nearly bare ass. Since she leaned one palm against the stones of the water well, the power of Gideon’s pelvis nearly lifted her toes off the grass. She felt nasty, but she liked the idea that a neighbor could easily peek out a window and see them there in Gideon’s overgrown garden. That grouse rustling the grass was certainly getting an eyeful.
It was a simple flip of the wrist for Gideon to slide his hand between Owen and Jessamine and burrow a few fingertips into her wet cunt. Now his breath was coming faster and hotter against her neck, and he said hoarsely yet tenderly, “Jess. Miss Elegant. You will never have to fear or worry about a thing. Not when you’re in my hands. I won’t let anyone harm you.”
Owen murmured from between her breasts, “Nor I. You don’t need to tell Simon Hudson that you’re his daughter if you don’t want.”
“Not if he’s going to hurt you,” Gideon agreed.
Jessamine had known Gideon was adept with his fingers, but what happened next was an utter surprise. Simultaneously, Gideon withdrew his fingers from her slick pussy and nudged the first couple inches of his naked prick inside her. How did he do that so fast? He must be the quickest draw in the Far West.
But not the fastest shooter.
Jessamine giggled at Gideon’s response. She arched her back sensuously as she rotated her hips to display her willingness, her eagerness. If she lifted her knee and placed it atop the well, Gideon had complete access to easily manipulate her. His agile hips pumped his fat, rigid cock deeper inside her, and he gyrated a bit to tantalize her.
He whispered in her ear, “I’m going to take you slow, my little minx.”
Jessamine’s other hand leaned on Owen’s shoulder, and when he abruptly dropped to his knees she nearly pitched forward. Quickly regaining her balance with her fingertips pressing against Owen’s shoulder, she was nearly bowled over again by surprise when Owen buried his face between her thighs. Gideon had the slit of her drawers spread wide open and Owen nuzzled his nose against her mons veneris.
She had thought he was inexperienced in pussy-licking, but he dove right on in enthusiastically. Jessamine knew that Gideon was the champion of all pussy-lickers. His experience had sent her nearly over the brink in just seconds yesterday. Now Owen’s eagerness was making up for his lack of familiarity with lapping at a woman’s muff. Just the imagining of his sweet, regal face as he slathered his tongue around her clitoris was enough to instantly have her inner pussy quivering, needing to spend.
“You like his face against your mound,” Gideon murmured in her ear.
How had he known she was imagining that? It was merely a pictorial imagining of Owen’s face sucking on her button, not a literal thought. Up until now, all of her thoughts that Gideon had read had been properly worded in her brain. Maybe there was an exception when the mental image in her mind’s eye was such a potent, exhilarating one.
“You like his mouth around your cock,” Jessamine found herself whispering.

Karen Mercury
#6 The Importance of Being Serviced, September 2012
#5 The Wild Bunch, August 2012
#4 Manifested Destiny, July 2012
#2 Disorder in the House, May 2012
#1 Training Ivy, May 2012 <-- new series! How the West Was Done

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Devon Falls Series by Raine Delight

Get lost in two wonderful tales set around Halloween when a were-tiger and a werewolf find out that love is the least of their problems.

A wolf shifter finds that falling in love is not the only problem he has. Can he convince Jaxon that his love is true?

Haunting Magic (Devon Falls 4)

Haunting Magic by Raine Delight
Devon Falls Book 4
Secret Cravings Publishing
Paranormal Erotic Romance/Shape-shifter
Buy at the following:

For wolf shifter Rod Dracon finding his destined mate just got harder for the woman his wolf wanted was none other than Jaxon Sinclair. A woman who would sneer and quip about his life but he couldn’t deny that she called to him on a primal level. Now the question is can this wolf shifter claim his mate before she walks away….forever.

Teaser Adult Excerpt:
He looked even better close up though she damn well wasn’t going to tell him that. He had a swelled head as it was, considering all the honeybees that swarmed all over him. She mentally gathered her defenses. If she didn’t know better, she would have thought she was in lust with Rodrick, impossible as seemed from the way they sniped at each other. Shaking her head slightly, she felt his gaze move to her and heard his startled breath as she walked up to the porch.
“Hey, Rod, slow night?” Jax asked. Her eyes drank in the way his muscles bunched under his t-shirt. She felt her stomach clench, though it could have been the anticipation of food that waited inside the dark mahogany doors. The way he was watching her had her nerves on edge. She didn’t know what the hell his problem was, but Jax was determined to get in and out with her order before Rod pushed her buttons. She just was not up to dealing with him tonight.
 “Yeah, seems everyone is getting ready for the Halloween costume dance tomorrow. What are you up to tonight? Got a dinner date?” Rod growled at her, his eyes shining with a glow that almost made Jax take a step back before she caught herself. Shaking her head, she said, “What the hell is wrong with you tonight? I was going to have dinner with Grady, but he got short-staffed and had to cover tonight. I just wanted to see if I can grab a take out from your mom.” Jax marveled at how normal it was between them. Though she thought the hair on his arms bristled at the thought of her on a date, it probably was her imagination. Rod wasn’t interested in her, just the ones who wanted a good time and an easy lay.
“I am sure my mom would love to give you something since everyone knows you can burn water without even trying.” The smile that tugged at his lips had her eyes go wide then narrow in annoyance.
“What the hell would you know about cooking, you jackass? I bet you couldn’t make something if your life depended on it,” she sneered. Her hands closed into fists and she was tempted to smack him for being so damn annoying. If she didn’t know better, she would have thought there was a smile lingering on his smug face.
“Oh, are you challenging me, Jax? Can’t take the fact that I may actually know something you don’t? Want to take that to a test?” Rod leaned forward, stroked a finger down her nose, and said softly, “Afraid that maybe I can do something that will make you readjust your opinion of me?”
Jax was stunned by the clenching of her pussy as he traced his finger down her nose. If she didn’t know better, she could have sworn there was a flare of interest in his eyes; though it could have been that she was moon-mazed or something. Jax tried to still the weak-kneed response to him touching her as she tried to form an annoying response.
“You can boil water? Oh, my god!” Jax looked up at the darkening sky and then back at Rod. “Wow the sky hasn’t fallen yet. Did you pay off Heaven or something? Has Hell frozen over and no one told the Devil?”
The smile that played on her lips had him growling low in his throat. Jax didn’t know what to think when Rod yanked her to him and said, “You have a death wish don’t you Jax? You really don’t want me to show you that I can do that and so much more.” His voice was low and husky; Jax felt her bones turn to mush as he nipped her ear. He turned her on, no two ways about it and damn it, why him? He has to be the most annoying man on this planet yet he also was sexy as sin and damn it to hell and back, he made her want him with every inch of her being. Trying to shove away from him was like trying to hit a rock with an open palm. He was an immovable object and his eyes, she could have sworn, glowed faintly.
“Will you please let me go, you ass?” Jax tried to keep her voice strong and pissed off but dang it; he was making her stomach do flips every time he nipped her ear. “If you really want to prove to me you can cook, fine. I swear it is like your male ego got in a snit or something.” She huffed and blew her breath out when nothing else seemed to make him let go, though if she were honest with herself, she liked his hands on her body. Still, it wasn’t like she was going to tell this idiot that. No telling what else he would do with that information.

Can a were-tiger convince one stubborn woman that she is his for all time and show her that falling in love is just as sinful as a chocolate kiss?

Moonlight and Magic (Devon Falls 5)

Moonlight & Magic by Raine Delight
Devon Falls Book 5
Secret Cravings Publishing
Paranormal Erotic Romance/Shape-shifters
Buy at the following:

"...There is an intense sexual attraction between Dixie and Michael and it was nice to see that not all of the heat was because of the tiger that is a part of Michael..."~Just Erotic Romance Reviews

Michael Barnes is a rare white were-tiger and is tired of roaming around the world, alone. Meeting his destined mate was unexpected as well. Dixie Sinclair was fun, sexy and everything he feels he doesn’t deserve. The past has a way of coloring a person’s life and it’s up to Michael to show Dixie that he is the one to hold her heart.

Teaser PG13 Excerpt:

 Then a feeling spread through his body, one that had him whipping his head around quickly, nostrils flaring as his body went rigid. The tiger roared with desire inside his mind, determined to claim the one woman he and his tiger wanted to mark. Shaking his head, he turned to face the crowd and tried to see where she was. Scanning the crowd, he felt the magic of the tiger grow stronger as he spied a woman clad in black lace and cat ears, watching everything, smiling at someone passing by. MINE rolled through his mind. He knew with no shadow of a doubt that his woman was here. He put on his mask, determined to claim her, once and for all. He barely heard Rod’s ‘bye’ through the haze that consumed him. His eyes glowed golden yellow and his body felt tight with a need to mark and mate with his female.

This raging need was driving him insane. Since the night he left Dixie all he thought about was her. The lust that ran through him was making him so hard he ached. It didn't matter how many times he jerked off in the shower, it wasn't what he wanted…needed. His body felt like it wasn't his anymore and as he made his way to the other side of the ballroom, he knew his tiger was in control. As he tried to still the panic that made his stomach go in knots, he just hoped he wasn't wrong about Dixie. This time he was going to jump and hope to god he didn't get crushed yet again.

Check out the first three books in the Devon Falls Series:

Sticky Magic (Devon Falls 1)Red Hot Magic (Devon Falls 2)Fiery Magic (Devon Falls 3)

Coming in 2013.....Yuletide Magic, Devon Falls Book 6
*Please note this is a Paranormal M/M*

Grady O’Neil loves living and working in Devon Falls but now that he sees his favorite cousin settling down, friends finding love and happiness and he longs for the same thing though looking at him you would think he was foot loose and fancy free. But for Grady trying to figure out what place he has in the world leaves him confused and a little lonely. For Grady is not only human but also half fae. Is he for the human world? Is he part of the fae world? Feeling like he doesn’t belong anywhere, Grady is shocked when Lord Kalen walks up to him and informs him he has been searching for Grady forever.  Grady finds himself drawn to Kalen even as he tries to stay away from the one person who just may complete Grady in every way.

Raine Delight
Feed your mind as you indulge your senses....

Best Seller at All Romance E-Books & Top Anthology groups

Check out my books at Secret Cravings Publishing
New Devon Falls book coming in 2013

Power Exchange by AJ Rose

Title: Power Exchange
Author: AJ Rose
Publisher/Release Date: Voodoo Lily Press, 9/15/2012
Genre: GLBT erotic romance, BDSM, detective mystery
Length: Approx 270 pages, 117,000 words

From the moment Detective Gavin DeGrassi steps into the world of BDSM to solve the brutal slaying of Dom George Kaiser, his course is not his own. Mesmerized by the context in which the victim lived and the images of the lifestyle seared into his soul, Gavin must find a way to navigate these unknown waters. With his personal life in upheaval due to marital trouble, and his professional life uncertain with the assignment of a new partner, Gavin needs all the help he can get understanding the case.

Enter Ben Haverson, a psychologist and a well known Dom. With Ben's help as a consultant and attention to Gavin's own murky truths, Gavin delves deeper than he ever thought he would into the world of restraints and paddles. Forced to scrutinize his true nature and his innermost desires, Gavin has a choice: keep the fear of submitting at bay or dive in and solve the case with the knowledge he gains. When another victim is discovered, Gavin's choice is made for him, and he's pulled headlong into the deepest, most emotional journey of his life.

Unfortunately for him and Ben, a killer has noticed, has taken stock, and has set his sights on the D/s pair. Can Gavin outwit him, or will his first exchange of power be his last?
Chapter 1

Two years ago, St. Louis was listed by the FBI as the most dangerous city in America. Ahead of Washington D.C. and Detroit. Ahead of that one place in New Jersey that "won" it the year before. Not exactly the distinction a cop is proud of. On the other hand, only seven percent of the police agencies in the country are officially accredited by the society awarding such honors, and St. Louis County Police Department is one of these. Still, sometimes the accomplishment is an empty reward to me when I'm on my way to a murder scene. We do the best we can, but sometimes, that accreditation means shit when you walk into someone's house and their dead eyes are staring at you in silent mockery of your prestigious status.


I turned at the sound of my name as I exited my unmarked car on a quiet suburban street lined with trees and filled with the sounds of lawn mowers and kids riding bikes. The late spring sun would make the afternoon hot, but just before noon on a Saturday at the end of May, it was warm and pleasant.

Except for this being a murder scene. I made eye contact with one of the patrolmen guarding the front door, the one who'd called my name. He stood as far from the open door as he could get while still manning it and his face looked pale. I didn't know him well, but I didn't have to in order to recognize the haunted look he wore. "Back room, down the hall and to the left."

"Bedroom?" I asked.

He hesitated. "I'm not sure what kind of room it is."

That gave me pause. Stepping into the protective booties that my brother, Cole, would nail me to the wall for forgetting, I let myself in, following the sounds to the back of a well-appointed ranch-style house in one of the more affluent neighborhoods of Chesterfield. Plush carpeting muffled the sound of feet traipsing about, most of them belonging to the crime scene unit. I could tell by the umpteen-syllable words I heard, the language of the truly geeky. As I passed through the front foyer, I spotted a woman with a cute blond ponytail and red-rimmed eyes talking to a patrol officer in quiet tones. Turning down the hallway toward the hive of activity, I came to the door and paused. Veteran homicide detective or not, I still had to steel myself for it, taking one last deep breath before facing the sight of another body.

Even with that bolstering, I wasn't prepared for the view. The victim, a mid-forties-ish man in fairly good shape, was held in place by rope to a wooden X suspended from the ceiling by chains attached to heavy-duty hooks. His chest was crisscrossed with slashes that slicked his torso with blood. He was naked. It wasn't quite Jesus-like, because the cross wasn't T-shaped, and his feet were tied wide apart, but it was damn close. His hands were fisted and purple against the bindings, and his head was held up by a collar around his neck, affixed to a taut chain anchored to the ceiling, forcing his blank gaze outward. It was like walking by a painting and having the eyes follow you no matter where you went. Making the whole thing more macabre were four squiggly black lines drawn down the man's face, from his eyes to the edge of his jaw, two per cheek spaced closely together. The creep aspect went up by a factor of ten because of those lines alone. I suppressed a shudder, trying to don my professionalism like a cloak. The strobe of the CSI cameras gave the whole thing aSilence of the Lambs effect, particularly the scene when Hannibal Lector escaped custody. I shivered despite the warmth of late spring.

"Holy shit," I muttered, stepping all the way into the room but remaining by the wall as the techs gathered evidence.

"Holy shit is right, Gavin," a familiar voice said. I looked toward my brother, Cole, his usually merry blue eyes dampened by solemnity as he carefully goose-stepped across the room to stand beside me, watching his techs do their jobs with a strange sadness mixed with pride. Cole's the lead CSI, and I rarely got the opportunity to work with him because of the potential for nepotistic back-scratching where evidence is concerned, but sometimes, there just aren't enough people to assign us to separate cases. We go out of our way to keep the chain of custody impeccable. Cops are family everywhere, but ours was literally so.

"Where's Sawyer?" he asked, voice muffled by the face mask he wore. He held one out to me, but I waved it off. I planned to do nothing but observe so as not to taint evidence, and the masks never did anything to alleviate the smell.

"He was across town with his daughter at a softball tournament. Had to wait for his ex. He's on his way." Trent Sawyer was my partner, and despite his take-charge attitude, I knew he'd appreciate anything I could find out while he was running behind. "What have you got for me?"

"Body was discovered this morning by the vic's ex-wife, who stopped by when he didn't show to pick up their kids for a weekend visit. M.E. hasn't been here to view the body, so we don't have a time of death yet, but from what I can tell by looking at him, the injuries were all pre-mortem. Have to wait for autopsy to confirm."

I nodded, taking notes. "Victim ID?"

"George Kaiser, forty-five, worked as an engineer for a car diagnostics manufacturer."

I gestured to the cross, the ropes, and over on the futon in the corner, an array of implements more likely found at Home Depot than the—what kind of room was this, actually? Addams' family guest room? Den of iniquity?—spare room of a professional businessman. Well, he was an engineer. Maybe this was a workshop of sorts. "Was all this brought here, gathered from around the house or what?" It was the question of the hour, because it was clear the tools had been used extensively on the victim.

"You'd have to ask the ex-wife what she knows about it, but my guess is it was already here. There's no ceiling plaster on the floor to indicate the hooks were drilled recently, and there's a latch up there," he tilted his head so my gaze would follow, "that looks like it fits the bottom of the cross, so it can be secured to the ceiling, out of the way. And that dresser over there," he pointed to the opposite wall where a long, squat dresser sat beneath a window covered with heavy drapes and thick blinds, "has more… equipment in it. The cross wouldn't be easily transported in the trunk of a car, but our perp could have had a truck or SUV."

I gave him a strange look, about to ask more when a voice interrupted me.
"Whoa," Trent said, standing in the doorway, dark eyes wide and staring, his black hair windblown, which told me he’d driven with the top down on his convertible. "Someone had quite the party." He gingerly stepped beside me, and I told him what Cole had found. "Kinky," was all he said. I rolled my eyes.

"This is out of even your league in the bedroom," I said. Trent loved to brag about his mattress Olympics, so I knew more than I wanted to about his exploits, which were many, considering his calculated charm. Victoria told me it was his confidence that was magnetic. I figured he was conceited and just hid it until after a tumble in the sheets. Turning back to Cole as he watched one of his techs take measurements of what looked like a cat o' nine tails, I asked, "Is there a knife or something that matches the chest wounds?"

"No knife, but those look like whip marks to me, not slashes with a blade," Cole said. I gave him a questioning look. "What? I worked an animal cruelty case two years ago where the breeder whipped the horses to train them." His disgust was clear. "Poor animals had to be put down from infections and inability to be around humans. Completely broken. But their lacerations were similar." He pointed to the whip the tech was tagging and bagging in a paper bag so as not to smear prints. "I'll test it in the lab, but that could be responsible for the chest lacerations. Or there might be another one in the pile."

I was about to ask what he made of the markings on the face when my attention was diverted. The soothing grumble of the county M.E. carried through the doorway, and all activity in the room stopped to make way for him near the body. Dr. Stanley Jencopale was a presence in any room, but at a crime scene, he was often the voice of reason in a chaotic swarm. He could take the worst injuries and make clinical sense of them, scrub them of their heinousness, and break down the information into manageable chunks, all without dehumanizing the victim. Something this… exotic would automatically fall to him.

"Oh, you poor, poor thing," he mumbled to the victim, donning gloves with an authoritative snap. He checked body temperature and for rigor, pulling the dead man's eyelids wide as his thermometer did its thing. Throughout his assessment, he spoke to the silent room while Trent and I took more notes.

"Male Caucasian, middle-aged, dead approximately seven to nine hours, which puts time of death between," he looked at his watch, "four and six a.m. this morning, indicated by body temperature. Cause of death, on initial assessment, appears to be strangulation. Petechial hemorrhage across the cheeks, as well as deep bruising around neck area. Significant blood loss from multiple lacerations to chest and abdomen. Bruising of extremities and rope marks on the skin indicate the victim was alive when affixed to the cross, and suspended for several hours. Victim's genitals show signs of loss of circulation from clamp device." Oh god, I hadn't noticed the cock ring, and I tried not to look too closely. "Help me get this cross down from the ceiling."

Cole hurried forward with a swarm of CSI techs, two of whom spread a plastic sheet to keep fibers from transferring between the body and the deep carpeting, on which there was blood splatter, already photographed. They collectively lifted the apparatus to take the weight off the chains, including the one attached to the collar, before removing the chains from the ceiling hooks and carefully lowering the body to the plastic tarp. They stepped back, waiting for the doctor to indicate if he needed the ropes loosened. At his nod, Cole untied the feet and placed the rope in a large evidence bag. Flashes strobed as photos were taken of the injuries sustained to the victim's ankles. Dr. Jencopale waved them off.

"I will photograph the injuries during autopsy. You've got the placement of the body documented already, so leave the rest to me." The reprimand was gentle but enough of a hint for the crowd to back off as he continued his examination. A few of them returned to the futon to resume cataloguing the equipment on the cushion.

"DeGrassi, you have an ultraviolet light on you?"

He clearly meant Cole, since I hadn't had a black light or anything like it since my college dorm days when my then-best friend Pete and I would smoke pot to celebrate the end of each semester, enhancing the effect with dramatic wall posters and a black light. Damn, I haven't thought about him in years. I stopped short of wondering what Pete was up to. Inappropriate right now, not to mention I didn't need the reminder in the first place. I refocused on the body as Cole donned a pair of goofy, 3D-looking glasses and shined a light across the victim's skin.

"A little saliva around the mouth, which looks to be the vic's, in a pattern consistent with a gag, but we'll swab it anyway to confirm. I see no signs of semen or other body fluids. Not on the anterior view." He passed the light and glasses to the doctor, who nodded his affirmation.

Cole and Dr. Jencopale untied the victim's hands and head from the cross and rolled him face down. Another sweep of the light brought a collective shake of their heads. Cole grabbed his kit, extracted several swabs and, with the doctor's permission, spot checked specific areas of the body, including the victim's rectum. "We'll see what Trace has to say, but again, posterior examination shows nothing seminal."

"Victim was anally penetrated, and not gently. Microtears around the anus and blood evidence ringing the orifice. An internal check will say more, but it's pretty clear from initial assessment that he was raped." They gently returned him to his back, the plastic sheeting crinkling beneath the weight. Cole and the doctor spoke softly about which evidence needed to be collected from the body right away and what could be done at the lab during post. Jencopale waved two of his assistants into the room after Cole did a single thorough sweep for trace evidence, then backed off as George Kaiser was bagged and carried to the gurney. The CSI crew continued their check of the room, paying particular attention to the cross, now that its burden had been removed. I closed my notepad and motioned to Cole. He pulled the mask down to his neck and stood in front of Trent and me with his hands on his hips.

"What's this fucking world coming to?" he asked, voice soft, disturbed.
Trent shook his head, uncharacteristically quiet, though his gaze was shrewd, and assessed everything in the room.
"You'll get us your initial report this afternoon?" I asked. Cole rolled his eyes.

"Fast as I can. There's a mountain of evidence here. That's both good and bad, since there's bound to be something you can use to nail―" he stopped himself, clearly uncomfortable with the crucifixion reference. "Find this guy." Cole was a sarcastic shit when he wanted to be, poking fun at my shyness or how my wife, Victoria, wears the pants in our relationship, but disrespectful of the dead, he was not.

"Or we'll be buried by more information than we know what to do with. Just get it to me as soon as you can, and we'll figure out what's useful and what's a dead end. Gotta go talk to the vic's ex now."

Trent cringed. "Mind if I stay here, see what they find?"
I nodded. He'd be more valuable in this room than with the victim's relatives. Trent's sense of humor was off-color, the product of more than ten years seeing some of the worst crimes in the most dangerous city in America. He missed very little, but his coping mechanisms weren't always helpful when dealing with witnesses or next of kin. It's one of the reasons I made a good partner for him; he had a knack for sorting through evidence and knowing what was hot or cold, while I got useful information from witnesses and people of interest. I turned back to Cole.

"Keep him in line, wouldja?"

"Not my turn to watch him," Cole deadpanned, situating his face mask again and turning his back on both of us.

"Go see what the missus has to say. Don't leave me hanging." Trent's eyes twinkled.

I groaned at his bad pun. "You're awful. We don't need a lawsuit when the ex-Mrs. Kaiser decides to beat your ass for your sick and twisted commentary. It's a wonder you haven't been shit-canned yet."

"Nah, the boss loves me. Hell, everyone loves me."

I could think of a string of women who didn't love him, but I kept it to myself, leaving the room to find the woman with the pony tail. Another deep breath and I wiped the expression from my face as I stepped toward the front door. Making sure to be plenty loud so as not to startle her, I neared the grief-stricken woman and cleared my throat.

"Ma'am?" She turned her tearful face to me. "I'm Detective Gavin DeGrassi. I'd like to ask you a few questions." She nodded, fidgeting with her nails, twisting the rings on a couple fingers, and looking anywhere but the hallway that led to the back. I supposed she'd just seen the gurney with the remains of the man she'd married wheeled through the door, and her jumpiness was the result. I couldn't blame her.

"If you'd be more comfortable, we can talk in my car with the air on." She nodded and walked out of the house into the sunshine, waiting for me to indicate which of the many vehicles littering the street was mine. I placed a hand on the small of her back to guide her and then dropped it, keeping professional distance. As we settled into the front seat, I reached into the console between the seats and plucked out a small pack of Kleenex, passing them over. She gave me a grateful, if watery, smile. After turning down the dashboard radio, I took out my notepad and got her contact information.

"Kimberly Kaiser," she said in a small voice, rattling off her address and phone number. She didn't live far from the scene. "You're probably wondering why I'm so upset," she said. "George is my ex, after all."

I waited, letting her talk.

"We were only recently divorced, and we have three kids together, a sixteen-year-old girl and two twelve-year-old boys. Twins. Whatever failings were in our marriage, there's nothing I wanted more than for our kids to have a good relationship with both of us. Just because we couldn't be together didn't mean our kids had to choose, you know? George and I remained friends." A fresh tear track appeared on her cheek, and she wiped it away with a well-manicured hand.

"So George took good care of you and the kids?"

The smile on her lips was both wistful and a bit of a sneer. "He insisted on paying a big settlement when we split. I'd been a stay-at-home mom most of our marriage, and he knew it would be difficult for me to get back on my feet, especially in this economy. He didn't want me or the kids struggling. I didn't demand it, if that's what you're asking. I'm not one of those women that needed to punish him for the end of our relationship. George was generous. It was in his nature to take care of people, even if he had a strange way of doing the caring."

Her unusual wording wasn't lost on me, and I wanted to know more, but starting from the beginning would be important for establishing a timeline. I could fill in the blanks and ask what she meant as we talked. The impression I had of her was not one of a jilted ex-wife bent on revenge or life insurance. She clearly still cared for the man, so it was doubtful she had anything more to do with his death than being the unfortunate one to discover him.

"When was the last time you spoke to George?"

"On the phone, yesterday afternoon. I called to verify he was picking the kids up for the weekend this morning, and he confirmed the plans. He wasn't the type to flake on them, so when he didn't show up, I called both his house and cell phone. No answer. It was unusual, so I left the kids at the house and came over to make sure nothing had happened. Thank god they didn't see this."

"What time was this?"

"He was supposed to get the kids at nine this morning. By ten, I started calling. It was about ten-thirty when I got over here."

"Did he mention any plans for the evening? Or were you aware of something he regularly did on Friday nights?"

"Oh, Friday night was club night, where he and his friends would get together every week."

Club night? I'd come back to that. "How did you find the house when you arrived?"

"The front door was closed but unlocked. I didn't think anything of it. His car was in the driveway, and I figured he’d simply had a late night and overslept. I knocked and then stuck my head in, calling for him when he didn't answer. I went in and was on my way to the bedroom when I saw him in the play room. I ran outside and called the police."

"The play room. Can you elaborate on that?"

She considered me for a beat and then took a deep breath. "It's going to come out anyway, and it's not like you haven't already seen. He's a good man, and that's not going to change because of your opinion of him." She stuck her chin out defiantly.

"Mrs. Kaiser, I ask because I need to understand George's life, where he might have crossed paths with his killer, and how his death came about. If I can answer why, I'd like to do that, too."

"Yes, I know, Detective. I'm just… so used to watching out for him, keeping his secrets. It feels like a betrayal to blab it all. But you're going to find who did this, right? If I tell you everything?" Her eyes flashed fiercely, and her protectiveness of her ex-husband's memory jolted me.

"I'll do my best. And my best improves the more information you can give me."
"George was a Dominant. The club he went to on Fridays is a leather club in midtown, Collared. He went there weekly to catch up on the scene, meet others like him, or submissives. There's a whole culture of people there, and they take care of each other."

Suddenly the room―the whips, the ropes, and the heavily covered windows―made sense. "He was a Dominant? Are you sure?" After all, he'd been found restrained and nude. I didn't know much about leather clubs and BDSM, but I did know Dominants weren't usually the ones tied up.

"Oh, I'm positive. George was never on the stinging side of a whip."
"So he could have met someone at this club, brought them home with him?" My pen scratched against my notepad furiously. She gave me the club's address.

"He could have, but usually he would vet a sub before inviting them to his play room. There are some bad seeds in the BDSM world, just like there are in any group of people, but for the most part, it's a tight-knit group."

"How long has he been involved in this lifestyle?" I took care to keep my language and tone neutral, showing no hint of judgment. Truth be told, though, I was fascinated. The things I learned on this job never ceased to surprise me.

"The whole time we were married. I knew about it when we got engaged."
It took a moment to process that. "Is that why you divorced him?"

She leveled me with a stern look, and then gave a perturbed sigh. "Yes and no. I couldn't be everything he needed in a partner. In a way, a lot of the ideals appealed to me. The power plays in the Dom/sub relationship mirror a lot of the ideals of married life, at least how it used to be, where the husband runs the household and provides while the wife takes care of the family and the living space. Archaic and anti-feminist, I know, but I liked the idea of being looked after, of providing him and our kids a happy home. We gave a normal, vanilla marriage a good shot. I never wanted for anything while we were together, either emotionally or financially. But he did." She didn't sound bitter, merely sad, picking at her cuticles. "Most people don't understand it. I tried to understand it, even tried to be the sub to his Dom, but I couldn't. It was a short-lived experiment."

"Did he resent that about you?"

"Forgive me, Detective, but is this important, why we split up? It doesn't have anything to do with how he was killed." Her eyes welled up again on the last word.
"It provides me with information about George's life and the kind of person he was, which can help us focus on who he knew that is capable of this."

"You think he knew his killer?" Her eyes widened, and then narrowed. "You're asking to see if it was me." A bitter laugh escaped her. "No, he didn't resent me. I didn't hold his sexual proclivities against him, and he gave me the same respect. Domination and submission isn't for everyone. It wasn't for me. Eventually, it got the better of us. But we never blamed each other for having opposite tastes in the bedroom."

"Did you know anyone he was with after your divorce?"

I noticed a very slight hesitation. "I met a couple of them. They all seemed nice. It's not like you can look at someone on the sidewalk and know they like to be spanked, Detective. They seemed like normal people to me. But George was careful. I needed him to be, as the father of our children. He never played with anyone when the kids were at his house, and he kept that room locked up tight."

"You ever hear anyone threaten him?"

"No," she vigorously shook her head, ponytail swishing. "That group of people is close. They talk. What they do can be dangerous, regardless of consent. Oddballs are quickly singled out and lose any chance of finding someone to play with. Reputation is everything in that world."

"How do you mean, oddballs?"

"I don't know, Detective. You'd get more information from the people in the community than me. George and I talked about it some, but it was a world separate from our life together. Mostly, he told me of abusive people hiding behind the Dominant label, or submissives working through traumas there instead of in therapy where they belonged. They didn't last long."

"Did George have personal experience with these people?"
She shrugged. "Like I said, he was careful. If they didn't please him or he had reason to question their motivation, they didn't last."
It was then I noticed she had been playing the pronoun game. "They" and "them" instead of "she" and "her."

"Was your ex-husband involved with submissives of the same sex?"

She blushed fiercely, and then nodded. "George was bisexual. As if finding acceptance as a Dom wasn't hard enough for him."

The situation shifted again, making a little more sense. A woman would have a hard time stringing George up to a cross and hanging him from the ceiling. He was a well-built guy, probably around two hundred pounds. I couldn't see the average woman hoisting him onto the cross. At the same time these thoughts were playing in my head, a shot of envy coursed through me that George had someone, anyone, in his life so accepting of his preferences. Pete, the one person I'd ever let in on my dark little secret, had shunned me.

"Is it possible someone outside this culture discovered his lifestyle? Maybe decided to teach him some kind of lesson?"

"I suppose," she said, shoulders slumping, the weight of the morning showing clearly on her face. "But if it was a colleague or someone at work, I can't see them having the grounds to fire him, let alone kill him. He kept this far away from his career. I know some of the people he worked with. They'd ostracize him, find a way to get rid of him so he wouldn't taint their company's reputation." She gave a derisive snort. "He worked for an extremely conservative group of people. But kill him? I can't imagine that."

I got the name of his company and would follow up on that, but with Mrs. Kaiser, I let it drop.
"Can you give me a list of names in the leather circle to speak with, his friends or acquaintances? Maybe some of his past or current subs?"
"Yeah, but I'll have to look in my address book. I don't know his recent ones, since I left that part of his life behind with the divorce."
I frowned. She'd met a few of George's new partners, but didn't discuss it with him after the divorce? The timing didn't add up. "Did you have a long separation, before everything was finalized?"

She bit her lip and shook her head. "No. When I said I couldn't handle it anymore, he made it as quick and painless for me as possible."

"So when were these new relationships of his if you met a few of them but didn't talk about it after your marriage ended?"

Her mouth worked but no sound came out. She fisted her hand and put it to her lips, trying to compose herself. "Our last few years together were in an open marriage, Detective."

Trying to formulate my next question to cover my surprise at her revelation, my thought process was interrupted when she stared at me hard, equally defiant and pleading, willing me to comprehend. "Love was never our issue. I loved him enough to try to allow him what he needed, and he loved me enough to respect my boundaries. But love doesn't always conquer all, does it?"

Her eyes were sad, and it hit me exactly how strong she had to have been to do such a thing for her husband. People would judge from the outside, calling her weak or a doormat, but I saw someone resilient enough to set aside her own insecurities and indoctrinated beliefs to put someone else first. Well and truly first.

"One more question, Mrs. Kaiser. The play room in George's house, that wasn't something that was always there?"

"No, he converted it when he bought the place. I wouldn't allow it with the kids under the same roof when we were still married, and he locks it when he has visitation now. He used to take his subs to a friend's house, who was also a Dom."

"I'll need that friend's name as well."

She nodded, and then gave me a pained look. "How much of this is going to become public? I mean, is this something I need to warn my kids about before they see it on the news?"

I closed my notebook and gave her a sympathetic look. "Every investigation withholds certain details from the press to keep people from making false confessions or to pinpoint suspects who might slip up about something that's not public knowledge. I'll do my best to keep the nature of George's death under wraps, but I can't guarantee something won't become public."

She bit her lip, squeezing her eyes shut as a fresh set of tears escaped, rolling down her cheeks. "All right," she whispered.

"Are you okay to drive home?" I asked.

"Yeah. I'll be fine. I'm a lot tougher than I look."

I gave her a soft smile. "I can tell, Mrs. Kaiser. Please, have that list of names to me as soon as you can. Here's my card, with phone numbers and my email address. If you think of anything else, please let me know. I may need to contact you again with further questions."

She nodded, taking the card. "I was always afraid something like this would happen."
"We'll do everything we can to find those responsible. Thank you for your cooperation."

She popped the passenger door open before turning back to me. "Thank you, Detective, for your sensitivity. George deserves justice as much as anyone. Thank you for not requiring me to remind you."
I tipped my head to her and watched as she walked woodenly to her car in the driveway. Breathing deeply and taking a moment before reemerging into the mid-afternoon heat, my mind whirled. Something about this victim made me protective. I knew sharing the details I'd learned with Trent would open a Pandora's box of derisive jokes. It was how he dealt with things he didn't understand. I knew this about him, but it didn't mean I liked it. For a long time, George's secret had been safe with his wife and community of friends. For a few more moments, it would be safe with me.

But I couldn't solve this one alone, and I doubted even with Trent's help we'd understand everything we needed to about the dynamics surrounding George's lifestyle. I stood in the front yard, a lump of confusion swelling in my chest.

On the one hand, I was saddened by the sickness in our society, that someone could so brutally murder a man. Trent would assume that sickness included George's sexual preferences. I didn't think so. Though she hadn't wanted to elaborate, Mrs. Kaiser had given me the impression it was simply a different way to express oneself and test one's emotional boundaries. On the other hand, I was fascinated by the dynamic and interested in knowing more. It was disconcerting, and I tried to convince myself it was purely professional curiosity but a small, decisive twinge suggested otherwise.

Before spilling George's secret to my partner, I made the uncharacteristic decision to call our Sergeant and request a very specific kind of backup. One thing was certain: if I wanted to keep Trent's macho posturing to a minimum so he didn't offend future witnesses, increasing our chances of learning useful information that would lead to the killer, we'd need a tutor.

AJ Rose
Power Exchange, Released 9/15