Authors: Melissa Schroeder
Tags: #Red Hots!, #Contemporary Romance
What begins as a quest for submission becomes an unrelenting need for love.
May Aiona’s crush on sexy Evan Chambers is a bad habit that should be easy to break. It’s not like he’s ever noticed her. Looking for a safe place to release the reins of control and explore her curiosity about BDSM, May takes a friend up on an invitation to visit an exclusive bondage club—all she has to agree to is a public submission.
Evan can’t help but notice the exotically beautiful May. But despite his success, the dirty secrets of his past whisper that he’ll never be good enough for her. When Evan sees her standing in his club ready to submit to his best friend, he gives in to the thing he wants most—May as his sub. After their session, he knows one night will never be enough. But loving May isn’t easy for a man always ready to take charge.
She might like to submit in the bedroom, but she doesn’t like anyone telling her what to do outside of it.
When May insists she’s not in any danger from the person seemingly obsessed with her, she ends up in the sights of a deranged stalker—with Evan possibly too far away to help.
Warning: This book contains sexy Hawaiian settings, crazy relatives, and a submission scene that leaves the heroine breathless and the hero frustrated. There are toys, bondage, and love scenes so hot, you’ll need ice water and a towel. Remember, it’s a Harmless story, so you know there’s nothing harmless about it.
They cannot be sold, shared or given away as it is an infringement on the copyright of this work.
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.
Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
577 Mulberry Street, Suite 1520
Macon GA 31201
A Little Harmless Obsession
Copyright © 2010 by Melissa Schroeder
Edited by Heidi Moore
Cover by Scott Carpenter
All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
t Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
electronic publication: September 2010
A Little Harmless Obsession
To the Harmless fans. You have waited for Evan and May’s story and I hope it lives up to your expectations. Please know that their story is as important to me as it is to you. Thank you for your support and your many emails promising me death and dismemberment if I did not finish it. You blood-thirsty crazies are near and dear to my heart.
No book is written without help from my friends. It has been a long road back to my roots and to the writing I love. I would not have made it without some support. Thanks to Shayla Black, Kris Cook, Nikki Duncan, Joy Harris and Brandy Walker. Each one of you helped me keep my spirits happy in different ways. A shout out to my best bud, Kally Jo Surbeck. Always nice to have a friend you know will make you happy when you talk and know all your favorite quotes from
. Thank you to Samhain for believing in my Harmless books, and for being a top notch publisher run by one of the smartest chicks in the universe, Crissy Brashear. A special thank you goes out to Heidi Moore for taking me on…poor woman, you have no idea what you got yourself into.
And to my family. Les, Audrey and Eliza, you have helped me through a tough two years while I drifted about. Without your support, I would have never made it back to shore. You are always in my mind, close to my heart and all that is beautiful in my world. I love you.
A ripple of pleasure shimmered through May Aiona the moment Evan Chambers walked through the front door of Dupree’s. Her breathing hitched, her pulse doubled and dammit, her whole body tingled. Even as she cursed her reaction, she knew it would do no good. It had been this way since the first time she had seen him years ago, and no matter how many times she told herself he wasn’t the man for her, her body ignored her.
And for good reason. Evan was a man who turned heads—both men and women’s. Over six feet tall, most of it legs, all of it muscled and gorgeous. He possessed amazing gray blue eyes that crinkled around the corners when he smiled—which he did a lot. He had one of those classically beautiful faces, but the slightly crooked nose kept him from being too pretty.
He offered her his customary friendly smile that held no seduction, but that didn’t make him any less appealing. “How’s it going tonight, May?”
Inwardly, she berated herself for the way her heart tripped at the sound of his southern accent slipping over her name. She loved the way it rippled over the vowels, drawing them out. It always made her nipples tighten against her bra. She busied herself with straightening the menus, hoping he didn’t notice.
“Busy. Jason called in sick with the flu, so we’re short a person in the kitchen. Boss is in the back if you’re looking for him.”
Please leave before I make a fool of myself
He winked at her and her silly little heart skipped a beat. “You always know what a man needs.” He brushed past her and the scent of bayberry and the Hawaiian night lingered in the air around her.
She used all of her control to keep herself from turning around and watching his fine ass walk back to see Chris Dupree.
“That boy is nothing but trouble,” Cynthia said.
May glanced over at her best friend and the boss’ fiancé.
She sighed and busied herself rearranging the menus again. “I know. He’s a man-whore and way out of my league.”
“That isn’t what I meant. Yes, he is a man-whore, but I think he is very much in your league. What I meant was that Evan has too many problems to count.”
She eyed Cynthia, knowing that something had gone on a few months ago between Evan and her.
Evan had been not too happy when his best friend, Chris, had returned from a wedding all excited about a southern bell he’d met. But somewhere along the way, Evan and Cynthia had come to an understanding.
“Everyone has problems, Cyn.”
Her friend shook her head. “No. I think these go beyond just normal problems.” Interest sparked through May. “Really?”
Cynthia looked over at May. Her blue eyes widened. “Oh, no you don’t. You are not going to fix him.”
May let one eyebrow rise in question.
Cynthia held up her hands as if to ward May off. “I don’t know what the problems are. I just know that Evan had a horrible childhood.”
May shrugged. “I figured that.”
“Really? I thought he kept that hidden.”
“He never has anyone visit him. I’d think most people would take advantage of a free place to stay in Hawaii…especially at Evan’s house.”
She hadn’t seen the inside in person, but it had been featured in
. He’d taken a dilapidated, neglected house and turned it into a showplace. Even now it embarrassed her that she had driven by it a few times. But it was on her way home since they both lived in Hawaii Kai. So she drove ten minutes out of the way. It wasn’t like she had been stalking him…really.
“Not everyone has a family like yours.”
Cynthia’s sad tone pulled May out of her thoughts. She hated seeing her friend blue, especially since she was usually the happiest person May knew.
“What? Not everyone has a house full of males who can’t seem to pick up after themselves. Let’s not go into what my grandfather does every time I bring a female friend home.” As May hoped, Cynthia’s face split into a smile. “I didn’t complain, did I?” May sighed dramatically. “I still can’t believe he pinched your ass.” Cynthia waved that away. “No problem, sistah.”
May laughed at Cynthia’s version of a Hawaiian accent. No matter how hard she tried, Cynthia would always sound like a southern belle.
“It’s hard for me to understand family dynamics because mine are so warped.” Cynthia shook her head. “No, y’all are wonderful.”
“Remind me of that next time Danny decides to try to flirt with you.”
“I like coming to your house. If Chris were ever to dump me, I know I would at least have my choice of dates.” Cynthia sobered. “No, what I meant was that you know you have someone there backing you up…you never doubt that your family will be there for you.” May smiled. “It’s hard to imagine not having them. We’ve always been close. Especially since my mother died.”
A Little Harmless Obsession
And even now, twelve years later, the pain of her mother’s sudden death at the hands of a drunk driver came rushing back. It had been so sudden, so overwhelming for a twelve-year-old. She pushed aside all those feelings, knowing that dwelling on them would not do her any good.
“Are you and the boss going out tonight?”
Cynthia shook her head. “No. I need to be at the bakery by four am.” May shuddered. “There is no way I could do that. You have to be sadistic to choose to be a baker.”
“Since Chris has been complaining, I’m looking for some help. So if you know anyone, throw them my way.”
“The boss complained and you’re looking for help?”
Cynthia made a face. “That’s what I’m letting him think. Truthfully, Cynthia’s is getting too busy for me to handle. And I would like to expand, maybe start a delivery service for offices in the morning.”
“Oh, good idea.” She glanced at the clock. “It’s already ten o’clock. When are you getting out of here?”
“I thought soon, but now that Evan’s here, who knows.” May glanced back at the hallway that led to Chris’s office. “You might want to interrupt them. He could be in there for an hour.”
Cynthia shook her head. “No. Evan hasn’t had much time with Chris, and I seriously think there is something going on with him.”
When Cynthia didn’t continue on, May decided not to pry. It wasn’t her business, even if she wanted Evan. May had hoped she might be able to move their friendship into something more romantic, but three years later, she was still firmly in Evan’s friend category. She knew his tastes, knew he was considered a Dom, but he toned it down when he was around her. Now show him a woman who weighed a hundred pounds and had fake boobs, Evan was all over that.
Again, she silently chastised herself and turned her attention to Cynthia who was studying her with a look of understanding.
“So have you decided on an Italian cream for your wedding cake or are you still trying to decide?” Evan leaned back in his chair and studied Chris. There was a fine layer of tension in the way he held his shoulders. Evan knew something was wrong.
“What’s going on?”
“Nothing. A little busy in the kitchen with Jason out.”
“Yeah, May told me.”
“She read me the riot act about getting some more help. She wants to fire Jason. He’s skipped out several times. Simon also told me he’s been bothering May when I’m gone.” Evan frowned. “She didn’t say anything to me.”
Chris cocked his head at the tone in Evan’s voice. “Why would she?” Yes, why would she? He knew she had been backing away from him over the last few months. Their friendship now felt more like they were…acquaintances. Her smiles did not hold the same level of warmth and she rarely had time to chat. It seemed like every time he stopped to talk to her, there was an invisible barrier that hadn’t been there before.
Evan shook off his thoughts. “I asked her when I came in what was going on.” Chris snorted. “She didn’t tell me, so I doubt she would’ve told you. Hell, I doubt she even told Cynthia.”
“She usually doesn’t have an issue, but apparently Jason was none too happy she turned him down.
He’s been a little pushy in his pursuit. I don’t know exactly what went on, but Simon said he’s heard Jason has anger-management issues with women.”