Authors: Evanne Lorraine
Tall, dark and dominant Liam meets,
small, wary and submissive Tiana. They’re two sides of the same coin—a perfect
match, right? Not even close.
Tiana isn’t as untried as she
seems. She’s determined to reclaim her life—hopefully including plenty of kinky
sex—as soon as she can find a Master she can trust. Liam is the perfect man to
show her how hot total surrender can be. But with Tiana toting around a designer
set of damaged baggage and Liam refusing to admit to his own issues, it’s going
to be a tough sell.
Their immovable barriers aren’t the
only things keeping them from hot, sweaty nights. When a stalker gets
dangerous, the lack of trust between them will not only threaten the future
Tiana wants…but possibly their lives.
BDSM erotic romance
from Ellora’s Cave
Half an hour out of Seattle, Tiana turned off the freeway
onto the two-lane county road. Traffic thinned to a trickle. The subdivisions
gave way to farms and other motorists grew farther and farther apart. Finally,
she was alone.
She pressed back into the cushy seat and shrugged to release
the tension from driving an unfamiliar vehicle. The luxurious new-car
smells—leather, vinyl and rubber—made her face crinkle into a smile. Even the
temporary paper license taped to the rear window pleased her.
In a few weeks the bright-red truck would be dinged, dirty
and scratched from tossing brush and fencing in the shiny bed. The stable would
be finished and her horses home. The house renovations finished tomorrow. A
couple of days to arrange furniture and she would live at the farm Aunt Tilly
left her. The change in address meant having a big piece of her life back on
At the same time everything was finally coming together,
she’d been plagued by the creepy sensation she was being watched every time she
left the apartment. The feeling had been so persistent she’d called her
therapist. Marge assured her recurring bouts of paranoia were common in women
with post-traumatic stress disorder, as were unexpected episodes of anxiety and
occasional panic attacks.
Tiana tried to ignore the prickling along her backbone, but
she couldn’t shake the chill of eyes-on-her-back whenever she went anywhere
other than the Crucible. The exclusive fetish club was her safe place. Long
before she ever entered the gated grounds, the constant noise and bustle of the
city always vanished.
The healthy growl of the new engine, a faint whir from her
tires on the pavement and the air conditioner hum combined to soothe her frayed
edges. As she absorbed the peace, her shoulders lowered.
Tall firs and maples towered overhead, providing shade from
the lowering sun. She pushed her oversized sunglasses on top of her head. Dusty
late-summer foliage of ferns, salal and Oregon grape banked the two-lane
highway on both sides. The lightly traveled scenic route made driving a
signaled a call from Jen, best friend
and sister-in-law. They’d been college roommates three years and a lifetime
ago. Tiana had actually introduced Jen to her big brother when he came to her
graduation. The two of them had a fairytale perfect romance. Tiana had been
maid-of-honor at their wedding and now the sister-of-her-heart was officially
part of her family.
Tiana activated the hands-free earpiece. “Hi, you. What did
the doctor say?”
“Two words,” Jen snuffled, “bed rest.”
Tiana’s heart hurt for her sister-in-law. Jen was a
whirlwind, always in motion. Forced inactivity would be so hard for her. “Dear
God, are you okay?”
“Guess not. I’m a defective baby-making machine.”
“Uh-uh. More likely the baby is a boy with his father’s
macho genes already causing trouble.”
Jen managed a watery laugh.
“Speaking of my brother, have you told him?”
“Not yet, he’s already insanely protective.”
“This isn’t going to change his protector mode, but he still
needs to know.” Tiana’s corset pinched her waist when she tried to draw a deep,
“You want your house done, don’t you?” Jen sniffled.
“Houses can wait. You’re more important to me and to your
stubborn husband.” Tiana hauled out the big guns. “If you don’t tell him
tonight, then I will tomorrow.”
“Some best friend you are. He’s home, gotta go. Bye.” Jen
Distracted by Jen’s news, Tiana didn’t notice anything wrong
until the whine of a much too close revving motor caused her to check the
A navy-blue Jeep with tinted windows raced toward her. The
aggressive driver startled her into drifting across the yellow center line’s
dashes and bumps. Her pulse sped as she double-checked the reflected threat.
She swerved the new truck back into the right lane.
Dirty streaks covered the speeding SUV behind her. It hadn’t
rained in weeks. The driver must’ve found a creek to splash through to have
gotten so filthy.
The vehicle practically kissed her pickup’s bed.
Tension hunched her shoulders. She slowed, giving him plenty
of opportunity to pass. The other driver dropped back, crawling behind her.
No other cars appeared. She didn’t dare take her hand off
the steering wheel long enough to dig out her cell phone and call 9-1-1.
would I tell them? There’s a maniac in a filthy Jeep making me nervous?
SUV’s mud-smeared plate was impossible to read. She couldn’t even give the authorities
a license number.
She sped up as much as she dared on the winding road. He
raced closer. On the next straight stretch she slowed again, praying he would
pass. He braked hard, skidding back into his slot on her tail.
Her automatic assumption had been the hostile jerk was male.
In truth she couldn’t swear to gender. The darkened windshield obscured the
driver to a murky silhouette. For five miles the Jeep stuck to her rear like a
giant, ugly magnet.
Her knuckles grew pale and shiny from gripping the wheel so
Did I cut him off back on the freeway? I must have done something to
make him so reckless. Or else I’m a violence magnet. Or he’s a raging asshole.
Whatever his problem is, I’m not imagining this threat
He rammed her bumper. The sheer drop-off on her right loomed
much too close. The safety strap bit into her bare shoulder as she fought the
steering wheel, frantic to keep the truck’s skidding tires on the asphalt.
In a surge of panic she floored the gas pedal. The powerful
engine pulled her away.
She flew past a cluster of mailboxes warning her that the
Crucible’s entrance waited beyond the next bend.
Keep going or turn? If she could make it onto the grounds
without wrecking, security might help. Her jittering nerves pushed for the
She tapped the brakes lightly, steered into the resulting
skid and prayed she didn’t roll. The truck fishtailed around the backside of
the hairpin turn. She torqued the wheels to the right and angled into the
private drive almost sideways.
The tailgater clipped the back of her truck. Force from the
collision snapped her teeth shut. He screeched to a stop.
The menacing Jeep blocked the road behind her. Thank God the
driver stayed inside the vehicle.
Too terrified to get out of her pickup, she didn’t check the
damage. Stupid to let some jerk with anger management issues terrify her, but
he did. She cranked the steering wheel and pulled close enough to reach the
gate’s scanner. Her fingers shook so hard it took her two tries to extract her
membership card. She waved the barcode under the reader. The heavy wrought iron
Tiana punched the gas. The back tires spun, found traction
and surged past the barrier. She checked her rearview mirror. The metal
barricade swung closed behind her. The creep reversed out of the driveway so
fast he raised dust and gravel on the shoulder. He pulled back on the highway
At least he hadn’t rammed the gate. She didn’t need more
drama and the Crucible’s owner wouldn’t appreciate the property damage.
Two members of the Crucible’s security team pulled even with
“Are you all right, ma’am?”
She bobbed her head, not trusting her voice.
“We caught the other vehicle on camera, but weren’t able to
read the license plate.”
“You need to call the police anyway.”
“I’ll do that.” She slowed the truck to a funeral crawl,
following the long private road to the exclusive fetish club. To calm her
racing heart, she silently chanted one of her mantras.
Being scared does not
make me a coward. Being hurt does not make me a victim. I am a survivor
The affirmation helped. Gradually, her pulse eased from panic to slightly fast
and her stomach quit trying to evacuate its contents. By the time the modern
fortress loomed into view, she’d shooed away the worst of her scaredy-cat
The club’s management vetted potential members and employees
as thoroughly as they guarded their privacy. Tiana applied for membership six
months ago. After passing the required physical, background and credit check,
she had to wait for an opening on their closed membership list. After the
opening came she waited again until another orientation class began. Every
member took the six-week course before entering the dungeon solo. Tonight she
graduated to probationary member. For the next month and a half either she or
the management could terminate the membership without notice and the hefty
annual dues would be refunded.
Dating in the vanilla world seemed simpler, but it had never
worked for her. She didn’t like being called a sick freak when she’d asked her date
just to try practicing a little restraint, plus having to take the lead shut
down her libido.
Carl, her first Master, had been strong and kind. She’d met
him at a popular club while he was stationed in the States. He’d been killed on
his next deployment. Eventually she craved release enough to brave another BDSM
meat market where Richard found her. At first he’d been wonderful then
later—behind closed doors—his dominance changed to violence and she became the
For her—a sexual submissive, who needed every possible
assurance of safety—the Crucible was worth the time and cost. She hoped.
Finding the right Master remained an unmet challenge. True,
she was still a little jumpy. All right, more than a little, since a crazed
motorist made her legs as shaky as a new foal’s, but she’d done a few practice
scenes during orientation without throwing up—progress.
Convinced the only way to get over her fear of Doms was to
work through it, she kept coming back, determined to conquer every last damn
hurdle. Her sadistic, lying ex was dead. He’d already taken enough from her.
She wouldn’t let him steal her sexuality. She would learn to surrender control
again and find the release she needed even if at the moment trust still seemed
impossible. She’d enjoyed the BDSM lifestyle before and vanilla never worked
for her. She would reclaim her sexuality. She had to—twenty-five was too young
If all went well tonight, she would brave a scene with one
of the baby Doms and this time she would lose herself in a world of sensation
for a half hour.
She parked the new truck and let the exterior of the
exclusive fetish venue soothe her for a few more heartbeats.
The Crucible was thorough, careful, controlled—like her.
Everything she knew about the club inspired confidence, starting with a secure
perimeter. The only roads in were monitored by state-of-the-art video
surveillance and regularly patrolled by a crack security team, as were the
grounds. The reinforced concrete building had been designed to emulate a
natural rock formation. The first floor rose above a rolling lawn that would
have done a golf course proud. There were two doors, both accessible only to
carefully screened members and trusted personnel. The second story had a series
of tall, narrow windows reminiscent of a medieval castle’s arrow slits.
She climbed out and inspected the rear bumper. Her shiny new
toy had its first owies. She called 9-1-1 and reported the incident, giving
them the near useless description of the vehicle involved. The operator took down
her information and told her a deputy would stop by her apartment to take a
report tomorrow morning.
A car door closed to the west.
The sound snapped her focus back to the present. The call to
her insurance company would wait. She rummaged through her clutch, searching
for the security card she needed to release the entry lock.
“Looking for this?” A deep voice startled her. She forced
herself not to run.
He held up her membership card and strode closer. “You must
have dropped it leaving your rig.”
He prowled toward her with the easy grace of a natural
predator. She watched his approach with the wariness of cornered prey, hating
herself for being constantly scared. She glanced at his dark hair, closely cut
and still damp from a shower. Her gaze raked past a noble brow to the aviator
shades shielding his eyes. He was everything that scared her and everything she
wanted. He offered plenty of other manly scenery. A bladed nose, a luxuriant
mustache and full, sensual lips led her to a square chin. She’d never cared
much for facial hair on a man, until now. She couldn’t decide if it made him
look more dangerous or just hotter. He wasn’t anywhere close to pretty—his
features were all hard angles—but he was devastatingly, utterly alpha male.
He ran his hand over the damaged bumper. “I know someone who
can pound this out. A little paint, some buffing and you won’t be able tell
anything happened. Do you want his number?”
“This is the first time I’ve driven the truck…” Emotion
choked her for a couple of seconds. She shook her head in frustration.
to let such a tiny thing upset me. I’m not dead or injured. Bumpers cam be
repaired or replaced. I’m not letting some rage-aholic ruin the rest of a
Anxious for him to see her as appealingly compliant rather
than a helpless woman, needing him to rescue her, she downplayed the hit and
run. “Stupid to be so upset over a fender-bender.”
Objectifying the sex god beside her was a much better option
than reliving her close call with the tailgater from hell. He’d crouched to
examine her truck, putting his head level with her waist. She still felt dainty
in comparison. When he stood she admired more of him. Below his bronze jaw, a
strong neck broadened into broad shoulders. A black, open-neck polo shirt covered
his wide chest and tucked into the flat waist of pressed khakis secured by a
supple black leather belt. His legs were long and strong. The casual slacks
covering them broke over a pair of gleaming loafers.