James has finally pushed Karina beyond her limit—not her limit for kinky sex play, but for his extreme secrecy. She has had enough and breaks things off. But James won't give up on Karina and will do whatever it takes to get her back. He's ready to share his deepest, darkest secrets, but is Karina ready to hear them?
James offers Karina not only the truth but a place at his side... onstage. He wants Karina to star in his final musical production and enter his life and his world fully and completely. As the two work together, they rekindle the trust and love they'd lost. But James's world is full of deceit. When he is blackmailed by an unscrupulous music industry executive, James must give in to unreasonable demands or risk exposure of his and Karina's secret sex life.
Will Karina and James's love be strong enough to withstand the many obstacles being thrown their way?
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An idea struck me then. “Let’s make it a mutual promise. I . . . I’ll renew my promise to you, too. How’s that?”
I saw the relief on his face, a sudden easing of the lines around his eyes. “I’d like that.” His tongue darted out as he considered.
“How would you like to go about making this vow?”
The electricity in the air between us ramped up. I couldn’t quite explain it. It was as if once the tension of the apology had dissipated, it was replaced with sexual tension. We were doing this together. The relationship might still fall apart, but we were going to at least try to fix it. Together. And for all the trouble and angst we’d had, the one thing we never lost completely was that physical, chemical connection. It might have been tamped down temporarily, but as soon as we got on the same wavelength again, boom.
“We should hold hands,” I said, “to make the promise. And I’ll go first, since mine’s a renewal, and then you can go.”
I got onto my knees on the seat so I faced him directly, and I saw his eyebrow twitch at that. I was still wearing that Gypsy-dancer skirt. I held out my hands, palms down, and he gently brought his under mine until they were clasped. Mine were trembling until his steadied them.
“I promised you once, a long time ago, in this car, that I would not lie. I kept up that promise all the time we were separated in the summer. I’m now renewing that promise to you, James. No lie shall pass my lips . . . Or if I have to, I’ll tell you, so you can . . . correct me.”
It was as if electricity crackled on the word correct. Or maybe that was because I bowed my head without even realizing it.
His voice was low and smooth. “And how shall I correct you?”
“Any way you see fit,” I whispered.
“Very good. Shall I now make my promise to you?”
“Yes.” I swallowed.
“Look me in the eye, then,” he said. “Karina Casper, I, James Byron LeStrange, shall let no lie travel from my mouth to your ear. Under penalty of losing you.”
His eyes were moist with tears. So were mine. Are we going to make this work, James? Are we?
“All right. We should . . . seal the promises now,” I said.
“How should we do that?”
“Traditionally.” I swallowed. “With a kiss.”
“Very well.” He pulled me gently toward him by my hands then and brushed my lips with his.
My breath caught, but he wasn’t finished. His breath was like ozone, charged, as he pressed his mouth more firmly against mine, his tongue swiping the seam of my lips until they parted.
And then I was crushed against him, lips and body and all, as he pulled me into his arms, lying back against the door and pulling me on top of him. Every fiber of my being thrilled at being so close, his firm muscle under me, his arms around me. I was filled with a sense of belonging and rightness I had never felt with another person before.
When he let my mouth free at last, I asked, “So do you forgive me?”
“I thought the kiss was to seal the promise of honesty.”
“It was. But, you know, I’d like to be sure you really forgive me.”
“Aha.” He looked into my eyes. “Does that mean I should be sure you were really sorry?”
I suppressed the urge to grin like a fool, because that would wreck the mood. “Yes, James. Please.”
“Hmm. And how do you propose I do that?”
“Isn’t spanking the traditional way?”
“Well, it is, but we’re not always so traditional.”
“Please, James? Please spank me?” Lying on top of him the way I was, I felt the thrum of desire shoot through his cock when I begged. He was already hard, but my words set him a quiver.
“Straddle me.” His voice was rough with desire. “Then I’ll spank you.”
Cecilia Tan writes about her many passions, from erotic fantasy to baseball, from her home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is the author of many books, including The Siren and the Sword, The Tower and the Tears, The Incubus and the Angel, Black Feathers, Mind Games, White Flames,and The 50 Greatest Yankee Games. She has edited over 50 anthologies of erotica for Red Silk Editions, Thunder's Mouth Press, Blue Moon Books, Masquerade Books, Ravenous Romance, and for the publishing house she founded, Circlet Press. Her short fiction has appeared in Ms. Magazine, Asimov's Science Fiction magazine, Best American Erotica, and many other places, and her nonfiction on baseball has been in Slow Trains, Baseball Ink, Gotham Baseball Magazine, Yankees Magazine, Yankees Annual, and elsewhere.
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