Submissive Mia Manetti is devastated when her first Master uncollars her just as she was hoping for a permanent relationship with him. Trying to move on, she agrees to sub for a powerful and sexy new Dom.
Chess Ryan has wanted Mia from the first moment he saw her at Club Restraint, but it was always “hands off” because she belonged to his friend Philip. Now, thanks to that friend’s maneuvers, Mia is finally his. But only for a little while.
Mia finds it increasingly difficult to keep her feelings in check as she experiences erotic delights with Master Chess, sensual and sexual fantasies that she’s never known before. Is she setting herself up for another heart ache?
Guilt, secrets and misplaced pride all keep Chess and Mia from being completely honest with each other. As they connect sexually and emotionally, they realize their relationship has grown too serious to be called “play”. How far are they willing to go as Master and slave?
Genre: BDSM-themed erotic romance m/f
Nona Raines became hooked on romances when she first picked up “The Flame and the Flower” by Kathleen Woodiwiss (and she’s not telling how long ago that was). Romances may have changed since then, but her love for a good love story has not. She’s been writing off and on for years, but it was only when she joined the Central New York Romance Writers Association that she finally gained the support and confidence she needed to complete a manuscript.
Nona lives in upstate New York with her many pets and is currently working on her next novel. A former librarian, she enjoys reading books of all genres and discussing them with others. She is thrilled to finally be able to call herself an author and looks forward to hearing from readers.
As she turned toward the lobby she bumped, almost literally, into Chess Ryan. He appeared suddenly, as if he’d been waiting right outside the ladies’ lounge.
“Oh!” She stepped backward in surprise, wobbling on her high heels. Chess steadied her, his hands warm on her bare arms, his gray eyes fixed on her face.
“I didn’t, uh, didn’t expect you—”
“Have you been crying?” His voice was rough. He sounded angry.
“I’m not feeling well,” she murmured, looking away.
His fingers flexed briefly on her skin and then fell away as he withdrew. “Let me take you back to your table.”
“No!” Mia cried, panic-stricken. His eyebrows flew up, and she immediately calmed herself. “I mean, no, thank you. I’m going home now.”
His brow lowered, and his gaze drifted to her bare throat. Something flashed in his eyes. She was shaken, as though he’d seen her nude.
Though one of the most respected Doms at Restraint and one of the most popular, he had never done more with Mia than exchange a few pleasantries. Master Philip wasn’t into sharing, and neither was she.
But now he said, “I’ll take you home.”
“They’re not really friends. Business acquaintances, more like. I’ll make my excuses.” Before Mia could even think what to say next, he quickly took charge. “Wait for me right here. We’ll leave in a moment.”
She could have easily slipped away while he said good night to his dinner companions, but for some reason Mia waited, just as Chess told her. She had no idea why. Was it easier to simply let someone else take charge? Or perhaps Chess’s attention soothed the hurt of Philip’s rejection?
A dull ache throbbed behind Mia’s left eye. She was almost grateful for the distraction it provided from the pain in her soul.
Chess appeared again, his expression still taut with simmering anger.
“Your friends weren’t upset?” she asked.
He shrugged as if it made no difference. “They’re fine.” He paused a moment. “I spoke to Philip.”
Her steps faltered. “You didn’t—”
“I only told him I’m taking you home. He was fine with it.”
Fine with it. Another hurt, another small sign that Philip no longer wanted her.
In spite of Chess’s abrupt manner, he was most gentle as he took her by the arm. “Come, Mia. We’re leaving.”
AFTER TELLING HIM her address, Mia had nothing to say on the drive home, and Chess didn’t push. Her bare throat and stricken expression told him all he needed to know. He kept a tight rein on his own anger so as not to upset her further, but he couldn’t help wondering what the hell was wrong with Philip.
How could he just let Mia go with no explanation?
Chess remembered the startling sting of jealousy he felt when he first saw them together at Restraint. That wasn’t like him at all. Mia was appealing, sure, and if she’d been available, he’d have enjoyed playing with her. But he’d played with plenty of willing subs, some of them real knockouts. So why did Mia get him going?
He thought of the way she looked at Philip as if the sun rose and set on him. Could it be that he, Chess Ryan, wanted a woman to gaze on him with that kind of admiration and love? As if he were Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, and George Clooney rolled into one. But she’d always been off-limits because she belonged to Philip.
She’s not off-limits now. Chess frowned, his hands tightening on the steering wheel as he pushed the thought aside. Mia was in a bad place emotionally. He wouldn’t take advantage of her vulnerability by putting the moves on her.
“Here it is.” Mia’s voice was low as she pointed out the multiunit building where she lived. He pulled into the lot and accompanied her inside. Without speaking, they climbed to the second floor and stopped in front of Mia’s door.
“Thank you,” she murmured as she unlocked the door.
Before she crossed the threshold, he spoke. “Mia.”
When she turned toward him, he told her, “Look at me.”
She lifted her beautiful brown eyes to meet his gaze, and he took her hands in his. “You will have another Master, Mia. And when he finds you, I hope he realizes what a lucky man he is.”
As she stared at him, he felt as though he could look into her eyes forever. A shiver went through her and passed to him before they pulled away simultaneously. She fumbled with her keys and finally managed to slip them back into her purse. “Thank you,” she repeated, stepping quickly inside and closing the door quietly but firmly.
As though she wanted to escape him.