This month Desiree Holt celebrates her 100th release with Downstroke from Ellora’s Cave. Downstroke is the story of lovers reunited after twenty years trying to bridge a gulf of bitterness while outwitting a killer.
It’s been twenty years since Charley Roper and Dallas Creed parted with great bitterness. In that time she’s made a career for herself with the FBI and private security and he’s been a country rock music icon…tumbled to the bottom and risen again. Now someone’s trying to kill him and Morgan Creed wants Charley to protect his brother and find out who’s after him. When they meet again after all this time it’s obvious the chemistry is still there, stronger than ever. They’re older but are they wiser? Caught up in the bitter wash of memories and the tension of a killer in stalking mode, Charley and Dallas begin a roller coaster ride that is emotional erotic and suspenseful. Is their love strong enough after twenty years to pull them back together?
As part of the celebration, Desiree is giving away a prize every day of the reader's choice from her backlist. Names will be drawn from those who post comments and a grand prize of a refurbished Netbook with digital DVD drive will be awarded to one lucky winner. After you (the reader) post here to win one of her books, go to Desiree's web site at www.desireeholt.com and enter to win the grand prize.
And to help her celebrate I’m giving you a taste of one of her other books.
Blurb: When rancher Reece Halliday met the new manager of his fetish club, Rawhide, he was shocked to see Katie Waren, the woman he'd loved and lost because of his sexual preferences. But a lot of time has passed and Katie has discovered the lure and satisfaction of BDSM—including the pleasurable sting of the single tail whip. Will Reece be able to lure her back into his arms—and bed—when he cracks the whip during their private sessions?
Excerpt: “So maybe if you tell me how it happened, I’ll answer your question about me.”
“Fair enough.” He set his cup back in the saucer. “Remember Chad Willoughby, my college roommate?”
“Chad’s brother was into the life big time. When Chad graduated from law school, he got Chad a guest pass at the private fetish club he belonged to and said he could bring a friend.” He looked down. “I’d…been to a club twice before when we were together. But never did any more than watch,” he added quickly. “That’s when I brought everything up to you. I was fascinated with the lifestyle and wanted us to try some of these things together.” His grin was rueful. “My idea didn’t work out so well, as I remember.”
“No. It didn’t.” If only she hadn’t reacted so badly. “So what happened at the club?
“It seemed I was finally going to experience the things I’d only fantasized about. Chad’s brother arranged for each of us to have a sub for the evening along with a trained instructor.” He paused to sip more coffee.
“And?” she prompted.
“To be blunt about it, I discovered a desire for it I didn’t even know I had. It was the most explosive night I’d ever had sexually. And that’s taking nothing away from what you and I had together.”
“But you wanted more.” Oh, she was sure of that. She felt a trap opening, yawning like a big hole before her. “On a regular basis.”
“I did. A lot more. And more often. I for sure couldn’t look for action anywhere around the Hill Country. You know how conservative the ranching community is. Not even my brothers know about my…preferences.”
Katie gave him a quizzical look. “So what did you do?”
“Joined the club in Tampa Chad’s brother took us to. They have an arrangement for guest privileges in other clubs around the country. I…took a lot of business trips.” He stopped to take another swallow of coffee.
“Your brothers didn’t ask questions?”
He shook his head. “I timed my trips to coincide with legitimate business. Conventions. Meetings. Whatever.” His eyes raked over her face possessively. “But here’s the plain truth. I really wanted you, Katie. I wanted it all. You and the life.”
“Which is what led to the scene in our hotel room.” When she so childishly ran away. It wasn’t just the things themselves he was proposing. It was the total implication, the fear that she could lose herself in him completely. A very dangerous edge.
He grinned. “Yeah. That was some scene. I still remember how you looked, spread out…”
“Stop.” She held up her hand. “That’s not what I meant. Can we stick to the conversation at hand?”
The look he gave her nearly incinerated her dress. “Afraid to talk about it, sugar?”
Using your "powers" to help the Dark Hills Police Department hunt down serial killers doesn't leave much time for dating. Not that Piper Anast is complaining. The last thing she needs is some guy brushing up against her and pumping his pornographic thoughts into her head.
When she meets Bennett Slade, a sexy, tormented vampire, Piper stumbles headlong into a telepathic connection with his missing daughter. She can't leave the kid to the evil surrounding her unwanted visions, nor can she resist her draw to Slade. He's the first guy she's been able to touch vision-free in, well, forever.
As she and Slade close in on the evil creature holding his daughter, Piper's powers morph into a deadly fury. To save Slade's daughter-and herself-Piper must face down demons she never knew she had and trust the one thing she keeps from everyone.
"Fine." I snapped my eyes closed and took a leap of faith by turning around. Several seconds passed before the rustling of fabric warned me Slade had removed his shirt. His voice rumbled close to my ear. "Raise your arms."
My arms went into the air as if his voice be-spelled them somehow. "Why?"
"Would you quit asking that?"
His soft chuckle made me grin. He tugged my t-shirt clear of my jeans and I spun around. "Whoa, what are you doing?"
"I want your skin against mine when I do this. It will be much better this way. I promise."
"Do I look stupid to you?"
"No. You look gorgeous. Now take off your shirt."
"You are most exasperating. You asked me to do this!"
"Why won't you tell me what you're going to do?"
He ran a hand through his dark hair. "Fine. I am removing your shirt because, if we get carried away, I do not want blood on your clothes."
"Blood? I didn't say you could feed."
"Piper, this will be good and when it is, you may ask me to bite you. I will not be able to deny you. If you want to stop, you had better do it now. I will not be able to later. Not with you."
"I don't want to stop—I just don't buy your reasoning."
"Humor me and turn back around. I am trying to be a gentleman." I gave him my back, feeling vulnerable and exposed as he drew my shirt over my head. The soft curls on his chest pressed against me. I leaned back and met the strong wall of steel.
He tensed and pulled my arms away from my body. "Who did this?"
I'd forgotten about the deep purple bruising on my upper arms. "Gage."
"Gage?" He blinked. "He should not have had the strength to do this on his own. What has that monster done to him?"
I shrugged and would have turned around if Slade's grip wasn't so tight. His thumbs softly stroked the bruising. "Does it hurt?"
"Nah. Can we get back to what we were doing? What happens next?"
He chuckled. "Listen. Listen to air. Listen until you hear nothing but the air around you."
What did he mean, listen to air? I stood still, listening to the soft sound of his breath teasing the top of my head. I was a good foot shorter than he was and felt miniscule against his mass.
After a few moments of relaxing and listening to nothing, a soft breeze floated along my skin. With it came the scent of vanilla. Warm. Inviting. I felt myself sway toward it. Slade's hard hands caught my upper arms and pulled me tighter to him.
"Listen," he whispered.
Then I heard it. A bell, soft chimes, ringing in my ear. "What is it?"
"That is the sound of the power. Now feel it." He placed his arms around me and engulfed me in his strong embrace. Heat rushed in, and at first, it was almost painful. Then came the liquid fire coursing through my veins. Following the fire, a lust so sinful all rationality fled. I wilted against him, wanting to feel more of the hardness pressed against my back.
His breathing shifted. Soft, warm pants tickled my neck. "Piper, turn around and look at me."
I did as he asked because there was nothing else I wanted to do. He was my everything at that moment.
"Your eyes..." He held my head tightly in his palms. "Piper, what are you?"
Ten years on I’m still convinced I’m the luckiest woman on earth. Two devastatingly gorgeous husbands committed to my satisfaction—phew!—life doesn’t get much better or much sexier.
But as though the mere concept of a perfect existence was created to be shattered, one day Quinn turned to me and said, “Shared too. I want to be shared too.” Add in the monster that haunted my nightmares and I was struggling to keep a grip on my sanity.
I soon realized that the path Quinn wanted us to travel would stretch not only his experience of giving and taking but also mine and Liam’s. In a whirlwind of desperate emotions, dark desires and erotic fantasy, we were all so distant but also so sublimely close. Sharing had never been as sweet as it was bitter, or as depraved as it was heavenly.
Reader Advisory: Features the sharing of multiple bodies (F/F, M/F/M, F/M/F/M), bondage and other naughty sexual adventures!
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
The next morning Liam was already locked in his office when I awoke. I showered, pulled on jeans and an old top and set about my morning jobs in the yard. After feeding the chickens, I spotted Quinn alone by the fence, dressed in his thick, brown fleece and black jeans. He was staring out over the paddock, his arms spread wide and his back slightly bowed as he gripped the top planks.
I walked over and stood against the fence, placing my hand right next to his. “Morning.”
“Hey.” He glanced at me.
“Are you all right? You look lost in thought.”
“Yeah, I’m okay.” He stared back out at the paddock.
I waited for him to elaborate. Quinn standing still, not doing something productive was an unusual sight. “So what are you thinking about?”
He sighed. “Stuff.”
He gave a sharp shrug. “Last night, with you, Liam. It was good.”
“Yes, it was.” I smiled. “But it always is when we’re together.” I slid my gaze over the horizon, at the swallows flying low and catching the last of the autumn midges before their long migration.
“How does it feel, Ariane?”
“To be with two people, have two men adoring you, making sure you get pleasure.” His voice lowered. “Making you come.”
I stared at the lush grass and a lingering buttercup, searching for the right words. They all came to me at once. “It feels intense, super-satisfying, amazing, so damn hot to be completely connected to you both.” I smiled. “Once upon a time you said I was going to be the most pampered, sexually satisfied woman in the world and you’ve lived up to your word…more than lived up to your word.”
His mouth tipped in a grin. “Yeah, I remember that conversation on the balcony. We were so worried we’d scared you off.”
We were quiet for a moment. A tractor pulling a plow chugged in the distance and a murder of crows squabbled in a nearby copse.
“Why are you asking me this?” I asked eventually, poking at a piece of moss on the fencepost.
“I’m just curious.”
“Are you thinking about Eve?”
He turned to me, his eyes searching my face as though examining me for signs of imminent hysteria.
“It’s okay if you are,” I said, willing my heart to stop its sudden thumping. “If you’re thinking about her I’d rather you told me.”
He sighed and looked away.
“You like her,” I said. “You’re attracted to her and you said you’d make sure the two of you weren’t ever in a position to let anything happen again.” I pulled in a breath. “But that doesn’t mean she’s disappeared from your thoughts.”
A muscle flexed in his jaw.
“Was she at Hanrahan’s the night you went there without me?”
He straightened, rolled back his shoulders and turned. His butt rested on the top rail of the fence and he stared across the yard with his arms folded across his chest.
“Yes, she was, she was there, okay?”
“And you thought about her after that night?” I kept my voice calm and controlled even though he’d snapped. I didn’t want to fight about this. I sensed it was too important to lose my cool.
“No, yes, well, I thought about her a little.”
“What did you think?”
“That her conversation about patient care and surgical time management was insightful, that the other members of the team respected her, listened to her.” He paused.
“And that her hair looked like silk, like a long, golden sheet of silk smoothing around her shoulders as she moved… I wondered what it would be like to touch it.”
I was quiet as I shoved my hands deeper into my pockets. There was a chill in the air that was penetrating more than my skin.
“How do you do it?” he asked, looking down at me with an expression of genuine confusion.
“Love two men, be with two men. How do you do it so brilliantly?”
“I’m glad you think so.”
“You do, and you have done for so long. Not only that, you share your love and time and attention between our daughters too, and all the animals. I’m in awe of you.”
“Love is worthless until it’s given away,” I said with a smile and rested my fingers on the arm of his fleece, attempting to placate his fractious mood.
“How about attraction?” His eyes flashed. “Is that worthless?” He swallowed and I watched his Adam’s apple bob low then all the way back up again. His jaw tensed and a muscle in his cheek flexed beneath his stubble.
”We’re not talking about me anymore, are we?”
He gave a small shake of his head.
“I don’t know about attraction, Quinn. I’m in love with you and Liam—that’s what I understand, love.”
“But there is a difference between love and attraction. A big difference. I’m in love with you, so in love with you, you’re my wife, the mother of my children, I want to grow old with you, look back on my life and say I spent it with you.”
I felt a sting in my eyes. His words matched my feelings. My emotions were ballooning inside me and I dragged in a breath to keep them under control.
“But…” he said.
I tilted my brows and blinked away the moisture.
“But,” he went on. “Part of me wants her as well. Not to spend my life with her. I just…want her.”
“You said you’re not going to have an affair with her.”
He shook his head firmly. “No, of course I’m not going to have an affair with her.”
“Does…?” I hesitated. “Does that include you’re not going to sleep with her too?”
He shut his eyes for a long second, gnawed on the inside of his cheek.
“Quinn.” My voice was shaky but I managed to hide the wobble—just.
“No, I’m not going have sex with her, okay? Because that…” He uncrossed his arms and gripped the rail behind himself again so tight his knuckles paled. “Because that would hurt you.”
“Is that the only reason?” My voice was a little sharper. “Because you don’t want to hurt me?”
“Yes, Ariane, that’s the only reason.” He pushed away from the fence and took several quick strides across the yard.
“Wait.” I rushed to follow him. “You can’t say something like that and walk away.”
“But what else is there to say?” He spun around.
I halted in front of him, put my hands on his chest and willed my voice to stay even. “How about talking about the vows we made to one another in our commitment ceremony, how about that?”
“We never said ‘forsake all others’. Those vows tied us together, you and me, and allowed Liam to be part of our relationship the same way I’m allowed to be part of yours. Those vows make it okay to share.”
“Yes, you share me.”
“But you get us both, don’t you? You get both the people you’re attracted to.”
“Love, Quinn, I get both the men I love, and the whole threesome relationship was your idea, not mine. I had to get my head around it.”
He sighed and looked down at his feet. “Love, attraction, either way, you get it all and it doesn’t seem fair.”
My hands dropped from his chest. My breathing was hard and blew like smoke from my mouth into the cold air. “You want it fair?” I asked, my mind full of disbelief.
His gaze captured mine and his voice dropped low. “Yes.”
“But how would that work?”
“Fair would be me going to bed and being shared too.”