The higher the stakes, the hotter the game.
Reynolds Pack, Book 1
Ana Hudson enjoys her picture-perfect marriage to the love of her life. Everything is pleasant, easy--and satisfying. Then an anonymous e-mail arrives filled with lurid pictures of Taylor's youthful exploits, leaving her wondering if she really knows him at all. More importantly...does she know herself?
Driven to uncover the truth and push the limits of their sexual boundaries, she convinces Taylor to arrange a weekend getaway to a friend's luxury cottage in the mountains. It's the perfect place to get her husband to spill his secrets--and show him there's a wealth of kinky fantasies hiding inside his good girl.
Taylor's spent years suppressing his animalistic side, hiding the not-completely-human DNA that once drove him wild. Except now his once quiet, reserved Ana has launched a campaign to destroy every inch of his hard-won control.
With the snowy wilderness containing his darkest memories surrounding them, and his old pack-mate dropping in to give them a few pointers, the sexual battle of wills gets fierce.
Let the games begin.
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December 14, 2010
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Excerpt from Never Have I Ever by Alisha Rai
Wine was safe, the perfect complement for any dinner.
Bourbon was subtly intimate, like a roaring fire in a sitting room.
The tequila? Heck, she might as well walk through the front door topless.
This shouldn't be taking you so long.
No, it shouldn't, but she was in uncharted territory. Ana Hudson studied the bottles on the shelves. The plans she had lined up for this weekend were so incredibly important, she couldn't risk a single misstep. Why, the wrong hooch could...could...
Okay, it wouldn't be disastrous. Maybe. Probably.
"Can we go now?"
Ana glanced over her shoulder to catch her scowling, impatient lug of a husband. A rush of tenderness flowed through her. Lord, she loved him. Despite his inability to let her be indecisive in peace.
Taylor was a beautiful man, even when his black brows were lowered in a frown over his deep green eyes. Though he was only thirty-six, strands of silver had already begun to work their way through his short cropped black hair, giving him a distinguished and sexy look that made her happy he regarded all hair color and manscaping products with disdain and suspicion.
His body was huge, a legacy of his college football days. He'd gained enough weight after their wedding a year ago to satisfy her aunts that she was feeding him properly, but he'd recently spent a lot of time outside running or lifting weights in their basement. The result was that his body was harder and leaner than any other architect could probably lay claim to.
She loved him no matter what his body looked like, of course. But, well...she really liked licking that ridged abdomen. A lot.
However, his sexiness wasn't the only reason she adored him. A few minutes after they'd met, she'd realized that his quiet, intense, almost brusque outer persona was nothing more than a guise. The way he'd had to practically stammer out an invitation for a date had given her a hint of his hidden sweetness. Their first date had introduced her to his dry and teasing sense of humor, which still made her laugh like nothing else. Their third date, where she'd happily tumbled into his bed, had hooked her on his slow, tender lovemaking.
How could she have possibly ever said anything but yes when he'd asked her to marry him half a year later? They'd had a quick, month-long engagement, and a small ceremony with her family and their close friends a year ago.
They were best friends. Their marriage was great.
So why are you rocking the boat?
Because her picture-perfect marriage had received a nice little fracture three weeks ago, when she'd opened an anonymous e-mail attachment. She'd cycled through jealousy, anger, depression...but now she was back in control with a plan to get those cracks in their relationship patched back up. The email had been a blessing in disguise, she'd told herself, though she would love to know who it had come from and what they'd hoped to gain. Her new husband had needs she had been unaware of. And surprisingly enough, so did she.
This getaway to this small town near the Adirondacks was perfect, even though it was barely a few hours drive from their home in Western New York. Distance didn't matter though. This was exactly what they needed to take some time for themselves, away from the real world. Away from her being boring, quiet, shy little Ana, so she could be the Ana she knew was lurking inside. The Ana her husband surely would like to see.
She grabbed all three bottles of liquor and dropped them in the cart. Hell, alcohol was alcohol, right? It lowered the inhibitions no matter what. She pushed the cart up to him. "I think I have everything we need."
"I think you have everything this place carries."
Ana opened her mouth to argue and then cast a glance at the overflowing cart. The small grocery/liquor/bookstore was pretty well represented in there. "I just want to make sure we're prepared. Oh look, oatmeal is on sale..."
He placed his arm around her waist and guided her purposefully toward the front of the store. "We can always come back to get more supplies."
"What if we get snowed in?"
"What are the odds of that happening?"
She cast him a mock glare. "Almost certain, now that you went and said something like that."
He grinned, his white teeth flashing. "Please don't tell me you're going to get as superstitious as your abuela in your old age."
"Old age? I'm sorry, did you forget that you robbed the cradle when you snagged me?"
"An age difference of ten years is not robbing the cradle. Now, if I were to suddenly shack up with a nineteen-year-old..."
"You would be castrated?" she asked sweetly.
"It was just an example." His lips twitched.
"A bad example." Unable to help herself, she stopped in front of a display of dog food, stretched up and pressed a kiss against the corner of his lips. "I love you," she whispered.
She would have moved away, but he snagged her around her waist. "Hey. I love you too." The kiss he gave her was hard and deep...and far too inappropriate for a grocery store. Surprised, she broke it off and took a step back.
For a second, Ana thought she saw something dark and unnerving move in her husband's gaze. But in the next blink it was gone, and he was grinning at her with a little-boy-caught-with-the-cookie-jar smile. "Sorry. It must be the mountain air."
She hesitated. Should she not have stopped him? But, no, showing her husband her inner bad girl did not include making out in a grocery store. It particularly did not involve dragging him into the storeroom, removing all of her clothes and allowing him to screw her against a tower of Rice Krispies boxes...
No! Loosening inhibitions on kinkiness does not include courting health-code violations. "I get that," she said, and stood on her tiptoes to press a kiss against the small lines fanned around his mouth. "Come on, let's check out."
Clenching her fingers kept her from clubbing Taylor over the head and dragging him off to her lair to ravish. It's okay, she consoled her disappointed libido as they walked to the lone, deserted checkout stand, we'll be out of here soon.
The elderly cashier did a double take when Taylor pushed the cart into the lane. "Taylor Hudson, is that you?"
"Mrs. Thornton." Taylor stopped, looking surprised but pleased to see the wizened old woman sitting on the stool. "I didn't realize you'd still be here. I thought you would have retired down to Florida by now like you used to always talk about."
"It's been a tough couple of years. Tourism is down, and the store isn't doing as well as it should, so my retirement will have to wait a while." Her rheumy blue eyes brightened as she took in the heaping cart. "Please tell me this pretty young thing is your wife and the two of you will be shopping here every week."
Taylor chuckled and began emptying their supplies. "This is my wife. Ana, please meet Agnes Thornton. She kept me and Eli fed more than once way back when."
Ana smiled and shook the woman's papery-thin hand. She adored Taylor's ease with and respect for elderly. Her grandparents loved it too. "It's so nice to meet you. Unfortunately, we're only here for the weekend. I'm sorry to hear things have been slow."
"Thank you. Just for the weekend, do you say? My goodness, I remember when Taylor and Eli used to come here for a month at a time and run amok up in the mountains." Mrs. Thornton leaned in closer as she swiped a jar of pasta sauce. "Hellraisers, both of them, though I don't have to tell you that, do I, sweetie? Why, the shenanigans they got up to in Eli's daddy's cabin..."
"Now, Mrs. Thornton, my wife doesn't need to hear any gossip--"
"Says who?" Ana interjected, slightly irritated. She could use a bit more information on the things her husband had been into. It would help with her admittedly sketchy battle plan. She leaned in close to the other woman in a conspiratorial fashion. "I'd love to hear whatever dirt you have on my husband or his best buddy."
"We need to go," Taylor said loudly. "Have to beat this storm."
Mrs. Thornton cackled. "Don't worry, young man, my lips are sealed." She gave Taylor a wink. "I'm sure I don't even know the worst of it."
"Eli and I were angels, ma'am."
Ana snorted. "I didn't even know you then, and I'm certain you're lying."
"Fallen angels, perhaps." Mrs. Thornton finished scanning the last of the items. "Good thing you're stocking up on the canned foods, speaking of the storm. It looks like a bad one."
Ana gave her husband an I-told-you-so look as he handed over a wad of cash. "Could we get stranded?"
"Mrs. Thornton, please don't scare my wife. Unless you can deliver a pallet of canned foods up to our cabin."
"I'm not scared. I'm just...cautious."
"I know, honey. You're cautious about everything. Trust me when I say we'll be fine."
Why, she wasn't... Her heart sank. Yes, she was cautious about everything. Was that why Taylor thought he couldn't completely be himself in bed? He feared he would scare her away?
"Even if the roads are bad, you'll get plowed out in a couple of days," Mrs. Thornton assured Ana, breaking into her flash of somber thought.
Taylor placed the bags of groceries into the cart with a speed she didn't realize he was capable of. "Thanks so much, Mrs. Thornton. We'll be seeing you."
She followed her husband out of the small store and peered up at the light flakes slowly falling down. Don't ask. Don't ask. Don't ask. But she couldn't help it. "Are you certain Eli keeps the cottage stocked with candles and flashlights in case the power goes out?"
She bit her lip, wishing she could just turn off the part of her that worried and fretted and thought everything through three thousand times before settling on something. Vowing to change was easy; altering a lifetime's habit was harder. "Sorry," she muttered.
Taylor finished loading the bags into their minivan, and she pushed the cart to the front of the store as he adjusted them. On the way back, she unzipped her coat halfway. Her fluffy outerwear and gloves kept her almost overly warm down here at the base of this little town, but she knew as they climbed up the mountain to the house they'd borrowed for the weekend from Taylor's best friend, it would get nippier. When she returned to the car, she found Taylor holding open her passenger door. She smiled. Her husband could be gruff and tough, but he was a true gentleman.
He touched her waist before she could climb in. "Don't be mad."
She looked up, almost falling into his green eyes. She loved his coloring, so unusual to her after growing up in a small, close-knit Hispanic community. "I'm not."
"Good." He nudged her back against the car, lowering his lips to her ear and stringing a line of kisses down her neck. "I promise, if we do get snowed in, I can think of plenty of things for us to do."
"Only if you packed some dirty ones."
"Please. I'm not the kind of girl who watches dirty DVDs." She took a deep breath. Ready to start Operation Sexy? "All of my smut is on my computer."
He stilled. Lifted his head. Ana rarely got to surprise him, so she relished his stunned look. "Why, Ms. Ana. Are you admitting you watch a li'l internet porn when I'm not around?"
The word porn was as graphic and sinful on his lips as any swear word. Glancing around, she made sure no one was within hearing distance. Luckily, except for a lonely shopping cart on the edge of the lot, they were alone.
He crowded closer, until his heat surrounded her, warming her more than the fluffy pink down coat she wore. "Tell me."
Their version of naughty was the occasional dirty word or a location in their home which was not their soft bed. Taylor sometimes threw out a teasing comment, but never with this kind of intensity behind it. It made her want to answer, when normally she stammered and blushed at overtly sexual remarks. "Maybe I have a couple of sites I've bookmarked." She spoke quietly and quickly, not wanting him to think it was a reflection on him. "I only do it if you're not home or out of town..."
"Shhh." He stroked at her lips. His pupils were dilated, fixed over the pass of his fingers over her flesh. "I don't mind. I like the idea that you're so hungry you can't even wait for me."
"That's... You do?"
"Sure. Tell me what you do."
It suddenly seemed insane to her that they'd been married for a solid year, yet they'd never discussed something as basic and intimate as masturbation. "I solve higher math equations. For crying out loud, Taylor, what does one do while they watch porn?"
"Oh, I know what you do. Describe it to me. Tell me how you touch yourself, how you make yourself come."