Even a plaything can be pushed too far...
Chloe Barnes thought her marriage to a wealthy politician would be the stuff of fairy tales. Instead, he took advantage of her naivete and used her as a plaything to fulfill his twisted sexual needs. Ten years is enough. She returns to Bellhaven Island to sell the summer cottage she inherited, hoping the money will buy her freedom--and custody of her daughters.
Fisherman Dustin McDougal never forgot the childhood crush he once had on the fairy-like Chloe. The woman she's become has a haunted look that brings his feelings back, stronger than ever...with a mature edge. Along with all his protective instincts.
Their passion blows stronger than a Maine nor'easter, awakening Chloe to the joy of true love. Yet it may not be strong enough to free her from the past...
Warning: This title contains politicians doing all sorts of nasty things and flashbacks of male domination. It also features hot sex on a boat, hot sex in an attic, hot sex on a work bench...you get the idea.
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December 15, 2009
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Excerpt from Doll by Juniper Bell
She had to get out of there, before...before she didn't know what. She jumped up from the armchair. "Can I...well, I've always wondered about your widow's walk."
If he was confused by her unpredictable behavior, he didn't show it. "The MacDougal claim to fame," he said easily. "Tell you what, why don't I show you the way, and you can enjoy the view while I fry up these fish."
"You don't have to do that." For a split second, she tried to imagine Andrew frying fish so she could enjoy a view, but her mind boggled.
"Old family recipe, I'd be proud to show it off. See those stairs? Just head straight up. I'll come get you when the fish is ready."
It was a fine plan, but as soon as Chloe started up the stairs, she realized leaving Dustin's presence did nothing to diminish her mysterious new found desire for him. Get a grip, she scolded herself. This is ridiculous.
The widow's walk was a cozy little octagonal room with window seats under wide picture windows. Eight windows, looking out in eight different directions. Chloe stood in the middle and turned in a circle. The view, even at night, was breathtaking. She felt like an eagle perched on a high branch, surveying wind-whipped trees, storm clouds, a dark road, a few lights winking through the trees, and, far out on the ocean, the blinking lighthouse. A little door led to a balcony, but with the wild wind, Chloe didn't dare open it. The wind battered against the windows, making the entire widow's walk shudder. She sat on one of the window seats and listened to the symphony of moans and whistles. Far below, she heard the ocean swells crashing against the rocks.
Strange how the wind seemed to be flinging itself at the windows. As if it wanted to get in. To get to her. It sounded like a bitter roar, like Andrew when she'd screwed up every ounce of her courage and told him she wanted a divorce. You'll never get the kids. You'll never survive without me. You'll never find a man who will put up with a frigid ice bitch like you. She shivered. If Andrew really wanted to keep the girls, how would she fight him? She would have to go public with her side of the story, which would bring humiliation not only to her, but also to her kids. Would it be worth it?
A gust of wind rattled the door to the balcony. She rose and went to it. When she turned the knob, the door flew open with a bang. With the salty ocean air full on her face, she stepped onto the balcony, into a world of wild darkness. The wind howled and swirled around her. Instead of attacking her, it filled her with a strange, primal strength. Andrew didn't have the right to keep her a helpless sex doll her whole life. She'd done enough. Gone along with his strange needs. Until he'd pushed her too far.
Again, she saw the back room where he'd brought her and his biggest fundraiser, a fat man who always managed to grab a feel whenever she greeted him. She knew he wanted her, Andrew knew he wanted her. This wasn't one of their usual secret parties, where her face was hidden behind a mask. This was a political party, where their friends and other power brokers were socializing over cocktails and crab cakes. But Andrew had told her to unzip her jacket so the man could feel her breasts. And then he'd pushed her to her knees and left the room. The fat man had unzipped his pants hurriedly and thrust his erection at her mouth. He'd grabbed at her nipples and she'd cried out in pain, but he didn't notice, or care. Enough, she'd thought. No more. Her parents hadn't raised her to prostitute herself. She'd jumped to her feet, slapped him in the face, and that night, still riding the adrenaline of anger, she'd told Andrew she wanted out.
He couldn't stop her. Just like no one could stop the wind that whipped against her legs and made her hair flap crazily against her face. She raised her arms into the air as if she were a sail catching the wind. Energy raced through her. It was exhilarating. It made her laugh out loud. It made her feel like a hundred-foot-high force of nature.
"Hey," came a voice behind her. Dustin caught her waist from behind. "Don't do anything crazy now."
Crazy. She turned and threw her arms around his neck. With the wind now at her back, pushing her toward him, she yanked his head down to hers. In the dark, his eyes gleamed, startled. Maybe he said something, but the wind snatched the words away, and she didn't want him to talk anyway. She wanted his mouth next to her, on her, and as soon as his lips touched hers, a current of something thrilling scorched through her body. Promise and excitement, as powerful as the storm winds, took her breath away. Strong, warm hands on her back snatched her closer to him. She was pressed into a hard chest, every line of his body melding with hers.
Shaking, she opened her mouth under his and moaned as his tongue entered her. So this was passion, this was desire. This was what it was like when a woman wanted a man. Nothing in her life had ever felt this good.
The swell of his arousal pushed against her thigh. She wanted to push him to the floor, roll on top of him, and screw his brains out right there in the wind-battered tower high above the cliffs. But suddenly Andrew's voice was loud in her head. Frigid ice princess. What a disappointment you are. It's a good thing you're so hot, or I'd dump you right now.
What if she disappointed Dustin too? What if she really was frigid, like Andrew said, and this crazy lust was just an illusion, fickle as the wind?
She pulled away. "I...I can't."
Dustin immediately took his hands from her back. "Is it Andrew? The divorce?" He ran his hands through his hair, as if to keep from reaching for her. She longed passionately for his hands to be on her body again.
Instead, she stepped back. "No. I'm just...not like that."
Still breathing fast, he stared at her blankly. "Like what?"
"Sexual. Normal. You wouldn't understand." She ran to the stairs leading back to the house. "I'm sorry." Without looking back, she stumbled down the stairs and ran back to her little cottage under the maples.