Love comes at the turn of a card...or the crack of a whip.
Sandine would love to walk out of her ex-boyfriend's life forever. Except the sadistic bastard stole the ancient tarot cards her late mother gave her, knowing she'll do anything to get them back. Including endure his abuse on the stage of his sex club.
For the crime of trying to get her prized cards back, she's steeling herself for the public beating of her life. Knowing that no matter how much she screams, no one will come to her aid.
Harry Marshall should be immune to undercover work at sex clubs by now. From the moment he spots Sandine chained at the mercy of the suspected drug dealer he's after, his gut tells him something isn't right. He can't believe he'd risk blowing his cover by stepping in, much less his body's erotic reaction to inflicting pain on her luscious body.
Question is, how deeply involved is she in her ex's drug dealing--if at all? If she'd stay out of his way long enough to find out, he wouldn't have to put his own mission in danger to keep protecting her from her ex...and herself.
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August 10, 2009
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Excerpt from Sting of Desire by Lilli Feisty
She shifted her aching arms, her gaze drifting to a large male form in the upper balcony. Harry Marshall. He watched her intently--he always seemed to be watching her and every time their gazes met her skin tingled and her pulse jumped. He stood, and for a moment she thought he was going to come to her. But he just watched, sipped his whiskey, stubbed out his cigarette.
She closed her eyes. No one was going to help her. And the worst part was she had brought it on herself. Not that she regretted her attempt at stealing, even though it was utterly against her morals. She felt justified in this case. She hadn't stolen anything--she had attempted to retrieve what rightly belonged to her. What her grandmother and mother had passed down.
What she regretted was getting caught.
A sharp crack struck the floor about six inches from her left foot, shaking her out of her reverie. A whip. Cain had a whip. She didn't know if he meant to miss or not, but either way she wanted that thing out of his hand. He had very limited experience with the dangerous tool.
"Cain, you idiot. Put it down now."
"No. The moment you decided to become a thief you gave up all your rights. I won't tolerate disrespect from you. Now brace yourself for your punishment--"
"Excuse me." Harry Marshall looked down at them, still and calm.
Like the eye of a storm.
She didn't know much about him--he never participated, just watched. But the mayor had requested they give him a membership, and Sandine hadn't hesitated in doing so. In this town you didn't disobey the mayor and expect to tell about it.
He rarely spoke, but she had the deliberate feeling no detail, no matter how minute, went unnoticed. He was an enigma. Even his clothing gave nothing away. His uniform consisted of faded jeans, a black T-shirt, steel-toed boots and a black trench coat he rarely removed.
When their eyes met for the second time that night her heart skipped a beat and her face warmed. What was he going to do?
What do you want him to do?
Every nerve in her body tingled, already on edge from all of the strange events of the night. Everything was taking on a surreal quality, as if she were dreaming.
And yeah. Harry Marshall was definitely dream material.
Her heart hammered as she watched Harry descend the curved stairway, his long legs moving with too much grace for a man of his height. His gaze flicked to hers for a moment before settling on Cain.
"I hate to interrupt," he said.
Oh my God. Cain's going to go ballistic.
Cain stepped forward, closing in on Harry. "What the hell did you say?"
Harry didn't flinch. "I'm sorry to disrupt things, but may I respectfully ask to have a turn at punishing this thief?"
"And why would you want to do that?"
Harry shrugged. "I believe thieves should be disciplined, and I derive a special pleasure out of doing so." He spoke with reverence, but Sandine did not miss the spark of something else in his blue eyes, like sarcasm with a hint of amusement.
And this was so not amusing.
The two men stared at each other for what seemed like hours.
"Cain," she called, "stop--"
"Shut up." After a moment Cain continued, jerking his head to nail her with his steely gaze. "Sure! Why not? In fact, I think that is a fine idea. Why should I waste my energy when I can watch another carry out her sentence of ten lashings."
"Indeed," Harry said.
"Her name is Sandine."
"Sandine." His voice was deep and husky and made her heart race.
"She is very resistant, make sure to use full force."
"I'll keep that in mind."
Sandine jerked silently against her restraints. "Cain, get me down from here."
"I can't do that, my dear."
She refused to beg, not in front of an audience. Not to Cain. Not ever.
Harry looked her way. "I will administer her punishment as she deserves." She could have sworn he winked at her. "Is that okay, Sandine?"
Their gazes locked and she knew deep down that if she said no, he would walk away. Her intuition left no doubt about that. But then she'd be left once more to Cain, a victim for him to take his anger out on. Every instinct in her body told her Harry was the safer bet.
And she couldn't ignore the tiny surge of lust that pulsed through her. There was something about this man that made her body warm, made her want to give herself over. Made her want to close her eyes and let go.
Self-assurance radiated off him, in the way he stood, the way he moved. In his eyes she saw total confidence and right then she knew something. He knew what he was doing. Her intuitive ability had chosen a strange moment to reappear, but she welcomed it. Welcomed him.
Maybe during all those silent weeks of watching from the balcony this is what he'd been waiting for. A chance to use the whip. Her sex gave a sharp throb at the thought while fear sent a jolt of adrenaline through her veins. She began to tremble.
"Sandine? Are you ready?"
His simple words shot a tremor down her spine--his words and his direct, unwavering gaze. The crowd faded as she took a deep, calming breath. How strange that she wanted this. Despite her fear, she craved it. Longing settled deep in her gut.
"Fine." Cain jerked a shrug, and Sandine realized Cain now had no control of the situation whatsoever. Harry did. "Here." Cain lifted his arm to hand over the whip.
But Harry just smiled that crooked grin and reached inside his coat. "No thanks." He pulled out a coiled piece of leather. "I prefer to use my own."