A woman unwilling to trust... Sara Lancaster isn't sure accepting her invitation to a BDSM weekend at XTC Resort is a good idea--though she does have something to prove. Years of abuse at the hand of her former Master have taken their toll. Now, two years later, Sara believes she's ready to embrace her submissive side once again and enjoy the carnal pleasures of a younger Dom.
A man testing his limits... Derek Thomas has lost belief in his abilities as a Master. Accepting an invitation for Dom training could be exactly what he needs to regain his self-confidence. Challenged with an experienced older woman, he soon realizes wielding a flogger isn't always enough to break down the emotional walls and heal a damaged submissive.
Two people with something to prove... Sara and Derek sizzle with sexual heat the moment they step into the dungeon. The mind-blowing sex and physical pain may satisfy their bodies, but wounded souls and broken spirits just may require something even more intimate--their hearts.
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Invitation to Ecstasy by Nina Pierce
Sara Lancaster had definitely made the wrong decision.
Less than twenty-four hours ago she was sure this weekend was just what she needed. Eight hours ago, excitement had fluttered in her stomach as she'd left Boston, overjoyed to accept the invitation. Hell, just two hours ago she'd been giddy with anticipation as she'd collected her bags at the Key West airport and caught a taxi to the boat landing.
But her tiny apartment and the bungalow where she currently stood weren't merely thousands of miles apart--a whole world separated the comfortable life she'd finally made for herself and the fantasy she was standing in.
What the hell had she been thinking?
Sara was fooling herself. Life didn't offer people second chances. No one understood that better than her. The fates dealt crappy cards and a person either played them to the best of their ability or they folded and left everything to chance. Sara had tried it both ways and neither method had netted her anything but heartache and pain.
And a person could live with pain.
But heartache? Heartache ripped at the soul, leaving gaping holes of emptiness that nothing could fill--not even pain.
The tropical breeze lifted her hair and she absently brushed it out of her face. The salty aroma of the ocean curled around her nose, bringing back memories she'd stored away and tried to forget. Toying with the gold and sapphire choker in her hands, she let the tides of the past flow over her. Tears welled unbidden, distorting the sugar-white sand and turquoise ocean spread out before her. Sara thought she'd gotten beyond it all, but the memories expanded and crashed over the walls of her heart. Misery rushed in but still left her feeling hollow and alone.
Yes, this really had been a bad decision.
A knock at her door pulled her from her morose thoughts.
"I'm coming." She swiped her hand across her cheeks, trying to brush away the sadness as she rushed off the veranda and back through the sliding glass doors and into her room. She threw the choker on the end table next to the sitting area, nearly tripping over the overflowing suitcase she'd yet to completely unpack.
Inhaling a steadying breath, she forced a smile and opened the door. Her guest didn't wait for a welcome. Burly arms swept her off her feet into a bear hug and swung her out the door.
"Sara!" A deep laugh rolled over her, soothing away the misery of a moment ago. "I knew you couldn't avoid me forever."
Despite the sorrow clogging her throat, a nasally laugh escaped. The big man set her back on her feet, his huge frame towering over her as they stood toe to toe on the stone path outside her bungalow.
"Ethan Jacobs." Her palm curved around his strong jaw and he breathed deep, as if he could inhale her presence. "I've missed you, dear friend." Tears stung the back of her eyes. She shouldn't have stayed away so long.
He stooped to look her in the eyes. "Hey, those had better be tears of overwhelming happiness at seeing me again."
Her mouth curved in the semblance of a smile. "I thought I was ready..." She paused, knowing that Ethan, of all people, understood without her having to explain her trepidation.
"Has it really been three years?" he asked quietly, steering their conversation to a more comfortable topic. "I feel like you were here yesterday. You look as young as the day we first met."
Though she worked out regularly, thirty-seven years of gravity were working hard to sink the parts of her body Sara was trying to keep afloat. No doubt the long travel day accentuated the crow's feet scratching at the corners of her eyes. She definitely wasn't a college coed anymore, but she appreciated his flattery nonetheless. "You're a liar, Ethan Jacobs. But thank you." She ran her hand over the white polo sleeve that barely contained the muscular curve of his biceps. "You, on the other hand, look better than ever. I guess managing the resort has treated you well."
"It's a rough gig, living here in paradise with beautiful men and women running around half naked." He shrugged. "But hey, someone's got to do it, and I'm willing to take one for the team."
"Very noble of you."
"I'm nothing if not a gentleman."
"You are that, Ethan." She laughed and invited him into her bungalow. The initial punch of seeing him had worn off, leaving only the comfortable friendship that had developed over too many bottles of wine, late dinners and life lessons. It had been the last that had solidified their bond.
"I was pleased you accepted my invitation, Sara." Ethan settled in one of the leather chairs in the corner of the room. "I debated whether to even send it."
She'd known this conversation would be coming, and she tried to ignore the dread knotting cold and hard in her gut. "It's hard to say no to you, Ethan." Sara reminded herself it was all part of the healing processes and no one could help her over this final barrier better than Ethan. Needing to keep busy, she grabbed two bottles of water from the mini-fridge and handed one to him before settling in an identical chair across from him. "Though it was a little bit of a shock to find it mixed in so innocently with the sale flyers and electric bill after so many years." She laughed.
"I figured it was time. You've been in Chicago a couple of times in the last few months, I figured you were working your way back into the scene," he said. Casually tipping back the bottle, he took a long pull, his eyes never leaving hers.
The water bottle froze halfway to her mouth before she dropped her hand to her lap in stunned disbelief. Water sloshed onto her bare thigh, but she barely noticed the chill. What the hell? With just a simple sentence, Ethan turned their happy reunion into something ugly. The feelings she'd been working to dismiss steamrolled over her heart, keeping her from replying. Hell, at the moment, she couldn't even swallow her fear and incredulity. He'd spoken the words so nonchalantly, but they implied something she didn't want to contemplate.
Leaning forward, he braced his forearms on his knees, his eyes turning to deep pools of ebony. "It's a small world we live in, Sara. You didn't think after all that happened I wouldn't be watching over you?"