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Please Me: A Stark Ever After Novella

J. Kenner

  Please Me

  A Stark Ever After Novella

  By J. Kenner

  1001 Dark Nights

  Please Me

  A Stark Ever After Novella

  By J. Kenner

  Copyright 2018 Julie Kenner

  ISBN: 978-1-948050-16-6

  Published by Evil Eye Concepts, Incorporated

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination and are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or establishments is solely coincidental.

  Book Description

  Please Me: A Stark Ever After Novella

  By Julie Kenner

  From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author J. Kenner comes a new story in her Stark Ever After series…

  Each day with Damien is a miracle, each moment with our children a gift. And yet I cannot escape the growing sense that a storm is gathering, threatening to pull me away, to rip us apart. To drag me down, once again, into a darkness to which I swore never to return.

  I have to fight it—I know that. And I am waging the battle with of all my heart. But it is Damien who is my strength, and we both know that the only way to push away the darkness is for him to fold me in his arms and claim me completely. And for me to surrender myself, once again, to the fire that burns between us.

  **Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you'll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

  About J. Kenner

  J. Kenner (aka Julie Kenner) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal and #1 International bestselling author of over one-hundred novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres.

  JK has been praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations” and by RT Bookclub for having “cornered the market on sinfully attractive, dominant antiheroes and the women who swoon for them.” A six-time finalist for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award, JK took home the first RITA trophy awarded in the category of erotic romance in 2014 for her novel, Claim Me (book 2 of her Stark Trilogy) and in 2018 for her novel Wicked Dirty (Wicked Nights, Stark World).

  In her previous career as an attorney, JK worked as a lawyer in Southern California and Texas. She currently lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and two rather spastic cats.

  Visit JK online at

  Subscribe to JK’s Newsletter

  Text JKenner to 21000 to subscribe to JK’s text alerts



  Facebook Page

  Facebook Fan Group

  Also from J. Kenner

  Click to purchase

  Click here for an updated Printable Booklist

  The Stark Trilogy:

  Release Me

  Claim Me

  Complete Me

  Anchor Me

  Lost With Me, Coming Oct. 2018

  Stark Ever After:

  Take Me

  Have Me

  Play My Game

  Seduce Me

  Unwrap Me

  Deepest Kiss

  Entice Me

  Hold Me

  Please Me

  Damien, Coming Jan. 2019

  Stark International

  Steele Trilogy:

  Say My Name

  On My Knees

  Under My Skin

  Take My Dare (novella, includes bonus short story: Steal My Heart)

  Stark World Standalone Stories:

  Justify Me (part of the Lexi Blake Crossover Collection)

  One Night (short story)

  Jamie & Ryan Novellas:

  Tame Me

  Tempt Me

  Dallas & Jane (S.I.N. Trilogy):

  Dirtiest Secret

  Hottest Mess

  Sweetest Taboo

  Most Wanted:




  Wicked Nights:

  Wicked Grind

  Wicked Dirty

  Wicked Torture

  Man of the Month:

  Down On Me

  Hold On Tight

  Need You Now

  Start Me Up

  Get It On

  In Your Eyes

  Turn Me On

  Shake It Up

  All Night Long

  In Too Deep

  Light My Fire

  Walk The Line

  Bar Bites: A Man of the Month Cookbook

  Also by Julie Kenner

  Click here for an updated Printable Booklist

  Demon Hunting Soccer Mom Series:

  Carpe Demon

  California Demon

  Demons Are Forever

  Deja Demon

  The Demon You Know

  Demon Ex Machina

  Pax Demonica

  The Dark Pleasures Series:

  Caress of Darkness

  Find Me in Darkness

  Find Me in Pleasure

  Find Me in Passion

  Caress of Pleasure

  Rising Storm:

  Tempest Rising

  Quiet Storm

  The Protector (Superhero) Series:

  The Cat's Fancy (prequel)

  Aphrodite's Kiss

  Aphrodite's Passion

  Aphrodite's Secret

  Aphrodite's Flame

  Aphrodite's Embrace

  Aphrodite's Delight (free download)

  Discover 1001 Dark Nights Collection One

  Click here to explore

  FOREVER WICKED by Shayla Black

  CRIMSON TWILIGHT by Heather Graham



  DUNGEON GAMES by Lexi Blake

  AZAGOTH by Larissa Ione

  NEED YOU NOW by Lisa Renee Jones

  SHOW ME, BABY by Cherise Sinclair

  ROPED IN by Lorelei James


  THE FLAME by Christopher Rice

  CARESS OF DARKNESS by Julie Kenner

  Also from 1001 Dark Nights

  TAME ME by J. Kenner

  Discover 1001 Dark Nights Collection Two

  Click here to explore

  WICKED WOLF by Carrie Ann Ryan


  EASY WITH YOU by Kristen Proby

  MASTER OF FREEDOM by Cherise Sinclair

  CARESS OF PLEASURE by Julie Kenner

  ADORED by Lexi Blake

  HADES by Larissa Ione

  RAVAGED by Elisabeth Naughton

  DREAM OF YOU by Jennifer L. Armentrout

  STRIPPED DOWN by Lorelei James

  RAGE/KILLIAN by Alexandra Ivy/Laura Wright

  DRAGON KING by Donna Grant

  PURE WICKED by Shayla Black

  HARD AS STEEL by Laura Kaye


  ALL HALLOWS EVE by Heather Graham

  KISS THE FLAME by Christopher Rice

  DARING HER LOVE by Melissa Foster

  TEASED by Rebecca Zanetti


  Also from 1001 Dark Nights

  THE SURRENDER GATE By Christopher Rice

GET By Cherise Sinclair

  Discover 1001 Dark Nights Collection Three

  Click here to explore

  HIDDEN INK by Carrie Ann Ryan

  BLOOD ON THE BAYOU by Heather Graham

  SEARCHING FOR MINE by Jennifer Probst

  DANCE OF DESIRE by Christopher Rice

  ROUGH RHYTHM by Tessa Bailey

  DEVOTED by Lexi Blake

  Z by Larissa Ione

  FALLING UNDER YOU by Laurelin Paige

  EASY FOR KEEPS by Kristen Proby

  UNCHAINED by Elisabeth Naughton

  HARD TO SERVE by Laura Kaye

  DRAGON FEVER by Donna Grant

  KAYDEN/SIMON by Alexandra Ivy/Laura Wright

  STRUNG UP by Lorelei James


  TRICKED by Rebecca Zanetti

  DIRTY WICKED by Shayla Black

  THE ONLY ONE by Lauren Blakely

  SWEET SURRENDER by Liliana Hart

  Discover 1001 Dark Nights Collection Four

  Click here to explore


  ADORING INK by Carrie Ann Ryan

  SWEET RIVALRY by K. Bromberg

  SHADE'S LADY by Joanna Wylde

  RAZR by Larissa Ione

  ARRANGED by Lexi Blake

  TANGLED by Rebecca Zanetti

  HOLD ME by J. Kenner

  SOMEHOW, SOME WAY by Jennifer Probst

  TOO CLOSE TO CALL by Tessa Bailey

  HUNTED by Elisabeth Naughton

  EYES ON YOU by Laura Kaye

  BLADE by Alexandra Ivy/Laura Wright

  DRAGON BURN by Donna Grant

  TRIPPED OUT by Lorelei James

  STUD FINDER by Lauren Blakely


  HALLOW BE THE HAUNT by Heather Graham

  DIRTY FILTHY FIX by Laurelin Paige

  THE BED MATE by Kendall Ryan


  NO RESERVATIONS by Kristen Proby

  DAWN OF SURRENDER by Liliana Hart

  Also from 1001 Dark Nights

  TEMPT ME by J. Kenner

  Sign up for the 1001 Dark Nights Newsletter

  and be entered to win a Tiffany Key necklace.

  There's a contest every month!

  Click here to subscribe.

  As a bonus, all subscribers will receive a free copy of

  Discovery Bundle Three

  Featuring stories by

  Sidney Bristol, Darcy Burke, T. Gephart

  Stacey Kennedy, Adriana Locke

  JB Salsbury, and Erika Wilde

  Table of Contents

  Book Description

  About J. Kenner

  Also from J. Kenner

  Discover 1001 Dark Nights Collection One

  Discover 1001 Dark Nights Collection Two

  Discover 1001 Dark Nights Collection Three

  Discover 1001 Dark Nights Collection Four


  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Discover 1001 Dark Nights Collection Five

  Discover the World of 1001 Dark Nights

  Discover More J. Kenner

  Special Thanks

  One Thousand and One Dark Nights

  Once upon a time, in the future…

  I was a student fascinated with stories and learning.

  I studied philosophy, poetry, history, the occult, and

  the art and science of love and magic. I had a vast

  library at my father’s home and collected thousands

  of volumes of fantastic tales.

  I learned all about ancient races and bygone

  times. About myths and legends and dreams of all

  people through the millennium. And the more I read

  the stronger my imagination grew until I discovered

  that I was able to travel into the stories... to actually

  become part of them.

  I wish I could say that I listened to my teacher

  and respected my gift, as I ought to have. If I had, I

  would not be telling you this tale now.

  But I was foolhardy and confused, showing off

  with bravery.

  One afternoon, curious about the myth of the

  Arabian Nights, I traveled back to ancient Persia to

  see for myself if it was true that every day Shahryar

  (Persian: شهريار, “king”) married a new virgin, and then

  sent yesterday's wife to be beheaded. It was written

  and I had read, that by the time he met Scheherazade,

  the vizier's daughter, he’d killed one thousand


  Something went wrong with my efforts. I arrived

  in the midst of the story and somehow exchanged

  places with Scheherazade – a phenomena that had

  never occurred before and that still to this day, I

  cannot explain.

  Now I am trapped in that ancient past. I have

  taken on Scheherazade’s life and the only way I can

  protect myself and stay alive is to do what she did to

  protect herself and stay alive.

  Every night the King calls for me and listens as I spin tales.

  And when the evening ends and dawn breaks, I stop at a

  point that leaves him breathless and yearning for more.

  And so the King spares my life for one more day, so that

  he might hear the rest of my dark tale.

  As soon as I finish a story... I begin a new

  one... like the one that you, dear reader, have before

  you now.

  Chapter One

  “Well, I think it’s a brilliant idea,” I say, squatting on the floor and smiling into my daughter’s eyes, even though the words are meant for Abby, my business partner. “And so does Anne, don’t you, my sweet little girl?”

  “Mama!” She belts the word, and it wraps around me like a hug to my heart. Her chubby arms reach for me as she toddles over, and I eagerly cuddle her close as she yawns and rubs her eyes, then snuggles against me. It’s forty minutes past her usual nap time, and although she’s peaceful now, I know that crankiness is imminent if I don’t get her down pronto.

  Carefully, I settle her into the white crib that takes up a large chunk of the space beside my desk. “Nap time,” I say, then bend over and give her forehead a kiss. “Time for Anne to go sleepy-bye and dream of Miss Abby’s awesome idea.”

  As her lids flutter closed, she reaches for me. But I know it’s not Mommy she wants but her blankie, and I bend down to grab the striped hospital blanket that came home with us just shy of twenty months ago. We’ve tried urging stuffed animals on her. A smiling tiger. A silly giraffe. But no animal wins out over her blankie.

  Her lips curve into a smile at the same time as her little fingers curl around the blanket. I feel a hitch in my chest, as if the weight of my love for this tiny little person is too much to bear. Then I draw in a breath and try to shift my thoughts away from my youngest daughter and back to the world of smartphone apps.

  When I turn, Abby flashes a wide grin, her eyes shining with humor. “You’re cracking me up, Nikki,” she whispers. “I mean, this has got to be the weirdest developmental meeting ever.”

  I lift a shoulder in a casual shrug. “What can I say?” I whisper back. “I like to be different.” I grab the baby monitor, then nod toward the back door and the patio beyond where we can talk without the risk of waking my little girl. “Come on.”

  Anne’s always been a good sleeper. But like her namesake, Ashley Anne Fairchild Price, she’s a cranky little monster if she doesn’t get enough.

  My sister Ashley was my rock when I was growing up,
the reason I survived the horror of a childhood with our mother at the helm. I relied on Ashley. Looked up to her. And loved her unconditionally.

  But dear God, that girl was a bitch if she didn’t get a good night’s sleep.

  My youngest, I fear, is going to be a lot like her auntie.

  The thought makes my chest tighten again, only this time the love is tainted with pain. Because Anne will never know my sister. For so many years, I’d believed that Ashley had escaped from the hell our mother had inflicted on us. I thought that only I remained caught in her spiderweb, forced to starve and suffer all sorts of abuse at my mother’s hand simply so that I could be her pretty, polished pageant doll.

  Cutting had been my ultimate escape. A release valve for all the horror and pain that built up inside of me. And when the deep cuts on my thighs rendered me useless in a bathing suit competition, I finally found my freedom. From that particular horror, anyway.

  Ashley’s escape was more permanent. Believing that she’d failed as a wife—that she would never live up to that model of perfection our mother so rigidly demanded—she killed herself.

  Her death ripped a hole in my heart.

  I’ve missed her for years, but now that I have children, her absence weighs on me even more. Now there are two little girls who will never know their aunt. And I’m the only one who will ever truly understand the hole Ashley’s absence will leave in their lives.

  “You okay?” Abby catches my eye before settling into one of the upholstered patio chairs.

  “Fine,” I say, then manufacture a smile, willing my mood to match the lie. “Mind wandering.” I take the chair next to her so that we’re both looking out over the pristine Malibu beach and the crashing waves of the Pacific beyond.