Bound by the Vampire Queen (Vampire Queen Novels (Quality)), Page 1Joey W. Hill
Berkley Heat titles by Joey W. Hill The Vampire Queen's Servant The Mark of the Vampire Queen A Vampire's Claim Beloved Vampire
Vampire Mistress Vampire Trinity
Vampire Instinct Bound by the Vampire Queen Taken by a Vampire Unrestrained
Berkley Sensation titles by Joey W. Hill A Mermaid's Kiss A Witch's Beauty A Mermaid's Ransom Something About Witches In the Company of Witches Anthologies Laced with Desire (with Jaci Burton, Jasmine Haynes, and Denise Rossetti) Unlaced
(with Jaci Burton, Jasmine Haynes, and Denise Rossetti) Specials
Controlled Response Naughty Bits Serial Part I: The Lingerie Shop Part II: The Training Session
Part III: Bound to Please
Bound to Please
Joey W. Hill
InterMix Books, New York
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) LLC
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
NAUGHTY BITS: BOUND TO PLEASE
An InterMix Book / published by arrangement with the author PUBLISHING HISTORY
InterMix eBook edition / June 2014
Copyright (c) 2014 by Joey W. Hill.
Excerpt from Naughty Bits: The Highest Bid copyright (c) 2014 by Joey W. Hill.
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Cover design by George Long.
Hotel Room Woman in Lingerie (c) Mlenny Photography/Getty Images.
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eBook ISBN: 978-0-69813598-7
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Berkley Heat titles by Joey W. Hill
Naughty Bits Part III: Bound to Please
Special Preview of The Highest Bid
About the Author
In our previous two installments, Madison has inherited her sister's erotica shop and met the hardware store owner next door, Logan Scott. Logan is a sexual Dominant, and Madison can't resist exploring her own submissive urges with him. With every step they take together, she's gaining confidence as the proprietress of women's fantasies. She's also finding it harder to resist going even deeper into the things Logan can teach her about her own desires. Now he wants to teach her about the pleasures that can be found in pain . . .
"How sweet it is . . . to be loved by you . . ."
Madison belted out lyrics, doing the stroll across the front of the store. As she twirled around her current customer, putting a lot of loose hip action into the movement, the heat from the front window slid across her shoulders, as if the sun was a partner in the dance.
"You just gotta dance when Marvin Gaye sings that one," she said as the music died away. "It's a requirement."
"I'm doing this instead of my step class from now on," Helen Christian said, coming to a laughing, breathless stop. "Wow. That was fun."
When she entered the store, Helen had looked like she needed some fun in her life. She'd been a bit stiff and unsure, until Marvin Gaye came to the rescue and Madison pulled her into an impromptu booty-shaking session.
Madison propped her arms on a rounder of lacy bras and arched a brow. "Okay, now that you're loose, let's try that first question again. Have you talked to your boyfriend about his fantasies?"
Helen grimaced. "Not in a while. I mean, he hates his job. Most of the time when he gets home, he wants to eat dinner and go straight to his gaming."
"What does he play?"
Helen described a computer game that involved warriors, dragons and a lot of maiming and explosions, using swords and spells. Serving the will of the Wrath Queen or the Grey Queen, depending on the character he chose, was the driving force of the game.
As Helen looked through more lingerie choices, Madison gave her a frank and critical look. Helen was a strong-boned, handsome woman, inspiring Madison to make a subtle shift to the role-playing rack and consider the choices there.
She was extra careful not to let her current BDSM explorations direct her customers' desires. Not everyone was interested in Domination and submission fantasies. Just this morning, she'd spent a very enjoyable couple hours helping customers enhance and spice up their relationships with the right type of lingerie, warming oils, body paints, vibrators. Neither restraints nor floggers had been necessary or appropriate to meet their needs. But when Helen explained the game, some inner intuition tingled, and Madison decided to trust it. What the hell.
Plucking a Xena-warrior-princess-type outfit off the rack, she gestured at Helen with it. "This would look incredible on you. Imagine if the Wrath Queen showed up in your bedroom and told your husband she was very disappointed by how he'd been neglecting his duties, but Her Majesty had several ideas on how he could gain back her royal favor."
Helen laughed, then realized Madison was serious. While she was intrigued enough to come over and touch the breast plate, her fingers curled into an uncertain ball. "Oh, I don't know. It would be right out of the blue. He'd probably start laughing and I'd be mortified back into neck-high flannel in the middle of summer."
"It's amazing how the right visual can direct the male mind. The fun part--well, the fun part before the really fun part-- is the setup and presentation. First you need to talk to him about his fantasies, see if he's ever imagined a woman taking charge. You know him better than anyone, so you'll know how to ease it into the conversation."
She saw that sink in; the reminder that, if everything was as it should be, Helen was the most important person in her husband's life. The one whose needs and opinions mattered most to him, and meshed with his own. Enough that they'd said 'til death do us part' to one another. Madison cleared her throat, thinking of warm brown eyes and Logan's touch on her body. Don't confuse your desires with hers. But they could overlap, couldn't they?
"Get him thinking about it, and telegraph your own interest. That will get him speculating on what you might be planning. Then, when you do dress up like this, it will be a special surprise, but it won't come out of the blue. Timing's everything."
"I don't know. I'm not sure I'm the dominatrix t
"It's just a role, not an identity change. Like playing dress-up when we're small. We all have a bit of the warrior queen or harem-girl slave in us, and a lot of versions in between. It's just a way to have fun with the person we love. Show him you're willing to explore different adventures with him. The most critical question is do you like the idea? Because as important as it is to figure out if it's one of his fantasies, seeing if it can intertwine with your own is equally important. Then you can tailor it, make it unique to your own relationship."
Since she could see Helen mulling it over, Madison tucked her tongue into her cheek. "Imagine him kneeling before you. You order him to remove his shirt, because you want to trail your fingers over those scars he's gotten in your service, scratch them a bit with your nails. You order him into your bed, commanding him to pleasure you . . . and the rest is all about the two of you getting lost in it."
Helen had a pleasant face, her blond hair pulled back so it emphasized the impact of her direct green eyes. In addition to the strong bones, she was a buxom thirty-something with generous breasts and hips. As she absorbed the words, tried them out in her own head, Madison had the satisfaction of watching her body language shift. The back straightened, the chin tilting, a sharper look coming to her gaze. All things the woman was probably oblivious to doing, but envisioning the fantasy enough to change her stance was a good sign.
"Yeah," she said slowly. "I kind of like the idea. When I was in college, I had a boyfriend who liked being tied up. I passed it off as a Houdini thing, him trying to get out of restraints, but when I was tying him, I remember the way he watched me, like . . ." She shrugged, gave Madison a smile. "I enjoyed it."
"So there's potential there."
"Maybe." Her gaze slid over Madison's outfit. "You make it look like so much fun. I know wearing your outfits is probably a great way to sell your merchandise, but you look like you get into it."
Today, Madison had chosen the severe librarian look, a crisp but formfitting white shirt tucked into a tailored skirt that hugged her curves. She wore sensible black pumps, and a pair of black-framed glasses perched on her nose. She'd worked her unruly hair into a prim bun and stuck a couple writing pens in it, just to augment the librarian image. To add the sexy, she wore a lacy white bra under the shirt, unbuttoned enough to catch a glimpse of cleavage, enhanced by a gold necklace with "#1 Librarian" scrolled on the locket pendant.
Madison struck a pose, staring down her nose through the glasses. "Nothing like a book applied to a bare backside to catch someone's attention," she said. "No gaming until you have fully satisfied my needs, young man."
Helen grinned. "Maybe I'll start with something like that and work up to Xena."
"Always good to go in stages," Madison approved. "But first things first. Remember to talk to him, get the wheels turning. It's the hardest part, but it will be good for both of you. It's like fantasy foreplay."
She sent Helen on her way with a bra-and-panty purchase and a head full of ideas. As the woman crossed the street to her car, she stopped, her attention caught by something out of view. Madison suspected she'd gotten a whiff of the pastry place a few stores down. More than once, when she was resolved to do an extra workout, she herself snagged a giant cinnamon bun from them. It was worth every sweaty minute.
She smiled as she saw Helen leave the car and head that way. Indulging herself.
Returning to her cash register, Madison caught her reflection in one of the mirror panels. Helen's observation had surprised her, but she had to admit she did look at home in the persona she'd chosen for today.
From the moment she'd decided to honor her sister's dying wish that she take over Naughty Bits, her transformation, inside and out, had hit snags, but now it was a smooth evolution, gaining more ground every day. Especially since the grand opening, several weeks ago. Though Madison had opened the doors of Naughty Bits again well before that, the event had been her official kick off.
It had gone well, and she'd had the opportunity to draw back more of the loyal customer base Alice had harvested. Many might have attended the grand opening out of sentiment, but that wasn't what had them coming back now.
As her mind traveled back to that day, she knew she was revisiting it not so much because of the event itself, but what had happened after. Another indication of how her confidence, her trust in herself, was improving. As well as her belief that there might just be someone in the world she could trust to catch her when she fell . . .
As the attendees volunteered their stories of how Alice had guided them in their sexual adventures and deepened their emotional bonds with their partners, she listened with a smile on her lips. She laughed when they talked about her sister's quirky and wise insights, her friendship and generosity.
"What a pleasure it was just being around her" . . . "Madison, you look so much like her . . . " . . . "I wish you every success . . . " "I'm so happy I can tell my friends the doors are open again . . . "
Alice hadn't wanted a funeral. She'd told Madison to host a celebration of life whenever it felt like a good time. Unwittingly, the grand opening had become that service. Since she'd placed a picture of Alice on the counter for the event, she saw plenty of people go by, touch her sister's face.
After it was all over, the final person--a tall woman in a multi-hued gauzy dress that smelled of fragrant sage, a scent Alice had loved--gave Madison one last hug and another genuine wish for all good things. Madison nodded, smiled again. Then, once that patron was across the street, Madison took a breath and locked the door, turning over the closed sign.
Clean up was fairly quick, though collecting the things she needed to take home took extra time. Some of them had brought little gifts, surprisingly. A tribute to her sister, to what she had meant to them.
Madison put the items into one of her store bags and shouldered her purse. As she moved through the storeroom and put her hand on the back door latch, she was struck suddenly by how numb she was, almost as if nothing around her was real, substantial. Then a cramp hit her stomach, a tightness squeezing her chest, taking away her breath.
Dropping her purse, she sank to her knees on the concrete floor, staring sightlessly at the door.
Alice was gone. Truly gone. And she wasn't coming back. No matter how successful Madison made Naughty Bits, no matter how much she talked aloud to her, Alice wasn't here. The sister who'd loved her, helped raise her, who'd always been there. Her family.
Her mind turned to Logan and Troy, and the desperate wish that they were here. They were the closest thing to a family she had now. Given how short a time she'd known them, that thought should be absurd, but given their connection to Alice, and the intense things they'd shared in that short time, it didn't seem absurd at all.
They'd come to the opening earlier, but hadn't stayed for the whole thing since they had the hardware store next door to run. She understood that. Yet some part of her wanted to get up, run through that connecting backroom door and find them. Fortunately, her weak knees and that terrible pain in her middle kept her from embarrassing herself.
She rocked herself, keening. She expected it to ease off, a few hard waves followed by an ebbing that would allow her to breathe, but it didn't happen. It got worse. She couldn't stop crying.
Even though she wasn't expecting any company, somehow she wasn't surprised when a hand touched her shoulder. "I can't . . . stop . . . " she managed, gasping.
Maybe Troy had come into their storage room and heard her, no matter that she was trying to strangle back the sounds. But it didn't matter how he'd gotten here. The important thing was that he was. Sliding down the wall to take a seat next to her, he folded her in his arms. Her own went around him, clinging as she sobbed. Barely a minute later, her heart broke open all the way, because Logan joined them as well.
When he knelt by her other side, she released Troy to turn toward him, pressing her face into his chest. She was suddenly quite certain she'd be ripped in two if he wasn't the
re to hold her. As Logan's arms went all the way around her, she let out a sound she expected she'd make if he caught her before she fell over a cliff. Troy stayed at her back, rubbing it until she could breathe again.
Logan wiped her eyes with a handkerchief and Troy found her tissues to blow her nose. They didn't ask her to talk. But she still managed to stammer out the words. "It was wonderful . . . and so hard. So hard."
Logan nodded against her temple, holding her tighter. Troy put his lips to her shoulder, leaned against her back. They surrounded her, and she didn't have to explain. They understood.
Revisiting her sister's memory with those who loved her had been wonderful, yet she still stood apart, alone. Her bond to Alice was singular, a blood connection. And Alice was gone, that connection severed, casting Madison adrift. Yet here they were, holding her, keeping her anchored. Somehow, knowing she wasn't alone made it seem that Alice was still present, the tether to her still there.
The first day Madison had met Logan, he'd said Alice had given her to him. At the time, she'd reacted the way she expected anyone would react to such an astounding statement from a stranger. Now she was both paralyzed and suffused with hope that her sister had known what she was doing.
Coming back to the present, Madison remembered how Logan had taken her home, tucked her into her bed with a cup of tea. He'd stayed with her until morning, leaving her with a vague awareness of his lips brushing her brow before she was lost again to a dreamless, exhausted slumber.
In her more or less lucid moments, depending on her mood, she found it unsettling, how easily she let him past any emotional shielding or barrier she had. She wanted to believe it was evidence of positive growth in their relationship, rather than her following the same track she always had, trusting too much of herself, too soon, opening herself to being shattered.
Stop it. Trying to distract herself now, she picked up a wooden paddle and slapped it against her hand, giving herself a suitably disapproving look in the mirror. She was finding she could really get into the different ideas she created for her clients, but when it came to punishment, she was still playing around the edges. Logan had given her a brief taste with that one smack on her ass at her house during movie night, but she didn't have a firsthand understanding of the connection between pleasure and pain.