Five Years of Ultimate Decadence

Sep 30

Here’s another in my occasional series celebrating fifth anniversaries of various books and anthologies I’ve appeared in.

This time it’s my first outing with Xcite, a charity anthology edited by the ever-excellent Emily Dubberley.

It was Kristina Lloyd who mentioned to me that Emily was looking for stories for this collection, shortly after the gloomy announcement from Black Lace that it was shutting up shop. New options were sorely needed, so I whipped up a little bit of froth called Blind Man’s Buff and sent it off. It was accepted within days, and the book came out barely a couple of months later –  a much faster process than I was accustomed to at Black Lace.

I was impressed at the time to be featured in a book that had a foreword! And that the foreword was by Mil Millington, whose Guardian Weekend column I’d read every Saturday a few years earlier. The phrase ‘ecstatic syncope’ was in it, which pleased me very much.

There were also 29 other stories by eroticists of every stripe: Poppy Winters, Kitty Meadows, Daphne Bing, Marcelle Perks, Emily Dubberley, Suzanne Portnoy & Simon Morgan, Wersha Bharadwa, Miranda Forbes, MonMouth, Jeremy Edwards, Elizabeth K Payne, Lauren Wissot, Donna George Storey, Paris Orsini, Jennifer Dark, Karen Krizanovich, Laura Godman, Madeline Moore, Elizabeth Coldwell, Josephine Jay, Sarah Berry, Adam Sawyer, Mark Farley, Mistress Grace, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Angel O’Neill, Sarah-Louise Young, Maxim Jakubowski and Henrietta Maddox.

For many of those names, it was our first and only time in a contents list together, but I would ‘meet’ some of the others again, and always with great pleasure. And 15% of the cover price of each copy sold went to the Macmillan cancer charity.

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Demelza Hart Is In The Chair

Sep 29

I’m sure you’ll give Demelza Hart a hearty welcome, since she’s presiding over the grill today. Expect something hot and sweet that warms the cockles. Welcome, Demelza!

  1. Who was your first famous-person crush?

For as long as I can remember I’ve had crushes on famous people and inappropriate/unattainable people. I started early! I remember having a crush on the blond one in CHIPS when I was about six! (Can’t even remember his name. I wouldn’t go for someone like that now, but I had to start somewhere.) Adam Ant was also an early crush; now that I still understand. Peter Davison as Doctor Who, and even more so as Tristan in All Creatures Great and Small, also figured – strange, but true! Bear in mind, I was only in primary school! All the guys in a-ha! stirred my hormones when I entered my teens. I walked into a music lesson once and someone had written on the board: ‘Morten Harket – what God meant when he made man.’ I remember thinking that was so cool! Ha! But he was very, very pretty, and still is. Bit too pretty for my taste now, but I was in total awe when I was 12!

  1. What writers inspired you as a child and young adult?

I read mostly classics when I was young. I set myself the challenge of ticking off as many as I could. Sometimes that challenge was pretty daunting. I remember The Hunchback of Notre Dame was a particular slog! I adored anything Bronte, and Jane Eyre remains my favourite book of all time. I also loved the writing of Jane Gardam. The Summer After the Funeral, a coming of age story about a teenage girl, had a huge influence on me. With regard to erotica, Erica Jong’s novels have long stuck with me. Again, I discovered these in my early teens – my mother didn’t keep them quite far enough out of my reach!

  1. What made you turn your hand to writing erotica?

I have always loved writing and try to respect and use language carefully in all I do, despite not training as a writer as such. My path to erotica started with fan fiction, and I rather ‘fell’ into that as an outlet for my vivid imaginings in the wake of having children. I’ve always had a vivid sexual imagination and imprinted certain erotic scenes from books on my mind, but I suppose like many, I was very protective and secretive about my own writing as, because it’s often not openly discussed, you feel you are the only person who thinks that way. Of course that is far, far from the case, but it’s only through writing that I have realised this. It has been the most liberating thing that’s ever happened to me. The move into original, published erotica took a while. Despite the intelligent and positive response to my fan fiction, it took me a while to believe I could transfer that to original work. A friend told me about a competition with Xcite Books a few years ago. I finally got off my a**e and wrote something original and was lucky enough to be one of the winners. It’s taken off from there.

  1. Have any of your books/stories/scenes been inspired by a song or piece of music?

Many. Music is incredibly important to me. I myself sing, as do nearly all my family (makes us sound like the von Trapps – we’re so not!), and most of my friends are musicians. Music hasn’t featured too heavily so far in my original writing, but it’s been very important in my fan fiction, and always seems to have a real effect on my readers, which I love. Some significant scenes I can think of include Bach’s cello sonatas, Schubert’s Piano Trio in E flat and Guns ‘N’ Roses’ Sweet Child o’ Mine! But all my work is underpinned by listening to certain songs or pieces as I’m writing. Tallis’ Spem in Alium is a constant inspiration (I was a bit fed up when it was hijacked by 50 Shades!), as is Strauss’ Four Last Songs and Vaughan-Williams’ Tallis Fantasia. I will often return to the original Keane version of Somewhere Only We Know too – an exquisitely beautiful song with wonderful lyrics.

  1. Do you think where you live has influenced what you write?

Yes, totally. I live in a beautiful, rugged coastal part of England and the history, culture, people and land/seascape are a constant influence and inspiration. It’s spoiled me for living anywhere else. A couple of my stories have been set down here where I live.

  1. You’ve written short stories and trilogies. Which do you find easier?

I’m not sure. I enjoy developing longer stories, but admit to having to discipline myself to get them finished. But I do like short stories and pride myself on being able to round them off in a satisfying way, which I think can be quite hard.

  1. I know that, like me, you’re a sucker for writing in period. What’s your favourite historical era to write about, and why?

Oh yes. Even my ‘contemporary’ pieces seem often to slide somewhat into the past. I love Edwardian times and the passion that came out of the trauma of World War One, if I can put it like that. But Tudor/Stuart times are also wonderful to explore – there was so much political and religious intrigue at that time that it gives fertile ground for a writer.

  1. What’s sexier – bare or clothed? If clothed, what sort of clothes?

Clothed, definitely! Anything pre-1919 for me! What remains unseen is so much more compelling and sexier than laying it all out there. Of course, they have to get their clothes off at some point, but it’s good to linger on tight lacing, leather boots, brocade waistcoats and frock coats for as long as possible. Buttons! Give me loads of buttons to undo any day!

  1. If you had to put together the perfect romantic hero, what attributes would be on your list?

Tall, dark and handsome works well as a starter, despite it being such a cliché. Brooding, slightly flawed, enigmatic, mysterious, a secretive past masking a generous heart craving love and willing to give it to the right person. Basically, Edward Rochester.

  1. What are you working on now?

Too much! I have many WIPs awaiting my attention. I am finishing a novel about two unlikely people thrown together through disaster. The focus is not so much on the disaster, but on how they cope with the after-effects. I’m very excited about it and now have some time to devote to it properly. I also want to get back to a historical novel I’ve been working on for a while. It has a strong BDSM element, which flows entirely from the characters’ personalities rather than a wish to impose it on them, and is inspired by a famous event in Stuart times.  I’ve been writing it in fits and starts, and really want to spend some solid time finishing it.


Thanks for having me, Justine! I loved it!

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Kristina Lloyd’s Undone: Lana and Sol

Sep 23

I’m delighted to welcome Kristina Lloyd, who is blog-touring her new Black Lace novel Undone all this month. I think that’s why we’ve had such a hot September – just my little theory ;). Take it away, Kristina!

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Writers sometimes refer to their characters as ‘taking over’, as sending the plot in a new direction or standing up and telling the author how it is. I don’t feel this about my characters, which isn’t to say they don’t surprise me or that I’m forever having to force them into line. I just find the notion that characters have a life beyond the one I create for them too bonkers!


When I first conceived of Lana and Sol, the two main characters in my latest novel, Undone, I had a good grasp of what they were like as people and of the journey I wanted them to go on. I had a clear mental image of Lana’s physical appearance but Sol took a little longer to form in my mind. The trouble was, I thought I should make him blond. All the male leads in my novels to date have been dark-haired. Time, I told myself, to try something different. So I gave him tousled, dirty-blonde hair. But it made him feel too young, too clean, too much of a surfer dude. Gradually, I darkened his colouring until his skin was a deep, ruddy bronze and his  hair was dark brown. That was better!


The process highlighted to me that there’s a certain type of guy I enjoy writing about: he’s mysterious, confident, clever, masculine, and has an edge of danger about him. He’s sexually dominant. And he’s stubbornly dark haired.


The relationship Lana and Sol embark on is far from straightforward. They meet at a party, hook up with another guy for a threesome, and, on the morning after, the second guy, Misha, is found dead in the swimming pool. Lana and Sol flee the scene, not wanting to reveal details of the kinky threesome to the police. The death looks to be an accident but an item in the room where the threesome took place leads Lana to suspect Sol may have been involved. Nonetheless, she can’t prevent herself from falling for him, even as her mistrust builds. She identifies a psychosexual similarity and compatability, a dark side to the sunny Sol.


I wanted Lana and Sol’s relationship to be steeped in mystery, mistrust, game-playing and danger. It was difficult to assess how this would pan out but the more I wrote, the closer I got to my characters, and they closer they got to each other. The story is told from Lana’s point of view via a diary she’s started to keep since the death. I want the reader to feel she’s inside Lana’s head, hearing her inner truth. I hoped to convey the sense that Lana feels psychologically close to Sol, that they’re united by an understanding, a longing. And because of that, they can really fuck with each other’s brains, unintentionally or otherwise.


While I wouldn’t go so far as to say Lana and Sol took over, I was delighted by the way the two characters clicked when I paired them up together, how they brought out the best and the worst in each other, and how they grew into characters whose layers and complexities I could not have predicted at the start.


Here’s a snip from Lana’s diary, written shortly after the party.


“You’d think, wouldn’t you, that people can’t help but reveal themselves in bed? That they’re made vulnerable by their nakedness and admission of desire. That when you tacitly agree to trust each other by sharing the space of sex, there’s a truth in what you do. The barriers are down.


But it’s not always the case. Sol gave away so little that night. He was an artful performer keeping his distance. Only later, after Misha died, when he fucked me on the forest floor, did I see Sol for who he was. Or at least, I’d thought so at the time. Because, ironically, I’m starting to suspect I saw his true colours when he was lying. Fucking and lying. Fucking with such abandon I thought we might disintegrate; thought we might crumble into ancient earth and tremulous ferns, pulling each other down into the disappearance of old bones and deep-diving tree roots.


I’m afraid Sol is too much like me. He longs for the edge but a fear this would destroy him curtails his compulsion to know that dark delirium. I don’t know how close to ruin he allows himself to get but I know he is not merely fun. He’s more than the sunny, sociable, game-playing Sol he makes himself out to be; so much more. And I’m glad, and I’m scared. He has a hiddenness I want to find, but I’m terrified I might regret it. I expect the feeling’s mutual.


So he watches me. I watch him. And I do not know who will win.”


If you’d like to know more about Undone, please hop over to my blog for an excerpt, and check out the other stops on my Sexy September blog tour.

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Kristina Lloyd writes erotic fiction about sexually submissive women who like it on the dark, dirty and dangerous side. Her novels are published by Black Lace and her short stories have appeared in dozens of anthologies, including several ‘best of’ collection, in both the UK and US. She lives in Brighton, England.


Website               Twitter                 Facebook            Goodreads


About Undone


When Lana Greenwood attends a glamorous house party she finds herself tempted into a ménage à trois. But the morning after brings more than just regrets over fulfilling a fantasy one night stand. One of the men she’s spent the night with is discovered dead in the swimming pool. Accident, suicide or murder, no one is sure and Lana doesn’t know where to turn. Can she trust Sol, the other man, an ex-New Yorker with a dirty smile and a deep desire to continue their kinky game?

Amazon UK paperback :: Amazon UK Kindle :: Amazon US Kindle :: Amazon CA paperback :: Amazon CA Kindle

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Slave Nano Is In The Chair

Sep 22

I can’t imagine many guests feeling more at home in my bondage chair than the delightful Slave Nano. I had all the straps and buckles and whatnot specially measured for him today – and he has plenty of interesting things to tell us, so I hope he’s settled in nicely. Welcome, Slave Nano!

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  1. Who was your first famous person crush?

That would have to be Kate Bush. She was so beautiful and talented in that wonderfully eccentric English way. Loved the look, the voice, the wackiness, the costumes and her ability to get away with doing what she wanted without compromise. Even now in her 50’s she’s a stunningly beautiful woman. Got tickets to see her live in September and can’t wait!


  1. What inspired you as a child and young adult?

I love Tolkien and since the Lord of the Rings was the first book I got totally immersed in he definitely inspired a love of books and reading. Some of my teachers inspired a love of history which led to my career (until recently, as an archivist) and skills and knowledge that still inspire my work. I love music and as an adolescent fell in love with the jamming of the 60’s San Francisco band The Grateful Dead and the guitar playing of Jerry Garcia in particular. He was one of my heroes!


  1. Why did you decide to write erotica?

That’s an interesting question and one I answer honestly by saying I was inspired to write erotica by an incredibly creative and imaginative dominatrix I served for a number of years. She was skilled at creating different scenes and personas in her dungeon and I started writing to contribute to those. It was a unique and amazing experience as we wove story telling into some these scenarios. It was this experience that both gave me something that I wanted to express and made me realise I was capable of writing creatively. I’m no longer active on that scene but consider myself privileged to retain this person as a special friend and muse.


  1. When you have an idea for a story, do you plan it all out in advance? Or do you just take the germ of the idea and run with it?

A little bit of both I think. Though when I plan I tend to do it in my head rather than write anything down!


  1. What is your own favourite of your stories?

That has to be my book, ‘Adventures in Fetlishland’, which is a bdsm/fetish reinvention of the Alice stories, for several reasons. It is book length and getting it completed and published was in itself a major achievement. Also, because I set out to pay homage to a person and the world she created and do so in a properly crafted book. I was happy the final work achieved that. Then, because it has The Fetish Red Queen, who is a great character and a kick-ass dominatrix! Lastly, because I’ve had such fun promoting it, appearing as the Fetish Hatter for a reading at the Smut by the Sea event and organising a photo shoot by a professional photographer that will see a feature about the book appear in Bizarre magazine soon.


  1. What’s sexier – the city or the countryside?

That’s a hard one, but I’m going to plump for countryside. There’s something erotic about being exposed to the elements. And I’ve probably found more inspiration for stories from the landscape than the city. For a non-creative writing project I’m currently researching prehistoric sites on the North Yorks Moors and looking at two hills – Blakey Topping and Howden Hill – that look like the massive boobs of an earth goddess have been dropped onto the landscape! So, yes, there’s lots of sexy stuff in the countryside.


  1. You’re a regular contributor to the Smut by the Sea anthologies – what is it about the seaside that is so inspiring?

I think it’s because the seaside is a place where you let your inhibitions go. It’s that combination of sun, sea and that other ‘s’ that creates the carefree environment where erotic stuff happens. I enjoy writing for them because they are fun stories and the brief for them is a writing challenge. They force me to write in a less darkly erotic way and bring out the humour in my writing.


  1. Has your writing been influenced by that of others?

Not particularly. My writing is influenced by lots of things I’ve read over many years but there’s no single author that stands out. When I first started writing I had no idea there was a genre called erotica or that this stuff could get published! I only discovered that when I set about looking for publishers. Consequently, I’d kind of already developed a style before I read any other authors of erotica and I’m still pretty selective in what I read in the genre (though that does include some of your books Justine!)


  1. What are you working on now?

I’ve recently collected my pension and finished work to do some different things (I refuse to call it retirement because it’s not!), one of them being to spend more time writing. I’ve had short stories published, which has helped keep my profile up but I really want to finish the second book and now have the time to do it. So, I’m juggling a few potential projects – one set in 18th century Venice using the ‘La Contessa’ character from one of my short stories for which I’ve already got a lot down, so that is the current project and will get completed first. Then, I have ideas for a sequel to ‘Adventures in Fetishland’, that will include a fetish nun character and develop the conflict between Pagan/new religion theme of the original. I also have a couple of chapters written of a comic steam-punk erotica book featuring my Edwardian dominatrix character, Lady Sally Rudston-Chichester. I also have an ambition to write a book completely outside the erotic genre one day. But, fuck, writing erotica is such fun!


Haha, you said it! And it’s so true. Fascinating stuff, Nano, and I’m particularly interested in the pagan vs. new religion theme – I’ll keep an eye out for that.

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Trix Wins

Sep 21

Hooray, I have a Snog For Sommer winner – a paperback copy of Diamond goes to Trix.

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Renee Luke Is In The Chair

Sep 15

Roll up, roll up! It’s the first ever visit to the grill by erotic romanticist Renee Luke. I’m sure we’re going to have a delicious time! Welcome, Renee!


1.      Who was your first famous-person crush?

Okay, well I didn’t have a TV until I was 10 and even after that, I was hardly ever allowed to watch. So I had music. I got my first ‘famous-person’ crush when I was 16. (pink cheeks) It is/was LL Cool J.  I mostly listened to the radio but when I was 16 I purchased the tape (yes, I said tape) of LL’s album. It included a pull-out color mini poster of him in a bunch of different poses. And oh yes, baby, he was/is beautiful. Those dimples. Those lips. That voice. Yes, he was my first and my current crush.


2.      What writers inspired you as a child and young adult?

Because we didn’t have a TV growing up, my mom read to us nightly. There were so many incredible stories but the series that burned mostly deeply into my memory was C.S. Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia. Knowing that such amazing worlds could be created with words definitely inspired me. 

3.      What made you turn your hand to writing erotica?

Prior to writing erotica/erotic romance, I was writing historical romances. On a challenge from a friend, I decided to see how hot I could write. Could I make the pages sizzle rather than just steam?  My first attempt at erotic was Chocolate Kisses. After writing 10 complete historical romances and not selling any of them, Chocolate Kisses sold to NAL within a couple months of completion. I guess my friend’s dare/challenge worked out pretty well.

4.      Have any of your books/stories/scenes been inspired by a song or piece of music?

I write to music. Loud. In headphones. Each story ends up with a playlist.  And while I write to music (the rhythm and beat motivate me) I wouldn’t say that any of my books/stories/scene have been inspired by a song or a piece of music.

5.      Do you think where you live has influenced what you write?

I live in the suburbs in a pretty unromantic setting. I suppose if I lived near the beach or on an exotic island, or in the middle of the wilderness, I’d be pretty inspired by where I live. For now, I think that I am not influenced in my writing by where I live, but use my imagination to create settings because of the boringness of my own setting.

6.      You once wrote a book called Dipped In Chocolate. What sort of chocolate?

Chocolate Kisses is about Hershey’s chocolate Kisses. Nicole kept a cookie jar on her countertop filled with Hershey Kisses and when she proposes a sexual relationship with her friend Marcus, she adds foil wrapped condoms to the cookie jar with the arrangement that when the condoms are gone, their sexual encounters will be over.

7.      What are your favourite erotic themes?

I love themes that include desert and edibles mixed in with the erotic romances. I often include chocolates, berries, whipped cream into the scenes. Items that are tasty and lickable off the skin.  I also adore happily-ever-afters so most all of my stories contain them.

8.      What’s your heroine wearing when she’s bent on seduction?

To be honest, I’ve written very few erotic stories where the heroine sets out to seduce. Often, it’s when she’s not trying to be sexy that the hero finds her most irresistible and is seduced by her. Often she’ll be a mess, with chocolate on her face and apron, hair a mess, or after she’s been crying and her eyes are puffy and lips are wet. 

9.      What word choices completely turn you off when reading erotica?

Oh my goodness. Ha! I guess I’m pretty opened minded when it comes to reading erotica. There is very little that would be a complete turn-off. And, I’m a strong believer that rules can be broken if the writer is skilled enough to break them well.  But, there’s two that stick out to me that I still feel a mixture of disgust and humor over even after years since reading it. They are ‘horse meat’ and ‘slime hole’ Yes, truly, someone wrote those.

10.  What are you working on now?

A whole BUNCH of things. I am struggling (maybe admitting it is the first step) to finish Tease. I keep setting it aside to work on anything else because Jonah is giving me trouble. He is unlike any hero I’ve ever written. He’s both Alpha and Beta in one. He’s had a hard life and a harder decade and he has every reason to be bitter and angry. But, he approaches life with laughter and an ease I don’t understand. I just signed up for Summer Camp of NaNo so I’m hoping to get him done. Finally.


I am also in the midst of writing a whole bunch of short stories for different anthology calls. I think this is such a good way to reach a broad spectrum of readers.


I’ve also recently been included in The Den of Sin and have an AA contemporary book coming out this fall (nov release) with them, as well as a medieval erotic romance in an anthology put out by Delilah Devlin (oct release) I have Thou Art Mine which recently sold to Ellora’s Cave. It’s a full length erotic medieval romance.


I have a WIP called Play With Me, think Bad Girls Club meets Bar Rescue, or Coyote Ugly with a competition to see who gets to run the bar.


And, I am also Nyomi Scott and write YA, so I’m working on a series of YA as well called Drama Center…


I could go on. I have so many. In addition, I’ve been designing book covers and started Cover Me Book Covers. My client list is slowly growing.


All exciting ish, if you ask me :)


Thanks so much for having me.


Thank you so much for coming! We have a lot in common – the Narnia books were my favourites as a child, and I’m a devotee of historical romances as well. All the best of luck with your forthcoming books and projects.

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A Snog For Sommer

Sep 14

Admit it, you’ve always wanted to give Sommer Marsden a snog. And now, this weekend, our dreams are coming true, because over 50 of us erotica bods are puckering up for our lovely friend in her hour of need.


If you want to give cancer a big kick up the arse, you can go here to make a donation to help Sommer and her family cope with the fallout of her husband’s illness.

There’s also masses of giveaways and prizes to be had, if you check the Smut For Good page and visit all the different authors.

I’m giving away a print copy – doesn’t matter where you live, I’ll send it to you – of my new Black Lace novel, Diamond. And without further ado, here’s a snog from it.

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There was a silence, strangely awkward.

‘You’re lonely,’ said Leonardo.

‘Yes. But I’m used to it now.’

‘You shouldn’t have to be. Someone like you.’

He had a look in his eyes that liquefied her.

‘Someone like me?’ she whispered. ‘What’s that?’

He cupped her cheek in one hand and she let out a breath, almost of relief. Yes, he was touching her. Yes, now she realised she had wanted him to all day.

‘Gorgeous,’ he said. ‘And amazing.’

‘Oh, don’t,’ she said with a laugh of terror. This had to stop, didn’t it? This couldn’t happen, could it?

‘I mean it,’ he said. ‘You’ve made something of your life. You’re special. If I were Deano Diamond…’ He looked away, as if he could scarcely believe what he knew of that individual.


‘Hush. When was the last time you were kissed? Properly, I mean.’

‘I…can’t remember.’

‘That’s a fookin disgrace.’

There was a moment that seemed to stretch forever, when his pupils were giant in his eyes and all Jenna could think was Go on, then, if you’re going to – kiss me.

He tightened his hold on her face and tilted it up to him before ducking down to meet her lips with his.

How can it hurt? It’s just a kiss. It’s all right to kiss.

It was more than all right. Leonardo knew how to do it. Just the touch of his skin was electric, and when he brought his mouth to bear on her she thought she might swoon away into a froth of desire on the mattress. How had she forgotten the elemental pleasure of a warm, male, human body close to hers? She pushed her lips to his and gave him tacit permission to keep the pressure up, to increase it if need be.

She placed her hand on his upper arm, making it clear that she wanted this togetherness. Her fingers curled tightly against his solid muscle, just about where his bad tattoo was. He, in his turn, circled her waist, keeping her pressed into him.

His lips were fuller and more satisfying that Deano’s, which were thin and hard. There was a luscious softness to them that made the firmness of his kiss paradoxical and perfect. She could never tire of this feeling. It was better than wine and better than money and better than fame. If he carried on kissing her, she could be made to agree to anything.

What kind of woman did that make her?

She was slightly horrified with herself, but it still didn’t induce her to give up this glorious much-missed feeling, which was now spreading through her body like liquid flame.

And why not? Her inner voice still tormented her with apprehensions of how wrong this was. Don’t I deserve a little human comfort, a little pleasure? After everything I’ve been through?

The kisses were feverish now, hungry and all-consuming. Leo’s fingers raked through her hair, pulled at it, setting off little sparks in her scalp. He pressed and pinched and gripped her until they fell, sideways on, flat to the mattress.

Now their legs rubbed and wrapped around each other and they were close as could be, no space between them for a sliver of card. Jenna felt her chin and lower face grow slippery and a little raw from his evening stubble. His tongue broke through and she accepted the surrender with enthusiasm, pushing her own back at him.

The more they took from each other, it seemed, the more they wanted. Each new act of wantonness opened up the possibility of more, an endless vista of sensual pleasures. She wanted him in her, her in him. While they were locked like this, nothing else mattered.

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