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Book and Headphones

Short Reads

Short reads are beginnings, middles and in some cases complete vignettes. Some will become a novel, but others, maybe not.

It Started With Ayesha

A move from the suburbs changes the trajectory of a young man's romantic future.

Better Left Unsaid

A young woman considers whether to reveal an almost certainly devastating secret she's kept from her best friend for years.

Bright Young Things

A small-town detective begins to unravel the mystery of a missing girl in a small community that harbors dark secrets. This was the beginning of one of my YA books that I never finished.

People You Don't See

A woman unobtrusive to everyone around her considers the secrets of her neighbors to help solve a murder.

Freshman Fifteen

A shy college freshman loses her only friend unexpectedly.

Paper House

Annie lives a charmed life in a city she loves, with friends and a full social calendar. In the same city, her sister Lori lives as well. But Lori is a schizophrenic and Annie has told few of her friends she even has a sibling. But when Lori gets pregnant and moves in with her, Annie must confront the reality of her own superficial life and learn the true meaning of family.

Still Here

Death was not at all what Sophia expected. There are no bright lights, spirit guides or feelings of well-being. Instead there is weightlessness, timelessness and a sense of being connected at all times to people who were important in her mortal life. She waits and expects to be taken somewhere else, but no one comes and finally she realizes why she is still here. Her attacker is planning his next murder and it is her job to keep it from happening.

Another Life

A girl and her sister move to a new town after their father's death. This was the beginning of something I wrote under a pen name for Chainbooks, when I was toying with the idea of writing YA fiction.

Tricks of Light

Dale's arch-nemesis when she was a teenager was Jordan, a strangely mature, vindictive girl who was later killed in a car accident. Now, many years later, Dale meets Tina, who not only bears a striking resemblance to Jordan, but has many of the same disturbing characteristics as well. As Dale grows more and more convinced that Tina is, inexplicably, Jordan, her life (and maybe her grip on reality) begins to unravel.

Life Plan

Josh is driving across country with a girl who answered his posting on the shared ride board at his college to take the long trek from Oakland to Washington DC. Dylan is pretty, funny and has a job waiting for her working for a congressman. She seems a lot more together than Josh himself and he is impressed with her until, gradually, as the hours pass and she becomes more comfortable, begins to reveal secrets about herself, each more disturbing than the previous, leaving Josh wondering whether he will even make it to his destination.


Brittany works the late shift at the only all-night convenience store in her small town. Through her job she witnesses the idiosyncrasies of the town inhabitants and learns her fair share of secrets – like who’s having an affair or drinking way too much. When a young college co-ed has goes missing and is presumed dead, Brittany plays an idle game with Josh, one of her co-workers; they speculate that there may be a killer among their neighbors.  But as she and Josh begin to perceive hints of a dark side to many of their neighbors’ harmless peccadilloes, they wonder whether the person responsible for the co-ed’s disappearance may not in fact be as everyone in town assumes, a stranger.

Steal Him Away

About a year ago, a friend of a friend of mine visited her cousin in Brazil for what was to have been a week. During that week, she managed to "steal" her cousin's fiancée, marry him and move back to the States where they now live with their new baby. The story so fascinated me, that I tried to imagine in fiction how such a thing could be pulled off, and how one would live with having done such a thing. That led to me beginning this story.

Thirty-Seven Days

Hayley Fields lives in a privileged world of private schools, European vacations and wealthy pop stars who simply are your friends’ parents. When one of her schoolmates is abducted and raped and then miraculously recovered alive after thirty-seven days, Hayley’s near-idyllic world is opened just a crack. Soon, some of life’s harsher realities begin to make that crack a fissure. Her  best friend’s eating disorder, news of a parent’s extra-marital affair and an on-campus suicide all conspire to teach her lessons about life she would have preferred not to have known.


The Lovers

A Duet

Duets: Sensual Shorts. Two Points of View. His. Hers.

Duets is a collection of serialized short stories written in collaboration by me, Nia Forrester and The Black. Each story chapter includes two parts, one written from the feminine perspective (by Nia Forrester) and one from the masculine perspective (by The Black), and posted on our respective blogs.

Chapter One Part 2

For Part 1, His perspective, visit The Black's blog here.

She felt his desire for her and broke their kiss.

As she leaned into him, he reached around her and pulled the door open. Inside, though her heart was beating staccato, she smiled, because she could feel the evidence of his eagerness straining between them. When he tried to kiss her again she ducked out of his reach, wanting to tease him, to test her own resolve, and to wait as long as she possibly could before taking him inside her.

She enjoyed games, and with her lovers, she played them often. But he was different. Though they knew very little about each other, something told her he was not a man who would tolerate being trifled with. Still, there was no way to know a man’s limits unless you tested them. He seemed to know what she was doing, and allowed her to avoid the kiss. Instead, his hands fell to the waist of her skirt, and he peeled it over her hips.

When they talked about this game, she gave him one tantalizing preview of the pleasures to come, telling him that she would not wear underwear. And she hadn’t. She had chosen this long, Indian cotton accordion pleated skirt because it was just the right balance of chaste and provocative. Almost transparent, if the light were behind her one could see right through it. Thinking about this and about his likely reaction if he saw her that way, she moved backwards so he was forced once again to release her. The waistband of the skirt made a light snapping noise against her skin and he looked up at her, his expression quizzical. Still moving away from him, she stopped when she felt the back of her neck bathed by an errant ray of sunlight that managed to creep between the slats of the tightly shut blinds covering the bay window.

From the way his face changed, she knew that the hoped for effect had been achieved. Now, he wanted her more than ever. Taking two steps forward he grabbed her more forcefully now, and shoved her skirt down and over her hips. It slid like a whisper against her skin and pooled at her feet.

He’d told her he liked her best naked, and by the look in his eyes, she saw no reason to doubt it. Her body had its own unique power. Though by no means perfect, she liked that it was strong and lean, but also soft and voluptuous in places. Her last lover called her a Black Venus. But she was not the kind of woman to be swayed by flowery talk, only by action. This man, this lover, who was now falling to his knees before her, was the one she had been seeking.

Taking his time, trailing soft kisses down her chest, over her stomach and across her hips, she realized that he too, understood the Art of the Tease. By now he knew what she wanted him to do, but was reclaiming power by taking his time, reminding her that what pleasure there was to be had he would in equal parts give and receive.

As her breath quickened and became audible, she wondered whether she would be the victor of this battle of wills. She wanted him. Now. And by the way he smiled up at her, it was clear that he knew it. On any other day, at any other time, she would have grabbed his head, pushed her hips toward him, or simply told him what to do.

But that would have meant surrender. And while she had done many things with her lovers over the years, surrender was not one of them.


The Black is the author of Dream Girl, A Southern Belle: Forbidden, Elle (Insatiable: Book One), Golden (Insatiable: Book Two), the Passion series, What Becomes of the Brokenhearted, The Rock and many other novels and novellas.

Visit The Black’s Amazon Author Page here.

Chapter Two Part 2

For Part 1, His perspective, visit The Black's blog here.

Some women—including many of her friends—complained about the “chore” of taking a man into their mouth. They said they considered it dirty, demeaning, or that it made them feel subservient. That amused her. Only a woman who didn’t understand her own power would think such nonsense. With that act, a woman held within her control that part of a man that most men valued above all others; from a position that appeared to be one of weakness, she possessed her greatest strength. All one need do was look up into a man’s eyes as you performed this most intimate of acts to see that in that span of a few minutes, he belonged to you.

A large part of her enjoyment was producing just that look in the eyes of the man she pleasured. To do so with this man would be particularly enjoyable. In their other life, their other relationship, he was always amiable and compliant, but she sensed that there was a part of himself that he held back, as though he was simply going through the motions of giving her what she wanted, and she was in fact doing what he wanted. But here, in this quiet and private space, she intended him to do precisely what she wanted him to do, and the best way to make that happen was on her knees.

There was eagerness and excitement written across his face as she raised her torso, propping herself up on her elbows. Her legs remain splayed apart, but now he was looking into her eyes, reading her. Last time—the first time they’d been together—they had not made this much eye-contact, and not just because the encounter had been furtive, unplanned and in some ways taboo, but because they talked. A lot. She told him what she wanted him to do to her, and he reciprocated. It had been a verbal as well as physical dance and one in which they were so in sync that it almost seemed as though they had been together many times before and knew each other well. That synchronicity was what had given her the idea for this game of not speaking. She’d been curious about whether they could maintain that level of comfort and compatibility without the benefit of speech, instruction and direction.

She was sitting completely upright now, and he stood directly in front of her. She reached for him, releasing him from the strictures of his sweatpants, pausing for a moment to admire his length. The feel of a man, the look of a man. Those were two of her favorite things; the vision of a man aroused—aroused by her—her most favorite thing in all the world. Her ease and comfort with her sexuality had sometimes made it difficult in her relationships with men. They wondered why, if she enjoyed sex with them, she didn’t make overtures toward exclusivity and possession. Often, it was the man who initiated the conversation about whether they were “seeing other people.” And it was usually about that time that she began to look for another lover.

When a man wanted to claim her, make her his, that was when she knew he had been tamed and her interest immediately began to wane. In her experience, this usually happened around the six-month mark. She knew because she had begun to keep track. She both sought and dreaded the moment when she knew that a man had been conquered. Some proposed marriage, one had even presented her with a ring and when she refused, had been angry with her.  He told her she looked sweet and innocent but was not, that she was not wife material.

Well, that was something she could have told him . . .

But this man was different. Something about him was elusive, inaccessible and mysterious. She wondered often, before he had ever touched her, what it would be like to have him. And after that first time, she only wondered more.

She touched him now, stroking him, preparing to swallow him whole. Without looking up at his face, she knew he must be aching for it, practically salivating himself at the thought of her mouth on him. She’d been told—though she didn’t need to be told—that she was unequaled at giving head. There was no technique; there was no magic formula. The secret was that she loved doing it. She licked her lips, she leaned forward . . .

And he pulled back.

It was only an inch or so, and for a moment she believed he was swaying, made unsteady by the anticipation of it all. But then she leaned in further.

And he pulled back.

For a moment her mind reeled, rifling through all the nooks and crannies of her varied sexual experiences, searching for an explanation for this unprecedented event. She almost broke their agreement then and asked him what was wrong. But she was determined that if anyone were to speak, it would not be her. Instead, hoping to speak with her eyes, she looked up.

His face was the very image of determination, and of desire. One corner of his mouth twitched almost imperceptibly, as though with an incomplete smile. Before she could even begin to consider what that meant, he had shoved her back against the edge of the sofa and in one swift motion flipped her over and onto her stomach so she was still on her knees but with her face pressed into the sofa cushion. The move was roughly assertive though not aggressive and her chest began to heave. Turning her head slightly to one side, she tried to look over her shoulder but he had dropped to his knees behind her and grasped both her arms, pinioning them so she was rendered immobile.

Then she felt his thigh, parting hers and his hardness pressed against her. As he pressed his lips against her neck, she felt him sink deep inside her. The sensation—the depth and angle of his penetration was unexpected. It felt good, better than good. Almost against her will, her back arched as she tried to push against him but with a firm thrust, he told her that she would not move, that the pace and intensity of their coupling would not be hers to dictate.

He moved against her and even as she delighted, reveled, and came undone from the sheer deliciousness of it, her mind rebelled. This was not how she’d planned for this encounter to unfold. She was supposed to slay him, unravel him and leave him wanting more. Yet it was she who was as helpless as a butterfly with its wings pinned. She struggled, no longer certain whether she was moving with or against him. The pace he kept was a challenging one and he was not gentle.

This was precisely the way she liked it.

But how could he know? They had only been together one other time. But he had to have read her so well, and so completely . . . how else could he know? He was playing her like a familiar and often-used instrument. Like he . . . owned her.

Oh God. It felt so good. She had to stop this . . .

But the truth was she didn’t want him to stop. She never, never wanted him to stop. She was panting, her chest heaving, and she squeezed her eyes shut, ground her teeth together and fought the force of her impending climax. She clenched herself tight, hoping to stave it off, but that had the opposite effect. She was almost there . . . His mouth was on her neck, his breath in her ear and finally, he released one arm, reaching around, down and between her legs. This was not how this was supposed to happen.

She was the one who . . . she was . . . she was . . .

“Oh God!”

The scream escaped her before she could control it, before she could even begin to think about what it meant to lose control in this way. Moments later he grunted and collapsed against her. She wrenched her arms free and shoved against him, elbowing him in the ribs. Probably more out of surprise than anything else, he fell back onto his haunches and was still there when she scrambled to her feet, grappling desperately for her skirt and blouse, and pulling them on haphazardly, grabbing her sandals and purse.

He watched her, clearly trying to comprehend what the hell had brought about this abrupt change. He opened his mouth as though to say something but he was too late. She was already dressed and on the way out the door. It was only once she was at her car that she realized that she was the one—the only one—who had spoken.


The Black is the author of Dream Girl, A Southern Belle: Forbidden, Elle (Insatiable: Book One), Golden (Insatiable: Book Two), the Passion series, What Becomes of the Brokenhearted, The Rock and many other novels and novellas.

Visit The Black’s Amazon Author Page here.

Chapter Three Part 2

For Part 1, His perspective, visit The Black’s blog here.

How dare he!

Though she kept her voice level, inside she was burning, burning . . . and it was all she could do not to hurl something at his head. It wasn’t just this moment, there had been a slow build-up since she’d run out of his place, stumbling barefoot to her car and speeding away. It had to have been her most graceless exit ever. And all because he’d made her feel . . . what? She could not even begin to name it, the unfamiliar sensation of being swept up and away, untethered from herself.

It was difficult watching him during the staff meeting, commanding the attention of the entire room—including the eyes of every woman—as though he owned the place. And then there was the masterful way he cut Jeff Schwartz down to size . . . She had to admit, that moment had given her the tiniest little bit of a thrill, seeing Schwartz reduced to a stuttering idiot for just a few minutes. Of all the men who had treated her condescendingly, not quite taking seriously the fact that a twenty-nine year old woman was capable of being CEO of a company with assets as considerable Spectrum Systems, Schwartz had been the worst offender. From the very first day he had treated her with a mixture of thinly-veiled amusement and smarmy attentiveness, like she was a little girl playing at being in charge.

In the past, she’d found it easy enough to humble men like Schwartz by fucking them. He was the type who talked a good game but withered when faced with a powerful woman in total control of her sexuality. But not only was the idea of him touching her with those doughy little hands enough to produce mild nausea, he was the type who could not be trusted to be discreet, and who may even embellish details about his performance and use it to undermine her among the staff.

No, she had chosen the right man in this one. Or so she thought until Saturday night, and now, as further evidence that she had misjudged, he was standing across from her now, demanding an explanation. Demanding. Of her. The nerve!

“I’ll thank you to remember where you are,” she said to him now. “And who I am. I am your superior . . .”

“You’re my boss,” he corrected her, his voice cool. “Not my superior.”

Oh, she really wanted to slap him. She visualized the look of stunned surprise that would cross his smug face when her palm made contact with his cheek, the way his head would snap back . . .

“Shut the door!” she ordered.

At least he was wise enough to obey that directive.

Neither of them could afford something messy occurring in the office, nor the rumors and innuendo that would follow. He was well-respected among his team, throughout the company and in the industry as a whole. In fact, his name was the only other name on the list as her father’s successor to run Spectrum until she had stunned the board of directors by announcing that she intended to personally take up her father’s mantle.

No one thought she could pull it off. But that was the story of her life.

“If we’re to have this conversation . . . and I’m not at all clear that there’s a conversation to be had, this is not the place,” she said, channeling her most haughty alter ego.

“You owe me an explanation,” he insisted.

She was beginning to regret sitting behind her desk. The way he towered over her made her feel less in control of the situation than she wanted to be. Standing, she came around so they were feet apart.

“I owe you nothing,” she enunciated. “We were attracted to each other, we acted on it, and now we’re done.”

He looked at her levelly, and she knew that he knew she was unsure of herself. Behind his eyes, she could almost feel the gears turning, as he tried to decide whether this was worth pursuing, whether she was worth the trouble. Finally, he smirked and gave her a brief nod.

“So that’s it then,” he said.

He didn’t sound regretful, or even resigned. He sounded dispassionate.  He sounded the way one might if they’d been momentarily been puzzling over some minor mystery—like where they might have left their car keys—and in short order recalled where they were.

“Yes,” she said, sticking out her chin. “That’s it.”

“Then you have a good morning,” he said.

And with that, he turned and left her office. As soon as he was gone, she let her shoulders sag and leaned back against her desk. He had given up so easily. She thought he might be an interesting man to trifle with for awhile and instead he’d made her feel small and inconsequential. Her grand plan had been an abject failure. He’d stirred something in her that was powerful enough to have her literally running out the door and yet clearly, he hadn’t been similarly . . . impressed. If he had been, he would not have been quite this casual about walking away. The way he’d reacted to her that first time had misled her about her likely effect on him. That night he had been anything but casual.

They had been working late because as her father’s heir apparent, he was the logical person to brief her on Spectrum’s current standing, and to bring her up to speed on the staff and their biggest accounts. It was well past nine p.m. after a long day of slogging through files and being on conference calls and he’d loosened his tie, leaning back on the leather sofa across from her desk. His ease with her, his comfort and confidence in her presence had rankled her somehow. Men were rarely at ease in her presence. Not the most beautiful of women, she knew she was still often the most arresting; standing out in a crowd because of her self-assurance.

But this man was unaffected. He met her gaze evenly when she looked at him, his expression neither interested nor admiring. She could just as well have been a piece of furniture for all the interest he seemed to have in her. Out of sheer resentment and the need to best him, she insisted they stay until they got through another three accounts, a project that was sure to take three hours at least.

At that, he’d glanced at his watch.

What’s the matter? she’d asked, pleased to have elicited even this tiny thing. If this is too much for you we could certainly pick up another time.

Nope. No time like the present, he said.

Are you sure? No one waiting for you anywhere angry at being stood up and brandishing a cast-iron skillet?

He gave her the barest of smiles but said nothing.

The smile had only angered her further, egging her on to cross the line so that she was somewhere in the territory between inappropriate and insulting. Feel free to step out and call home for permission if need be, she said.

I don’t ask anyone for permission, he said.

And she’d thought, Yes. Finally. Signs of life.

When I want to do something, he continued, I do it.

Do you? she asked. So what do you want to do?

Pushing herself forward from where she’d been sitting on the edge of the desk, she’d gone to stand in front of him, legs planted almost a foot apart. He had to look up at her to meet her gaze, which she liked. And with that look she knew for certain that he wanted her. She also knew that he was at war with his better judgment.

His better judgment lost.


The Black is the author of Dream Girl, A Southern Belle: Forbidden, Elle (Insatiable: Book One), Golden (Insatiable: Book Two), the Passion series, What Becomes of the Brokenhearted, The Rock and many other novels and novellas.

Sample Passion's Nectar by The Black, here.

Chapter Four Part 2 - The Conclusion

For Part 1, His perspective, visit The Black’s blog here.

What should have been the sweetest of victories—dismissing him from her office without the answers he sought—instead had the bitter taste of defeat. He’d demanded an explanation and she’d managed not to give him one. It was a scene she’d spent most of Sunday anticipating, the inevitable confrontation when he would want to know why she’d fled his house like a frightened maiden who’d been forcibly deflowered, or a fucking romance novel heroine. To counteract that image, of her retreating, she planned to make him do the same; playing it out in her head time and again until the opportunity presented itself. But it had presented itself somewhat sooner than she expected.

It was a bold move, coming directly to her office after the staff meeting. People undoubtedly noticed. And the shutting of her office door might also have been noted. His boldness, his absolute insistence that he would be heard both angered and thrilled her. Just as his touch, his command of her body had angered and thrilled her.

For the remainder of the day, it was hard to concentrate. His presence seemed to carry a weight all its own. Even though his office was several doors away, she imagined she could feel him there. She conjured up an image of him sitting in that worn, tufted brown leather chair he had behind his desk, that looked like something he’d had for many years. It gave his office a certain air, of being a place where important things happened, deals got made, where careers got catapulted into overdrive or ground to a halt. She’d envied him that worn leather chair, and coveted it. But more than that, she’d coveted the respect he got from the staff just from walking into a room. The respect she had yet to earn from them.

To make him her lover was to have been her way to get the best of him, but now, as she exited the building, walking down the hall and toward the elevators, she had to admit that she had failed. Slowing as she passed his office, hesitant to walk by in case he was still there, she acknowledged that her surrender was complete. She could not come to work every day and look at him across her desk, talking about software development and profit margins knowing what she knew about him, and about herself with him.

The door is open, he’d said that night.

Then go close it, she returned.

That exchange had bolstered her confidence because without a moment’s hesitation he had done as she’d asked. But it was to be the last moment of her control.

Coming back toward her after closing and locking her door, he had crowded her against the edge of her desk and when she looked up at him, leaned in to kiss her. It was take and almost no give, that kiss, his tongue overwhelming hers, forcing her to break away just to catch a breath.

You want this, don’t you? he said, and his voice sounded different.

Gone was the calm deference, the polite professionalism. He was all man and telling her that she was all woman, and that that was all that mattered. Without waiting for an answer, he hoisted her up onto her desk, one hand unfastening his belt, the other shoving her legs apart. She’d had forceful lovers, aggressive lovers, so that was not what surprised her. What had given her pause was the swiftness with which he changed, going from civilized and urbane to almost animalistic in a matter of what seemed like seconds. It excited her beyond belief.

I asked you something, he said.

His hand was at the juncture of her thighs now, and he was stroking her, spreading her, pressing his fingers into her. Somehow it was more erotic that he didn’t remove her panties, or ask her to remove them. He pushed them aside, seeking access to what he wanted. Her chest heaved, she was almost panting.

What? She stalled.

You want this, he said. Say it.

She said nothing, but moved her buttocks to the edge of her desk, undulating her hips, encouraging him closer. Pressing a palm against her chest, he held her at bay and then, as though his hand on her chest gave him an even better idea, he worked open her blouse, reached inside and roughly cupped her breast, squeezing it, shoving it out of the top of her brassiere, leaning in again, this time to take a nipple into his mouth. He sucked, he nipped, he licked and all the while, his fingers worked inside her, and she moved, desperately wanting him inside her.

I’m waiting for you to say it.

She pretended not to hear at first, hoping he would stop speaking, feeling for the first time in her life, almost ashamed of the extent and intensity of her need.

I’m not going to fuck you until you tell me you want it, he said, his mouth pressed into her cleavage.


The memory of that evening in her office seemed to follow her now as she made her way down to the parking garage. The way he’d coaxed it out of her. Not coaxed, forced. He had stroked her and touched her and licked her, finally pushing her back onto her desk and spreading her wide, burying his face into her core. She felt like a woman on fire, shamelessly whimpering and grasping his head. As good as that felt, as wonderfully delicious a sensation as that was, she wanted more. But he refused it, telling her what to say, insisting that she say it louder and over and over again, until she was begging.

At the moment when he pushed himself into her, it felt like sweet relief and she emitted a guttural moan, a sound she could hardly believe had come from her lips. She had never wanted a man as much, and none before him had made her feel as good. He rutted into her, and she almost feverishly rose her hips to meet him. Biting the lobes of her ears he kept talking to her, telling her how she felt, how she made him feel, how beautiful she was, how tight, how hot . . . She came harder than she ever had in her life.

Spent, she expected him to pull out and away. Men whom she’d tempted into doing something foolhardy as fucking in the office usually came to their senses very shortly after orgasm, and could barely meet her gaze. Usually, it was about then that they realized they were whipped and would slink away, coming back later with false bravado, looking for a repeat performance. But not this man. Not this time.

When she regained her conscious mind, her breathing still labored and uneven, she realized that while she had come, he did not. But before she could even begin to wonder why, fearing for the first time that she might not have satisfied him, he pulled her forward to the edge of the desk so that she almost slid to the carpeted floor. He let one of her legs fall, and the other he held like a lever, so she was positioned like a ballerina with leg extended, and before she could react was fucking her again. This time she gasped at each thrust and twice more climaxed from the penetration alone, something that had never happened to her before.

And all the while he talked: this is what you want? This . . . and this . . . this is what you want . . .

Yes, she said back to him, Yes, yes . . .

When finally he came, it was she who could not meet his gaze. But she masked her discomfiture by going into the executive bathroom in one corner of her office to clean up. Shutting the door, she leaned against the sink and with shaking hands and legs, cleaned herself and tried to restore her clothing and her face to some semblance of order. By the time she emerged, he too had pulled himself together. Before he could speak, she did.

I wonder, she said, summoning her most casual tone, whether you could perform as well without the benefit of all that cheerleading.

He smiled at her and raised an eyebrow. Cheerleading?

You seemed to need to talk to yourself. And get me to talk to you. In order to perform I mean.

He tilted his head to one side, looking amused.

We’ll do this again, she said. But next time, neither of us will say a word.

It had been issued as a challenge. She’d dared him but she was also testing herself. He made her unravel the way she had because he’d been talking the entire time, his deep bass resonating in her chest and other places. He was not that good. And silent sex would prove it. That was what her game had been about. But instead, she was the one who was played. Without much effort, when she went to his house on Saturday, presenting herself to him with a demeanor very different from the one in their office encounter, he had still taken her and strummed her body like a guitar, making her positively vibrate with lust.

Starting her car now, she thought about the warm bath that awaited her at home, the glass of expensive and rare scotch. Her father had taught her to enjoy scotch when she was nineteen, pulling a bottle out of a nearby drawer and handing her a glass across the desk in his study at home late.

It’s a man’s drink, he’d told her. But you’re as strong as any man and twice as smart. So knock one back with the old guy.

Her father was right. She was as strong as most men, and she knew she was twice as smart as most. But she wasn’t a man. She knew that of course; but what she hadn’t counted on was meeting one who would make her feel so very much like a woman.

She knew him scarcely at all. And he certainly did not know her, but he did something to her that no man had come close to doing before. Something she did not understand and could not name.

The streets were quiet. And as she drove, she made no move to interrupt the quiet with the sound of classical music from her car’s stereo as she normally might have done. Restless and still somewhat undecided, she made a turn other than the one that would take her home, onto a tree-lined street where the homes boasted old-fashioned wraparound porches. She parked and sat for a moment, her hands on the steering wheel. She took a deep breath, she opened the car door. She stepped out, she walked slowly and deliberately. Her hand shook slightly as she raised it and pressed one slender finger on the doorbell.

He opened the door. He looked at her through the storm door, his expression neither surprised nor unsurprised. He unlocked it, stepped aside, and let her in.


The Black is the author of Dream Girl, A Southern Belle: Forbidden, Elle (Insatiable: Book One), Golden (Insatiable: Book Two), the Passion series, What Becomes of the Brokenhearted, The Rock and many other novels and novellas.

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