The difference between wanting and taking is the barest catch of breath… Decadent food, smoky music, dark delights—who could live in the French Quarter and not be tempted to partake? Moira D’Arcangelis, that’s who.
Ever since her college boyfriend tried to add her to his list of murder victims, she’s lived a quiet life, which is code for no life at all. When her best friend Kara convinces—okay, drags—her to meet Adrian LaCroix, master of the local underground kink scene, his commanding presence and sexy Cajun accent bring her latent desires back to life.
His offer to train her as a Domme is the key to regaining control of her life. Yet becoming Adrian’s protégé comes with complications. As he opens her body, mind, and soul, she begins to see Kara in a new light—right about the time a legendary Domme returns, intent on stealing Kara away.
Moira has a fight on her hands. For Kara, and against a past that comes roaring back with a vengeance. She’ll need every trick Adrian can teach her to win the right to both life—and love.
She nodded, eyes flickering between him and the crop he waved in circles in front of her.
“She knew exactly what would happen if she brought you here. It was her idea. Now do you really think she’d do that if she didn’t think you not only could, but would enjoy it?”
The thought stunned her for a moment. Kara, who knew every secret she’d ever had. Knew her strengths and weaknesses, and things she didn’t even know about herself. Who somehow knew all the words she didn’t say. Broken. Worthless. Unworthy of love, of happiness.
“Take the crop, ma chère.”
Moira shook her head, but her hand was already reaching out. She felt a surge of something unknown as her hand closed on the handle, but whether that was from the act of taking it, or the flash of Adrian’s green eyes, she wasn’t sure.
He deftly unbuttoned his vest and laid it with his jacket before moving on to his shirt. “I told you the key to control is trust. You have to trust yourself first, Moira, if you want to find any kinda control in your life.” The last button of his shirt slid through its hole, and the fabric slid off to reveal a chiseled swimmer’s body. He stepped toward her, and she forced herself to stand her ground. He stopped two steps from her and waited.
“What am I supposed to do?”
His eyes flashed. “Anything you wish. Hit me. Hurt me. Or not, as you choose.”
She swallowed nervously and looked at the crop. “I don’t know how to do this.”
“Oui, you do.”
He stood frozen, hands clasped in front of his waist, eyes boring into her. It unnerved her. “Stop looking at me,” she whispered.
“I said, stop looking at me.”
She wasn’t sure where the commanding tone had come from, a spark of anger still alive under the mountains and years of resignation, but his eyes immediately dropped to the floor. His mouth twitched, almost smiling.
The surge of power that accompanied those two simple words almost knocked her over. She was glad he’d said them in English, instead of the half French half something the local Cajuns tended to use. And she knew in that moment he might be right. Not only was it possible that she could do this, she might even enjoy it. Moira gave a hesitant grin and trailed the tip of the crop down the centerline of his chest. He was beautiful, really. Such tone in his muscles. And it had been so long since any man had looked at her that way.
And he was standing there, waiting for her to tell him what to do.
I can do this. I can.
He knelt. God, the way that felt.
Cat Montmorency grew up reading every book she could get her hands on, and pining after the ones she couldn’t. She’s been everything from lifeguard to riding instructor to high school math teacher, but discovered that being a ninja gamer-girl and out-of-the-closet die-hard romantic who writes things was much more fun. If pressed, she’ll describe herself as a Southern Belle with a geek complex and a fetish for well-crafted words.