First Draft and First Pass are DONE

It’s been a long week at the Evil Day Job, so when my boss offered to let me shut down a little early yesterday, I closed the work laptop off at 3:30 and opened my personal laptop.  I knew I was close to finishing The Billionaire Submissive — I only had 3 sketched out scenes to go.  In the end, I managed to combine two of them into one for double duty, smoothed out the connection (since I already had the ending written), wrote the epilogue, and YAY SNOOPY DANCE!!!

The first draft was done!  75K.

But then I was reading over it later last night and realized I had one scene penciled in (017B) that never got completed.  Boo.  I was working on it last night rather late, because Princess was going to be out late at a pool party.  I went to bed near midnight when she texted me that she was safely installed at her friend’s house for the night and went to bed.  I hadn’t finished the scene yet, and I didn’t have that killer last line I like to try and do for each scene or chapter, that little hook to keep pulling you along, but I was too tired to stay up.

Unfortunately, within an hour I was up again with the most brutal, wretched headache I’ve ever had.  Ironically, while lying there waiting for the spasm in the back of my head/neck area to stop, I got the hook/line I needed.  Since I couldn’t get comfortable anyway, I got up and sat on my heating pad for awhile and typed out the last few lines of that scene. 

[The headache is hard to describe but it’s definitely muscular, though not a typical muscle spasm.  It’s more the back of my head than my neck.  I didn’t pull anything and I don’t think anything’s out.  It just suddenly got tight and then went from bad to worse.  Very probably stress related and long hours on the story this week after hours didn’t help any.  And don’t suggest chiropractors because just the thought makes me want to throw up.  I can’t bear the cracking sounds and electric shock gives me the heebie-jeebies too.]

The heating pad didn’t help.  In fact, it made it worse.  I swear I could feel the blood pounding in my head.  So I tried an ice pack and eventually dozed off with ice on my neck.  I don’t know what time it was when I woke up and went back to bed, but I was stupid foggy enough I forgot to plug my phone in on the bedside table (something I do every night).

The headache is better this morning but the tendons and muscles on the back of my skull are sore and tender today.  My head still feels like a hollowed out egg shell.  So unfortunately, we cancelled the trip to the fair.  I just couldn’t face walking around in heat, trying to hold my head up.

I’ve sat here on my heating pad today and completed the first read through.  I’ve removed all the [notes], smoothed sentences, connected scenes, etc. and made myself cry.  *grins*  Always a good sign.

With the new scene from last night, the book is just under 76K.

Interested beta readers can drop me an email (joelysueburkhart AT gmail DOT com) if you’d like a first look before I do the final editing pass and send it to my editor.

Snippet:  These are the few lines I added last night to that missing scene while waiting on the headache to abate.

Donovan opened the back door of the Jag but she took one look at the leather seats and grabbed the dog’s collar before he could jump into the car.  “I don’t think this is a good idea.”

I can’t wait until she can grab and control me like that.  Donovan had to drag his gaze away with a brutal shake.  Idiot.  Jealous of a dog.  “Of course it’s a good idea. We’ll have a very very good time.”

She heard the thickness in his voice and her lips twitched.  “Are you sure?  Maybe I should just stay here and get to work on your design for the windows.”

“Don’t you dare tease me like that, Miss Harrison.”

“All right, Mr. Morgan.  But Hank rides in the front with me between my knees.”

Donovan muttered, “Lucky dog.”

Final Tally for July

72,370 words.  Gulp, a new personal record!

The big thrashing scene is finally done.  I have another fairly major test to get through, and then a subplot with the stained glass window.  One scene to go back and fill in.  And then a little smoothing…  and she’s done!

Word count in The Billionaire Submissive is sitting at just over 67K.  I don’t think I’ll go over 75K unless my brain comes up with some new scenes yet again.

I’m so pleased with this story.  Very pleased.  I can’t wait to share it with you all

I wish I knew Lilly.  Hell, I wish I had half her courage, wit and sensual charm.  She’s hilarious.  She’s funny, passionate, sexy as hell, and she knows it.  She curses like a sailor – in fact, it’s become a major plot element.  Donovan is endearing and annoying at the same time.  He’s so arrogant and stuck up, until Lilly brings him to his knees.  He cares about her so much, doing all the little things for her that just doesn’t even occur to her.  That’s true love in my book.  A man willing to pay attention and step in and do things for his woman to help and protect and care for her without her request.

Now he just has to convince her how serious he really is.

Snippet:  The morning after.

Donovan took one look around his bedroom and decided he’d better invest in a top-notch housecleaning company.  And probably an electrician, he added, noting the reading lamp.  It hung askew, dangling from wires out of a hole in the wall.

Also a furniture chain, because he’d bent the decorative bars of the headboard.

The comforter wasn’t salvageable.

The off-white carpet probably wasn’t either, because the cherry pie on the floor resembled a horrendous murder scene.

The lady who’d created such a mess was sprawled sideways in his bed.  Her hair had driven him nuts, tickling his nose and getting in his mouth every time he rolled over.  She was a blanket thief and bed hog and slept like the dead.

And he’d never been happier in his life.

Creeping closer to 70K

Long gone are the 6-8K days from earlier this month when the story was flowing hot and sweet.  I’ve been struggling to get 200-300 words the last few days, but I’m touching the story daily and working to get over the hump.  I truly do only have a few scenes left, but some of them are major.

Mr. Morgan still has to receive a true thrashing, though I’m leading up to that scene in tonight’s wordage.  *wicked laugh*

I can’t believe tomorrow’s the last day of July already.  I hoped to finish this month but I’m not quite going to make it.  I’m just too busy.  Princess has band camp this week (which means 4 trips back and forth to the high school each day), the two youngest are at my Dad’s, and school prep is in full swing.  I need to go supply shopping this weekend (you know my track record with finding all supplies in one store, hahaha) and we’re planning to go to the fair on Saturday.  It’ll be my first ever.  I’m still putting in longer hours than usual for work, but if I can at least touch the story each day, I’m hoping to keep that iron hot until I can find the time to just let the deluge sweep me through the last few scenes.

Hanging in there.  Just under 64K total in The Billionaire Submissive tonight and I’m going to try and write a bit longer even though I’ll pay for it tomorrow.

He paused a moment, dark eyes flickering toward her where she lay on his bed.  “Aren’t you going to do the same?  Mistress?”

She smiled, lazily kicking her foot back and forth off the edge of the bed.  His eyes followed the movement like a dog chasing a tennis ball.  “Eventually.  I’m having too much fun watching you.”

He took off the shirt, revealing the darkly tanned sculpted lines of his upper body.  Somewhere, he went without his shirt a great deal, and he did enough exercise or physical work to cover every inch of him in lean slabs of muscle.  Black hair curled across his chest, a nice mat that she’d have fun with later.

His hands went to his trousers, but he closed his eyes and breathed deeply.  Poor boy must be on the edge again.  This is going to be a night he’ll never forget if he’s ready to come just from me watching him take off his clothes. 

Relenting a little, she decided to ask him a few questions to distract him enough that he could get his pants off.  “You said you had limited experience.  How many scenes have you done?  How many Mistresses have you played with?”

“Casual stuff at a club, ten, maybe twenty times.”

Calmer, he managed to unbutton his trousers.  The black material slid down his thighs, revealing skin as tanned as his upper body.  He wore silk boxers, but she had a feeling he’d be tanned underneath too.  Yum.  Where did he do this deliciously naked tanning?  The same dark hair sprinkled his long, powerful thighs.  He kicked off his shoes and lifted each foot to pull off his socks.  God, he even had sexy, gorgeous feet, well manicured and perfectly shaped, almost as elegant as his hands.

“A so-called Mistress who wanted to do a strip tease for me in pleather boots and latex while waving a fake crop around?  Once.  I learned my lesson.  A real Mistress away from the club?  You’re my first.”

Oh dear.  No wonder he’s wound so tightly.  As a submissive, Donovan Morgan was pretty much a virgin.

A Little Help From My Friends

I’ve never pulled on my own background as much as I have for this WIP (The Billionaire Submissive).  We lived in the Twin Cities area of MN for almost 5 years…13 years ago.  I’ve only been back once in the past five years.  Lots of things have changed, but there’s also a feel, a vibe, that you get only after being there in the city.

Donovan’s from the Twin Cities area but I wasn’t exactly sure where until I started exploring some of his past unexpectedly a few days ago.  He’s from an older, well established northern St. Paul neighborhood, but I hadn’t tried to pin him down until he dragged me BACK to that neighborhood.  Then I needed to know some streets, or at least a general idea of where exactly we were.  Was it North Saint Paul?  Maplewood?  What were the names of the streets in that area?  I honestly couldn’t remember.

Food plays a huge role in this book, and I remembered a bakery in that general area.  But where was it?  That Man thought it was Payne Ave but he couldn’t remember the name of it.  I thought it was off 7th.  I finally asked my friend Wanda for help, who still lives in the Twins.  It sounds like the Swedish bakery I’m remembering is probably gone, but it was on Payne.  That narrowed my general area down.  Then I used Google maps street view to finally pinpoint what I wanted.

I also needed a diner in the area, so I made up one based on the names that are close to that area (I didn’t want to use a real place).  Hopefully it’s enough to give a solid sense of place!  Thank you, Wanda!

1K+ tonight and finally moving a little through the slower scene.

I adore this snippet.  This is the first time Mr. Morgan really gets a taste of Lilly’s spirit.  Oh, she’s played him a couple of different ways already to get what she wants, but this time, she makes him regret being an arrogant idiot.  *grins*

Her patience was unraveling very fast.  “How exactly did you intend to blackmail me, Mr. Morgan?”

“I was going to threaten to tell everyone exactly what kind of business you’re running on the side.”

She nodded, her irritation rising.  “So you were going to tell people like my parents and friends and professional clients that I’m a whore.  Yeah, that’s a sure way to get a woman to agree to get into bed with you.”

He had the grace to squirm uncomfortably beneath her accusing glare.  “I thought—”

“Yeah, we’ve already been over what a boneheaded idiot you are.”  She stood up and snatched the contract off his desk.  Most of it had been crossed out anyway.  “This is what I think of you and your worthless contract, Mr. Morgan.”  Then she tore the papers in half, threw them on his desk, and stalked toward the door.

“Miss Harrison, wait.  Lilly!”

She heard him coming around his desk but she didn’t slow or turn to look at him.  She started to open the door but he flung up an arm and slammed it shut, pressing his weight against it to keep her from opening it again.

“Mistress.”

That got her attention.  She looked at him but didn’t soften her face or give him her words.

“I’m sorry.  I’m an idiot.  I was wrong.”

“Wrong to even thinking about blackmailing me?  Or wrong to think I would actually accept money in exchange for having sex with you?”

“Shhh,” he lowered his voice.  “I don’t know how sound proof this door is.”

Ha.  She could only hope the simpering Miss Wruthers was pressed against the door on the other side listening avidly.  That would serve him right.  “That’s your problem, Mr. Morgan.  Not mine.  You’re the idiot who’s bewildered why I’m furious that you keep trying to shove money down my throat along with your cock.”

“Lilly, please!”

“Please what?  Please forgive you yet again for trying to make me into your very own prostitute?  Maybe you thought I’d charge by the lash.  Drop your pants now and give me a grand.  I’ll see how many cracks I can get in before your secretary comes charging in to see if I’m killing you.”

“I’m sorry,” he whispered furiously, his face so red it almost made her laugh despite her anger.  “Please.”

She at least stopped hurling comments back, but she didn’t unbend her stiffness or withdrawal.

“I was wrong.  Terribly wrong.  You ought to punish me.”

She let her shoulders relax and he sagged against the door in relief.  “I don’t know, Mr. Morgan.  You haven’t even answered my questionnaire yet so I know what implements to use.”

“Anything.  Anything you want.”  She didn’t have to drop her gaze to his crotch to know he was aroused again.  “Punish me any way you want.  I deserve it for insulting you yet again with my ignorance.”

Pretending to think about it, she shifted her portfolio to her other hand and then finally nodded.  “Meet me at Dmitre’s tonight at 7:00 p.m.”

“I can pick you up…”

She narrowed a glare on him and he raised his hands.  “Or not.  I’ll just meet you there.  But you will allow me to buy you dinner?  It’s the least I can do.”

“Very well.”

“And after?”  His voice deepened and he dared to touch her arm, just a light brush like he’d take her elbow and escort her to the elevator if she’d allow it.

She gave him a little nod, and he grasped her arm more confidently.  He opened the door and she was half surprised to see the secretary typing away furiously at her desk just feet away instead of hovering outside to eavesdrop.  “And after… dessert.”

“Your place or mine?”

His voice was such a rough growl that Miss Wruthers looked up, wide eyed with alarm.  Lilly smiled and waved goodbye to her, but she did lower her voice to ensure his privacy as much as possible.  “Yours.”

“Do I need to have any…equipment?”

The elevator dinged and the door slid open.  Ignoring whoever might be stepping out as well as the watching secretary, she reached up and dragged his mouth to hers for a hearty kiss.  “Just this, lover boy.”

Releasing him, she patted his cheek and stepped onto the elevator.  Before the door could shut, he blocked it with his hand.  Panting, he stared at her as if afraid to let her go.  His hair was mussed up, his tie crooked, and those poor tortured trousers would never be the same.  “Lilly?”

“Yes, Donovan?”

He cast his gaze down the length of her body to land on her favorite red heels.  “Wear these shoes tonight.”

She normally didn’t like to take such blatant orders from a man, but for him…  She smiled. “You got it.”

Powering Through the Wall

Stop by RT Book Reviews blog to read more about the pony play behind Her Grace’s Stable!

That last scene was a killer.  It took me a good 3 days to get through it, and my momentum has been dogged ever since.  We had a full weekend and the next two weeks are going to be balls-to-the-wall at the Evil Day Job.  That means longer hours, less lunch, and more stress headaches at the end of the day, which saps my desire to then pull out my file and spend more time on the computer.

But I’m still pushing ahead.  I’m still adding new (unplanned, grrr!) scenes and working through some of the backstory that decided to pop up a little.  I never knew I’d be pulling on the almost five years we lived in MN to write this book, but it’s been very helpful.

There’s also an Easter egg for those of you who’ve read The Billionaire Zombie’s Virgin Witch.  *winks*

Right at 59,300 for The Billionaire Submissive and 64,700 for the month.  PLUS, I also worked on the Coyote Con website this weekend AND stared the schedule.  Woot!

Snippet:

“Some Mistresses don’t believe in giving any pleasure to the submissive.  The sub exists for his Mistress’s pleasure, not the other way around.  If he’s not on his knees worshiping her with his tongue, then he hasn’t learned his place and must be punished.  I’m not that kind of Mistress.”

He accepted the new stack of papers and even dropped his gaze to them, but his eyes didn’t move across the page.  He’s not reading them.  Yet.  “I won’t deny there’s a certain appeal to that image.”

“The sub on his knees or me punishing you on your desk?”

He smiled faintly but it didn’t quite reach his eyes and he didn’t meet her gaze.  “Both.”

“But..?”  When he shrugged and flipped the page, even though he couldn’t have read it yet, she said what he could not yet bring himself to admit.  “You’re hoping for a Mistress who’s as eager to give pleasure as receive it.”

She’d never seen such a powerful and obnoxiously gorgeous man blush so prettily.  Again, that shrug, without lifting his eyes from the page.

“If I had your pants down around your ankles, I’d have to give you a blow job you wouldn’t soon forget.  While I punished you.”

There, his eyes met hers, all searing intensity and pulsing with rising desire.  “You would do that?”

For me?  He didn’t say the last two words, but she heard it and it broke her heart.  She was beginning to believe his arrogant asshole role was just a mask he wore to protect the inside submissive who feared no one would ever be able to love him as he was, no matter how much wealth he possessed.  “Absolutely.”

His gaze wandered to the door briefly, as though he was contemplating locking it so he could test her honesty.  When he looked back into her face, she didn’t like the shield he wore once more.  “How much is it going to cost me?”

It took all her will not to reveal how much that hurt.  He’s only striking out to make sure I don’t hurt him first.  It’s his natural survival instinct.

But it still sucked.

Keeping her voice light, she gave a nod to the papers he’d been pretending to read.  “You tell me.”

Review: Her Grace’s Stable

What an incredible review from Naamah at BDSM Book Reviews!  This is one of those that set me beaming for days and there are too many wonderful snippets that make it difficult for me to pick one, so definitely stop over to read the whole thing.

Burkhart has accomplished something extraordinary here: a genuine ménage story, one where everyone loves everyone else, and the reader likes and identifies with everyone equally.

She has also accomplished another feat in Arthur’s character: an alpha male who is not a narcissistic, pushy ass, and who also bottoms and eventually submits, rather than being depicted as unilaterally dominant. It’s something all too rare in erotica; unfortunate, because it’s fucking delicious. I genuinely got lightheaded at a couple of points, and more than once, his unexpected behavior genuinely surprised me – but in a way that was perfect for the plot and only deepened his character. Just perfect.

Thankfully, there is a good deal of rough sex here. Really, really good rough sex. And lots of chewy, tasty anguish. My love of angst had several multiple orgasms, I think, but the book did not leave me in a bad place, making it just about perfect.

Well-done, all around. Very well-done.

Thank you so much, Naamah!

When It’s Not About the Word Count

So I’ve been rocking the words in July…. until last night.

I’m stuck in the same scene second night in a row.  I’ve attacked it from four different angles so far. And I’m still working on it.  I think I’m almost there.  It’s one of those seemingly easy scenes, but under the surface I have SO MUCH going on.  Fears and secret messages galore.    No toys, no bondage, no play…but all heart.  And it’s hard.  Very hard.

It’d be better if I could find the right theme song.  Poor Molly has been sending me ideas left and right but the Muse is fickle sometimes.  Lick by Joi is almost right… but not quite.  Something along those lines, although more like Closer by NIN.  Any recs?

Stress at the Evil Day Job is through the roof, which is complicating my evening writing.  (I’ve lost lunch writing too.  Just too much to do.)  But hopefully I can keep going a little at a time and finish by the end of the month.

56,500 and counting in The Billionaire Submissive (61,400 for the month)

Snippet:

“Mr. Morgan?”  Miss Wruthers squeaked, if possible even higher and more irritating than normal.  The way every one of her sentences seemed to end in a question put his teeth on edge, but he didn’t respond.  His temper was already legendary, and shouting at the poor woman to stop being so hesitant surely wouldn’t help.  “Miss Harrison is here?”

“Thank you.”  He forced himself to speak slowly and calmly.  “Send her in.”

This time, he wouldn’t rise and greet her politely.  I can’t.  Or she’ll see the massive hard on threatening to tear my pants.  She’ll just have to assume I’m being my normal arrogant self.

When Lilly walked into his office, he frantically thanked every deity known to man that he’d remained seated.  Because he would have thoroughly humiliated himself.  As it was, he nearly came in his pants.

She wore a high-collared, low-cut red blouse the same color as her painted toes, a tight black pencil skirt that hugged every inch of her glorious hips, and those shoes.  The ones from the pictures.  So high he didn’t know how a woman could possibly walk in them.  But she did, each step swaying her hips in a hypnotic dance that made his mouth go dry with lust.  When she sat down and crossed her legs, the short black skirt rode up enough to show him the top of her stockings.

He gulped, sweat breaking out on his forehead.  Real thigh-high stockings and a garter belt.  A thin strip of bare thigh tantalized him above the silk.  It made him think about sliding his hand up that skirt, seeking what else she might have on beneath the material.  Or better yet, nothing at all.

“Good morning, Mr. Morgan.”  She leaned down to set her portfolio beside her on the floor, giving him a good, long look down her shirt.  No bra met his gaze, just plump breasts lifted by what looked like a black corset.  “I trust that you slept well last night?”

Dear God.  A corset.  Stockings.  If she pulls a crop out of her bag I’m going to pass out when my dick explodes.

He jammed a finger at the intercom and barked, “coffee” at his secretary.

“Evidently not,” Lilly laughed softly, a deep velvety purr that made him quiver in his chair.  “Too bad.  You’re going to need all your wits about you for this contract negotiation.”

Ah, so that’s what this was.  She’d deliberately worn this outrageously sexy outfit to make sure she got what she wanted out of the negotiation.

With a glare, he retorted, “It’s not going to work.”

Her eyebrows rose and she looked at him innocently.  “What’s not going to work?”

“This.”  He waved a hand at her and averted his gaze, sure that he was blushing like a virgin.  That only made his cheeks burn hotter.  “Some sexy clothes aren’t going to make me lose my head and give you what you want.”

The door opened and Miss Wruthers scurried in with a cup of coffee.  Wide eyed, she froze at the corner of his desk, her gaze flickering between them both.

Lilly lounged in her chair in a sexy drape of negligent ease that made him want to leap up and pace frantically again.  Or better yet, maybe he’d just bury his face in her cleavage.  “You’re going to give me exactly what I want, Mr. Morgan and it’s not going to be because of my clothes.”

 

Another Snippet

A pretty productive day so far.  I made it until 1:30 AM last night, but wasn’t as productive as I hoped because Littlest Monster turned on Sharknado.  Luckily it was so bad I was still able to finish the scene.  It just took me longer than I hoped.  I got another 1300 words this morning before my dentist appointment, and another 3K+ tonight.  If I can get another 2-3K tonight before bed I’ll be really happy.

However, these last few scenes have been hard emotionally.  I’m getting ready to write the first LOVE scene (far from the first sex scene), although Lilly is so not ready for it.  That’s what makes it hard.  I have to show Donovan’s feelings even if he doesn’t say the words, and the same for her, while she’s thinking something completely different.  Lots of emotion under the calm surface.

And what’s sad is all of this is NEW stuff that I didn’t originally outline.  Sigh.  Using Scrivener, I’d numbered scenes 020-025 for the middle scenes I needed to add.  Since last night, I’m now on 020E because one thing leads to another!  And I still have to write 021-025, which will probably also grow too.  Then I have 017B to go back and fill in.

Then there’s all the threads and layers and special little touches I know I’ll want to add.  But I am getting there.  The book is up to just under 55K and there are definitely some hefty scenes ahead.

Skipping ahead for this snippet and it’s shorter than the others.  I’ll start highlighting a few of my favorite scenes and lines as I post updates.

He glanced around the garage once again, impressed with what she’d been able to do alone, but also realistic.  “You’re going to need a lot more space.”

“Assuming I agree to take on the job.”

“You will.”  He gave her a very rare thing indeed—a genuine smile.  “You can’t resist a challenge.”

“Are you so sure of that?”

“For my sake, I hope so.”

She sighed ruefully.  “That’s one hell of a good private investigator you hired, Mr. Morgan.  How’d you figure out all of this about me from a few sneaky photographs?”

It was his turn to look away and run his hand through his hair.  He wanted to take off his tie and loosen the neck of his shirt, but that might be too informal too quickly for her.  “I have an instinct for people.  That’s why I’ve been able to take a modest family business and turn it into an international billion-dollar company.  The numbers are just columns on paper.  In the end, it’s the people that make or break a deal.”

He spared a glance at her, not surprised to see her studying him as avidly as he’d done earlier.  “You’re a surprising man.  Donovan.”

To hell with it.  He loosened his tie to relieve some of the pressure on his throat, hoping that she wouldn’t sense what was really troubling him.  He didn’t want to think about it himself.

If I’m going to have something tight on my neck, I want it to be hers.  Because she has me collared and bound.

“Very well,” she said.  “How soon do you want to meet and go over contracts?”

He locked his knees to keep from sagging with relief.  Contracts.  Plural.  So she’s at least willing to consider taking me on as a submissive in addition to the windows.  He waited until he could reply without his voice breaking or cracking like a fool.  “Tomorrow morning, 9:00 AM.”

Her eyebrows raised.  “So quickly?”

“I never approach a deal unless I’ve already run my numbers and decided what I want and what I’m willing to give.”

“11:00 AM.  I’m not a morning person.”

No way in hell was he waiting until lunch time to settle this.  “10:00 AM,” he countered.  “And I took the liberty of writing up both contracts to make this deal as expedient as possible.  They’re in my car.”

“Contracts?”  A sliver of displeasure sharpened her voice.  “You’re forgetting my contract.  When it comes to Mistress L, my contract is the only one that counts.”

He had to laugh at that.  He could read legal contracts in his sleep.  A homemade sexual contract would be nothing to worry about.  “I doubt there’s much in your contract that will surprise me.”

She pressed the button to raise one of the garage doors.  “I suspect you might be surprised in that regard, Mr. Morgan.”

His eyes narrowed.  “Back to formality yet again, Miss Harrison?”

She followed him to his car, waiting patiently while he unlocked the door and retrieved his briefcase.  “When you slip into Mr. Douche Bag territory, I’m afraid so.  If we agree on terms—and that’s a huge if—then I’m afraid I’ll have to resort to corporal punishment to break this insufferable arrogance.”

The thought of punishment made his hands tremble so badly it took him a second try to dial in the combination to the lock that he’d done at least a million times.  He managed to hand her the stack of papers without dropping them all over her driveway or accidentally touching her.  “Insufferable arrogance?  That’s rather harsh.”

“You assume that you know everything about me just because you were able to discern that I like a challenge before we formally met.”  She started scanning the top page.  In his opinion, it contained the make-or-break stipulation of the most important contract of all.  “That doesn’t mean you know anything else about me.  In fact, I’d wager here and now you’ve made several critical errors in judgment when it comes to me.”

“Indeed?”  He leaned back against the side of his Jag and crossed his arms.  “I doubt that.”

Slowly, she raised her gaze from the paper and locked her eyes on him with such intensity he immediately stiffened.  “You want me to break the contracts with my other submissives.  That’s a pretty drastic error on your part.”

Stay calm and cool.  Don’t let her know how much this means to you.  “I’m sure you have escape clauses in their contracts.  If not, I’ll simply buy them out.”

“It’s not that simple, Mr. Morgan.  I care about these men.  I’m not going to drop them like last week’s news just for you.”

She cares about them?  He clenched his jaws, fighting to keep from retorting that was rich.  The Mistress cares for the men paying her to take them in hand.  Nice.  “I’m not going to share your time.  I’m not that kind of man.”

“Maybe it’s about time you learned how to share.  You’re not a three-year-old toddler, Mr. Morgan, and I don’t have time—”

With a low growl, he pushed away from the car.  “I won’t share you and that’s final.”

Still Going Strong

I keep shooting myself in the foot with these estimates!  60K probably isn’t going to cut it either.  I still have so many scenes left and only keep thinking of new ones to add.  Sigh.  The scenes I wrote tonight are so…

*fans self*

Yowsa.

I can’t tell you yet.  *wicked laugh*

It’s something I couldn’t have written even a year ago.  Lady Blackmyre has taught me a lot.  I understand, now, why I have to write this story before I can write Mal’s book (Mine to Break) and even Mama C’s.  Lilly is breaking down the barriers in me as surely as she’s breaking them in Donovan.  Barriers I need to shed if I’m going to do these other books justice.

Another 3K tonight and I’m just under 50K in The Billionaire Submissive.  I plan to grind as late as I can tonight, but I was up until 1 AM last night and worked today, so I have no idea how long I’ll make it.

Another snippet.

God, she’s good.  So good I’d pay a hundred grand a month to have her at my beck and call.

Donovan was sweating enough that his crisp white shirt was sticking to him beneath his coat despite the air conditioning blasting into his office.  In just a few minutes of casual interaction, she’d managed to thaw him.  He wasn’t frozen any longer, but burning up.  Raging out of control.  It was all he could do not to lock his office door and demand they reach an agreement now before she had the chance to walk out.

Gathering up her portfolio, Lilly continued the innocent yet saucy facade.  She’d lied to his face without batting an eye.  That skill would serve them both well if she were ever questioned by the media.  The last thing he wanted was for any hint of his secret desire to get out.  If it cost him a million dollars to ensure her secrecy, he’d do it.  Hell, he was throbbing so hard he’d give her a blank check.

She gave him a look that said there was a time and a place, and this was neither.  And yeah, her gaze lingered on his crotch, so she had to know how aroused he was.  Just from having her press against his back for a few tantalizing seconds.  He’d wanted to curse out loud when she pulled away, but he had to admire her effort to remain professional.  At least for now.

It hadn’t been the physical contact that had made him hard.  It was her quiet yet impressive show of force.  He’d tried to intimidate her, and she’d welcomed the challenge effortlessly.  He would have been face down on that desk in another few moments if she hadn’t pulled away.

He took her arm and drew her firmly to his side as he led the way out of his office.  The corner of her mouth quirked and she gave him a knowing sideways wink that made his cock twitch in his pants.  Yeah, he was leading the way.  But only because she’s letting me.

That was the crux of his issue.  He wasn’t the kind of submissive that was going to whine and beg and crawl to his Mistress’s feet and kiss her toes.  No.  Donovan Morgan wasn’t going down without a fight.  The difficulty was finding a Mistress who’d relish the fight as much as him.  Someone who was strong enough mentally to bend him to her will, even when he hated every minute of it.  Even if he swore he was never coming back.  Never giving her what she wanted.  She had to be strong enough to make him want to bend his pride to her will.  He had to want to surrender.

Lilly Harrison might just be strong enough to make me beg.

The thought should have alarmed him.  It certainly made him tighten his grip on her arm.  He was probably hurting her, but he couldn’t let go.  He was afraid she’d slip out of his office and out of his control before he could pin her into an agreement.  He hustled her past Miss Wruthers’s desk without pausing, even when his secretary called after him waving the phone.  As soon as the elevator doors whisked shut, he flattened his back against the wall and hauled Lilly against his chest.

The little minx laughed at him.  “Mr. Morgan, I fear you’ve lost your balance too.”

“You have no idea.”  His throat rasped painfully.  “You must accept this commission.”

She tipped her head sideways and gazed up at him with a solemn weight in her eyes that chilled the fire in his blood.  “I don’t believe that’s a very good idea, Mr. Morgan.”

“You must.”

She arched a brow at him.  “I don’t believe I must at all.”

“I’ll make it worth your while.”

She laughed, a deep husky chuckle that made him think of velvet and leather and silken sheets tangled around him.  “No doubt you’re used to throwing money at everyone to get what you want, but I’m not that easy, Mr. Morgan.”

He shuddered and pulled her closer, deliberately arching his hips into her so she’d have no doubt of his reaction to her.  It went against every stubborn arrogant bone in his body, but he forced the word out anyway.  “Please.”

Her eyes narrowed.  “Release me this instant, Mr. Morgan.”

Her voice was pleasant enough.  She didn’t use her words like a whip to lash him into compliance.  She didn’t even give him a stern look from those stunning eyes.  He’d thought them more blue than gray, but this close, her eyes gleamed like polished silver.

“Now.”

Again, her voice remained level and almost sweet.  Certainly feminine and far from mean and nasty.  He didn’t want to obey.  He wanted her to get angry and harsh with him, to wrestle him into sweaty submission, but again, this wasn’t the time and certainly not the place.  Frustrated, he let go of her and made no objection when she straightened and put a polite distance between them.  The elevator dinged and the doors slid open, allowing the noise of the plaza level to separate them even more.  Running his hand through his hair, he fought to keep his mouth shut.  His ridiculous obstinate behavior certainly wouldn’t help convince her to accept his commission, let alone open her mind to pursing a more private relationship with him.  Good submissives obeyed the Mistress without question.  They certainly didn’t manhandle the Mistress against her direct order.

Which is why I’m not a good submissive and I have no Mistress.

She turned her head slightly, whispered, “Good boy,” and then stepped out of the elevator, leaving him to follow in her wake.

Stunned, he had to throw up a hand to keep the elevator doors from shutting and taking him back upstairs.  People were waiting to get on, and here he stood with his mouth hanging open and his pants tented like a randy teenager.  Lilly paused, looking back over her shoulder with that wicked little smile dimpling her cheek, all innocence and saucy attitude that made him crazy.  He wanted to make her lose that calm amusement.  He wanted to hear her voice crack with fury, her eyes sharp and cold as she punished him.  Not winking, silently laughing at him for still standing on the elevator like a dumbfounded idiot.

Grinding his teeth, he pushed his way out of the elevator and stomped after her.  His face was on fire, blazing with humiliation and yes, relief.  He’d managed to please the Mistress, at least a little, despite his stubborn pride.  Even though obeying a simple common-sense command made his spine bristle and his stomach churn.  That whispered praise gave him hope that she might consider his offer despite his numerous failings.  And he had no doubt that his failings as a submissive would give her significant pause.

If I must trick her into accepting me at least for awhile, I’ll do it.  I’ll do whatever it takes.  Even if I have to blackmail her into accepting my contract.

Pulled a Fast Draft

I didn’t intend it, but I just realized that I accomplished the second fast draft of my writing career.  I broke 50K tonight for July so far.

However, I think I jinxed myself a little by saying I hoped to finish it this weekend. I’ve still got 7-10 scenes to grind out and they’re not little baby ones. In fact, they’re quite…meaty.  In more ways than one.  *winks*

3K today and 2.4K yesterday.  Not bad with all we had going on.  With so much ahead of me, this book might end up closer to 60K+ than 50K total (I’ve got several thousand words on a different project this month so not all of this impromptu fast draft is for The Billionaire Submissive).  I have a dentist appointment on Tuesday, so I took the day off.  I’m hoping to get some major wordage in but we’ll just have to see how it goes.

This is the next scene of The Billionaire Submissive introducing Lilly, the Mistress.  It’s a little heavy on the narrative to start, so that will probably get trimmed in revision.

Standing outside of the seventeen-story building on busy Kellogg Blvd, Lilly almost changed her mind and went home.  Sure, this was an old building and not one of those modernized shiny steel and concrete skyscrapers, but she still didn’t quite believe someone in downtown St. Paul would honestly be interested in a stained-glass commission from a relative nobody like her.  The building had once been the St. Paul Post Office and had sat vacant for years while sale after sale fell through.  Then billionaire investor Donovan Morgan had swept in and bought the building at a bargain-bin price.  Of course that was still millions of dollars, but he’d gotten a whole city block right next to the new light-rail station for a few bucks per square foot.

A brass plate next to the old-fashioned art-deco doors proclaimed Morgan Industries.  She’d done a little research before accepting the appointment, but for the life of her, she still didn’t know exactly what that meant.  He wasn’t into a single business, but owned hundreds of different companies and franchises all across the globe.  His interests and investments were as varied as his many charitable contributions.  From what she could tell, he basically just bought and sold companies, usually at a fraction of their value, which suddenly skyrocketed after his purchase.  It was like he had the Midas touch.

So what does a man like him want with a stained glass window?

Especially when he had the funds to hire a world-famous artist?

Sure, she’d finally built up enough business that she could almost pay her mortgage on just commissions and classes, but she’d been busting her ass for years.  Most of her income came from teaching instead of new projects anyway, though she’d clear her calendar if she had to in order to complete whatever Mr. Morgan wanted.  A wealthy important client like him could be the stepping stone to larger commercial contracts she hadn’t been able to tap yet.  With his recommendation, she could maybe even open her own gallery.  This one project could make her career.

Yet the same nagging doubt dogged her heels into the refurbished lobby.  Something wasn’t right with Morgan’s offer.

For one thing, he hadn’t even called her, but pawned the job off on his secretary.  Maybe ultra rich dudes like him couldn’t be bothered to hire underlings, but for a creative project like stained glass, she really needed to be able to meet with him several times.  If she didn’t have access to him, then she couldn’t guarantee he’d like the finished project, and that would devastate her.  It wouldn’t matter how much he offered to pay her if he hated the final product.  Or worse, if he didn’t even care about it.  He was commissioning the wrong artist if that was the case.

The ground-level floor had been rented out to various fast-food joints, coffee shops, and even a one-hour dry cleaner.  Business must be good, because people were scurrying back and forth like ants, jostling her every which way.  Of course it didn’t help that the appointment had been scheduled right before lunch.  A woman with blond hair pulled back in a sleek bun and dressed in a nice navy suit ruined by the hot-pink tennis shoes practically knocked her into the wall on her way to the front door.

She’d remembered that claustrophobic feeling she’d gotten inside her day job’s cubicle.  How even one less minute of fresh air and sunshine outside during her lunch break would have made her as vicious as a rabid dog the rest of the afternoon.  She’d had to quit or else go postal on her innocent coworkers.  Or start taking anxiety meds.  Quitting her job and finding something she truly loved was better than numbing herself with medication the rest of her life, even if she’d had to struggle to make ends meet.

She had to wait while the elevator emptied like an endless clown car at the circus, but she had it alone for the ride up to the top floor.  The higher she went, the more under dressed she felt.  She’d worn the only suit she’d kept from the days of corporate slavery, but it was out of fashion and frankly, a little too tight.  She’d quit caring so much about always doing what was “right” and being perfect in all ways and simply living and loving her life.  She’d never been happier and if some man didn’t like a little extra padding he could keep on walking because she felt sexy and she took damned good care of herself.  Including a little dessert here and there.

Although a big greasy cheese burger sounded really good right now.

Which was definitely a sign of nerves.  If she had to face a day without pie, she’d just give up and stay in bed.  She only craved grease and salt when she was out of her league.

She stepped out of the elevator and put on her polite smile for the waiting receptionist.  Maybe it was her imagination, but the secretary’s smile seemed more sneer than a professional greeting.  Lilly glanced down at herself to make sure all buttons and zippers were appropriately closed.  Check.  Her silk blouse was a little low cut but she wore a lace cami underneath.  She’d worn serviceable plain black heels and not her favorite fuck-me stilettos.  With a mental shrug, Lilly followed the other woman into Mr. Morgan’s office.  Screw it.  If I have to come back to see Mr. Morgan, I’m wearing the leather mini skirt and those shoes.

Since his picture was readily available in all the media stories covering his acquisitions and success, she’d known he was a gorgeous man of the tall, dark and handsome variety.  She hadn’t expected to be affected by him.  Pretty, svelte arrogant men weren’t her type.

He was pretty, and yeah, he was damned svelte in that impeccable suit.  He stood behind his desk, arms crossed, shoulders wide and feet planted, aggressively defiant and proud.  It almost made her laugh.  She couldn’t resist a wide smile, even if he didn’t know the cause.  She hadn’t even opened her mouth yet and he was chomping for a fight.  This’ll be fun.

“Miss Harrison.”  He spoke in a clipped, hard voice echoing with disapproval.  No wonder his secretary had looked at her with such disdain.  She’d already picked up on the alpha’s opinion.  “Do you have a portfolio?”

Not at all.  The large leather thing she held in her hand was merely a strange saddle she’d used on the jackass she’d ridden into town.  Of course she had a portfolio.  What artist would ever go to a prospective client meeting without a single example of her work?

She didn’t bother answering, but simply stepped closer and opened the leather portfolio on his desk.  Of course the pictures were upside down, but she didn’t change it.  She wanted to see how he’d respond.

He could have turned it around to face him.  That would have been the obvious solution.  Instead, he came around the massive desk to stand beside her.  Too close, actually.  He intruded on her personal space.

What an interesting situation.  If she were at a BDSM club and a submissive dared to approach her so boldly, she’d be more than happy to accommodate him with a little punishment and discipline to teach him his place.   In fact, a submissive would only behave such a way if he deliberately wanted to antagonize the Mistress.  Could he have any idea…?

She didn’t see how he would know.  More than likely he was just an arrogant filthy-rich asshole who was used to using his physical strength and immense wealth to intimidate people.

Still, she had to teach him a lesson in some way.  In a professional setting, though, her options were limited.  She certainly couldn’t give him a quick, hard pop with a crop, more’s the pity.  And if she wanted the commission…she couldn’t smart off in front of his subordinate.

There was more than one way to battle.  It didn’t take words.  It didn’t even take action.  She closed her eyes a moment and centered herself.  This kind of dominance involved her personal energy and will, where every ounce of her concentration, every muscle in her body, was focused on one thing.  Releasing a deep breath, she opened her eyes.  Like he’d done earlier, she widened her stance just by standing taller, easing her shoulders back, lifting from her core.  She projected calm assertive power.  The will that he would step aside and out of her personal space.  He would respect her will and her presence.  There was no doubt in her mind.  No hesitation.  He will do as I ask.  Or I’ll walk out of here without even entertaining his proposal.  I don’t need this job that badly.

“This one’s nice.”  He traced a finger over the sketch she’d done of one of her favorites.  The glass was all clear, but with different etchings and bevels, she’d created a complex window that had cast snowflakes over the entire room.  “How big was it?”

Keeping her energy focused, she user her lower voice range that vibrated her body.  “Three by three feet.”

She swore his hand trembled slightly as he turned to the next page, but he didn’t move out of her space.  “That’s smaller than what I intend.  Could you accomplish the same kind of complexity in a larger scale?”

“Of course.  Clear glass in a variety of finishes can be very striking, especially in a large space where color may be too distracting.”  She leaned down, deliberately letting her shoulder bump his as a warning.  She turned to the next page.  Even with only clear glass, you could see three crosses and a rising sun, casting its rays out in all directions.  “This one’s in a church down in Iowa, the focal point behind their altar.  The final measurements were ten by twenty, though I had to frame the window into pieces to give it the appropriate stability.”

He didn’t back away from the shoulder bump.  In fact, he bumped her back, nudging his way deeper into her personal space.  He even slid his right foot in front of hers, like he was trying to block her out from her own portfolio.

Lilly cast a quick glance at the secretary.  Rooted into place, she watched the two’s interaction with wide eyes, rubbing her arms like she had goosebumps.  Some people were sensitive to this kind of energy play, and between her calm assertiveness and his aggressive pissing-match attitude, the energy was definitely high in the spacious office.  Maybe he didn’t even realize his secretary was still watching.  “What do you think, Miss…?”

“Wruthers,” the secretary spoke with a delicate breathy voice.  “Isn’t stained glass rather…antiquated?  If you were going to remodel the building…”

He let out a low growl, whether irritation that his underling dared disagree with him or mere frustration that Lilly wasn’t intimidated, she couldn’t be sure.  “I didn’t ask your opinion, Miss Wruthers.  That’ll be all.”

Evidently the young woman hadn’t been in his employ very long, because she winced and paled, hurt by his callous reply.  She scurried out and the door thumped behind her a little too loudly.

He stretched, arching his back even while he leaned down over her work, resting his elbow on the desk casually.  For such a lean man, he was exhibiting quite the nicely rounded ass.  It was all she could do not to give him a good, hard swat and see how high he’d jump.  “Where were we?”

Lilly let her mouth quirk since he wasn’t looking at her.  Silly boy.  He really needs a good thrashing. 

It’d be all too easy to press against him, letting her body weight urge him down against the desk.  It’d be fun to have a big, powerful man like him beneath her, bristling with the urge to fight, but also strangely obedient.  Knowing he was too strong, too big, that he could overpower her at any moment, but he chose not to…  Instead, he chose to put himself into her hands, to let her do as she would.  The ultimate power rush.  That he was arrogant, gorgeous and used to being the alpha CEO in all aspects of his life only made it hotter.

Lost in such a tantalizing fantasy, it took her a moment to realize she was pressed against the back of his leg, hugging his thigh with both of hers.  Practically riding him.  Either he’d backed further into her space or she’d leaned into him.  She couldn’t remember.  Neither option was appropriate behavior in an office setting, certainly not when she didn’t even know what his inclinations were.

Embarrassed, she jerked backward.  “Pardon me, Mr. Morgan.  I must have lost my balance.”

He straightened and turned toward her, his dark eyes narrowed on her face.  “Lost your balance?”

She gave him a bright smile and without blinking or looking away, said, “I’m not used to wearing heels.”

She had a feeling he knew she was lying but he decided not to call her on it.  It wasn’t like he’d peeked into her closet and seen her glorious shoe collection.  He settled on the edge of his desk, the epitome of casual male elegance.  A wicked glint flickered in his eyes, a knowing smile on his lush lips that warned her he saw through her thinly veiled disguise that said nothing to see, just an ordinary woman with boring, normal sexual desires.  Nothing dirty or naughty here.  “I suppose you don’t get out all that often.”

“Rarely.  I’m such a homebody.”  She gave him a tiny smile back that said I know you know I’m lying and I don’t give a fuck.  “Why don’t you show me the space you’re thinking about filling with stained glass?  I can take some measurements and give you some ideas of what might work best.”

“Of course.”  He stood, managing to make the movement a delicious sinuous slide that drew her gaze down all six-foot-plus length of him.  He might have never really worked a day in his life, certainly not outside of an office setting, but his body coiled with sinew and lean muscle.  There wouldn’t be much padding anywhere on him except that delectable backside.  Nothing to stop the hard thud of a paddle.  Or the cut of the crop.

She gave herself a little shake, forcing those thoughts to the back corner of her mind.  Later, she’d pull them out and let the fantasy unwind.  She’d wonder what kind of fancy underwear he wore.  Whether he really had a model’s body beneath that expensive suit or office flab.  Whether the rest of him was as darkly tanned as his face and hands.  How he’d sound when she brought the crop down on his ass.

But only after I finish this commission.  Until then, all business.  Mistress L isn’t allowed to come out and play.