Attention Victor Beta Readers!

I want to appropriately thank everyone who helped me polish Victor before I turned him in to my editor.  If I’m missing anyone, PLEASE, please shout out and correct me!  Also let me know how you’d like to have your name in the dedication (whether full name, real or pen, shortened).  Right now I have:

Sherri, Pearl, Nicole, Susan, Christine, and Sharon

Thank you!

I’m in the final sweep of first-pass editor notes before sending Victor back in, so I do have a little time to handle corrections if I’ve messed anything up.

Good News for Victor!

I just signed the contract for Victor (Hurt Me So Good) to go to Samhain!  I’m so happy and relieved.  Of course I love Victor and those of you who’ve helped me with beta reads were all very positive, but I was still nervous since I have a new editor this time around.  I’ll keep you posted on the official release date.

Oh, and I saw the cover workup for The Bloodgate Guardian (title change from Codex) and it made me do another Snoopy dance.  I made everyone at dinner (we met Uncle J, Aunt BB, and Grandma and Grandpa at Tasia) look at it on my iPhone.  As soon as I can share, I’ll let you know. 

Sorry I didn’t post a snippet today — just too busy.  I’ve started a new workout routine and it is KILLING me.  In a good way.  I hope.  Ouch.  Wince.

Victor is Almost Ready…

One of the joys of having a dog that we can’t trust to last more than 8 hours without a mess is getting up before 8 AM on a Saturday with 6+ inches of snow on the ground so she can go potty.  The house was quiet another hour before the sleepy-head monsters got up (they were out of school yesterday and stayed up later than usual), so I worked frantically on Victor’s synopsis.

I already had several ideas jotted on notecards, but I hadn’t been able to piece them together in a coherent way yet.  Thankfully, the pieces fell together this morning and I’ve got both a blurb and synopsis (I typically do both at the same time) drafted that I really like.  I’ll let it sit another day or so — I can’t help but tweak here and tweak there, add a word, change this phrase. 

Sherrialready provided incredible feedback and gave me one little thread to mull over.  Writing the synopsis also helped me realize I needed to add a couple of paragraphs to the scene with Mama Connagher.  Otherwise, I think I’m *this close* to kicking Victor out the door. 

If you’re curious, this is the blurb I worked up this morning.  Does it make you want to buy it and read more?

Reluctant Dom Victor Connnagher has been hiding the truth for years: he’s the meanest sadist in Dallas. As the CEO of a risque cable channel, he supports the BDSM community but doesn’t trust himself to participate. Not after he hurt his submissive fiancee [changed per Nicole’s suggestion] so badly that she dumped him.

Saucy and confident despite being submissive, Shiloh Holmes needs pain and a man who’s not afraid to give it. She suspects her boss is a Master with a capital M, so she creates a BDSM reality show for his channel in order to gain his attention.

On America’s Next Top sub, Shiloh will prove once and for all that she can please Master V. In any way he wishes.

Friday Snippet: Hurt Me So Good

Thank you to everyone who has contacted me about beta-reading.   This post was actually scheduled last night, so I’ll post the Giveaway winner shortly.

Victor’s been on my mind all week, so I thought I’d post one last bit before I move on to the next story.  I’ve been talking about him and his riding crop until you’re probably sick of it, but you haven’t really seen him in action.

Until today.

In this scene, they’re filming the trailer for their BDSM reality show that Shiloh created specifically for him so she could get close to him.  They’re playing here for the show, but it’s also the first time they get to play a scene together, if you know what I mean.  The language is fairly clean but he does use the crop on her, so please don’t read further if that kind of scene will offend you.  

Of course, since this is the first real scene with the crop, the rest grow in intensity.  *winks*

 

On their brand-new set for America’s Next Top sub, Shiloh had never felt sexier.  The outfit wasn’t exactly historically accurate, but from the darkness burning in Victor’s eyes, she’d accomplished her purpose.  She wore a short muslin shift barely more than a tank top with a white corset over the top, lifting her breasts and pushing out her booty.  To make the scene as sexy as possible, she wore white lacy high-cut panties that disappeared beneath the corset.  Without any skirt or petticoat, her ass was barely covered enough for TV.

      Delicate pink stockings encased her legs to mid-thigh, tied with white ribbons, and she wore heels elaborately covered in sparkling crystals.  Sweeping white feathers formed her mask, swan wings to frame her face and conceal most of her hair.  She didn’t think her own mother would recognize her.

      Victor wore tall gleaming riding boots and black jodhpurs that concealed the protective brace on his knee.  His shirt was plain white linen, loose and open at the neck with billowing sleeves tied at his wrists.  She hadn’t dared ask, but he’d opted to leave his hair loose, glossy black and tousled about his shoulders.  Black wings covered his face except for his mouth and eyes, sweeping tight to his head and down to his shoulders.

      Of course, the Master’s look was completed with his crop.

      She stared at that crop and her stomach turned to cold, hard lead, even while a rush of liquid warmth flooded her veins.

      “What’s the set up?”

      The distant, reserved tone of his voice helped her focus on the show, and not the Master.  “This is the opening shot that will play at the beginning of every single episode.  We didn’t want to associate our show with Silken every single time, so we chose a basic neutral shot here.”

      “Good.” He gave a curt nod, barely meeting her gaze.  “Where do you want me?”

      It felt strange to give him orders, but he’d made her showrunner.  This was her idea.  She wanted it to succeed on multiple levels, not the least of which was her career.

      She directed him to sit in a simple wooden chair with the crop in his lap.  “The scene opens with you cleaning and preparing your equipment.  The light will be focused on you, casting the rest of the area in shadows.  When you’re satisfied with the gleam on the leather, stand up.  The lighting will slowly brighten to show me at your feet, waiting for your attention.  We need a few minutes of Master/slave play.” Her throat tightened, making her voice gruff.  “Your choice.”

      “Excellent.” He smiled, and it was far from the mellow ease last night as he groaned beneath her hands.  This man couldn’t wait to bring that crop down on her flesh.  “I always thought we should eroticize the cleaning and care of our tools.”

      Mal snorted.  “I think your tool gets plenty of care, V.”

      Chuckling, he spread his knees wider and picked up an oiled cloth.  “Not yet.”  

      He met Shiloh’s gaze and her nerves zinged as though she’d been electrocuted.  He pointed the crop at the floor to his right.  He didn’t have to say a word.  From the tip of his smallest finger to the soles of his feet, the Master commanded her to kneel at his feet.

      That quickly, she slipped fully into the role of his submissive.  The show meant nothing.  This was their first scene, her chance to give him exactly what she’d been dreaming about.  As gracefully as possible, she knelt where indicated and pressed her face to the floor six inches from his boot.

      #

      Cameras rolled, lights blazed into his eyes, but Victor had one thought only: the woman waiting at his feet.  He’d never enacted a scene for one of his shows before, although he was no stranger to performances.  Sometimes it was hard to ignore the crowd; other times, the audience fed off the scene’s energy and multiplied it, frenzied as though they could feel his lust and power.  That’s exactly what he wanted this scene, this entire show, to bring to Dallas.

      With slow, deliberate intent, he stroked the cloth over the leather, lovingly caring for the weapon that could bring so much pain.  He’d carried it for years, and although he’d tried various other tools of the trade, he always came back to this crop.  It fit his hand perfectly, flexible but stout with a wide tip that combined to make a wickedly vicious whoosh.

      “That’s good, V,” Mal called from the side.  “It looks like you’re making love to the crop.  Prepare for the lights to brighten.”

      He gripped the crop in both hands at either end and stood, letting the camera focus solely on the Master’s weapon.  He wanted the viewers to lean toward the screen, breathless with anticipation about what he intended to do with it.  Light flooded the floor, and someone off to the left gasped, even though they’d all known Shiloh was there.

      He raised both arms overhead and turned his body slightly, giving his profile to the camera.  Poised, he waited what seemed like an eternity, and then he jerked his left hand down toward his thigh.  The crop whistled through the air.  Leather smacked against his thigh in a satisfying crack.  The stinging cut of the crop heightened his senses, focusing his mind and body on one thing only.

      Dominion.

      Shiloh’s hand crept out to touch his boot, begging for the next blow.

      He waited until she wrapped her hand around his ankle, and then he reached down, seized a handful of her hair at her nape, and hauled her up to her knees.  Bending down, he glared into her eyes.  “Why are you here?”

      He chose to say those words because that’s how he always opened a serious scene, and while this scene might be taped for a TV show, it was real, serious, heavy shit, to him at least.  He wanted to make sure she had committed to it as much as he did.  Unscripted, her responses would reveal her true intentions.  What did she expect to get out of a scene with him?

      “To submit to you, Master.”

      He straightened slightly, widening his stance, his left arm held out and back to the side, keeping the crop visible for the shot.  “What may I do to you?”

      “Anything you want, Master.”

      Ah, yes, she couldn’t have given him a more perfect response.

      He drew her closer, deliberately lifting her face toward his crotch.  She made it look pretty instead of vulgar, her back arched, her gorgeous ass lifted to tempt him.  Even if they were alone, he wouldn’t have let her touch him.  He merely wanted to torment her with what she couldn’t have.  Not until she’d satisfied his other urges.

      Her lips were soft, open, her face hauntingly beautiful with the stark lights blaring down on her and feathers curled about her cheeks.  She resisted his grip, pulling her own hair in order to lean closer, trying to get her mouth on him.

      The lights dimmed, breaking the moment.

      “Hold on just a minute,” Mal said to him, then louder, “Bring up the backlights.  This next part we want only their silhouette.  Okay, good.  When you’re ready, V.”

      “Ready for what?” Someone asked in a loud whisper.

      He whipped the crop over his head and brought it crashing down on Shiloh’s buttocks. 

      She let out a low, throaty moan that tore at his control.  He knew the blistering fire that had exploded on her skin, the deep throbbing pain despite his care to control his arm.  He never started as heavy as he would end; even as a sadist, he took care to begin with a sensual blow and not a cutting one backed by his full strength. 

      However, after denying his darker urges for so long, he was close to coming from that blissful sound of her cry alone.  To reward her, he let her rub her face high on his thigh.

      Shocked silence hung over the set for several long seconds, and then his crew erupted into cheers. 

      “Bring the lights up,” Mal said.  “Let’s see the whole thing from the beginning and see if we need to re-shoot.”

      Victor clenched his fist on the crop, grinding his teeth with fury.  He did not want to stop.  He did not want to sit down and watch the tape.  He wanted—

      Shiloh stared up at him, her eyes wide, glistening with tears, pleading.  “Please.”

      Don’t stop.

Victor: Hurt Me So Good

The title I’m going with for now:  Hurt Me So Good.  I’m sure we’ll go through dozens of new ones, but this title says so much about the book.  It’s really perfect in a lot of ways, and stays true to the personal structure of Dear Sir, I’m Yours.

I’ve made two complete revision passes through Victor’s book, growing it slightly to 73.5K, a nice, meaty read.  I decided to keep the blog idea and added a few crucial posts to the story, similar to Rae’s letters to Conn.  The blog plays a crucial part in the external storyline, so I thought it fit, and it let me mix in some humor and layers of character.  

In the mix of revising Return to Shanhasson and the Maya story, I forgot how much I love this book.  Whew, baby, does Victor smolder.  Shiloh is unlike ANY heroine I have ever written before and I love her to pieces.  I wish I knew her in real life.  Sometimes I had to close my eyes in order to type her dialogue because she takes great pride in telling Victor exactly what she wants in brutal, dirty detail.  *snickers*

And Victor, well.  Let’s just say even Gregar is saluting him with his rahke

All that remains is the synopsis, and a few beta reads if anyone is so inclined.  My usual warnings and caveats:  my editor hasn’t gotten it yet and things may change after she makes her edit requests.  I don’t want a critique — just a read and judgment of enjoyment factor, although if you catch a typo, I’ll be ever grateful. 

This book is erotic romance–including BDSM, rough language, and the use of a riding crop–and NOT for the faint of heart.  If you’re still interested, e-mail me.  I reserve the right to decline if we’re not a good fit or if I’ve already received enough offers.  I’ll trade full reads with writers and give a final electronic copy to readers, as well as thank you in the dedication.

Friday Snippet: #Victor

This is the last longer snippet I can do, but I’ll try to torment you with little NaNo snippets throughout the month.  First draft, etc. etc.

“What I want,” he growled out, turning to face her with his most intimidating glare, “is for you to quit playing with me.”

He cursed his poor word choice as soon as they left his lips.

Laughing softly, she stood and began to gather up her presentation.  “I haven’t even begun playing with you yet.”

Damn it all to hell, she gave him her back.  To him!  Uncaring, unafraid, with a little flirty glance over her shoulder, she walked toward the door with her storyboards tucked under her arm.

He pounced, seized her in unforgiving hands, and slammed her against the wall.  He pinned her with his body, using every inch of his taller, stronger, muscled frame to punish her for such audacity, grinding her against the wall.  Storyboards tumbled to the floor.

And the little saucy wench arched into him with a welcoming sigh.

Dropping his forehead against hers, he sucked in a breath and held it for a count of ten, tightening the reins of his control.  “Save it for the show, or I’m going to drag you off to my dungeon and torture you to my heart’s content.”

“Promises, promises.”

He couldn’t help but laugh then.  God, her spirit was unflappable.  “You don’t know what kind of player I am.  I’m on the edge, baby, and as heavy as you can take it.  And then, since I’m a selfish, cruel bastard, I’m going to take you even further.”  He swallowed hard and forced the words out.  “I want to hurt you real bad.”

“Good,” she purred.

“Damn it, don’t you know the difference between sensual pain and downright injured?  Give me some space and time to–”

“Yes, sir.”

He pulled back enough to look into her eyes.  Had he been away from serious play for so long that he’d forgotten the most basic elements of a scene?  Of course she’d rather have his orders.  “On the show, I’m Master V.”  She nodded, staring at him intently.  “Your Master.”

Her body sagged against him and she buried her face against his neck.  “Thank you, sir.”

“Off the show, I’m Victor, your boss and the producer of our show.  No playing, no taunting, all business.”

“And after the show?”

Reluctantly, he backed away, keeping his hands on her until he was sure she was steady on her feet.  She looked up at him with such hope and longing in her eyes that his throat closed off.  He couldn’t breathe.  It’d been so long since a woman had looked at him like that, as though he was her entire world.  As though she’d die if she failed to please him.

“If I haven’t scared you away yet,” he replied, his voice gruff with emotion, “then, God help you, you’re mine.”

Bending down to pick up her scattered boards, she flashed a smile that melted his heart.  The curve of her slim spine and the rounded swell of her buttocks outlined by her skirt made his hand clench in longing for his crop.  “I don’t scare easily, Mr. Connagher.”

“You don’t know me yet, Ms. Holmes.  Now make your escape before I change my mind.”

“If nothing else, you’ve certainly given me incentive to make sure we’re taping as soon as possible.  Don’t be surprised if you get a call to begin this afternoon.”

“Tomorrow is soon enough for taping.  Use Mal to help you get the resources you need, and if either of you have problems, call me.  A few scenes at Silken will be fine, but see if Mal can get creative with a set here.  I’d prefer to spend as little time at the club as possible.”

“All right.  Anything else?”

“Stop by this evening around seven o’clock and fill me in on where everything is.  I live here in the penthouse, and I’ll tell Léon to let you in.”  

He could see the conflicting thoughts flickering in her eyes: a rush of raw lust that she might get him alone in his home warred against uncertainty about another man.  He didn’t fault her for being wary—she couldn’t possibly know his sexual preferences.  Something he hoped to correct very, very soon.  “Léon is my personal assistant and chef.  He’s a friend and employee, nothing more.”

“Sorry, I don’t have any right to question you.”

“Yes, you do.  I have no intention of sharing you, Shiloh, not with another man, not with another Dominant, no one.  I warned you I was a selfish bastard.”

Relaxing, she laughed.  “That kind of selfishness I approve of.”

She paused at the door, her teasing laughter fading to something much more serious.  In a slow, sensuous perusal, she ran her gaze over him.  He could feel the passing of her chocolate gaze like a flaming physical touch, lingering on his throat, shoulders, biceps, and hands.  He knew exactly what she was doing: Assessing the strength of his arm, his ability to deliver a blow exactly where he wanted it, and the formidable might of his will.  He squared his shoulders, widening his stance and shifting his weight back on his heels so the heavy bulge in his pants was prominent and obvious.

With her eyes locked on his groin, she asked in a husky voice, “What if I don’t win top sub for you?” 

“You will, or I’m no Master.”

She jerked her gaze up to his face, her eyes smoldering, her lips as soft and full as though she’d been kissed thoroughly—or had put her mouth to good use.  “To the Victor belong the spoils.” 

Friday Snippet: #Victor

Continuing from last week’s section, first draft, etc.

Hauled up and tossed into a chair, Shiloh sat shaken and confused, staring at Mr. Connagher as he paced back and forth.  She cradled her throbbing hand in her lap.  Each thud of her heart spread that pain like a pulse through her body, melting her bones and priming her for his full attention.

What did I do wrong?

“When we’re alone, then you can call me Victor, a mean sonofabitch, or a low-down dirty bastard, anything you want.”  He jerked to a halt and whirled to face her, his eyes blazing.  “But we need to take care that you’re alone with me as little as possible.”

“I don’t understand,” she said carefully.  “Are you not…available?”

He jerked his hair tighter, and she winced in sympathy for his tortured scalp.  He must have one hell of a headache.  “I’m so available I’m about to tear the seams in my pants.”

Studying his hair kept her gaze from wandering lower to see just how available he might be.   He hadn’t made any outright claims on her, so she didn’t feel like she had the right to ogle him.  Yet.  

“It will be safer for us both if we limit our interaction to the show, at least until I’ve been able to take some of the edge off.”

He looked so glum, then, that she started to rise so she could wrap her arms around him.  Throwing up his hand to ward her off, he resumed his furious pacing while he slapped his right thigh aimlessly.  Her skin heated, tingling with longing.  She wanted those slaps on her body, not his.

The longer he paced, the more he began to favor his left knee, until his limp was pronounced. Victor Connagher had been a college football star on the verge of the NFL when he’d blown his knee in the championship game.  Pictures from his glory days were in the case downstairs.  By all accounts, he would have been a star for any professional team. 

Tears burned her eyes.  Until now, she’d never seen him display any weakness, any hint that the old injury still pained him.

Finally he growled out, “I don’t want to go too fast for you.”

“Too fast?”  She laughed, but it came out harsh to her ears.  “I’ve been planning this show for months, hoping, praying you might…”

That you might need me as badly as I need you. 

Although she’d often seen him around VCONN Tower, she didn’t know how to approach him while at work.  It was just too sleazy for her to come on to him as she’d joked. She’d even gone to a mixer hosted by the bondage club to get an introduction, but the frenzied feeding-ground atmosphere just wasn’t her style.  Besides, he hadn’t been there, neither.  During her research, she’d scanned Silken’s current membership roster, but it hadn’t included his name, which didn’t really surprise her.  Many prominent members would rather keep their names secret or at least low key, which was one of the reasons she’d devised a show where everyone could wear masks. 

Fantasizing about him had only made her attraction worse.  Nothing could touch the aching black hole that expanded day by day deep in her belly.  The pain in her hand only served to wake up that miserable, ravenous monster.  She wanted him with that riding crop in his hand, wicked and hard and wild.  After he’d put that image in her mind, nothing and nobody else would do.

 “How else was I supposed to introduce myself as an interested submissive, a f–” self-censoring in mid-word, she changed to, “freakin’ letter?”  [inside joke for Dear Sir, I’m Yours fans.  Sorry, couldn’t resist.]

He gripped her chin and tilted her face back up to him.  A smile softened his face, but not his grip.  “I’d much rather have this show than a letter.  I’m pleased, Shiloh, more than I can say.”  Shadowed desire flickered in his eyes despite his encouragement and his fingers dug into her cheeks.  Even in trying to comfort her, he wasn’t—couldn’t be—gentle.  “I am available, I promise you, and so attracted that I don’t trust myself right now.  It’s been a long time since I did a scene, and I never…”

His jaws worked back and forth as though it took all his concentration to soften his grip on her face.  Sighing, he released her and turned away.  “I don’t want to seriously hurt you.”

Incredulous, she stared at him, her mind whirling in a frenzy. 

Victor Connagher, the fiercest, most incredible Master she’d ever hoped to meet in her life…was afraid.