Jagger Kennedy never went looking for fame, he just fell into it. After scoring a major modeling contract, his clean-cut good looks and charm catapulted his career. But when his actress girlfriend breaks his heart, he moves to L.A. to try his hand at acting. He’s not looking for love—he just needs to make a change.
Aerie Daniels is a woman in control … until she meets Jagger. Her surprising connection with him leaves her dazed and it’s unlike anything she’s ever felt. But just when she lets her walls fall, she makes a startling discovery about Jagger that breaks her fragile heart into a million pieces.
To keep from losing the woman who’s changing his world, Jagger is willing to give up anything—including his career. But even that might not be enough to regain Aerie’s shattered trust…
DAZED IN GENERAL:
Dazed is a Connections Series Novella but it not necessary to read Connected and Torn prior to reading this. Also it has a beginning, a middle, and an end 🙂
OMFG….this novella was amazing! Kim Karr has the gift to deliver a hot, sexy, steamy chemistry while hooking you from the beginning!! I absolutely LOVED this novella. Aerie and Jagger are such amazing characters it’s impossible not to fall in love with them. Jagger moves to L.A. to act and nothing else…that is until he meets the beautiful Aerie. Aerie is a woman that’s in control…until Jagger comes into the picture! This amazing novella is not like anything I’ve read before…and that’s because of Kim’s amazing writing style and her ability to make you feel what the characters are feeling! When I read this I had not read Torn or Connected but this novella does not have to be read after the first two books…Kim wrote characters that made it possible for me to read Dazed without reading the others.
5 stars! **ARC received in exchange for honest review**
Excerpt from Dazed
Connections #2.5 by Kim Karr © 2014 by Kim Karr Published by the Penguin Group Release date: April 1, 2014
There’s something deliciously perverse about staring through the clear glass. All of my senses engage as I wait in line—the fragrance that fills the air as the fire crackles beneath the foil wrapped treats wafts under my nose, the beauty in each and every small package as they line the shelves with tiny dots and colored sprinkles mesmerizes me, the sound made as the silver sheet is peeled back to reveal the magnificence it holds captivates me, and the anticipation of the taste makes my mouth water. Ummm… just thinking of the first bite into the moist brown exterior with its bittersweet Belgian chocolate complimenting the flavor of the Madagascar bourbon vanilla that oozes from its inside has me trembling. The black and white cupcake—it’s simply perfection. Amidst the skyscrapers in Los Angeles’ South Park neighborhood, Sprinkles is a gem tucked away for those of us who seek out a small piece of heaven. I don’t come here often, but when I do it’s for that one special treat. The menu describes it as, “Yin and Yang.” An ancient proverb that says, “Complementary opposites, such as light and dark, day and night, and masculine and feminine, seemingly may exist as contrary forces, but are actually interconnected.” Simply put, it says one gives rise to the other and it’s true— opposites attract. Without the vanilla inside, one could not possibly crave the chocolate outside—looking at the two parts united has me drooling. “You know what they say about staring through the glass,” a deep husky voice says from behind me. His words tingle my skin and my gaze snaps up. “Excuse me?” I stop short, in a daze, not even sure what he just said I was so lost in my thoughts. He chuckles. “You know what they say about staring through the glass,” he repeats.
My eyes blink and come into focus on the upward tilt of his full lips. Then my eyes move to his smooth pale skin flecked with a light stubble, his nose seemingly sculpted even with a slight imperfection in its slope, large eyes with the most unusual gray color swirling from within, and chocolate brown colored hair framing his face in pieces—I’m not sure if he has just rolled out of bed or if product molds it just so. Either way, he is utterly beautiful. “I’m sorry, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” “Just be careful so you don’t fall in like Alice.” He smiles, displaying his bright white teeth. “Again, I’m sorry but I have no idea what you’re talking about.” I notice his eyes sweep over me and my heart starts pounding. “Through the Looking Glass,” he responds in a dangerously husky voice. This time when he speaks I catch an accent, ever so slight but extremely sexy. It reminds me of how Robert De Nero talks, just not as loud or fast. I continue to stare, unable to respond. I notice that his physique is long and lean. He’s dressed in worn jeans that fit him perfectly. His orange laced hiking boots scream I don’t conform. A pair of tortoiseshell sunglasses hang from the V of his gray sweater, which clings to his body perfectly. And an outdoor vest tops the outfit. It throws me off. It makes him look more like an Abercrombie model than a James Dean type. It’s a navy blue down and quilted one with a silver zipper. I don’t know why, but something about his outfit, about this man, captivates me. “Number 98,” calls the girl from behind the counter. He steps closer. His warm breath whispers across my neck. “Through the Looking Glass is the sequel to Alice in Wonderland. When Alice gets too close to the glass, she falls in and starts on a crazy journey,” he tells me as his arm waves in the air with a green ticket on display. Stepping closer, his gaze cuts from mine to the glass case as he hands his number to the clerk whose wearing a cute brown apron with the word Sprinkles scripted across it. “Can I have a dozen of the black and white cupcakes?” he asks.
Suddenly alarmed, my eyes dart to the case as I watch the single remaining row of beautifully crafted cupcakes diminish until there are none left. My irritation flares as I glance at my number—97. The beautiful stranger hands the clerk his credit card and waits to sign the slip. “I was number 97, my number was before yours,” I say as he’s handed the bag that holds his treasure. “Oh, I’m sorry. Here let me get the sales clerk’s attention so you don’t have to take another number,” he says. I want to stomp my feet. I want to scream. I don’t want her attention. I don’t want another number. I want the cupcakes that he stole from me. “Miss,” he calls draping his perfectly fit body over the case. She looks his way and with a charming grin he says, “Can you help this lovely lady? She missed her number being called.” “Of course, I’m so sorry. How can I help you?” the girl asks averting her eyes from the man who looks like he should be on the cover of GQ magazine, over to me. He smiles at me with a face that belongs on a billboard. “Don’t fall in.” I swear he’s goading me. But then he tips his chin and a sexy, smoldering grin passes over his lips and I’m not so sure anymore. He turns to look at me one more time before he exits, and excitement flushes over my face. I nod a slight cursory acknowledgement, then he disappears and disappointment washes over me—he’s gone. Crap. The cupcakes are also gone. Double crap. And now I’m left wondering if he saw me staring at that flavor? Did he distract me on purpose so he could purchase them first? Urrr…I’m so angry right now I consider walking out, but when the clerk asks me what I’d like I settle for the Vanilla Milk Chocolate cakes—they are the mirror reflection of the black and whites, with vanilla cake and chocolate frosting, but they are not nearly as good.
DAZED PURCHASE LINKS & OTHER:
Torn Epilogue Until the End of Time Connections #2 by Kim Karr © 2014 by Kim Karr
The sleek metal bars crisscross in front of me with openings large enough to slide my wrists through. The fabric of my nightgown ruffles as the cool air cascades under it and wraps around my naked body. The sight before me is magnificent—tall, sleek, and glorious. I hold my thumb and forefinger up and pinch the image. River is standing beside me and I catch his gaze just as he looks over at me. I smile. He lifts his hand to mimic mine. The Eiffel Tower looms impressively before us and we both pretend to grab it. Without missing a beat, I lift my camera. “Smile.” “I am,” he says through gritted teeth. I can’t help but laugh. I may have asked my new husband to pose a few too many times during our honeymoon—but I can’t help myself. His sexy sweet grin combined with the Parisian surroundings is just so picturesque—almost hypnotic. The view from this spot must have been built in anticipation of the beautiful pictures one could capture while standing here. “I think I’ve had enough of the posing for one morning,” he mutters. He takes my camera and sets it on the chair behind him before prowling toward me. There is a chill in the air but when his warm hard body presses up against mine, I no longer feel it. I toss my head back as his mouth drops to my throat and his lips glide down my neck. “We have to get ready to go,” I manage to say. My voice cracking as arousal overtakes me. His mouth makes its way down to the silk garment that covers my breasts at the same time his hand slides underneath the hem. “We can be a few minutes late,” he growls.
The thin spaghetti strap over my shoulder falls to the side, allowing him to easily suck on one of my nipples. I lean against the railing of the balcony as his mouth and his touch all make me forget we have someplace to be.
My heart flutters at the sight of River standing in the hotel suite door waiting for me to join him. With his emerald green eyes boring into me, and his mop of shaggy light brown hair, he is utterly breathtaking. Add to the picture low riding jeans, black boots, and the new leather jacket that his aunt gave him, and he is nothing if not perfection. Looking at him now makes me wish today was one of those days we could just lock ourselves away in this room. “You look edible,” I purr as I put on my boots. He winks and smiles a devilish grin at me. “I like the sound of that.” I circle my lips with my tongue and stand to zip my jacket. He groans at my gesture before casually swinging my camera bag over his shoulder and extending his hand. “Come on, beautiful, let’s go before I change my mind.” Walking hand in hand he turns around to face me as we stand in our own private foyer. He reaches to grasp my left hand with his left hand and our rings collide. He loves doing this. He does it all the time. “Mine,” he whispers as he lifts our interlaced fingers to his mouth and kisses my pearl encrusted wedding band. I bow my head to kiss his plain platinum ring and then our mouths meet. The ring looks so sexy on him. I never realized how turned on I could be by a simple piece of jewelry. But knowing it means he belongs to me does crazy things to me. After a few minutes of gazing at each other he hits the down button for the elevator. Both of us seem lost in our own thoughts as we descend the fifty floors. My mind replays the fun we’ve had while in Paris. Last night we went to the famous George’s and enjoyed its sweeping views of the city over a bottle of champagne. We even ventured outside our comfort zones and tried their world famous duck foie gras. I wasn’t a fan and River disliked it even more than I did, but at least we sampled it. Afterward we stopped in Andy Warhol’s cocktail bar for a drink and to see the magnificent art. Two nights ago, we dined at the Ritz Side Car. And the night before that, we hit Club Queen because I was dying to see the world famed disco ball. Everyone dancing there was uninhibited and it was beyond wild. Everything we’ve done here has been electric, exciting, and dare I say: erotic.
“What are you thinking about?” I ask as the elevator reaches the bottom floor. A wicked smile crosses his face. “I’ll never tell.” I laugh. “Okay we’ll see.” We exit the elevator and bundle up for the cool weather before hitting the streets of Paris. This city is both beautiful and intimidating. Even the well-dressed woman sitting on a bench outside our hotel exudes sophistication. She holds a cigarette so seductively she almost makes me consider asking for a little puff. And all the people bustling about on this small narrow road look like they just stepped off the runway. River and I have spent the last ten days not only exploring the city, but each other. Our sex life has always been fulfilling, but being here, being together, somehow it’s heightened our passion and encouraged us to push our limits. Maybe it’s because we know we belong to each other now, maybe it’s because we have no barriers left between us—whatever the reason, I never want this feeling to end. It’s a trip I won’t ever forget. I’ve loved every minute of it—the people we’ve met, the places we’ve gone, the food we’ve eaten, and of course the man beside me. Hands clasped together, we walk at lightning speed. When we reach the corner, the Arc de Triomphe stands in front of us and we stop to wait for the light to turn. I feel a slight chill and shiver. He moves behind me and wraps his arms around my waist, rubbing his legs against mine. “You should have dressed warmer,” he murmurs in my ear. His warm breath tickles my neck. “I wanted to wear the outfit your aunt gave me.” I turn to rub my cheek against his. “It looks incredibly sexy on you,” he whispers. “I wondered if you’d noticed.” “Oh I noticed. I noticed the minute you slipped it on and I can’t wait for you to show me what you are wearing underneath it.” I twist around to face him. “Tell me what you were thinking back there and you just might get a chance sooner rather than later.”
His eyes assess me and he leans in to kiss me. His lips find mine for just the briefest of moments but he pulls back when people start rushing by us. “Are you suggesting a little game of show and tell?” he asks. I nip his lip before he can pull away. “I just might be,” I say over my shoulder as I start to move forward. I start walking ahead of him thinking about how much he’s going to like what’s underneath. His aunt is a designer for Hermès and she gave me a few pieces of their new line. The black sheer chiffon blouse is sensual and seductive and I love it. The snakeskin leather skirt is short and form fitting—a bit on the wild side. And the silky stockings are absolutely the finest I’ve ever worn. But I know that what River will really want to see is the leather lace-up corset I’m wearing underneath, complete with matching garters. I can’t wait to show him. I hear him groan as he catches up to me. He slings his arm around me and I do the same as we make our way down the row of neatly trimmed trees to the Rodin Museum. We enter our first-ever Paris fashion show with minutes to spare and rush to our seats. I sit in awe as I take in my surroundings. When I was a child I went to some shows in L.A. with my mother, but they were nothing compared to this. Hermès kitted out an enormous tent on the grounds and the stage resembles what I can only imagine to be the boudoir of the once lavish mansion that is now the museum. Celebrities and fashion magazine editors sit all around us, while models sashay through the room. Some stare at River in such an obvious way, I’m embarrassed for them. Just as the music cues the start of the show, Celeste, River’s aunt, and Jagger, his cousin, take a seat on either side of us. Celeste’s hand goes to my knee. “Dahlia, you look beautiful darling.” I glance over to her. She looks so much like River’s mother, just a slightly aged version. Celeste is ten years older than her sister and has lived in Paris for the last thirty years. “Thank you. I love this line. Is the whole collection like these pieces?” I ask. She nods and twists her fingers over her lips. “Shh…don’t tell,” she winks.
I inwardly smile thinking my wardrobe is definitely going to get much sexier after today. Then I turn to say hi to Jagger who is already talking with River. Jagger’s hands are moving up his body in a mimicking way as he says, “Picture Steve Carell in pleated khakis.” “You’re shitting me,” River laughs. “I’m serious as fuck,” Jagger answers with a sexy, smoldering grin on his face that must send women into a frenzy. He’s a model and it’s easy to see why—he’s very attractive. He’s slightly taller than River, maybe a little leaner as well. He has gray eyes and dark hair that’s cut to frame his face. I’ve learned that he grew up in New York City with his father and is staying in Paris after a recent breakup with his girlfriend. River and I both met Jagger for the first time seven days ago and it’s hard to believe that he and River haven’t known each other their whole lives. They hit it off from the minute they met, and River can’t wait for Xander and Bell to meet their cousin as well. The two of them get so caught up in conversations and easily lost in time that on occasion I have had to remind River that I’m sitting next to him. I bump River’s shoulder and both men look over at me. “Hi Jagger.” He smiles. “Hey Dahlia. Are you ready for this?” he asks. Jagger knows how excited I am to be here. I laugh. “You know I am.” River squeezes my hand and brings it to his lips, kissing it. Every time he touches me it sends my libido into overdrive. Today is our last day in Paris. We were actually supposed to go home yesterday but River knew how much I wanted to see a fashion show and when his aunt told us she was able to get us seats, he extended our trip two extra days. The music changes to a slow, seductive tempo and two women grace the runway looking like reverse mirror images of each other in a mixed palette of black, white, and nude. One wears black over-the-knee boots and a completely sheer white blouse with a checkered skirt. The other wears white knee boots, a black lace top, and beige shorts. I don’t think either is wearing anything under their top. They whip their heavily sprayed blowouts back and forth and strike a pose on the catwalk with well-honed attitudes.
River’s hand is clutching mine, resting on my leg. When he moves his fingers in small circles over the silk of my hose, it not only serves to heighten my awareness as to how close he is but also just how very far away he is. I sit up straight and breathe in before focusing my attention back to the show.
The looks coming down the runway are light, airy, and uncomplicated. Dresses in satin and silk are loose and cinched with skinny belts or ribbons. Most of them fall to mid-calf or slightly higher. Slim skirts have leather panels at the waist and are worn with elegant blouses. One wrap skirt is shown in a variety of textures and a touch of lace serves to remind us of the boudoir theme. Celeste leans over. “These are clothes that go from boardroom to the bedroom.” “I love them all,” I tell her. “Whatever you want, it’s yours. Just tell me and I’ll have it sent.” “I will. Thank you so much.” I would argue with her but we already went that route when she gave River and me the things we are wearing today, so I know better. River’s hand inches up my thigh, drawing my attention back to him. I clutch his creeping fingers with my other hand stopping him just before he reaches his surprise— my garter belt. After a few moments he leans toward me and whispers, “Is this almost over? Because I can’t wait for my own private show.” I smile at him and squeeze his hand then once again refocus my attention to the fashions being shown to us. The music changes and model after model, look after look, the show moves faster and faster. I get lost in the blur of clothing, as each ensemble seems more incredible than the last. The show comes to an end with all the models prancing out together. The music gets louder as each girl turns and twists along the catwalk one final time. I glance over at River and see that he and Jagger aren’t even paying attention. They are once again deep in conversation. I kiss his cheek and he slides his mouth to catch the corner of my lips. “Thank you for coming with me,” I whisper to him. “It was really something I’ll never forget.” His breathing picks up speed and he kisses me again. “I’d do anything for you.” And I know he would. His words only serve to bring that butterfly sensation in my stomach back. God I love him.
The music ends and Celeste moves to take the microphone. “Thank you for coming, everyone. Here at Hermès, timelessness is valued and this collection is one of my very favorites. It is a reminder that a woman can have a sense of grace, elegance, and ease, whether it be day or night. Enjoy! And again thank you all.” Applause fills the room as we stand and Jagger’s orange shoelaces capture my attention. I wonder if his mother bestowed those upon him—classic Hermès all the way. River grabs my hand and the three of us make our way outside. We stand near one of the statues in the garden to wait for Celeste. “I love your boots,” I say to Jagger. “Thanks. I’ve had these for years.” He looks at River’s boots, black with black laces. “I didn’t want to be a conformist,” he says kicking River’s toe. River dips his chin toward Jagger’s boots. “So you decided to be a pansy ass instead?” he jokes. Jagger tries to pull River’s head into a vice grip and I shake mine at their antics. They’ve been doing this for days, but as soon as the sound of Celeste clearing her throat fills the air they both straighten. Her eyes shift in amusement from Jagger and River to me. “I really hope you enjoyed the show.” “Very much. I loved it in fact,” I answer and River agrees. I stifle a giggle because I’m not sure he even paid attention. “I’m so glad and there’s more. After you tour the mansion, there is a celebration in honor of the launch the three of you must attend.” Celeste reaches in her purse and hands Jagger an orange ticket and River two. “Really, it’s not to be missed. The parties after a show are always fabulous.” Jagger looks at his mother. “Aren’t you coming with us?” “Oh I am so exhausted. I need to go home. But I beg of you to go. Please go and have fun.” River looks over to me. I know his aunt really wants us to go, so I nod yes even though I’d rather spend our last night in Paris alone. We say our goodbyes to Celeste and take the tour of the mansion. The master bedroom is remarkable—so remarkable that River comments about getting me into the bed. I have to laugh because those were my thoughts exactly.
Once the tour is over Jagger takes us to a private supper club for dinner. The restaurant is amazing and the food is delicious. We drink champagne and talk and before I know it we are in a chauffeured car being whisked off through the streets of Paris to the after-party.
Walking through the front door of Chez Raspoutine gives me a feeling of being transported to another time. Jagger leads the way as we move across the space that was once a bordello. Jagger, seeming to know something about almost everything, told us the history behind this place at dinner, which is now the most popular nightclub among the fashion world elite. It seems, in his time, Prince Edward VII frequented this brothel. He even had his very own room with his coat of arms above the bed. The Prince would bathe with Parisian prostitutes in a giant copper bath filled with champagne and enjoy threesomes in a lavish chair he called his loveseat. Jagger had heard rumors that the seat is still stored somewhere in the building. I’d love to take a photo of it…I’d love to throw River down on it. As River crosses the room with Jagger in the lead, I trail close behind him clutching his hand tightly. After a few moments River stops and turns to place a kiss on my lips before switching places with me, sandwiching me between him and Jagger. When I reach my hand back to grab his he opts to clasp his hands on my hips instead, splaying his fingers in a way that makes my blood rush quickly through every vein in my body. I follow Jagger through the crowd. And as we make our way deeper inside the club, I look around. The swanky interior is unlike anything I have ever seen. I can almost picture what it was like in here so many years ago…clusters of partially dressed harlots clamoring over their visiting gentlemen among curved sofas and cocktail tables. With each step, I become more mesmerized by my surroundings. I imagine sordid secrets being whispered as the lustful past of the architecture comes alive. Dark nooks to my right house booths and a small platform behind each one looks like the perfect place for a private show. I wonder if the curtains close and think that I wouldn’t mind being alone in one with my husband.
Just outside the sitting area is another room. Stained glass panels light the dark ambiance and a red glow blankets everything. This place exudes seduction. The music is a mix of rock and hip-hop and it beats all around us hypnotically. Jagger pauses to allow a group of women to pass and when I lean back against River, I hear him groan. Jagger turns and says he wants to introduce us to his mother’s team. I nod and when he stops again to ask one of the waitresses a question, I reach behind me with both arms and find the pockets of River’s jeans. With my hands inside them, I pull him closer to me.
He nips at my ear and I can feel his warm breath along my neck. “What are you doing?” he asks in a ragged voice. Turning my head, I whisper over his lips. “The same thing you are.” He chuckles. “Game on.” We start moving again. The deeper into the crowd we venture, the louder the music grows. It makes the already lively place seem even more alive. Women wearing the sheerest pieces of clothing from the fashion show serve glasses of champagne on trays and just like the show, it appears that is all they are wearing. When Jagger stops again to talk to one of them, River urges me to keep walking. He adjusts his hold and wraps his arms around my waist, searing my skin with his touch. I’m breathing heavily by the time I reach the center of the room. There’s an effervescent red glow coming from the floor. River moves to stand beside me and we survey the space in front of us where a long rectangular dance floor graces the middle of the room and is lit from underneath. A stunning girl stops directly in front of us but only looks at River. He takes two glasses from her tray and hands me one. I think I’ve had enough to drink already but I decide another glass won’t hurt. With his hand on my ass, he urges me to turn and face him. When I do he says, “To my beautiful wife. This may be the end of our time in Paris, but it’s not the end of our honeymoon by any means.” He raises his glass. “To my smoldering hot husband, may the rest of our lives be an everlasting honeymoon full of fun and games.” I toast him and clink his glass with a grin that mimics his. We both take a sip and he quickly removes my glass from my hand, setting both of ours on a nearby table. And in the next moment, his lips find mine. When we break apart he leads me to the center of the dance floor. We begin to move. I thread my fingers in his hair and he runs his hands up, down, and across my body. Lost in each other, we dance, we kiss, and we touch for the longest time.
“Dahlia,” he whispers with his mouth hovering just over my ear. “Do you have any idea how much I want you?” He presses into me and the moment I feel his arousal, my eyes snap to his. We stare at each other, both of our chests rising and falling rapidly as the music pulses all around us. This silent exchange of words is a declaration of love that sets my blood on fire. When I feel I can finally speak, I manage to say with a ragged breath, “I think I do.” Within moments his hand is clutching the back of my head and my body is flush to his. He crashes his lips to mine and when our mouths connect the passion that is always there between us explodes. His tongue finds mine and I chase his, stroke for stroke. I can hear his groans and it only further serves to excite me. Time suspends, for how long I don’t know as we lose ourselves in each other. When the song changes, I tear my lips from his. Breathless and shaky I lean back and look at him. My pulse is beating wildly. And this time when our eyes lock, I cave. I give in and say it. “Can we go back to the hotel? Now!” He lets out a low, throaty chuckle, and with a devilish grin, he nods. This has always been our game—who can hold out the longest. We test each other’s limits. I’m usually pretty good at it. But here in the city of love I don’t care if I win or lose, as long as I get him. Lacing his fingers in mine, we quickly walk off the dance floor, but just as we cross the threshold Jagger taps River on the shoulder. “River, Dahlia, I’d like you to meet Matthew. He is responsible for all the choreographing of my mother’s shows and is always looking for the latest music. I told him to talk to you. He was hoping you could hook him up.” The corners of River’s mouth drop, but he quickly recovers. Letting go of my hand, he extends his and I do the same. I watch as River discusses the bands we’ve signed. All the while his arm grasps me tightly and as he draws small circles over the chiffon of my blouse, all I can think about is the fact that just a few short minutes ago we were so close to being alone. During a pause in the conversation, I lean over. “I have to use the restroom. I’ll be right back.”
He looks around at the chaos and then his eyes cut to Matthew and Jagger. “Excuse us a moment.” He takes my hand. “Come on. I’ll take you.” “Okay,” I grin and squeeze his fingers. Again, I don’t argue. A few nights ago we were out at a fashion party at the Louvre and I stepped away from a conversation with Celeste to use the restroom. I had gotten caught up in the maze of rooms and before I knew it, River came looking for me. “Don’t disappear like that again,” he told me sternly. I’d bit back any laughter from the tone of his order because I could clearly see worry in his eyes. “I won’t,” I’d assured him kissing away his apprehension. Then I had tugged his hand and we ambled about, stealing kisses in the dark and holding hands, acting like the love-stricken honeymooners we were. We approach the sign that reads salle de bain and see there’s a line around the corner. I stop in my tracks when I see it. “Oh shit. That’s a long line.” “Can you wait until we get back to the hotel?” “No. I drank way too much champagne.” A server crosses our path and River bends to ask her a question that I can’t hear over the music. She smiles and stands on her toes to answer him. He replies. Again I can’t hear anything. He pulls some money out of his wallet and closes it into the palm of her hand. She tucks it into her blouse and points to the large room at the opposite end of the hallway marked vestiaire room. She nods her chin to the burlesque-clad woman behind the desk and we are all greeted with her big smile. “Where are we going? What did she say?” “She said there’s a private bathroom behind the coatroom that you could use.” “That was nice of her.” I have to wonder what else she said to him, but honestly, I really don’t care because I really have to use the bathroom. He shakes his head and grins at me before turning to lead the way. We pass the coatroom and River tips his chin at the heavily made up woman that now looks more like a man up close and he or she smiles at him. We turn the corner onto a long, narrow, darkened hallway. River guides us down it and I stay close, not out of nervousness, but because I want to be close to him. I wrap my arms around his waist and kiss his neck. Then I smile when I see the door that reads toilettes.
Twisting around, he crushes me to the wall and my heart beats wildly beyond control. But his kiss is quick, and before I know it, he’s pulling away. He bends at the waist and whispers, “Mon amour.” My stomach flutters at his words. I put my hand on my heart. “Mon chéri.” He pulls me back to him and runs his hands down the sides of my body. “I love you.” I nip his bottom lip. “I love you more,” I whisper before entering the bathroom. The room is dark until I flick the light on. My body vibrates from our contact and I lean back against the door remembering our encounter this morning. How he pushed me back against the balcony of the penthouse suite and lifted my nightgown. The air was cold but his mouth was so warm against my core, and it felt so good. He flicked his tongue over me, licked me, he slid his fingers deep inside me, and then licked me some more. He brought me to the brink over and over until I begged him to let me come, and only then did he give me relief. I look around me. The bathroom is beautifully decorated in an old Parisian theme. It complements the decor of the club perfectly. And then as I wash my hands, I see it… in the corner. No it couldn’t be…could it? An idea comes to mind and my pulse races from the thought. I quickly prepare myself. Then flicking the light off, I open the door and extend my arm. I curl my finger and invite him in. He enters. “Dahlia, are you okay? Why are the lights off?” “I thought we’d play that little game now.” When I turn the lights on, his mouth drops and he draws in a deep breath at the sight of me. I click the lock and move to stand in front of the loveseat. His lips part as he stares at me standing before him in just my leather corset, garter belts, and boots. “Fuck,” he roars. He moves closer and caresses my breasts, pushed up by the underwire of the cinched corset. I shove him down onto the loveseat with my boot and hover over him. “I don’t really like having my husband surrounded by beautiful women who keep staring at him.” He cups my sex and I shudder. “You know I couldn’t even tell you what one of them looked like.”
Resting my hands on his thighs, I slide my palms up between his legs and feel him twitch. “I know.” He turns to look at what he is sitting on. “Is this…?” I shrug. “I’m not sure, but I really want to try it out.” He clamps his hands to my cheeks and a look of utter seriousness crosses his face. “I’m not sharing you.” I try not to laugh. “I don’t mean the threesome part silly.” My fingers move to the button of his pants. “Do I have to spell it out for you?” A full smile crosses his lips and reveals his dimples. “As a matter of fact there are a few things I wouldn’t mind spelling out for you.” He leans back. “But first let me look at you.” His eyes sweep over me and I watch him closely as he swallows and then licks his lips. My throat suddenly becomes very dry. He trails his fingers up my legs to my core. My heart pounds when he draws the letter o around my slick flesh. “I think I will start here.” As his fingers move over my body, my skin starts to tingle. Suddenly I remember I want to be the seducer, not the seduced. I step back but he reaches out to grab me. “Where are you going?” he says under hooded lids. “Nowhere. But right now it’s your turn.” He chuckles. “My turn?” “Yes. Just relax, I say with a wicked grin. My hands move fast and his zipper is down before the words are even out of my mouth. Shoving his pants down, he springs free. I stare at him, my chest heaving rapidly—and I take a moment just to appreciate the sight before me. Our eyes lock and a silent exchange takes over. I push him back against the cushioned seat and his legs widen. I notice his chest is now moving as fast as mine. I lean down to wrap my hands around him and in the next instant my mouth is on him as well. I position him right where I want him and cage his body. “Fuck,” he groans as his cock hits the back of my throat. I love it when he groans like that. I drop to my knees and my hands move to his thighs and then to his shaft. I alternate stroking and sucking. His hands are in my hair and I know he’s watching me. I can feel it. I draw back to look at his face—a vision of love and lust—and then I take him back in my mouth. When I know he’s close to the brink, I stop and then start again. I bob my head up and down faster and faster. I slide my lips down and allow my teeth to barely scrape his shaft on the way up. My tongue circles his tip and my hands stroke him in the opposite direction of my mouth. He groans so loud when I do that; I do it over and over. I tug his pants all the way down and continue stroking him.
Through gritted teeth he manages, “Dahlia, come here.” But I don’t stop until he pulls me to his lap. Grabbing my breasts, he pinches my nipples through the leather and I have to remember I have plans of my own. I stand up. “Lie back.” That grin he gets when I take control crosses his lips, causing the butterflies in my stomach to flutter. He removes his boots and pants and does as I say. When I sit down, I carefully lower myself on top of him, but instead of facing him, I face the opposite direction. He grabs my hips the minute his cock enters me and guides me in a thrusting motion. When I grind into him, he groans louder than I’ve ever heard him. A surge of euphoria builds within me and I throw my head back and moan as ecstasy takes over. He urges a faster pace and I have to brace my hands on his thighs to keep my balance. Before we left California Bell had slipped a few books into my bag as reading material for the plane ride. After I read a few pages of one of the steamy novels, I thought I might erupt and considered joining the mile high club. But when River pulled one of the self-help books out, he cocked a brow at me. Together we flipped through the pages of The Position Sex Bible. I believe it referred to this position as reverse cowgirl. I laughed when I read about it, but now I think I should read the rest of the book on the plane ride home. “That’s it,” he says to me. I try to keep it up. Try to maintain the pace. But when he reaches around and starts to circle my clit, I’m not sure I can. But then he stops. “Turn around Dahlia. I want to see your face when you come,” he exclaims.
I carefully lift myself off of him and before I can even stand up, I’m on my back with him hovering over me. I wrap my legs around his waist and as soon as he thrusts into me my muscles clench. “Oh God River,” I scream. “Let’s do this together,” he says locking his eyes on mine. The sound of his raspy voice radiates through me and I arch my back and just let go. I feel his muscles tense as he does the same and in unison we both shout, “I love you.” In a beat he collapses on top of me. Then after a few moments he cups my cheeks and kisses me over and over. “That was incredible.” I nod. It was. Then I suddenly remember something. Nipping at his lip, I slip out from under him and reach for my purse that I’d set on the sink vanity. Opening it up, I dangle a pair of soft leather cuffs before him. His mouth drops. “Where did you get those?” I shrug. “In one of the boutiques we were shopping in earlier.” With a glimmer in his eye, he dresses and I do the same. “Come on. What do you say we slip out of here and spend the rest of the night back in the hotel room?” I wink at him in complete agreement. Then I remember our game. “Wait. I ‘showed’, now you have to ‘tell’. What were you thinking about near the elevator this morning?” He pulls me to him. “Do you really want to know?” I look at him quizzically. “Yes. Why is it bad?” He snorts. “No. It’s just not as exciting as your ‘show’.” I shrug. “Spill it.” He takes my hand and kisses my wedding ring and says, “That I’ve never seen anything sexier than you wearing my ring on your finger.” I smile and kiss his band in turn. I know exactly what he means, because I feel the same about him. He takes my hand and leads us toward the exit. And as we make our way out of what used to be Prince Edward’s bordello on our last night in Paris, I look over at my very own prince and know our life together will be filled with infinite possibilities. How could it not be? After all, I have a partner I respect and love, and together we will conquer the world.