Today was my day of the week to blog. While that topic was all about 'Jumping the Shark', and I'm more than glad to add a link at the end, this one is about Ink Master, my Ellora's Cave Taboo release that came out a few months ago. Since then, Playing Doctor released from EC Spectrum, before Ink Master came Field of Play and Quarterback Blitz. All books, including those with Ellora's Cave Blush, are currently available through Ellora's Cave, Amazon.com, B&N.com, ARe, Sony and various ebook vendors. Quarterback Blitz is available in ebook and print, ditto for Seductive Persuasion and Rhiannon's Pride, each with EC Blush.
I thought it would be fun to give a little nod to the books that came before Playing Doctor. One of my favorite heroes, Phalen Maddox, who was first introduced in Quarterback Blitz as a secondary character, rapidly became the focus of Ink Master. Phalen's a former Army Airborne Ranger turned PI and tattoo shop owner. He's big, badass, ultra Alpha and one hundred percent Dominant, but what he's not is abusive, cruel, or mean. Though a darkness surrounds him due to the horrors of war and the loss of his parents when he was in college, Phalen has a deeply ingrained sense of honor and has taught his younger brothers, Ethan and Taran, everything he's learned about the BDSM lifestyle. His heroine, Cassandra Williams, or Cassie, is a submissive-in-denial and their businesses reside side by side in Salem, MA.
So without further ado, here's a glimpse into Ink Master. Enjoy!
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An Excerpt From: INK MASTER
Copyright © FRANCES STOCKTON, 2011
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
5:00 a.m. Book Haven
The first step on my path to submission was acceptance. I’m a professional woman and have responsibilities I’ve worked hard to achieve. There was no way in hell I would willingly submit to a man, much less let him bind me to his will and lead me on a sensual journey few can understand. But that was before I met Master and my body knew before my heart that he was destined to make me fly.
Under his domination, I became a powerful woman. Under his control, I flew. And when I accepted his collar, I did so with the power of love…
Cassie Williams pushed her glasses back into place on her nose and tucked her sister’s journal into the pocket of her apron. Fiddling with the coffee machine, she poured fresh Columbian beans into the grinder while trying to reason out how a financial adviser on her way to being the CFO for a big shot corporation could be something totally different in private.
Allie had been a submissive in a D/s relationship, something her family kept secret.
Even as Cassie filled the water basin, she recognized something in herself. She and Allie may not have been identical twins, but her sister’s prophetic words made her wonder if she’d ever know what it was like to fly beneath the skill of a Dom’s hand.
“Morning, sweetheart, saw your car parked out back and thought I’d check in.” Phalen’s
Waiting for the coffee to begin brewing, she answered, “Hey, Phalen, been awhile since you walked through my door.”
“I’m sorry I was gone so long. Had my brothers keeping an eye on things around here,” he said. “Any chance I can get a mocha latte before the breakfast crew gets in?”
In an instant, Cassie’s panties were damp. The smell of Irish Spring tickled her nose. Phalen Maddox was her darkest fantasy come to life. But damn it, her fantasies scared her sometimes.
“Sure, it’ll just take me a sec.” Turning around, she found Phalen sitting in his seat at the counter.
As always, her heart skipped a beat. Her clit pulsed in recognition of a sexy primal male who could do amazing things with his hands and tongue if they ever got horizontal. Refusing to let him know how much she wanted him, she shoved the glasses up her nose as a show of indifference.
Phalen didn’t just sit at the counter. He commanded center stage, even though all he did was offer his gigantic coffee mug and a charming devil-may-care smile.
Pulling herself together, she went to grab the mug. He caught her wrist first, holding her absolutely still. “What’s going on, babe? You were a million miles away when I walked in. The door wasn’t locked. Not a good idea when you’re here by yourself.”
Every nerve-ending beneath her skin fired in delight at the way Phalen’s hand wrapped around her wrist. His grip was strong. His fingers were calloused from years of martial arts training in Jujitsu, Kung Fu and Judo. Recently, he’d joined the Taekwondo dojo on their block and was mastering that too. There was no force. But to pull back right then wasn’t an option.
“Wow, two nicknames in less than a minute,” she said, slowly lifting her eyes from his long fingers to his face. “At least you stopped calling me darlin’.”
He called every woman that. Now women who came into the diner frequently asked for the hot blond guy with the scrumptious body and wicked charm. Granted, he was ripped. If there was an ounce of fat on him, she’d eat his Sox cap.
“Answer the question,” he insisted. Normally, she’d have thought eyes the color of melted pewter would be cold. No. His gaze made her hot from head to toe.
“Nothing’s going on.”
“Ah huh, then you weren’t daydreaming about Donatelli?” Changing his hold on her wrist, Phalen kept his eyes on her. “Ethan told me he saw you getting cozy with him on TV last Sunday.”
“This little show of dominance is about Michael? Need I remind you we’re never been on a date? Or did you suddenly appoint yourself my Master while you were gallivanting around
“I’m not interested in any woman but you. When you’re ready, I’ll be your Master, Cassandra Williams,” Phalen declared. Already turned-on, she creamed her panties. “You need to stop going out with him. Or I’ll take issue with it.”
“What will you do? Tie me up like a pretzel and flog me into orgasm? I don’t think so,” she scoffed, refusing to let him know there was a very real part of her that wanted him to tie her up like a pretzel.
“No pretzel twists. No flogger to redden that fine ass of yours, much as you’d like it. I’ll put a chastity belt on you and keep you from coming at all.”
“You wouldn’t dare. That’s barbaric.”
Phalen squeezed enough to keep her attention, his gray eyes boring into hers, one brow raised. She knew if she simply backed up, he’d release her. Choosing to stay was far more thrilling.
“Test me on it, Cassie. See how long I’ll forbid you to fuck if you date him again.”
“For your information, I haven’t had sex in so long I’ve forgotten what it feels like. There’s no reason to worry about who I’m dating or not.”
“That’s good. I don’t share. When I fuck you, you’ll never go back to your vanilla boyfriends.”
Did he have to be so damn gorgeous when he said he was going to fuck her? It was difficult enough dealing with a man as confident as he was. Phalen had chiseled movie star looks, extreme height at six foot six, incredible long blond hair which he kept tied in a ponytail, gorgeous eyes a woman could melt into, a strong chin and muscles that screamed former Army Airborne Ranger.
She loved when he wore his faded Boston Red Sox cap, it was such a part of him she couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen him without it. That had been more than six months ago, when they’d opened their businesses within the same week. They’d flirted and danced around each other since.
Yet they’d never gone on a date or kissed. Phalen had learned how her sister died and backed off so far he’d almost dropped off the planet.
“Phalen, if you let go, I can make your latte,” Cassie suggested, letting him decide when to release her.
“Promise you won’t see him anymore.” He loosened his fingers, using the edge of his blunt fingernail to smooth the pulse in her wrist.
She shook her head. “I can’t promise not to see him. Having a state senator as part of my father’s congregation is a huge deal. My parents and his have known each other forever. Sometimes we cross paths when I go to church. But I’m not dating Michael Donatelli. He’s been dating someone for a couple years anyway. What’s the problem?”
Phalen smiled, sending her heartbeat into overdrive when he flashed his pearly whites. It wasn’t that his teeth were perfectly straight that got her. In fact, his canines reminded her of a wolf’s and one incisor was crooked. It didn’t matter. He was sexy as hell. “Thank God I don’t have to pulverize the slimy bastard.”
“You believe me?”
“Of course,” he answered, releasing her wrist. “I don’t like the guy. His TV commercials drove me bat-shit crazy last November. You know that.”
“You think he’s a conservative bore,” Cassie said, reluctantly stepping back. Now that he’d let go, she missed the strength of his hand restraining her.
“Donatelli is an asshole. Never said he was a bore. That’s on you.”
Phalen was right. Michael was boring. And so damn uptight at times that she’d wanted to ruffle his feathers by telling him who she’d voted for. She didn’t though. Her father would have a cow if she openly admitted she was a Democrat to the right wing politician. She was twenty-nine, for goodness sake. She shouldn’t have to hide what she was from anyone.
“Can I get that latte now?”
“Sure. My breakfast crew should be coming in soon if you want something to eat.”
“I ate already, thank you. Any chance you’d like to come over and pick a tat over lunch?” he asked when she turned away to play barista.
“I don’t think I’m ready for a tattoo.” She’d been contemplating getting one for months. The pain involved kept her at bay. “Maybe I’ll get one for my birthday in April.”
“How about I design something for you?”
“That’d be nice.”
Cassie loved coffee and books. Miraculously, she’d found this old diner up for sale nine months ago. She’d been saving her money while working at a coffee shop since she was in high school, had sound investments, was gifted with a nice inheritance from her grandparents’ estate and borrowed a small business loan from her parents, which she was still paying off.
Her cooks and wait-staff served diner-style dishes while customers read or worked on their computers. There were eight vintage booths, ten tables and a counter that could seat eight in the front. The tables and booths had small music boxes, each connected with a digital jukebox to the right of the counter near the restrooms.
Customers had to walk through an archway to get to the store, where she offered magazines, newspapers and gifts such as coffee mugs designed by local artists and jewelry.
Since it was in
“Cassie?” Phalen called out again, putting more push to his voice.
Loving the way he sounded right then, she looked back. He was still in his seat. His eyes were trained on her hair. “Yes?”
“You said maybe about getting ink,” he pointed out. “Not long ago, you said ‘no way in hell’. What’s changed?”
“The idea that getting a tattoo from you doesn’t seem so painful anymore.”
“The degree of pain changes, depending on where you want the work done. Endorphins kick in to help your body deal with the discomfort, sweetheart. For some, it’s very addictive.”
“My answer stays the same. I’m not ready yet.”
Below is a link to Ink Master from Ellora's Cave Taboo.
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