Monday, June 30, 2014

A Very Good Life by Lynn Steward


Title:  A Very Good Life
Genre:  Literary Fiction
Author:  Lynn Steward
Website:   www.averygoodlife.com
Publisher:  CreateSpace

About the Book

Although Lynn Steward’s debut novel, A Very Good Life, takes place in 1970s New York City. it has a timelessness to it. Dana McGarry is an "it" girl, living a privileged lifestyle of a well-heeled junior executive at B. Altman, a high end department store. With a storybook husband and a fairytale life, change comes swiftly and unexpectedly. Cracks begin to appear in the perfect facade. Challenged at work by unethical demands, and the growing awareness that her relationship with her distant husband is strained, Dana must deal with the unwanted changes in her life. Can she find her place in the new world where women can have a voice, or will she allow herself to be manipulated into doing things that go against her growing self-confidence?

One Very Good Life chronicles the perils and rewards of Dana’s journey, alongside some of the most legendary women of the twentieth century. From parties at Café des Artistes to the annual Rockefeller Center holiday tree lighting ceremony, from meetings with business icons like Estée Lauder to cocktail receptions with celebrity guests like legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland. Steward’s intimate knowledge of the period creates the perfect backdrop for this riveting story about a woman’s quest for self-fulfillment.


Lynn Steward is a successful business woman who spent many years in New York City’s fashion industry in marketing and merchandising, including the development of the first women’s department at a famous men’s clothing store. Through extensive research, and an intimate knowledge of the period, Steward created the characters and stories for a series of five authentic and heartwarming novels about New York in the seventies. A Very Good Life is the first in the series featuring Dana McGarry.  www.averygoodlife.com




Chapter One

Dana McGarry, her short blond hair stirred by a light gust of wind, stood on Fifth Avenue in front of the display windows of the B. Altman department store on the day after Thanksgiving, November, 1974.  Dana, public relations and special events coordinator for the store, pulled her Brooks Brothers camel hair polo coat tighter around her slim, shapely frame.  Shoppers hurried past her, huddled in overcoats as mild snow flurries coated the streets with a fine white powder.  It was now officially Christmas season, and Dana sensed a pleasant urgency in the air as people rushed to find the perfect gift or simply meet a friend for lunch.  The frenetic pace of life in Manhattan continued to swell the sidewalks, but pedestrians were more inclined to tender a smile instead of a grimace if they bumped into one another.  Dana often told her friends that Christmas was a time when there was a temporary truce between true believers and grinches.  As far as business was concerned, she was pleased to hear the cash registers of B. Altman singing their secular carols inside the store, but she also still believed that the holidays brought magic and balance, however briefly, into a world of routine and ten-hour workdays.   
Balance?  Dana smiled wistfully, for balance was becoming harder to achieve.  She was only twenty-nine, but the pressures of life were already assaulting her mind and spirit in numerous ways.  She tried to please multiple people in B. Altman’s corporate offices on a daily basis, not an easy task given that the seasoned professionals who were grooming her had various agendas, not all of which tallied with each other.  And then there was her marriage to Brett McGarry, a litigator at a Wall Street law firm.  Brett was as busy as she, and simultaneously attending to her career and the needs of her husband was sometimes difficult, if not downright burdensome.  His needs?  Well, “demands” would be a more accurate description of what Dana had to contend with.  Although Brett didn’t overtly order Dana around, he informed her of what he would or would not be able to do with her on any given day.  His growing air of superiority was extremely subtle and couched in affable smiles that most of Dana’s friends could not accurately read.
Dana’s eyes had become unfocused as she stared past the display window, but she quickly snapped her attention back to the present moment.  People, coated with a dusting of light snow, continued to stream through the portico outside B. Altman’s.  Magic and balance still held the better claim on Friday, November 29.  She’d worry about Brett later.
“I think they like it,” commented Andrew Ricci, display director for the store, as he stood to Dana’s left, referring to the happy, animated shoppers. “Good idea, Mark.  Christmas was the right time to bring in live mannequins.”  Andrew, slender and dressed in a gray suit with sweater vest, wiped snowflakes from his salt and pepper hair, wavy and combed straight back.  Even as Andrew said this, a little girl waved both hands, trying to get the attention of one of the Sugar Plum Fairies behind the window, saying over and over, “I saw her blink!  I did! I saw her blink!”

Mark Tepper was the president of the Tepper Display Company, and B. Altman had been a good account for ten years.  “You’re welcome.  I want you guys to look good.  Bloomie’s is just twenty-five blocks away,” said the suave president, dressed in a blue pinstripe suit.  He stood to Dana’s right.  His light brown hair was parted neatly above a broad forehead, and he had intense blue eyes that could capture the slightest nuance.  He was of average height, in good physical shape, and his ideas seemed to emanate from a bottomless reservoir of energy.  “You can’t go wrong with a Nutcracker theme.”  Mark stepped back and surveyed the scene.  “Now if I could only figure out a way to make the live mannequins stop blinking,” he said with a grin.
Dana and Andrew laughed at Mark’s quick wit, the result of keen intelligence combined with a sophisticated playfulness.  He could be highly focused without taking himself too seriously.
Andrew rubbed his hands together and exhaled, his breath drifting away in a small cloud of vapor.  “Say, would you two mind coming inside to look at the blueprints for the cosmetic department? I have to make one change.”
Dana, like all B. Altman employees, was energized by the transformation of her beloved store, and being a close friend of Andrew’s, she knew of changes starting with the planning stage. More than a year ago, when Dana first learned that the cosmetic department would be renovated, she thought it might bode well for her idea to add a teen makeup section.
Inside, the store was glowing from Christmas decorations, chandeliers, and red-capped  mercury lamps illuminating counters that curved and zigzagged across the main floor in every direction.  A decorated tree in the center of the main floor rose fifteen feet into the air, a grand focal point for the holiday atmosphere.  Andrew led the group to one of the counters in the existing cosmetic department and unrolled a set of blueprints he’d stored beneath the glass counter.  The trio would be undisturbed since holiday shoppers were buzzing past them on their way to the gift departments, many to see the new million-dollar menswear section that opened the previous month and extended the entire block along 34th Street.  
“We’re aiming for the new department to open the first week of May,” Andrew said, “followed by a black tie gala.”  He poked his index finger onto the center of the blueprints for emphasis.  He then looked up proudly and pointed to a section of the floor where the new cosmetic department would be installed.
“Good placement,” Mark said.  “And nice layout, too.”  Mark usually spoke rapidly and in short sentences.  Insightful, he sized things up quickly and didn’t waste time.  It was another aspect of his confidence that allowed him to act professionally without losing his innate charm.  He also had a knack for including everyone around him in any discussion.
“So what does the public relations and special events coordinator think?” he asked, pivoting to face Dana, sensing she had something to say.
Dana cocked her head slightly while mischievously narrowing her eyes.  “I think we shouldn’t forget that a teen makeup section is just as important as an updated cosmetic department.  Otherwise, why are we bothering to update it in the first place?  Our demographic is getting younger.  Girls today are wearing makeup by the time they’re fourteen.”
Dana turned to Andrew. “What do you think, Mr. Ricci ?
Andrew chuckled at Dana’s use of his surname, which she occasionally did when talking business with her friend and confidante.  Andrew was the quintessential Renaissance man—artist, craftsman, and cook.  He and Dana attended art lectures at the Met, and he had personally taken Dana under his wing to give her what he called “a gay man’s culinary expertise” when her husband announced they were hosting a dinner party for a few of the firm’s partners.  Andrew was not only Dana’s close friend, but he was also a consummate professional in his capacity as display director.  He was a passionate man, at times almost compulsive, but he commanded respect from the refined corporate culture at B. Altman.
Andrew rolled up the blueprints and sighed.  “Good luck trying to persuade Helen.  She’s done a great job with her department, but she’s from the old school—if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  Andrew paused.  “But the fact that Helen isn’t on board isn’t going to stop you, is it?”
Helen Kavanagh was the junior buyer at B. Altman.
Dana shook her head and winked.  “Not for a minute.  I’m an optimist, Andrew.  Besides, it’s Christmas.  I’ve been a good girl, and Santa owes me.”
Mark was clearly enjoying the good-natured exchange.  “Santa naturally wasn’t big at Temple when I was growing up.  No stockings hung by the chimney with care—although I remain an ardent fan of stockings.  That having been said,” Mark continued, “I think—”
The conversation was interrupted by a no-nonsense twenty-something secretary, dark brown hair falling to her shoulder.  “Ms. Savino would like to see you in her office as soon as possible, Ms. McGarry,” she said.  The secretary turned on her heels and promptly disappeared into the busy throng of shoppers without waiting for a response from Dana.
Bea Savino was Dana’s boss and the vice president of sales promotion and marketing.
“She’s new,” Dana commented. “Poor girl—she’s scared to death.  We all were when we started.”
“I still am,” Andrew laughed, “and I don’t even report to her.  Bea can kill you with that look. You know, when her eyes tighten and she peers over her reading glasses—ouch!  But give her a martini, and it’s party time.  Bea’s a moveable feast.”
Dana nodded.   “True enough.  I better see what the indomitable Ms. Savino wants.  Gentlemen, it’s always a pleasure.”
Dana headed to the bank of elevators on the far side of the store, passing a dozen lively conversations that blended into what she regarded as a delightful holiday symphony.  People were spending money—and happy to be spending it.  She envisioned a teen makeup section facilitating that same enthusiastic banter at some point in the future.  
“Dana!”
Dana wheeled around to see Mark hurrying past shoppers, his outstretched arm indicating that he wanted her to pause until he could catch up.
“People just can’t get enough of my infectious optimism,” Dana proclaimed.
“You’re cursed with good genes,” Mark said, stopping a foot from Dana.  “Seriously, the teen makeup section is a smart move.  I think you should ask Helen if she’s been following the incredible success of Biba.”
“I think everybody’s eyes are on London.”
“If not, they should be.  Biba just moved to a seven-story building in Kensington, and the store is attracting a million customers a week.  Teen makeup sure seems to be working for the Brits.  The birds, as the English call young girls, are flocking to the store in droves.”  He paused.  “I’m mixing my metaphors—birds, cattle—but you get the gist.”  
` Dana put her hands on her hips and burst into laughter.
“When was the last time you used the word droves, Mark?”
“Hey, I’ve watched cowboys on TV like anybody else,” he replied with mock defensiveness. “Head ‘em up and move ‘em out.  And that’s what Biba is doing.  The customers are in and out, and most of their wallets are quite a bit lighter when they leave.  That’s the idea, right?”

“Absolutely!”  
“Go get ‘em, tiger,” Mark said, touching the side of Dana’s arm right below her shoulder.  He walked away, turned back with a big smile and a thumbs-up, then disappeared.
Mark’s energy and enthusiasm, as well as his one-minute pep talk, were just what Dana needed to boost her confidence and keep her idea alive.
As Dana neared the far side of the store, she and Helen Kavanagh simultaneously  approached the same elevator.
As always, Helen was impeccably dressed, and her carriage bespoke an elegant, stylish demeanor.  She was in the later years of middle age, but she advanced towards the elevator briskly, her blond hair pulled severely back from her face and secured with an ever-present black velvet ribbon.  Her face expressionless, she glanced at Dana, her pace unchanged.  A signal had clearly been given.  In point of fact, Helen truly admired Dana, but the young events coordinator was in her twenties, and there was a protocol in Helen’s universe that she didn’t believe needed to be articulated.  Respect carried the day, with camaraderie offered in moderation, preferably outside of the workplace.  Dana therefore halted just long enough to allow Helen to slip into the elevator before she followed, the doors closing behind her.  The two women were alone as the elevator ascended to the executive suite of offices on the fifth floor.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained, Dana thought.  Besides, Mark had literally gone out of his way to suggest that she approach Helen.  Mark, of course, could be aggressive and disarming at the same time, so such a feat would naturally be far easier for him to accomplish.  Still, she was quite aware that Mark had her best interests at heart.  It was worth a try.
“Good morning, Helen.”
Helen nodded and smiled thinly.  “Dana.”
“Helen, I was wondering if you shopped Biba when you were in London last month.  They’re pulling in a million customers a week.  A million!”  Dana raised her eyebrows, her clear blue eyes sparkling even in the dim light of the elevator.
Helen tapped a silver ballpoint pen against the brown leather case holding her yellow legal pad.  “Biba,” she said with frustration.  “Biba is filled with non-paying customers who rush in before work to try on free makeup.  Free, Dana.  Are they running a business or having a party?   Try it before you buy it?  I don’t think so.  They’re crazy.  Excuse me—as the British say, they’re quite mad.  They’ll be out of business in a year.”
Dana’s heart skipped a beat, but she wasn’t going to show any nervousness.  Instead, she laughed. “Well, I’m sure you’re right.  Shows what I know!”
It was a self-effacing remark, but Dana knew when to back down.
Helen, who had been facing forward, turned and looked at Dana squarely.  “And don’t even think of taking this to Bea.”
Dana smiled as the elevator door opened, but she said nothing.  
The two women stepped onto the fifth floor, the rooms of which were a facsimile of the 1916 interiors of Benjamin Altman’s Fifth Avenue home.  Dana and Helen walked through the reception area, which was a replica of Altman’s well-known Renaissance room.  Fine art adorned the wood-paneled walls beyond the anteroom, with elaborately carved woodwork accenting the hallways.  The President’s Room was a reproduction of Altman’s personal library, while the Board Room was a faithful rendering of his dining room.  Oriental carpets lay on the polished parquet floor, and Dana never ceased to marvel at the rich interior of the executive suite and its expensive art collection no matter how many times she entered the area.  It had the ambience of a corporate cathedral, and the first time she stepped onto the floor years earlier, she had unconsciously lifted her right hand for a split second, as if to dip her fingers in a holy water font.
Dana and Helen walked in the same direction for fifteen paces until it became obvious that they were both heading for Bea Savino’s office.
“I was told Bea wanted to see me,” Dana stated.
“I’m sure you were,” Helen said flatly.  “But I need to see her first.  That isn’t a problem, is it?”
“No.  Of course not.”
It was another elevator moment.  Dana gave Helen a politically correct smile and stepped back, allowing her to open Bea’s door and slip into the office.
Dana walked up and down the hall, admiring the landscapes hanging on the dark paneling.  Miniature marble sculptures stood on pedestals and library tables with inlaid mother-of-pearl.  She hoped Helen wouldn’t be long since she wanted to get back home, walk her dog, and double-check arrangements for the annual McGarry Christmas party, now only six days away.  It was one o’clock, but if Bea called a special events meeting, Dana’s afternoon would be lost.  She was overseeing the expansion of the adult programs, known as “department-store culture,” and she and Bea were still working out the details for the rollout in January.  B. Altman was a pioneer for such a program, and Dana would be programming three events a week in the Charleston Garden restaurant that seated two hundred.  A smaller third-floor community room was newly renovated for the expanded sessions that included mini-courses in art appreciation, cooking demonstrations, book signings, self-improvement, and current events.
She reversed direction and walked past Bea’s office, noticing that the door was slightly ajar.  She turned around and decided to wait outside Bea’s inner sanctum to make sure Helen wouldn’t slip out unnoticed.  Heart pounding, she stood near the open door and heard Helen expressing dismay.
“You know how I feel about having shoes in my department, Bea.  Can’t you help me convince them to find somewhere else to put this Pappagallo shop?  Shoes belong with shoes.  It just doesn’t work for me.  I don’t want to see them. Period.”
There was clear exasperation in the junior buyer’s voice.
“But it works for Ira and Dawn,” Bea responded calmly, “and they firmly believe in the merchandising potential for this young market.  “Don’t quote me, but I heard Ira’s daughter will be working in the shop this summer.  You gotta get on board, Helen.  Think young.  Think upbeat.”  Her voice rose with sudden enthusiasm.  “Think Biba!”
“Bea, if I hear that name Biba one more time!” Helen interrupted.
Bea ignored her.  “The kids are all drinking espresso, and I’ll probably go down for a cup in the afternoon.”
“What are you talking about?” Helen asked.  “You’re going to—”
“Helen,” Bea slowly responded, “Pappagallo stores have love seats and espresso machines.  It’s that Southern hospitality.  They were introduced in Atlanta.  Anyway, we have no choice.  Remember, Pappagallo is leasing the space.”
There was a noticeable silence inside Bea’s office.
“Breathe deeply, Helen,” Bea advised with a laugh.  “You’re going to hyperventilate.  It’s
not the end of the world.”
“Espresso machine?” Helen repeated. “Love seats? Taking up selling space.  I’m not putting up with this.  Fine.  Then they’ll just have to give me a larger department.  I’m not giving up without getting something in return.”
Dana smiled.  If Ira Neimark, the executive vice president and general merchandise manager of B. Altman, together with his hand-picked vice president and fashion director, Dawn Mello—Helen’s boss—were looking for ways to bring  young people into the store, maybe the teen makeup department wasn’t a lost cause after all.
Helen came flying out the office, brushing past Dana by mere inches as she talked to herself under her breath.  “B. Altman will be out of business before Biba.  It’s all totally absurd.”  She took no notice of the young events coordinator.
Dana moved forward and stood in the doorway.  “You wanted to see me?” she asked. “Yes, Dana.  Come in.”
Bea Savino was a tiny but feisty Italian woman with snow white hair, a chain-smoker with a no-nonsense approach to life and business.  Bea had married five years ago, at the age of forty, and had no children, but she felt compelled to give her adopted young staff reality therapy every chance she could, believing they were too influenced by the soft dress-for-success career articles in fashion magazines.  With Dana, Bea’s mantra was “Toughen up, for God’s sake!”  When Dana had been passed over for an assignment and complained to her boss, Bea merely said, “It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, kiddo.  I didn’t even know you were interested.  Carol was in here every day, begging.  Speak up, Dana.”
Bea lit a cigarette, exhaled a plume of smoke, and laughed.  “I think poor Helen is headed for a stroke.  I saw you standing outside, so I know you heard our exchange.  Ah well.  She’ll get over it.  She’s a tough old broad, God love her.”  Bea shuffled some papers around her desk before finding the folder she was looking for.  Her office was not a model of perfection and order, as were Helen’s and Dana’s.
Dana cringed at the term “broad.”  The expression seemed out of place on the sacrosanct fifth floor, but she merely took a deep breath and remembered that Bea didn’t mince words.  She decided to pitch her idea despite Helen’s warning.
“Bea, since Mr. Neimark and Ms. Mello are interested in the youth market, why can’t we go one step further than the Shop for Pappagallo and add a teen makeup section too?  As I told Helen, Biba is pulling in a million customers a week.”
Bea leaned back in her chair and took another puff of her cigarette.  
“You always tell me to speak up,” Dana said, her voice rising slightly as she shrugged her shoulders.  “So . . . ?”
“It’s not a bad idea,” Bea conceded as she surveyed her cluttered desk, “but it’s not going to happen, at least not now.  One step at a time.  Let Helen adjust to the intrusion of Pappagallo first.  It’s too much at once.”
“But—”
“Go whine to Bob.  I know you two are thick as thieves.  I asked you here to discuss something else.”
Bob Campbell was the store’s vice president and general manager.  He was Dana’s unofficial mentor, a fact that often irritated Bea to no end.  It was she, not Bob, who was the young woman’s immediate boss.
Dana clasped her hands behind her back, squeezing her right fist in frustration.  Was she supposed to toughen up and be vocal or remain silent?  Bea’s mixed messages could be infuriating.  Dana was advocating the same teen strategy that the general merchandise manager and fashion director of the store apparently believed in, and she couldn’t help but think that she was being penalized for her youth.  Or maybe it was because Helen might pitch a fit.  Either way, Andrew had been right: Bea was a moveable feast.
“Bob has chosen the winner for this year’s teen contest.  You’ll announce the results next week at the Sugar Plum Ball.  It’s a favor for a friend of Mr. Campbell.  His friend’s daughter, Kim Sullivan, will be this year’s winner.”  Bea sighed deeply and crushed her cigarette in a large glass ashtray on her desk.  “Have a good weekend, Dana,” Bea said, summarily dismissing the figure standing before her.
Dana was speechless.  The contest involved getting the best and brightest teens to write essays, make brief speeches, and model clothes, and they were down to the five finalists. She’d run the contest for three years, but the idea that the contest was rigged this year—and by Bob Campbell of all people—left Dana dazed and temporarily unable to move.  The Sugar Plum Ball was the annual December benefit for the Children’s Aid Society.  The idea of committing fraud was bad enough, but she would also have to disappoint the girls who would be competing in good faith.  Did such a prestigious charity event have to be marred by dishonesty?
Bea looked up, glasses perched on the end of her nose.  “Is anything the matter, Dana?  You look positively pale.”
“No.  Everything’s fine.” Everything was most decidedly not fine.  Dana had the ear of Bob Campbell, and she would use her access to the general manager to express how odious the idea seemed.  One way or another, she’d find a way to avoid making the contest into a sham.
Feeling manipulated, Dana turned and left Bea’s office.  Her normally fair complexion was red with anger, and her breath came in quick, short bursts.  She marched down to the Writing and Rest Room for Women, a beautifully carpeted room with chairs upholstered in blue velvet.  The mahogany walls and soft lighting made this one of the most elaborate rest areas in any store, and Dana sometimes came here because of the quiet and repose it offered.  Today the room was, not surprisingly, filled with shoppers taking a moment to compose themselves.  She hurried to her office in the General Offices section of the fifth floor, retrieved her purse, and tried to calm down.
Regaining her composure proved impossible, however.  She took a deep breath and decided that she would have no peace for the rest of the day until she spoke with Bob Campbell.  Bea must have been mistaken.  Bob would never rig the yearly teen contest.
Dana got up from her desk, hoping to get a few minutes with the general manager.  She walked back to the executive suite, ready to make her case.



Friday, June 27, 2014

~Release Day Blitz~ Saving Abel by Gina Whitney




Title: Saving Abel (Rocker Series: One)
Author: Gina Whitney
Genre: Erotica BDSM

Blurb:
Abel Gunner, the lead singer of the band Lethal Abel, is what beautiful nightmares are made of. His gritty, melodic rasp threatens to rip your heart out of your chest and leave you gasping for the very breath he robbed you of. His kisses, detonating on impact, leave you ruined. Abel is also a Dom, and his appetite for seduction is legendary and intense. After a chance encounter with Gia, his need to dominate this woman increases tenfold. He wants to consume her, merge with her, and never leave her body.
Abel's emerald eyes touch the deepest part of Gia's soul in a way that terrifies her. She fears he can see her secret. Lies, guilt, and betrayal lay beneath her skin, and she's terrified of being exposed. How will Gia ever begin to explain? She doesn't believe she's worthy of him, and her greatest fear is that her carefully guarded heart will be shattered. However, she finds herself unable to deny this rogue tattooed rocker whose kisses just might ruin her.




Author Bio:

Gina Whitney grew up reading Judy Blume, and Nancy Drew books. She was raised in the town of North Valley Stream, New York(Long Island)and attended community college for fashion design. At 19 she opened a boutique. She recently published her first paranormal romance novel Blood Ties. When she's not writing, she's hanging with family and friends. She shares a home with her wonderful son’s PJ and Drew, and their 200lb Mastiff Hercules. She currently lives in Massapequa, New York. Reading has always been a passion and obsession. You can usually find her typing furiously while shouting obscenities over her latest work. She also enjoys a good laugh, being snarky, espresso, and above all steamy swooning angst filled novels. She's pathologically obsessed with True Blood(Eric ;), Games of Thrones, Borgias, Vampire Diaries and Originals. You can also find her chatting it up with readers on Facebook.


Links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7093718.Gina_Whitney
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ginamwhitney



                                                                             The Dungeon I

On ecru initialed paper the understanding was brutally clear … You’re to be blindfolded and waiting on your knees for your Master. I reread a couple of times, my hands shaking with both fear of the unknown and the excitement of being delivered to the brink of aching pleasure. Man, I was fucked!
Folding the note in half perfectly seaming the edges, I wondered if I was biting off more than I could chew. The fluttering in my stomach mounted to upchuck levels as I picked up the Hermes silk scarf. I gentled it along my cheek before breathing in his alpha scent. Him. My eyes closed of their own accord, heart beating in concert with my pussy.  My clit was charged and primed already with my juices, the inner demonness scratching the surface of my psyche, relentlessly thrashing against confinement.
Twirling around in a sexual dream-state, my eyes took in floor-to-ceiling windows, lush drapes pulled back. Gasping heavily, I held my hand over my heart to keep the fucker in there. Was he planning to take me in the open—voyeur delight?  I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. Then again this was about surrendering. A place my control had no say.
On the left was a free-standing bar, his guitar leaning against it.  Chrystal decanters lined the top. Amber-colored courage called out to my parched throat, begging, needing something to quell the tremors plaguing my body. I couldn’t. Could I?  Or was that breaking the rules? I couldn’t afford to piss him off, nor did I want to. I wanted to please him, to hand over the keys to my soul for him to take up occupancy. I needed to take purchase of the prime piece of real-estate—his heart.
Old demons besieged me with their clever mind tricks, fighting their way to the surface—sneering that I would lose the man I’d come to love because of my deceitful heart. The mother of all motherfucking karma’s was going to bite my ass—hard. I needed to lock these incessant nauseating thoughts where they belonged—behind a door that had no moral key and slam it shut.
Looking to the left, I saw the fire raging in the pastoral-styled fireplace. Above me, the erotic portrait of Abel loomed. In one hand he was holding a set of handcuffs, and in the other a red scarf—the exact red scarf I was now holding in my hand.
Perfect spot! Unbuttoning my pants and blouse, letting them both pool at my feet, I then took off my bra and panties. Flames licked my skin, helping to ease the goose bumps stepping out all over my body. Double-knotting the scarf, I lowered myself to my knees, thankful for the plush carpet. I sent a silent prayer of gratitude upwards—even though God had no place here today. Today, I would be rejoicing, reveling in and partaking of rituals practiced by heathens.
Tempering my breathing, I thought to myself: Namaste. But then the squeak of the door knob stopped all thought—all thinking—sending a shiver down my spine.  His innate maleness seeped into my pores, cocooning my skin in his alpha scent—marking my heart as his. Instantly, my body recognized him. An unwilling groan escaped me as my nether regions clenched in anticipation. He just chuckled.
                                                                        ~~~
"Very good. I see you followed my directions flawlessly. I see that beautiful pussy’s shaved bare for me. This pleases me, Gia. And you will see how much very shortly. But, are you ready for your Master?  If I part your folds, will you be slick and hot for me?" His warm breath tickled my ear.
My mouth opened and closed a few times like a fish out of water, until I finally croaked out, "Um, yes. I, um. I believe so, Abel.”  Christ, why was I reduced to a stuttering adolescent? He was fucking dangerous and hot, that was why! Steeling myself, I needed to woman the fuck up and show him who I really was.
Palming my chin he spoke gruffly. “Love, when we’re in this setting, I am your God, bringer of pleasure and pain.” He released me, clearly awaiting my praises.
“Yes, Sir. I understand perfectly,” I affirmed. My body chilled, knowing the moment he stepped away. The ring of the crystal decanter signaled loudly in the air. Rolling shudders had me clenching—hard. Moments ticked by at a snail’s pace, and I wanted to rip my hair out, my frustration building as he took his time, leaving me in this vulnerable position. He swallowed his drink. Padding back over in my direction, he brought that delicious signature scent of his my way.  It smelled of musk and something wild I couldn’t put my finger on.
“I’m going to taste you now,” he declared. What? Christ on a motherfuckin’ cross! Two thick fingers teased my clit round and round, spreading my silky juices along my seam, preparing me for his invasion. I held my breath. What else could I do?
“You smell like you want to be fucked.” He smiled appreciatively. “Breathe, Gia. Your God would like to sample you. I want to commit your taste to memory. Savor you on my tongue. Swallow your goodness,” he rasped, leaning into my ear. I wanted to scream just do it already. His beard scruffed against my face as he lowered his mouth down to my ear. Every breath, every heartbeat, every swallow, was mine, here. I had a front row seat to an erotic movie I was starring in.
Holding my shoulders firmly with his left hand, he roughly entered my opening. One breath in, one long breath out.  With precision, he inserted two fingers inside me, keeping his thumb on my trigger. I ground against his palm.
“You will not come—yet. Stay still or I’ll stop,” he affirmed.  Well, that did it! I needed release and needed it now. Fuck. Squeezing my eyes tightly, I was thankful for the blind-fold. He had to see how challenging this was for me. With a final stretching thrust he vacated my pussy. Pussy juice permeated the air, releasing another gush of wetness. His sucking sound ended with a loud pop, followed by a growl of approval.
“Taste.” He fisted my hair, driving his fingers into my open mouth.
“Taste how sweet your pussy is?” he queried. I had the perfect opportunity to bring him to his knees. My tongue languidly snaked its way around his fingers, sucking greedily any remaining ambrosia—with my own kickass resounding pop. Umm… I purred my contentment
A seismic roar rumbled its way free from his alpha chest. Oh, he was affected. Breaking dominant control momentarily, he lunged forward, fisting my hair, his tongue forcing my mouth open. Damn this Dom! My lungs fought for air. My hands braced against his muscled chest, alive with the vibrations from the beast tethered within—Abel. Dizziness threatened to take me under. Pulling air into my nose, I took a deep breath. Consuming me from the inside out, he didn’t let up. Apparently, my survival was to be damned. Now I needed to return his kiss. My hands found their way up his neck to his thick hair.  Grabbing a fistful, I pulled. He answered my call with his masterful tongue and gnashing teeth. Needing his cock in my pussy now, I reached for it, feeling its thick steeliness through his jeans. He gently removed my hands.  Disappointed, I lowered my head, taking the opportunity to nourish my blood with oxygen. He forced my hands behind my back. I sat on the back of my knees to steady myself.
“You have to earn that, babe. You haven’t earned my cock yet. And he has a bigger ego then I do.” He chuckled as he stood up, leaving me again. Was he serious? His dick had an ego?
Some shuffling of drawers opening and closing to my left had me turning my head in that direction. My legs tingled with anticipation and lack of activity. I hoped I wasn’t going to be on my knees too much longer. The snap of something caught my immediate attention. Licking my dry lips, swallowing the golf ball-sized knot, I readied myself. Sweet-smelling leather assailed my senses.
Do you know what the Cat o' nine tails is, Gia?” he asked. I had done some googling before this night, so I wouldn’t be ignorant to basic BDSM—knots, whips and positions 101. I had schooled myself quickly.
“Yes, Sir. A traditionally favored whip with nine separate tails,” I qualified. Quirking a smile, I awaited his answer. He replied by running the tails along my breasts … down to my pussy … snapping my clit to attention. Over and over again my body became acquainted with this new form of torture. Legs shaking, I thrust myself to an upright position, hoping this little exercise would stop this embarrassing bodily display of minor earthquakes. No such luck. My body wanted to surrender to its Master. My breathing ratcheted to panic-attack levels. An explosion of epic proportions was near. Whack!—across my behind. Ow! Fuck me!
“Not nearly yet, sweetheart. That nice shade of red on your ass is making me hard as fuck, though,” he countered. Well, that’s not how I really meant it, but that’s exactly what I wanted—right the fuck now. He was turned on. And that turned me on. If his lash marks on my skin did it for him, I thought—then so be it.
“I want to taste you, Master. It’s only fair.” I was practically whining: throw me a fucking bone! This BDSM shit was killing me. I was not a patient person by nature. So I deserved a reward for the restraint I’d been practicing today. The sound of his zipper lowering caught my attention. The lava started to trickle down my legs again.
“Is this what you want, pretty girl?” He stepped up, smearing his pre-come on my lips. I moaned embarrassingly loud.
“Yes! More!” I demanded. He presented his cock to my tongue.  It stroked his piercings. Fuck me.
Expertly I lavished it with my tongue, paying homage to this rock God. Maybe his cock deserved its own zip code? This was a locale I wanted to move to—like, now. Pushing forward I sought his engorged balls. Licking, flickering, and tonguing at break-neck speed to the best of my ability, I made him roar. He ripped the scarf off, freeing my eyes from their prison.
Although my sight was restored, I still couldn’t see clearly. Squinting, I looked up towards his beautiful face—and even through the blurriness, I could tell that it was twisted in agony. He needed release. His eyes sparking with warning, he looked as if his thread-like hold on reality was virtually nonexistent. A sardonic smile wrenched his lips as he continued stroking his cock. Up. Down. Up. Twist. Down. Release. Up. Twist. Down. Release. His left hand squeezed his tightened sack roughly, his eyes glistening. His tongue snaked out to wet his plump lips. His sooty-lashed eyes closed for a moment as he blew out a long breath, battling for control. I gulped—hard. Something sparkly caught my upturned eyes, bringing my gaze back to his sack.
“Like what you see, babe?” He smiled proudly. His tatted cock was a kaleidoscope of vivid colors. The body of the dragon was done in green with the underside in orange scales, the whole length of his cock ending with the dragon’s head on his dick-head. His Apadravya shone brightly against the dragon’s head, looking like it was coming out of its mouth. His Mons provided the backdrop for the wings. He was a work of art I intended to worship fully. I tilted my head awkwardly left, then right. The head of his dick was pierced, and all along the dragon’s scaled underside were generous loops.
“Ya like those frenum loops, babe? Ya like that one through the head, the Apadravya? You’ll be thanking me soon for it.” His toothy smile made me blush at my naiveté. He took my lip-licking as a signal for further instruction in How to Suck Abel’s Cock 101.
“Relax. Open real wide. Get it nice and wet,” he instructed.
Relaxing my gag reflex as per his orders, I readied my throat for his invasion. Not only did I have to worry about his girth, but I had to guard against his hardware as well. My mouth was desert-dry, so I pursed my lips to conjure up enough saliva to get the job done. The wide tip of his cock made its way past my lips, netting a groan from me of appreciation for this male, as I lavished the small beads of pre-come on my tongue, relishing his heady taste. God damn. His hooded eyes caught mine as I acquiesced. I closed my eyes and sucked his head hard with a quick swirl around his Apadravya. I spit into my palm, pumping his cock once. Twice. His throaty groan made my clit swell. I loved his male sounds. I knew I was doing this right. I wanted more. More of him. More of that noise. Widening my mouth even further, I took his cock in deeply, paying close attention to his frenum loops with my tongue. The jingling within my mouth had me shuddering. Up. Down. Twist. Suck. Tongue. Up. Down. Twist. Suck. Gag. Up. Down. Twist. Suck. Gag. His fingers found their home, deeply embedding in my scalp, the pain making my eyes mist. Licking from base to tip, I was on repeat. His eyes bored into me, watching me intently, appreciatively.
So I gave him one final swirling suck, letting my lips pop loudly. Then I tried the impossible:  to swallow him whole. Breathing through my nose, I watched. He watched. I swallowed. The thickness of his cock swelling was all the indication I needed. He was ready to blow—hard. My throat relaxed and opened to accommodate his girth further. Abel hissed and thrusted deeply. Once. Twice. Three times. He growled loudly, face-fucking me into oblivion. Surprising even myself, I swallowed his gift of spicy goodness, humming my appreciation to this deity. Swallowing it down and tongue-sucking his Apadravya, I inwardly smiled as I milked every last drop of elixir.
                                                                        ~~~
With a final groan I fell back and let the fibers of the rug absorb my fatigue. Mentally and physically, I was wiped out. I rubbed my fingers through the filaments, trying desperately to soothe my restless soul. At the moment, I didn’t care where he was or what he was doing. His gentle fingers caressed my cheek. I closed my eyes, savoring his touch.
“Oh babe, we’re not done. Come, I’ll carry you to my bedroom.” He bent down and scooped me up. Swaddled in his arms, I caught the look in his hooded eyes. A few long strides, and we were in his room. He gently laid me on his king-sized bed, then stepped back.
“I’m gonna take a quick shower. Care to join?” He motioned his hand to the bathroom in invitation.
“Nah, I’m good here for now. You go. If I change my mind, I’ll find you.” I smiled sleepily.
He nodded and left through the en-suite. Raising myself up on my forearms, I took in the room. Monochromatic black and white made up a majority of his palate choice, aside from his poppy-red silk shantung comforter. Everything was simple, yet elegant. It was clear that Abel sought the comfort of home and all of his familiar possessions. I guessed life on the road really was lonely.
Cocooning myself in the lush bedding, I concluded there was no better place to be. And no better thing than his scent. Lord above, if I could bottle his essence, I’d be a wealthy chick.  Grabbing his pillow I brought it to my nose, inhaling his heady alpha smell. A groan escaped me, and my clit was beyond engorged: it needed release—again. I needed to steal this pillow.
“Enjoying yourself?” he asked, his smile reaching his eyes. I cursed inwardly. Busted. He reached for my legs and pulled me across the bed. Holy shit. His eyes were alit with mischief. He pulled me until my bottom was at the end of the bed. I laid there naked and began to feel self-conscious. I turned to grab the edge of the comforter.
“Don’t hide your body from me, Gia. Spread your legs for me. I want to see what’s mine. I want to taste your nectar,” he commanded—and I obeyed, spreading my legs.
When he didn’t respond, I grew anxious. There was a mirror on the wall next to the bed and I could see my reflection in it. What a turn-on. Me watching him—us, as his eyes devoured my pussy. He removed his towel from his waist and turned to see me watching tentatively in the mirror. He grabbed hold of his thick cock, stroking and smiling, as he watched me for a good long-ass minute. This was all one big mind fuck—and I was barely holding my own. My blood boiled while I watched his erotic exhibition. Boy, was he ever a showman. He knelt down and seized both my thighs, pulling them back into a V across my chest. The image of us in the mirror was arousing. He pressed his nose along my pussy, inhaling deeply.
“You’ve got such a pretty pussy, Gia. I’m a man starved for this pussy. When I’m done, I’m going to fuck you like the devil. My cock will be everything you’ve wished for, babe.” He winked. Cocky motherfucker. Holding my legs in place, he dove face-first into my pussy, pushing his tongue deep inside me—growling, devouring me whole. The sounds of him sucking, licking, and nipping my pussy made my muscles lock up. I reached for his hair. I needed to touch him. I wanted to hold his head to my pussy until I was good and ready to let go.
“Gia, put your damn hands above your head or I will tie you to the bed,” he growled. I acquiesced. I would have fucking died or killed someone if he had stopped. Oh God, don’t stop.
“God has no place here, babe.” His voice was demonic. Had I just said that aloud? Never lifting his face from his meal, he pushed my knees almost flush against my chest, lathering his face in my juice. Oh, God. His growling, biting, and sucking were sounds I would never forget. He was feral. Possessed. Using two fingers, he starting finger-fucking me as he sucked my clit. My legs shaking with deep vibrations, I started to rock my hips. Twisting the comforter in my hands, I began screaming. But he wouldn’t let up. The rumbling from his chest I barely registered as I floated back down to earth. My eyes now opened to a savage beast, leaning over to bite my inner thing. I yelped in surprise. He stood tall and proud, stoking his long, thick, massive cock, his face still glistening with my come. Nothing registered to this alpha. He had one thing on his mind and that was sinking his gorgeous cock into my soaked pussy.
“You want this cock now, babe?” he asked through gritted teeth.  Still stroking it, he spit in his hand. Fucking hell.
“Please, Abel. I want you now,” I begged. I needed him now.
“Need to hear you say it, babe. Tell me you want me to sink my cock deep in you.” His voice was barely audible.
The grit in his tone had me wanting to grab his dick and fuck myself with it. He was watching me closely, his control threadbare.
“Abel, fuck me with that big gorgeous cock of yours. Grind that piercing over my clit,” I hissed. That did it! He couldn’t wait another minute—neither could I. He teased the entrance with the head. Going agonizingly slow, he paid special attention to my clit with his Apadravya: back and forth, round and round. The pressure mounted. I couldn’t handle another second of the exquisite torture. I leaned forward and grabbed his cock—hard.
“Stop fucking with me, fucker, and fuck me already,” I pleaded. He answered by feeding me his cock—one motherfucking inch at the time.
“I have to loosen you up a bit. I can’t go balls-deep yet. Let me work myself in there. Love my girl greedy for my cock. Gets me harder than fucking stone.” He growled breathlessly. Leaning over me, his eyes hooded, he fed me his delicious, scorching cock. He leaned down over my face, arms positioned on either side of my head. His warm breath hummed in my ear, as his hand reached down to stroke my clit.
“Come on, babe. Open for me,” he rumbled. Thrusting a bit harder and quicker, I felt my body breaking apart for this mythical creature. My eyes closed tightly as I tried to wrap my legs around his waist to lock him in place.
“Not yet, babe. I haven’t worked in my rings yet. I’ll tell you when you need to hang on.” He nipped my ear. I sighed. Fuck, I had thought he was all the way in! Christ, I wasn’t built for this kind of torment. I reached down to his butt cheeks and clamped down with my hands, pulling him deeper inside me. He corkscrewed his ass over and over. I screamed in pleasure.
“That’s it, mama. Scream for me. You’ll be doing a lot more of that,” he exclaimed. Biting my lip to stay in the present and not float away, I took a mental screenshot of the moment. I felt so full, with my walls stretched to accommodate his girth. With each thrust he sank deeper. And I fell a little harder. Yeah, I was fucked. Literally. The sound of my blood pumping through my veins roared in my ears. I couldn’t tell if it was my breathing or his. It was a hodgepodge of ecstatic noises. He placed his hands over mine, pinning them above my head.
“Arch your back for me, babe, and spread those pretty legs nice and wide. I’m going to own this pussy right the fuck now,” he hissed. I did as he asked, completely submitting. After all, this was what he had asked for: total and utter submission.
“That’s it, babe. Offer me that sweet cunt,” he whispered. How did he make my least favorite word sound like a fucking sonnet? I felt so incredible—so alive, our bodies in tune with one another, rutting rhythmically in a crescendo of lust, his frenum rings hitting spots I’d never sensed before. He manipulated my body with expert precision. I regarded his handsome face, relishing this beautiful man on top of me. His eyes bore into me with stealth-precision. Looking directly into my soul, he smiled wickedly, then kissed me deeply. Arrogant prick. Yeah, he knew he was the best ride in town. Fuck me.
Grinding my heels into the mattress to get better leverage, I met him thrust for thrust. He moved his fingers from my clit. With his other hand still pinning my arms above my head, he pushed my right thigh up from under my knee. Just then he hit a whole new angle and I lost it. Screaming his name, I clenched my pussy, squeezing his cock. As he jack-hammered me, I felt his head swell further. He released my hands, rushing to his knees. After a few long strokes of his dick, his hot thick ropes of come painted my tits and stomach. Yeah, he was an artist, all right. His eyes were closed, his mouth parted. His breathing was hurried, his body still. He looked like a fucking God—absolutely stunning. I would never get this image out of my head.
He opened his eyes finally—to see his handiwork, watching me closely. I smiled in post-coital bliss. I was blissed the fuck out. He leaned over and on top of me, kissing me with his full lips, coaxing my mouth open with his talented, wicked tongue, not caring that his come was smeared all over his body. Most men would mind. But he wasn’t most men.  I accepted his kisses with a moan.
He kissed me for a long while until sleep drew me under. I slept without dreams, with just the sensation floating behind my eyelids of colorful pastel swirls. If I had any conscious thought it felt much akin to Alice and the rabbit hole. My body was enveloped in his scent, marking me right down to the bone. I would forever be his—whether he knew it or not. His to control. His to do with as he wished. His to consume, to eat away at my very soul. I was in that deep. My veins ran with his essence, the fuel, the nourishment, my body craved. His melodic gritty voice carried me to the surface of consciousness. It was faint, but it spoke to my heart—awakening me.
I opened my eyes, seeking him out. He was singing an a cappella version of …? What song was that? I knew it wasn’t one of Lethal Abel’s. I listened keenly, searching for any frame of reference. Oh, now I knew!  It was his version of Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse.” His had an edge to it. Nonetheless, it was beautiful.  And more importantly, it was quintessential Abel. He mastered everything he did, on his terms.
Make me your cupid—
Make me your one and only
But don’t make me your enemy, your enemy, your enemy
So you wanna play with magic
Girl, you should know what you’re falling for
Baby, do you dare to do this?
‘Cause I’m coming at you like a dark horse
Are you ready for a perfect storm, a perfect storm?
‘Cause once you’re mine, there’s no going back …
[Listen to OLN’s version of “Dark Horse” here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKVknRFEhpc.]
Oh, God. His version of reality was quickly becoming mine. I laid back down and let his voice pull me back under again, swathing me in his gravelly tones—carrying me to him.