Abigail Swanson’s spirit has been battered, a body left for dead, only to recover to find fear and loneliness. Due to an abusive relationship, she is unable to feel the one thing she longs to have again. She builds a lucrative business specializing in the commodity she can’t afford to experience. Passion.
Sean Drennan traded his fists for a portfolio, but the cost was too great. Now, considered damaged goods, he’s unable to find employment. Desperate to gather some quick cash, he reluctantly agrees to take a job in the field guaranteed to make him sell his soul.
So what does a successful pornography entrepreneur do when her clients are demanding a tattooed hunk and her performers don’t fit the bill? She puts all her trust in an ex-con who has nothing to lose. For one voluptuous, scared woman it’s love at all costs. For one man it’s a new experience he’s more than willing to fight his way into. Can he save her business and her heart at the same time or will his fighting ways leave him cold and lonely yet again?
Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: Exhibitionism/voyeurism, flashback to violence.
“Abigail Swanson, this is Sean Drennan.”
Ron introduced him like it was a legitimate interview, like he wasn’t standing there in the spacious office applying for a job in porn. It felt weird.
“He’s finished the application. We’ll do the rest after he’s done with you.”
Sean extended his hand and was quickly greeted with a sweet smile. An innocent, full pair of lips parted to reveal white teeth beneath. Had he ever seen a sweeter smile? Not one focused in my direction.
She took his hand into her soft grip. “Mr. Drennan, it’s nice to finally meet you. Ron has told me a lot about you.”
He has? Like what, the size of my dick or how many reps I can do on the trap bar?
He knew his hand lingered too long, but God, she was fucking with his head. Abigail Swanson was supposed to be a porno filmmaker, one of those dirty women wearing black latex and carrying a riding crop. A Jenna Jameson or Heidi Fleiss.
The woman standing behind the metal desk was no Jenna and definitely no Heidi. She was apple pie and pompoms. She was the girl who wouldn’t have given him the time of day in high school. She’s a sly-look-and-run-away, just like the woman in the café.
Only ten times hotter.
The long auburn waves hung past her shoulders, and that shirt… Betty Boop, really? And jeans? He wasn’t complaining. They hugged her full curves. He’d been so used to the gym girls he’d forgotten what real women looked like. They looked like Abigail Swanson. Think, dumbass! “Sorry I’m late, Ms. Swanson.” He let her soft skin slide across his palm as she released his hand. The loss was instant.
“It’s all right. The rain was coming down pretty hard. I’m sure the drive took a while. Please.” She motioned to the wingback chair in front of the desk. “Have a seat.”
Sean swiped his gaze over the room. It was decorated like the lobby, only more spacious… and with more plants. He wanted to smile. The air carried a hint of something spicy, exotic. Incense, he concluded when he glanced over to see the ceramic Buddha holding the thin stick. Filmy curls of smoke waved up only to disappear. It was massage-parlor-meets-boardroom.
Ron handed her his application. “I can fax a résumé over.” They both stared at him as if he’d spoken Vulcan. “I mean, if you want it.”
Ron grinned. “And what kind of qualifications would we find on that resume, Sean?”
The guy was fucking with him. He felt like an ass. Of course they didn’t want to hear about his internships and degree qualifications. There was only one requirement for this job, and it sure as hell wasn’t listed under the achievement section on his résumé.
“Right.” Sean decided to shut his mouth and stick to just answering their questions.
“Ron, could you shut the door on your way out?” Abigail’s expression was neutral as she continued to flip through the pages of his application.
“Sure you don’t want any coffee?” Ron asked.
Sean readjusted in the seat. The chair felt too small. “No, thanks.”
Ron left, leaving behind a room full of silence. Sean waited for her to read through the application and drop the bomb that he’d heard so many times before.
“I see you left the fetishes section blank.” She finally looked up at him. Her gaze flitted to the computer screen, then back again. “Is there a reason why?”
Sean wanted to swallow his tongue. That section was on the next-to-last page. That meant she’d already read his answer to the have you ever been in jail question. He’d been incarcerated, and she chose to ask him about his lack of fetishes? He didn’t know what to say. He decided to treat the conversation like one of the million other interviews he’d been on over the last year.
“I don’t have any fetishes, but I’m open to new experiences.” Good answer.
“I see. So you don’t prefer blondes to brunettes. How about voyeurism to exhibitionism?”
What to what? “I like to watch women swim in the nude. Does that count?”
He didn’t smile until she did. Her lips parted like a blossoming rose.
“Of course watching women swim naked would count. It’s rather vanilla, but it counts just as much as a man who enjoys watching a woman smoke a cigar. It’s all relevant to the one with the fantasy. Do you have a preference for skinny women or full-figured women?”
“Men like that, watching women smoke cigars? I have a preference, I guess, but it wouldn’t interfere with me performing my job.”
By the way she ignored his answer, she didn’t seem too happy with his response. “Sure, men and women like a lot of things, even smoking cigars. We’re here to provide a visual experience of their fantasies. Has Ron filled you in on what Fantasy Emporium really is?”
Sean thought about it. No, he hadn’t. All Ron had said was that he had what the company was looking for, and he could make some fast cash doing porn films. He didn’t want to sound like he hadn’t done his research, but he hadn’t done his research. “Yeah. Yes. He told me the company makes pornographic films.”
By the way she lifted her eyebrows, he knew she’d caught him bullshitting. “Come here.” Sean leaned against the edge of the desk as she turned the computer screen so he could see it. Her nimble fingers flew over the keys. Her fingernails weren’t the ones with the white tips. All the women who talked to him had fake fingernails, fake tans, and fake tits too. The chipped pink nail polish made his stomach do something weird.
“This, Mr. Drennan, is Fantasy Emporium.”
Sean pulled his attention to the computer. The lavish colors flowed across the screen. The tabs were gold-colored with intricate scrollwork laced throughout the page.
“It’s a Web site designed for custom pornography. See here?” She moved the cursor over the sign in tab. “First, the client must create an account. After that, they can go to the site and simply sign in and begin their adventure. Everything is kept confidential. They pay with a PayPal account or credit card. The information is secure. My clients can order with the utmost discretion. We have many clients from all over the world.”
He was kicking himself in the ass for not checking out the Web site sooner. The decision to take Ron up on his offer was last minute. He’d gotten the bill for his tuition and made a rash decision. His bank account was almost in the negative, and the tank in his truck was on E. Either he could put gas in the truck to get to the rec center to meet with the guys, or he could eat for the next few days. The tank was now half full, and he drank the last of the milk with the last of the cereal this morning. He hadn’t even thought about checking out the Web site. Just chalk it up to another one of his bonehead moves.
“Okay.” What else was he supposed to say?
Her eyes shot up. “Okay? It’s more than okay.”
So was the color of her eyes. Blue. Not just any blue, but blue like a summer sky. He gave her a sharp nod. She filled in the two slender boxes, and the screen changed. “They can click here to see the cast, or performers, as we call them. Those are the men and women who the client can choose from to star in their videos. The price of the video goes up with each additional performer they pick. Like, here.” She moved the curser over cast and clicked the black mouse.
A new screen popped up. The couple on the business card Ron had given him was on the screen. One side was labeled women and the other men. She slid the mouse, and over a dozen pictures popped up. The women were diverse. Every type of woman was represented right there for the clients to choose from.
“I appreciate that you’ll be able to perform no matter what your preference is, but it makes for a hotter scene if you connect with someone you’re attracted to. So what is your preference?” She asked the question like she wanted to know if he wanted white or wheat.
“Um, I’m not sure if I want to answer that.” You. What the fuck?
“Well, you’d be expected to be with all kinds of women.” She started to pick at the chipped pink fingernail polish. “Or men.”
Hell to the no! “Wait, Ron didn’t say anything about—”
“Calm down, Mr. Drennan. You can turn down any request. If you don’t prefer to be with men, then you simply say no. I will tell you that each job pays the same. Couple sex, I mean, whether you’re with one woman or one man. There’s no higher price for same-sex arrangements. The big bucks come in for group scenes and anal.”
God, was this woman real? She spoke filth with the ease of the businessmen he’d interviewed with. Tax credits versus anal sex. Capital investment versus a blowjob. Abigail Swanson was a businesswoman, plain and simple.
“If we come to an arrangement and you sign a contract with us, I’d like for you to familiarize yourself with the site. You can set up an account. We offer a thirty percent discount to employees.” Sean wanted to laugh but thought better of it. She looked so serious. “There’s a section for toys and supplies. Some of our clients like to order accessories to go along with their videos.”
He leaned back into the chair. “Okay.”
“Now, I see here you…” She flipped through a couple of the pages. Here it comes. The question. Get ready, dickhead, to explain yourself right out of the job again. She continued without looking up from his application. “You listed one of your hobbies as working out.”
Her bright gaze tilted just slightly to take him in. There it was—the familiar look. This woman was no different from the others. He had to give her credit. It had taken her longer than most to give his body the once-over.
“Yeah, I work out about four or five times a week.”
“Uh-huh, and you checked the single box?”
Now she looked at him full-on. “Yes.”
Blink, blink. The dark crescents of her lashes almost reached her pale cheeks. Well, her now blushing cheeks. He might have become a hardened asshole at a young age, but he wasn’t heartless. Not yet anyway. She was embarrassed and so fucking cute. The woman sitting on the other side of the desk might as well have been sitting on the other side of the world. She was way out of his league.
“Do you have any questions for me?”
Was she serious? “What kind of things will I be expected to do? How much money will I get paid? Will my picture be on the Web site like the others? How do I get chosen to do a video?”
She started to fiddle with the edge of the paper. Her once confident stare shifted back to the computer screen, then to some far-off point behind him.
“Um, you’ll only have to take part in the things you’re comfortable with. Your income from each video will range from $500 to $2,000 depending on the scene. And, yes, you will have your picture on the Web site with a small profile of information, your likes and hobbies. Things like that. It makes the client feel like you’re his or her personal actor. They like that.”
Sean sighed. God, the money sounded great.
The sound of Abigail clearing her throat made him look up, “If you’d like, Ron can give you a tour and show you how it works. The interview actually progresses. You were honest on your application, and I appreciated how you tried your best to answer all the questions. I know some of them are a bit out there. Most of the people who come in here put down some interesting answers, but yours seem genuine. So you passed the application section. That’s the first part of the interview process. Since you passed the first part, you get to go on the tour. Then, well…we’ll discuss that part when we get to it.”
“I passed the first part?”
“You sound surprised.” The blush skating across her cheeks glowed like hot embers. Pretty. “Yes, you passed this part of the interview.” She scooted the chair back and walked around the desk.
What did he have to lose? He stood up. “Can I ask you another question?”
She stopped beside him. Sean noticed her cute bright red toenails. The faded jeans fit her snugly in all the right places. Thick thighs, slightly rounded belly. God, he could fall asleep next to that. Whose fucking head are you in? Get your shit together, Drennan!
“Sure,” she said.
“What do most people ask for? I mean, what kind of videos?”
He followed her to the doorway. “Honestly, not as much sex as you’d think. Mostly, they want to see intimacy on the screen. They want that part of the fantasy they lack at home, a glance, that first conversation, the magical moment just before a kiss.”
“Is it mostly women who order that sort of thing?”
Her soft laugh was a soothing massage over his muscles. “Some, but not all. You won’t know who you’re performing for. That information is kept confidential. But, rest assured, when you see your paycheck, you won’t care if you’re acting for the president or a waitress.” She leaned her hip against a tall file cabinet. The gesture emphasized the dip in her waist. “Can I ask you a question?”
He fought the urge to cross his arms over his chest. “Yes.”
“What’s an ex-con doing with a business degree?”
She was to the point. He admired that. The others skated around it like it was cancer, asking about it like it was an apology for the test results. “I got my degree while I was incarcerated. The prison had an outreach program, and I qualified. I had a high school diploma when I went in.”
“And what were you in for?”
He noticed she didn’t step back, didn’t make that slight shuffle of her feet to politely get away from him. She kept her eyes focused on his face. No nonsense. “Fighting. I was involved in illegal fighting and got caught.” Half-truth.
She stuffed her hands in the front pockets of her jeans. The movement pressed her ample breasts together. Were her nipples small and pink or fat and dusky? God, he wanted to find out. It was his turn to shift his stance. Shit, she was sexy and didn’t even know it.
“I didn’t know fighting was illegal.”
“Yeah, the kind of fighting I did is, and I did it for money.” Truth.
“Thank you for your honesty.”
Now he felt like shit. A few months; I can handle anything for a few months. Fuck, I fought my way through hell for five years. I can do two months of this.
“So do you shoot all the scenes here?” He tried to steady his voice as he followed Abigail Swanson, unlikely pornography queen, out of her office.
Abigail felt like her big ass had one of those truck horns attached to it. The moment she decided to step backward, the familiar beep…beep…beep would sound off. Why couldn’t he walk beside her down the hallway? She looked over her shoulder. Yep, Sean Drennan was still there. All tight white dress shirt and perfectly bulging slacks quietly followed behind her sashaying ass.
His beautifully full lips tilted at one corner. Damn if he wasn’t the most luscious thing she’d ever laid eyes on. She’d interviewed quite a few great-looking guys, but none revved her engine like Mr. Drennan. She’d noticed the black ink Ron had been talking about. He’d worn a long-sleeve dress shirt rolled up at the cuffs, just enough to reveal the tips of the dark marks on his forearm. She couldn’t wait to see the rest of the tattoo.
She wasn’t surprised to find that he’d been in jail. He had that look about him. Hardened, jaded, but so handsome—so damn sexy. His tight jaw looked like he’d just shaved. And his dark hair was cropped close to his head. If he hadn’t been in jail, she would’ve sworn he’d just stripped out of fatigues.
Crap, she felt like she had two hot pokers sticking in her butt cheeks. Please don’t jiggle. Please don’t jiggle. If she’d learned anything in this business, there were guys out there who went for curvy girls. Even some of the guys built like Sean admired a fuller figurer. Yep, desire came in all sizes and shapes. Sean would have to be filed away in her brain under the naughty fantasy tab.
She glanced back again. The chocolate brown irises behind her lifted. He was checking out my butt! The thought made her brain almost forget that the slight flirtation couldn’t go any further. Not only because he was a potential employee… The other reason made her stomach sink and her hands shake. What if Justin found her again? The thought was unbearable.
“Um, if you go through there, Ron will take you through the warehouse and explain the process of how we film and get a scene ready. We have several sets and even do a lot of work outside the studio. Carl, he’s one of our cameramen, is a retired marine, and we use his cabin for some of the shoots. Janice, she does costumes, we use her apartment, and Ron’s boyfriend has a gorgeous house with a bathroom the size of Atlanta. A lot of people request bathroom scenes.”
She was impressed. He wasn’t rattled when she’d mentioned Ron’s boyfriend. Had Ron already told Sean he was gay?
Abigail stepped closer. The scent of something woodsy and spicy wafted over her, making her knees weaken. “I thought you’d be taller.”
He blessed her with a wicked smile. “Yeah? Am I too short for the job?”
She rose up on her tiptoes. He was still taller than her. But then again, everybody was. “Not at all. I guess those fighters on that TV show aren’t very tall either.”
The smile on his face melted. Had she said something wrong?
“By those fighters I assume you mean the mixed martial arts fighters?”
Her tiptoes deflated. “Um, yeah, I guessed that’s what you meant by illegal fighting. Wasn’t that type of fighting illegal at one time? My brother’s obsessed with those pay-per-views. I think he said it was banned in some countries or something.”
“Some forms of it still are.” His stern tone made her feel off balance; everything about the guy was sending her senses into overdrive. She was surprised she didn’t fall right over. She stepped back.
“Is…is that the type of fighting you did?” Justin’s fighting was illegal too. No one but her knew about it, but he fought with her constantly. He’d pick fights about the new drapes she’d ordered or what she’d made for dinner, any excuse to lay a hand on her.
Sean folded his thick arms over his even thicker chest. “Yes.”
Illegal fighting, drop subject. Bury it, under a rock, under a pyramid. Got it. She spun around. “Ron’s right through there.”
Ron stepped through the open door. “Hey, man, you ready to see how this circus works?”
Her belly did a funny flip-flop when Sean stopped at the doorway and looked back at her. “I think so.”
She watched Sean follow Ron into the main studio, telling herself it wasn’t because his ass looked tight and high in those black slacks. And he did fit the profile perfectly. The order specifically stated, “Guy like in Marky Mark underwear ad only with big tattoo all over arm.” Sean fit that bill and more. His handsome face was blessed with a dangerously sexy smile. Not that he’d let her see it all that much. It was a plus that he didn’t act like an ass. Usually, men who looked like he did were conceited jerks. Anyway, he’d get a physical and lab work done. Then after all the formalities, she could hire the sexy fighter.
The final test would be the real deciding factor. Please, dear God, be able to pass the final test. I can’t wait to see him try. Abigail went to grab a cup of coffee and wait impatiently in the blue room.
Hi Erzabet. I want to thank you for inviting me to chat today. I look forward to hearing from your readers and hope everyone has a great afternoon!
1. When did you know you wanted to write erotica?
I started writing erotica almost four years ago. I began writing paranormal/horror type novellas when I was younger and very Poe-esque short stories and poems. Erotica snuck up on me one evening when I was blindly sitting in front of my old-style typewriter letting a stream of conciousness seep onto the pages. The words just started flying from my fingertips and the story evolved. It was a BDSM, very dark, but eventually the characters found their happily ever afters. That original work has since been re-worked and will be my second release for Loose-Id.
2. Writing about rape and domestic violence has to be tough. What lead to you to this story line?
Outside of writing, I'm a woman's health nurse. Over the years I've witnessed every scenario of domestic violence you could imagine. I feel that silence is the death of hope and if we don't bring these issues to light, these women have no voice.
3. Abigail is such a diverse character. She is the typical woman next door, only she runs a porn video empire. Tell us how that idea came to fruition.
I'd researched the adult film industry for quite some time. I was compiling material for another project when I found a male adult film star who was willing to answer my questions. He was able to give me the in's and out's of the business. Pornography companies are mostly headed by men. The fastest growing demographic of people purchasing and downloading adult content is women. I thought, wouldn't it be interesting if a woman was running the show? And...wouldn't it be interesting if a person could have made-to-order adult films? Abigail was a woman who had lost all the power and control in her life. I thought it would be a perfect marriage of conflict for her to gain back a part of that control in a profession that many believe objectifies women. She became very successful and quite wealthy in a career where most women are the actresses and not the ones signing the checks.
4. Tell us about the first erotic scene you ever had to write. How tough was it to write about what everyone was doing and where things were going.
I received great advice from a seasoned writer. She told me to approach sex scenes the same way I would an action scene. It's very important to know where every body part is going. To be honest it's like writing a dance sequence. If one person does something, the other has to have a physical and emotional response. Writing sex scenes isn't my favorite part of writing. I really like to delve into the erotic tension leading up to those scenes. I love the romance and emotional involvement of the characters as they approach the physical expression of how they are feeling. The first erotic scene I ever wrote came about through a funny situation. I was working as a customer service agent for a music distributor. One of my co-workers was trying to write his girlfriend a letter for their anniversary. In his frustration, he let me read the sappy letter. I told him it was all wrong and then proceeded to pen a letter she'd really want to read. It was my first
erotic scene staring my co-worker and his girlfriend. I promised him the dialogue would be everything she'd want to hear. He came to me later that week to thank me for writing the great letter. He said his girlfriend went wild and from the look on his face, their anniversary night went pretty wild too!
5. What is the one thing you want reader to get from your books?
Confidence! I write full-figured, curvy heroines and I want every woman who reads my books to leave the last page feeling sexy and worthy of mind-blowing sensual loving. Curvy gals deserve to find their happily ever afters too and my books let all women know that they are sexy, mysterious creatures and are worthy of a hot hunk worshiping their lush form.
6. Tell us about some of your hobbies when you are not crafting amazing books!
I am addicted to music. I love searching the net and itunes for interesting new songs. I'm also a huge fan of Mad Men. You can always find me curled up watching reruns. I also love to cook. I'm no Paula or Rachel, but I do love to throw dinner parties.
7. What are some of your favorite books?
I have five books that sit in my writing desk drawer. They've been with me since I turned eighteen and they are my bibles. The pages are all marked with comments I've left over the years. Alice in Wonderland/Alice Through the Looking Glass, The Story of O, The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty's Punishment, and Beauty's Release.
8. Erotica is becoming more acceptable with the huge craze of 50 Shades. What is your take on it?
Funny you should ask that question. Just today I was strolling through Wal-Mart gathering some things. It's Tuesday, so I checked the bookshelves for new releases. The 50 Shades Trilogy was lined up neatly on the bottom shelf. My eyes roamed skyward and my I almost swallowed my tongue. There, on the top shelf, were the Beauty books all lined up! Now, of course the covers had been changed to mimic the Shades covers, but I was stunned all the same. Talk about two extremes of the genre. It worried me. I'm all for the Shades publicity opening the door for people to discover the erotic romance genre, but what a leap! Shades is quite vanilla when it comes to the BDSM genre. Beauty is, well...dildos with horse tails in the bum. I'm afraid that the readers who enjoyed Shades might not be quite ready for the hardcore Beauty series. I'm hoping that doesn't turn off the readers to other great authors who have an eloquent way of penning this complex genre. I'm
excited that the hype is trickling down for the other erotic writers. It's opened many readers to purchasing books that they might not have in the past. It's a woman's world and our time has come to demand sensual content in what we choose to read and not be ashamed for wanting to read it.
9. What one piece of advice would you give someone who wanted to write erotica?
Write! Read Stephen King's book On Writing. And write. Write. Write. If it doesn't hit the page, it doesn't exist. Erotica is a special animal because our readers are demanding more. They want something tangible from the books they read. They want to physically feel the characters heat and at the same time have an emotional stake in their plight. Let's be honest. Our readers are buying our books to get a tingle if you know what I mean. It takes all five senses all the time to draw the reader in, give her/him a fantasy thrill, and make them feel satisfied in the end. Well written erotic romance weaves an emotional commitment between the reader and the characters. If the reader wanted a simple turn on, they could easily download an adult film. An erotic romance book is different. When we read a novel we fall in love just like the heroine and we struggle along with the hero. A good writer learns crafting through character and plot arcs and develops his/her
voice. The writer's voice is the soul of the book. No voice. No book.
10. What is your current writing project?
My current work in progress is Surrendering Lily. It's set in the South. Lily is a submissive who knows her time with her loving Dom is limited. Tony wants out. He's tired and knows he'll never be able to be the man Lily needs. Tony thinks he's found his replacement for Lily. The story follows their journey as Lily learns to accept Adam and Tony learns to let go. It's a domestic discipline novel that will be released by Loose-Id.
You can contact me on my website at http://www.paulineallan.com/ or email me at email@example.com
Thanks Pauline for stopping by!
What I Liked:
This book handles the topic of domestic violence with an artful pen. Abby is a curvy girl with some body issues. She also has scars that are both on the outside and inside. When bad boy Sean comes in to apply for a job in her porn video business, she begins to lust after him and her finely constructed walls begin to crumble. Sean has his own demons, and is trying to find his way back into the world after being in prison for killing a man while fighting. Together they can face anything. Even Abby's ex who has a score to settle.
What I Didn't:
Not a thing.
This story delves into some pretty tough subjects. (Rape, attempted murder, loss of a child) Abby has some weight issues and even more with the scars from when her ex tried to kill her. Hiding behind the scenes in her porn video empire has kept her financially solvent and out of harm's way, but when she meets Sean, all bets are off. Watching isn't enough anymore. She needs to feel him under her hands and on her skin. Sean needs her right back.
This book was an erotic journey into healing and letting love find you, no matter what you have been handed in life.