Jetta Rivers has inherited half a house. Big problem: she has to share it with co-owner Anton Haviland, and her past has left her terrified of men.
Gorgeous Anton is a confident sexy architect, and he might be exactly who Jetta needs to put her crippling fear to rest. But can she allow him close enough? And would he even want to try?
A midnight disaster leaves her no option when he drags her off to the only bed left in the now-damaged house. She’s appalled to find how much she craves the man who plans to smash her inheritance to pieces, and Anton’s equally shocked when his sharp-tempered housemate attempts to seduce him.
WARNING: Contains one ambitious man with a tender heart and a body to die for. And one unlikely temptress with an ancient copy of The Joy of Sex.
Erotica and the new craze
New? Really? Humans have enjoyed sex since time immemorial. And some have always wanted to indulge more than others...experiment more than others...stretch the boundaries into previously ‘forbidden’ territory.
Pompeii’s excavations reveal how open the citizens were about sex. Cocks and balls are carved into the paving – pointing the way to the local brothels. Inside, the walls feature all sorts of erotic encouragement.
Fast-forward to 2012. We’re way past the ‘shocking’ titillation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, 1929, and the racy Angelique novels - one of which I discovered at home as a child and thoroughly embarrassed my father with.
The big revolution has come with the internet and e-readers. Thinking I might be a bit out of date on sex-toy details for a recent book, I went exploring the sales sites. There I was led from purple plastic triple-vibrators to electrical contraptions for a man to strap his cock into for shockingly intense (?) ejaculations, to a video of the ejaculation happening... wow! Writers can now produce very detailed sexy books without ever losing their virginity – not that I think that sounds like fun. And anyway, it’s the accompanying emotions and the quality of the writing, far more than the ‘push A into B’ passages that makes for an enjoyable read. (Yes – I did use ‘passages’ on purpose – sorry.)
And so we come to e-readers, which show no lurid book covers to give away what you’re reading. It’s possible to sit on public transport enjoying Christian Grey (oh my) doing whatever he fancies to Ana Steele. Fifty Shades of Grey has become the fastest-selling paperback of all time – wiping Harry Potter out of that position. Ironic really – we’ve gone from innocent kids to sex-starved adults in the blink of an eye.
British author E. L. James has really hit the jackpot money-wise, and of course everyone has an opinion. (Mine? Loved all three books but was itching to edit them most severely.) Anyone who can half-pie write is trying their luck at something the same. Anyone who can’t has added a disapproving review, and the moralists are having a field-day.
“Mommy-porn,” snapped my sister.
“Have you read it?” I asked.
“No – and I won’t be,” she assured me. A couple of my friends have the same blinkered attitude. Weird. All of which goes to show it’s a storm in a teacup, and those who want to indulge will, and those who don’t, won’t.
And so we come to OUT OF BOUNDS. How far out of bounds is it? My sister would disapprove, and my dad would have loved it! I hope you do, too. Like all my novels, my hero and heroine enjoy themselves in bed, and my readers tell me they’ll be back for the next one.
Here’s a taste – where Jetta comes back from her girls night out and finds she’s not alone in the house.
She crept across and peered through the narrow gap by the door hinges. On the bed was... an almost naked man. Making snuffly, sleepy noises.
Every hair on her body slammed upright. Every nerve pinged to full alert.
She tried to get a better view through the small space. He sprawled out as though he owned the place.
She sharpened her attention even further. One arm lay flung out to the side, and the other shielded his eyes from the streetlamp.
It had to be Anton.
Even though she couldn’t see his face, she could see plenty else. He was bare-chested, long-legged, male, and terrifying.
She dropped the keys and clapped a hand across her mouth to keep herself silent. Violent trembles raced up and down her spine. Her knees did their jellifying act again, but this time she had no handy chair to drop onto. She sagged against the doorframe instead, eyes tightly closed, trying not to vomit up the movie popcorn and her white wine and the mouthful of delicious cake.
Would she ever, ever, ever conquer the fear?
For maybe sixty seconds she remained cowed and terrified, eyes averted, clutching the woodwork.
Breathe in. Deep and slow. Breathe out. All the way, just like Doctor Julia Menzies taught you.
Out. There’s nothing to be scared of.
It’s not Uncle Graham. You’re not nine years old.
It’s Anton. He’s not going to touch you, not going to hurt you. Breathe in. Breathe deep. Relax your fingers.
Let go of the doorframe. It’s not Uncle Graham.
Gradually, gradually, the frantic hammering of her heart slowed until it was down to an uneven and throat-filling thump.
Slowly the nausea passed, and she regained control of her stomach.
One hand continued to hold the doorframe in a vise like grip, but the other relaxed enough to scrub over her sweat-beaded face. Her fingers still trembled, vibrating against her skin as she rubbed at the nervous wetness that had sprung out across her forehead...over her top lip...on the back of her neck.
Not Uncle Graham. Not Uncle Graham.
She wobbled down to a crouch and retrieved the keys from the carpet, fingers numb and fumbly. Did she dare to lock herself in with him? She walked the few steps to the front door, tried the wrong key first, sliding it into the lock, and then finding it wouldn’t turn. Cursing under her breath, she pulled it out and inserted the next. The bolt moved into place. Now no-one from outside could get in—but could she make a dash out to safety if she needed to? She hoped she could.
She retraced her steps to the bedroom doorway.
Heard deep regular breathing, and then a small snore.
He’s sound asleep. You’re safe.
Another small breathy snore. More like the whicker of a horse, really. Her lips curved up into a smile, even though she still felt very far from calm.
Had he been so tired after all his work that he’d needed to crash? And wouldn’t he get cold wearing so little?
Jetta slipped off her tall shoes, picked them up, and padded along the hallway to her room. She swapped the stilettos for a pair of old sandals, twitched her favorite mohair blanket from the wardrobe shelf, and took a couple of slow deep breaths for bravery.
At least two more minutes passed before she dared creep right in to the front bedroom. He was quiet again now—still lying in exactly the same position. His feet were flat on the floor. Big feet in old sports shoes. No socks that she could see. Had he been sitting on the end of the bed and collapsed sleepily backward?
His long thighs were meatier than she’d expected for such a tall man, but maybe it was because they were pressing down against the mattress? They looked strong and streamlined, and in the moonlight she could see the faint haze of hair covering them.
Perhaps if she could bear to be as close as this tonight she might manage to overcome her fear. Some day.
Flicky panic waves tweaked at her nerves, calling her a coward, an inadequate woman, a cry-baby.
Uncle Graham had called her a cry-baby.
She stood statue-still, fighting her old terrors. She had never been so close to a semi-clad man. Not on her own.
She could manage being part of a group at the beach or pool where friends acted as the buffer she needed. Where she could edge away if she got too uncomfortable.
She was fine at dinner parties. Or at movie outings when there were at least two couples. Unbothered at work, even when visiting a male client at his home for a design consultation. That was business, and let’s face it, he was often gay if there was no wife present.
This was not business. This was as personal as it got.
A bed, a man, and way past midnight.
A big handsome man who was sound asleep. Who didn’t know she was there, wanting so much to look, and to learn, and to test herself.
She shook the blanket out and stepped closer.
He had shorts on. Proper outdoor shorts, not underwear, she saw with relief. And although the fabric bulged at his groin, it was nothing like the shocking big lump that used to stick out in Uncle Graham’s trousers.
Jetta knew what went on in men’s trousers, and she was careful never to put herself in the situation where a terrifying lump might rear up.
So far, so good. She advanced a cautious half pace and let the blanket settle beside him on the bed. If he woke she had her excuse right there. But he continued to breathe deeply and slowly. His chest rose and fell, and the deeper breaths sometimes made his belly rise, too. His long, flat, smooth, golden belly.
Suddenly she wanted to touch. Wanted to know how warm he’d feel. How smooth and firm. How nice. He was so much nicer than Uncle Graham; the small hot ripples of pleasure between her thighs made that abundantly clear.
The memory of the morning returned. She stood in front of the drawing board with him, aware of herself as a woman—confused but strangely thrilled. She bit her lip. Her mouth was watering! She swallowed, and felt the saliva begin to pool again.
Anton drew a much deeper breath, tensed, sighed and relaxed. The arm flung up over his eyes slid sideways. Now she could see his face, but was he going to wake up?
She moved the blanket closer in case she needed to pretend she was covering him, and was pleased when his breathing slowed and his eyes remained shut.
Finding untold courage from somewhere deep inside, she reached a cautious finger down and laid it on his nipple. The small flat disk made such a tempting target. A warm smooth target, soft as velvet. She moved her fingertip lightly to and fro, and gasped as it changed shape and pushed up, almost as though searching for her. She pulled her hand away, astounded. So his did it too?
Perhaps I shouldn’t touch him again, even though I really want to.
She lowered her face close to his chest and sniffed instead. She smelled the soap from his earlier shower... the biscuity aroma of hardworking man... the underlay of male musk.
She straightened, and touched his hair—the lightest brush over the top of his head. At dinner, her fingers had wanted to wander there, and it felt exactly as she’d imagined it would. Springy and thick; as vital as he was.
More daring now, she stroked again, and then again—this time touching his brow before traveling slowly backward.
His nearest hand gave a sleepy swat at her as though brushing away an annoying insect. His fingers curled and clamped around her wrist, warm and inescapable.
The panic came sweeping back, and Jetta did her utmost to remain silent and calm. Why had she started this? She had no right being here, touching him…using him as an experiment, if she was honest.
Anton turned slightly in his sleep. His lips nuzzled her hand and he muttered something she couldn’t decipher. His breath warmed her skin, hot, damp and thrilling.
With a stealth she didn’t know she possessed, she extricated her hand from his in tiny increments. She stepped away and looked down—only to find that somehow in his sleep he’d sensed the presence of a woman. The fabric of his shorts now strained upward in a tent that rivaled anything Uncle Graham had ever shown her. She couldn’t help the anguished moan that burst from her throat as she flung the blanket into the air and dashed from the room.
“Hmmmmph? Anton muttered as it landed on him. “Hmmmm?”
Question: What was the blanket made of?
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