Dani can’t resist Prejean’s invitation to join him in a world of carnal desire, complete with fetish costumes and masks. Determined to keep her emotional distance, she gives Prejean everything but her name. A night becomes a week, as she spends Mardi Gras suspended in the delicious space where pleasure meets pain.
Too late, she realizes the cloak of anonymity has not protected her—and that chasing her dream might come at the expense of her heart.
Let me tell you about Jeffe Kennedy.
Jeffe is an award-winning author with a writing career that spans decades. Her works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook. Her fantasy BDSM romance, Petals and Thorns, originally published under the pen name Jennifer Paris, has won several reader awards.
Sapphire, the first book in Facets of Passion has placed first in multiple romance contests. Her most recent works include three fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns, the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and the post-apocalyptic vampire erotica of the Blood Currency. A fourth series, The Twelve Kingdoms, will hit the shelves in 2014. A spin-off story from this series, Negotiation, appears in the Thunder on the Battlefield anthology.
An avid user of social media, Jeffe engages daily with thousands of fans on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. She frequently guests on publishers’ Twitter-feeds and reviewers’ blogs. She’s been an active member of RWA since 2008. She served two terms as president of RWA’s very large Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal special-interest chapter and continues as an advisor to the current board.
Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com or every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog. Gotta have twitter? http://twitter.com/jeffekennedy
And now, without further ado, I give you:
One Facet of Ruby by Jeffe Kennedy
They’d entered the season when New Orleans never cooled. So, though the witching hour had come and gone, the night air poured with rain as thick and heavy as syrup, falling into the rutted gutters and streaming back to the sea.
Dani waited for Prejean at the little table in the floor-to-ceiling window at Lafitte’s, as he’d instructed. The restaurant crowd had lingered late, with a private party that seemed disinclined to move along. He kept sending occasional snarky texts about the diners, accompanied by vivid sexual suggestions about what he’d rather be doing to her, instead.
Her silenced phone buzzed against the uneven wood of the table, polished smooth by years of use, bright in the bar where no one ever turned on the lights. The candle flickering in its bowl cast a warm glow, but she knew the phone lit up her face more. Not that anyone was watching her. Still, she schooled her expression with strict discipline, not revealing how the latest message affected her.
They just ordered more cognac. I want to hogtie the lot of them. Planning to take it out on your pretty ass instead. Send suggestions.
She wiggled on the hard chair, her silk dress clinging to her damp skin. This was a new phase in their relationship. Bobby Prejean, relentlessly inventive in and out of the kitchen, had found a new way to push her boundaries—by making her think up new scenarios. It didn’t work to low-ball him, either. He always managed to see through to her core fantasy and up the stakes.
Knowing he enjoyed the mind games as much as she did, Dani had begun framing the “suggestions” as a kind of riddle for him. She attempted to misdirect him. He countered with something else—usually arrowing with diabolical insight to the thing that would completely unravel her.
I’m waiting. And counting. Every minute I wait adds ten minutes to whatever you suggest. Think fast.
See, it wouldn’t work to suggest kissing or something similarly tame. Likewise, she rarely dared describe her darkest fantasies, lest he take her seriously. She could always safe word out, but it always felt like a cowardly act. Somewhere in the middle would be the sweet spot.
Wow. Six minutes. I’m dying to find out what you want me to torment you with for an entire hour. Shall we go for two?
Dammit. She felt breathless and took a sip of wine, casting about for an idea. He liked to do this, first the slow cooking, then the gradual addition of spice under pressure.
A hansom cab clopped by, despite the hour and the rain. Wild giggles emanated from the canopy, while the horse and driver moved steadily on, and she seized on the idea and texted him.
Simpler was always better for riddles. And it kept him from guessing too much. He didn’t reply, however, which didn’t bode well. It meant he was thinking. She gulped more of her wine, trying not to contemplate how she might spend the rest of the night. Then choked on it when Bobby Prejean appeared out the open plantation shutters.
He stood under a black umbrella, dark eyes piercing even in the shadows, an amused smile behind his neat black beard. The gold hoop earring in his left ear winked at her, taunting.
“Horses, chère? ”
A thrill of edgy delight coursed through her. She pretended to be blasé and raised an eyebrow at him. “Of course, if you don’t like animals…”
He grinned, like the pirates that once frequented the bar, then held out a preemptory hand. She took it and stepped down to the sidewalk, under the shelter of his umbrella and into his hands.
Thank you, Jeffe, for joining us on the Rock and for sharing One Facet of Ruby!