Authors: Tara Sue Me
THE SUBMISSIVE TRILOGY
“An outstanding story and a compelling trilogy closer.”
—RT Book Reviews
“Fascinating. . . . If you read and enjoyed the first two books . . . you’ll really like this one.”
“[A] wonderful series. Tara Sue Me, I can’t wait to read more of your works.”
“Tara Sue Me wrote a wonderful love story.”
—Sunshine & Mountains Book Reviews & More
“Me is a wonderful author.”
—Bitten by Love
“[Me’s] writing is flawless.”
—RT Book Reviews
“I love it when an author writes from the male POV . . . really worth it.”
“The big drama was even more heartbreaking if that’s possible. . . . I was shocked at the depth of it.”
—Under the Covers
“Nathaniel’s thoughts were sweet and deliciously angsty . . . entertaining.”
“A sizzlingly erotic and surprisingly emotional read.”
—Romance Reviews Today
“Wonderful. . . . I highly recommend
—you will not be disappointed.”
“The sex scenes are smoldering hot . . . a must read if you loved
Fifty Shades of Grey.
—The Romance Review
fans pining for a little more spice on their e-reader . . . the
recommends Tara Sue Me’s Submissive Trilogy, starring handsome CEO Nathaniel West, a man on the prowl for a new submissive, and the librarian Abby, who is yearning for something more.”
“Well written and certainly entertaining.”
—Dear Author . . .
“This book is going to make you say ‘Fifty What of What?’ . . . [Me] is so talented and captivating.”
—Southern Fiction Review
“A colorful read that will catch your attention and leave you wanting more.”
—The Reading Cafe
“Nathaniel has stolen my heart, right along with Abby’s.”
—The Good, the Bad, and the Unread
“A sexy and inviting kick-off to a new erotic trilogy,
should not be missed.”
—Romance Reviews Today
ALSO BY TARA SUE ME
TARA SUE ME
A Partners in Play Novel
NEW AMERICAN LIBRARY
New American Library
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) LLC, 375 Hudson Street,
New York, New York 10014
USA | Canada | UK | Ireland | Australia | New Zealand | India | South Africa | China
A Penguin Random House Company
First published by New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Copyright © Tara Sue Me, 2014
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REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA:
Me, Tara Sue.
Seduced by fire: a Partners in Play novel /Tara Sue Me.
p. cm.— (Partners in play ; 1)
1. Dominance (Psychology)—Fiction. 2. Psychological fiction. I. Title.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
To Ginger, who unknowingly started everything.
This novel holds a special place in my heart as it was written following a very difficult time in my personal life. They say when a door closes, a window opens. If that’s the case,
Seduced by Fire
is my window.
There were many people who helped make this book what it is and I am forever grateful to them.
To Rebecca Grace Allen, who has been the world’s best crit partner, brain stormer, chat buddy, and friend a person could ask for. You stuck with me in the early days and wouldn’t let me give up. Thank you.
To Cyndy Aleo, who forces me to be better and never lets me settle. You’ll never know how much your support has meant. Thank you.
To Danielle, who makes me laugh, makes me think, and helps in innumerable ways. You have been indispensable and I can’t imagine doing this without you. Thank you.
To Lauren and Christina, who encouraged me to continue. You guys . . . there aren’t enough words. Thank you.
To Lauren and Tonya, who gave feedback that helped tremendously. I hope you know how much I value your comments. Thank you.
To Claire Zion, who took my words and made them so much better. I am blessed to have you as an editor. Thank you.
To Kathy, who is always there to offer just what I need. You’re good people, Kathy. I hope you know that and I hope you know how much you mean to me. Thank you.
To my husband, who is my support, my encourager, my idea bouncer offer, and my champion. I don’t know how you manage to do it all and stay sane. Thank you.
And to my readers, who allow me the privilege of telling them a story. I am honored. Truly. Thank you.
ccording to Julie’s best friend and business partner, Sasha, men only bought flowers for two reasons: to get in your pants, or to get back in your pants. While Julie didn’t think that to be an absolute truth, once Sasha made up her mind, she didn’t often change it.
The front door of Petal Pushers, the floral shop they owned together, opened with a melodic ring. After seeing the two customers walk in, Julie decided to make her case once again.
“Look at those two,” she said with a whisper, making sure the customers couldn’t hear. “I highly doubt he’s trying to get into
Sasha looked up from the computer where she was placing an order for next week’s stock. The “he” in question was tall, with sculpted angular features, and dirty blond hair, but the woman by his side wasn’t the usual trophy girlfriend. She was an older woman, dressed for the chilly weather in Wilmington, Delaware, in a winter white coat that probably cost more than Julie made in a year.
“Never know these days.” Sasha punched a few keys on the computer. “I need to make a few calls. Can you handle these two?”
Julie waved her to the back office and turned her attention to the couple still standing by the door. This time she noticed how expensive the guy’s coat was while he talked on his cell phone. The woman with him admired a floral arrangement displayed for an upcoming wedding.
“Good afternoon,” Julie said. “Welcome. Can I help you with something?”
The older lady smiled. “My great-granddaughter has a ballet recital tonight. I wanted to pick up some flowers.” She turned to the guy, still on his phone. “Daniel, do put that away and come here.”
The man at the door spoke a few more words before disconnecting. “Sorry, Grandma. It couldn’t wait.”
She rolled her eyes. “It never can.”
“I heard that.” His voice was low and deep and as he approached, his gaze met Julie’s. Blue steel was her first thought when she saw his eyes. Hard and immovable. She actually squirmed under their scrutiny.
For a second, she thought he realized the effect he had on her, because something in his expression flickered with understanding. Just as quickly, though, his mouth upturned into a soft smile. “We’re looking for something to thrill the heart of a five-year-old ballerina.”
Julie stood and told herself to focus on the sale, not the customer’s eyes. “Your daughter?”
The older lady laughed. “Heavens no, dear. Not Daniel,” she said as if the idea of Daniel having a daughter was the most humorous thing in the world. “It’s for his niece.”
Daniel appeared unaffected by his grandmother’s words. He only raised an eyebrow to Julie and proceeded to take off his leather gloves.
He pulled one finger at a time free, and for whatever reason, Julie found herself unable to stop watching the mundane task. His fingers were long, and as he took the last glove off and kept it in his fist, she admired the elegant but subtle strength in the way he moved. Her mind drifted, imagining those fingers brushing her skin. Those hands on her . . .
How would his touch feel cupping her chin, trailing downward, across her breasts? Lower, brushing her hips, inching closer—
He smacked the gloves against his palm.
“The five-year-old in question,” he said, eyes lighting at her startled expression, “loves ruffles, ponies, and all things princess.”
she scolded herself. Flowers.
“Sounds like she would love pink roses.”
“Pink roses. Excellent suggestion, Ms. Masterson,” he answered with a whisper and a glance at her name tag. “That’s exactly what I thought, but Grandma thought wildflowers.”
“Based on what you said, the roses. Definitely pink roses.”
“We’ll take a dozen.” His blue eyes were steady on hers and she leaned closer as his voice dropped further. “How about you, Ms. Masterson, what type flowers do you like?”
“I’m not really a flower-type girl.”
She shrugged. “I guess it comes from working with them all day.”
It wasn’t that she didn’t like flowers; she just didn’t like getting them from men. In her opinion, there were plenty of other more romantic gifts.
“Daniel,” his grandmother said. “Have you decided on something?”
He winked at Julie. “We’re going with pink roses. She’s guaranteed to love them.”
After they left with the roses, Julie tried to decide what it was about him that made her react the way she did. He had a breezy confidence about him, but a lot of her male customers did. There was something, though, about the way he moved that seemed somehow
“They leave?” Sasha asked, returning from the back office and running her fingers through her dark spiky hair.
“Yeah. And you were wrong—he wasn’t trying to get into anyone’s pants. He was buying flowers for his niece.”
Sasha flipped through the day’s receipts. “Daniel Covington doesn’t have to try to get into anyone’s pants. Women just drop them at the mere sight of him.”
Julie looked up from the new arrangement she had been working on. “You know him?”
It really shouldn’t have surprised her. Sasha knew everyone. It was one of the reasons the shop had been so successful. Julie was the business-minded one, Sasha the people person.
Or maybe she had dated him. Sasha was known for her ability to run through men like tissue paper. Every other month, it seemed she was on the arm of a new guy.
New and improved. Highly disposable.
But certainly Julie would have remembered Daniel.
him, know him,” she said. “But I know of him. He’s the senior vice president of Weston Bank.”
Second-largest bank in Delaware.
That certainly explains why he didn’t blink at the cost of a dozen pink roses in January.
“Wealthy and good-looking,” Julie said with a sigh. “The universe is so unfair.”
Sasha’s head snapped up. “Not you, too.”
“Not me, too, what?”
“Wanting to drop your pants for Daniel.”
Julie picked up the flower she’d been trimming and twirled it between her fingers, trying not to remember how she had imagined Daniel’s hands and what they’d feel like on her body. “I don’t want to do any such thing. What’s it to you, anyway? You’re always telling me to get out more.”
“I didn’t mean with
“Are you telling me I’m not good enough for the senior vice president of Weston Bank?” She pointed the flower at her friend. “Don’t make me come over there.”
She added the last as a joke, but in reality she was just covering the hurt at the suggestion she wasn’t good enough for someone like Daniel. Hurt, yes, but there was also anger at her friend. How dare she insinuate she couldn’t date an executive? Besides, who was Sasha to judge? It wasn’t like she had a stellar record with the opposite sex.
“I’m just telling you, you’re not compatible.”
“And I thought you didn’t know him.”
“I don’t,” Sasha said in the tone of voice that told Julie the topic wasn’t up for further discussion.
Julie tried to decide if she wanted to push it. What did Sasha know about Daniel that made her so certain they weren’t compatible? She wondered again for just a second if they had dated.
“Doesn’t matter anyway,” Julie finally said. “He just came in to buy roses. It’s not like I’ll ever see him again.” Because the universe really wasn’t fair.
Sasha looked at her apologetically and nodded toward the trimmed flowers Julie was working with. “On the other hand, people we would be okay never seeing again always seem to pop up. I took a phone call in the back.”
Julie dropped the flower. “Mrs. Grant? Again? She’s already changed her order twice.”
“She read an article.”
“Of course she did.”
Sasha dug in her pocket and pulled out a ten-dollar bill. “Why don’t you go grab us some mochas? I’ll handle her this time.”
Julie took the cash. “You’re the best.”
“Don’t you forget it!” her friend teased as she left.
• • •
he sound of flesh slapping flesh rang out in the otherwise silent room as Daniel watched the couple in his playroom. Ron was his new mentee, a highly coveted position in their local BDSM group. Daniel had held several conversations with the young man, but this was the first time he had watched him with a submissive.
The submissive, Dena, was an experienced sub in their group. A good choice for a Dom in training, which was why Daniel had asked her to join them for the afternoon.
Daniel walked to where Ron had her positioned over a padded table. “Nice location,” he said, in response to the spanking the young man had just administered. “But do it again. Harder this time.” He ran his hand over Dena’s ass. Barely warm. “She’s no masochist, but she needs to feel it.”
Ron nodded and went back to spanking.
“Watch for signs,” Daniel instructed. Dena hadn’t been commanded to be still and she wasn’t bound. “When she starts to get aroused, she’ll lift up to you. Listen to her. If she’s not required to be silent, you can judge her response by her moans.” He lifted his voice for her benefit. “But I did command silence today, so if she gives so much as a whimper, you can watch me punish her.”
He didn’t miss the hitch in her breathing. He smiled in response and walked to stand by her head. “Don’t get too excited, girl, I call it punishment for a reason. You won’t like it.”
Dena steeled her body and if Daniel were a betting man, he’d guess there would be no disobedience today. He took a step back so he could keep both participants in his sight. Ron was putting more power into his strike and she loved it.
“Run your hand between her legs,” Daniel instructed. “It’ll allow you to see how wet she is and heighten her arousal.”
Ron gave her one more slap on the backside and then slipped his hand between her legs. “She’s soaked.”
“Smack her pussy quick and hard a few times. Tell her she’s been a good girl.”
Ron continued with the lesson, following Daniel’s advice, correcting himself when needed, and bringing Dena closer and closer to climax. While watching his mentee pleasure the submissive orally, he recognized his own need. It had been weeks since he’d played with anyone. Far too long since he’d held a woman’s submission in his hands and showed her the pleasure he could bring her.
Without even thinking about why, his mind wandered back to the petite florist with the long dark hair he’d talked with days earlier. There had been an air about her. Something beyond her physical beauty drew him to her. Maybe the intelligent and self-confident look in her eyes or the unveiled way she’d sized him up. Certainly, there’d been some kind of sexual awareness between them. What would it be like to have her submission? To control her pleasure? It was far easier to picture her on her knees before him than it should be.
he told himself.
She’s strictly vanilla.
Not that he knew it with any certainty, but he’d learned a long time ago it was best to assume a woman was vanilla until proven otherwise.
He forced his attention back to the couple before him. Ron needed a lesson in how to care for a submissive after play ended. Any thoughts having to do with the beguiling florist would have to wait.
Because as much as he tried to think otherwise, he knew it to be only a matter of time before she joined him in his fantasies.
• • •
ena,” he said, as Ron left the house. “Would you mind staying around for a bit?”
Dena glanced back at him and nodded, a look of anticipation on her face.
Damn. She probably thinks I want to play.
Not that it would be unheard of. They had played together before. She was an attractive woman and had fully embraced her submissive spirit. He had asked himself before why the two of them had never been a couple, but never came up with an acceptable answer. Finally, he chalked it up to not being ready for a serious relationship.
Once in the kitchen, he poured her a glass of water and pulled a chair out for her.
“Thanks,” she said, sitting down. She cocked her head. “Everything okay?”
“Yes, of course.” He poured himself a glass and sat across from her. “What did you think of Ron?”
“He has potential. I’ve served worse.” The corner of her lip upturned a bit. “Of course, I’ve served better.”
Her sly comment drew his thoughts to the last time they’d played. Surprisingly, though, the memories dimmed in comparison with the fantasies he’d had of the florist. Unbidden, the image of her on her knees before him beckoned.
He clenched his fist. He would master his thoughts. They would not get the better of him. He forced his attention on the conversation at hand. “I think he shows potential as well. An eager learner.”
Daniel had lived the lifestyle of a Dom for over ten years, been a mentor for five. In that time, he’d seen plenty of men, and women, who wanted to become Doms or Dommes. Often, it never worked because they saw BDSM as a way to meet their own needs, to control, to exert power over a submissive. And while there was a place for that in his view of a power exchange, so much more important, he thought, was the protective care a Dom took of his submissive. How he graciously took her trust and used it to bring them both pleasure.
His thoughts once more drifted back to the florist. What would it be like to be entrusted with her submission? He pictured her bent over his table in the playroom downstairs: ass facing him, legs spread, her body willing and eager for whatever he chose to do to it.
His cock hardened just thinking about it.
“You seem a bit distracted today, sir.”
“Sir” was how submissives in their group were to address Doms when not out in public. Daniel had given Dena permission to use his name when they weren’t in a scene, so it wasn’t difficult to see she’d addressed him more formally as a subtle hint of her interest in playing.
He needed to get her focus on something else. “I’ve just got a lot on my mind lately.” Before she could offer to distract him, he continued. “I told Ron to call you in the next day or two, so let me know if he doesn’t. I’d also like your thoughts on areas he needs help in.”