Aria Bastion is beginning her life over with the fear of her abusive husband’s pending release from jail in the back of her mind. On her first day in her new apartment she goes for a walk and meets Jace Cline. Jace and his twin brother Jude are the owners of a fantasy studio on New Earth. Jace is the dungeon master, supplying his clients with their fantasies of sexual arousal.
Aria soon becomes an integral part of Jace’s private and business life.
Keir Bastion is a man in a lonely, downtrodden life. His wife has been killed and his children blame him for her death. When he meets Leelona and her young daughter Misty, he hopes he can rebuild a new life for himself with a happier future.
When Keir and Aria are suddenly cast back into the reality of their lives, everything falls apart. Can Keir win back Aria’s love without losing the half of her heart that belongs to Jace?
Aria sat up with a yawn. The apartment was small, and there were so many boxes to unpack. She had at least stopped and gotten herself some instant coffee and some milk. Wandering into the kitchen, she began to sort through the boxes until she found a pan, then made herself a cup of coffee.
It was going to be a major undertaking to get everything arranged and stored in a way that she didn’t end up feeling claustrophobic. “I really hate you, Nick.” she muttered to the kitchen. She had married Nick with high hopes for the future. It was a future that soon thereafter was plagued by Nick’s abuse. Aria had sent him to containment and sent herself to counseling. Now she had moved across the planet, with almost no money and no job. She needed to find a job and get a bigger place to live. She was already feeling suffocated. It was a good excuse to go for a walk and hopefully calm her nerves.
Aria strolled to the bathroom and tugged the ponytail from her long hair. Her hairstylist Mathew had put purple accents into the deep blonde and gold color to give her a different look. It went well with the purple implants the doctor had placed in her eyes to repair the damage Nick had done with his final beating.
She now owed her life and her future to Carol. Carol was an abuse therapist who had gotten her through the roughest times of her life. Nick had done everything in his power to make himself look innocent. He had accused her of everything from cheating on him to trying to kill him. Aria had only wanted his love, and she had done nothing to deserve his betrayal. Now Nick was about to get out of containment.
Carol had suggested she get as far away as possible. Aria had changed her name and run like a scared rabbit. She was still a bit afraid, but the miles she had put between herself and Nick certainly helped.
Grabbing her keys, she headed outside. The neighborhood was completely unknown and she didn’t want to get lost. Aria took a left.
As she walked, she looked at the houses around her. It seemed to be a well off area, and that was a good thing.
Movement in her peripheral vision made her turn her head. A small red dog with white lower legs and feet, as if it had socks on, was heading toward her. The creature was adorable, with pert ears and a little curled tail. The dog ran up to her as she bent down to its level. “Aren’t you cute? Where do you belong?” she asked, reaching out cautiously to grab the dog’s collar. The tiny creature jumped back from her, rapidly wagging its tightly curled tail as if completely amused. Aria chuckled at its antics and reached in her pocket as if retrieving something. The dog instantly got curious and came over to sniff her. She snatched its collar, picking the dog up in her arms to keep it from running away. Reading the attached tag, she said, “So, your name is Speckles, and you live on the street in front of me. Well, let’s take you home. I would hate to have you get hit by a mover.”
Aria headed to the corner, wondering which way the numbers ran. She saw a man walking up the street, his long yellow-blond hair blowing in the slight breeze. He was dressed all in black, and it accented the curves of his body nicely. He held up a leash and Aria smiled. “I wasn’t kidnapping her. I was bringing her home. I was afraid she might get hit.”
“Thank you. It’s rare she gets out, but I went out to get the mail, and I guess I didn’t latch the door. She is master devil at escaping.” He walked closer and Aria was surprised to realize she found him intriguing. “Hi, my name is Jude. Are you new around here?”
“I take a lot of walks. I know most of the neighbors in the area. I think I would remember seeing you before.”
“I just moved into the apartments around the corner—my name is Aria. Speckles is adorable,” she said, handing him the dog.
He clipped her leash on. “So where are you from, Aria?”