Note: Each book in the Bound to Please series is stand-alone and can be read in any order.
4 STARS: "This was a frothy dessert of a book, about a restaurateur who falls for a food critic. Shannon Bloomfield owns the Wolf and the Fox, an upscale restaurant that currently takes all her time, after two relationships with men who cheated on her. She learns that a food critic from the rating group that took a star away from her in their last edition is planning to visit her restaurant. When she meets critic Tate Gooding she thinks that the Johnny Depp look-alike is too far out of her league. But Tate, who has his own secrets, is attracted to her way beyond his normal casual hookups at BDSM clubs across the country. When the two of them have an encounter in an alleyway, they set sparks off each other and arouse the onlookers. But they also set off reactions in a stalker who wants Shannon to quit seeing Tate. Can these two overcome the danger and their secrets to find their HEA? Readers can expect some mild BDSM, including bondage, anal play, spanking and some light femdom. It’s a fun read with some really hot sex scenes. " -- Shadow, Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
And then his eyes met hers.
The guitarist’s smoky eyes held a glimmer of acknowledgment, as though they had known each other before. Shannon tried to only briefly engage diners’ glances because she didn’t want to get drawn into long, trivial conversations with them.
This time it was different. She met and held the musician’s warm, sly look. His eyes looked as though lined with kohl, his upper lip under the sparse Latin lover’s moustache full and bowed like a cherub’s. Women would kill for cheekbones like his, and he had a thoughtful, poetic aura as he slightly tilted his head and regarded her.
She had no choice. She had to go to his table and acknowledge that he’d engaged her.
Luckily he was sitting one table down from the commander in chief, who really seemed to be getting off on that hand-cut pasta. The President hadn’t even touched his water glass, he was so intent on rolling the slimy mushrooms around in his mouth. Good.
“Hi,” Shannon said experimentally. It wouldn’t hurt if Reagan saw her chatting it up with diners. In addition to handing out stars for excellence, Hamsun rated each restaurant in slightly lesser categories such as ambience and service. These were notated as one to four fourches, or forks, printed in bold pink if it was exceptional. Shannon had always had a bold pink fork for service. Ambience was never bolded, probably due to her sloppy chalkboard. “How is your meal? I see you selected a glass of Summerhawk cab. That’s my personal favorite, too.” It was. It really was.
He didn’t seem concerned about his meal or his wine. “Are you Shannon Bloomfield?” His voice was deeply resonant, and it occurred to Shannon he could be an actor, too. Actors dressed flamboyantly hip like that sometimes.
“Yes. I am.”
He grinned crookedly. “I was just wondering if I should order the flan.”
Shit! He was referring to that whole Hamsun debacle a year ago—and within earshot of the new rater! Instinctively, Shannon tried to stand between him and the Teflon President, who luckily didn’t seem to have heard. “Oh, that! I personally think we were just having an off day. Every other reviewer gave our flan top rating. We don’t even serve it anymore.”
“But you should keep serving it, to prove that rater wrong.”
Shannon changed the subject. “I see you’re having the grilled squid. That’s our special tonight—we change our menu weekly.” She wanted to make sure Reagan heard that, but he appeared to have his mouth and concentration buried in the lamb with roasted garlic sauce.
The musician disregarded her promotional skills. “Are you married, Shannon?”
What the fuck? What the hell does that have to do with anything? I like self-confident, but this guy is a bit too arrogant for his own good! However, she had to be gracious within earshot of the alleged rater. “No, I’m not. This restaurant is my life. I’d never have time to get married. You know, to some of us who are dedicated to pairing opposing flavors and using ingredients at their absolute peak—”
“You should.” The musician regarded her levelly, utterly fearless and confident. “You’re a stunning woman, but your inner glow would burst forth more freely if you just let loose and allowed yourself to get properly fucked once in awhile.”
Shannon was struck mute. The young couple at the next table were, too. They both swiveled their heads, their eyes widening in shock. And, naturally, The Gipper had heard the entire thing, too. Lamb actually fell from his mouth onto his plate, tumbling along with a few peas. His Superman hair gleamed in the romantic candlelight.
Once Shannon determined the musician had actually said what she thought he had, she had to respond politely. Maybe he was from a rival restaurant and wanted to ruin her second chance at regaining her star. She moved her mouth, hoping something halfway mannerly would come out. “Uh. Yes. That probably never hurts anything, now, does it? However, I do date someone. He’s very supportive of my free-form plating and my unique—ah, here he is now.”
Shannon for once bought a break when this guy she’d dated about three times breezed through the doorway. She hadn’t seen Tom Bukowski’s name on the reservation list, yet here he was, happily striding toward her with open arms. He was a chef at another no-starred Berkeley restaurant and he really did nothing for her. She was going to tell Tom she was too busy to date just because they had no chemistry. Tom was definitely “bro zoned.” Men were never interested in being only friends, but he sure did come in handy right now.
The musician looked at Tom with disgust, his upper lip trembling. “I said properly fucked, Shannon.”
Oh my God. Will nothing shut this man up?
The rain had now let off so Tate could toss her Winnie-the-Pooh umbrella to the ground, giving the spectators on their decks a better view. When he dipped and bent his knees, his free hand had slid around the back of her ass. The dress was so tight she could practically feel each fingerprint as he gathered a handful of the slippery rayon fabric. Cold air swirled around her naked butt cheeks, and when the raised ridges of one fingerprint barely tickled her clitoris like a breath of air, she sucked in air and jumped.
“But I know nothing about you,” she whispered. Over Tate’s shoulder she could see two of the three friends on the deck rubbing their crotches lewdly. Pretending she hadn’t seen, she assisted Tate by unzipping her dress nearly to her navel. Her lacey push-up bra amply displayed her average-sized globes, and as she’d hoped, the two eager men on the deck started taking their own dicks out. It made her feel lascivious and obscene, complete strangers getting off on her sex. “I don’t even know where you live, and you probably know where I live.”
“I do not,” Tate murmured. Stalking wasn’t his style. “And you’ll find out where I live the moment you give me a ride home today. Now listen. That couple, that man and woman watching us from their deck. What are they doing?” Tate sucked on her throat some more—he’d probably leave an embarrassing, childish hickey, and Shannon didn’t care. He spread butterfly kisses on the upraised globes of her tits as though trying to distract her while two fingertips now nudged between the swollen lips of her pussy.
“Ah!” she gasped when he found the exact right spot, the money spot on her clit where rubbing and twiddling was always the most effective, when Shannon didn’t have a detachable shower head to toy with. “The couple?” Shannon was shocked to see how brazen the couple was getting. There was probably a direct sight line to at least some parts of the highway, where people stuck in traffic could get a good eyeful of that notorious apartment building.
Tate diddled her clit, making her gasp again. “Yes. Is watching us making them hot?”
“Oh, yesss…The man is behind her, and he’s taken her tits out of her bra and is playing with them.”
“Just playing? Be more descriptive, my pet.”
“He’s twiddling her nipples between his fingers. Her tits are bouncy and round, much bigger than mine. He’s leaning her over the balcony rail as though about to fuck her from behind.”
“Ah, dog-style, one of my favorites.” Tate approved of the man’s choice, and he bent his knees deeper to take a suck of Shannon’s teat now too. Ecstasy shot straight down her abdomen from her nipple to her clit, the blissful feelings mingling right there at her center of passion. “What are those horny men doing? Have they stripped off their pants yet?”
To her surprise, one of them actually had. He had even stepped up on a chair or a box or something because his prick was practically eye-level with one of his buddies. A shudder gripped Shannon’s poor wracked body as she wished they were three gay men. It couldn’t hurt her impending orgasm to watch that baby-faced guy suck off his buddy. But they were just jacking themselves, and it stroked Shannon’s ego as well as her libido to know they were getting off over her. “Yes, one guy’s up on a chair and he’s furiously jacking himself off.”
“Good. I want as many people as possible to find pleasure in my princess. And I think they’ll find more pleasure”—in one fluid movement, with his left hand Tate whipped the trench coat belt from its loops and had twined it around one of her wrists—”in watching a bound woman come to a forced orgasm.”
Shannon smiled when she recalled his Rumpus Room attendance. She trusted him, so there was no issue about refusing, but it was sort of fun to pretend to struggle. “Oh, no,” she said in a girlish voice. “Please, Mr. Gooding. Please don’t tie me up. How will I get away from you if I’m helpless?”
Shannon didn’t know until much later that she was instinctively enacting “rebel play,” a scene where the bottom pretends to resist the top. They would revisit that scene often. Tate didn’t miss one beat with his fingertips against her bulging clit as he expertly bound her wrists using only one hand. The knot wasn’t the tightest, but she couldn’t escape without a lot of struggle. And every time she struggled, her tits bounced nicely. “Isn’t helpless the point, young missy? I want you helpless. I want you spread-eagled with wrists and ankles bound, your mouth gagged so you can’t protest.”
“Oh, Lord, no!” The innocent little girl that Shannon had suddenly become didn’t want her most intimate parts displayed to strangers, especially since that guy on the chair looked on the verge of—”Oh, God! That disgusting boy up there is ejaculating over the side of the deck! His friend is slapping him on the ass congratulating him. It’s absolutely disgusting.” So disgusting, in fact, that Shannon wriggled her hips even faster to encourage Tate to speed up his twiddling against her clit.
“And the couple? Has the husband mounted her yet?”
“Yes, it seems like he has. His hips are pumping into her. He’s squeezing her bare tits and she has a blissful look on her face. Oh, Mr. Gooding, this is too, too shameful! How dare you expose my breasts to strangers?”
Tate held the tip of his nose to hers. “It gives them pleasure, and it gives me pleasure. And I think it gives you pleasure too, you little minx.” And he dove down to suckle on her nipple again.