Amira Grayson is a broken angel who lost her wings. She needs the love and strength of Archangel Michael to help her regain the confidence lost one night and forever imprinted in her memory.
Guilt for past mistakes carried since she was eighteen has forced Amira to seek the expertise of the Pleasure Club to embrace the love she desires. Will Michael’s gentle compassion and love be enough to rid her heart of its burden and return her wings so she might fly free to go after the man she loves?
Dear Ms. Grayson,
We’re pleased to welcome you to The Pleasure Club.
As you have already signed and returned the contract and filled out all the necessary forms to ensure you receive your every wish, we will be in touch with you shortly with the details of your first Pleasure Night. Your Wish List and Pleasure Forms have been turned over to our staff of highly trained Pleasure Guardians, and they are hard at work finding your perfect match.
We will endeavor to meet your personal fantasy.
When you are contacted again, you will be given a location where your Pleasure Night will begin, and you will also be given a safe word to use should you at any time become uncomfortable. There is no shame in changing your mind. We’re here for your pleasure, and should your safe word be used, your match for the evening will cease all activity, and the game will be put on hold until a mutual agreement between you and your Pleasure Master can be reached.
Once again, welcome to The Pleasure Club.
Please feel free to contact the office at any time should you have any questions.
The Pleasure Club Management
* * * * *
Your Pleasure Night will begin on Wednesday, the sixth, at 9:00 P.M. at Montebello Castle Wineries at 1800 Mangrove Lane. Take the path east past the chapel to the lone house. You’ll find a key in the mailbox. Let yourself in, and get comfortable to enjoy your first pleasure night. The house will be prepared as you specified in your instructions.
Your safe word is Halo.
The Pleasure Guardians
* * * * *
Cold, clammy sweat coated Amira’s trembling hands as she gripped the steering wheel. The expanse of the vineyard spread out before her, and the only answer to the question echoing in her mind—Could she go through with this?—was the still night and the soft sound of the crickets chirping their song.
Rows and rows of grapevines ripe for the plucking spread as far as she could see in the darkness. A castle-like structure with an attached chapel dominated one end of the clearing, lit by old-fashioned-looking pale yellow streetlamps along the circular drive, while dense woods provided a lush backdrop of greenery on the other side. According to her letter, the house she was supposed to go to was just through those trees, the destination for her Pleasure Night.
A night that could restore her self-confidence and uplift her spirit.
For the past several years, she’d been living a life bent on self-destruction, fueled by self-loathing and ignited by a spark of guilt lit upon her heart that smoldered and grew into anger. An anger she took out on herself.
With her foot planted firmly on the brake, she wiped her palms on her thighs, her heart pounding like a jackhammer gone wild.
The thought of turning around and leaving, ending the evening before it truly began, passed through her mind.
She could let fear for the future override her need of fulfilling the fantasy that she’d lived with for the last fifteen years—a fear that had been controlling her life, strangling the happiness from her heart and soul bit by agonizing bit. Or she could embrace the promise of pleasure, allowing it to free her from the chains of self-hatred that locked her up tight, cloistering and dimming her inner light.
She clung to the steering wheel, her only lifeline in the sea of doubt fiercely determined to drown her in its receding tide.
If she didn’t do this now, she knew she never would.
She flinched when she glimpsed her reflection in the review mirror. Both the sagging bags under her eyes and bitter lines around her mouth aged her, making her appear much older than her thirty-two years.
It was time to move forward.
She wanted to love herself and her life again, so she could grant herself the gift to love another.
It had been three years since her best friend’s wife’s tragic death, and two years that she’d harbored this attraction for him. She had never had the courage to act upon the attraction. She couldn’t. She felt unworthy. But even if Kent didn’t love her, she could move on, live out the rest of her life in happiness. She could live without a man’s love, but not with her own self-discontent.
The seeds of this self-loathing took root when she was eighteen, on the one night she decided to live for the moment, to take her own pleasure. The night when she lost so much more than her virginity.
Guilt for what happened that night brought her to where she was now and to the bitter woman who felt she deserved nothing but pain and the worst of everything—men, friends, self-image.
Being with an angel, more specifically Archangel Michael, would restore her faith in herself. He was the one called upon for protection, strength and truth. The angel who could rescue her from herself, to slay her fears with a single swoop of his fiery sword. He could reveal the true, passionate Amira hidden beneath the shroud of pain that hid her. He was the angel called the Prince of Light and ruler of the sun. The one angel that could make her shine with love for herself so she might accept her past to go after the future she desired.
With a long sigh that unbound some of those chains surrounding her heart, she guided her SUV down the path to where the lone house stood—a welcoming shelter in the dark night.
She put the car in park and got out. A single light burned inside, casting an inviting glow. The quaint house with its brick walkway lined by geraniums on both sides leading up to the porch reminded her of home, the place where she’d lived with her grandmother.
Finding the key, she let herself in.
The warm scents of rosemary and cinnamon slammed into her solar plexus, and she staggered to a stop as she glanced about the entryway. An old black coat lay draped over a coat rack. On an end table in the corner beside an ancient rocking chair sat knitting needles and yarn along with magazines and a newspaper, its pages fanned out along the length of the table. A magnifying glass, a pair of glasses, and an empty cup and saucer sat on the opposite table.
The scene was set just as she’d requested. The only things missing were her grandmother and the blood on Amira’s thighs—the evidence of her lost virginity. Though given freely, she lost more innocence than just what existed on the surface.
The familiar ache at her loss shot through her. She’d tried to prepare herself for this pain, the raw emotion that opening this wound would bring. By not facing it, she wouldn’t be able to begin the healing. So in partly re-creating the night she lost her innocence, she would surrender to Michael and take strength from his protection.
She stood there, drenching herself in the hurt, letting it rest in her bones and over her heart.
“Come in. Come to me.” The man’s rich, firm voice of the softest velvet wrapped itself around her, her one promise of light in the abyss.