4 STARS "Let me count the ways I love Ms. Dalton. This follow up book to Vulnerable is everything I hoped it to be. Whilst most of the books in this series can be read as standalones, this one cannot. This must be read with Vulnerable first to really feel the full impact. Leo and Jesse are now full time lovers and protectors of Eva. Some may think this is a triad but it is not. Ms. Dalton once again shows how there are so many different types of relationships and if it works for the people involved, it is all good. The three busybody women in the Suncoast Society are now accepting requests for matchmaking. Eva is the first one who blurts out to them that she really would love it if they could find a man for her. One sexy dominant coming right up. In real life, it isn't as awesome and smooth like it is in Ms. Dalton's books. I wish it was like this! Nate Crawford is the dominant of choice for Eva. Nate is amused by the set up and he isn't sure he wants to disturb a happy triad. When he learns more about Eva's situation, this gives him the green light to test it out. Nate is a hot commodity because his fetish expertise is something harder to find. The BDSM in this story is lighter because Eva is not that into the lifestyle yet. She is still exploring. It's nice to see acupuncture featured. Needle play is scary for many and it can be bloody. The needle play in here is more sensual than sadistic. Watching Eva coming out of her protective bubble is fun to watch. When the conflict arises in this book, it is not unexpected to see Eva withdraw in fear. As with all the other books in this series, friends and the strength of a pack help them through difficult times. The romance between Nate and Eva is sweet. The big reveals are expected and only confirms what may readers have suspected. The confrontation many readers may have hoped for finally occurs and it is sublime. This book is highly recommended for kinky readers who love their happy endings." -- BookAddict,The Romance Reviews
After Wade and Cherise left, they had A Christmas Story playing on the TV. Laurel was stretched out asleep on the living room floor, a new My Little Pony figurine clutched in her hand. Nate was stretched out on one end of the couch with Eva lying against him, her feet in Leo’s lap on the other end. Jesse sat on the floor in front of the couch, leaning against Leo’s legs.
The symbolism wasn’t lost on Nate. The men had to innocently slip in their kink where they could. Jesse was Leo’s slave, and it wasn’t like the man could kneel naked on the floor with a seven-year-old running around.
“This was the best Christmas ever,” Jesse softly said, blindly reaching up to first pat Eva’s arm, and then Nate’s leg, his other arm looping around Leo’s leg next to him. “Thank you, all of you.”
She reached over with her bare foot and lightly ruffled Jesse’s hair. “Thank you,” she said. “And you know why.”
That intrigued Nate, but he didn’t ask. If she wanted to tell him, she would.
Eva tipped her head back and looked up at him. “Thank you for coming over today.”
He leaned in and kissed her. “Thank you for having us over. This was great.”
And it was. He could, in all honesty, say this was the best Christmas he’d had since…
Since that day.
Eventually, Leo and Jesse got Laurel put to bed and retreated to their bedroom, leaving Eva and Nate alone in the living room.
Eva rolled onto her side, facing him, and looked up. “You know how you talked about more intimate play?”
He laced fingers with her, drawing her hand up to his lips to kiss it. “Yes?”
“Can we…try some of that?”
“When would you like to?”
“I’d say tonight, except, reasons.” She pointed down the hall and he knew what she meant.
He smiled. “I don’t have any of my stuff with me, anyway.”
“New Year’s? We’ll be alone.”
Leo and Jesse had already volunteered to stay home with Laurel that night so she and Nate could spend it together.
They’d planned on celebrating it alone at Nate’s house.
“I think I could arrange something,” he said. “Can I make a suggestion?”
“Why don’t we take sex off the table so you don’t feel any additional stress?”
He thought she looked a little disappointed. “Oh,” she softly said. “Okay.”
He flicked his tongue out and licked her thumb before sucking it into his mouth. His gaze locked onto hers as he slowly laved his tongue over her digit, knowing damn well what he was doing to her.
“I didn’t say take orgasm play off the table,” he countered. “No intercourse. And you are, of course, able to safeword at any time for any reason.”
Her eyes brightened considerably at that. She nodded.
He released her thumb and moved to her index finger, slowly repeating what he’d done, watching her, seeing her breathing change by the rise and fall of her chest, the delicious pink flush creeping toward her neck.
“There are lots of ways to have orgasm play without sex,” he softly said after releasing her index finger and moving to her middle finger.
Hell, his cock was hard, screaming, and he suspected she had to feel the way it was pressing against her through his jeans.
But her gaze never left his.
When he finished with that hand, he released it, captured her other hand, and started again. No, he didn’t need sex to get off. Part of what he got off on was this, the energy crackling between them, nearly visible, palpable, as he slowly worked her up.
Even if he ended up having to finish himself off by hand New Year’s Eve, it’d be worth it to see the way the fire kindled in her gaze, one he had only glimpsed the barest embers of up until now.
* * * *
If he was that good with his mouth…
Yeah, she was okay with no sex, but now that he’d awakened her libido and had it screaming like an overzealous Hallelujah choir in her clit, she reeeally wanted an orgasm.
Seriously wanted one.
Hell, she needed one. She hadn’t had one in…Well, a long damn time. She’d tried masturbating a couple of times, but too many dark memories interfered and her failure to get over only reinforced them and made her sadder.
A self-perpetuating cycle of dismal doom she’d rather not repeat.
Leo—she’d thought—had been good in bed. But if this foreplay was any indication…
She had a feeling Nate would far outshine Leo’s considerable talents.
When she walked him out to his car later, she flung her arms tightly around him and rose up on her toes to kiss him, hard, insistently.
With Eva melting right there in Nate’s arms, he returned her hungry embrace, taking over, taking control of the kiss with one firm hand cupping the back of her neck and thoroughly kissing her until she wasn’t sure she’d be able to suck air into her lungs again.
He smiled down at her, his thumb caressing her cheek. “Might not be a bad idea to have a sit-down conversation this week before then about our situation.”
She nodded. “Yes, Sir.”
“And that’s what I meant.” His gaze seemed to search her face. “We should discuss what we are, exactly. We don’t need to set deadlines or do much differently than we are, but I think it would be wise to…define it more clearly.”
“Yes, Sir.” Her pulse thrummed, racing.
“I think it’s safe to say we’re boyfriend-girlfriend.”
She smiled. “Me, too.”
“I don’t have a lot of protocols,” he said, “but I do like doing things my way. If you want me to be your Dominant, that is a very serious responsibility, to me. I also think it’s something we need to try out on a trial basis first. You are, technically, collared to Leo and Jesse, under their protection. I respect and recognize that. I know they’ve said they’re fine with us doing whatever we want at this point, but I’d rather make sure you’re okay with it before we formalize things and you move from being under their collar to mine.”
She nodded, barely able to think, much less speak. “I am.”
He kissed her one more time before letting her go. “Then we’ll talk more Wednesday night,” he said. “After Laurel goes to bed.” He was coming over for dinner.
“Yes, Sir. Thank you.”
He offered her a smile. “Good girl,” he whispered.
He’d carefully watched her up until now, judging her reactions, gauging whether or not she was okay. He’d managed to drive her out of her head, away from her self-consciousness, with the blindfold. All she’d been able to focus on were sensations and sensory input, not trying to gauge his reaction to her body.
She was a gorgeous woman of almost thirty-nine, of course she had a few extra pounds. Her body had birthed a baby and survived things he didn’t even know about yet, things he was sure had deeply scarred her.
It made her all the more beautiful. Only by making this first encounter about the pleasure and pain and not about the thoughts and memories rattling around in her brain did he know he’d be able to keep her there, with him, firmly rooted in the moment and what he was doing to her and not whatever she’d been through.
So far, so good.
Only once he was satisfied that he’d made her come several more times did he sit up and reach over to the side table. He grabbed a flavored condom from the drawer and rolled it on. He wasn’t going to make her suck him, but he didn’t need to make an unintended mess all over her that might undo everything he’d just accomplished with her.
And if she did decide she wanted to go down on him, at least it wouldn’t taste as bad through the cherry-flavored latex.
He stretched out next to her on her left side, taking her right hand and drawing it across her, wrapping her fingers around him. Even through the condom it still felt damn good to have someone else’s hand there for a change.
He kissed her. “You may make me come however you wish, except you can’t fuck me.”
Even behind the blindfold he saw her brow furrow. “Then why the condom, Sir?”
“Biohazard containment,” he joked. He rubbed his finger over the condom and then touched it to her lips. “Cherry-flavored biohazard containment.”
“That’s a beautiful smile, sweetheart.”
“Thank you, Sir.”
She rolled toward him, the hand on his cock slowly stroking him as she kissed him.
Then she started kissing down his chest.
He laced his fingers behind his head, more to keep them there and remind himself not to make any moves that might spook her. He suspected at this time, if he grabbed her and made her go down on him that it would absolutely be the wrong thing.
He’d given her an order and now she was free to do whatever she wanted within those parameters.
When she started groping around and trying to reposition herself, he spread his legs for her, giving her room to move between his thighs. He watched her, intent, as she settled on her stomach, still stroking him with her hand but nuzzling his inner thigh with her lips.
That turned into her kissing his sac, making him struggle to keep his breathing steady, controlled, to make it last.
She seemed hesitant at first, not doing anything else but what she was doing, as if waiting for…
He wouldn’t move, wouldn’t speak. Her every motion telegraphed to him how her brain was struggling to process this, to recalculate her responses. She couldn’t see him, how he was reacting. He wasn’t—and wouldn’t—force her to go down on him. If she wanted to sit up and stop right now, he would.
He wouldn’t touch her. Not until he knew they were past the point of bad triggers and he had started bridging and rebuilding her psyche with only good associations.
She seemed to gain confidence, her hands stroking him more surely, slowly, but deliberately now, no longer tentative. Her tongue slipped out and flicked his sac, more, until she started confidently laving her tongue over and around.
He drew his legs up a little, knees bent, giving her better access but still keeping his hands to himself.
She cradled his balls in one hand, the other still encircling his cock and she licked and sucked until he thought he might explode just from that.
He’d even closed his eyes, preparing to finally let go, give in and let her bring him over, until he felt it.
A soft caress, not a finger.
He opened his eyes and watched as she brushed her chin over the head of his cock. Beautiful, gorgeous, and terrified.
He felt it.
Part of him wanted to tell her what a good girl she was, but he didn’t know if that would help or hurt. She balanced on the edge of fight or flight, and he knew it.
Slowly, her hand stroking him fell still as she touched her lips to the head of his cock. Her tongue flicked out and tasted the condom, and he had to fight the urge to crow in triumph as she started working her lips around the head.
Then her hand started moving again, stroking him, harder, faster, and he gave in to the sensations with her lips pursed just around the tip of his cock.