A submissive once, a submissive forever?
A man on the run from the only life he’s ever known, Brody Vaughn is poised to accept the Black Jack Gentleman’s newly vacant goalkeeper’s position. It’s a desperate move, but one he must take to regain his emotional equilibrium. Reeling from his Mistress’s rejection and on the ragged edge of a total breakdown, he arrives in Detroit. Numb with thinly veiled grief, he walks into the club’s front office completely unaware that an encounter with true destiny awaits him.
Sophie Harrison has seen it all--as Domme, sub, and victim. Now that her complicated circumstances have landed her as legal counsel for the expansion Black Jacks team, she holds herself aloof in body and spirit. Nothing and no one gets past her fiercely guarded walls. Until the day she looks up to greet the new goalie standing in her doorway, his raw combination of vulnerability and strength making her breathless.
Two people, horribly scarred by the excesses of the BDSM lifestyle and hiding from their true selves, meet across a desk over a simple contract. All bets are off.
Sophie kept her chair turned from the office door, unwilling to even acknowledge the next soccer player awaiting her wise words. Sweaty and exhausted, she had a bitch of an afternoon low caffeine headache. And talking these over-paid, over-sexed, full of themselves prima donnas through their final contracts and benefits packages. However, as head of legal for the team in its third year, she had a new crop of new players to orient—ten to be exact. And had managed to do so for the last week.
But if one more of them waltzed in here reeking of sweat and eyeballing her as if she were the last crumb on the cookie tray, their flirty high beams blazing, as if she would ever be interested in any of their little boy bullshit... so help her. For the thousandth time, she questioned her sanity, taking on this utter crapshoot of a project.
Oh, right. She shut her eyes a moment, closing off the memories. Shutting down her natural reaction to pore over them, poke at them, rip off the scab that had more or less healed over them in an attempt to start over.
"Hey," a deep, syrupy-sounding voice intoned, sending a strange tremor straight down her spine. "Um, am I in the right place?" It hit her ears as: “’m ah in the raht playce?”
She swiveled around and shoved her glasses up her nose to get a good look at the next one standing in her doorway. Her gaze slid from his jet-black hair, along the strong lines of his stubbled jaw, across his t-shirt clad shoulders. The Black Jack Gentlemen wore grey when they practiced, in uniforms provided by a famous shoe company she didn’t recognize with a company logo emblazoned across the back. And said shirt clung to his sculptured torso in a way that really ought to be outlawed. All the while, Mr. Southern Accent stood stock still, as if used to being so frankly appraised.
A drop of sweat formed at her temple. He cleared his throat so she jerked her gaze back up to a set of the darkest eyes she had ever encountered. He smiled—a sweet, lopsided thing that imprinted itself on her retinas in a wholly annoying way. She tried not to swallow her own tongue.
"Hey… uh… I'm Brody. Brody Vaughn." He ran a hand through his hair and she sensed his nervousness as if there were a neon sign over his head. Adorable. Her radar pinged like mad. But she forced it to shut the hell up. She had no business thinking about these…these kids in any way other than purely professional.
So far they had all been the exact same breed of cocky asshole, alternating eye-fucking her and extreme boredom in response to her monotonous drone of legal-ese. Sexy Southern Accent—Brody, she muttered under her breath—put his hand out, as if to shake hers. His face reddened charmingly when she raised an eyebrow at his outstretched palm—the same one he’d just dragged through his sweat soaked hair
She smiled, rising slowly to her feet, needing to be at his eye level. His eyes widened as he dropped, as if boneless, into the chair opposite hers without a word. Sophie took a long, calming breath, forcing her brain to focus in ways she had learned, practiced, utilized for years in her time as a professional Dominatrix—a woman who took money in exchange for bringing pain and raw, rough sex to the men who requested her services.
As she shut the door, keeping her back to the boy... to… Brody… her pulse kept racing, and her heart continued its disconcerting rhythm, no matter what tricks she employed—which pissed her off. And that finally, calmed her enough to face him.
“Hello Mr. Vaughn, I’m Sophie Harrison, legal counsel for the Black Jack Gentlemen. I’ll be explaining the terms of the contract you or your agent negotiated with our organization.” She kept talking, using words she’d said a hundred times already. But her own voice echoed around in her head. She purposely kept her eyes on the paper in front of her, glasses sliding down her nose. Ignoring the raw, visceral reaction her finely tuned body and brain were having to the man across from her—Brody, a twenty-five year old man, she saw on his employee fact sheet.
No, he is a boy, and you do not play with boys, not anymore.
She compressed her lips together, pretending to find a non-existent problem with the stack of legal documents pertaining to his agreement. To his credit, he stayed silent and very, very still, in a way that intrigued her.
Finally, she met his eyes once more and blinked—then frowned. “So, another goalkeeper?” she said, fully aware how it would needle the average, ego-driven high-level athlete. A glimpse at his salary indicated his golden child status. The keeper that the club had managed to sign, thanks to the aggressive recruiting activity by their new assistant coach.
She tried out a casual smirk but discarded it. And the way he just sat, glaring at her as if memorizing her, or hoping to intimidate her brought a hot flush to her cheeks. God damn it. She straightened her back, sucked in her gut and forced her thoughts to her next real workout—the kind she preferred, that involved tight leather, her favorite bull whip, and a willing submissive.
“You okay there… Miz Harrison?” His voice slithered around in her brain, nestling in nice and low, gripping the base of her skull in a way that made her want to jump up and run out of the room. Asshole. She glared at him.
“Of course. I’m fine.” She shoved her glasses back up nose and slapped the contracts down in front of him, probably a little too hard, but fuck it. She needed Mr. Brody Vaughn the hell out of her office. She tried to keep her face neutral, not snarl or growl or snap the poor kid’s head off.
He shifted in his seat, cleared his throat, and glanced down at the papers she had pinned under her manicured hand. Which gave her a well-needed rush of control over the situation. Her spine tingled in a familiar way but she channeled it—the distinct, loose, fluid feeling of impending need that she recognized.
“Now, let’s go through this…” She brought her focus back to the contracts. His hand covered hers. Surprised, she flinched, and a strange, embarrassing sound emerged from her throat.
“I think you need a drink of water. You seem a little… done in,” he claimed, his deep drawl coating her brain like the sweetest honey infused bourbon. She snatched her water bottle, gulped some, set the thing down and took a breath. Within thirty minutes she had laid out the terms of the contract, including his non-disclosure and good-behavior clauses, the health insurance guarantees, all of it. He had asked few questions, his voice soft, musical and soothing in a way that somehow had the opposite effect on her nerves. She gritted her teeth against the urge to stand up, lock the door and yank the kid’s sweaty clothes off. Jesus, help me. Get him out of here.
He stood quickly, startling her. “Well, if that’s it.” He leaned back, studying her.
She got to her feet, unwilling to let him stand above her for some reason, and noted how his chocolate brown eyes darkened at the sight of her facing him.
“Yes. That will definitely be it.” She lifted her chin and willed her damn knees to stop shaking. She would have little reason to ever see him again, unless he landed in trouble and she had to handle a public relations problem on his behalf.
His physical presence, not that different than all the others who’d paraded through here in the last few days, compelled her in ways she refused to acknowledge. At nearly six foot eight, with broad shoulders, a narrow waist, long, strong legs....he cleared his throats. She blinked, and the traitorous flush crept up her neck to her face again. His angular features at that moment were set, and bored, and slightly amused at her obvious discomfort. She narrowed her eyes. Why hadn’t she noticed it before? Her pulse fluttered as she put a hand to her throat.
As if reading her mind, Brody Vaughn lifted his chin slightly, and she got a good long look at it—the inky black chain imprinted on his neck. A dark circular pattern of interlocking, heavy loops encircled the flesh at his throat. He smiled again, slow moving, like his drawl, and he touched it, once, then turned, giving her a breath taking rear view that included the sight of the chain continuing around the back of his neck. The man wore a collar, a permanent one, inked right on his skin. But the vibes he threw her proclaimed one thing loud and clear—the person who’d bestowed the collar no longer had a say about him at all.
Her mind swooped, whirled, and doubled back on itself, picturing him—Brody the man—at her knees, bound, and waiting her command. She shivered and jumped when her assistant appeared at the door. He’d left. Taking his mysterious aura of vulnerability and strength, and raw sexy need, with him.
PURCHASE AT AMAZON OR BARNES AND NOBLE!
Microbrewery owner, best-selling author, beer blogger and journalist, mom of three, and soccer fan, Liz lives in the great Midwest, in a major college town. She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse. While working as a successful Realtor, Liz made the leap into writing novels about the same time she agreed to take on marketing and sales for the Wolverine State Brewing Company.
Most days find her sweating inventory and sales figures for the brewery, unless she’s writing, editing or sweating promotional efforts for her latest publications.
Her early forays into the publishing world led to a groundbreaking fiction subgenre, “Romance for Real Life,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”). More recently she is garnering even more fans across genres with her latest novels, which are more character-driven fiction,” while remaining very much “real life.”
With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and many times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate, and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.
If you are in the Ann Arbor area, be sure and stop into the Wolverine State Brewing Co. Tap Room—but don’t ask her for anything “like” a Bud Light, or risk serious injury.