We're excited to present author Lauren Smith's exciting new book, THE GILDED CUFF (Surrender Series #1) as part of her book blitz organized by the Book Enthusiast! Be sure to check out the excerpt, delicious teasers and enter the giveaway to win a $25 Amazon or B&N gift card below—enjoy!
by Lauren Smith
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
Every passion has its price . . .
From the moment Sophie enters his shadowy, sensual domain, Emery Lockwood knows this tantalizing new little sub was meant to belong to him. However, Sophie wants more from Emery than just pleasure . . . she wants his past. And that is something he isn’t willing to give—no matter who is asking. But every moment he spends with Sophie, Emery feels his control slipping and he knows it’s only a matter of time before he surrenders to her heart, body, and soul.
When she got back to Emery’s bedroom she grabbed her suitcase and dropped it on the bed. She started throwing clothes in and rushed into the bathroom to gather her toiletries. Hurrying back into the bedroom, she stopped dead when she saw Emery leaning casually against the door frame, blocking the only exit. His arms were crossed over his broad chest and a scowl darkened his face.
“What do you think you’re doing? You can’t leave, not after you’ve given me my family back.”
She gulped and remained silent. Her heart thudded loudly enough that she was shocked he didn’t seem to hear it.
“Sophie,” he growled. “I’m not letting you walk out of this door.”
He was across the room in seconds and with a quick swipe of his hand he knocked the suitcase to the ground. The move wasn’t violent, more decisive than anything else. She stared numbly at the clothes she’d hastily shoved into the suitcase. They were now scattered in a heap on the floor. Emery seized her attention by clasping his hands around her wrists wore and trapping her hands at the small of her back. All she could do was gaze up at him, wide-eyed, her body humming with muted pleasure at the domination swirling in his eyes.
“I put cuffs on you. Even if they aren’t on you all the time, the symbolism is the same.” His voice was passion-rough, as though he held onto his control by a whisper-fine thread. “Do you know what cuffs on a sub means in my world?”
Her mouth was as dry as sandpaper as she struggled to speak past the lump in her throat. “Cuffs represent a claimed sub. A Dom cuffs a sub he wishes to show to others belongs to him. The next step up is to collar a sub during a ceremony.” She knew that much from what Hayden had briefly explained over the phone when she was giving Sophie some inside tips on the club and the D/s lifestyle.
Emery licked his lips, his body tense against hers. “To me they are a sign of commitment. If I were to take you to the club wearing these, everyone would know you were mine, that I owned you as sure as I owned my own soul. A cuffing is not always temporary, Sophie, especially not for me. I’ve never cuffed a woman before. I want you like I’ve never wanted anyone, and I don’t want just one night.” His confession was a ragged whisper and the echoing wildness in his eyes had her heart racing to a tempo it had never beat before. He released her a single moment, to retrieve her a set of leather cuffs from his dresser before he came back to her and secured the cuffs to her wrists.
The cuffs on her wrists seemed to burn her skin deliciously. They weren’t just pretty jewelry. They meant something important to him, and that in turn made her feel their presence all the more strongly. He wanted her for more than one night? She’d never been wanted like that. No one had ever… She closed her eyes a moment, trying to regain control. It was all she’d ever craved, in the darkest, loneliest part of her soul. One wish: to be wanted. And he’d uttered those longed-for words with the hunger of a starving man.
“I know I should give you a choice, let you walk away if you’re frightened…” He lowered his head to hers, teasing her lips with his, but not kissing her. “But I can’t. You’re mine. You’re not free to leave me, or this.” He feathered his lips over hers.
Sophie marveled at how different this kiss was. Each time he touched her, kissed her, held her, she was struck with a deep sense of wonder. So much of his soul, his heart, his very being seemed to flow from his mouth to hers. For a man so determined to separate himself from the world and hide behind the bars of his gilded cage, he wore his heart not on his sleeve but on his lips.
“Say something,” he begged in a low growl of frustration. His grip on her wrists tightened the faintest bit.
Foolishly, she couldn’t say everything that burned at the tip of her tongue. “I’m not going to write the story. I can’t. I didn’t see before now how much I had intruded on your life, your privacy. It wasn’t right.”
He sighed against her cheek, his dark golden lashes falling down over his tanned skin.
“For such a brilliant woman, you never cease to amaze me with your silliness. I don’t give a damn about the story. We can discuss it later.” Emery opened his eyes again, fixing her with a cinnamon gaze pierced with shards of forest green. “Right now, all that matters is getting you beneath me in bed. If you don’t want that, then use your safe word. Say apricots and I won’t touch you tonight. But if you don’t say it…” His eyes flicked to something behind her. Belatedly she realized it was the bed, mere inches away.
Her breath hitched and she had to resist the urge to sigh in relief and lean into him. Finally. He was taking control, telling her she couldn’t leave, that there was something between them worth exploring. She could let him take over, let him rule her as he wished, and be free to enjoy the passion he’d promised in every heated touch and fiery caress since she’d met him.
“What about your parents?” she asked.
“Gone. Hans took them home. We’re going to attend their party next week.”
“Their annual costume party,” Emery said as he released her wrists and moved back to his bedroom door, shutting and locking it. The click of metal into metal shot a bolt of excitement through her, shocked by the strength of the desire that followed.
All thoughts of the party or his parents faded. She was caught up in the panther-like grace of his movements as he came back to her, pausing to open the drawer of his nightstand. He pulled out the pair of leather cuffs she’d worn in the club and placed them on the bed near where she stood. Then he turned back to the drawer to retrieve two more leather restraints and several short lengths of chain no more than three feet long apiece.
“Come here,” he ordered. The short tone was intimidating but not cruel.
When she hesitated, the frown on his handsome face turned into a brooding scowl. She hastily walked to him, eyes dropping to the carpet at his feet.
“Wrists,” he prompted.
Sophie held out her wrists and he removed the gilded cuffs and replaced them with the leather cuffs, taking a second to slide a finger under each leather cuff to make sure they weren’t too tight. He didn’t link the cuffs together yet, but kept her wrists unbound. Then he knelt at her feet and secured the second pair of restraints to her ankles.
She stared down at the tousled halo of soft wheat-gold hair. It was one of the features she adored about him. He wore it longer than was fashionable and he always looked deliciously rumpled, as though a woman had been running her hands through his hair. It made him look so thoroughly male, so virile and attractive. She wanted those to be her hands. To leave her mark upon him, much in the way he left his mark on her body with each kiss.
As though aware of her gaze on him, he raised his head, his eyes tracing a searing path up her body before reaching her face.
“Tonight, you fulfill your bargain. We play by my rules. Do you understand?” The change in his tone, the darker hints of domination and control, teased the words, and she couldn’t repress an excited shiver that flashed through her body like quicksilver.
“Yes,” she whispered.
“Yes, what?” he growled. One hand cupped the back of her neck and he massaged the tense muscles, but his expression was stony and almost cold. This was Emery, the Dom. A side of himself he’d kept hidden until now. It didn’t frighten her. It excited her. Her nipples pebbled at the rough feel of his hands against her skin as he continued to stroke.
A momentary wink of amusement colored his eyes into a deep honey gold. “Are you asking me a question, little sub?”
Sophie nearly started to explain, but realized that would get her spanked. As much as she liked the idea, she wanted to prove to him she was learning about his world.
Lauren Smith is an attorney by day, author by night, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app.
She’s a native Oklahoman who lives with her three pets: a feisty chinchilla, sophisticated cat and dapper little schnauzer. She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including being an Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist and a Semi-Finalist for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award.
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