by Amélie S. Duncan
When twenty-three year old Tala Velsik appears in a last minute performance art piece, she has no idea that public nudity will be the least of her worries. Wearing nothing but silver paint and a pair of antlers, her body is bared to hundreds of eyes, but one penetrating stare simmers through the others, Adrian Caro.
Adrian Caro is one of the world’s most famous directors and photographers, but with striking features and a body made for sin, most would guess he belonged in front of the camera.
Of course, the last thing Tala needs is romance, even with a walking Adonis. Mounting bills, a dead end job and a set of childhood memories most therapists would pale at; love is low on her list. Assuming, of course, her new admirer allows her to have a say in the matter.
Shocked yet thrilled by Adrian’s passionate domination, Tala can’t help but feel she’s standing on quicksand. For all his wealth, fame and talent, Adrian is tormented by his own demons; hiding secrets big enough to destroy them both.
About the Author
Amélie S. Duncan writes contemporary, erotic romances with a dark edge. Her inspiration comes from many sources including her life experiences and travels. She lives on the West Coast of the United States with her husband.
“Time to get up.” His voice pulled me from my dreams. I gazed through my lashes, then blinked a few times at the windows and noticed the sun hadn’t risen yet. I turned to Adrian, dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, bouncing on his feet. True to his word, he was up and ready for me to start his new routine.
I covered my head with the pillow. “I thought you were on vacation,” I grumbled.
He pulled the pillow and sheets away and handed me a sports bra, shorts, and a t-shirt.
“It gets too hot later to run,” he said in explanation. “We’re off to Ouest Coriche for our daily run with Henry.”
I grimaced as I put on the clothes he had laid out for me. Once I was finished, he chuckled and tied my long, black hair in a loose ponytail.
“You’re grumpy in the morning.” He looked sweltering hot, and alert. He’s a morning person too.
I scowled at him before going to the bathroom and cleaning myself up as quickly as I could. Then I followed him down the stairs and out to the car where Henry was waiting for us. Watching the two of them prep like professionals made me nervous.
I did a few leg and arm stretches. “I’m a beginner, go easy on me,” I implored.
“Dites-le nous en français, tell us in French,” Henry teased, and they laughed in unison.
I made a face. “I don’t know how to say it in French yet. Uh. Facile s’il vous plait? Easy, please?”
Adrian suddenly wrapped his hands around my waist and kissed the side of my head.
“Votre français est mauvais, YourFrench is awful.” I hit his arm and ran for the car, door already opened, and dove inside.
“You little brat,” Adrian said when he reached me. He pulled down my shorts and swatted me on the ass.
I mewled and giggled at the same time. “Ouch!” He leaned down and kissed both cheeks, then helped me pull my shorts back up.
“Behave, or there will be more.” His face was dark, and I felt a stir below my waist.
Henry climbed in the front and called back to us. “We’ll do a few miles down the beach to start. You’ll love it.”
I scrunched my face. “Hey, I’m a beginner! Remember? On sand?” I whined. They both chuckled. I crossed my arms and stared outside as we made our way up the coast.
He was right about one thing. I loved the view. Even with the absent sun, the swaying palms and oceanfront was breathtaking. He parked, we checked our sneakers and water bottles, and took off.
As the sun rose, I heated up fast. I took frequent breaks as Henry and Adrian looped me in the area, their set circle, creating the pace for the run. I tuckered out after my third loop and shook my head as the two of them competed in gladiatorial runs against each other. Even with the breeze off the water, I was too hot.
I finally stopped. “I can’t move anymore,” I called out. Adrian came over and gulped his water down before handing the rest to me. I took a sip and wiped my forehead.
“Get on my back,” he ordered.
I frowned. “I’ll hurt you. We’re too far from the car now.”
He snorted. “I didn’t say I would carry you the whole way, little wolf.” His face was firm, and I now knew that meant this would go his way.
I sighed and wrapped my arms and legs around his neck and waist as he lifted me up with an ease that suggested I might be weightless. I buried my face against his neck and inhaled. He smelled so good, even when covered in sweat.
“What are you doing?” Adrian asked in an amused tone. He knew exactly what I was doing, so I only giggled. He hopped a little, and that made me laugh.
“Tala.” He sighed my name and started walking us down the beach. I was unfamiliar with our surroundings, right up to the car where we found Henry waiting for us. When Adrian put me down on my feet, I spontaneously wrapped my arms around and hugged him. He rubbed my back.
“What’s this for?” he asked. I looked up and saw the surprise and delight in his face, and a flutter went through me.
“Do I need a reason?” I asked softly.
He hugged me tighter and kissed my hair. “Never.”
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