Again Estelle's eyes strayed to the stage, and Cherie whistled under her breath.
"The man himself, hey? Well, good luck with taming him."
"What do you mean?" Estelle asked, her insides once again churning at the shadow that crossed Cherie's features briefly as she, too, looked towards the stage.
"Nothing, doll, don't you worry. He knows what he's doing. Ignore me." Cherie fixed a smile on her face and busied herself with wiping the immaculate bar top. When she did eventually look up, some undefined emotion in her deep brown eyes stopped Estelle from asking any other questions.
Yeah, that had me wondering. Clearly, there was some sort of a history between Cherie and Ink. Well, imagine my surprise when Cherie announced that she was in fact a tiger shifter and Ink's mate.
"Err, say what?" goes I, in my oh so eloquent way.
How the dickens is that going to work? And if she's his mate then why….?
As to why, you will have to read the book, but it turns out they have one heck of a history, and it falls to Ink to try to heal both their scars. He will have to use every last weapon in his arsenal to do so.
All right, Doris. Tell us what this book's about!
Can some scars ever truly heal?
Cherie ran away from Ink once. She is not going to get the chance to do so again, but helping her heal will take all of his skills as a Dom. Using Shibari, Knife play, and Ménage sex, he shows her that pleasure can be found in the things that haunt her.
Emotionally and physically scarred Cherie has sought refuge at Club Ink, where she keeps everyone at arm's length. When Ink forces her to face up to her demons, does her submission hold the key to her future happiness? Or will their shared past destroy them once and for all?
Give us a taste, Doris!
Cherie couldn't have heard him right? Her heart beat frantically. There was a rushing in her ears, and the deep yearning of want pumped through her veins, as the never far away dark memories threatened to engulf her anew. He stood watching her, arms now crossed over his chest, every molecule in his being solely focused on her. The noises of the club faded away, their awareness of each other cocooning them in their own little bubble of reality. What did he mean, would she let him try? Try what?
She didn't realize she had said that out loud, until Ink sighed. He was close enough for the action to raise the fine hair curling over her damp neck, and she held her breath when he tucked at the few strands and lifted them away. With the same care he'd traced the tats on her arms, he traced the faint mark of his possession on her neck, and her tiger purred in recognition of its mate. His tiger's answering growl of possession trembled through her. Cherie braced herself for the inevitable flood of adrenaline, as he stepped closer still, caging her in against the side of the bar, so close to her that she felt his chest rise and fall with his measured intake of breath, a direct contrast to her own shallow breaths that were starting to make her feel light headed. He dipped his head and inhaled, the slight stubble on his face scraping against the delicate skin on her neck and creating delicious friction. He dropped a feather light kiss on her pulse point, licked along the side of her jaw and then traced the contours of her lips with his rough tongue. Her eyes fluttered shut at his encouraging murmur, and she opened instinctively at his whispered command of, "Open for me, baby girl. Let me in."
His tongue swept past the barrier of her lips, but instead of the forceful invasion she was expecting, the tender exploration stunned her. His hold on her hair loosened, and he trailed his hands down her sides until he cupped the globes of her ass, lifting her higher into him until her feet dangled off the floor. She whimpered her need into the kiss, and he took it deeper, his tiger's growl rolling through her when she kissed him back, hesitant at first, and when the dreaded waves of panic didn't materialize, with increasing urgency. Her own hands snug up his shoulders, her nails digging into his skin, and he ground his hips into her pussy, as she locked her legs around his waist.
"As marvelous as this display is, you're needed on stage, Ink."
Grisha's amused drawl broke through their sensual haze, and Cherie froze. Ink released her mouth with one small nip to her bottom lip and perched her on the side of the bar.
"Didn't think vanilla was your style, boss." Cherie held her breath at the murderous expression darkening Ink's features, all too aware that her fingers were still curled into the straps of Ink's vest, her ankles locked behind his tightly clenched butt. She hastily dropped her legs, but before she could uncurl her fingers, Ink grabbed hold of her wrists.
"Shut the fuck up, Grisha, and mind your own business. I'll be there in a minute."
"A minute will be a minute too late."
Cherie jumped at Ink's threatening growl in response. Clearly Grisha had a death wish today. She winced as Ink's claws ran out, scraping along her wrists, his tiger's eyes briefly connecting with hers, before he roared at Grisha, baring his beast's full set of lethal looking teeth. Grisha threw his hands up and took a step back, his own tiger bowing down to the superior male, even though had he shifted completely, every one of his hackles would have been raised.
Ink's tender kiss to the inside of Cherie's wrists focused her attention back on him. As rapidly as he'd changed he was back to his human self, his amber eyes warm and comforting, as he cupped her chin.
"The fleabag is right on one count. I need to be up on that stage. Now, I know this will be hard on you, but I want you to watch the show. Can you do that for me, baby girl?"
"I … I…" Cherie swallowed past the rising surge of panic. Ink smiled at her, his thumb swiping across her bottom lip, the pressure on her chin just enough to keep her focused on him. The just reawakening submissive part of her wanted to please him, wanted to agree, even enjoy the spectacle of the show, but ropes and cages would never again be a source of pleasure for her. She had almost hyperventilated earlier, just walking past the display cages being set up on stage. Cages meant pain and humiliation and loss too intense to allow herself to dwell on it.
"I won't make you. This is your choice. Everything is your choice, baby girl. You know that, right?"
And before folks come after with me pitchforks, Grisha's story will be next! Feel the need to mention that, as I've had several readers ask me already.
I had planned on writing his story in book two, 'cause he was another character that crept up on me demanding some attention. But, alas, it was not to be. He couldn't have done what he did in this book, had he found his sub already. Grisha, too, has an interesting story he is slowly revealing to me.
Joys of being a panster and all that…
Thanks again for letting me ramble on, Adonis.
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