When I started writing the Dream Dominant series, my collection of stand-alone novels featuring light BDSM themes, I wanted to do something different. There are tons of billionaire Dominant stories out there, and I love reading them, don’t get me wrong.
But I was more interested in writing about ordinary people who quietly live out a power exchange dynamic in their real, every day lives. There are plenty of couples out there who have discovered their true Dominant or submissive selves and are blessed enough to have found partners who understand them. I know. I’m one of them.
One of the most rewarding moments of my writing career thus far was winning the Golden Flogger Award for Dream Dominant Book 3, FOR SPARROW. It’s meaningful to me that not only did they like the story, they approved of the way I portrayed the lifestyle.
In FOR SPARROW, Jessi Crenshaw is devastated when her husband Graham dies unexpectedly. But he seems to have had an inkling that his health was in decline, because he made provision for Jessi in case something happened to him. Turns out he’s asked his protege in the lifestyle, firefighter paramedic Judd Farris to look after Jessi until she’s on her feet again.
As the pair struggle to navigate their unorthodox platonic Dom/sub relationship in the face of their growing mutual attraction, they each wonder if maybe Graham had something more permanent in mind.
Here’s an excerpt from FOR SPARROW.
Downstairs, Judd was battling his own imagination. Ducking under the outdoor shower, cold water ran over him, washing away the traces of salt and sand from their surfing adventure, but his thoughts were on Jessi, currently naked and in his shower. He’d spent the afternoon drinking in the sight of her perfect ass as he held the surfboard for her. Not like he hadn’t had his hands on it before, but always with the barrier of clothing.
His misadventure in dating had done nothing to slake his libido which was currently doing a floor show in his swim trunks. All he wanted was to unleash his inner beast on a woman who could not only take it, but would enjoy it.
Was it wrong to think of Jessi like that? Could that possibly be what Graham had had in mind all along? His thoughts drifted to the last conversation he’d had with his friend.
“I swear, Judd, I want Jessi with every fiber of my being. Once I gave her a safe space in the context of a Dom/sub relationship, she bloomed sexually. She’s so sexy and uninhibited.” Graham shook his head sadly. “Truth is, I can’t keep up with her. Things don’t…work the way they used to. I’m too old for her. Always was. Hell, she was eighteen when we met. I’m a selfish fool.”
Turning off the water, Judd sighed deeply, dried quickly with a towel, and headed into the house to prep the fish for the grill.
He was humming softly as Jessi came downstairs. He still had on the black board shorts, and he’d pulled on a white t-shirt. She was wearing the same pink and green Lilly Pulitzer sundress she’d worn to the baby shower, but she’d scrubbed her face clean of makeup, belatedly realizing that she’d forgotten to toss her makeup into her bag, and she’d towel dried her hair as much as possible, leaving her red waves to dry the rest of the way on their own.
“Hi! What can I do?”
Judd turned, started to reply, and stopped, mouth open. Without makeup, Jessi looked ten years younger. And he’d never seen her hair when it hadn’t been straightened. It was drying in sexy waves around her face.
She rolled her eyes. “I know. I forgot to pack my makeup.”
“I was going to say, you look very pretty. Is your hair naturally wavy?”
“Yeah,” she blushed, “I usually blow it out straight, but…”
Judd shook his head. “I don’t know why you do that. It’s beautiful the way it is.”
Jessi blushed a deeper shade of pink and clasped her hands together in front of her. “Anyway… What can I do?”
“Well,” he said, picking up a plate of fish fillets, “I just seasoned the mahi. Rice pilaf is going on the stove. If you wanted to throw together a salad?” He raised his eyebrows.
She nodded firmly. “Salad. I’m on it.”
They enjoyed dinner on the patio, the sky shifting from the orange and pink Jessi had noticed upstairs to a deep indigo twilight, the stars blinking on over the gentle swells of the ocean. The teak table was lit with a pair of citronella candles against the odd mosquito, and Judd had built a fire in the pit just off the patio.
Conversation over their grilled mahi dinner and sauvignon blanc centered on their adventures over the past couple of weeks. The mood was light and happy, and Judd, for one, was glad for Jessi’s company. Her face lit up as she recounted her surfing attempts and the pair laughed easily.
Buddy devoured his bowl of kibble and promptly passed out again. Judd and Jessi carried their dishes into the house, quickly restoring order to the kitchen. Jessi glanced at her watch and decided that she should be leaving soon.
“Do you have to go?” Judd asked, noticing her checking her watch.
“Oh, you know, I should probably head home.”
“We haven’t had dessert yet.”
Jessi chuckled. “I’m so stuffed from that delicious dinner. I don’t think I could take another bite.”
“Come on, Jessi, there’s always room for dessert,” he coaxed. “Wait til you see.” Judd opened a cabinet, removed a few items, and placed them on the counter.
Watching curiously, Jessi had to laugh. “Chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallows. S’mores?”
Judd nodded proudly. “S’mores. You can’t resist s’mores. Nobody can. It’s a known fact.”
Laughing again, Jessi followed Judd back outside. “I haven’t had s’mores since… Well, probably not since that time I took the kids camping.”
“Then you’re long overdue. This stuff is left from when my sister and niece were here.” He took two steel barbecue skewers, placed two marshmallows on the end of one, and handed it to Jessi.
“One, please. I just want one marshmallow.”
He grinned, sliding a single marshmallow onto the other skewer, and they traded. “Lightweight,” he teased. “Now, let me show you how it’s done.” He held the marshmallows a distance away from the flames, allowing them to slowly begin to warm.
“Careful there, you might accidentally roast those guys,” Jessi jibed. She poured more wine for him and for herself.
“Kid if you must,” Judd replied, “but these bad boys are going to be perfection.”
Jessi sipped her wine, watching as the marshmallows began to slowly expand while remaining pristinely white. “I have a different method,” she commented.
“Oh, you do, do you?”
“Yup.” She prepared a graham cracker, breaking it into two pieces and placing a square of chocolate on one of them. “Watch and learn, fire boy.”
Taking her skewer, she fixed him with an arched eyebrow before plunging her marshmallow directly into the flames. When she pulled it out again, the round white confection was engulfed in blue flame. Gently, she blew out the fire to reveal a charred marshmallow.
“You burned it,” Judd observed.
“It’s crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside. Pure perfection.” She lay the marshmallow on top of the chocolate and used the other graham cracker to slide it off the skewer.
She waved her hand over the top of her dessert with a triumphant flourish. “Tah-dah!”
By this time, Judd’s marshmallows had tripled in size and were just beginning to turn a toasty golden brown. “See, this is how you make a s’more.”
Carefully, he carried his marshmallows to the table where Jessi had prepared his graham crackers and chocolate. He slid the marshmallows off the skewer and pressed the top cracker on, gooey marshmallow running over the sides.
Judd motioned for Jessi to sit, and he perched on the stool at an angle to her, their knees just brushing under the table. He lifted his s’more and held it out to her. “To adventure!”
Jessi picked up her own dessert and touched it to Judd’s, laughing lightly. “Adventure.”
He continued to watch her thoughtfully as she nibbled her s’more. “Thank you, Jessi, for such a great day.”
In the candlelight, his eyes flickered and Jessi felt the tingle in her belly. And lower.
“It was fun. It really was,” she murmured, hoping the dim light hid her blush.
Judd bit into his s’more with gusto, leaving a trail of marshmallow down his chin that dripped onto his shirt.
Jessi giggled happily. “I knew that was too much for one s’more.”
“It was just the right amount,” Judd returned, sweeping the errant goo off his shirt and licking it off his finger. “The graham cracker just couldn’t hold all the awesomeness.”
Jessi laughed again, pointing to his chin.
“You missed a spot.”
He cocked his head, trying to see his chin. He aimed his tongue at the corner of his mouth. “Now?”
She shook her head and slid off her stool. “I’ll get it.” Stepping closer, she swiped her finger up his chin, removing most of the white confection. Without thinking, she popped her finger into her mouth, but she didn’t miss the heat in his eyes.
Impulsively, she leaned forward and lapped at the corner of his mouth. He tasted of chocolate, marshmallow, salt water, and sin. A low groan emanated from Judd’s chest. Jessi leaned back to look him in the face.
“Little one,” he whispered.
Stepping deliberately closer, she straddled his right knee and leaned in again, planting light kisses where the marshmallow had been.
Judd placed his hands on her hips and moved her back a bit. “Are we crossing this line?” His voice was soft, hopeful.
Jessi blinked and nodded. “Yes. Please.”
He didn’t wait for further permission. He wasted no time in claiming her lips, devouring them as he pulled her closer, raising his knee to meet the warm needy place between her thighs.
Jessi gave herself over completely to his kiss. She’d craved it for longer than she was willing to admit to herself. She’d loved Graham. But Graham was gone. And he’d given her permission to move on. It was time she gave herself permission.
Judd broke off the kiss and stood her back from him, steadying her when she wobbled a bit. He fixed her with his best Dominant glare. “You will be kneeling at the foot of my bed in two minutes. You will be dressed. I will undress you.”
Jessi immediately bowed her head. “Yes, Sir.”
Watching her scurry into the house, Judd leaned back, interlacing his fingers and placing his hands on the back of his head, and exhaled slowly. The thing he hadn’t dared hope for was happening.
He’d known the minute he’d seen Jessi, way back at Graham’s funeral, that he was attracted to her. The time they’d spent together had only solidified that fact. But convention and their own agreement had kept him from considering a relationship a possibility.
Now it seemed they were both on the same page. He sighed again, thinking of the responsibility of formally being Jessi’s Dominant, and he realized that it was precisely what he wanted.
He nodded to himself. “This is right.” Dousing the candles, he pushed away from the table, checked the dying embers of the fire, and followed Jessi inside. FOR SPARROW by Pandora Spocks