Vanilla, p.1
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       Vanilla, p.1

           Megan Hart
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Vanilla


  It’s an acquired taste…he just has to acquire it

  Elise knows what she wants in the bedroom, and she makes sure she gets it. Her thirst for domination has long been quenched by a stable of men only too happy to bow down before her.

  But sexual satisfaction isn’t the same as love, and she’s been burned in the past by giving her heart too freely.

  Niall is handsome, smart, successful and sweet—sweet as vanilla. When they meet, their romantic connection is electric, even though he’s way on the opposite end of the kink spectrum. Despite how she fights it, Elise falls for him—but how can a relationship work when both lovers want to be on top?

  “Hart wields her pen like a scalpel…in this soul-searching, emotionally sensitive story. Strong characterization and smooth, yet forceful, writing captures your attention and holds you hostage.”—RT Book Reviews on The Space Between Us

  Praise for the novels of New York Times bestselling author Megan Hart

  “Meticulously sensual details and steamy interludes make this an achingly erotic read.”

  —RT Book Reviews on Flying

  “Hart’s beautiful use of language and discerning eye toward human experience elevate the book to a poignant reflection on the deepest yearnings of the human heart and the seductive temptation of passion in its many forms.”

  —Kirkus Reviews on Tear You Apart

  “[Hart] writes erotica for grown-ups… [The Space Between Us] is a quiet book, but it packed a major punch for me.… She’s a stunning writer, and this is a stunning book.”

  —Super Librarian

  “Naked is a great story, steeped in emotion. Hart has a wonderful way with her characters…. She conveys their thoughts and actions in a manner that brings them to life. And the erotic scenes provide a sizzling read.”

  —RT Book Reviews

  “Deeper is absolutely, positively, the best book that I have read in ages…the writing is fabulous, the characters’ chemistry is combustible, and the story line brought tears to my eyes more than once…. Beautiful, poignant and bittersweet…Megan Hart never disappoints.”

  —Romance Reader at Heart, Top Pick

  “Stranger, like Megan Hart’s previous novels, is an action-packed, sexy, emotional romance that tears up the pages with heat while also telling a touching love story…. Stranger has a unique, hot premise that Hart delivers on fully.”

  —Bestselling author Rachel Kramer Bussel

  “[Broken] is not a traditional romance but the story of a real and complex woman caught in a difficult situation with no easy answers. Well-developed secondary characters and a compelling plot add depth to this absorbing and enticing novel.”

  —Library Journal

  “An exceptional story and honest characters make Dirty a must-read.”

  —Romance Reviews Today

  Also from New York Times bestselling author Megan Hart

  and MIRA Books

  LOVELY WILD

  FLYING

  TEAR YOU APART

  THE FAVOR

  THE SPACE BETWEEN US

  ALL FALL DOWN

  PRECIOUS AND FRAGILE THINGS

  COLLIDE

  NAKED

  SWITCH

  DEEPER

  STRANGER

  TEMPTED

  BROKEN

  DIRTY

  This is for you

  You know who you are

  Contents

  Prologue

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32

  Chapter 33

  Chapter 34

  Chapter 35

  Chapter 36

  Chapter 37

  Chapter 38

  Chapter 39

  Chapter 40

  Chapter 41

  Chapter 42

  Chapter 43

  Chapter 44

  Author Song List

  Excerpt

  prologue

  The hum and the sting.

  The artist bent over my wrist, tracing the outline of the simple design with the needle, the gun. Filling in the lines with ebony and shadows. My skin soaked up the ink in a way that made the girl murmur appreciatively.

  “This is going to look great,” she told me. “Super fucking cool.”

  It hurt. Of course it did. Tattoos always do—it’s not like they’re licked on by baby unicorns with tongues made of kittens for fuck’s sake. I had two others, a small Jewish star on my right hip and a somewhat-but-not-entirely regretted tramp stamp of a flaming sun on my lower back. This one on my wrist burned worse than the others had. Ink always hurts, but it’s a clean sort of pain. An on-purpose ache that lingers when the tattoo is finished and healing, and sometimes even long after, like your skin forever wants to remember how it felt to be so marked.

  “What do you think?” She sat back and wiped my skin again of any excess color.

  I didn’t need a mirror to see the inside of my left wrist. I’d picked that place because I would always be able to see it, whether I wanted to or not. The design there, no bigger than a fifty-cent piece, was simple. Black and gray. Stylized lines and curves that nevertheless clearly made a picture. The skin around the edges of the design was still a little raised and red the first time I saw it. Still stinging. Looking at it would always sting.

  “Why a rabbit?” she asked with a tilt of her head. “I don’t usually ask, to be honest. I mean, it’s personal, yeah?”

  I nodded. “Yeah.”

  “And far be it from me to judge,” she continued. “I mean if you’d wanted a butterfly or a fairy or a flower, I wouldn’t even ask. But a rabbit’s cool. What’s the significance?”

  “It’s so I don’t forget,” I told her.

  She grinned and didn’t ask me what I needed to remember. “Fair enough. You’re satisfied, then?”

  Satisfaction wasn’t exactly what I’d been going for. Pain and permanence, yes. An eternal reminder. But since I’d been given those things, and the design we’d worked up together was exactly as she’d drawn it, I had to nod.

  “Yes,” I told her. “It’s perfect.”

  1

  There’s something so lovely in the curve of a man’s spine when he is on his knees, head bowed, hands behind his back. The back of his neck, vulnerable and exposed. The splay of his toes pressed to the hotel carpet that rubbed at his knees and would scrub them briefly red. I would leave my own marks on him, careful to be sure they’d fade as fast as the rug burns. I couldn’t leave anything permanent on him. We’d agreed on that from the first.

  I didn’t want to hurt him much anyway. That had never been my game. A little sting, here or there. The slap of leather on his bare skin. The press of my teeth or scrape of my fingernails—those were things to make him shudder and moan. I would always rather get what I wanted by promising pleasure instead of pain. That was what worked for us.

  Esteban had been waiting for me in that position when I came into the hotel room. The lamps off, late-evening sunshine glimmering through the mostly drawn curtain providing the only illum
ination. He would’ve been willing to do the things we did with the curtains open wide, every piece of both of us exposed and nothing soft about it. I was the one who liked the lighting to be dim, unfocused. Dreamy. I found myself more easily that way.

  “I brought you a present,” I said as I shrugged my shoulder bag onto the desk. It clinked heavily, as I’d meant it to, so that he’d wonder what on earth I had for him inside it—and maybe be a little nervous.

  Esteban was not facing me, and he didn’t turn while I unpacked my bag, even though I could tell by the strain of his muscles that he wanted to. Desperately. I laid out all the presents I’d brought. Sometimes I had a plan for how things were going to go on our monthly dates. Carefully constructed scenes I worked out thoroughly in my head so I could be sure to get it all right. Not today, though. Today I felt ripe with possibilities I’d not yet even considered.

  With a hand behind my back to hide what I held, I took a seat in the chair in front of him. I let my skirt ride up a tiny bit to tease him with the glimpse of stockings beneath. I put one high heel between his knees, my shin grazing his inner thigh.

  He smiled, but didn’t move. His mouth was a little wet from where he’d licked his lips. I leaned and cupped his cheek, and he nuzzled into my palm.

  “My good boy,” I murmured. I held out the small box that had once held a bracelet. “Open.”

  He took the box from me and sat back on his heels to pull off the lid. Inside, a coiled black ribbon. He shivered a little when he took the satin from the box, letting it trail over his hands and wrists. He looked at me, and I tugged the end of the ribbon to wrap it around his wrists, now crossed in front of him, not too snug. There was enough ribbon to go loosely around his neck, too, and to loop down around his already hard cock.

  “I thought it would be something...tighter,” he said in that delightful accent that never failed to trigger a shiver of my own. “So I couldn’t get away.”

  “If I need more than this to bind you, then I might as well go home right now,” I said.

  Esteban shuddered, his eyes fluttering closed for a moment. When he opened them, his gaze had gone dreamy and dark. Several beads of sweat had gathered on his upper lip, and his tongue dipped out to taste them.

  I loved seeing how my simple words affected him. I leaned to nuzzle the corner of his mouth, close enough for intimacy, though we never kissed each other on the lips. It was another of our rules, this one unspoken but never broken. I stroked a hand over his dark hair and let it linger on the back of his neck, feeling the muscles bunch and pull at my touch. I let my mouth travel along his jaw to his ear.

  “Open,” I said again, not meaning a box this time.

  Esteban opened his mouth at once. Obedient. Willing. Delicious and beautiful and, for the moment, mine.

  I slipped my first finger into his mouth. He bit playfully; I took him hard by the chin to make him go still. He gave a soft sigh-moan, so I gripped him a little harder. I pulled his face toward me, teasing him with the promise of a kiss we both knew would never come—but that was part of what worked for us. That promise, that denial.

  I ran my wet finger down his chest and circled the head of his erection, which was tapping his belly. When he strained toward me with a small growl, I gripped him tight and said into his ear, “Hush.”

  He did at once, my good boy, his cock throbbing in my hand. I put my fingers in his mouth again, and this time he didn’t bite but instead wet them eagerly for me. I stroked his ribbon-bound cock again with slick fingers, slowly, then moved my hand down to cup his balls.

  “Tell me what you want.” Sometimes I made him send me a list of things he fantasized about beforehand, though I hadn’t this time. And I asked without any intention of giving him what he wanted, which we both knew. Yet today, without a plan, restless and feeling caged by work and family and life, I was curious to see if what he asked me for was something I would give.

  “I want to kiss you,” he told me, “there.”

  “Here,” I replied, easing up my skirt to show him a hint of lace panties. I pressed my fingertips between my legs and raised an eyebrow.

  “Please,” he added.

  “Maybe.” I laughed at his frustrated expression. I leaned to take his face in my hands, looking into his eyes. “You are adorable.”

  He tilted his head, his eyes half closing for a moment. “I want to please you.”

  “I know you do. And I want your mouth on me—” I laughed softly again at his shudder. “But not just yet. Get on the bed.”

  Esteban blinked a few times, not responding immediately. I was ready for that, my hand already grabbing the ribbon tangled around his cock and tugging in sharp command. The tug wouldn’t hurt him as much as my disapproval at how long it took him to get to his feet.

  If you’ve ever tried to get up from your knees with your hands bound without pushing off from anything, you know how awkward and graceless it can be. Far from impossible, especially when the binding was mostly decorative. But still, he hated to be clumsy, which was part of the reason I yanked again, urging him to get up faster without taking the time to balance himself. We ended up standing face-to-face, my fingers still curled in the ribbon. In my heels I was an inch or so taller than he was, the perfect height to look down instead of straight on. I’d done that on purpose, too.

  “Do you need me to repeat myself, Esteban?”

  “No, miss.”

  “Tell me again what you want,” I said.

  “I want to please you.”

  Fuck, how I loved the shiver in his voice. Later, I would make him say it to me in Spanish. I would make him teach me how to reply, and we would both laugh at how I butchered the words. In this moment, though, there was no laughter.

  Only anticipation.

  I stepped away from him, and his body rocked forward as I pulled the ribbon free and let it fall to the floor. It had been a whim, something pretty to start off with. I’d seen it on sale at the craft supply store while on an errand for my mother and had thought of Esteban immediately. I’d caught myself thinking of him more and more often in the times between our dates. I didn’t want to consider the reasons why.

  “I want you on your back,” I told him.

  He took a step backward, then another, before turning to crawl up onto the bed. He’d stripped the comforter off before I arrived, and I took a moment to enjoy the view of a beautiful, obedient male sprawled out on crisp white sheets before going to the array of things I’d already set out on the desk.

  I’d picked up the ribbon because it had been a little playful, and the thought of making a gift of him to myself had pleased me. The sleek, smooth object I had in my hand, however, had not been an impulse purchase. I’d taken a long time to research it, making sure I picked the right one. Molded of heavy tempered glass, the heft of it was enough to cause serious damage if you dropped it on your foot...or your balls. It didn’t look like a sex toy as much as some sort of avant-garde sculpture, clear glass swirled with blue, red and orange. Cool to the touch, it would warm nicely to body temperature. You could wash it in the dishwasher, according to the product description, though the idea of that made me shake my head. I had a similar toy at home, longer and a little thicker, but the curve of this one had been designed to perfectly caress the prostate. This toy was not for me.

  With the glass plug in one hand and a bottle of lube in the other, I knelt on the bed between Esteban’s legs. “I brought you another present.”

  He pushed up on his elbows to look and grinned. “What is this?”

  “You know what this is.” I put the lube on the bed and ran my hand up the inside of his thigh. He shaved his chest and his balls, but here the fine black hairs tickled my knuckles. I stroked my fingertip along his cock, then lower.

  His knees fell open at once, giving me access to his body. When I cupped his balls, Esteban gave another of those delicious, low gasps. His hips rolled.

  “Look at your pretty cock, already leaking for me.” I circled a finge
r around the head of it, drawing the slick precome onto my fingertip and holding it up. Locking his gaze to mine, I licked it away. It was a bit of a show for him, to trigger another of those noises, but no lie, the fact that he was so hard, so aroused that he dripped for me before I’d barely touched him, never failed to set me on fire.

  “Tell me what you want,” I demanded again, but soft and low, my voice a caress and not a slap.

  Esteban shifted on the bed, his feet going flat on it as the space between his knees widened. His fists gripped the sheets, but he knew better than to reach for me. For a second I wished he’d try—I would never truly hurt him, but discipline him? Oh, yes. We could do that.

  “I want to see you,” he said.

  I pretended to consider it, holding up the glass plug while I used the other hand to play with the buttons on my blouse. One, two, exposing a hint of nipple. The beauty of small breasts is being able to go without a bra, something which Esteban had once admitted to me drove him wild with lust. I stopped. He groaned. I laughed, and so did he. I put my free hand on his belly and the one holding the plug on the bed to support myself as I leaned over him, letting my mouth brush his chin before I nipped him.

  “No,” I told him. “You haven’t earned it yet today.”

  He did reach for me then. His hands moved over my thighs and hips, bunching my skirt. He kissed my cheek then my jaw, and found my throat where he nibbled and sucked the way I loved it.

  “I can convince you?” he asked into my ear, stroking his hand upward to cup my breasts. Thumbing my nipples through the thin fabric of my blouse, he moaned softly when they hardened at his caress. “So much easier to touch you...”

  I slapped his face lightly and gripped his chin, digging the blunt tips of my nails into his flesh. Esteban’s eyes closed immediately. His body tensed. His arms went over his head, fingers linking his hands.

  I almost came, then and there, his reaction a better aphrodisiac than anything in the world.

  “You will touch me when I say you may touch me.” My voice low. Dangerous. Stern.

  “Yes, my goddess.”

  “Fuck, I love it when you say that.” My fingers loosed their grip, leaving a few marks I soothed quickly with my tongue. I sat back. “Look at me.”

 

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