Jessica Stanley is comfortable in her orderly life as a paralegal at a high end law firm. Having dated her fair share of liars and manipulators, Jessica views men through a pair of thick, cynical lenses. Men are good for one thing in her eyes, and one thing only.
Her predictable life is thrown into a whirlwind of new experiences when she meets a dominating man at a casual dinner with friends.
Royce Bradford is a man of intent and is used to getting his way. Until he meets Jessica. She is wound tight, and he finds himself yearning to unravel her secrets and her passions.
Jessica declares their relationship casual. She’s tempted by his seductive tone and unusually powerful demeanor to give him that much. But for Royce, it’s not enough. He wants more.
Except Jessica has built a secret tomb around her heart, and it will take a lot more than sensual play times and verbal commands for him to be allowed entrance. Royce never backs down from his desires. He takes up the challenge to seek out her Hidden Heart.
They walked in silence for the first block. Neither seemed to know what to say or how to begin a conversation. Jessica felt his eyes on her, but continued to look straight ahead of her. It had been a while since she spent this much time alone with a man.
Royce broke the silence by inquiring about her work. He gave her his full attention, asking questions when he didn’t understand something she said. He didn’t just nod and daydream like most of the men she’d dated.
She began to relax by the time they made their way onto her block. She focused on him as he told her about his new position. He hadn’t been looking for an executive job when he’d applied with Alex’s company, and he seemed cautiously optimistic about the new position.
She paused outside the steps to her apartment building to listen to him finish and noticed a couple coming down the stairs of the next building. The woman, a beautiful brunette, walked with a little limp as though she felt tender with her movements. The man walked behind her as a cab pulled to the curb, and he opened the door for her.
Then he slid his hand under her hair and cupped the back of her head, pulling her to his lips.
They exchanged a passionate kiss, which he broke off, causing her to look disappointed. He laid a hand on a pendant she wore around her neck and said something to her that Jessica couldn’t make out. The woman’s smile spoke of pure happiness—raw joy—as though he had just said the most romantic thing in the world to her.
Jessica heard the woman say, “Yes, Sir. Thank you,” before she sunk into the cab. The man paid the driver and waved to her as she pulled away.
“Jessica…Jessica…” Royce’s voice pulled her back to him.
“I’m…wow. I’m sorry. I was…” She watched the man skip up his steps and go back into his building.
“You were eavesdropping on that couple.” Royce’s eyes glistened with laughter, his lips curving up at the ends.
“Yes.” She laughed. “It’s just…they seemed so entwined with each other.”
“Some couples are actually happy together.” He pointed out, leaning against the railing of the stairs.
“She didn’t call him by name. She called him Sir. Isn’t that an odd thing to call your lover?” she asked, using her forefinger to push a lock of hair behind her ear.
Royce’s expression changed. The laughter in his eyes dropped and was replaced with a mysterious look of seriousness, as though her words struck a nerve.
“No, it’s not odd at all. To some, it’s just as endearing as calling him honey or sweetheart—perhaps more intimate than those words.” His voice was smooth, firm. She wasn’t sure if she had offended him, or he was trying to teach her something.
Measha Stone lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband and their children. By day she works as a healthcare administrator, and by evening she steams up the computer screen with her erotic romances. No stranger to the BDSM community, Measha feels right at home within the erotic genre. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University. Her vanilla writing has been published in the online magazine efiction and the DuPage Writers Group annual journal Possibilities. To find out more about Measha Stone visit her blog at www.meashaswritings.blogspot.com or follow her @Measha_stone