Happy hump day! The holidays are upon us and our to-do lists are miles long, but it’s time to take a break from baking and gift wrapping with a hot hump day excerpt. Today we get an exclusive peek between the covers of Audra North’s Giving It Up, available next month!
From a high-pressure job to helping raise his sister’s kid, SWAT officer Warren is desperate to give up control. Is Beatrice is ready to take charge? As the two explore boundaries in (and out of) the bedroom, the strictly-business relationship rapidly becomes something more.
“Why don’t we—why don’t we begin, then?” Beatrice levered herself onto her feet, hopping away from the couch toward the door again, and the world righted a bit now that she was away from Warren.
“Why don’t you—” She broke off, cleared her throat. Don’t ask. Command. “Get on the bed.” She lifted a hand and gestured at him, this time with a bit more conviction. “Shirt and jeans off this time.”
He rose then too, facing her, but he didn’t turn away from her to walk to the bed, but rather backed toward it, keeping his eyes on her face. Shameless. Beatrice felt an answering pulse between her thighs. Shameless and oh-so-sexy. He didn’t look away even when he pulled his shirt over his head, when hands went to the buttons on his jeans, and she had to use every ounce of willpower she had not to be the one who dropped her gaze.
She was supposed to be in charge. She would not back down.
Warren pulled the zipper down on his jeans and gave her a little smirk. Was he doing that on purpose? Either way, she had to admit she enjoyed it. But she couldn’t let him lead this interlude. He was paying her for something in particular, after all.
“I’ve changed my mind,” she drawled, noticing how his hands faltered momentarily as he pushed the jeans down his hips. He was already half-hard, his boxer briefs bulging out in front. “Everything comes off.”
The jeans fell to the floor with a whoosh.
And he wasn’t smiling anymore.
“Everything off, or you get nothing,” she told him. And then, in case he needed a reminder, “You have the safeword if you need it.”
Please don’t need it now.
His hands went to the elastic of his underwear, but he didn’t remove them right away. He worried his thumbs hard over the waistband as though the fate of the world rested on this decision.
Damn, that was sexy.
“You have ten seconds, Warren,” she clipped out, bringing her own hands to the sash of her robe. “Ten, nine.” She pulled the knot loose and let the ends of the belt dangle to the sides.
He didn’t move.
“Eight.” She grabbed the sides of the robe. “Seven. Six.” Slid it open to reveal her lingerie.
His thumbs slipped under the elastic.
“Five, four, three.” The robe fell off her shoulders, baring her to the waist. The robe hung from her elbows now, all but gone. It was surprisingly easy to reveal herself this way. Nothing like when he’d looked at her photos and it had nearly killed her.
“Two…” He closed his eyes and slid the boxers off, letting them drop to the floor at the same time that she let go of the robe.
He opened his eyes and stepped out of the pile of clothes, leaning against the mattress, his gaze roaming over her body now. It was impossible not to stare at him in return. She’d thought he was attractive before. But completely naked, he was the most beautiful man she’d ever seen. Long, masculine legs planted slightly apart, leading up to an impressive erection. He was fully, heavily aroused, his large cock bobbing gently as though beckoning her forward.
She brought her eyes upward, over the muscles that defined his slim waist, the hard chest she had stroked last week, now rising and falling with quick, rough breaths as he took in her lingerie, the way her nipples peeked out of the demi bra, the garter that framed the tiny scrap of silk that covered her sex.
She had to swallow hard before she was able to talk. “Get on the bed. Face down.”
He did as he was told.
Oh good Lord she liked this so much. She loved feeling in control of such a powerful man. All that muscled strength, that hard resolve.
Her mouth went dry when he turned and she saw his tight ass in the flesh, flexing as he lowered himself onto the mattress. She’d pulled the comforter off this time, and the sight of that tough masculinity lying prone on pink sheets made the heavy, pulsing beat of arousal between her legs even stronger.
She wanted him so badly. But he hadn’t hired her for what she wanted to give him. She wouldn’t want to be hired for that, anyway. Not just sex. Care. Concern. While he wanted a few hours of something that required no investment apart from a few hundred-dollar bills.
The thought jolted her out of her lust-induced lethargy, and she clicked on her heels over to the bed. His head was turned to the side, his eyes open, which put the juncture of her thighs exactly level with his gaze. She could feel a pink flush of heat spreading over her body as he stared, but she couldn’t bring herself to look away first.
She didn’t understand how he could be so at ease with his nakedness, as though it was an inconsequential, trivial thing. But then again…when she thought about it in the context of the rest of his life, it probably was.
“Close your eyes.”
He smirked, as though he knew she was ordering him to do it for her benefit, rather than his, but he fluttered them closed. The long, dark lashes settled over his cheeks and his face relaxed, making him look softer, younger. She resisted the urge to stroke her finger over his eyelids and press a kiss to his temple, instead using her restless hands to pick up the long scarf she’d coiled atop the nightstand.
“I noticed you took a particular interest in what I was buying the other day when we ran into one another at the pharmacy. So I thought I’d introduce something new tonight,” she told him, reaching out and encircling one of his wrists with her fingers, digging in gently, preparing him for what she had planned. When he didn’t react, she replaced her hand with one end of the scarf, tying it the way she’d seen in the videos she’d watched, practicing over and over last night. When the fabric was secured, she threaded the other end through one of the rungs of her headboard, a shabby-chic wrought iron thing she’d picked up at a vintage shop with the intention of decorating it with silk flowers.
She’d never gotten around to doing that. She’d certainly never imagined tying a man to it, but she had to admit Warren made a much better decoration than flowers.
He wasn’t moving, and he kept his eyes closed, but it felt like her was looking at her, just the same. All of his attention was somehow still focused completely on her.
It made her feel amazing. Powerful.
She swept her gaze over his body, feeling infinitely more daring, and he shifted on the bed as though he could feel her eyes on his shoulders…his back…his waist…and oh—that tight, smooth ass.
She resisted the urge to reach out and stroke over it, to dip her fingers between his legs and rub his sac. Sex wasn’t a part of this arrangement, and she had to remember that. She didn’t want to panic him, to make him flee.
She moved onto the bed and, like she’d done the week before, slid one leg over Warren’s back to straddle him, then secured his other wrist with the other end of the scarf.
Neither of them spoke.
It felt so right this time. Despite a couple of nervous moments this evening, this felt so natural and so very good. She leaned forward, the lace of her bra scraping over his back. He shuddered in response, and she smiled to herself, then picked up the other, shorter scarf she’d placed on her nightstand. This one was dark blue—the closest thing she had to black. She folded it over twice before reaching around and smoothing it over his eyes.
He flinched, but didn’t protest, and she quickly ran the scarf around his head, tying it in place.
He was breathing faster, his hips pushing into the mattress. She wondered if he’d come all over her sheets this time.
God. She wanted him to.
She shuddered with arousal at the thought and took a moment to focus. She couldn’t afford to lose herself to him tonight. This next step would require all of her attention, all of her control.
She started with a stroke down his back, readying him for her touch. She’d read a comment on an Internet post about this trick, and she was grateful for it, because she reaped the rewards too—he picked his head up off the pillow and arched into her hand, pushing his firm back into her palm.
Yes. You feel so good. Yes.
She stroked again, and again, and right after the third stroke, which he practically followed with his entire body, seeking more of her touch, she capped it off with a light smack to his ass.
He jerked in surprise, his hips plunging so hard into the mattress she heard something crack, but she didn’t bother to stop. Didn’t care. This was what she cared about. Warren, aroused by her touch. Warren, beneath her hands and at her mercy…
A fantasy come true.
She delivered another hit, a bit harder this time, and his hands balled into fists, his shoulders curving down into the bed as though he were trying to plow into it, and she paused, her hand hovering above those firm, rounded muscles. He didn’t relax, though. Didn’t make a sound.
Was this a good reaction? Normal? She tried to distance herself a bit, to look at Warren as though she were viewing him through her camera display, but to her surprise, she struggled to find the detachment that usually came so easily when she worked. She was too into him, too attuned to every last part of him, from his body to his mind to…
She wanted him too much to be objective.
Did he want her to keep going? He hadn’t used the safeword, but they were both so new to this and she couldn’t tell. The book hadn’t talked about this. Maybe his lack of reaction was her cue to do more.
She reached over and slid the drawer to her nightstand open, then pulled out the ping pong paddle she’d bought a couple of days ago after seeing something about low-cost items that could be used in play. This time, instead of her hand, she gently ran the paddle down his back.
It took him a second to react, probably trying to figure out what the object was. But then he shook his head, his chin rasping over the sheet.
“No,” he said, his sudden words reverberating loudly in the apartment.
She hesitated. That refusal had sounded sincere. Had felt sincere. But it wasn’t the safeword. Had he forgotten it, or was he protesting as part of the scene? She’d learned about that too, that some submissives wanted to struggle more than others.
Still, struggle didn’t feel like something Warren would want. In all the time she’d known him, she’d always felt like he needed someone to care for him, rather than make him work harder. Or maybe she’d wanted too much to be the person to care for him and ended up projecting her own desires onto him instead of going out and getting what she wanted for herself.
Her body sagged a bit. Maybe, all this time she’d spent observing him over the past few months, she’d been completely wrong about him.
Somehow, the thought depressed her more than it likely should have.
She rested the paddle flat against his ass, letting him feel it, and Warren’s arms jerked at the scarf. She heard the rip of fabric, and he started yanking harder. The bindings were starting to tear. What the hell?
“No,” he gritted out, pulling again.
This wasn’t right. Something wasn’t right, she was sure of it. He needed to stop struggling, or this wouldn’t work at all. She wouldn’t be able to go through with it. She could be in control, but apparently only when he seemed into it.
Maybe this arrangement wasn’t going to work after all.
She needed to calm him down, for her own sake, but she was already starting to panic too, making it hard to think, so she simply did the first thing that came to her mind—
Which was to kiss him.
It wasn’t easy. She had to twist her body and press up against his side and pull his head to hers at an awkward angle, but somehow, the second her lips touched his, it felt like the most natural thing in the world, to kiss this man. She never wanted to stop kissing him. The soft-but-firm pressure. The way he moaned when she flicked her tongue over his lips. The way he tasted when she licked into his mouth.
But it was too short.
She whimpered when he pulled his head away. “Beatrice, we shouldn’t—”
“Shhh. Don’t say anything.” She slid away from him. She’d known he was going to say they shouldn’t do that. He’d warned her when they’d met at the batting cages, hadn’t he? But he’d never said he didn’t want to, and she wouldn’t believe it now, anyway. Not after that—their first kiss—had been so amazing. She’d felt how much he’d wanted it. His need had matched her own, she had been able to taste it. And she didn’t want him to take that away. Not yet.
She was the one in charge here.
She straightened up again and reached out a hand, stroking him in slow, gentle circles on the small of his back. At least he wasn’t struggling anymore. She pressed on the paddle, still resting on the hard curves of his ass, to remind him what they’d been in the middle of doing. This time, though, he didn’t fight his bonds. Merely waited silently.
As she’d commanded him to.
She leaned in again so her mouth was close to his ear, and this time she couldn’t resist the urge to nip at the plump lobe. He moaned, his neck muscles working as he tried to push against her mouth. “Of course you may use the safeword, Warren. And I’ll stop immediately. But this…” she tapped the paddle gently against his bottom, “…doesn’t have to be a fight. You don’t have to struggle. You don’t want to struggle.”
He relaxed even further at the words, and she felt a surge of accomplishment. She’d been right. He didn’t want to struggle, but he needed someone else to be in control, to tell him that it was okay.
He needed her.
At least temporarily.
She suppressed a sigh at the thought and kept massaging his back, slowing her movements until her hand simply rested on his body, exerting a slight pressure. A suggestion.
She picked up the paddle again, but this time, she brought it up a few inches before snapping it down against his ass, keeping her other hand on his back. He winced and groaned, but he didn’t use the safeword.
She waited for a second, and then raised the paddle again, higher, before bringing it down again.
He drove hard into the bed on a hard exhale, legs flexing, the muscles of his back pulling tight under her hand. Again, she raised and lowered the paddle, fast and hard, and he grunted, grinding in circles even as his flesh started to pink.
He was pulling at the restraints again, but this time it wasn’t in protest. His body was rippling over the bed with every press of his hips against the mattress. The slats of the headboard were actually starting to flex inward he was exerting so much force.
Oh my God, this was the hottest thing she’d ever seen. He was turned on by this. He liked this. He—
“Kiss me. Fucking shit, Beatrice. Kiss me again now.”
She was supposed to be commanding him, but she couldn’t resist the request. A kiss was what had changed everything, in the first place—from protesting the paddle to enjoying it…participating in it. Kissing Warren—pushing herself into the moment—had been about more than a kiss.
She’d felt it. She’d done it without thinking, that first time. And now she wanted to do it again, so badly.
She threw the paddle down and scrambled up the bed, ripping off the blindfold and digging her nails into the knot that bound his right hand. He’d pulled it so tightly she managed to break two of her fingernails as she worked it loose.
“I’m here, Warren. I’m here.” She was trying to reassure him, to let him know that she had heard him, that she wanted it too—to give him what he wanted. But she couldn’t seem to work him free fast enough. A hot, desperate feeling was taking over her body.
“Now, Beatrice,” he gasped, as the scarf came free and he twisted, sitting up and yanking her to him, her mouth pressing against his.
Giving It Up will be available in digital and print on January 12, 2016. Preorder a copy: Amazon | BN | Kobo | iBooks | All Romance | IndieBound. And if you’d like to check out more Hump Day excerpts, we’ve got ya covered.