I’m in cold, blustery Omaha today with the Heartland Writers Group! Lovely group of ladies. Sis and I are running them through their paces today. In the meantime, enjoy the excerpt. Today’s topic is character. I rather liked the way we first see Gus in this story. And I felt as though I knew him by the end of the scene.
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Gus Taggert knows a setup when he sees one. When one of his police officer buddies sends him on a doughnut run to one particular doughnut shop, Cornucopia, he hesitates. It’s too frilly and pink. However, the woman behind the counter serves him more than a couple dozen gourmet doughnuts, she gives him a mini-lesson in submission—something he’s eager to learn more about. When she orders him to see her that night at the BDSM club, La Forge, he’s more than eager to obey.
Newly vetted Domme, Aislinn Darby, has a sub she’s eager to take for a test run. The large, burly cop is the kind of alpha guy she’s been dying to tie up and spank. However, after she takes him through his paces, she finds herself more than willing to let him take control, something she hasn’t enjoyed with a man before. Gus’s brand of loving is addictive, but now she’s doubting herself and her own ability to control a scene. She has to have him back for one more go, only this time, she’s going to do it with a crowd around them to ensure he doesn’t forget who’s in charge. She bribes him into submission. Accept her dictates, and he can have her any way he wants as reward.
What Gus wants is Aislinn in the middle of a scene he orchestrates himself with the help of three of his best friends.
Gus Taggert knew it was a cliché. A cop in a doughnut shop. The officers waiting for him to arrive for the sergeant’s morning meeting didn’t like making the run because of the inevitable roll of the eyes or smartass grin they’d get standing in line.
However, he didn’t mind being the “doughnut guy”. The plus for being the brunt of any jokes was that he ate for free. That was okay with him. He took any pointed looks or lame jokes in stride. He was an affable guy. Hard to rile.
He’d learned long ago to stifle his anger and look for the good in people, even when they messed up. Being oversized and strong, he’d always had to be more careful throwing his weight around. People could get hurt, and that wasn’t why he’d been drawn to law enforcement. He wasn’t a bully in a uniform.
Gus liked being a cop. Liked what it stood for. Loved the black uniform and the camaraderie of his brother cops. He didn’t mind that his closest buds were all moving on to bigger and better things. He liked being a beat cop. Liked patrolling the neighborhood he lived in and getting to know the people he protected.
His father had been a small-town cop, and his father before him had been the sheriff of their little Arkansas berg. But then his mom had moved to Memphis—not because she’d wanted to, but because when his mom and dad divorced, she’d wanted to start fresh where everyone didn’t know her business and didn’t whisper to her ex about who she was seeing next.
Gus had missed his old school and friends, but had a natural gift for making new ones. That he was big and brawny, quick on his feet despite his size, had made him a natural for the football team.
And that’s where he’d met Jackson Teague and Craig Eason, who surprisingly enough, wanted to be cops too when they graduated.
They’d all gone to college together, applied for the police academy and been accepted. That’s where they’d met the remaining members of their current posse, Beau McIntyre and Mondo Acevedo.
So, Gus was never lonely. He had his peeps, a job he loved, a city that kept him on his toes. And today, he was on his way to explore a new doughnut shop.
Mondo, although now in vice and no longer attending the station-house morning meetings, had given him a roll of bills the night before. “Treat the guys to doughnuts. On me.”
Gus had glanced at the roll. “This is too much.”
“Not for the place I want you to go.”
He should have known from the gleam in Mondo’s dark brown eyes that something was up, but Gus liked to think the best of people. Maybe Mondo really did just want to treat the guys to something special.
Well, it was special all right. Not like any doughnut shop Gus had ever seen before. He stood on the street in front of the small store front, eyeing the painted glass window with its pink awning, and felt the first rumbles of misgiving.
Cornucopia. He’d had to Google it last night to get the address and to see what the name meant. A horn of plenty. A familiar Thanksgiving ornament. But there weren’t ears of corn or squashes spilling from the dark pink horn painted on the glass. Doughnuts looking like Christmas presents, painted with ribbons and sparkling with stars, spilled from the mouth of the horn.
All the pink and frothy cuteness made him itch. However, he’d been given a wad of cash and a mission to buy a couple dozen doughnuts from this specific shop. For once, his cheeks burned at the idea.
Hitching up his utility belt, he blew out a deep breath that billowed his cheeks and pushed the glass door. A bell at the top tinkled.
Inside, the shop was pretty much what he’d expected—pale purple tiled flooring, white-painted iron bistro tables, boxes decorated in frou-frou paper and ribbons stacked at one end of the sparkling clean glass-front counter.
Thankfully, the shop was empty. Maybe he could back out, say it’d been closed when he came by, and he could hit a Dunkin Donuts on the way to the station house.
As soon as he’d made up his mind to leave, he heard a stirring from the back, and rather than be caught with one foot still on the sidewalk outside like he was scared to come inside, he stepped through the door and held the bell so it didn’t chime again.
“Have a thing for bells?” came a husky feminine voice.
His gaze darted back to the counter, his cheeks filling with heat. A woman stood there, every bit as pretty and dainty as her little shop, with dark red hair, pale-as-dinner-china white cheeks and large brown eyes. The kind of woman he avoided like the plague because he always felt like a lumbering bear beside them.
What had she asked? Oh, yeah, the bells. He didn’t have a thing for them, he’d only wanted to be quiet and not charge into the place like a bull in a china shop. “No, ma’am.”
“That’s a nice start,” she said, her voice dropping again into a sexy, shivering whisper.
Gus’s cheeks burned hotter, because he knew she’d just made a joke and he didn’t understand it. Further, meeting her amused gaze proved surprisingly difficult. He had the urge to duck his head. To wait for permission to come closer.
Her amusement faded. “Come in, officer,” she said with brisk efficiency. “Can I help you with something?”
He cleared his throat, scuffed his boots on the doormat, like that was why he’d paused coming in, and stepped deeper inside the shop. “I’m just here to buy some doughnuts.”
“I don’t sell just doughnuts.” Her voice sharpened.
Had he insulted her somehow? He came closer to the counter. “They’re pretty doughnuts.”
“I’m a trained pastry chef. These are gourmet doughnuts.”
Like he’d said, they were pretty, but he didn’t get what it was she expected him to say. He thrust his hand into his pocket and took out the roll of bills Mondo had given him. “Mondo said you’d fix me up.”
“Mondo…” Her eyes sparkled for a moment, then narrowed. “Show me which you’re interested in.”
He reached out to point at one confection sitting on a tray atop the glass counter. The doughnut looked more like a pretty cupcake and was covered in glaze with star-shaped silver beads glinting on the top. “Some of these?”
Her hand shot out and slapped the top of his. Not hard, but the loud crack it made startled him. “Ma’am?” he asked, startled she’d dared smack an officer of the law.
“Correct response again,” she said, an edge to her sexy voice. “However, I think you need to come around the counter and make your selection.”
Right about now, he knew his face was beet red. And the collar of his shirt was tightening like a noose, cutting off his air. “Beg your pardon?”
His body reacted to the firm tone with an instant surge of heat straight to his groin. With his balls drawing up, he thought he might embarrass himself further if he got too close to the pretty pastry chef. “Uh, a couple dozen’s all I need,” he said swiftly. “Whatever you want to put into a box.”
The redhead narrowed her eyes. “Mondo’s a friend of mine. He said he was sending me someone special. Don’t disappoint me.”
Mondo was her friend. The way she’d emphasized the word put this strange conversation in a new perspective. Her tone, the hardening glint in her pretty eyes, the stubborn tilt of her chin—good Lord, she was that kind of friend, someone from Mondo’s club, which Gus had visited a time or two out of curiosity first, then growing wonder.
He swallowed hard, beginning to sweat, then slowly made his way around the glass-front counter toward her, seeing the rest of her lovely, slim frame. When he stood a couple of feet away, he ducked his head, dropping his gaze. Waiting now, for what he didn’t know, but he knew instinctively she was pleased, because she sighed.
“You’re bigger than I expected.”
Oh hell, what was she looking at? Had his erection become noticeable?
“And you’re better looking.”
He gave a little smile, letting her see it, but still not raising his glance. The parts of her he could watch were fascinating anyway. Her breasts were small but round, and the tips were beginning to poke through her pink-buttoned blouse and lacy bra. Her pale trousers were cinched at the waist with a white leather belt, and it was a tiny trim waist that offset the feminine flare of her hips. Legs proportionate with her body stretched below to pink-tipped toes that peeked out of sandals she wore. His mouth filled with drool. He’d give a week’s wages for the privilege of sucking on them.
She slid open the door to the back of the counter and waved for him to have a look.
Gus wished like hell she’d move back, because standing this close, he got a whiff of her light, floral scent. Beads of sweat popped on his forehead.
Feeling clumsier by the minute, he bent to glance inside the shelves at the array of fancy doughnuts. Sheesh. Not a single plain glazed one. The guys were going to razz the hell out of him.
Suddenly, she stepped behind him, her hands landing on either side of the cabinet to trap him.
He gulped hard. “Ma’am?”
A knee climbed along the inside of one of his thighs, then snuggled against his balls. He froze—blood surged south, filling his cock. Then she slid her knee down and tapped his feet with one of hers, urging him silently to widen his stance.
Which he did. No question or quick denial came to mind. He braced his hands against the glass like a perp ready for a pat-down, dreading and yet eager for whatever she’d do next.
Her hand cupped his balls. “Anything you like?”
Afraid he’d bleat like a goat if he tried to answer, he nodded.
Her fingers closed around his sac, and she gave him a gentle tug. “Me too.”
Then just as quickly, her hand fell away and she moved back.
Gus pushed from the counter and turned.
Her eyes were softer, her expression pleased. She laid a palm against the side of his face. Her thumb stroked his bottom lip. Her gaze dipped to his name tag then back up again. “When I see you next, Officer Taggert,” she whispered, stepping closer, “don’t say a word. Take off your clothes and be ready for whatever I want next.”
His tongue felt glued to the top of his mouth. Sure he wouldn’t manage more than a caveman’s grunt, he nodded again.
A small hand cupped his cock through his uniform pants and rode the length trapped in his dark trousers against his thigh. “There’s more to you than shows. I like that. Look at me.”
He raised his gaze, stopping on the faint curve of her full lips, then rose again to lock with her gold-flecked brown gaze.
She reached up, stuck the nail of her index finger under his chin and pulled down his head until their faces were level. Then she leaned forward, her cheek sliding alongside his. Her warm breath gusted against his ear, and he shivered.
“I’ll give you a box. You can take as many doughnuts as you can fit inside. Take your time. Compose yourself. I’ll see you tonight.”
Gus held his breath until she released him and moved away. She bent to retrieve a box from beneath the counter then gave him a slow smile and turned on her pretty pink heels to walk through the doorway leading to the kitchen.
When she was gone, he let out the breath he’d held and grabbed for the edge of the counter to keep from swaying. Thank God, he’d parked right out front. His dick tented his pants leg.
Swallowing to wet his dry mouth, he slid open the glass and carefully plucked two dozen doughnuts from their trays, not caring what he chose because the sooner he got out of here the better.
When he caught up with Mondo, he’d chew him a new asshole for not warning him what he was walking into.
However, he still felt the warmth of her slap against the back of his hand and—despite his embarrassment—smiled as he exited the shop.
* * * * *
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