UPDATE: Winner will be chosen Monday evening! So there’s still time to enter!
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So, I couldn’t think of a better title. I have two little-ish announcements and then I want to share another excerpt from next Tuesday’s new release. Hang in there!
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First, did you see the latest review in a string of GREAT reviews for Cowboy Heat? Night Owl Reviews gave the collection 5 stars and Top Pick, and says this: “Each story contained in this anthology is a reflection of high standards and terrific writing… You can’t get any better than these 15 fantastic western romances.” It doesn’t get any better than that, huh? Congrats to all the authors!
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This week, SEALs of Summer hit the USA Today Bestsellers list at #22! And we have advance notice that the anthology hit the New York Times list that releases this coming week at #6 on the ebook list and #11 on the combined, print and ebook, list! Hitting both is a dream come true for any author!
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On Tuesday, May 6th, Her Only Desire will be released by Grand Central in both print and ebook! I don’t write full-length novels very often, so if you’ve been waiting for something longer, this is the one!
For fans of Sylvia Day and E. L. James, comes awarding-winning author Delilah Devilin’s first book in her sensual eroitic romance Sultry Summer Nights series.
A Sultry Summer Nights Novel
The moment Tilly Floret sees the sleek Bentley driving down Main Street, she knows trouble has arrived in her sleepy little town. A mysterious job posting keeps appearing at the diner where she works, and she can’t resist applying. No matter that the entire town of Bayou Vert is whispering about the wealthy, powerful man behind it all and his scandalous return home. The moment his ice-blue eyes meet hers, he ignites an all-consuming desire she never imagined possible, one she can’t deny.
Ex-navy SEAL Boone Benoit never thought he’d set foot in Louisiana again. As soon as Tilly starts her new job in his pleasure club, he senses a kindred soul. One who has carefully guarded secrets of her own-and a simmering hunger for the taboo rites of mastery and submission. The only difference is she doesn’t yet know it. Now as Boone tutors Tilly in the tantalizing world of leather and lace, she will shed her every inhibition and surrender to him, body and soul.
An excerpt from the book follows, but before we get to that, I did promise a contest!
Leave a comment on this post, and you’ll be entered to win a signed
copy of one of my Cleis Press collections—reader’s choice!
Excerpt from Her Only Desire…
Tilly awoke to the smell of burning wood and the sound of hushed voices outside her window. Her eyes smarted from the smoke. Fear clogged her throat.
She didn’t dare turn on her lights until she knew what was happening. So she felt around for her thin bathrobe, knotted it around her waist, and then made her way through the cottage to the front windows. Holding open two slats of the blinds, she stared in horror at one of the cabins across the square ablaze, sparks flying high into the air like fireflies.
Men surrounded it, holding hoses they used to wet the nearby ground and the surrounding cabins, but they pointed no water toward the burning cabin.
Everything seemed under control until her gaze found Boone, standing frozen in front of the gaping cabin door, watching the flames consume the structure.
Then she understood. Celeste had been found lying in one of the cabins on a dingy, blood-soaked mattress. That was all the detail the newspapers had given. Enough to fill her mind with images of a vivacious young woman who’d laughed while Tilly jumped on her bed, forever stilled. Although they were cousins, too many years lay between them for them to be close, but Celeste’s loss had changed everything.
Goose bumps raised on her skin. She wanted to sneak back to her bedroom and pretend she hadn’t seen a thing. But the sight of Boone, standing so still, his body rigid, hands fisted at his sides, made her stomach knot.
Her guilty secret made her feel slightly ill. She could ease his pain—shift the shame from his shoulders. All she had to do was come forward with her brother’s treasure box and the bracelet that hadn’t been found at the crime scene.
Watching him, standing so silently, with his grim-faced men giving him worried glances as they worked, her eyes burned more. She hurried back to her bedroom. Not wanting to think about what she was doing, she dressed in shorts and a tee, slid her feet into flip-flops, and hurried back to let herself out of the door. Flapping sounds echoed in the air as she passed Serge, whose lips tightened. She ignored the shake of his head, which told her to mind her own business. She passed Mr. Jones, who didn’t give away his opinion by so much as a movement or change in his harsh face. Ignoring everyone but the man whose rigid body stood like a silent sentinel, she sidled up beside Boone and cupped his balled fist in her hand.
His hand tightened more, but didn’t shake hers away. Desperate to keep hidden the tears forming in the corners of her eyes, she kept her gaze down and stood beside him as the roof groaned, then collapsed, sending sparks raining out the gaping door.
Only then did he act, his arm coming around her to urge her backward. Then he pulled her against his chest and cupped her head, his hand smoothing over her back.
Maybe he was only making sure none of the firefly-like embers hadn’t landed on her, but he held her close, his heart thudding against her cheek.
Slowly, so that he wouldn’t jerk away from her, she raised her arms, encircling his muscled torso. Providing comfort and finding some for herself. Her hands roamed his back as she snuggled closer to his chest and let her tears fall, wetting her cheeks and the front of his shirt.
At last, he inhaled deeply, the tension in his body draining away. A kiss landed on her hair, and she leaned back, wiping her tears away with her fingers then checking his expression and finding it haggard, ravaged. “I think your men can handle the rest,” she said softly.
Boone shook his head. “I don’t want them turning on the hoses until it’s ashes.”
The harshness of his voice nearly broke her heart. “I’m certain they understand.”
Boone dropped his gaze to hers. “Why are you here, Tilly?”
The hollowness of his gaze made her mouth tremble. For all his strength and accomplishment, he was still a man haunted by his past. “I’m here because I know what this place is…” She took a deep breath. “And I know you didn’t do it.”
His lips twisted. “There’s believing, and then there’s knowing. Which is it, Tilly?” he asked, his gaze sharpening as he studied her face.
Tilly quivered beneath his hard gaze but tilted up her chin. “I know,” she whispered, “but don’t ask me how.” Her gaze pleaded with his to leave her admission alone. She wouldn’t tell him any more.
His jaw firmed, but he nodded, pulling away. “You should go back inside.”
“There’s too much smoke.”
A dark brow rose. “Then you haven’t any choice. You’ll come with me to the Big House.”
Pressed close to his body, she didn’t miss the stirring of his sex against her belly. She dropped her head, staring at his throat, but gave him a nod.
He swallowed. “Serge…”
“Yes, boss,” Serge said from a few feet away.
“See it to the end?”
“Of course. We don’t need you here.”
Boone slipped an arm around Tilly’s waist, and turned, leading her away.
They followed the path, lit by moonlight.
Tilly had known this moment would come. From the first touch of his hand on her foot. She’d been drawn to him from the start. So tall and strong, so smart and accomplished, but inside, he was tormented, something she understood only too well. Pity and guilt didn’t have a thing to do with her surrender. She needed Boone every bit as much as she sensed he needed her.
Her heart tripped inside her chest, knowing she’d accepted an invitation for more than a place to rest while the fire continued to burn. She was ready to explore this tantalizing attraction they shared. Already, her skin felt on fire. Her breasts tightened. Her hips swayed, bumping against his, because she couldn’t contain the excitement curling in her belly.
She was going to his bed. She knew it. He knew it. What he’d do once he had her there… well, that was the mystery.
They climbed the back porch steps and entered through a door that opened to the servant’s staircase. He dropped his arm and grabbed her hand, pulling her up the steep stairs.
She didn’t bother giving even token resistance. She wanted this. Not to ease his pain or her guilt, but because she wanted to know what being with Boone was like.
Tonight, witnessing his raw emotions had humanized him. Boone might be hardened by the things that had happened to him, by war and his dangerous profession, but at his core, he was vulnerable to hurt and sorrow. For tonight, that was enough to know.
She’d revealed something, but he hadn’t pressed her. No doubt tomorrow, he’d think about it, and maybe redouble his effort to discover what she knew. But for now, he’d take what she offered instead. Comfort. Sexual release. She’d submit to him too, if it was what he needed.
She almost smiled, because he’d predicted this. He knew her in ways no other man had ever bothered trying.
He’d guessed the moment she’d balanced on one foot, curious to see what he would do.
They reached the upper floor and he headed left, unerringly finding his way in the darkness. At his bedroom door, he opened it, not bothering with the overhead light, but walking straight to the curtains and pulling them open. In the distance, over the roof of the foreman’s cottage, they could see the glow of the fire, but not the burning cabin itself.
Once again, he stood rigid, his hands on the window ledge. “Why are you here, Tilly?” he asked again.
“Because I want to be.”
His glance shot her way, taking note of her expression, which she masked, tilting up her chin.
His gaze went back the lit sky. “Undress. Take everything off. Do it behind me if it helps knowing I can’t see.”
Shock quivered through her and held her still for a moment. His harsh whisper frightened her with its coarseness, but part of her was relieved he was doing exactly what he’d said he would—demanding her submission. This wouldn’t be a romantic seduction. No sweet pauses to gauge whether he’d wooed her sufficiently to proceed. This was about raw need and desires about to be fulfilled. Somehow, her pride was salved by the fact she didn’t have to voice her agreement. Her role was simply to obey. So she stepped out of her sandals and fumbled with her clothes until she stood nude in the shadows behind him.
“Go to my bed. Slip between the sheets and wait for me.”
Nervous but also terribly excited, she couldn’t force words past the lump growing in her throat. But what would she have said? She was panting, her breaths so short and rasping, he had to hear. She walked to his bed, noted the rumpled bedding, and slipped between cool cotton sheets. When she glanced back to the window, she saw he had turned and was watching her. But for how long?
He unbuttoned his shirt and shrugged out of it, letting it fall to the ground behind him. Then he toed off his shoes, unbuttoned his pants, and drew down the zipper.
At the moment he shoved down his pants, she realized she hadn’t been breathing, and she gasped.
Not that she could see much of what he revealed. The fire glowing in the distance illuminated his shoulders, but shadow hid the front of his body.
He stepped away from his clothing, striding straight to the bed as he stared down at her figure. “Pull away the sheet, Tilly. It’s dark in here. Your modesty will be preserved.”
“I’m not afraid,” she whispered, tossing back the sheet.
He reached down, and she held her breath, but he didn’t touch her. His fingers grasped the coverlet and sheet and pulled them to the end of the bed. Then he knelt on the edge of the mattress beside her.
Even a shadow couldn’t mask the desire in his eyes.
Her gaze snagged on his erection, which stood straight from his groin, rising nearly to the center of his belly. When she lifted her gaze, his teeth gleamed in a narrow, tight smile.
He bent over her, grasping her wrists and placing them beside her head. “Keep them here.”
Swallowing hard, she nodded—then gasped again as he set his big hands on her thighs. His palms smoothed up and down, the rasp of light calluses causing goose bumps to lift in their wake. He gripped her, pushed apart her thighs, and climbed on his knees into the space he made.
Now she was open, as vulnerable as woman could be. Tilly concentrated on her breaths, dragging them between her pursed lips, blowing them out in a slow steady stream to calm her racing heart.
But he only looked at her, his gaze caressing her breasts, her belly, the apex of her thighs. His fingers raked through the hair on her woman’s mound. “I’ll be shaving this.”
Her breath hitched at his touch, and then again at his words. When he tugged her short, curling hairs, she groaned because her sex tightened in reaction, and he could see.
A finger stroked the length of her slit, the moist sound seeming to please him, because again, his lips parted in a strained smile. He bent, landing his hands on either side of her shoulders, and then slowly lowered his body.
The first touch of his chest to hers, crisp curls rubbing against her sensitive nipples, made her shiver. When he lowered his hips and pressed his hot, hard cock against her belly, she closed her eyes, afraid she’d reveal too much of the pleasure washing through her.
She opened her eyes, staring back at him. He was resting on his elbows, bracketing her shoulders, their bodies mashed together. And all she could think was how much more of him she wanted.
He cupped one side of her cheek and rubbed his finger across her bottom lip. She stuck out her tongue and licked it, eyes widening when she tasted herself.
His head lowered, bringing the shadows with him. “There’s so much I want, sweetheart. So much I’ll do. If anything makes you afraid, don’t hesitate to ask me to stop. There’s nothing I consider taboo. Nothing I don’t want to touch or enter. With you, I’m finding it hard to hold back.” He bent closer and kissed her mouth, licking her bottom lip, and then eased his tongue inside her.
His kiss was more than just a kiss. It was a promise. A sensual threat. He controlled it, using his hands to hold her head still, his lips to seduce her into wanting to follow. His tongue invaded, licking at her lips, stroking her tongue, thrusting in a way and a rhythm that made her hips curl.
With his mouth and tongue, he drew from her emotions she found foreign—wonder at his thoroughness, sublime lethargy that left her feeling boneless. Heat licked at her breasts and sex, although he concentrated all his efforts on exploring only her mouth.
When he drew back, she blinked slowly, her gaze going straight to his lips and then rising slowly to lock with his darkly hooded gaze.
“I think… I’ll play with you later,” he murmured. “For now, I’ll keep this uncomplicated.”
“Uncomplicated? For whom?” she grumbled.
His chest shook against her as he chuckled. Then he dipped down and kissed her chin.
She tilted back her head, begging him silently for more. He gave it, sliding his lips down her throat, his tongue touching the pulse hammering there. Then he scooted down, kissing the tops of her breasts.
More than anything, she wanted to sink her fingers in his hair and pull his mouth to the aching tips of her breasts.
Boone didn’t make her wait, lips latching on one beaded tip and drawing on it, pulling it into his mouth, where he tortured it with flicks of his tongue.
Muscles tensing, her legs moved restlessly, widening beneath him. Moisture seeped from inside her, but he couldn’t know, could he? He wasn’t touching her there, where she needed him most.
He let go of her nipple and nibbled and sucked her skin, making his way across her chest to the other nipple.
When he bit the tip, she arched beneath him, groaning, aching for release.
He leaned on one elbow and cupped the breast he tortured, molding it in his large hand. Then his hand glided down her ribs, and lower still, fingers sliding into the top of her folds.
Heart pounding, her breath hitched and held as he pulled her nipple between his teeth and nibbled. His fingers swirled atop her cloaked clitoris.
Letting go of her breast, he glanced into her eyes. “No rules. No inhibitions, Tilly. Give yourself to me.” His fingers swirled and swirled, pausing now and then to gather the fluids seeping from inside her, then rubbing again, each slow circle tightening the desire coiling inside her.
She couldn’t look away. Couldn’t hide behind the sweep of her eyelashes. Locked in his gaze, held captive by his wicked fingers and the steady gleam of his darkened eyes, she began to writhe, thighs tightening and opening, her head turning side to side. Her breaths deepened, growing more ragged by the second.
When the moment arrived, she forgot to keep her hands at her head and reached desperately for his shoulders, fingernails digging into his skin while her back arched and her moans grew louder.
“That’s it,” he whispered. “Fly, sweetheart. Fly.”
Released by his words and the pressure of his fingertips, pleasure exploded, radiating outward from deep in her core, quivering through her limbs, curling her toes. Tilly’s cry cut off as she fell back, shattered, pleasure pulsing, rippling up and down her channel.
Fingers plunged inside her, twisting, finding a sensitive spot that wrested another wave of wicked pleasure. When she tumbled down, she lay sweating, the sheet wet beneath her bottom.
Boone kissed her belly, the top of her mound. When his tongue touched her clit, the caress soothed rather than taking her into that dark pleasure again. She sank her fingertips into his thick hair and rocked her hips, the motions slowing until she fell still.
He moved up the bed, turned her on her side and spooned his body behind hers. His arms wrapped around her, a tight-muscled embrace. He pressed a kiss against her cheek and simply held her.
Tilly waited breathlessly, eager and yet dreading what came next. Her breaths were still settling. Leaving her no way to pretend she’d suddenly fallen asleep. But what did one say at a moment like this? She’d given herself to a man she barely knew, one she couldn’t trust with her secrets.
And his cock was still rigid, poking against her bottom—no! Resting between her cheeks! Her breath hitched in her throat.
“It’s all right to sleep,” he drawled, his fingers rubbing along her arm.
Tilly sniffed. “I don’t need your permission.”
“But you need my cooperation.”
She heard a smile in his voice. “But you didn’t…”
“I had some satisfaction. I’ve learned a few things about you.”