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She’s scared of it—but craves it. He’s a pro, but doing it with her scares him too. S&M is scary stuff. For scary, read exciting… She craves it but is scared to admit it. He does it for fun and profit, but doing it with her scares him too. S&M is scary stuff—and scary means exciting, as TV presenter Tunis Vale learns when she meets media mogul Cade Fitzlean, hosting a themed house party at his secluded mansion to launch the hot new BDSM movie Hit’n’MissTrix. They’re fiercely attracted, despite broken pasts, tricky relatives, snoopy colleagues and pressing deadlines as she and her team race to make a short, punchy promo about their stay to coincide with the premiere. Their lavish hospitality includes free goodies, pampering and S&M taster training, but to her horror, Tunis is booked for sessions with a celebrity Dom called the Panther. His career bombed a year before when she threw up at his feet on live television. Himself a former Dom, Cade offers to take her sessions instead. His regime is harsh, and, in return, he wants her full submission for the following week. With her career at stake and her heart on the line, she must choose—submit to Cade or face the Panther’s revenge…
“You want this?” His voice purrs close to my ear, part thrill and part threat.
Yes. Yes. You know I want it.
I can feel the heat from his powerful body at my back. A trickle of sweat starts under the blindfold, runs down my cheek and lands on one taut, exposed breast.
Frantic, I nod again, jangling the chains that haul at my arms.
I mewl helplessly against the gag as his breath burns into my shoulder. His deep murmur ripples through me as he runs a finger along the top of my thigh.
His lips hover close to my neck, fierce and hot. His hand circles my waist and slides softly over my hip and down my belly, infinitely gentle.
I grow still as he caresses my flank. His touch sparks tiny flames over my skin as his finger edges closer to the open peak of my splayed thighs.
The whip slithers over my skin, the snaking leather rough against the softness of my inner leg. I whimper as it trails upward making me quiver, making me pulse, making me plead in silent despair. Once more. Please, please, just once more…
My eyes open with a snap. The dream’s tormented me all year but only ever at night. Now it’s daytime.
My headphones crackle with sound. It cuts through the hum of the engine that lulled me into a doze. “And here we are, ladies and gentlemen. The Love Beat Corporation welcomes you to Beat Hall, your home for the next two weeks and the lavish setting for our themed media event where you’ll meet and greet the stars, enjoy our unusual hospitality and taste some of the darker pleasures featured in our forthcoming movie. Enjoy your stay.”
I shift in my seat as the pilot draws our attention to the lavish fairways, the extensive woods and the secluded parkland opening up beneath us in this large, privately owned chunk of Devon coastline. But the noise and the fabulous view seem tinny and unreal compared to the deep undertow of my dream. That voice, his voice, still pulses through me, making me wait, making me ache…
“Hey, Tunis, see that private jet over there? Do you think that’s him?”
Mel, my co-presenter, taps my shoulder. She’s leaning forward, her sharp eyes bright and alert.
He’s here already? I feel a wave of panic.
Her eyes narrow. “Yep, that’s the Love Beat logo. Wow, look at those suits. How many people does it take to feed the ego of a multi-millionaire? Hey, I might use that. Think I could slip it in at the end of an interview?”
“You wouldn’t dare.” I grin back, still shaky.
Mel Macallan is from Glasgow and proud of it. She loves a swipe at the super rich. In interviews her wit draws them in then her pale stare dazes them just long enough to put in a killer question.
Even Cade Fitzlean, CEO of the mighty Love Beat Corporation, might find her a tough nut.
Sooner her than me.
Ben, our producer, has a thing for Mel. He’ll be only too pleased if I let her interview Cade Fitzlean. I make it a rule never to turn down work—we all do—but for him, I’ll make an exception.
I’m the new one who asks the innocent questions, gets them talking. Sometimes that works too. I have my uses. We work well together.
While we’re here, we’ll have to. This is a tough assignment.
As we land, a rush of wind ruffles the branches around the clearing. I take off my headphones with a sigh. Dream time’s over. From now on through the next two weeks we’ll be hard at work here.
Within minutes we’re clambering out of the helicopter and into the sunshine to shake hands with the pilot. In the soft, bright Devon air my demons fade.
The people around me are like family—Mel, with her craving to get into news, Ben Tyne-Follett, our producer, with his cut-glass accent, laid-back manner and a keen eye for a program opportunity, and Jake Simmons, whom I’ve known forever—floppy-haired, good-looking and an outstanding cameraman.
I owe him a lot. He got me this job. I used to think of him as an older brother until one evening when I found out he had other ideas, but no means no.
At least we’re still friends.
“Are the others here yet?” I’m worried now.
So is Ben. He’s muttering into his phone—a bad sign. The recording van with all our precious equipment and most of our luggage is coming by road.
At last he slips the phone into his pocket, his manner breezy. “It’s okay. Hold-up on the M3, ETA one hour. Wow, this the welcoming committee? Big guns or what?”
I feel a lump in my throat. This is it.
And it’s all because of me.
We’re guests of the massive Love Beat Corporation with exclusive access to the cast and the production team of the new BDSM-themed movie, Hit’n’MissTrix, based on a recent bestselling book.
The movie’s already in the can and out in a few weeks. We’re here for the top-secret pre-launch party—invitation only, strict security. But, strictly speaking, we’re not here to play. We’re here to work. We’re making a TV report on the party to air just before the premiere.
This place, once home to dukes, now hosts open-air concerts and an annual rock festival, so it’s perfect for filming. While we’re here, we’ll mingle with visiting celebs, the stars of the movie and the super-rich, get five-star treatment and even red-carpet entry to the premiere. The whole bit.
But our report’s got to be discreet enough—and wholesome enough—to soften up the movie launch, bearing in mind that most of the stars here will have to be shot in shadow, off camera, their voices disguised. It’ll be a guessing game for the fans and a nightmare to edit. Plus they’ll freak if we reveal too much.
It’s a dream ticket but it’ll be a close call. Headaches all around.
On the plus side, if it comes off, it’ll be a terrific scoop. BDSM’s still off limits, and the company hopes any fun spin we can put on it will soften the image, make it more acceptable.
And to make the TV doc, who better than Ben and his team, led by me, Tunis Vale, now a budding presenter, and—get this—the very person who destroyed the original launch? Perfect.
We’re all really excited.
Correction—they’re all really excited. I’m plain scared.
We walk across the tarmac, a vast golf course to one side of us, lush woodland to the other. Beyond loom the towers and pinnacles of the mansion. I feel small.