Excitement this week!
First, Speak Easy is freeeeeeee through December 7th on Amazon. Grab it!
Next, I’m in the author spotlight on the lovely Biblio Belles Book Blog! Check it out for a Speak Easy teaser and a chance to win a signed copy, signed bookmarks, and an eBook of Unwrapped, the NAturals’ novella collection out December 23rd!
Finally, here is a sexy scene from Speak Low–no spoilers, promise!
“Come with me.”
Joey’s words floated toward me through the dark, whispered in a low voice, raw with need. Masculine scents of smoke and whiskey and aftershave filled my head, and I breathed deeply before a sigh escaped my lips. Then his mouth was on mine, hot and hard and heavy. Too heavy.
Joey, I won’t fight you. Take me away.
I tried to murmur words against his lips, but the pressure on my mouth wouldn’t let up. I’m dreaming, I thought in a haze of confused arousal.
But when I opened my eyes, the man in my room was real.
And it wasn’t Joey.
“Shhhh,” Enzo whispered, his hand over my mouth. “Come with me. Now.”
My pulse, already racing, kicked up even higher at his invitation, at his touch on my lips, at the promise of sneaking somewhere alone with him in the dark. Clothed in only my light summer nightgown, I followed him past my father’s closed bedroom door, carefully moving down the stairs in my bare feet. It didn’t surprise me at all that Enzo had come right in the front door—he had a way with locks I’d learned not to question.
Outside, I hurried toward a gorgeous cream-colored Packard sedan parked at the curb. Enzo opened the passenger door for me and I slid in, tucking my hands underneath my legs. As I watched his lean, muscular frame move around the front of the car and open the driver’s side door, my insides tightened with desire. He wore no coat, no vest, and no collar on his white shirt. The top few buttons were undone, and my fingers itched to pull the shirt from his trousers and undo the rest of them so I could work off some of the tension inside me. I dug my fingernails into my thighs.
As soon as the motor was running Enzo hit the accelerator, speeding down the street and turning onto Jefferson so quickly I had to brace myself against the door. My heart thrummed hard in my chest. Neither of us spoke, but when his right hand slid across the seat and under the hem of my short nightgown, I moved closer to him.
His expression remained impassive and his eyes on the road, although I saw the slightest twitch in his jaw. I held my breath when his hand settled on the inside of my thigh and slowly crept higher. When his fingers brushed against the soft folds between my legs and he realized I wasn’t wearing underwear, he glanced sharply at me.
My eyes pleaded with him to continue. I wanted to lose control, lose my mind, lose myself. I wanted the heart-pounding abandon that overwhelmed us when we let ourselves forget who we were and why every moment between us was stolen. Ten days ago I hadn’t even known his name, but he’d awakened something in me, something instinctual and insatiable that would not be ignored.
And I didn’t want to ignore it. I wanted to indulge it—now.
With my eyes locked on the exquisite lines of his profile, I put my left hand between his legs. His cock was already hard, but as I rubbed him up and down, it swelled further and strained tighter against his trousers. He slipped a fingertip inside me, sliding it up the slick seam at my center, keeping it torturously shallow, before moving it gently back and forth over the tiny spot that electrified my entire body.
With one hand I slipped the buttons of his trousers through the holes and slid my palm down his hot, tight abdomen. When I wrapped my hand around his solid flesh, he grabbed the steering wheel with both hands.
I said nothing, just moved my hand up and down the hot, thick column, squeezing tight and keeping the rhythm steady, the way I knew he liked it. My lips curved into a smile. The thrill of touching Enzo this way filled me with a sense of power and freedom so intoxicating I often felt drunk when we were together, even when no alcohol had been consumed. The forward motion of the car, the rush of night flying past the windows, the hum of the tires on the road—all of it added to the maelstrom building inside me.
Suddenly the Packard swerved. At first I thought it was accidental, but then I saw that Enzo had turned down a silent residential street with large homes set back from the road. He turned off the engine, looked at me with glittering black eyes, and uttered just one word: “Now.”
The keys barely hit the floor before he hauled me onto his lap.
I straddled him, one knee on either side of his hips, and he took my head in his hands, crushing his mouth to mine. We weren’t in love, about that I had no illusions, but our desire for each other was volatile and fierce, and we kissed as if we were starved, as if our hunger could never be satisfied. Enzo slipped his arms from his braces and I shoved at the sides of his trousers. Without taking his mouth off me, he lifted his hips and managed to shimmy them down just enough. I grasped his swollen cock in my hand again, anxious to feel it inside me.
But we’d already been careless once the night before. “Wait,” I breathed. Do you have…you know…”
Without answering, he tilted sideways and reached under the front seat. When he righted himself, he held a small condom tin, and with one hand, he opened it, slipped one from its paper wrapper, and slid it on.
I lowered myself onto him, intending to go slow since I was still tender from the night before. But Enzo had other ideas. He grabbed my hips and yanked me down hard, both of us gasping at the shock of it. Bracing my hands on the top of the seat behind him, I turned my face away from his and kept still, allowing my body to push past the sharp twinge of pain.
His mouth, hot and wet, traveled down the exposed side of my neck as the ache inside me eased. He swirled his tongue in an intricate pattern along my throat and down to my shoulder. Instinctively, the muscles surrounding him contracted, and I gasped when I felt his teeth sink into my skin. Then he brushed his lips over the spot, soft as a feather.
Aroused by the whisper of his lips on my neck after the sting of the bite, I began to move, slowly rocking my hips forward and back, and clenching him tight inside me. He picked up his head and our eyes met, our mouths open and breathing hotly against one another.
Then he took control of the rhythm between us, using his hands on my hips, pulling and pushing my body against his, increasingly harder and faster. He cursed and closed his eyes while I smiled and reached up, flattening my palms on the car’s ceiling. I let him move me the way he wanted, but I arched my back a little to feel the base of his cock just where I wanted it. A sheen of sweat broke out on his forehead, glistening in the dark, and my back prickled with trapped heat under my nightgown.
Oh my God. Yes, yes, yes…
Pressure built inside me, the powerful need for release a gathering storm at my center, and I wanted to widen my knees even farther to take him deeper. My blood roared, my skin hummed, and every muscle in my body began to tighten.
“Yes,” I said, my voice soft and pleading. “Don’t stop. Oh God, Enzo—yes, like that. Don’t stop…”
He cursed again, and I could feel him start to throb inside me. He dug his fingers into my skin and held me tight to him as he came, and the sight of his gorgeous face and the pulse of his powerful orgasm and even the knowledge that we could be seen through the windows sent me flying over the edge of my own pleasure. I closed my eyes, dropped my head back, and let the waves crash through me.
Breathing hard, I stared at the ceiling of the car as stars swam in front of my eyes. Enzo touched my throat, trailing five fingers down to my chest. “I want you,” he growled.
I laughed lazily, picking my head up. “Again? Already?”
He didn’t smile. “I want you for myself.” His palm flattened over one breast and he squeezed it before sliding his hand to the small of my back. “I don’t want anyone else to have what I have.”
My body was still tingling, but his words abraded the lingering hum a little. I wasn’t interested in being anyone’s possession.
And Enzo had no room to talk.
“You’re the one with the fiancée, not me.”
“I told you last night—that’s a business arrangement.”
“I remember.” Irritated at the thought of the squeaking little chippie he was engaged to marry, I tried to get off his lap, but he held me there. His flesh was still relatively hard inside me, but I was no longer in the mood.
“No.” But my cheeks were burning. “I just don’t like being reminded of your goddamn girlfriend while I’m sitting on your lap.”
“That’s more than just my lap you’re on, isn’t it?”
“Stop it. You know what I mean. Here you are talking about not wanting others to have me, but I don’t even know when we can see each other, between my father and your fiancée, and—”
“Your father won’t be a problem. He’ll be so busy with his new business venture, he won’t even notice you’re gone.”
“New business venture…you mean the new building?”
“And the gambling. I set that up, you know.”
I blinked in surprise. “Your father let you do that?”
“I’m a grown man, Tiny. My father doesn’t control me.” Anger edged its way underneath his words.
“Sorry, but I thought it was Angel who’d made the deal with my father today. He never said anything about you.”
“Well, I was there,” he said, irritated. “It was my idea to move Jack to a new building, let him run a few games, and let Raymond take over the bootlegging from Canada on his own.”
At the mention of his brother, I froze. “Raymond was there?”
Enzo smiled. “No, he’s still recovering from the wrath of Tiny O’Mara.”
In my mind I relived the adrenaline-and-terror-fueled blow to his head. I felt no guilt, but I did fear further violence. “Is he going to come after me again?”
“If he does, he’ll have me to answer to.”
“But he’s your brother.”
“I don’t fucking care who he is—anyone touches you, anyone even looks at you in a way I don’t like, I’ll kill him.”
Unease slithered up my body, wrapping itself around my chest like a boa constrictor. I tried to shake it off and speak lightly. “So it’s OK for you to have a fiancée, but no one can even look my way?”
“You know, if your friends hadn’t stolen that shipment, I wouldn’t be in this position. I could probably even break it off with Gina.”
I raised an eyebrow. This was something new. Yesterday when I’d confronted him about the engagement, he hadn’t said anything about leaving Gina Meloni, whose father owned a whiskey distillery in Kentucky. “Oh?”
“But now I can’t postpone anything until I pay for the fucking whiskey I ordered. It’s in Meloni’s warehouse, but he won’t deliver it until I pay him. And his men won’t let anyone else deliver booze to the club, which is a big fucking problem, as you might imagine.”
I didn’t much care about his whisky problem. “Postpone what? I thought you were already engaged.” I tried to recall a ring on Gina’s finger, but couldn’t. The couple times I’d seen her at the club, I hadn’t known about the engagement so I hadn’t thought to look for one.
Enzo turned his head and stared out the window. “I asked her father for more time to get the cash for the whiskey, and he offered a deal.”
“What kind of deal?”
“If Gina and I get married now, he’ll forgive the debt.”
The irony that it was now Enzo forced to come up with thousands of dollars on a deadline wasn’t lost on me, but I couldn’t help obsessing over the word married, especially in light of our intimate seating arrangement. “Wait a minute…you’re actually going to marry her?”
“I’m trying to get out of it.”
My mouth fell open “Jesus Christ, Enzo!” This time when I wrestled my way off his lap, he didn’t stop me.
“What’s the problem, Tiny? It’s not as if you didn’t know about her. We discussed the fact that you and I are a secret, remember? That’s half the fun.”
We had discussed it, sort of—actually it was less a discussion and more his telling me how things had to be. If I wanted him, those were the terms. And while the secrecy did add a certain clandestine thrill to our meetings, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a married man’s mistress. Frowning, I looked away as he removed the spent condom.
“Listen to me,” he said. “Gina’s not important. What matters is that I can’t let Meloni see I can be bested by a bunch of fucking upstart delinquents from the Scarfone gang. He’ll make my life hell. He’ll think he can push me around. That’s why I have to go after them myself. Forget what I told you about talking to Lupo.”
At the mention of Joey, I froze. “What?”
“I need to handle this now. I can’t wait around and hope that he tells you something.”
“Can’t you just ask your father for the money?”
“I’m not a fucking child, Tiny. I can handle this myself.”
“So now what?” Pressing my knees together, I pushed my nightgown down and tucked it around my legs. My thighs were sticky.
“So now I get my money back from those assholes. I can’t let it be known that you can steal from Enzo DiFiore. I have to send a message.”
Chills swept down my arms. “How?”
He set his jaw and didn’t answer, but I knew what he was thinking. My stomach heaved, imagining it could be Joey on the receiving end of that message. “Don’t, Enzo. You don’t have to hurt anyone—let me help you.”
“You can’t help me.”
“Yes, I can.” What are you doing? a voice inside me screamed.
But I ignored it.
“The River Gang didn’t sell the opium. Joey brought it back to Detroit.” I whispered the words, as if the volume at which I betrayed Joey might lessen its reprehensibility.
Enzo fixed his eyes on me. “What? Who told you that?”
“Joey wants to talk to you. Maybe make a deal with you.” The words tumbled out quickly.
“Where is it?”
Finally I bit my tongue. “I don’t know.”
“Oh, I think you do.” He leaned closer, slipping his arms around me and dragging me across his lap on my back. My legs extended along the seat, and I pressed my knees together as his right hand slid under my nightgown again. “And you’re going to tell me.”
He kneaded my thigh, but his touch was gentle, too gentle for how I knew he must be feeling inside. And he was smiling. “Tell me, darling.”
I chewed my bottom lip as his eyes searched my face. Despite his warm hands on me, the curve of his lips was as chilling as the calm in his voice. It was the Enzo I’d first met, the one who could mask his emotions so masterfully that I couldn’t tell what he was thinking. He’d let some of that façade slip in the last few days. But now there’s something he wants more than you. “I can’t.”
His smile widened as his fingers slid higher and worked between my inner thighs. “You can do anything you want,” he said softly, bringing his lips close to mine as he began to stroke me. “You’re still wet. I love that I make you this wet.” Lowering his mouth, he slid his tongue between my lips and eased one finger, then another, inside me, his languid kiss mirroring the gentle rhythm of his hand.
Somewhere inside my brain was a voice warning me that this was wrong, that I’d made a promise to Joey, that Enzo wasn’t kissing me this way because he cared for me. But I silenced it by telling myself I’d done the right thing by revealing Joey’s secret—I’d prevented Enzo from hurting anyone. And even if Enzo didn’t love me, he certainly loved pleasing me, and maybe that was enough. As his tongue swept mine, my arms snaked around his neck and I widened my knees a little.
“Good girl,” he whispered, removing his fingers to caress my tender, swollen flesh before plunging them deep inside me again. “You’re going to come again for me.”
“Oh God…” I clutched at his neck and turned my face into his chest, but even the smell of him, smoky and masculine, drove me mad with desire.
He rubbed his wet fingers over the most sensitive skin on my body. “I know everything you want. And I can give it all to you, you know I can.” His voice was dulcet, the words dripping from his lips like honey. “Your own apartment, money to do as you please, new clothes…the life you deserve. I’ve been thinking about it all day.”
When I moaned, he rubbed faster and harder, and I could only think yes, yes, yes. I murmured the words, and he brought his lips closer to my ear.
“Wouldn’t you like your own place? Where we can be together whenever we want? I’ll make you come all…night…long.”
His breath tickled my skin, his words echoing through the roar of blood and the buzz of nerve endings and—oh my God the way he touched me made me feel like nothing else mattered but the moment and the need and the heat and the spiraling climb toward release…
“Yes!” I cried out, lifting my hips against his hand as the second orgasm exploded inside me, no less powerful than the first. When the tightness finally eased, my bones were floating in my skin.
“Mmmmm.” He kissed me again. “You’ll need an apartment that has thick walls.”
I managed a tiny smile.
“So what do you say?”
“I…can’t afford an apartment.”
“I’ll pay for it.”
“No.” Orgasms aside, I didn’t want to him to own me.
“Then I’ll get you a job. Would you like to work at the club?”
“Work at the club? What would I do?”
“Whatever you want. Hostess? Hat check? Waitress?” He cocked his head. “You don’t sing, do you? Or dance? You’d look fantastic on stage in a short little costume.”
“Uh, no.” Because one of my legs was slightly shorter than the other, the result of a difficult birth during which my hip was broken, I’d never felt terribly natural while dancing—sometimes even walking comfortably was a chore. And my singing made my cooking skills look good.
“Well, you can think about it then. But I’ll see to it that you’re paid very well, if you want.”
I exhaled, closing my eyes. Of course I wanted it. I wanted everything he just mentioned—the apartment, the nights with him, the money to do as I pleased, the freedom to make my choices and own my mistakes as well as my successes. What young woman didn’t want to live a flapper’s life with all its wicked delights?
But at what price?
If I told Enzo where the opium was and he took it back, Joey would know I’d betrayed him. But if I didn’t, Enzo would take matters into his own hands and people would get hurt, maybe even killed.
I opened my eyes. “If I tell you where the opium is, you have to promise me you’ll give me a chance to talk to Joey before you take it.”
“I can’t promise that, Tiny. But I can promise that if you don’t tell me, I’ll have no choice but to settle this score my own way.”
My heart stuttered. “Well…you can’t hurt Joey. Promise that.”
Enzo stiffened. “What is he to you?”
Silence. “I won’t have to hurt him if he cooperates. And I won’t have to marry Gina if I get the cash for the drugs.”
It was so dark, I couldn’t read his eyes. I wanted everything he was offering. And I didn’t want him to marry Gina. What had he said to me this morning? You and I are going to have to trust each other a little bit.
I took a breath. “It’s in the boathouse.”
A smile crept onto his lips, slow and sinister. “Shall we take a ride?”
I struggled to sit up. “No!”
He shifted me onto the seat beside him and started the car.
Panicked, I put my hands on his arm and tugged. “Please, Enzo. Just wait, all right?” It occurred to me that I wasn’t entirely positive the drugs were still in the boathouse. Even if they had been there earlier today, Joey might have moved them after dropping me off. I hung on as he swung the car around and headed back onto Jefferson. “Listen, I wasn’t supposed to tell you anything yet, and now I’ll be in trouble.”
Enzo laughed. “Trouble is your middle name, darling.”
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