Book 2 in the Playgrounds series
General Release Date: 4th January 2021
Heat Rating: Burning
Word Count: 77,291
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Genres: BONDAGE AND BDSM, CONTEMPORARY, EROTIC ROMANCE
When her contract with her Dom is about to expire and her past comes knocking, Luna must make the right moves or risk losing her heart and her soul.
On the surface, Luna Weir leads a perfectly normal life, but behind closed doors, she surrenders control to someone else—Jacob Dakota, who is sexy, charming and entirely dominant. The problem is that they only agreed to this power dynamic for a limited time.
Jacob has never taken on training a submissive for more than three years at a time. However, as their end date draws near, he finds himself more reluctant to let go of Luna than he’d expected. To make matters worse, Luna’s past returns in the form of the charismatic Bryan Walsh, her original Dom, who offers her another choice—to become his after her contract with Jacob expires. But there are secrets between the two of them that not even she can explain.
With the future of their relationship unknown and a suspicious Dom waiting in the shadows, Luna’s will to submit and Jacob’s ability to lead are both tested like never before. Now they must decide if what they feel for each other is strong enough to hold them together beyond their contractual terms—for the measure of a Dominant is how willing their submissive is to serve.
Reader advisory: This book contains psychological abuse, blackmail, stalking, public sex, threats of violence, assault and violence.
Luna Weir stared at the sea of emails on her screen and chewed on her lip as the phrase ‘victim of your own success’ ran across her mind. The quicker and more efficiently she worked, the more they piled on her. She was already juggling three side-of-the-desk projects while managing her own queue of content edits, and on top of that, she had agreed to back up a co-worker while he went on vacation for his honeymoon.
What was I thinking?
With a small groan, she pushed back a lock of blonde hair, so light that it was almost silver. In the back of her mind, she could almost hear Jacob’s disapproving voice. He never liked it when she overworked herself.
The thought of her Dominant brought a blush to her face and she shifted in her seat, all too aware of the thong riding up her ass crack. She’d never been much of a lingerie person until she’d noticed how much it delighted him. And once she’d dipped her toe into the world of lacy underthings all those years ago, she’d been hooked. They made her feel sexy and much more confident in her body.
Like a chain reaction, the thought of lingerie brought up memories of the previous night, of the games he’d played with her and of the pleasure they’d found in each other’s bodies. Her cheeks heated further, and she clenched before she looked around to make sure no one had noticed her burning face. Thank God she had her own office.
She needed to calm down before someone walked in.
Rather than returning her attention to the computer screen, she studied the small space instead. Printouts of all sorts lined the gray office walls, ranging from company paraphernalia and creatives from past projects to charts and diagrams that expounded on theories of good conversion writing. A huge whiteboard hung from one wall, full of scribbles of her ideas for various projects.
A modest bookcase stood flush against one corner, laden with rows of notebooks and reference books on grammar and writing styles. The adjustable sit-stand desk she worked at was pushed up against the opposing wall with two large monitors perched on top, sticky notes lining the bottom of the screens. She had worked hard to make the space her own, a home away from home.
Her cell phone came alive with a buzz. The device’s vibration sent it skittering across the desk and startled her out of her reverie. She almost jumped out of her chair but kept her rear in her seat, just barely. Luna took a breath to steady herself, then picked up the phone to see the notification showing two new messages.
The first was from her friend, Lani. A well-known female Dominant in the community, she was the one who had introduced her to Jacob in the first place…sort of.
Luna owed Lani a lot, and she had always been grateful. Lani had taken one look at her during their first munch, a brunch meetup for the local kink community, and had taken her under her wing. Given how naïve Luna had been at the time, she could have gotten into a lot of trouble had Lani not acted as her guide and paired her with the gentle and experienced trainer that was Jacob.
But as much as she loved Lani as a friend, she delayed opening that message in favor of the second—the one from Jacob himself. She skimmed her fingers over the screen and with a light touch, opened the message. Her heart pounded as she straightened, only to slump back in her seat a second later.
Sorry, sweetheart. Curveball on some stuff that came in today. Got to work some overtime tonight so I can’t meet up. I’ll text you about Friday night once I get a better handle on the situation here. Miss me a little?
A small sting of disappointment pricked her heart, but Luna smiled, nonetheless. She did not miss the tone of affection in the words he sent. That man was a charmer, and Luna knew well enough that even after three years, she was still completely under his spell.
Sorry to hear. Good luck. And I always miss you.
A message came back almost right away.
Good girl. GTG. Text you later.
She grinned like an idiot. Funny how he always provoked such a reaction from her with the smallest of gestures, the simplest of words. With a soft, happy sigh, she flipped to her other message.
Lunch today? I want to sneak in some shopping.
It was exactly the distraction she needed, though a small part of her wondered if she would regret the shopping part. Lani had a notorious appetite for shoes and boundless energy when it came to fashion. But they would only have the lunch hour to shop, so how bad could it be?
She glanced at the clock on her computer. How can it be almost noon already? She typed a quick response back.
Sounds good. Meet at the usual in fifteen?
See you there.
She locked up her computer and pushed her chair back. There was nothing that couldn’t wait until she returned from lunch. She grabbed her jacket from the back of the door and left the office, a renewed bounce in her steps.
Luna navigated the maze of cubicles, down the escalator and out into the early spring sun. She squinted as she adjusted to the brilliant light, then turned her face upward to bask in the warmth of it. Being pent up in the office most days gave her little opportunity to enjoy the improving weather. She drew in a breath of fresh air and made her way to the nearby cafe where she and Lani often met for lunch.
It was a cozy place with soups, sandwiches and the usual array of beverages. But it was the pastries they served that kept her and Lani coming back again and again. As she pushed through the door, she inhaled to savor the rich scent of butter that made her salivate and her stomach growl in anticipation.
Rows of croissants, cinnamon buns and other various confections in wicker baskets served as a backdrop to the front counter where staff bustled to serve the growing number of patrons. Oh God, is that a fresh tray of apple turnovers?
The place was busier than usual, and Luna scanned for either an empty table or a sign of her friend. Relief released the tension in her face when she caught sight of her. With a mass of curly, fiery-red hair, paired with a perfect complexion and a body that curved in all the right places, Lani was hard to miss, even standing at five-foot-three. Luna was half convinced that Merida from the Disney movie Brave was based on her. Next to Lani, Luna almost felt colorless and shapeless with her pale hair and skin and more waif-like body.
Yet, if anything, it was that something about her friend’s presence—a mix of charisma and confidence—that attracted most of the submissives and even half the Dominants to her, regardless of gender. When Lani waved to Luna, she could see at least one or two disappointed faces at the surrounding tables.
Somehow, Luna doubted that Lani was oblivious to the attention but she simply ignored it. After all, it was part of her business as a counselor to read and observe people. But she knew her friend had little interest in others for now. Still in mourning for a love lost close to three years before, Lani had never taken on a serious partner since. But one day, she would heal. Luna was certain of it.
With a small chuckle under her breath, Luna waved back, matching her friend’s enthusiasm, then lined up to order her own lunch. She retrieved her bowl of broccoli cheddar soup, coupled with a half chicken salad sandwich, threaded her way around and eased into the chair Lani had reserved for her.
“Oh, thank God.” Luna relaxed into the chair and dug into her food. Lani had already eaten most of her salad and was sipping her tea.
“Poor thing. Beastly day?” Lani leaned forward, her voice soft in sympathy. But she enunciated each word beautifully, and Luna had no trouble picking them up over the cafe’s din.
“Just work.” Luna shook her head. “And I didn’t really get much sleep last night.”
A peal of laughter made Luna redden and regret her last words.
“Of course, of course. As if the dear boy would let his pet do something as simple as sleep in his presence.” Mischief sparkled in Lani’s eyes.
Luna covered her face with a groan. “We did sleep, eventually…” The words came out as a mumble and Luna jammed more of her sandwich into her mouth so she wouldn’t put her other foot in it too.
A silence settled as Luna ate. She could feel Lani’s eyes on her and gulped down the last few bites of her lunch. The proverbial elephant in the room grew larger with every conversation they had, and the handful of times Lani had tried to bring up the topic, Luna had managed to avoid it by changing the conversation. Still, it was only a matter of time before she would have to face the music, given how persistent Lani was. Might as well be now.
“Before you ask, we’re about a month and a half away.” Luna pushed her empty plate and bowl aside. She left the apple turnover in its paper bag next to her elbow.
“Have you guys talked about it?” Lani’s voice was kind, her warm hazel eyes filled with compassion.
“No. And I’m not sure how to bring it up. I mean, I don’t want to make it seem like I want things to end. And since he hasn’t brought it up…” She trailed off as she realized just how pathetic she sounded.
“Except, as a trainer, he never keeps a sub for more than three years, and that’s the end date of your contract too.”
Her tone held all the care and concern Lani had for them both, but the statement still stung. Luna winced. They were words that had been sitting like stones in the pit of her stomach for weeks, but she had tried her best to not give them shape.
Lani reached her hand out to cover Luna’s on the table. “Well, has there been any other Dom who has caught your eye? Maybe at The Playgrounds? Jacob never just abandons his pets, you know.”
A shudder threatened to pass through Luna at Lani’s questions, but she clamped down on the reaction. When Lani looked at her with worry tugging the corner of her lips downward, she shook her head. It was in the past—and it was a past she never wanted to discuss with anyone in her life. The last person—the only person—she’d ever spoken with about her past was now dead.
“Not really, no.” Luna was proud that she could keep her voice steady.
Lani sighed in return and squeezed her hand. “Talk to him, sweetie.”
Luna looked up and nodded with a weak smile. “Okay.” She made no promises and was thankful that Lani didn’t try to extract one from her. So, she straightened and strengthened her smile. “Besides that, tell me. Where are we going for shopping?”
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About the Author
Stormcrow has always been an avid reader across the fantasy and sci fi genres but early on, found herself always looking for the love story in each book. Coming to terms with her love for love later in life, she now writes steamy romances that examine social norms and challenge conventional tropes of the genre, usually on her phone. And yes, she has walked into walls and poles doing so.
When she’s not reading or writing (or even when she is), she enjoys copious amounts of tea, way too much sugary treats, one too many sci fi / fantasy / paranormal TV shows (team Dean all the way) and every otome game she can possibly find.
You can find out more at P. Stormcrow’s website – https://pstormcrow.com/
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