Book Sales Anxiety Disorder

Well, I did it. I finally broke down and published my first book on Smashwords. After reading it and editing it for the bizzilienth time, I figured, it was now or never. It’s ready, it’s ready, and it’s never going to be more ready.
I got a sweet cover made by my bff’s husband. It was the very last piece of the puzzle I needed. I slipped that sucker into place, and BAM! My novel is officially on sale.
BUUUUUUT, now I’m experiencing some unforeseen side effects of my first publishing. Never thought this would ever happen, but I’ve got Book Sales Anxiety Disorder, and it only took about three hours after my book was published to set in.
Yes, I got my first sale of my novel, To Love a Beast by Teri Butterfly Harvey, only 3 hours after I uploaded. Yea, me! How do I know this? Apparently Smashwords has a default setting where every time you sell a book, they send you an email.
When looked at my email on my phone three hours after publishing, I screamed “HOOOOOOWLALUYAAAAAAA.” Oh what a feelin’. Then I began to hyperventilate. Oh my GOD! Some human person is actually reading the pages that I wrote and rewrote a thousands times, the stuff Aric and I have been editing and fighting with and sweating over. All of the sudden I’m beginning to wonder if I should have edited one more time. Should I have added that one scene that I loved so much, should I have cut off another arm. I wonder what part they’re reading now. Are my characters juicy enough? Are they going to hate it…God, I sure hope I didn’t let them down.
Okay, enough of that garbage, but every time I do get that “ya sold a book, butterfly,” email, it all comes rushing back. I reaaaalllly need to disable that email and just go on with life. It’s fun, but holy crap!
Since we are on the subject of first sales…I wonder how much you all can make me hyperventilate. I’m going to put my first few pages of my book here for you to view, love , hate, laugh at, but that’s okay. A person has to start somewhere.

To Love a Beast by Teri Butterfly Harvey
ebook available on Smashwords

Chapter 1

Charles was feeling quite proud of himself as he entered his bedchamber. The glow of a single lamp illuminated the room enough so he could see the girl’s body lying on his bed. His plan had worked. He knew by the disappointed look his butler, Harold, had given him as Charles came through the front door that night, but Charles was not ashamed, not in the slightest. Lady Chelsea Waldorf would be his tonight. After he thoroughly compromised her, she would have no choice but to become his bride. After tonight she would never be able to refuse him again.
Charles strode to his bed. He leaned against one of the four posters and gazed at his prize. A burlap sack had been thrown over head and her golden curls spiraled erratically out the bottom. Her dress was ripped down the middle along with her shift. Her shoes were wet and ruined. Her feet were bound about the ankles with a ragged piece of rope. Her hands were bound with a similar rope wound tightly around her wrists. Charles gazed at the bodice of her baby blue dress. Her breasts were overflowing and threatening to spill out. One touch, he thought, and her little pink rosebuds would be free, and was be happy to intervene. He laughed quietly. She was an amazing sight to behold, but when the girl heard him she sprung to life.
The girl kicked violently. Her body wrenched with every ounce of strength she had. His eyes widened as he watched the chaos, and he smiled a sideways smile.
“Now, now, Chelsea,” he said. His voice was very soft as he leaned over her. The girl stopped. “All this struggling is no good for you.”
Charles heard a terrible sound emerge from the bag covering Chelsea’s head. She growled and grumbled at him daring him to trifle with her. Andrews had obviously gagged her. Though her shouts were muffled, they were still audible.
Charles was baffled. He expected her to cry. He expected weak little screams and dainty little pouts, but no. This chit was verbally scolding him. Maybe he was wrong about Chelsea. Maybe she was not the cold, detached paragon he’d met on the social scene in London. This girl was fierce.
Without warning, the girl’s legs reared back, and kicked with all their might. One foot landed on his hip, the other in his swollen manhood knocking him off his feet. The girl laughed sadistically when she heard him yelp.
Charles recovered quickly. He laughed darkly as he shuffled to his feet. He knew he deserved that swift kick in the bullocks, but he wasn’t about to let her get away with making a fool of him. He was in control here, not her.
“So you like to play rough, do you?” he whispered, happy to accept her challenge. The girl stopped and listened to his every word. “Well, Chelsea, you don’t know what you’re in for.”
The girl screamed when she felt his hands on her, but it was no weak scream. Hers was a scream of survival. She was indeed admirable quarry, but it was time to finish what he came to do.
She tried to lift her shoulders, but his strong hands held her against the mattress. She groaned muffled curses as he held her. Charles couldn’t make out exactly what she was saying, but they had to be curses. They couldn’t be anything but curses.
She felt his breath on her chest as he laughed at her, but this only enraged her and enraged her further when his lips grazed the top of one of her breasts.
“Shhhh,” he murmured, “Be calm.”
She growled. Nothing angered her more than someone ordering her to be calm.
“Lift your head,” he commanded smoothly. When she realized he wanted to remove the sack from her head, she was relieved. She didn’t know if she could handle another moment with her face buried in that scratchy material. Then her captor carefully lifted the bag revealing her face.
Her curls and the darkness swept across her eyes keeping her from seeing him, but he could see her. She heard him breathe a sharp curse. Then he tossed the sack back over her head and immediately jumped off of her.
The girl grumbled at him as he launched himself away from her.
“My God,” he muttered. Then she heard the door open and slam behind him.


“Harold!” The whole house could hear Charles as he ran through the hallways in search of his butler. Charles opened every door he passed. He grabbed his heart and gasped when the old butler appeared behind him.
“Your Grace,” Harold said bowing slightly, holding in a yawn.
“Harold, where have you been? We have an ogre of a problem.”
Harold’s eyes held no sympathy for his master. He’d spent years standing by as the young Duke of Radcliffe indulged in his escapades, but in Harold’s opinion, tonight, His Grace had gone too far.
“You’ve never had trouble with women before, Your Grace. Was the young lady not to your liking?”
Charles ignored Harold’s patronizing comments. He’d grown used to them as Charles frequently entertained female guests.
“My manhood is just fine. Andrews took the wrong lady!”
“That is a problem,” Harold replied dryly.
“What in the bloody hell am I going to do?” Charles snapped.
Harold stood baffled. There were many things he would suggest his master do, but it wouldn’t be proper.
“Please, old friend, what am I supposed to do?” Charles asked, almost begged. Charles never begged.
Harold pressed his lips together and shook his head trying to fend off a fleeting laugh. “Your Grace, I have no experience in such matters.”
“You’ve been getting me out of trouble for the last twenty nine years. Please, I need you.”
“In twenty nine years, nothing like this has ever happened. Even had your plan gone without a hitch, I would vehemently disapprove. I will not be involving myself in your botched debauchery.”
“But you’ve never denied me anything.”
“I am grateful for your intended victim’s good fortune, but I pity the young lady bound and gagged in your bedchamber. I will obey any order you give me, but this debacle is yours alone. I shall not clean it up for you.”
Charles grunted and stalked down the hallway.
“You’ve ruined her,” Harold’s voice echoed down the vast hallway. “Her very presence here will greatly tarnish her reputation. You have compromised her.”
Charles turned back. “I’m well aware of the implications,”
“You’ll probably have to marry her.”
Charles stopped pacing and his hands went cold.
“I hadn’t thought of that,” Charles muttered.
“As soon as her father catches wind, if he’s a good father, he’ll be coming for your head. Then he’ll demand you marry her.”
Charles squeezed the bridge of his nose. “What am I going to do?”
“I suggest you think quickly. Each moment the young lady is missing she grows more scandalized. Both your reputations will be irreparably tainted.”
“My reputation is already tainted. No man in the world can force me to marry that thing in there. I am a duke for God’s sake! I shall think my way out of this.”
Harold watched as Charles started pacing again.
“Ah ha, I’ve got it,” Charles chuckled at his genius. “As long as she doesn’t see my face or know my name there won’t be a soul to put this on. I’ll simply have Andrews drop her back on her father’s doorstep. It’s not as if I hurt her in any way, and she can’t tell for certain where she’s been.”
“You would have her bear the full brunt of this scandal?” Harold asked.
“What do you expect me to do, marry her?”
“I’d expect you to at least try to find a way to keep her reputation intact. This shall bring terrible shame on her.”
“As long as I don’t have to marry the winch, I’ll be satisfied.”
“How do you know she’s a winch? This morning, she was an innocent young lady hoping to find a decent husband. If she becomes a winch it’ll be your doing. Who knew the boy I helped raise could be so cold hearted?”
“Call upon Mr. Andrews. Have him sent here immediately,” Charles ordered.
Harold’s eyes were disappointed. “Shameful,” Harold declared. Charles watched as the old butler trotted away to do his master’s bidding.
Charles placed his palm on his forehead. Harold was right. Charles knew his plan would not only result in avoiding a forced wedding, but the girl would be scandalized. The ton would assume she had a tryst. He had planned to marry Chelsea, to save her reputation after she was scandalized, but the girl in his bedchamber would be ruined, considered untouchable by anyone respectable, and the fault would be his.
Charles frowned, but there was nothing he could do for her save a forced marriage. He wanted Chelsea, and he would be damned if he was going to let this other chit foil his plans. He pitied the girl, but that had to be the end of it.


Charles stood outside his bedchamber door. The young lady had gone silent again. The lamp glowed faithfully on his side table, and he could see the blue in her dress as it contrasted against his crimson bedchamber. He watched as she tried to bend her knees, but she cried out when the rope bit into her ankles. Then her ripped skirt slipped off her knee revealing her creamy white thigh.
Charles felt a shot of heat running through his groin. Seeing a woman in his bed gave him that familiar arousal he’d come to expect. Only this time, it was no woman in his bed. This young lady was barely out of leading strings. She couldn’t possibly be over the age of eighteen, could she? He folded his fingers together.
He stood in the threshold for several minutes just watching her. She must be very uncomfortable, he thought. Her limbs must be throbbing. He wished desperately Andrews would arrive before he did something foolish.
Charles knew he should not enter the bedchamber. He stepped into the room, careful not to make a sound. The girl was so still, he thought she might be asleep. He gazed down at her. After all, what harm could another look do?
He inspected her hands. The rope was cutting into her delicate white wrists. Bruises on her thighs were taking color. As with her hands, the rope cut into her ankles. Her feet were swollen and practically bursting from their slippers. She had to be miserable.
Charles exhaled. The girl heard his sigh and came back to life, kicking and writhing. Her scolding started again, but this time with less fervor. He knew she had to be exhausted.
He knew he should not speak to her, but he felt he owed her some kind of explanation. He raked his fingers through his black hair. She might be able to identify his voice. He had already spoken to her but only in whispers. If he could disguise his voice she may not be able to identify him. Disguising his voice would be a simple enough task. He’d spent a few years abroad, and he loved the accent he’d acquired.
“Plegh,” he heard the sound come from the burlap sack as the gag left the girl’s mouth. “Let me go you crusty botch of nature. I know you’re out there. I can hear you breathing, you half-witted unwashed ape!”
Charles grinned and his eyes widened.
“Let me go this instant you salty ball of flying horse dung. You can’t do this to a lady!”
Charles chuckled. He’d never heard such a lovely voice say such off color things.
“Don’t laugh at me you vermin ridden gutter snipe! You untie me this instant!”
This only caused him more laughter
“Stop it or I’ll see to it you get a thrashing you won’t soon forget.”
“I’m sorry,” he said, fending off a snort. “But I’ve never heard a lady speak in such a manner.”
“Let me go. If you touch one hair on my head my father will rain down a terror the likes of which you’ve never seen.”
“If he’s half as mad as you are, I’d believe it!”
“Don’t laugh at me, you depraved fool. Don’t try to ransom me either because my father won’t pay.” She didn’t dare admit her father couldn’t possibly pay.
“I wouldn’t either if I were your father,” Charles chuckled “I’m so sorry to disappoint you, My Lady, but there has been a terrible mix up. You have been taken by mistake.”
“My father will send you to the dickens, and may the snails devour your offending manhood for all eternity.”
“That sounds rather unpleasant,” he laughed. He watched as the girl clinched her fists. “Please, My Lady, you’re not listening to me. There has been a terrible misunderstanding. My man thought you were someone else. You were not the woman I was expecting tonight.”
The girl sighed heavily. “It figures.”
Charles smiled at that. Her voice was actually pleasing now that she wasn’t shouting at him. “So, does this mean you’re going to let me go?” Her voice suddenly had sweetness to it.
“Yes,” he said. “As soon as you’ve calmed a bit.”
“I can be calm.”
He watched the burlap bag shift as she turned her head.
“My man is coming back, and he will deposit you outside your father’s house. You’ve not been harmed, and if you wish, I can compensate you.”
“Who are you?” she asked.
“That’s not important.”
“You’re going to throw me onto the street, and you won’t even tell me your name?”
“Coward,” she spat.
“Now, see here…”
The girl burst into sobs. Charles took an alarmed step back.
“I’m ruined,” she sobbed.
“Now, now. There is no reason to be so…dramatic.”
“The ton is going to eat me alive! Dig a hole and let the vermin have me!” she wailed.
“Come, now, my dear…”
“You bastard!” she screeched kicking her feet.
“Easy,” he said placing a soothing hand on hers. It was enough to stop her, at least for the moment.
“I’ll never be able to find a husband now. I’m ruined!”
“Things are not all that bad…” he started.
“I’ll kill you!” she roared. She kicked her legs, but the tight rope around her ankles dug into her skin and she cried out in pain. Charles grabbed her shoulders and held her down against the mattress. He was much gentler this time, and she could feel his fingers as they stroked her biceps.
“Please be calm. Shhh. It’s okay,” his voice was soft again.
“My father is going to be so disappointed. What am I going to do?” she sobbed. “The ton is going to rip me limb by limb. All I wanted was to breathe a little fresh air and a look at Lady Chesterfield’s prized orchids. You can’t do this to me.”
Charles sighed. “Maybe I won’t just drop you at your father’s doorstep, but the only alternative is you’ll have to marry me. It’ll be expected.”
“But I don’t want to get married yet, at least not until the season is through,” she sniffled.
“I don’t want to marry you either, so you see my dilemma.”
“I’ll never find a husband after this. I’ll become a worthless, dirty street urchin, or spend my days in some rich snob’s scullery. May I please go home and face my shame, now?”
“Not just yet,” he said.
“Please, will you at least untie me? My hands are throbbing, and my feet hurt so much. I don’t think I can stand it much longer.”
“I’ll make you more comfortable, but I cannot release you just yet, not until I decide what I’m going to do with you.”
“You’re still going to release me?”
“Of course.”
The girl felt the weight of him lift off of the mattress. He opened a drawer at the other end of the room. Then he returned to her.
“I’m going to remove this sack from your head, but I’m going to need you to keep your eyes closed so I may blindfold you.”
“Why can’t I see you?” she asked.
“It’s very important you don’t see my face.”
“Very well,” she sighed. “But you must be terribly ugly.”
“Terribly,” he teased.
Charles lifted her shoulders and propped her up. He moved behind her and lifted the sack from her head letting her blond curls spill down her back. Charles let his fingers brush against her silky hair. Her golden strands were smooth and they glistened against the candle light.
While Charles prepared her blindfold, she attempted to turn, but he tied the red silk scarf over her eyes before she could gaze upon him.
“Don’t even think about it,” he whispered into her ear. Then he eased her back down again.
Charles cut the gag that was now hanging around her neck. She winced as Charles cut the rope from her wrists. She shook them out and rubbed them, but they cramped as the blood returned to them.
“You know I have to tie them again,” he said taking her hands in his.
“Please, no, they hurt so much,” she pleaded.
“I’ll be gentle, and I won’t tie them too tight. I promise.”
Charles held her hands together and encircled her wrists with a green scarf. The silk was soothing to the girl’s chapped skin. He left it loose against her wrists, but not too loose.
Finally, Charles came to her sore feet. He untied her ankles and replaced the ropes with a blue scarf. He took a long look at her swollen feet. Her feet were bursting from the seams, and when he pulled the slippers off, she cried out with relief.
“Oh, thank you, I would have never asked for that, but thank you,” she said sincerely.
He smiled and watched her wiggle her reddened toes.
“I won’t be able to walk after this.”
Charles laughed and sat down beside her. He rested his hand on her calf and watched her blush.
“I’ve been doing some serious dancing these days, and I need my feet for tomorrow night, or tonight. I haven’t a clue what time it is.”
“Late, early, what does it matter? I don’t know if your feet will be ready for tonight.”
“It’s after midnight?”
“Just barely. You could always wear larger shoes.”
“They fit me this morning.” The girl managed.
Charles caught a glimpse of her lips as she smiled. She had very nice lips, plump and supple, naturally glossy. He stared at them wanting a taste. Her face was round and soft, and she had a slight dimple on one side. She must have expressive eyes, he thought. How he yearned to see them.
Charles looked up when he heard Harold at the door clearing his throat at him. The interruption was unexpectedly irritating. How could he leave when she’d just begun to interest him?
“I’ll be back, my dear,” Charles whispered stepping outside.
“This is a very bad idea indeed, sir,” Harold hissed.
“Relax, Harold, I haven’t done a thing to her. Have you called upon Mr. Andrews?”
“Yes, I sent Martha’s boy to deliver the message, and he returned with a message from Mr. Andrews,” the old butler paused.
“Come, tell me what was said.”
“In short, Mr. Andrews is not coming,” Harold said. “He said no amount of money in the world would convince him to handle that hell cat again.”
“She is rather spirited isn’t she?” Charles smiled admiring her strength.
“I wouldn’t know. Shall I call upon another man to return her safely home?” Harold asked.
“That won’t be necessary. My plans have changed.”
“You’re not going to hurt that innocent girl are you?”
“She’s hardly an innocent girl. She’s a beast!”
“I heard that!” she shouted from inside the room.
Harold eyed his master appalled. Charles grinned. He had an evil gleam in his eyes.
“She’ll be staying here tonight,” Charles said once the door was shut behind him.
“This is a terrible idea. She obviously does not want to be here. She’s being held against her will.”
“Harold, do you seriously think I would hurt her? I’ve never forced myself on a woman. They’ve always come to me willingly. This one will as well.”
“You should not seduce her. It’s wrong,” Harold spat.
“Oh yes, so very wrong,” Charles agreed.
“You’ve already damaged the girl irreparably…”
“I appreciate your counsel, but as you said, this is my mess.”
“I’ve been employed by your family for nearly forty years. If she is hurt in any way, I will no longer be in your service.”
“Harold,” Charles said in all seriousness, “I swear to you, I’ve never taken a woman without her consent. I simply find this one interesting. If she’s not willing, I will not force her. Go home, Harold. Go to sleep.”
“You know I never sleep,” Harold grumbled.
“Take the rest of the night off. I will not be requiring any assistance tonight.”
“I will be in my quarters, but remember, I will not tolerate indecency.”
“You’re a good and decent man,” Charles said. “I only wish some of it would have rubbed off on me.”
Harold scoffed at his master. Then he ambled out of sight.

Chapter 2

The room had gone silent. She’d never been more frightened in her life, or more fascinated. Thank God that man changed her bindings. The rope would have driven her to madness, but why had he insisted on keeping her tied up? He admitted his mistake, and she had calmed down. Why wouldn’t he just let her go, and what was he going to do to Chelsea? Was Chelsea’s fate to be her own?
“No,” she thought. “He said he would let me go.” Her hands went cold. “Everything is going to be alright.”
She was aware of the danger she could be in, but he was being so kind to her. If he were planning on hurting her, why would he care for her? No, he wouldn’t hurt her. He would let her go. This would all be over soon.
She heard the door open. She could hear his footsteps as he moved closer to her. She could feel his eyes on her as he passed by.
“It’s only me.” She could hear him setting something on a table across the room.
“How do I know it’s you?” she asked. “Why don’t you tell me who you are?”
“You know full well why I can’t tell you.”
“Then what shall I call you, or shall you be rid of me soon?”
“Hmmmm.” She could hear his footsteps as he neared her. “You may call me Teddy.”
“Does this mean I’ll be staying for a while, Teddy?”
“Only for a little while,” he answered.
“Oh,” her voice shook a little.
“Are you thirsty, my dear?” he asked trying to lure her mind away from the duration of her stay.
“Yes,” she replied.
“Hungry, my dear?”
“Oh yes.”
Charles helped her to sit up. He placed a glass of water on her lips and tipped it up for her as she drank. He watched a trickle of water as it rolled from her lips and disappeared into the space between her breasts. His fingers squeezed the glass as he watched.
“I brought you a warm dinner roll,” he said sitting the glass down, “It’s smothered in butter and strawberry preserves. Do you like strawberry preserves?”
“I adore them,” she answered.
“It seems we are in agreement,” he answered. She could hear the pleasure in his voice.
He ripped a piece of the crusty bread and dipped it into melted butter then into the preserves.
“Open your mouth, my dear,”
She did as he asked, and he let the perfect bite land on her tongue. She chewed and smiled, and her body tingled in fits of pleasure. He reveled watching her response.
“More?” he asked. She nodded and continued to let him indulge her.
“If I knew who you were, I’d steal your cook,” she said as he fed her the last piece.
“Then we shall have to make sure you never find out who I am.”
He took a napkin and dabbed the corners of her mouth. He placed his hands on her shoulders and eased her back against the mattress.
He was being so nice to her. He was her captor, yet she’d never been treated so fine. She longed to see his face. He sounded so handsome. He was kind, and she could listen to his velvet wrapped voice forever, but his face was the one piece of the puzzle she was desperate to see.
“Feeling better?” he asked.
“Yes, thank you.”
“Good,” he replied. She felt the mattress move as he stood, taking the glass of water and the plate away.
“What is your name?” God, but his voice was soft.
“Why should I tell you my name when you won’t tell me yours?”
“Because I don’t want to get caught in a forced marriage,” he said with good humor.
“Don’t you trust me, Teddy?” she asked.
“I trust you about as much as you trust me. How much do you trust me?”
“I’d trust you more if I could see your face.”
“I’m sure you would, but I can’t take that chance.”
“Have I met you before?”
“I’m not going to tell,” he was enjoying this game.
“Why?” she asked with a tiny smile.
He loved her lips, the curve of them, they way they shined in the lamp light. He leaned in closer, wondering if she could sense how close his face to hers. “Because you don’t want to marry me, remember?”
“Yes, and you don’t want to marry me?”
“I’m sure you would make a very lovely bride, but no. I’ve already set my cap for another young lady, I’m afraid.”
She sighed without really knowing why. Charles could feel her defeat. She was intriguing. Did she sigh because he refused to reveal his face, or because he wanted to marry someone else? He couldn’t be certain, but it didn’t matter because right now he wanted no one else.
“But that doesn’t mean we can’t be nice to one another,” he said leaning even closer to her letting his arms rest on both sides of her, and letting his nose graze the skin of her cheek. “I’m going to be very nice to you. Now, please, tell me your name.”
His words gave her chills, and she could very much sense his closeness. The thought of being this close to another human being, a male human being was peculiar, and exciting. If only she could see him. She reminded herself she was supposed to be afraid of him, but he was making it very difficult.
“You have to tell me your name so I know which home to send you.”
“I am a guest of the Chesterfields, but my name is Madison Fitzwalter,” she said with a wince.
“Madison Fitzwalter,” he let the name dance across his tongue, and the taste was appealing. “Your name sounds familiar. I think I’ve heard of you, this morning in fact.”
“Oh, lord above,” she said to herself.
“Mad Fitz?”
“Damn him!” She hollered suddenly, causing Charles to jump back. “How in the world did it get around so quickly?”
“The ton works fast, and their mouths and ears work faster, but I can certainly see how you could acquire such a nickname.”
“I’m so embarrassed!”
“Don’t be embarrassed. The name fits you. May I ask how you acquired it?”
“Haven’t you heard? I have a temper,” she managed. “It was all blown out of proportion. The young lord was being quite rude, and I simply let him know I was displeased.”
“Really? What did he do to you?”
“We were dancing at Lord Croft’s ball and Lord Greville grabbed my bottom and felt my breast!”
“Greville?” he chortled, “That sounds like something Greville would do. So, naturally, you clobbered him.”
“I wouldn’t say that exactly.”
“You clobbered him,” he affirmed.
“I bloodied his nose, stomped his foot, and I might have sunk my knee into his private parts, but I wouldn’t say I clobbered him.”
“If that’s not a clobbering I don’t know what is.”
“But he deserved it. What was I supposed to do, let him fondle me in front of everybody?”
“Would you have felt better had he taken you outside to fondle you?” he asked.
“I would have felt better had he never touched me. I am a lady.”
“Of course you are,” he said smoothly. She could feel him as his face moved back to hers. His closeness made her shiver.
“Lord Greville is a greasy hedge-pig, and Mad Fitz will not go down without a fight.”
“I like you Madison,” he whispered with admiration. “I think I shall call you Maddie.”
“Oh no, don’t do that. That’s a silly pet name my father gave me. Edweena calls me that too. I can’t stand it. It reminds me of a matted up old dog.”
“I think it’s beautiful. Please let me call you Maddie, Maddie.”
She sighed and her cheeks turned pink. The name sounded so much better coming from his lips. “Alright.”
His lips moved closer to hers but he stopped as Maddie grimaced in pain. Then her toes curled
“Are you alright, Maddie?” he asked stroking her cheek with his finger.
“My feet are cramping, but shall be fine.”
“Hmmmm,” he stood, and she felt his weight again as he sat at the end of the bed.
“What are you doing?” she asked alarmed.
“It’s alright, Maddie. I won’t hurt you,” he said so very smoothly.
Maddie jumped as soon as the flesh of his fingertips touched her. He traced a line with his fingertips down to her ankle. Then he lifted her feet onto his lap, and with the greatest care, he rubbed them.
“Oh, oh,” she said breathlessly, “You don’t have to do that, oh!”
“Just relax, Maddie.”
His experienced thumbs moved up and down her aching feet, and he knew exactly where to apply pressure. His fingers caressed her ankles and then her toes. It felt glorious, but it couldn’t possibly be proper. Her legs stiffened in protest, but it was useless to resist.
“Please, Maddie. Let me make you more comfortable.”
“You really shouldn’t, oh, ah,” she moaned. His hands were extraordinary. Maddie knew she shouldn’t, but she wanted more.
His hands felt different as an unidentified fragrance wafted toward her nose. “Oh, what is that?” she asked as he worked the fragrant oil into her chapped skin.
“It’s lavender. Do you like it?”
“Yes,” she replied dreamily.
He watched as her breathing quickened then slowed. Her mouth opened and her lower lip trembled. She leaned her head back against the bed gasping every now and again when his fingers teased her.
Charles knew exactly what he was doing. He loved watching her respond to his touch. He loved watching her fight the waves of bliss as he pressed into her, and the moans of pleasure she tried so hard to hold in.
“Relax, Maddie. Don’t fight it,” he said softer than ever. “It’s not wrong to enjoy this.” His fingers paralyzed her. She knew she should stop him, but he had conquered her so completely. She feared that he could do anything he desired to her.
“What are you doing to me?” she wiggled her feet, but he held them firmly in his hands.
“Be still, you’ll like this part,” he murmured. He pressed his thumbs into in a spot just under the balls of her feet. As he did this, a jolt of heat pulsed throughout her body and culminated deep inside of her. It felt good before, but now she was feeling things she knew she shouldn’t, wonderful, terrible things.
“Maddie, have you ever been with a man?” he asked.
“Been with?” She was delirious.
“Have you ever had sexual relations?”
That caught her attention. He watched as she blushed. Her whole body blushed all the way down to her toes.
“Of course not,” her bottom lip shivered, “I am a lady.”
“Of course you are.” His fingers traced little circles on her ankles. “But, have you ever wondered what it would be like?”
She couldn’t answer, but the color of her skin told him all he needed to know.
“You shouldn’t be speaking to me of this.”
“Does it frighten you?” he asked softly. He loved watching her shiver. Her legs stiffened as his fingers moved up. “You shouldn’t be frightened. It’s a completely natural, wonderful thing.”
“Why are you telling me this?”
“I want you, Maddie.”
For a long moment she said nothing. Her fisted hands opened. She shuddered completely from her head all the way down to her well satisfied toes. To be wanted, that was something she’d never felt before. She’d been tolerated, endured, and merely present, but never wanted and certainly not in the intimate way he meant it. She should be terrified. She was terrified, but she was also thrilled, and so many other feelings she couldn’t identify, but then, she didn’t know exactly what being wanted meant. How could she possibly know?
“I decided I’m going to keep you, perhaps for the rest of the night, however long it takes.”
She lay silent. However long what takes? She didn’t understand. What was he going to do to her?
His fingers slid up her calves. She could feel his body weight shifting until he was above her. She could feel the weight of him moving nearer to her. His hands moved up from her calves to her exposed thighs. Maddie gasped as his smooth fingertips touched her inner thigh and moved higher. She shrieked and rolled onto her side away from his caress. She knew the end of the bed was near, but he wrapped his arms around her and reeled her back in before she could roll into the floor.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you, Maddie.” She could feel his lips on her ear, the sensation shocking her into compliance. “It’s a long way down.”
His arms remained around her and she could feel the heat of him pulsing through her ball gown as he held her. She could feel his slow moving breaths on her neck and his skilled fingers as they moved from her bared thigh to her hip and back, pushing the ripped blue fabric of her ball gown higher with every stroke.
“You’re shivering,” he whispered. “Don’t be frightened.”
His face moved to the mess of golden curls flowing down the back of her neck. She could feel him as he breathed her in. “You smell marvelous,” he continued, and then he pressed his lips into the back of her neck.
God, what was he doing to her? She couldn’t possibly let him continue to lavish these strange intimacies on her. It was her duty to stop him, but she couldn’t move. She could hardly breathe. She could only wait in anticipation for what he would do to her next.
“No man has ever touched you.” It wasn’t a question, but an affirmation.
“No,” her voice shivered, “My father never allowed much contact with boys.”
“Pity for them,” he said. “Fortunate for me.”
“Yes,” she heard herself answer. Then she scolded herself for it.
“Maddie, I suppose you’ve never been kissed?”
“No.” she could feel him as he leaned in closer, letting his lips linger over hers. He stayed there for a long time watching her lips as they trembled with anticipation. She took in a labored breath as a tinge of lightning swept through her stomach.
His arms closed around her and he pulled her into him, carefully turning her until the front of his body was pressed against hers. It was awkward and tight, but only until she allowed her body to relax against him. His warm flesh surrounded her, cradled her until she felt an odd sense of comfort. In his arms, she felt almost safe.
His scent encircled her. It was unlike anything she’d ever experienced. He was spicy and smooth all in the same breath.
Her bound hands were trapped between their bodies, and she could feel the naked flesh of his chest against her pinkies. He was soft and muscular, and she wondered if he even noticed her hands brushing against him. She felt her cheeks grow hot; surely, she had no place else to put them. When had he removed his shirt? She had to wonder if he’d donned clothing at all during their encounter.
“Maddie,” he said slowly letting her name linger on his tongue. “I’m going to kiss you now.”
His lips were soft as they touched hers. They were gentle beginning with the slightest nibble. He tasted like brandy and strawberries. Then his lips opened against hers and she was startled as she felt his tongue touch her still closed lips. He pulled back and pondered her with a sideways smile. She lay with her face tipped toward his, waiting for his lips to take hers again. She was obviously submitting to him, but she hadn’t a clue what she was supposed to do. He was happy to instruct her.
His fingers touched her chin. His thumb stroked her bottom lip easing her mouth open. Then his lips opened on hers allowing his tongue to slide into her. At first, the feeling was strange to her, not at all unpleasant, but the thought of having a man’s tongue in her mouth made all the little hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. Her feelings soon changed as his kiss deepened. His lips and his tongue toyed with her, demanding more than she knew how to give, but she tried her best to please him. He tasted her like he would a sweet piece of candy, and his tongue teased hers, coaxing it to join in.
Charles stared down at her, his fingers playing with a loose tendril of her golden hair. His nose traced along the skin of her cheek until he reached the bottom of the red scarf that was now her blindfold. He longed to see her eyes. He wanted to see the pleasure in them, and wanted to show her his own pleasure. He wanted to show her there was nothing to fear from him. He couldn’t believe it, but he cared for her.
Maddie’s bound hands lifted. For a moment, he wasn’t sure where they were going, but then he realized they were going for her blindfold. He knew he could not let her see him under any circumstances no matter how much he might want to.
“No,” he roared in a much harsher tone than he’d meant. She gasped and retreated as if she expected him to strike her, but he did not strike her. He calmed, and gathered her into his arms, kissing her shaking knuckles. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to frighten you.”
“Please,” she begged. Her voice was so sweet, and so small. “I won’t tell anyone. I swear.”
“I know you wouldn’t.”
“Then why won’t you let me see you?”
“You know why.”
“Please, I’ll do anything; just let me see your face.” She tried not to cry, but he could hear the sadness in her voice. He wanted desperately to give her what she wanted, but this was the one thing he could not give her.
“Here,” he murmured lifting her fingers to his face, his palms settling atop them. “This is the best I can do.” He allowed her fingers to cradle his cheeks. She’d never touched a man’s face before. His skin was warm and rough. He was smooth in some spots, prickly in others. Perhaps he would shave this morning. Her fingers traced his cheeks, and the point of his nose. One finger trailed across his lips, and she felt him shudder.
He’d never shuddered for anyone before. He was the one to make them shudder, but Maddie sent a rush through his body arousing him in ways never experienced. He had to have her, and he had to have her now.
“Who are you?” she asked. “I don’t think I could go on living without knowing who you are.”
“I’m sorry,” he breathed brushing his fingers through her hair. “You don’t want to know me. Merely knowing me will bring you scandal. It’s better this way.”
Maddie sighed heavily and let her face rest on his chest. She already had scandal. She wanted to know the man who kissed her. She wanted to know the man who reshaped her universe, and caused stars to explode under her darkened eyelids.
His fingers lifted her face to his, and he kissed her again. She loved the feeling of his tongue, how it felt pressed against hers. She never wanted this kiss to end. She pressed her body against his desperately. His arms tightened around her and they rolled together as one until he was on top of her.
“You are lovely,” he murmured letting his lips linger over hers. He could feel her hot and hurried breaths as she waited in anticipation for his lips to return. He stared down at the red silk and struggled to picture a set of amazing eyes. They must be amazing.
“Maddie,” he asked. “What color are your eyes?”
“Red,” she said. Her lips perked into a shy smile.
“Your eyes are not red,” he said tickling her neck with the tip of his tongue.
“How do you know?” She giggled.
“I just do,” he said continuing to torture her with his tongue.
“Why would you want to know the color of my eyes?”
“So I can envision them when I kiss you,” he said.
She liked the sound of that. “If you want to see them so badly, why don’t you take a look?”
“You would like that wouldn’t you?” he asked placing his lips in the center of her chest making her gasp.
“I would actually,” she replied as his lips moved lower.
“I know something you’ll like even better.” He rested his face in the hollow between her breasts laughing into her skin.
“What are you going to do?” she asked alarmed. No one had ever touched her there, especially not with their lips.
“You’ll know soon enough,” he said in low voice that made the warmth in her belly unbearable.
He watched as the swell of her breasts rose and fell and held on to her stays for dear life. He lifted his hands to her dangerously overflowing corset and freed her breasts easily.
“Dear lord!” Maddie gasped as the cold air hit her nipples. He watched the pink rosebuds made their retreat from the cold. His hand rested on one of them letting the supple skin tighten under his warmth. Maddie bit her lip and her toes curled.
He grinned and leaned forward. She could feel weight of his arms on either side of her. She shifted underneath him when she felt his hot breath on one of her breasts.
“Shhhh,” he soothed. Calm lasted only until he touched her. Maddie jumped nearly lifting them both off the bed when he touched her nipple with the end of his tongue. He laughed again. Lord, she was sensitive.
“I suppose you’ve never been touched there either,” he said wrapping his lips around her little pink nub. He watched her hands as they balled into fists between them. She wanted to scream, she wanted pant, she wanted to moan, but to his amusement, she was much too modest. Noises meant enjoyment. Polite society would shun her enjoyment, but she was in his bed now. Society be damned!
“You can tell me,” he said, his tongue stroking shameless circles on her delicate skin. “Don’t hold it in.”
“Oh, my God,” she moaned desperately as he bit down on her nipple.
“That’s better,” he lifted his face to hers and felt her gasp against his lips as his hands squeezed both of her breasts. “God, you’re lovely.”
“I shouldn’t be doing this,” she gasped.
His lips nipped at her earlobe. “It’s a little late for that. Don’t you think?”
“Dear lord!” she breathed as he squeezed her breasts again. He laughed and kissed her lips.
Maddie felt lightheaded. Her stomach ached, not with pain, but with something else she couldn’t quite understand. She knew she needed something urgently, but she didn’t know what. The heat in her core was driving her mad, but she was helpless and quivering and completely at Teddy’s mercy.
There was something thrilling about being trapped against him. None of this was her fault. She couldn’t be blamed for his tongue on her breast. She couldn’t be blamed for resting her head against his chest, and if she happened to nuzzle against him and breathe him in and think of what it might be like to taste him, it couldn’t be her fault.
His nipple was right there. She could feel it, but if he were to hold her tighter there might be a happy accident. Without thinking, her body shifted forward and she opened her mouth. She heard a laugh escape from his lips. Had he been watching? Maddie closed her mouth and shifted back. Why would she want to do that to him? She must be insane. And he had been watching.
“Maddie,” he murmured. “You may touch me there if you like.”
“No,” she said firmly. She had to say no. Who in their right mind would say yes? But then she found insanity quickly sneaking up on her.
“Touch me.” His hand cradled the back of her neck and he pulled her to him until her lips were touching his skin. “Go on. Nobody has to know. It’ll be our little secret. Touch me and I’ll reward you.”
Maddie could not believe this was happening. This was not something a gently bred female would do. It was wrong, but somehow she needed this. One taste wouldn’t hurt her. One kiss wouldn’t turn her into a wonton.
Maddie was sure he could feel her shivering. She could feel him watching her. She breathed in slowly and parted her lips. Her tongue hesitated as it reached the space between her teeth. Then she closed her lips on him.
He laughed as her lips moved slowly down his chest. They were light as butterflies, and for the second time in one night, he shuddered. His lips dropped down and caught hers when he could not stand one more second of it.
She was embarrassed, not because she did it, but because she liked it. This man was driving her to madness. She couldn’t be sure, but by the way her heart danced inside her, she thought she might be in love.
“Maddie,” he whispered, his grip tightening around her. “I need you now.”
Maddie shivered. She wasn’t sure what he meant by that. She was even less sure when he rolled back atop her. Her bound hands pressed into his chest. He had to keep himself lifted off her to keep from hurting her.
“I have a gift for you,” he said lifting her hands to him, kissing the tips of her fingers. “But you have to promise to behave.” His fingers loosened the green silk from her hands and tossed it to the side. “Put your arms around me.”
Maddie did as she was asked wrapping her arms around his neck and letting her fingers twine in his hair. His hair was much longer than she imagined and curled around her fingers. His body lowered onto hers until they were breast to breast and she could feel his full weight pressing against her, along with something else she couldn’t identify, something hard and warm.
She’d never been this close to anyone, and when he kissed her she never wanted to come back up for air. This had to be what love felt like, and she loved him. She’d never seen his face and she knew she loved him. He was the dream she had been waiting for and she was here safe in his arms. She loved him and he loved her.
No. Realization hit her as if she’d run into a wall covered in knives. He did not love her. How could he? He refused to let her see his face, and after tonight she would never see him again. He was going to ruin her. He was in love with Chelsea. He was going to marry her. Tomorrow he would forget Madison Fitzwalter ever existed without giving her a second thought. He, she realized sadly, was a monster.
Maddie’s heart sank and her body became cold. Her hands rolled into fists. She had to stop him now, despite her breaking heart.

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  1. * bflyzone says:

    Okay, I did not mean for the book cover to appear this big in the post, but I don’t know how to change it. Trust me, it looks really good small.

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 4 months ago
  2. I think you are going to have very much success with your first Smashwords! I’m hooked! Congrats! (PS: The cover looks good big like that as well!) *khrys…

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 4 months ago
  3. * katepatrick says:

    I’m so glad you checked out my blog. You and I are in the same boat. My first book has been out about five weeks. I completely understand all the feelings you expressed in your post. My goal was to just get published, but the truth is, it sure makes me feel good every time I see another one has sold! I love the excerpt you shared with us. I am hooked, too! I will be checking into getting a copy of this, so I can see what happens next. Congratulations and Good Luck!

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 4 months ago
  4. * katepatrick says:

    Thanks for checking out my blog. I love what I’ve read of your book so far. I think I will have to get a copy to see what happens. I have had my first book out about 5 weeks, so I completely understand your anxiety. Good luck!

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 4 months ago
  5. * robincoyle says:

    So how are sales going?

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 3 months ago
    • * bflyzone says:

      Actually, I’m doing pretty well considering I only put the book on Smashwords three weeks ago. I’ve sold about ten copies, which is alright for me. I don’t think my nerves could take much more. I’m sure I’ll get used to people looking at my baby eventually. I’m expecting sales to increase once my book makes it into the premium catalog, and I’m sure it will. Then I’ll be selling to sony people, kobo people, nook people all on their own websites. Its very exciting. I need to get cracking on book 2. Wish me luck!

      | Reply Posted 8 years, 3 months ago

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