Title: Man of Matrimony
Series: The Gentlemen, Inc. Series
Author: Thea Dawson
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 2, 2019
Rebecca Grace Allen
(Legally Bound, #3)
Publication date: April 29th 2019
Genres: Erotica, Romance
Exploring their fantasies could save their marriage…or push it over the edge
Legally Bound, Book 3
Samantha Archer’s life has hit a wall. Her world is housework, homework and reminding her husband—the biggest kid in the family—to help out at home. Once she felt confident, powerful and sexy, but Brady doesn’t seem to notice her anymore, and now all she feels is invisible.
Brady has tried being the goofy guy who stole Sam’s heart, but it’s not working. He’s losing the woman he loves and doesn’t have a clue how to fix it. He’s keeping his darkest fantasies hidden too, sure they’re not what Sam wants, and his inability to please her cuts him deeper than she knows.
When Sam lands a new job at a law firm, Brady still won’t pick up the slack, and one night giving him orders unexpectedly reignites their missing spark. Sam discovers the Femdomme she didn’t know she was, kindling Brady’s submissive desires.
But while things heat up inside the bedroom, life outside it starts unraveling. Brady’s need to call the shots at work complicates his hunger to kneel for his wife, and Sam has longed to experiment in more ways than one. Their exploration of dominance and submission goes a step too far when they invite Sam’s sultry switch coworker into their bed, and the fallout could cost them everything.
Warning: contains a six-foot-five, ex-football player geek and a ballsy, badass redhead who’s learning to unleash her inner Domme. Scenes depicting humiliation, pegging and threesomes could disturb, or stimulate a thirst for adventure.
She went up on her toes, stretching her supple body to put an unused juice glass back in its place. The move pulled her nightshirt away from her back, offering Brady a slice of skin in between the cotton and the edge of her pajama bottoms.
He adjusted himself and tried to think about something else, and not just because his kids were nearby. Even if they weren’t, he’d bet nothing would happen. Sam’s lack of interest in sex had been from the baby weight she’d gained. Brady never minded when she was heavier—he’d joked that there was more of Sam to love. To him it was a reminder of the years they’d spent building this family, the lives they’d lived. Her hips had seemed more lush back then, too, her breasts fuller. She’d stopped letting him play with them when she was nursing, and now that she’d lost the weight, he’d been waiting for the green light to go back there again.
She’d never given it.
They’d become platonic, disconnected in a sexless marriage. He’d taught himself to shut down his impulses, trying to find satisfaction with his right hand. But now, watching her move around, her messy red hair up in a bun, he wished he could get her even messier, wished he could reach for whatever she was trying to get, and after he’d given it to her, she’d hop up on the counter and take off her shirt. She’d tell him to kiss each tender nipple, then order him to the floor. Laughing, she’d comment on how desperate she’d gotten him, how she’d bet he couldn’t wait until his face was between her thighs.
Brady tore his gaze away from her, his cheeks blazing. He wasn’t supposed to fantasize like that. A real man didn’t want his wife to order him around, to let her take what she wanted and to revel in whatever pleasure he could give her. He was the ex-football player, the breadwinner, the dad of two little girls. He was supposed to be strong. Dominant. Like the men in her books.
He’d peeked at them once when she’d left her iPad open. After months of saying she felt fat, that the kids would hear, or one of the dozens of other reasons she’d given him, he never imagined she’d be reading, well, smut. And the men who filled those digital pages gave orders and grabbed fistfuls of hair. They were rough and aggressive, took what they wanted and commanded obedience.
That wasn’t him. And if that was what Sam wanted, there was no point in reaching for her at all.
It was ironic. A real flaw in his DNA. He knew a few strands different and he’d be more like the kind of guy Sam wanted. The kind who was forceful in bed and didn’t miss half of what she was saying because he had so much on his mind he couldn’t focus. It was like the information got stuck between his ears and his brain, which often had him standing stock-still and trying to recall what she’d asked, lowering his head in embarrassment when she had to repeat it.
Rebecca Grace Allen is an author of sweet, sexy and soul searching romance, emphasis on the sexy! She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a double concentration in Creative Writing and Literary Comparison, as well as a Master of Science degree in Elementary Education, both of which seemed like good ideas at the time. After stumbling through careers in entertainment, publishing, law and teaching, she’s returned to her first love: writing. A self-admitted caffeine addict and gym rat, she currently lives in upstate New York with her husband, two parakeets, and a cat with a very unusual foot fetish.
Chapter 2 Good Morning, Murder
id you murder the kid, Gabe?” Lily Cup asked. The aging army captain, veteran of Korea and Vietnam, low¬ered his newspaper just enough to see over the entertainment page.
“Close the door, honey, AC’s on,” Gabe said.
In a tight, black skirt with a tailored matching waistcoat and white Nike walking shoes, she leaned and propped a black leather briefcase against the wall by the door. She stood like an exasperated tomboy, adjusting and refastening the diamond brooch on her lapel.
“I heard you’ve been walking with a cane, dancing man. What’s that all about? You’ve never carried a cane. You jazz dance for hours a couple of nights a week and Sasha tells me you started carrying one everywhere you go when you don’t need one. It’s smelling pretty premeditated to me, Gabe. What’s up with the cane thing?”
“Does Sasha know about this morning?”
“I haven’t told her anything. She’d have a canary.”
Gabe lifted the paper again to read.
“I need to know if it was murder,” Lily Cup said.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Gabe said.
He closed the paper, folded it in half, and in half again. Dropping it on the arm of the chair, he stood and left the room.
“Define murder,” he said from the kitchen.
She tossed a handbag and white driving gloves onto the other chair, lifted Chanel sunglasses to the top of her head.
“Gee, I’ll have to think on this one. Hmmm…Oh, I know. How about the police have a cane with blood on it and there’s a dead man.”
“It’s a walking stick. My cane is over by the door.”
“Well now it’s a goddamned murder weapon. They checked for prints, and yours are the only prints on it, and their guess is the lab will say the blood has his DNA.”
Gabe came out with a coffee urn in one hand and his finger and thumb through two empty cup handles. He held the cups out for her to take one.
“No more,” Gabe said.
“You’re rather nonchalant for the spot you’re in. Why’d you clam up on me like that at the precinct? It didn’t set well with any of them. The DA entered a charge of second-degree murder. The police chief put out a warrant for you from lunch at Brennan’s.”
He held the empty cups closer to her.
“Just made it. Chicory and cinnamon.”
“If you had television you’d have seen it—‘Daylight killing on St. Charles Avenue.’ It’s all over the news, freaking out the DA and the Visitors Bureau. No telling how many videos from streetcars going by will wind up on You Tube.”
“That’s enough,” Gabe said.
“People can live with violence after dark. That’s expected in any city, but when it’s in broad daylight, forget it. The DA pushed for an early docket with a magistrate and it’s Tulane and Broad for you at nine a.m. tomorrow.”
“What’s Tulane and Broad?”
“Magistrate Court. Congratulations, Gabe, you made the big time. You have to appear before a magistrate to hear the second-degree murder charge against you.”
She took an empty cup in one hand, pinched his arm with the other.
“Look me in the eye and swear it wasn’t murder,” Lily Cup said.
“This some kind of technique they teach at Harvard Law, Miss Tarleton?”
She rolled her eyes and turned to the other chair.
“The only reason they haven’t busted down your door and you’re not behind bars is you’re a decorated veteran, and I’m your attorney, and I promised you’ll show up in the morning. Sasha warned me about you. I should have listened. You’re an ornery, stubborn old coot when you have a mind to.”
She sat down.
“I’m never ornery,” Gabe said. “But that’s enough.”
He leaned and poured coffee.
“You’re lucky we have Magistrate Judge Fontenot tomorrow. I heard her dad was killed in Vietnam. She’s been pretty fair to me in the past. A new school gal, tough on the letter of the law, but she’ll listen to reason if it solves a case. She hates red tape with a passion, and seldom lets the DA or the defense use the system for delays. She doesn’t get hung up on tradition.”
“Have you heard?” Gabe said. “Our Sasha has asked me to give her away. How about them apples?”
“Gabe, like she’s been my best friend since kindergarten, she tells me everything,” Lily Cup said. “It’s sweet.”
“I’m thinking Peck and I might throw a party,” Gabe said. “Something she’ll remember—commemorate their engagement Mardi Gras style. Lots of pictures; close friends.”
“Will you print invitations, like a formal do?” Lily Cup asked.
“But of course,” Gabe said. “Maybe costumes?”
“It’s party time! She would flip over a costume party, all our friends would,” Lily Cup said. “You and Peck celebrating her engage¬ment will mean a lot to her.”
“Should we do it here or over at Charlie’s Blue Note with the live jazz?”
“Gabe, you’ve got one picture on the mantle, two chairs, and a cardboard box in the living room. This isn’t exactly what I’d call a Commander’s Palace party room.”
“I was thinking a streetcar day pass in the invite if we do it here at the house,” Gabe said.
“That’s a nice idea—parking sucks on this street. When are you going to buy some furniture?”
“I’m too old to impose furniture on Peck. Peck would only feel obligated to keep it after I’m gone. I’ll let him and Millie pick out the furniture doodads, curtains, and the dishes when they play house. There’s time.”
“How’s your stomach with what happened today? Were you hurt?” Lily Cup said.
“What stomach? They removed it.”
“I meant how’ve you been since the operation?”
“I’m a hospice survivor with some time left in me, hopefully. At least enough time to plan a party.”
“You might be partying in Angola if the DA pushes this to a grand jury,” Lily Cup said.
Gabe stood, got the coffee urn again and brought it into the liv¬ing room.
“Warm your coffee?”
“Do you two at least have beds?” Lily Cup asked.
“Of course we have beds,” Gabe said. “Peck thinks he’s a prince— a mattress with sheets after sleeping on a canvas cot most of his life.”
“This must be a new world for him,” Lily Cup said.
“For fifteen years he slept in an unheated shed at a wood mill,” Gabe said. “Saw blades hanging over him like Macy’s parade bal¬loons. It took him weeks getting used to sleeping on a bed. I’d find him curled on the floor with his window wide open.”
“Peck and Millie,” Lily Cup said. “They do seem like a good fit, don’t they?”
“She’s loved the boy with a passion since the day he made the Greyhound bus stop so he could jump off just to give her the baby doll she left on her seat,” Gabe said.
“Her baby doll, Charlie. Sasha told me about the doll. Hell, I had my Teddy bear all through Harvard. I still have it,” Lily Cup said.
“Millie does love her Charlie,” Gabe said.
“Does she like the house?”
“That girl loves New Orleans. It’s a completely different world for her from the strict Baptist home life in Tennessee and Baylor University. But hell, the girl would love Milwaukee if Peck were there. Her mom and dad love Peck. I’m not certain Millie’s had a good look at the house the few times she’s come on her school breaks. She hits the door, pauses just long enough to hug ole Gabe here a genuine hello and a kiss on the cheek, then she’ll grab Peck’s arm like it’s an empty egg basket handle, close his bedroom door behind them and climb his bones until he comes out peaked, steps on the porch for some air and goes back in for another round.”
“Whoa, now that takes me back,” Lily Cup said. “I can remember those wild younger days of reckless abandon.”
She sipped her coffee, smiling.
“Innocent times,” Gabe said.
“They weren’t so innocent,” Lily Cup said.
“I remember after school sometimes; Sasha and I’d be feeling randy and we’d corner us a couple of momma’s boys we thought showed promise. We’d sneak into one of those back storage rooms on Magazine Street and wear them out.”
“Lord help ’em,” Gabe said. “Impetuous youth.”
“We had perfect lures. Sasha was the first in our grade to wear a D cup bra,” Lily Cup said.
“Her girls,” Gabe said.
“They were magnets for high school bad boys dying for a peek,” Lily Cup said. “The bigger her girls, the ‘badder’ the boys.”
“Youth,” Gabe said.
“We developed our fancies,” Lily Cup said. “Hers was arousing a dude and putting his condom on him. She’d ride it like a sailor on a rowboat—the boy gawking up at her girls in her Victoria Secret bra she saved her allowance for. She’d never take it off. She’d say a boy appreciates a cleavage—why spoil the fantasy?”
“Let’s just say I developed a liking for the feel of a firm cigar.”
“Ha!” Gabe guffawed. “Is that why you smoke those short Panatelas?”
“Over the years I’ve learned to keep my expectations low.”
“Youth is uncouth,” Gabe said. “At least you’re sophisticated and couth now, little lady.”
“Too couth. I like to get mussed up on occasion.”
“You’re an attractive woman. It’ll happen.”
“She’s talking about the wedding reception maybe being at Charlie’s Blue Note,” Lily Cup said.
“If that’s true, I’m surprised James hasn’t put up a scuff,” Gabe said. “A jazz joint in an alley off Frenchmen Street isn’t what I’d call his cup of tea.”
“I think the house would be best for the engagement party, fixed up a little. I’ll help,” Lily Cup said.
“It would be more personal here,” Gabe said.
“I think so,” Lily Cup said. “This is like home to her.”
“I’ll have Peck paint the porch ceiling,” Gabe said.
Lily Cup stood, coffee cup in hand. She walked to the door look¬ing out at the porch’s ceiling.
“Why?” she asked.
“I’m changing the sky–blue to another color, maybe a white.”
“It looks freshly painted.”
“It’s a tradition thing,” Gabe said.
“A lady at the library told me a sky–blue ceiling on a front porch signals an available woman–of–age living in the house.”
“That’s phooey,” Lily Cup said. “I heard that one and three others like it. Like sky–blue wards off spiders and attracts bees away from people sitting on porch swings. I wouldn’t bother painting it.”
“I’m a Chicago boy—what would I know from superstitions?”
“It’s an old wives’ tale,” Lily Cup said. “Those are different than superstition. Sasha and I still sit on a roof in the Quarter under a full moon if it’s not lightning—it’s bad gris–gris if there are thun¬derstorms under a full moon. We light candles and talk through the
Dana locked the door after Ben departed and set the Closed. Please call again sign in place.
She’d lied to Ben about the reason for her fainting. Yes, she’d skipped breakfast. Yes, it was hot, and yes, she’d become dizzy. But the truth was she’d panicked when Ben had passed by the front windows.
A shadow fell across the front windows, and she caught a glimpse of blonde hair. The front door opened, spilling sunlight into the lobby.
Maisie was right when she’d described the young man as “a charmer.” His kind humor and gracious manners had put Dana at ease, despite her embarrassment.
One thing was certain. She had to break this cycle of panic every time she came to the office. Her gaze shifted to the area where Kyle Lansing had stood.
She grabbed the cast-iron hummingbird from the side table and swung the metal statue in a sharp arc. The blow slammed against Lansing’s upraised arm. He howled, and the gun fell from his hand. She swung again, this time catching the detective in the chest. Lansing stumbled backward. She dropped the sculpture and snatched up the gun.
That’s when the shadow had swept past the windows. The glimpse of blonde hair had frightened her that it was Jamie returning to the building, and she wouldn’t be able to protect the both of them.
The entry wall blocked the newcomer from her sight. She stepped back. There wasn’t much room to retreat, but each inch might make a difference in saving her life.
Lansing cast a glance over one shoulder. “What are you doing here, Ham—”
The first two shots hit Lansing in the torso. A third shot struck his head. Blood sprayed as he dropped to the floor. She gripped the gun, waiting for the stranger to step forward. Sunlight spilled once more in the lobby entrance. A rush of air and sounds from outside drifted inward as the shadow of the shooter moved away. The door closed, cutting off the sunlight.
Dana gripped the edge of Jamie’s desk as Lansing’s final words echoed in her ears.
“What are you doing here, Ham—”
A chill rushed through her body, and she closed her hands into fists to keep them from shaking. She dared a glance at the front door as if expecting a face to be staring back at her. “Was it you, Ben?”
And if the shooter had been Ben Hampshire, how long was he willing to keep her and her loved ones safe?