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Guilty Pleasures 5

Claimed for the Master's Pleasure


When Lia Constantines father dies suddenly, shes shocked to discover hes left casino debts totaling more than one million dollars. Unless she sells the family home, making herself homeless, she cannot repay the debt. Under difficult circumstances, self-made billionaire Jake Benetti, owner of the Arabian Nights Casino, meets the incredibly beautiful Lia Constantine for the first time. As soon as he sees her, he knows she holds the key to unlocking his broken heart. He cannot allow this highly alluring woman to slip through his fingers. Caught between the past and the future, he makes her an offer she simply cant refuseuntil Lia repays her fathers gambling debts, he owns her, mind, body, and soul. Lia is into the BDSM lifestyle as much as Jake is, but with their D/s relationship beginning to blossom, will the money drive a wedge between them? Can they ever find happiness together? Genre: BDSM, Contemporary Length: 41,265 words

CLAIMED FOR THE MASTERS PLEASURE


Guilty Pleasures 5

Jan Bowles

EVERLASTING CLASSIC

Siren Publishing, Inc. www.SirenPublishing.com

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A SIREN PUBLISHING BOOK IMPRINT: Everlasting Classic

CLAIMED FOR THE MASTERS PLEASURE Copyright 2012 by Jan Bowles E-book ISBN: 1-61926-289-4 First E-book Publication: January 2012 Cover design by Les Byerley All art and logo copyright 2012 by Siren Publishing, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission. All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.

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Letter to Readers
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Regarding E-book Piracy This book is copyrighted intellectual property. No other individual or group has resale rights, auction rights, membership rights, sharing rights, or any kind of rights to sell or to give away a copy of this book. The author and the publisher work very hard to bring our paying readers high-quality reading entertainment. This is Jan Bowles livelihood. Its fair and simple. Please respect Ms. Bowles right to earn a living from her work. Amanda Hilton, Publisher www.SirenPublishing.com www.BookStrand.com

Its the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance. It is the dream afraid of waking that never takes the chance. It is the one who wont be taken who cannot seem to give. And the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live. Bette Midler

CLAIMED FOR THE MASTERS PLEASURE


Guilty Pleasures 5 JAN BOWLES
Copyright 2012

Chapter One
The irritating rap burst once more into her dream, rousing her from the best sleep shed had in ages. Lia Constantine pulled the pillow over her head, trying to recapture the pleasant state shed been in. The noise invaded her senses again, setting her nerves on edge. Go away, she mumbled, fighting to return to the highly erotic dream shed just been enjoying. A gorgeous guy, with the physique of a Greek god, was just about to make love to her. The unwanted interruption couldnt have come at a more inappropriate moment. A third annoying rap broke into her dream. This time, Lia recognized the sound. There was somebody at the front door. Okay, okay, I hear you, I hear you, she shouted, stumbling from the bed and dragging on a robe. Give me a minute, for Christs sake. An unenviable reflection greeted her as she walked into the hallway. The full-length mirror captured her image mercilessly. Through bleary eyes she saw the destructive effect of a night out with her best friend. Her thick blonde hair stuck up in great, long tufts. Makeup was still on her face from the night before, but totally

Claimed for the Masters Pleasure

rearranged. Were panda eyes fashionable? Still, shed had a great night out, celebrating Monicas twenty-fifth birthday. Last night was the first time shed really enjoyed herself since the untimely death of her father one month ago. Whoever was at the door would just have to take her as she was. After walking downstairs, she tentatively opened the door a few inches and wearily peered through the gap. A handsome young man with an infectious smile greeted her. He held a huge bouquet of lilies in his arms. Flower delivery for you, maam. It was the biggest bouquet of lilies Lia had ever seen, and shed seen more than her fair share during the last year. Are you sure theyre for me? Well, unless you know of another Lia Constantine who lives at 43 Mount Drive? Perhaps you have a secret admirer, maam. I doubt it, she scoffed as they were thrust into her arms. As the young man walked away, Lia wondered whom they could be from. Still half-asleep, she made her way to the kitchen and placed them on the table, then prepared herself a strong black coffee. It took enormous effort to keep her eyes open as she poured the hot beverage into her favorite mug. Once it was made, she sat at the table and cupped the steaming liquid in her hands, feeling like death warmed up. Never again, she whispered to herself. Im going teetotal from now on. As Lia idly sipped her coffee, she noticed a small, pale pink envelope lying within the blooms. She fished it from the bouquet and tore it open. Inside was a card. Ms. Constantine, My deepest condolences on the death of your father. I have arranged a meeting for 2:00 p.m. today at my place of work.

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I strongly suggest you take the opportunity to attend. Jake Benetti Owner, Arabian Nights Casino, Las Vegas Lia scratched her head in annoyance. Jake Benetti? Who the hell is Jake Benetti? And who the hell does he think he is? I strongly suggest you take the opportunity to attend? How dare he? She turned the card over looking for an explanation. Damn. There was nothing but a photograph of the casino itselfa tall building of some fifty floors or more, glittering like a tacky jewel in the Las Vegas night sky. What the hell does this Benetti guy want from me? she mumbled into her coffee. Surely he had the wrong woman? She looked at the card again. How did he know her father was dead? Did he even know her father? She couldnt imagine hed have any connection with a seedy casino owner. She assumed it was a case of mistaken identity. As someone who hated crass gambling clubs, she tossed the card dismissively away. Wild horses wouldnt make her visit a casino. Her mother had always taught her that gambling and the pursuit of money was the root of all evil. Considering she lived within ten miles of the Strip, the nightlife of Las Vegas had been hard to ignore. The Nevada economy thrived on the gambling fever that constantly swept through the state. But her parents had not succumbed to its glitzy, tawdry lure, choosing instead to make their living from the clean, honest labor of running a simple grocery store, in one of the outlying Vegas communities. However, Lia was worldly enough to know that money from the casinos filtered through to them. The neighborhood was pretty poor, and many of the people they served in her parents store had taken jobs in the casinos in order to make ends meet. Just like the casinos themselves, it was something her mother chose to ignore. Lia shook her head. As always her mind drifted to her family. In the last twelve months shed lost her father, and her wonderful fianc,

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Joe. It had been a tough year. One that she wished not to dwell on. She moved the bouquet into the sitting area, placing it next to the photograph of her dead parents. She picked up the framed photo of her fianc, Joe, and gently kissed his image through the glass. No one could ever replace you. Sweet dreams, honey. Im going back to bed. Last night had been great. It was time to start living again. Whoever Jake Benetti was, she didnt like him, and she wouldnt be accepting his invitation any time soon. **** Three days later Every morning before breakfast, Lia always took an early morning jog. Since the devastating news of Joes death, and then some eleven months later her father, she found it therapeutic to haul herself out of bed and pound the streets in search of some normality. The exercise released the endorphins in her brain and helped her make sense of the crazy world she currently inhabited. The cool morning air and the solitude as she ran around the block set her up for the long day ahead at the fitness center where she worked as an aerobics instructor. It had been her goal to start her own business as a personal trainer. Her father had left her the money to achieve this in his will when hed died, and shed already taken on three new clients. Fred Constantine had been a wonderful man. Hed been marvelous when Joe had been killed in that terrible car crash all those months ago. She took a deep breath, reliving the awful incident. Shed been in the passenger seat, but had just barely survived. Her father had taken care of everything. Hed even paid for a top psychiatrist out of his own pocket when shed been unable to cope with life anymore. The loss of the man she loved so dearly had hit her hard. She hugged her arms

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around herself, still feeling his warm, gentle presence. She still couldnt believe he was dead. Lia quickly glanced at her watch as she jogged past the school gates. Right on schedule. In twenty minutes shed be home, showered, and ready to start the day. All she had to do was cross the road and run up the drive to her home. A home she had once shared with her parents. Her father had wanted her to move back in with him when her fianc had died. Little had she known that she would eventually be left on her own. When she heard a car approaching from behind, she moved to one side, beckoning with her arm for it to pass. She was surprised when the black sedan pulled up alongside her, and a darkened window slowly started to lower. A craggy-looking man in his forties peered over the glass. Lia Constantine? I dont know you. Go away. Get in. Ive told you. Go away, creep. Mr. Benetti wants to see you, and he wont be happy until he does. Benetti? That name sounds so familiar. Where have I heard it before? Yeah, the guy who sent the flowers. I dont care. Leave me alone, or Ill call the cops. Keep jogging, Lia. Keep moving. Dont let these creeps see youre scared. The black sedan suddenly screeched to a halt. A door slammed, and then another. Lia watched the two men stride up to her. One of them spoke. Lia Constantine, youre coming with us. Lia looked around for support. It was six in the morning, and there was no one but her and these two very menacing-looking guys. Dressed in black suits, they were huge, the size of pro football players.

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The taller of the two guys continued speaking as he stared intently at her. Hey, Juno, for a minute I thought He laughed. The boss is gonna do a double take. The other guy with a receding hairline let out a long, slow whistle. Fuck, Moose. Its like shes come back from the dead. Feeling threatened and very alone, Lia stepped back, putting some distance between them. Please. Look, I dont know who you are. Please just go away and leave me alone. Without warning the bigger guy took hold of her arm, and almost lifted her from the ground. Get in the car. Instinctively she clawed her nails down his cheek and pulled herself from his grasp and began running, running, running for her life. Please, God, somebody help me, she screamed. Nobody. Nothing. She felt stagnant male breath getting closer and closer before finding her progress halted completely. Hey, Juno, grab her other arm. For fucks sake, buddy, get her in the car before were seen.

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Chapter Two
Jake Benetti studied the bank of high-definition CCTV pictures covering the wall of his office. He always liked to keep an eye on his business. It made sense, when there were huge amounts of money involved. Experience had taught him not to trust anyone. In disbelief, he watched a woman being roughly escorted through the back door of his casino. After thirty-seven years of life, nothing much fazed him, but seeing a woman who closely resembled his dead wife made him stop and stare, openmouthed. Thank God he had time to compose himself before Juno and Moose knocked on his office door. He studied the CCTV images closely. The resemblance unnerved him. Hed laid his beloved wife in the casket himself. Besides, if Hannah had still been alive, she would have been thirty-five this fall. This woman was clearly in her midtwenties. Dressed in gray sweatpants and wearing a white sweatband around her head, she looked like shed just been jogging. He hoped this small excursion from her daily routine wouldnt inconvenience her too much. When his two bodyguards showed her to the private elevator, he had the distinct feeling that she wasnt happy. He hoped Juno and Moose had behaved themselves. In the past, theyd had a tendency for being overexuberant when it came to following his instructions. The rap on his office door came all too soon. Jake made himself comfortable in the leather executive chair before arranging the legal documents he required on the mahogany desk. When he was completely satisfied, he called out, Enter.

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The door opened, and Juno poked his head around the oak panel. Boss, we brought the Constantine woman to see you. Good. You did well to persuade her Before Jake could finish his sentence the woman burst into his office. Her green eyes flared wide. This is outrageous! She pointed an index finger at him and wagged it angrily several times. Are you in charge here, Mister? How dare you tell these animals to force me into a car? He could see she was shaking with fear and rage. Do you know what the penalty for kidnapping is? Especially at the whim of some lowlife casino owner? If Jake hadnt been so stunned at the beautiful vision before him, he might have taken offense. So Fred Constantines sassy daughter hated casino owners with a vengeance? But what did he expect? The woman was clearly here against her will. Although not an exact replica of his wife, she was disturbingly similar. The angry, frightened woman standing before him was a little taller, and her exquisite, heart-shaped face had more defined cheekbones than Hannahs. It was her hair that captivated him most. Long cascades of honey blonde spread out across her shoulders and flowed down her back, just like Hannahs had. How he longed to thread his hands through the thick, golden strands, and dream they were still together. Fuck, hed barely looked at another woman for the three years since Hannahs death, and it still made him feel as guilty as hell. Jake couldnt help admiring the beauty of the young woman standing before him, but he didnt want to be reminded of what hed lost. He looked at Juno instead. The guy was certainly no oil painting. In fact his chief bruiser was ugly as fuck, but he felt uncomfortable looking at this beautiful ghost from his past. Dont you dare turn away from me. I asked you a question, Mr. Big Casino Owner. Do you often force women into the backs of cars against their will?

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With his voice much harsher than normal, he asked Juno, Is this true? Juno shuffled his feet, looking increasingly uncomfortable. Boss, you wanted to see her. We got the lady here double quick. Just as you wanted. Thats not what I asked you. He turned to Moose. The guy looked hot and bothered, and ran a hand over his hair. So, Moose, you went along with this kidnapping? Moose just shrugged. I guess so, boss. They were good men, but perhaps went about their work a little too enthusiastically at times. He shook his head. Do either of you two guys have an ounce of sense? Jake raised his hands in exasperation. He didnt want the cops to become involved. As the woman said, kidnapping was a serious offence. Anger surged through his veins, and he pointed to the door. Just get out my sight, the pair of you, before I kick both your asses. Im docking you a months pay for stupidity. He wouldnt do it, but she didnt have to know that. Moose and Juno had young families to look after. Yes, boss. Sorry, boss. Wait a minute. They both stopped suddenly in the doorway, looking like naughty children waiting to be admonished. Have you anything to say to Ms. Constantine? When they looked dumfounded, Jake raised a brow. Im thinking of an apology, you dumb bastards. He guessed she wanted to see some asses kicked for the shoddy way shed been treated. He was happy to oblige. After all, it wasnt every day he met a woman who bore a close resemblance to the woman he once loved, still loved. Moose nodded. Sorry, maam, didnt mean to be so rough with you. We didnt mean you no harm. I apologize. Juno bowed his head.

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He watched them both retreat from his office. Left alone, Jake then turned his attention to his guest. You must forgive my men. Theyre not the brightest guys youll ever come across. Their hearts are in the right place, although they do have a tendency to overplay things. Overplay, are you serious? Overplay? He knew she was angry. Pulling me off the sidewalk and manhandling me into a car is hardly what I would call overplaying. In my language we call it kidnapping, or even worse. I was so frightened. She took a deep breath, as if trying to rein in her emotions. I didnt know if those gorillas you employ were gonna mug, rape, or murder me. Youre this closeshe held her finger and thumb an inch apartto being busted by the cops. She folded her arms defiantly across her chest to show she meant business. Impressed by her sassiness, Jake pointed to the chair opposite his desk. I apologize once more. Please take a seat, Ms. Constantine. This wont take long. Mr. Benetti, I think were done here. Dont you dare try and stop me walking out of this hellhole. I wouldnt dream of it, Ms. Constantine. Good. She turned abruptly on her heels and began walking toward the door. Jake calmly shuffled the papers on his desk, before saying, But out of respect for your father, you need to hear what I have to say.

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Chapter Three
I knew your father very well. He was a good man. I respected him. Lia turned in the doorway and looked back into the opulent office. Jake Benetti sat there as calm as anything, yet she felt like a rug had been ripped from under her. How on earth could her father have known this man? He ran a casino, for Christs sake. It was obvious, he had to be making it up. Still fuming at being kidnapped by his two goons, she just stared at him, waiting for God only knew what. He leaned back in his chair and steepled his fingers together under his chin, probably contemplating his next move. Like a predator observing its prey, he stared back at her, his emotions unreadable. Short, black hair feathered around his masculine face. Dark stubble stained his strong jaw. His eyes held hers. They were the palest blue shed ever seen, the color of rare blue ice. Bright, hard, and ice cold, they seemed to cut right through her. At that moment she felt his strength of character. He seemed glacial and calculatingsoulless. In fact, he had the perfect temperament for a man who owned a casino. Shed already witnessed his controlling personality at close quarters. The way hed dealt with his employees left much to be desired. Not that the Neanderthals whod kidnapped her didnt deserve his anger. They did. It was just the way hed spoken to them, like they were shit on his shoe. He pointed to the chair opposite his desk once more. Please sit down, Ms. Constantine. Not wanting to stay, but feeling compelled by his presence, she closed the door, walked across to his desk, and sat down. Lia defiantly

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raised her chin, trying to appear more confident than she felt. She took a silent deep breath so her words wouldnt sound shaky and frightened. Please make this quick, Mr. Benetti. Ive already been kidnapped at your request this morning. Her voice dripped with sarcasm. May I get you a coffee? No, thank you. This isnt a social visit. I dont believe for a moment that a man like you could possibly know my father. He would never have stepped foot inside a place like this. She looked dismissively around his office, taking in the framed photographs that covered the walls. They all featured him and a variety of smiling, happy customers, who had just experienced a big win at the tables or slots. It all looked so staged and superficial. Only good manners stopped her from snorting with derision. Your father and I met when I opened my first casino. That was eleven years ago. Hes been a regular ever since. I got to know Fred pretty well. I liked the guy. Its a lie. Youre lying. Ive seen him at least once a week for the past eleven years. Jake Benetti pulled out a drawer from his impressive mahogany desk. He took out an ornate, silver-framed photograph and handed it to her. This was taken three years ago, when your father won big playing blackjack. He took Arabian Nights Casino for over two hundred thousand bucks that day. With trembling fingers, Lia studied the picture. Jake Benetti stood tall. He was immaculately dressed in a sharp designer suit. Next to him stood her father. His face beamed with happiness. In fact, they both had big smiles on their faces. The casino owners arm was around her fathers shoulder. She knew her father well enough to know that his happiness looked genuine. Lia felt her forehead frown in bewilderment. It just didnt fit in with what she knew of her father. Fred Constantine had been an upstanding member of the community. Hed run a grocery store until

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hed retired two years ago. People whod met her father respected him. Surely she would have known if he were a gambler? This doesnt make sense, she murmured, voicing her misgivings out loud. Are you saying my father came here regularly, and gambled in your seedy casino? Jake Benetti waved his hand dismissively. Dont you think youre being rather nave? Why else would your father come to a casino? Lia knew then that her mothers hatred of gambling must have come from her fathers compulsive habit. Her mother had kept it a secret until the day she died. Mary Constantine had been a devout Christian woman. Shed obviously found it difficult to deal with. It made her realize that shed never really known her parents. Not really. She handed the photograph back to Jake Benetti. Ive seen enough. She still found it hard to believe that her beloved father was a gambler, but the evidence was overwhelming. Okay, I live in the real world. Im disappointed to admit that my father came here. Hes not the first, and he certainly wont be the last. Not when vultures like you entice decent, honest people like my father to part with their hardearned money. Her remarks were cutting and designed to hit their mark. His eyelids flickered briefly as he absorbed her harsh words. Satisfaction coursed through her veins. So, Jake Benetti wasnt quite as cool as he tried to make out. He drew in a deep breath. Ms. Constantine, we come to the reason why I sought this meeting with you. Yes, Id be interested to know why I was forced into a car by two huge men and dragged here at your request, Mr. Benetti. She spat the words out with undiluted venom. May I apologize once more for the way my men behaved? You may, but I still dont accept it. He continued, Out of respect for you and your father, Ive waited an appropriate length of time before contacting you. It is only right that you should have an uninterrupted grieving period.

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What the hell do you know about grieving? Ive only known you for half an hour, but I can already see youre nothing more than a cold, soulless man. Lia expected him to respond to her caustic remarks, but he didnt. Instead, he calmly said, When your father died, he left an unpaid casino marker. Marker? Her brows drew together. Think of it as an unpaid check. Are you saying my father owed you money? Yes, thats exactly what Im saying, Ms. Constantine. It was a shock to discover her father was a gambler, and even worse that hed left a debt behind. So Jake Benetti wanted it settled. Her father had left her a significant amount of money in his will, along with the family home theyd all shared with her mother, until shed died five years ago. Lia was the only beneficiary, making her legally responsible for any outstanding debts. It might put the plans for growing her personal trainer business on hold for a little while longer, but shed always been taught by her parents, and especially her father, to pay her way in the world. Lia glanced at her watch. I need to be going, Mr. Benetti. Unlike you, I have to work for a living. If you can show me legal documentation proving how much my father owed you, then perhaps we can settle this small matter once and for all. Jake Benetti shuffled the papers on his desk, and cleared his throat. He lifted his gaze to hers. His ice-cold eyes drilled into her. The amount owed is significant. Mr. Benetti, quit the small talk. Are we talking hundreds, or even a few thousand dollars? His eyes fixed on hers, like cold chips of ice. When your father died, he left an unpaid casino marker of almost 1.3 million dollars. He flicked through the paperwork on his desk once more. One million, two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. To be precise.

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Like a fish lying on a riverbank, her mouth opened and closed several times as she gasped for air. Had she heard correctly? More to the point, had her father lost his mind? What on earth had possessed him to lose more than a million dollars in a place like this? Like a bolt from the blue the answer came to her. The therapy course her father had paid for when she couldnt cope after the death of her fianc, Joe. The bill for that would have run into thousands, possibly even tens of thousands. But the thought of almost 1.3 million bucks left her speechless. Hed left her a little over two hundred thousand dollars in his will. What the hell had happened to the rest? She looked across the desk. Jake Benetti sat there as calm as anything. You must take some of the responsibility. Why didnt you stop him? Everyone who enters a casino is an adult, Ms Constantine. People make choices, some good, some bad. What are you going to do? Im sorry for your loss. On a personal level, your father was a great guy. On a professional level, I have to think of my profits. I have shareholders to satisfy. I simply cant write off a debt that large. Believe me when I say its nothing personal, but Arabian Nights Casino will be claiming against your fathers estate. Butthats everything gone. Her mouth felt dry as a bone, and her heart beat erratically. Just when things were beginning to ease financially for her, this parasite had thrown her a curveball. In order to honor her fathers debts, shed have to sell the family home, and hand over all the cash her father had left her. Even then shed still come up a few hundred thousand dollars short. Thered be nothing left. Shed be homeless. Im sorry to be the bearer of such bad news. No youre not, youre enjoying every minute of it, she answered almost hysterically. Perspiration covered her brow, and she felt like she might vomit. This is an everyday occurrence for you. Taking decent people and bringing them down to your level.

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Youre entitled to your point of view, Ms. Constantine. May I get you a glass of water? You dont look too well. Glass of water? Glass of water? How about you write it all off. You must have made millions out of my father over the years. Thats not how this business works, but out of respect for your father, I can reduce the debt by thirty percent, taking the total owing to less than a million bucks. In this business that sort of generosity is unheard of. A million dollars. You say it as though it were nothing. The total value of my fathers estate might not even be worth that much, so your generosity is as genuine as you are. Her lip trembled in indignation. Lia stood abruptly, and turned toward the door. The whole room swayed around her, darkening by the second. Im not willing to pay a two-bit hustler like you a single dime. Ill see you in court, she finally managed to blurt out.

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Chapter Four
Jake watched Lia stagger and then drop to the floor unconscious. Quickly, he moved around his desk and scooped her submissive body into his arms. As he looked down into her beautiful face, he couldnt help but be reminded of his dead wife. Lia was so much like her. Jake closed his eyes, feeling the pain all over again. Hed loved Hannah deeply. How he wished the beautiful young woman lying in his arms was Hannah. He breathed in, trying to rein in his emotions. Hed shut them away for so long now, yet they were still as raw as ever. They cut like a knife directly into his heart. A heart hed thought had died with her. When he carefully laid Lia on the couch, her silken hair drifted over his wrist. Without thinking he took a handful in his fist. It was soft and feminine. The strands flowed freely through his fingers, reminding him even more. Jake gritted his teeth and moved purposefully away. Like an electric current, Lia Constantines presence unnerved him. For three years hed not looked at another woman. Jake knew he was taking far too much interest in her. He didnt want to be alone with Lia, yet he felt drawn to her. She reminded him so much of what hed lost. Jake flipped the switch on the intercom and spoke to his secretary. Madeline, get your ass in here. Weve got a fainter. His voice sounded gruff and bad tempered even to his own ears. When Madeline entered his office, she shook her head. Her strawberry-blonde hair bobbed from side to side. I bet this girl hasnt even had breakfast yet. Or maybe she just couldnt stomach what you had to say.

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Madeline, business is business. I cant go getting all soft now. Ive got shareholders breathing down my neck. At the end of the day, profit is all they understand. He knew his secretary disapproved of his harsh methods. She said it as it was. She always had. But because she was an excellent personal assistant, Jake allowed her to voice her strong opinions, far more than any other member of his team. Besides, he liked Madeline. She kept his feet firmly on the ground. She began softly tapping Lias face. Wake up, darlin. Madeline looked at him briefly. Say, Jake, dont you think this girl looks a lot like Hannah? Jake turned away, pretending to be uninterested. I cant say Ive noticed, he lied, and then, changing the subject, added quickly, Ill get a damp towel. Maybe that will revive her. Glad for the diversion, Jake strode across to his adjoining en suite bathroom. He stared stony faced at his reflection in the washbasin mirror as he ran a cloth under the tap. Selfish fucker. Did he even know himself? Hed spent three years in self-inflicted solitude, licking his wounds, trying to come to terms with Hannahs death. He missed her now as much as the day shed died. When he pushed open the en suite door, Lia looked a little better. Color had begun to return to her cheeks, and her eyes fluttered as she slowly came back to consciousness. He handed Madeline the damp towel, and she gently placed it on Lias brow. Theyd had fainters before. Mainly grizzled, old compulsive gamblers pretending to have heart attacks just to get out of paying their debts. Most people paid up, especially when he threatened them with Nevada state law. His secretary nodded. Shes coming round. Good. Ill run her home. Madeline looked at him, raising a brow. Just like his mother had when he was young, she made him feel like hed been caught with his

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hand in the cookie jar. My, youre feeling unusually benevolent today, Jake. Ive got a heart, Madeline. I just have to dig a little deeper than most, thats all. Hmm, I was beginning to wonder. And whats that supposed to mean? Jake raised his hand. No, dont say it. Like everyone else working here, you think your boss is a cold, heartless son of a bitch. Madeline shook her head and giggled softly. You never used to be so cold and aloof, Jake. When I first started working here, you were a real fun guy to be with. Everyone else will tell you the same. But since Hannah Thats enough, Madeline. I like you, but remember youre an employee of Arabian Nights Casino, the same as everyone else. In the past half hour hed had his ass well and truly kicked by two women. First by Lia Constantine. Her acerbic observation of his personality had been cutting, and so very close to the truth. Even he recognized himself. Now his secretary had joined in the feeding frenzy, too. Feeling outnumbered, he stalked back to his desk. He placed the legal documents required to claim on Fred Constantines estate back in the safe. He scanned the documents one last time before securing the heavy, reinforced door. Even if he wanted to, he couldnt tear them up. There was a paper trail going all the way to her fathers bank account and back again. With insufficient funds in Fred Constantines account, the bank had rejected their claim. Then the news filtered through that hed died. The shareholders would want to know what had happened. They would insist on a claim being made on his remaining estate. He knew hed end up taking her inheritance away. No wonder shed laid into him. Maybe he deserved it. Anyway, as far as he was concerned, it was all water off a ducks back. Hed been in this situation many times before. It came with the

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territory. It was part and parcel of the job. Casino bosses were never going to be popular with guys who owed them a lot of money. It was business, pure and simple. No need to take offense. Only her angry words had cut deep into his psyche. What the hell do you know about grieving? Ive only known you for half an hour, but I can already see youre nothing more than a cold, soulless man. He knew all about grieving. Hed closed himself off for years. How could she know about the long lonely nights hed spent in his penthouse suite? All that time wishing he had the power to turn back the clock, and bring Hannah back to life. Over the years hed amassed a small fortune. He didnt need to worry about money, he had enough to last him a dozen lifetimes, but even that wealth couldnt save his beloved Hannah. Shed died, and since then, hed died a little more with each passing day. All those wonderful plans theyd made together had been buried with her. The irrepressible life force hed always carried with him had slowly withered and died after her sudden death. Lia Constantine had been right. All that was left was a cold, soulless man. He was nothing. Just a lonely vessel wandering the halls of his casinos. An empty man, living a barren, dead existence. He found it unsettling that he could go for years without a thought for himself, or anybody else, for that matter. Yet it had taken one slender girl with an uncanny resemblance to his dead wife to alter that. He looked across at the young woman whod reached him in just the matter of a few minutes. She was now sitting upright, and sipping from a glass of water. Shed invaded his comfort zone, wrecking his status quo. Jake grimaced. Yeah, hed take her home and then get on with the rest of his fucking miserable life. Let me take you home, he offered softly, when the last of the color had returned to her beautiful face. No its okay, Id rather Please. Its the least I can do for causing all this distress. He knew shed resist.

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She opened her mouth as if to protest again, but Madeline cut in. Id accept, darlin. He used to be so generous, but just lately hes like a bear with a sore head. You could have fooled me, Lia readily agreed. Her green eyes held his. Very well. I shall inconvenience you. Just like youve inconvenienced me. Madeline laughed. Thats the spirit, darlin. Dont let the bastards grind you down. Thats my motto. Jake shook his head and walked across to his desk. He knew better than to protest. Madeline had a vipers tongue on her. That was for sure. Another good reason for keeping her employed as his secretary. She could fend off the most determined of crazy gamblers. Just the other day, shed stopped a high roller Arab sheik from entering his office with a badly charred steak, determined to make him eat it. Apparently, hed wanted it well done, and a disgruntled chef had served up a burnt offering instead. Just the slightest thing could set off a highly strung gambling man. This particular guy regularly spent seven-figure amounts of money at the tables, but Madeline knew exactly how to sweet-talk him. Needless to say, the chef was sacked. As compensation the high roller was given the best suite of rooms in the casino hotel free of charge for a week. They also paid for a private jet to take him back to Dubai. All this came to hundreds of thousands of dollars. A drop in the ocean compared to what the guy lost at the tables. Jake had been so impressed with Madelines ability to smooth the situation, hed given her a raise. Jake picked up the telephone. Frank, bring the car around. Im on my way down.

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Chapter Five
Lia reluctantly followed Jake from his private office and stepped into the waiting elevator. Still a little unsteady on her feet, she leaned against the interior wall. She hadnt fainted in years, but then the knowledge that she would lose her inheritance was hardly an everyday occurrence. I hope youre not feeling too bad, Ms. Constantine. No need for the small talk, Mr. Benetti, she curtly advised him as the elevator doors closed. As soon as Im home, I can forget all about you and your seedy club. Very well, he answered, his face hardening into granite. He kept his gaze firmly from hers. If she didnt know any better, he seemed reluctant to look at her. Well, good, the feeling was mutual. His expensive aftershave reached her nostrils in the close confines of the elevator. It annoyed her that she actually enjoyed savoring the intoxicating scent. It seemed to surround her. Out the corner of her eye she covertly studied him. She guessed by his surname and dark looks he came from Italian stock. He was much taller than shed originally thought. At least six three and broad, too. Jake Benetti looked like a man who took care of himself, and as a personal trainer, she should know. He wore a white, short-sleeved shirt, and had his suit jacket folded across one arm. Covered in masculine hair, his forearms showed the prominent veins of a man who indulged in hard physical exercise. His upper arm development pressed provocatively against the linen sleeves. A gold Breitling watch circled his wrist. No doubt he could afford anything he wanted.

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His face remained passive and unmoved. Yet she could just glimpse the faint traces of laughter lines etched around his eyes and mouth. Perhaps hed been happy once? According to his secretary, Madeline, he hadnt always been the selfish prick he was now. What had caused him to become so unhappy? When the elevator reached the ground floor and the doors parted, the noise from the casino hit her. Jake Benetti slipped on his suit jacket. Allow me, he said, cupping her elbow in his palm as he began guiding her from the elevator. A jolt of electricity flowed through her arm at his surprisingly gentle touch. For the first time in her life, Leah stepped into a casino. It wasnt the opulent, air-conditioned interior that first grabbed her attention, but the sheer noise. Hundreds of slot machines were busily working away. The sound of their infernal bleeping echoed around the large hall. People were transfixed. Their eyes glued to the spinning reels and messages that flashed before them, as the machines ravenously swallowed their hard-earned money. Dumb idiots, she whispered to herself. Someone must have won, because an overweight, middle-aged woman shrieked with delight as her slot machine vomited up huge quantities of coins. There was so many, they spilled out onto the lush casino carpet. As they crossed the floor, Jake was stopped several times by people eager to shake his hand. She figured he was well liked and respected. Mr. Benetti, let me touch you for luck. An elderly lady with purple hair approached him. She looked genuinely pleased when he shook her hand. Good luck, Libby. Oh, thank you, Mr. Benetti. Youve made my day. I cant lose now. Im on a roll. As they continued walking Lia commented, Does that happen often?

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All the time, he replied. I dont know why they think Im gonna bring them luck. For Christs sake, Im the guy who hopes they lose. A large man with a ruddy complexion walked toward them. He held out his arms. Boss, good to see you. You, too, Paulie. They vigorously shook hands before parting company. Whos that? Lia asked, curiosity getting the better of her. Thats Paulie, the floor manager. The best guy in the business. Hes been with me since the beginning. Lia observed him smile and make small talk as they continued their progress. Although she never once saw the happiness from his smile reach his eyes. Whatever had caused his melancholy, it was deep rooted. Stop taking so much interest in this guy. Jake Benetti was going to separate her from her rightful inheritance. It was something hed probably done to a number of people. She guessed he wouldnt lose much sleep over it. A well-dressed doorman pushed open a large glass door as they reached the entrance. Good morning, Mr. Benetti. Good morning, Sam. Hows Rose? Not long to go now. Real soon, Mr. Benetti. Itll be our third. Im hoping for a boy this time. As you know, weve got two girls already. Yeah, Sadie and Jessica must be growing up fast. If you need time to be with your wife, you just let me know, Sam. Right? Sure thing, and thanks, Mr. Benetti. A stretch Mercedes limo drew up under the entrance canopy. Sam stepped forward and opened the rear door. Allow me, maam. Recognizing a chance to air her feelings, she commented, Thank you, Sam. Youre very helpful. Im so sorry, I cant give you a tip, but your boss has just taken me for every cent I have. Sam nodded politely, but didnt respond to her comments. Pleasure is all mine, maam. Lia thought she saw a hint of

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amusement in his eyes. She hoped her cutting remarks would become common knowledge with all Jake Benettis employees. The incessant noise of the casino suddenly vanished when the limo door closed behind her with a satisfying thud. She took a moment to enjoy the luxurious cream leather interior. A glass privacy panel slowly closed, separating her from the driver. The car oozed wealth and status, something she would never be able to enjoy. Not now that she had to settle her fathers debts. Jake took the seat beside her. You didnt have to tell Sam your life history. Hes a loyal guy, been with me eight years. Knows from experience Im not the bad guy you seem to think I am. Just letting him know the type of boss he works for. And just so you know, I have a very low opinion of you and your trashy lifestyle, Mr. Benetti. Id rather we didnt speak. Id sooner we remain silent. Jake shook his head and mumbled something she couldnt quite hear as the driver smoothly maneuvered the limo away from the casino entrance. Did you say something? Either you want a conversation or you dont. He seemed irritated. Jesus, no need to take offense. Your secretary was right. Youre like a bear with a sore head. He breathed in, then said more calmly, May I call you Lia? No, you may not. He smiled broadly for the first time that day. He had perfect teeth. Lia, please believe me, Im sorry for the way things have turned out. Sorry? Youre not sorry at all. She knew her words carried venom. You make the excuse that certain things are beyond your control. According to you, everything comes down to profit and keeping your shareholders happy. But I dont believe that for a moment. I can see that youre clearly your own man, and could easily write off the debt if you really wanted to.

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They drove along in total silence for a few minutes. She absently glanced through the window as the car sped down the Strip. Casinos littered both sides of the road. Very quietly, in almost a whisper, she said, Funny how Vegas looks so gray and dreary during the day. Vegas is a nighttime, good-time city. It can be a city of dreams. So many ordinary people working for minimum wage want to change their lives. Thats why they play the slots and the tables. They hope that maybe, just maybe, they can hit the jackpot. Even when they lose, most of them still enjoy the glitz and the glamour, and the sense of occasion we offer. The slots in your establishment didnt look remotely glamorous to me when we just walked past them. You need to see the tables. Thats where the thinking gamblers tend to congregate. The slots are just pure luck, most of it the casinos. Lia shook her head. I just cant see it. Wasting all that money, and for what? Theyre paying for the buzz, the thrill and excitement. People dont always have to win to enjoy themselves. Mr. Benetti, I was brought up to believe that hard work was the key to a better life. Not simply sticking a dollar in a slot and hoping to become a millionaire. Im sorry, I cant change the habit of a lifetime. Its just the way I am. In my opinion casinos are crass, seedy joints that should be closed down to save gullible people from themselves. Jesus, lady, you should hear yourself. Jake shook his head and chuckled. Youre a grown woman. You dont need your parents permission anymore. When youve been inside a casino, thats when you can make those kind of judgments, and not before. Ive just seen the inside of yours, and I didnt like it. Youve seen jack shit, lady. She heard the annoyance in his voice. He took a deep breath, as if trying to calm himself as the limo pulled up outside her home. Jake turned in his seat and looked at her.

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His pale blue eyes were piercing in their intensity. Lia, I truly liked your father, and out of respect for him, Im gonna look once more at the paperwork, to see if theres anything I can do to cut your losses. On one condition, mind. Which is? That you have dinner with me tonight at the casino restaurant. Ill show you around. Itll give you a better understanding as to why your father spent so much time there. Had Jake Benetti just given her a lifeline? Maybe shed made him realize that actions had consequences. The cynic inside her knew it would probably amount to nothing, yet shed be a fool to turn him down. After all, it was only dinner. It wasnt like he was making a pass. The guy hardly looked at her. From the photograph hed shown her in the office, her father seemed to actually like him. Perhaps she should give him a chance. Realizing for the first time that he might be trying to help her, she answered matter-of-factly, Dinner will be good. Without another word, she started to slip from the car. He touched her arm, briefly halting her progress. Ill pick you up at seven. When she reached her front door, she turned and looked. A flash of silver glinted in the sunlight as the stretch limo disappeared around the corner. A small thread of hope seemed to be drawing them together. She had to admit Jake Benetti was an extremely good looking and charismatic man, but she still didnt like or trust him.

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Chapter Six
Later that evening When his driver turned the car onto Mount Drive, the street where Lia lived, Jake had to admit he was looking forward to seeing her again. He shook his head. Goddamn it, who was he kidding. Hed barely thought of anything else. The entire day hed relived their meeting over and over in his head. It was a wonder hed managed to do any work. Madeline had noticed that hed had something on his mind, but then she never did miss a trick. Jake felt his pulse quicken as the car drew to a halt outside her home. He desperately needed to see her again. Did she really look like Hannah, or had he just imagined it all? The brick-faced, double-fronted property looked imposing, very much like the home owned by Jeff Bridges in the film Arlington Road. Pretty, white-painted windows sat on either side of a neat porch with white marble pillars, while the well-groomed yard gently sloped down to the road. Fred Constantine had done well for himself, considering hed only run a grocery store. For a moment he wondered why the guy had bet so heavily and lost it all. Whatever, hed left a shitload of debt for his daughter to clean up. Anyway, for some reason he didnt yet understand himself, hed offered Lia a lifeline. He had to do something. Knowing that he had the power to take everything she owned made him feel guilty as hell. If there was any way to salvage some of her inheritance, then he would.

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Jake shook his head as he stepped from the car. See what had happened by becoming emotionally involved? Fred Constantine had been a friend. By meeting his daughter face-to-face to ease the situation, hed humanized the debt. This was something hed never done before. Wait here. Ill just be a few minutes, Tony, he instructed his driver as he began walking up the drive. The porch light cast a soft, homely glow over the ground, guiding his way. The small stones crunched satisfyingly under his shoes. It was a nice feeling, one that brought back happy memories of when Hannah was still alive. His thoughts drifted to their home out in Summerlin. Their property sat high on a ridge with breathtaking views over Vegas. He hadnt set foot there since Hannah died. He preferred to live in his penthouse suite, conveniently located on the fiftieth floor of his casino. Occasionally, hed send one of his men over to the house, to check that everything was okay. He just hadnt had the heart to sell it. Not when theyd shared so many wonderful, precious times together. Three years ago the house had been mothballed along with his life. No sooner had he rang the bell than Lia opened the door. She wore a bathrobe and a towel wrapped around her head. He hadnt been dreaming. Lia still looked like Hannahevery dammed beautiful inch of her. Her chin jutted out defensively. I know Im running a little late, but before you say anything, I worked for an extra hour today to make up for the time I was in your office. My boss wasnt very impressed with me, so I offered to take the last aerobics class of the day. If its my fault, then I cant complain. Good. For a moment she just stood there looking at him. I really should make you wait outside, considering you want to take this house away from me, but I just cant be bothered fighting any more. Its bad for my emotional constitution.

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She led the way to the living room. Take a seat. Theres some of fathers liquor on the coffee table. He was a bourbon man, in moderation, of course. Help yourself. Im fine, he said as she walked quickly from the room. Even from behind she reminded him so much of Hannah. Goddamn it, her ass swayed so fucking sexily. Jake turned his attention to less provocative thoughts, and studied his surroundings. The room was conservatively furnished. Modest, even. That figured. Fred Constantine was a regular guy. On the walls hung a selection of family portraits. Many depicted Lia as she was growing up. She was certainly a cute kid, who had grown into a beautiful woman. Taking pride of place on the mantelpiece were two large, framed photographs. He immediately recognized Fred Constantine, with a woman. He guessed from the striking resemblance to Lia that it was her mother. The other photograph looked strangely familiar. He picked it up and studied the man. He looked to be a similar age to himself, mid- to late-thirties. Thats Joe. Without realizing it, Lia had walked up behind him. She took the photograph from him and placed it back down on the shelf. Her fingers lingered on the gilt frame. He was my fianc. We were both involved in a bad car crash. It was a head-on collision. He died. Thats why I moved back in with dad. With a broken leg and pelvis, and all the emotional trauma, I just couldnt cope. That was it. Jake recalled that the guys picture had been all over the papers and the local news. Her father had never mentioned it. It must have been Fred Constantines way of separating his two lives. Im sorry for your loss, he eventually said. It must have been a hard blow. It was, and still is. Lia lifted her chin and held his gaze. She was obviously a proud woman. He saw the emotion welling in her green eyes. But as someone whos never known pain, Mr. Benetti, you

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couldnt possibly hope to understand what its like. Her words were harsh and designed to hurt. Oh, believe me, I know all about pain, he answered bitterly. Oh? My wife died three years ago. I miss her like hell. She meant the world to me. For some reason he found it easy to open up to her. Why? He never spoke about Hannahs death even to his closest friends. Maybe he just wanted to prove that hed had a heartonce. Lia nodded. Im sorry for your loss. I shouldnt have said what I did. It was thoughtless of me. She placed her hand on his. Perhaps we do have something in common after all. Their eyes connected. They were strangers, but their pain and trauma bound them together like nothing else could. Maybe well be best friends by the end of the week, he quipped, trying to lighten the mood. Lia smiled, such a pretty smile. I wouldnt go as far as that, Mr. Benetti, but its a start. Do you want to tell me what happened? Ive said too much already, he answered quietly. The empathy they briefly shared quickly disappeared with his darkening mood. Lia didnt seem to take offense. Instead she just said softly, Still hurts, huh? She led the way out to the hallway and picked up a black purse from the stand. It matched the simple black cocktail dress that she wore. Jake had to admit she looked stunning. Her gorgeous blonde hair flowed freely around her shoulders and cascaded down the middle of her back. Matching silver jewelry adorned her wrist, ankle, and neck. It was a very classy combination. Shall we go, Mr. Benetti? He held open the front door, and she stepped through, invading his space with her presence, overwhelming him with her sensual perfume. Lia, were going to be having dinner together. Cant you call me Jake?

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She looked at him covertly as they walked toward the waiting car. Very well, just so long as youre genuine about helping me with my fathers debt. Ill do all I can, Lia. When you get to know me better, youll understand that I dont make false promises. Tony held the limo door open for her. Good evening, maam. Thank you. Good evening. Jake watched her slide effortlessly into the car, her long, slim legs crossing neatly at the ankle as she made herself comfortable. Hed always admired elegance in a woman, and Lia had it in spades. Tony moved around the car and opened the passenger door for him before taking the drivers seat once more. By the end of the evening, Jake hoped to give Lia a better understanding of casinos.

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Chapter Seven
Arabian Nights Casino looked so different at night. Even Lia had to admit it had a certain visual appeal. When their driver eventually drew the limo up outside, the casino complex seemed to come to life with neon lights, palm trees, and fountains decorating the lush garden area. Tony brought the huge stretch limo to a halt under a cream canopy. It was a different entrance to the one shed walked through that morning. She guessed Jake was trying his utmost to impress her. Hed already surprised her once tonight with the admission that his wife had died. This gave her a far better understanding of the man. Now she knew why he barely smiled. Shed visited the depths of despair more than once herself, after Joes tragic death. Had it not been for the long counseling sessions with her psychiatrist, Dr. Harper, she might still be there. A large number of people milled about as Tony opened the limo door and they stepped out onto the lush red carpet. Lia felt like a movie star turning up to receive her Oscar. She wondered if that had been Jakes intention all along, because it certainly gave her a thrill as a doorman in an immaculate, crisp black uniform ushered her inside the glamorous interior. She felt as though she were an A-list celebrity, or even royalty. Brass, chrome, and glass glinted brilliantly from the sea of lights all around them as they swept inside. Good evening, Mr. Benetti, the smiling doorman announced. Good evening, Rob. Jake nodded. Glad to have you back after your vacation. Everything go okay?

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Fine, Mr. Benetti. And thanks for the advice you gave me. Hawaii was just great. Jake seemed to know all his staff personally. Once inside the foyer she asked, How do you remember their names? You must have hundreds of employees. Two thousand, five hundred and forty-three all told here at Arabian Nights, Lia. Jake cupped her elbow and gently guided her toward an opulent inner courtyard, which boasted large, gushing fountains and tranquil rock pools. She was acutely aware of her four-inch stilettos sounding against the polished marble floor. But you havent answered my question. How do you remember so many names? Jake smiled a beautiful friendly smile. You see, Lia, Im lucky enough to possess a photographic memory. Thats how I kinda ended up in this business in the first place. A photographic memory comes in handy when youre trying to beat odds that are against you. Lia laughed. You mean counting cards, dont you? I may not be an authority on casinos, but everyone knows that goes on. Isnt it illegal? Jake smiled benignly as he took her arm and guided her into the elegant restaurant. Gray area, Lia. Gray area. This is The White Room. We have two other restaurants here at Arabian Nights, The Red Room and The Blue Room. They each have their own distinct atmospheres. His eyes held hers, making the breath catch in her throat. Jake Benetti really was an attractive man. Brooding and hard to fathom, certainly, but extremely attractive all the same. He was dressed in an expensive dark-gray tailored suit, which fitted to perfection across his broad shoulders. His crisp white shirt, complemented by a pale blue tie, picked out the color of his eyes, making them seem even more vibrant and arresting. Her heart beat a different rhythm today. There was something about Jake that drew her to him. Lia shook her head.

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What the hell was she thinking? This guy would be wrong for her on so many levels. Only one man had ever truly known her, Joe, and he was dead and irreplaceable. Besides, for all Jake Benettis charisma and obvious sex appeal, he wanted to take her for every cent shed got. And dont you forget it, girl. She guessed he wouldnt think twice about doing that, even though they were becoming better acquainted. A large man in a black suit stepped forward. Mr. Benetti, good to see you again. Ive reserved your usual table by the window. Thanks, Vincenzi. Hows business? Good, Mr. Benetti. The new dcor is a hit with the customers. Excellent, keep me informed. Sure thing, Mr. Benetti. The restaurant manager then snapped his fingers, and as if from out of nowhere, an immaculately dressed waiter appeared. Brad, show Mr. Benetti and his guest to their table. The young man escorted them across the restaurant to a round table set in a huge bay window. Its position gave stunning views of the complex outside. She could clearly see palm trees softly swaying in the breeze, their long fronds refracting the different colored spotlights that bathed them. Allow me, maam. She couldnt help but feel so very special as the waiter pulled out her chair and she sat down at the exquisite table. Thank you. Luxurious Egyptian linen perfectly complemented the silver cutlery and fine crystal goblets. Delicate golden roses and gypsophila were intricately woven together to form an impressive central posy. The whole room was decorated in varying shades of white and cream, from the tablecloths to the marble flooring and walls. Everything, that was, except for the black grand piano that stood shining brilliantly in the corner of the room. The restaurant hummed with conversation. Shed been aware that many of the diners had observed their progress as the waiter escorted them to their table. Lia figured that Jake Benetti would attract interest

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wherever he went. After all, he was an incredibly charismatic man. And very sexy and hot. Where had that thought come from? Startled by the notion, she immediately quashed the idea. He was after her inheritance, and shed do well to remember it. He slipped off his jacket and then sat beside her. The subtle smell of his aftershave drifted once more across her nostrils, making her feel even more aware of the powerful man next to her. He was a hard man to ignore. Jake leaned in and whispered in her ear. She felt his hot, masculine breath on her neck. Lia, did you notice everyone here stopped and stared when you walked into the room? His deep baritone voice aroused her. Pleasantly surprised by his compliment, Lia smiled. Im sure they were taking more notice of you. After all, you are the boss here. Jake shook his head. No, I dine here nearly every night. Im just a face in the crowd. I can assure you, they were far more interested in you, especially the guys. His eyes caressed her face, and a faint smile touched his lips. It was the most relaxed shed seen him. Feeling slightly overwhelmed by her surroundings, Lia idly touched the bracelet around her wrist for comfort. Joe had bought all her jewelry. What she wore tonight was a special gift from him. One that celebrated the alternative lifestyle theyd decided to share together. Only they and other like-minded people would be aware of the significance. The bracelet gave her great strength and support as she caressed the charms one by one. Each piece was symbolic of their relationship. To her and Joe they represented something far more serious. Her jewelry defined their sex life together. The tiny silver flogger, crop, and paddle, sat side by side with the BDSM emblem three curved lines showing the three divisions in the lifestyle, set within a wheel. She sighed inwardly. There could never be anyone else. Joe had been everything shed needed and more. Hed satisfied her physical, emotional, and intellectual needs in a way most men wouldnt understand.

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Lia hadnt thought about sex in a long while. Not since Joes death, to be exact. But just being in close proximity to Jake had kickstarted her libido. Especially as her pussy became wet and her nipples hardened every time he so much as looked at her. Those cool blue eyes could easily turn a girl to mush. She needed to remember that Jake Benetti was a businessman, pure and simple, and she was here to discuss business, and not sex, over dinner. He was undoubtedly extremely wealthy, and she couldnt deny she was sexually attracted to him. But a man like Jake Benetti didnt get to own a casino by being a nice guy. As she studied her menu, she asked, So you made your fortune counting cards illegally? Jake playfully wagged an index finger at her. I counted them in my head. I didnt use an electronic card counter, or have friends secretly signaling which cards a weak dealer was showing too much of. He seemed really relaxed. Leaning back in his chair he closed the menu, and then placed it down on the table. He steepled his fingers together before tapping them against his mouth. All the time his eyes focused on her, making her pussy moisten further with sexual anticipation. He seemed to want to absorb everything about her. Its how I started, I guess. In my younger days I would move from casino to casino, state to state, amassing money. Sometimes I even changed my appearance. You know the sort of thing, Lia. I changed the color of my hair, even my eyes with contact lenses. I would occasionally wear glasses or a wig. He laughed. I remember once when I was on a winning streak and I was in a casino with a weak dealer, I padded out my clothes to gain a hundred pounds, so that the pit bosses and floor managers wouldnt recognize me. Some guys get too greedy, and then the casino bosses get involved and ban that individual from entering their premises. I didnt want that to happen. So I played it cool. Eleven years ago, I bought my first casino, which I still own. Its small compared to Arabian Nights, and doesnt generate anything like

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the nine-figure turnover we have here. It has a special place in my heart. I employed several top designers to bring the intimacy of that much smaller club here, using some clever design and lighting. Youll see the effect when I take you through to the tables later on. I wanted to bring the elegance of yesteryear back to casinos. Nostalgia to a bygone era is what draws my customers back, over and over again. It might not be to everyones taste, but theres plenty of other, shall we say, less refined casinos they can go to if thats what they want. The ones you refer to as seedy, Lia. He laughed. Lia looked around the stunning restaurant. Crystal chandeliers dripped from the ceiling. Soft lighting filtered across their table with a warm, ambient glow. It gave a feeling of high-society opulence, so popular in the nineteen twenties and thirties. Lia recognized the design of the restaurant was from the Art Deco period. A far cry from the soulless slots shed seen earlier that day. To be honest, Jake, Im impressed. Sophisticated dining isnt what I expected to find here. Lia, I think youre beginning to see that people who frequent casinos are not just coming for the gambling. Theyre coming for so much more. Their waiter, Brad, returned. May I take your order now, maam? Yes. Theres such a wonderful selection, but Ive finally decided on the scallops with mushrooms, and green salad. He took her order, scribbling words on a small pad with dizzying speed, and then turned his attention to Jake. And, Mr. Benetti. Are you ready to order, sir? Brad, Ill have the pan-seared rib eye with artichokes, and ask Louisa to bring me a bourbon on the rocks. May I offer you a drink, Lia? A white wine, if I may. Thank you, Jake. When they were left alone once more, Lia fiddled with her bracelet, slipping the charms one by one through her fingers. The

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atmosphere changed as a well-known singer took to the podium in the corner of the room. Once hed settled himself at the grand piano, he began singing. She glanced at Jake. He seemed mesmerized by her jewelry. His gaze settled on the bracelet around her wrist and then focused on the matching piece around her neck. Then his eyes burned into hers, holding her captive. A faint smile touched his lips, and for the first time it reached his eyes. Oh my God, he knows. He knows. Hes recognized the significance and symbolism of my charms. Christ. Jake knew exactly what they represented. Lia swallowed hard. Heaven help her. Jake was a player in more ways than one.

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Chapter Eight
Jake put his hands together and clapped appreciatively as Mickey Day finished his heart-warming rendition of Me and Mrs. Jones. Theyd just finished their coffee after a thoroughly enjoyable dinner. Mickey Day, the renowned singer, was a favorite with the lady customers at Arabian Nights, and hed sung especially well tonight. As the applause continued, Jake let his gaze slide once more to Lias svelte wrist, and the pretty bracelet adorning it. The charms appeared perfectly innocent in isolation, but combined with the BDSM emblem that was also replicated on her necklace and ankle chain, they left him in no doubt that Lia liked her sex served hot. He still couldnt believe it had taken him nearly an hour to notice the significance of the jewelry she wore, especially as he and Hannah were heavily into the same scene during the seven years they were married. It just went to show how out of the loop hed become. In the last three years hed barely had a sexual thought, but now he could think of nothing else. Like a switch had been thrown, his cock now stood to rampant attention every time he so much as looked at Lia. For the first time in the three years since Hannahs death, he felt truly alive again. He put his change of attitude down to Lia looking so fucking beautiful, and knowing that she shared the same sexual preferences as him only made his prick harden further. In one respect he wanted to cut to the chase, and take her straight up to his penthouse apartment. Hed fuck her senseless, given even half a chance. Although out of practice, he knew he still possessed the knowledge and skills needed for a D/s relationship. On the other hand he was reluctant to let go of the past, and start again with another

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woman. Hed loved Hannah deeply. During their time together, theyd developed a wonderful sexual relationship that had thrived on domination and submission. It had been beautiful pushing each others limits. Hed always been a natural Dom, and once hed introduced Hannah to the world of BDSM, shed soon made the perfect submissive. He always pictured his true self as the Master and connoisseur of the submissive female. Hey, dummy, before you blow your cover, it might be a good idea to see if Lia is actually interested in a D/s relationship. Fuck it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, Benetti. Jake shook his head, feeling the massive smile spread across his lips. Instead of thinking with his cock, he needed to think with his brain. Fuck, he was rusty as hell. Here goes. With a featherlight touch he let his fingers drift down her bare arm before coming to rest on her slender wrist. He circled the delicate bone structure with his fingers, smoothing his thumb over her bracelet, and the source of all this speculation. Hed almost forgotten what soft, feminine skin felt like. Tiny tremors pulsed beneath his fingertips, and he could see her breathing had accelerated. So, Lia was not immune to his touch. It seems we have a lot in common, Lia. He kept his voice low and commanding, waiting for her response. We do? His fingers drifted across her bracelet again. This bracelet tells me a lot about you. It does? Yes. I know what the charms signify, and the ones around your neck and ankle say the same thing to me. They do? What do the charms tell you about me, Jake? I need to know so there can be no ambiguity.

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They tell me youre into D/s relationships. Tell me Im wrong, Lia. Tell me your breasts are heaving and your breathing is out of control for some other reason. I cant. You know I cant. Lia stared mesmerized at his fingers wrapped around her wrist and purposefully touching her bracelet. Her beautiful, cherry-pink lips lifted into a smile as she turned to look at him. Her green eyes sparkled from the lights all around them. She was so beautiful. Jake noticed she didnt pull her hand away. Instead, she placed her other hand on his. Her womanly breasts rose and fell even more rapidly now. Hed guessed right. She was into the D/s scene as much as he had been. For the first time since Hannahs death he needed a woman more than anything else in the world, but he had to be careful not to rush things. As a young man hed always enjoyed the chase. He leaned in and whispered in her ear. You are a woman of many surprises, Lia. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes before looking at him once more. Tell me about your wife, Jake. What happened to her? He figured Lia wanted to cool things down a little. As soon as she spoke his mood darkened. The lightness of heart hed briefly felt evaporated like the first dew of dawn. Jake pulled his hand away as though scalded by burning liquid. I dont talk of her, he answered gruffly. Not to anyone. Lia placed her hand on his arm. Her slender fingers delicately caressed his skin through the white linen of his shirt. That simple gesture calmed the inner turmoil surging through his veins. Talk to me, Jake. I of all people understand how you feel. Her softly spoken words soothed him even more. He figured shed been through something similar with her fianc. If only he could trust her enough to confide in her. He took a long, slow, deep breath. I find it very difficult to talk about her.

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Emotion is good, Jake, it shows that were alive, but keeping it all bottled up will only destroy you in the end. I tried doing the same thing when Joe died. Believe me, it doesnt work. Jake had to agree. The last three years had been hell on earth, holding everything in check. He took Lias hand in his, and pressed it gently to his lips as he looked into her eyes. You smell so good, Lia. You remind me of her in so many ways, he confessed, wanting to have things open between them. Is that why you asked me to dinner? There wasnt a hint of disappointment in her voice. I honestly dont know. Partly, I guess. I just wanted to be with you. Get to know you better. He rubbed his fingers over his face, and eased them into the tight muscles of his neck. Hannah died suddenly. I found her when I returned home from the casino one day. Shed collapsed on the kitchen floor. She was motionless. She must have been dead for several hours because she was cold to my touch. Since she was only thirty-two, the coroner insisted on an autopsy. This showed she had an undiagnosed heart defect, which had probably been there since birth. Her death just couldnt have been foreseen. Hannah could have died at any time. Jake grimaced. I still feel so fucking guilty. I should have been there for her. He knew his eyes were glassy, but he didnt care. Lia squeezed his hand for comfort. Its not your fault, Jake. Look at me. Listen to what Im telling you. Its not your fault. Its just one of those shitty things in life that nobody could predict. Feeling guilty even though youve got nothing to feel guilty about is all part of the grieving process. I felt exactly the same way when Joe died. I kept asking myself over and over. Was there anything I could have done to save him? I kept blaming myself even though I knew deep down that it wasnt my fault. Thats why its best to talk these things through with a sympathetic listener. Im sure you already feel better just by sharing your thoughts with me.

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Jake smiled, his lightness of heart returning. For the last three years Ive worked so hard, I havent even allowed myself time to think, let alone grieve. Ive been busy building the Arabian Nights into the finest casino in Vegas. Ive succeeded, but I need more, Lia. He took a deep breath, enjoying her closeness and the emotional connection and empathy they now shared. Shall we make a move? Id like to show you the casino. Perhaps play a little. Lia nodded, her lashes closing slowly over her gorgeous green eyes. This clearly submissive characteristic turned him on even more. Sounds good, Jake. But I wouldnt know how to bet in a casino, so Ill just watch. Jake stood and shrugged on his jacket. Come, theres so much I want to show you before this wonderful evening has to end. He held out his hand, noting with a certain amount of satisfaction that she readily took it. For the first time in three years he felt whole again. He felt like he had a second chance at life. Maybe even a new beginning. Whatever the outcome of the evening, he would always be grateful for their meeting, however difficult the circumstances. He knew now he would do everything in his power to reduce her fathers debts. If it were in his ability to make them disappear entirely, then he would find a way. The casino was already in full swing as he led the way across the floor to the craps tables. The designers had done a fantastic job, fully implementing his ideas for an intimate venue. The lighting was low, and subdued, and between the tables hed created space to sit and talk. With all the extra alcoves and small enclosures around the tables it meant having more staff to keep an eye on things. It cost more to run per square foot than the average casino. But what the hell, Arabian Nights Casino was a runaway success. It made lots of money for him and his shareholders, and that was the bottom line. There was a group of about ten people around the large, waisthigh table. The shooter threw the dice onto the table to yells and shouts. They rolled, coming to a complete stop on the green baize surface. Craps was your fathers favorite game, Lia. He liked all the interaction.

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Chapter Nine
Bring me luck, Lia. Jake held the dice out for her again, and she blew once more into his hand. He smiled into her eyes and then, without breaking eye contact, cupped the dice in his fist and then blew on them himself. When he turned and threw them onto the table, a cheer went up. Did you win? she asked eagerly. It sounds as though you did. She was having fun, and it felt good. Jake was on a winning streak. I just cant seem to lose with you here, Lia. He grinned. The night had taken on a surreal quality. Jake was such a charmer. She knew he wanted to take her to bed, and fuck her senseless. Every time he looked at her, his eyes told the same story. They burned with a passion shed only ever seen with Joe. Her pussy simply ached for him. It had come as a huge surprise, finding out that Jake and Hannah had been into the same scene as Joe and herself. This morning, when shed been unceremoniously dragged to his office by a couple of his gorillas, she hadnt thought for a moment that they would have anything in common. Her initial impression of Jake Benetti was not a good one. He was just another seedy Vegas club owner, out to make a quick buck. Yet, after being in his company for only a few hours, she already felt totally at ease with the man. The dealer pushed his winnings toward him. Congratulations, Mr. Benetti. You win again. Jake smiled and scooped up the sizeable stack of chips. A quiver of excitement washed over Lia, as Jake turned to her and slipped his hand possessively around her waist. The way he squeezed

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her flesh left her in no doubt about his intentions. As he began guiding her from the casino, he asked, Enjoying yourself, Lia? Jake, you bet. The casino is so exciting, especially when people win. Her perception of casinos was becoming more positive, rather than the wholly negative one her mother had drilled into her as a child. Arabian Nights was far more sophisticated than she could ever have imagined, and it was fun, too. You remember having fun, dont you, Lia? Jake held up the thick stack of chips before squeezing them into her hand. For you, pretty lady. I couldnt have won without you. Oh, no, Jake, I couldnt. How much is here? Oh, I dont know. About fifty thousand bucks, I guess. Fifty thousandbu She was shocked. The words just wouldnt come. A broad grin spread across his lips as he stared intently at her mouth. Then he raised his cool blue eyes to hers, turning her legs to jelly. I think we should take things further, Lia. Yes, Jake, but where? My penthouse suite, of course. He leaned in and whispered against her ear. I want you. Her whole body spiraled out of control. Her pussy throbbed, tightening into a coil of anticipation. She knew her panties were soaked through with her feminine juices. It had been nearly a year since her fianc had died. Joe would always have a place in her heart, but it was time to move on. At this moment in time she needed a real, flesh-and-blood man. Jake Benetti was that man. She would always treasure the memories she and Joe had shared, but tonight she needed something more. Then she remembered the million dollars she owed. This has to be a one-off, Jake. Right now both of us have sexual urges that need to be satisfied. Once this is over, we go our separate ways. Neither of us can forget the debt I still owe you. Its such a large amount of money.

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Jake brushed the back of his hand down her cheek, and tucked a few stray hairs behind her ear. It was such a gentle gesture. He then pressed a finger to her lips. Shh, just forget about the money, for now, princess. Lets just enjoy the moment. Here and now, you and me. He made it sound so simple, but Lia was realistic. In the morning when the cold light of day appeared, she was well aware a million dollars would be a lot less easy to dismiss. Jake punched a four-figure code into a door marked PRIVATE CASINO STAFF ONLY. He guided her down a long corridor until they came to an elevator. This is for my personal use only. My suite is on the fiftieth floor. Jake swiped a passkey and the doors obediently opened. After you, Lia. He ushered her inside. Lia pressed her back against the wall as the elevator started its speedy ascent. She could barely stand, her breathing was so out of control. Jake stood opposite, his eyes burning into hers with an intensity she liked, she needed. Without touching her, he consumed her from head to toe, devouring every inch of her sensitized body with his cool blue gaze. Mesmerized by his presence, she just stared back, unable to move, unable to deny her attraction. A silent gasp left her lips as he shrugged the jacket from his broad shoulders, and began undoing his tie and the top two buttons of his shirt. Hed just pulled the tie from his neck when the elevator came to a jerky halt as it reached its ultimate destination. The doors swished open. No escape now, Lia. Youre mine. Without taking her eyes from his, Lia backed slowly out of the elevator and into his apartment. Every step she took, Jake made one toward her until his warm, masculine body pressed her firmly up against the far wall. Undiluted adrenaline flowed through her, making her breasts heave with excitement. She was acutely aware her breath was ragged. Jake, Iwe need to

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He took her purse and the stack of chips from her trembling hand and tossed them across the room, along with his jacket. Lia, Ive got three years of catching up to do. Do you understand? Yes. Ill ask you again. Do you understand? Because from this point on, theres no going back. Yes, Jake, I understand. Jake tenderly smoothed his hand around her neck, raising her chin, caressing the BDSM emblem that adorned her necklace. With his lips almost touching hers, his dark lashes swept closed, and caressed against his cheek. Ive been wanting to do this since Moose and Juno first brought you to my office. Then he pressed his mouth firmly against hers, forcing his tongue between her lips, parting them, possessing her completely. He was branding her his. His fingers grasped around the neckline of her dress, and in one movement he ripped it apart. The design of the skimpy black cocktail dress dictated she didnt wear a bra, and her breasts were immediately exposed, bouncing freely in front of him. Youre beautiful. It thrilled her that she had the power to excite a man like Jake Benetti. He wanted her. Oh yes, he wanted her. This powerful man made her feel like a desirable woman. Her body arched automatically toward him as he swooped down and drew a nipple into his mouth. She felt it harden between his teeth. Lia fisted her hands into his hair in response. Bite my nipples, Jake. I need the pain. I find it exquisite. Jake cupped her breasts, squeezing them together before using his tongue to trail a bridge of saliva between her aroused peaks. Lia jolted involuntarily as his teeth dug into the sensitive flesh. Yes, like that. Just like that. She knew her nipples would be swollen and purple from his abuse, but fuck it, it turned her on. Like a man possessed he roughly lifted the hem of her dress, yanking it above her waist. His fingers reached beneath the elastic of

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her panties. A whimper of delight left her lips as he hooked them with his thumbs, and tore the flimsy lace from her trembling body. Yes, Jake, yes. Thats it, youre in charge. I like it when youre rough. She wanted him to take her hard and fast. She needed it.

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Chapter Ten
She loved the way he feverishly sucked her nipples, nipping them, teasing them, biting them with his teeth, building the anticipation in her mind, until he finally fucked her. An insatiable sexual moan spilled from her lips as he pressed his fingers to her cunt. Lia flexed her hips, encouraging him to explore her wanton pussy further. His fingers glided across her aching clitoris and she heard his sharp intake of breath. Just as Id hoped. Youre pierced, princess. Jake pushed his little finger through the gold hoop, before tugging it, stimulating her clit further, reigniting long-forgotten sexual excitement. Pleasure and pain burned with undiluted intensity. The endorphins in her brain popped and fizzed as his masculine presence overwhelmed her. Mmm, youre so wet, Lia. Its been a long time, hasnt it? Yes, she answered breathlessly. I didnt think I needed sex, but I want you so badly, Jake. Shh, princess. Ill take care of you. With shaking hands, Lia began undoing the buttons of his shirt one by one. Jake grew impatient. Pulling the white linen from his pants, he ripped it wide open. The buttons pinged and popped like small projectiles shooting across the room. She heard them impacting the polished marble floor of his apartment. Quickly he shrugged the shirt from his shoulders. She licked her lips. Jake had the most achingly beautiful body shed ever seen, so well defined and muscular. She couldnt resist drifting her fingers over his washboard stomach, feeling every contour and ridge. His skin felt warm to the touch and so very hard. As an aerobics instructor she knew this guy

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was no stranger to the gym. She guessed the hotel had all the facilities he needed to keep his body in perfect condition. Lets lose the dress, he murmured assuredly, spinning her around and pulling the already ripped garment down to her ankles. It lay on the floor in tatters. Step out of it, princess. She did as he ordered. She stood completely naked, in front of a man shed met for the first time less than fourteen hours ago. How fucking crazy was that? With her back still to him, she heard the unmistakable metal-on-metal sound of a zipper. Brace your hands on the marble pillar. The black stone felt cool to the touch as she held out her arms in a locked position. Using his legs, she felt her own legs being pushed wide apart. Her heart beat into overdrive as he smoothed his hands down her naked flesh. Fuck, you have the most beautiful body Ive ever seen. She felt him authoritatively grab hold of her hips as though he owned her. It was wonderful feeling his cock press against her from behind. Lia provocatively wiggled her bare butt, desperate to consummate their union, but Jake stood his ground. One hand cupped her breast, torturing her aroused nipple. The other slipped around her waist, gently fingering her clitoral piercing. Christ, you feel good, Lia. She felt his hot breath on her neck as he massaged her nipple between his finger and thumb, the exact same way he massaged her engorged clit. A tight moan of frustration left her lips. She wanted him inside her, filling her with his prick, but she knew better than to tell a Dom what to do. She knew he wanted her to beg. It was in his blood. He needed her complete submission. Jake, I need you. A gasp left her lips as he gently bit her neck, a sign of his dominance over her, making her arch back against him. His skin felt warm and incredibly hard, and it made her want him even more.

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I cant hear you, princess. His rich, deep voice controlled her. What did you say? he teased. Please, Jake, please, fuck me. I know you want to. Knowing exactly what a Dom demanded from his sub, she raised the stakes. Im begging you, Jake, please. Thats better. Thats what I like to hear. He pushed her harder against the cool marble pillar and slid inside her pussy. The breath was forced from her lungs. Christ, hes big. With her back to him, she hadnt realized just how big he was, but he felt huge as he relentlessly filled her, stretching her to breaking point. Lia closed her eyes and savored the feeling of him deep inside her. Long-established submissive tendencies came to the fore as he dominated her body with his own. Whimpers of pure pleasure left her lips as he thrust deeper and faster. He squeezed her nipples and clit harder, until the exquisite pain and pleasure became an intoxicating mix. This was what she missed more than anything. The sheer beauty of submitting to the demands of a dominant man. A man who would take exactly what he needed, without asking. Jake was that man. He wanted to fuck her fast and hard, and he didnt hold back. A tight coil spasmed deep inside her, making her mew with pleasure. Oh, Jake. Thats it, princess. Come for me. I want to hear your body respond to mine. His cock felt huge as her pussy clamped deliciously around it. Ten years of professional aerobics had made her body supremely flexible, and she arched back in complete submission. Her stomach thrust forward, and Jake smoothed a hand up to her neck, drawing her shoulders tighter against his chest. His other hand reached between her legs, and she felt him finger-fucking her clit as he pulled her even tighter against him. She felt her body heat mixing with his as his cock repeatedly impaled her. His strength and power amazed her as he

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almost lifted her from the floor. At that moment he owned her, and he knew it. You want it harder. His breathy words whispered against her neck were a statement of fact and not a question. You know I do, stop teasing me, she breathlessly whimpered, biting down on her lower lip. Take me. Make me come. Oh, youll come all right, princess. I insist that you do. I demand it. Im gonna fill you so hard, you wont be able to stop fucking coming, he assured her, forcing his cock into her wetness once more. Lia loved the way he dominated her, and controlled her. His confident words intoxicated her. They simply mind-fucked her. Standing precariously on tiptoe, her womb contracted with a series of exquisite spasms that racked through her pussy. She cried out as her climax took hold. Her cunt tried to squeeze and tease the goodness from his cock. Jesus, Jake, that feels so good. He continued pounding away inside her. Fuck, this guy had staying power. Did he never tire? Jake filled her sensitized vagina again, this time spearing her even deeper as her orgasm continued unabated, gripping his cock until he, too, let out a roar of intense animal satisfaction. Fucking hell, yes, Lia, yes.

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Chapter Eleven
Jakes chest heaved from sexual exertion. He scooped Lia into his arms. Her breathing was as heavy as his own, and she looked ready to collapse to the floor. He figured Lia was a little sex goddess as he carried her to the bedroom. She just loved being dominated, and he was more than happy to oblige. She might be a sassy, opinionated, and intelligent woman outside the bedroom, but she was a natural submissive when it came to sex. This was the perfect combination. She was the exact type of woman hed want, if he were looking to start a long-term relationship again. For three years hed denied his feelings. Now, thanks to Lia, the genie was out of the bottle again. His sexual libido was once more unleashed, and needed satisfying. Many women would have been frightened by his animal urges, but not Lia. She reveled in them. He kissed her cheek and gently laid her on the bed, before covering her with the duvet. He then slid in beside her. I guess you could tell I needed that. Me, too. She giggled. A smile had remained on her lips since hed carried her into the bedroom. Jake pulled her into his arms and she rested her head on his shoulder, idly stroking her fingertips over his muscular torso. I like chest hair on a man. She gently tugged at the smattering of jet-black hair. Its very manly. My grandparents were Italian. We all have body hair.

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He breathed in and then kissed her forehead. You feel and smell so good, Lia. He rubbed a hand over his face and sighed contentedly. Finally he felt whole again. You feel and smell good, too, Jake. I suppose at this point I should say something really profound like you were fantastic, amazing, youre the worlds greatest lover, but I dont want your ego to get any bigger than it already is. Jake chuckled. You certainly went off like a firecracker. And not just the once, Jake. When youre in Dom mode, I just cant help myself. I noticed, and where did you learn to bend your body like that? Ive never known a woman be able to do it quite like you do. Im an aerobics teacher, and as a young girl, I was into gymnastics, too. I guess Im more supple than most. However you do it, princess, its a real turn-on. One Id like to repeat. Lia took a deep breath. How can I put this, Jake? What are you trying to say, Lia? Look, Jake. You need to understand this can never happen again. Tonight has been wonderful, and its fulfilled a sexual need for both of us, but now we have to move on. He stroked a hand down her flawless back, feeling her react to his touch. I was thinking more of a repeat performance right now. He pulled the duvet from his body, and showed her his throbbing erection. He pumped it vigorously, pulling back his foreskin, exposing the glistening glans on the tip. Im ready to go again, Lia. How about you? Lets just enjoy the moment while we can? I know youre a natural submissive, and you shared a D/s relationship with your fianc. Id be interested to know what your kink is, princess. So go on, tell me what youre into. Dont be shy. Lia smiled. I cant believe what Im about to tell you, but since this is the one and only time Ill share your bed, here goes.

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She took a deep breath. Im not ashamed to say, Im really into bondage. Joe introduced me to it, and I loved it from the get-go. I just love handing over all my power and decision making to a sexy Dom. Its the feeling of being controlled and vulnerable, that really turns me on. I have to trust my sexual partner first, though. I wont hand over control unless I feel secure and have a safeword. I need to know my Dom can be trusted. Jake nodded. I agree, you sound exactly like my kind of girl. Youve given me a hard-on just talking about it. Being in control comes natural to me. I spent hours perfecting the technique of Japanese rope bondage on Hannah. She loved it as much as I did. She was a natural submissive, just like you. He smiled as he recalled his wife. She was a strong, opinionated woman outside of the bedroom, and you share that in common, too. Thats what I miss most about Hannah. We were totally compatible on so many levels. But that was then and this is now. Its time for me to move on. He pushed away his inner reflection and focused on what Lia was doing with her hand. She feathered a line across his chest before smoothing a path down toward his cock. Hey, big boy, all this talk of bondage and submission has really turned you on. Her fingers wrapped tightly around his erect penis then slowly massaged it from base to tip. I bet your balls are full again. Yeah, they sure are, princess. Tell me more about bondage, Jake. Tell me what youd like to do with me, please? Lias eyes were dilated, and her breath jerked out in short, sharp gasps. He could tell she was turned on. He knew if he put his hand between her legs, her cunt would be soaking wet. Trust was of paramount importance between a Dom and his sub. As an intelligent, feisty woman, Lia couldnt be taken for granted. She lowered her head to his groin. Her tongue snaked out and swiped over the sensitive tip of his dick. The intensely pleasurable

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sensation made him raise his butt from the bed. When he closed his eyes, she palmed his balls. Im still waiting, Jake. You still havent told me what youd like to do to me. Fuck, the evening had turned into a hedonistic delight. What do you want to know? he asked, trying to control his breathing. Everything. Slowly she lowered her mouth around his cock until it partially disappeared between her lips. He felt her suction as she took him right back. Take it nice and slow, princess. Im in no hurry, he murmured, threading a hand into her beautiful silky blonde hair and holding her head down. I want to unload between those sweet lips of yours. Make me come, and Ill tell you what Id like to do to you.

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Chapter Twelve
The next morning, 9:30 a.m. Lia woke with a start. Unable to recognize her surroundings she sat bolt upright, her heart pounding. Her breathing returned to normal when she realized she was in Jakes apartment, and in his bed no less. Jake was nowhere to be seen. Had he already gotten up? They couldnt have had more than two hours of sleep. She reached for her watch on the bedside table. After squinting for several seconds, the hands slowly came into focusnine thirty. Fuck, she was late for work again. Christ, that would be two days in a row. Most likely shed get fired, or at least receive a written warning. Well, even if she did lose her job, shed had the craziest, most erotic night of her life, and she didnt regret a moment of it. The hours shed spent between the sheets with Jake Benetti had blown her mind. She plucked the telephone from the bedside table and began dialing. Best bite the bullet now and call work. At least shed be able to gauge the reaction of her boss before she arrived late. A familiar voice burst down the line. Claremont Fitness Center. How may I help you? Megan, its Lia. Can you tell Brad Im running a little late? The cars broken down, she lied. Yeah, sure thing, Lia. Im sorry to hear that, honey. About time you got rid of that piece of crap you call a car. Its totally unreliable. Tell me about it. Ive called vehicle recovery and a cab to get me into work. Christ only knows what all this is gonna cost me.

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Think positive, Lia. It might not be as bad as you think. Oh, yeah, by the way Brad wants to see you as soon as you come in. He seems a bit pissed. Thats all I need, she said quietly before clicking the line dead. Lia leapt from the huge circular bed. She never did like Brad much. Truth be known, she thought her manager at the fitness center was a sanctimonious little prick. He was an unimportant little man, doing an unimportant little job. The exact opposite of Jake Benetti. Anyway, she wasnt going to worry about it now. Not when she was still enjoying the afterglow of the most fantastic sex shed ever experienced. Jakes powers of recovery had been unbelievable. Theyd fucked four times last night. During intercoursehot, sweaty, intense intercoursehed whispered in her ear exactly what he would like to do to her. Hed explained it in graphic detail. Christ, her pussy was still wet, all these hours after hed told her. Just the thought of Jake using shibari on her made her want to see him again. Phew, his sheer force of personality and undoubted charisma had her eating out of his hand. Goddamn it, shed even given him her telephone number. She knew it was crazy given the circumstances they found themselves in, but when Jakes hard cock had been deep inside her shed been unable to think clearly and rationally. Anyway, what harm could it do? They were both consenting adults. With no time to waste, Lia dashed into the en suite bathroom, and took a quick shower. When she returned to the bedroom she noticed a large gift-wrapped box lay on one of the chairs. What the hell is this? A folded piece of paper lay half-hidden by a large red bow, decorating the expensive-looking package. Lia slipped the note out from beneath the ribbon. Lia, Thanks for a truly wonderful evening. Please accept this small gift as a token of my appreciation and respect.

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Ill call you. Jake Excitedly, she undid the decorative red bow, and lifted the lid. Oh, my God, Jake. Its beautiful. This must have cost you a fortune. Beneath several layers of tissue paper lay an expensive black designer dress, similar in style to the one Jake had ripped from her body the night before. Lia laughed out loud when she thought of how she would have looked leaving the casino in her torn dress. Jake had also ripped off her panties, too, and she noticed he hadnt replaced them. She guessed that Jake, being Jake, had done that on purpose. It probably gave him a hard-on thinking of her returning home without any underwear. Lia stepped into the dress, noting the Italian designer label. Valeria Marini. This must have cost a fortune. It fitted perfectly, too. Trust Jake to get it right. She looked for her other possessions. Her shoes and purse were nowhere to be seen. With bare feet she padded from the bedroom and into the most sumptuous living area shed ever seen. The room simply dripped with luxury. Designer furniture, exquisite, handmade carpets, and fine paintings by original artists gave an impression of unlimited wealth. Jake certainly knew how to live. She briefly wondered how many other women had seen the inside of his penthouse apartment, before dismissing the intrusive thought. Huge floor-to-ceiling windows gave uninterrupted views over Vegas. Last night shed barely noticed her surroundings. Now they unnerved her. Just who was she kidding? Jake was a seriously wealthy and important guy. Ordinary women like her were mere commodities to a man like Jake Benetti. She had no doubt he was quite capable of using and discarding women without a second thought. As she moved toward his personal elevator, she noticed the stack of casino chips hed given her last night. Neatly piled on the expensive coffee table, they looked very inviting. She was tempted to scoop them up and place them in her purse, and then cash them in

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downstairs. Jake had told her there was fifty grand in total. Something inside her stopped her doing it. Instead she picked them up and dropped them into an unassuming little vase that stood on the coffee table. Im just not that sort of girl, Jake. If he hadnt ruined her dress she wouldnt have accepted the new one, either. Her shoes lay discarded where shed left them the night before, and she quickly slipped them on. Realization dawned. They may both enjoy the D/s lifestyle, but their lives away from the bedroom could hardly be more different. Would he call her? She hoped theyd shared an emotional and physical connection last night, and perhaps he wouldnt want his money back after all. Wise up, woman, were talking about a million bucks here. Hes never gonna forget about that. Lia took one last, envious look at Jakes fabulous penthouse apartment, and then stepped into the elevator.

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Chapter Thirteen
Three weeks later Jake drove the Mustang up the twisting desert road toward his house in Summerlin. Only a mile to go and hed be there. After three years of staying away, hed finally decided to return. He guessed Lia had been the catalyst to change his way of thinking. He wondered why he hadnt called her after the incredible night theyd shared together three weeks ago. He guessed he needed to lay a few ghosts to rest first. Nestled precariously on the ridge, the familiar faade of his house came into view, and he steered the car onto the sweeping gravel driveway. Hed always loved the way the property seemed to grow out of the hillside, cascading down the sharp incline, to form several levels. With dramatic views over the desert, and Vegas itself, it was impressive. When Hannah was alive it had been a magical place for them both. That was a long time ago now. He switched off the engine, and then eased himself from the car. Out here, miles from anywhere, the silence overwhelmed him. A gentle, hot breeze blew through his hair, and if he listened carefully, he could just hear the chirping of the cicadas in the distance. The light tinkling of a wind chime, high above him, on one of the terraces, filtered down. Money wasnt a problem. Hed made sure the place had been well maintained during his absence. The garden was immaculate, and the exterior of the house was freshly painted. His cowboy boots crunched on the gravel as he walked to the front door. The large double oak

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panel looked the same as it always had, but a lot had happened in the intervening three years. Even though hed achieved great business success, and was an extremely wealthy man, hed lost his reason for living. He pulled the key from his jean pocket. Now was not the time to have second thoughts. With a quiet determination, he noisily turned the ornate key in the lock and pushed the heavy oak door open. After disabling the alarm, a calm acceptance washed over him. Finally, after all this time, hed come home. **** Sitting comfortably on the brown leather sofa, Jake stared resignedly out the large picture window that dominated the living area. Hed been sitting here for hours, watching the day slowly turn to dusk until finally darkness had descended and the moon had risen high in the night sky. It hung like a giant lantern, casting its eerie glow over the terraces outside, and the desert beyond. Like a colorful fairground attraction, Vegas twinkled bewitchingly on the horizon. When hed entered the house for the first time in three years, hed wandered aimlessly from room to room, taking it all in. Hed remembered all the great times that he and Hannah had shared. Everything was exactly as hed left it, almost as though hed never been away. As though nothing had changed, but it hadirrevocably. Now, some four hours later, he sat in the shadows, with a picture of Hannah in one hand and a large glass of bourbon in the other. I think Ive met someone else, Hannah, he eventually said, whispering the words as though they might be heard. At least hed finally admitted what he felt inside. Jake briefly closed his eyes and held the framed photograph to his chest. I thought wed grow old together, but it wasnt to be. He breathed in. Is it possible to find two soul mates in one lifetime? Three weeks ago, when hed opened his eyes the morning after the most memorable night of sex hed experienced in years, beautiful

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Lia had been lying next to him, sleeping peacefully. Guilt had suddenly overwhelmed him. He felt like hed betrayed his wife. He believed hed always carry a torch for his beloved Hannah, but Lias beauty and warmth had finally extinguished it. He guessed guilt was as good a reason as any not to call her. Yet since that crazy, exciting night, hed thought about her every second of every minute of every day. The way her body fit so perfectly with his. The way her submissive needs complemented his own sexual need to be dominant. The way she gave herself to himcompletely. Jake swallowed a large gulp of bourbon. Its complicated, but Ill figure it out. I always do. When the stakes are high, Im at my best. He gently placed the photograph back on the table. Ill always love you, Hannah, but I have to move on now. **** One week later With a loud click, Jake Benetti angrily snapped his cell phone shut. This was not the news he had wanted to hear. Standing in the middle of the street, he leaned back against his Mustang, and lifted his gaze to the impressive double-fronted faade of the property. Lia Constantines family home looked exactly the same as he remembered when hed picked her up for that wonderful evening, just one month ago. Almost, that was, save for the large sold sign that stood in the middle of the lawn. From what the realtor had just told him, hed missed her by just a day. He slowly walked up the drive, hearing the gravel crunch beneath his shoes. It had sounded so comforting the first time hed been here. Now as he peered through the windows into the empty interior, a cold chill settled around his heart. Lia had gone. Hed left it too long before contacting her again.

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Each time he entered his apartment he thought of her. He could still picture her in the entrance vestibule of his home, totally compliant. The soft swell of her breasts, and the way theyd heaved in excitement as hed ripped that pretty little black cocktail dress from her trembling body. The way shed felt in his arms as hed explored her soft, feminine skin for the first time. Fuck, she was hot. Hed left it far too long. He should have called her earlier. Much earlier. Jake stooped down and scooped a handful of earth into his hand. The soil was parched and dry, just like his heart. The only living woman who could reach him was Lia, and now shed gone. He threw the desert back on the ground in disgust, and then made his way back to the car. Shit, hed left it far too long. Dont kick yourself. Its a two-way street, buddy. Why hadnt she told him she was leaving? She could so easily have contacted him. After all, she still owed Arabian Nights Casino a serious amount of money. Instead shed left without so much as a forwarding address. Goddamn it, his shareholders would bust his balls for this. As he slid behind the wheel of the Mustang, Jake wondered if shed planned this all along. Had she deliberately seduced him that night? She was everything he desired in a woman, and more. Shed been just perfect. Like a siren, shed lured him to his fate. Hed given her nearly fifty thousand bucks in casino chips, too, and shed taken the lot. Fuck, he wouldnt be the first man to fall for a pretty face, and he certainly wouldnt be the last. Feeling like a fool, Jake fired the engine into life, and maneuvered the Mustang away from the curb. Lia Constantine was not going to disappear so easily. Not when she still owed him a cool million bucks. Lia had underestimated him. He had contacts everywhere. He would track her down and make sure she paid him backone way or another.

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Chapter Fourteen
The unrelenting noise of the airport swirled around Lia as she waited for her flight to be called. Everything was happening at breakneck speed. The offer of a dream job in Florida had kick-started her life again. A new beginning was just what shed needed after all the anguish of the past year. Her best friend Monica had encouraged her. Go for it, honey. Lifes not a rehearsal. You have too many bad memories here in Vegas. Time for a fresh start, girl. In her heart Lia knew her friend was right. For the past few weeks shed been waiting for a call from Jake that never came. Jake Benetti would never contact her now. On one level this was good. She hoped hed written off the million bucks that she still owed him. On another level she was disappointed. Shed really enjoyed their night of hot sex together, and longed to hear his sexy, gravelly voice again. In the end, pragmatism had won through, and shed decided a clean break well away from Vegas was her best option. Although it saddened her to do so, shed reluctantly put the Constantine family home up for sale. Instead of focusing on the past, it was time to start living in the present. What could be better than being employed as a senior fitness instructor on a cruise ship? A famous spa company had offered her the position of a lifetime, and shed grabbed it with both hands. A knot of excitement centered low in her stomach as she tried to read the glossy magazine. After her flight reached Florida, she would eventually sail on the latest state-of-the-art cruise ship. Once they reached St. Kitts, they would then continue on to the beautiful tropical island of Curaao. She could hardly wait. With the pages of her magazine barely registering, she focused on her surroundings. Airport

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life was exciting and invigorating. The terminal building hummed with passengers as they came and went. Several excited travelers took the seats next to hers, and then moved away once their flights were called. An old couple in their seventies, whod been sitting beside her for a half hour, stood, and began walking to the check-in desk. Have a good flight, she called after them. You, too, sweetie, the elderly lady replied, giving her a cheery wave as she walked away. Lia went back to reading her magazine. Engrossed in a kiss-andtell story, she became vaguely aware as a man sat beside her. That smell, that masculine smell. Where did she recognize it from? Such a distinctive aroma, it was obviously expensive, and so very sexy. Slowly, realization dawned, and her whole body went rigid. Lia turned in his direction. Tan leather cowboy boots gave way to a pair of hip-hugging Wranglers. Large hands rested on muscular thighs. The gold Breitling watch attached to his wrist glinted in the overhead lights. A black T-shirt fitted to perfection across his broad shoulders. The cut of his jaw and the way his dark hair trailed down to his collar was unmistakable. Jake! she blurted out. Her eyes must have looked huge because she could barely contain her surprise at seeing him again. The magazine shed been reading fell to the floor as he spoke. Youre a hard woman to find, Lia. His deep voice set every nerve in her body on high alert. Feeling stunned, she could barely get her words out. Whwhat are you doing here? Her heart was racing. The way he looked at her turned her legs to Jell-O, and her voice became a high-pitched squeak. You didnt tell me you were leaving Vegas. You didnt say good-bye, princess. Lia swallowed hard. Just the way he spoke her pet name sent a shiver down her spine. His eyes held hers. Cold slivers of glacial blue pierced her tranquility, unsettling her. Jake could so easily melt the frozen wastes of her heart, if she ever allowed him to. Shed learned

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from bitter experience that men like Jake were not dependable. They were a law unto themselves. I waited for your call. It didnt come, she reminded him. I had things to do, princess. You do realize you cant just leave? Why not? Im a free woman. This is a free country. I can do whatever I want. Thats where youre wrong, princess. You still owe Arabian Nights Casino a serious amount of money. When Jake hadnt contacted her after theyd spent a wonderful, mind-blowing night together, shed naively assumed that her debt would be written off. Wrong, so very wrong. But, Jake, I thought A cynical smile touched his lips as he leaned in and whispered against her ear. Lia closed her eyes, reveling in his nearness and the way he made her feel insideall hot and excited. I see. You thought one night with me and Id write off a million bucks. He snapped his fingers dismissively. Just like that. You value yourself very highly. He was so close, his warm breath fanned against her neck, reminding her even more of their night of unbridled passion. An ache pulsed in her pussy. Damn. Her body betrayed her. In that instant, she knew she still wanted him. Jake continued, What we shared was wonderful, but I live in the real world, Lia. I suggest you wise up and do the same. Lia looked up into his hard features. Even when Jake was being harsh with her he simply oozed sex appeal. The idea of him dominating her sexually made her panties go wet. Listen, Jake, even though Ive sold my parents house. I still cant raise a million dollars. Besides, why should I be responsible for my fathers debt? she added defensively. Because thats how Nevada law works. Whatever your father left you in his will legally belongs to Arabian Nights Casino. I know youve got the money, Lia. I want whats rightfully mine. I wont receive a cent until the paperwork for the sale goes through. That could take weeks, months even. Besides, it comes to

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less than eight hundred thousand. Youre well aware youll be taking every cent I own. She stared directly at him, unafraid to hold his gaze. You bastard. My inheritance will be gone. Therell be nothing left. Is that really what you want, Mr. Benetti? Lia felt her lip quiver as she spat out the words with venom. The happiness shed been feeling dissolved like a puff of smoke in the breeze. Do you want to see me on my knees? Is that what you want, my humiliation? Lia, by selling the house you have freed up a large amount of money and therefore put me in an impossible situation. Nevada law will follow you all the way to Florida and beyond. If you dont come back with me, Ill have no option but to apply for a warrant for your arrest. Were talking about a million bucks here, lady. Not a bag of candy from your fathers grocery store. Youll barely set sail before youre arrested and brought back to Vegas. How did you know I was here? What else had he found out? Lia, theres nothing I dont know about you. Goddamn it, woman, I have connections everywhere. Youre not dealing with a Boy Scout here. A chill filtered through her bones. There didnt seem to be a way out of this, or maybe there was? Then what exactly are you proposing, Mr. Benetti? You come back with me. I pay the debt off out of my own money. That way I keep the shareholders happy, and there will be no need to call the cops. And then I pay you when the money comes through? Is that what youre suggesting? Perhaps there was a way out after all. When he didnt answer, Lia had the distinct impression that he didnt even care about the money. Instead he took hold of her hand, and stared into her eyes. His deep voice washed over her, making the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. Lia, Id like us to finish what we started a month ago. Lia pulled away, and folded her arms defensively across her chest. She might be attracted to him, but he was taking too much for

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granted. You had your chance, and you blew it, Mister. Why didnt you call me the next day, or even the day after? Shed have been happy to continue what theyd started then. It just didnt make any sense to put her in this position when she was just about to catch a flight to Florida. Thats my offer, Lia. Think about it. He leaned down and whispered in her ear as he stroked a stray hair from her face. You remember what we talked about that night, in my bed. His lips brushed her sensitive flesh, making her stomach spasm with sexual need. Well, I can deliver those fantasies, your fantasies, and more besides. I know it turns you on. I know your panties are soaking wet just sitting here talking to me. Excitement coursed through her veins as his warm breath feathered her skin. God, she wanted him to master her. When I get you home, Im gonna give you exactly what you need, princess. Exactly what you crave. With that he stood and began walking away. Ill be waiting outside in the parking lot. She knew her breathing was fast. She was sexually excited and annoyed with his arrogance in equal measure. You bastard, she screamed after him. I bet theres no shareholders insisting you do this to me. I could catch my flight and you wouldnt dare send the cops after me. Then take the chance, Lia. Do it. Get on that plane and fly to your new life in Florida. See how long it lasts before youre arrested. How long is this so called proposal of yours to last? The angry words spilled from her lips. A month, and then youre free to leave. Fuck, this was her life they were talking about. Youve changed, Jake, and not for the better. Why are you doing this? Because I can. He continued walking away, and she shouted after him. When you get to the car lot, Mister, I advise you to start the engine and drive away. Youll be waiting a long time before I come to you, Benetti.

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He turned, and pointed to the large overhead screen. I think theyve just called your flight, Lia. Its decision time. Lia watched him walk arrogantly away. His swagger and the way he moved all reminded her of the wonderful night theyd shared. She knew he could deliver her fantasies and far more besides. What should I do? Lia held her head in her hands, and then leaned down, resting her elbows on her thighs. She studied her red shoes, tracing the neat leather strap with her gaze, over and over again. What should I do? Go to my dream job in Florida, or go with Jake? The loudspeaker system announced her flight once more, making her decision all the more urgent. The man had some nerve, turning up at the airport with his lastminute proposal. Hed sure put a spanner in the works. Just who the hell did he think he was? Arrogant prick. Well, Lia Constantine didnt fall at the feet of just any mannot unless she wanted to. Goddamn it, deep inside she wanted to fall at his feet and submit to his will, but his arrogance had seriously pissed her off. He was using his dominance of her to his advantage. Lia squirmed on her seat feeling sexually charged. Her pussy throbbed with need. In the bedroom he had her eating out of his hand, but elsewhere Jake Benetti left a lot to be desired. Hed threatened her with the cops. Would he seriously stoop so low as to have her arrested? Maybe he would, just to get what he wanted. A smile spread on her lips as she reminded herself that she was the object of his desire. Jake Benetti wanted her. If she went to him it would be nothing to do with the money, but everything to do with the man. At that moment her flight was called again, making her heart speed up. Heaven help her, it was time to make her decision.

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Chapter Fifteen
Jake impatiently drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. Half an hour had past since her flight had left. Hed wait another ten minutes, and then call it a day. It appeared Lia wasnt taking him seriously enough. Or maybe she just didnt feel the same attraction that he did? Who was he kidding? Hed seen it in her eyes. Their animal magnetism for each other just couldnt be denied. Whether Lia would act on instinct was another matter entirely. She was a woman, and therefore totally unpredictable. She might decide not to show, just to prove a point. Knowing shed been about to board a plane and leave his life forever, hed had to come up with a plan to keep her. He couldnt just let her slip through his fingers. Not again, so hed threatened her with the cops, but that was just words to scare her. Had she seen through his bluff? He knew it would take months to get her arrested. There were long, drawn-out legal procedures he had to follow first. Besides, hed never go that far. He and the cops were like oil and water. They just didnt mix. The Vegas police would often turn up at his casino, on the fake pretext of checking everything was legal and aboveboard. He knew they just wanted to waste a couple of hours on the tables. His floor manager, Paulie, would keep them topped up with free liquor and a couple of pretty girls for company, just to keep them sweet. He knew deep down that if she didnt show, hed bite the bullet and pay the outstanding amount himself. That way there wouldnt be any dumbass questions from disgruntled shareholders. The automatic doors of the departure lounge swished open once more, and a familiar figure emerged. Elegantly attired in a simple red

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dress, her beautiful blonde hair flowed down her back in a cascade of golden curls. It fluttered provocatively in the gentle warm breeze as she moved. Fuck, she was a beautiful woman. In fact Lia Constantine was hard to ignore. He found it incredibly satisfying that many of the men entering the terminal building, did a double take as they walked past her. She rested two suitcases on the ground and then looked around expectantly. Well, well, princess, Jake murmured to himself, feeling a selfsatisfied smile curve his lips. Looks like I made you an offer you simply couldnt refuse. Lia had seriously gotten under his skin. He hoped that one month with her would finally rid him of the incessant ache he felt every time he thought of her. Then he could move on with his life. He guessed he was kidding himself, though. Just the thought of her sent his blood pulsing. It filled his cock, with plenty to spare. He was taking advantage of her vulnerability, but he knew thats what turned Lia on. A dominant man was exactly what she needed right now, even hungered for. He was the yin to her yang, the dark to her light. Jake fired the Mustang into life and drove across to where she stood waiting. A look of relief flooded her face as she spotted him. That was a good sign. He could already feel a surge of sexual anticipation working its way to his groin. After parking the car, he slid from the drivers seat and walked across to her. You made the right decision, princess. He carried her luggage to the car. You can take that smug look off your face, Benetti, she told him as he stowed her luggage in the trunk. I know theres an attraction between us. Goddamn it, you know its there, too. But I cant see how spending a month with each other is gonna solve anything. I think differently. We share a connection, Lia, whether you like it or not. Dont flatter yourself, Benetti. I see youre without your driver today? she mocked as he opened the passenger door for her.

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I like to drive myself, Lia. I mainly use a driver when Im on casino business. Huh, what you really mean is, you drive yourself when you dont want your employees knowing what youre up to. Youre very cynical, he stated, staring into her beautiful green eyes. However, her observations were close to the truth. People talked. The less his staff knew about his private life, the better. Cynical? I cant help being cynical. I guess its because of the type of men Ive been dealing with lately. With her final poisonous barb she slid into the passenger seat. Jake closed her door, making sure he didnt trap her dress, then walked around and sat beside her. Had he expected a rapturous welcome? That wasnt Lias style. He guessed she was her own woman outside the bedroom, but inside the bedroom, well, that was a different story entirely. In the bedroom she was exactly his type of woman, totally submissive and eager to please her Dom. It was as if a switch had been thrown. Between the sheets, Lia was almost too good to be true. So much so, in fact, that hed wondered if that magical evening theyd shared together had been engineered by her to make him forget about the money. Which begged the questionwas she here with him now simply to just pay off the debt? He dismissed that thought. The way Lia had responded when hed fucked her was genuine. He was sure of that. Shed enjoyed it as much as he had. That was exactly why she was here with him now. She wanted more of the same. Jake gunned the Mustang into life and began to drive them both from the airport. He couldnt stop his gaze from wandering to her silky, smooth legs, and the delicate red shoes she wore. Her hands were clasped around her purse and rested on her lap. Each fingernail had been painted a hot, passionate red, exactly matching her dress and shoes. Long, slim arms with a light, feminine dusting of gossamer hair caught the sunlight as they drove through the Vegas suburbs. Lia was perfect in every way. His cock ached for her.

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Shouldnt we have turned left at the last intersection? She sounded slightly worried. No. But thats the way to your casino? Yes. Then where are you taking me? My home is in Summerlin. Agitated, Lia rifled through her purse. She pulled out her cell phone. Im gonna call my friend. Just to let her know where Im going. Youre perfectly safe with me, princess. You can give her my landline number if youre worried. A faint smile spread on her lips, and she tossed the cell phone back into her purse. No need, its okay. Monica doesnt need to know all my business. Just like your employees dont need to know yours. She shook her head. I cant believe youve just cost me my dream job. You owe me a million bucks, Lia. You cant just walk away. She stared at him a serious look to her face. I would have paid you back. When the money came through, I was gonna send you a check. Jake raised an eyebrow and her lips pouted even more. You dont believe me, do you? He shrugged and turned the car onto the ridge road. Lia, you were about to leave the country, without so much as a forwarding address. Your actions speak for themselves. You dont believe me. I can see it in your eyes. Oh, well, theres nothing I can do about that. Youll just have to think badly of me. See if I care. Once my money comes through, Ill be out of here. Until then, you belong to me. For now, but dont get used to it. Jake felt his lips firming into a hard line. You protest too much, princess. I know exactly what lights your fire, so dont kid yourself.

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The reason youre here now, instead of flying at thirty thousand feet, is because you want what Im offering. Jesus, youve got a nerve. Your ego is bigger than the whole of Nevada. The reason Im here is Her words drifted away as she pointed up ahead. Is that your place? Yes. Its beautiful. Jake parked the car outside the opulent entrance, and then turned to Lia. He gently stroked a hand down her cheek, drifting a thumb across her perfect, pouting lips. He positively ached for her. Youre beautiful, he whispered in her ear. Ill show you around, and once youre settled in, I aim to get reacquainted. Using his thumb he tilted her head back. Her long brown lashes swept open and her eyes connected with his. He saw her pupils dilate as he covered her mouth with his own. Her sexual moan as he pressed his lips to hers was reward in itself, but feeling her body respond as she clung to his shoulders made any doubts about their compatibility disappear. Lia wanted him.

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Chapter Sixteen
Lia had to admire Jakes home as he showed her around. It was exquisitely furnished, and equally as opulent as his penthouse apartment back at the casino complex. Cool marble floors were ideal for combating the debilitating Nevada heat. Sophisticated artwork decorated the walls. Most of the paintings looked like theyd been commissioned, because every piece fitted perfectly to the surroundings. The furniture had a heavy Baroque style to it. Each large chunky chair, table, or mirror was carved with an elaborate foliage design. These strong, exuberant pieces gave a sophisticated Bohemian opulence to the grandeur of the house. The whole property seemed to complement Jakes personalitysuccessful, dominant, and dramatic. The overall area of the house was huge. It occupied five levels as it rose into the hillside. As Jake led the way down a corridor on the top floor, he pointed to one of several impressive oak doors that lined the wide hallway. This is my bedroom. Ill leave you here to freshen up, and Ill be back shortly. Jake pushed open the heavy door and she ducked under his arm. An ornate and highly embellished four-poster bed dominated the room, making an impressive statement. Lia had never seen such a large bed before. Her vagina moistened at the mere thought of what Jake might do to her here. I intend to have a very long shower, so dont rush back, she told him. Her panties might be wet in anticipation, but she wouldnt allow him to have it all his own way.

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Even though she longed for his masculine touch, she still fumed at the way hed arrogantly turned up at the airport, a full month after theyd last been together. Thered been no contact from him whatsoever. Okay, so she might owe him a shitload of money, and he had every right to demand it back. But after the wonderful night of white-hot sex theyd shared together, shed a right to expect some form of communication from him. It made Jake appear cold and heartless, yet, deep down she knew that wasnt true. That was the reason she was here with him now. The decision to stay and thrash out their relationship hadnt really been a hard one to make. Jake was everything she wanted in a man. Be warned, princess, theres no lock on the door. Ill decide how long you spend in the shower, not you. His cool blue gaze connected with hers. Shed seen that predator look before, and she knew he meant business. Very well. Lia folded her arms across her chest. Would you like me to call you Master, while Im here? Master is good, but I prefer Sir. This will be perfectly adequate when were formal. Otherwise I will allow you to call me Jake. With that, he strode from the room. She couldnt stop her heart beating out of control as he walked away. Her breathing became heavy and labored. Soon she would feel the full force of his dominant personality, unleashed for the first time. She could barely contain herself. Left alone, Lia went straight into the en suite. She hurriedly stripped, and stepped under the shower. Her hand shook as she turned on the water and reached for the shower gel. When she began soaping her body, her thoughts drifted to how her day had changed. If things had gone to plan, she should have been landing in Florida right now, ready to start her dream job. An elegant cruise ship would have been waiting to luxuriously transport her around the Caribbean. Instead, she stood naked in Jake Benettis shower, waiting for him to come and fuck her. Just how crazy was that?

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After ten minutes, the comforting stream of hot water unexpectedly stopped. She saw his shadow through the steamed up glass. Jake, I havent finished showering. You have now. Lia swallowed hard. Her time was up. As she stepped from the cubicle, she hoped she wouldnt regret a minute of it. Jake was waiting for her as naked as the day he was born. His physical presence overwhelmed her. She longed to run her fingers over his strong, virile body, and feel his hard, warm cock in her hand. But she was a mere sub, and he was a Dom. Maybe hed allow her to touch him, once hed done with her as he pleased. He handed her a towel and she began drying herself. I suggest you choose a safeword. Curaao seems appropriate, since you were planning on sailing there this weekend. Lia had to smile at his irony. Yes, why not, Sir? I dont suppose Ill say it by mistake. Im hardly likely to travel there now, am I? Im not allowed to. That is not my concern. His eyes connected with hers. Remember what we talked about when we were last together? Lia nodded. How could I forget your promises? It was one of the reasons she was here. Her pussy ached with the knowledge of what hed sworn to do to her. Good, then you know my preferences. He took the damp towel from her and threw it aside. Now hold out your hands. Im going to attach a separate piece of rope to each of your wrists. Without question, Lia obediently followed his instruction. She watched mesmerized as he bound a length of rope around each wrist. There thats better. Not too tight, I hope? No, Sir. Thank you, Sir. She recognized the rope as hemp or jute. She knew it wouldnt mark her skin. Joe had used it on her many times. Next he coiled a longer length of rope around her waist two or three times, before repeatedly crossing the two ends between her breasts in a figure-of-

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eight movement. The pressure of the rope squeezed her tits into large, round mounds. Her nipples hardened and became acutely sensitive as the restricted blood flow began to take effect. Her pussy throbbed and ached as her submissive sexual being awakened with force. Closing her eyes and sucking the air slowly into her lungs, Lia concentrated on her breathing. Jake took hold of her hands. The lengths of rope dangled from her wrist and trailed on the floor as he led her into the bedroom. Her feminine arousal began coating the inside of her thighs as she walked on adrenaline-charged legs. She noticed the blinds had been drawn and several lamps had been lit, to cast a subdued light over the room. He cupped her chin and she looked up into his piercing blue eyes. Remember, you can trust me, Lia. If you use your safeword, Ill stop whatever Im doing. Not daring to speak for fear of her voice cracking, she nodded her agreement, and then let out a long, slow breath. Placing herself in his care took all her courage, and he waited for her to calm down. Are you ready? he asked. Yes, Sir, she replied, meekly. Surely her heart couldnt beat any faster?

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Chapter Seventeen
Jake positioned her with her back to the end of the four-poster bed. He raised each arm in turn, tying the end of the rope attached to her wrists around the top of the bedpost. Next he roughly tied a length of rope to each of her ankles before spreading them wide, and securing them to the legs of the bedstead. Ultimately, she found herself spread wide open between the posts. As she looked down her body, she watched her stomach undulating and quivering in anticipation. Tightly secured by the rope harness, her breasts and nipples jutted forward, making her feel sexy as hell. A warm sensation burned in her pussy. God help her, she wanted him to fill her right now with that huge dick of his. His erection, strong and virile, bobbed in front of him. He was as sexually charged as she was. Mmm, thats better. Just one final thing, and youll be fully open to me. He took a small piece of string from the dresser, and held it up in front of her. A wicked smile spread on his lips. Any guesses? Lia shook her head. No, Sir. The muscles of his shoulders flexed and shimmered in the subdued lighting as he leaned down in front of her. She saw the five oclock shadow staining his jaw, and the sensual swell of his lips as he stared at her pussy. With her legs spread wide, her glistening womanhood was open for his inspection. Thank God she kept it clean shaven. Im so glad youre pierced. It makes all the difference. He threaded the length of string through the hoop of her clitoral piercing, and then tied both ends to the coils of rope around her waist. Lia gasped as the tightened string raised her clitoral hood higher, completely exposing the sensitive, sexual nub for her Master.

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Oh, God, she whimpered, as her legs began to tremble uncontrollably. Her sexual libido had gone off the scale. Has a man ever done this to you before? he asked, staring into her eyes for a long time. Mesmerized by him, Lia gasped as he feathered a finger over her exposed clit. It felt so fucking erotic. The heady mix of pleasure and burning pain ripped right through her as he playfully teased the sensitive spot. Her head went back, and she cried out, No, Sir. She pulled helplessly at the restraints securing her wrists and ankles, trying to edge away from his exquisite torture. No, Sir, please, Im begging you. He smiled. Is that no, Sir, please dont do it? Or no, Sir, please, this is the first time Ive experienced this? He trailed his index finger over her sensitive nub again, making her squirm, until her whole body went rigid. After a while, he stopped tormenting her clit, and she was finally able to speak. Please, Sir, no one has ever done that to me before, she gasped, catching her breath in large gulps. Jake walked to the corner of the room and lounged decadently on a chair, openly studying her. Now for the rules. When I return home from work, I expect you to be at my disposal. As soon as I walk through the door in the evening, you will come to me. You will ask what I desire, and you will fulfill those desires. Understood? Yes, Sir. When I am satisfied, or I dont require anything further from you, we can be more informal with each other. I will then allow you to call me Jake again. Do you understand the rules, Lia? Yes, Sir. Are you absolutely sure? Yes, Sir. Im absolutely sure. Excellent. Youve saved yourself a bare ass spanking. Lia had to admire his beautiful physique as he stood and began slowly walking toward her. Strong thighs gave way to a perfect

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washboard stomach, which flared out into a broad chest and wide shoulders. Every muscle lay taut against his large frame. Jake was the perfect male specimen. His cock rose erect and proud, and jutted mouthwateringly from his groin. Her desire went into overdrive. When she looked into his eyes they were focused entirely on her. Cool blue, yet burning with an intensity that overwhelmed her. He consumed her. He wanted her, and God help her, he would devour her. His large hands touched her flesh, sending pulses of pure pleasure coursing through her. You are such a beautiful woman. Your body is exquisite. Now that Ive enhanced your breasts with this rope work, they look like ripe fruit, ready to be plucked. His hands smoothed over the engorged mounds, rolling the nipples tightly beneath his palms. After kneading them in an erotic massage, he then clamped the nubs hard between a finger and thumb. Her body reacted, arching to his touch. Ah, Lia, you respond to your Master well. He leaned down and licked her areola, swirling his tongue over the hardened peak. This pleases me. A cry left her lips as his teeth came into contact with her aroused nipples. Slowly he moved lower. His large hands circled her waist as he trailed his tongue down her quivering stomach. Exposed and helpless, her whole body trembled in automatic response. He knelt in front of her and looked up into her eyes. Youre gorgeous. I could eat you alive. His fingers trailed into her sex. And so fucking wet, too. Even better. Lia closed her eyes as his tongue snaked across her uncovered clit. She let out a cry and struggled against the restraints as he teased her open pearl again. When he speared two fingers deep inside her pussy, she jolted as a spasm of undiluted pleasure coursed through her. Jake sucked her sensitive flesh into his mouth, relentlessly swirling his tongue over the burning bead.

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A painful coil of undiluted pleasure ripped through her as his incredible sexual technique forced an orgasm from her bound body. Another followed, then another and another, until she screamed out loud. Oh, God. Her legs trembled uncontrollably. If her wrists had not been secured to the top of the bedstead, she would have collapsed to the floor. Is my sub going to thank her Master? Yes, Sir, thank you, Sir. The breathy words hissed from her lips. He continued his onslaught on her body, making her world tip on its axis as she surrendered to his demands. Her breath came in short, sharp gasps, until only the restraints around her wrists were keeping her upright. Time shifted, sending her into a pleasure-induced overload. When Jake removed his teasing tongue from her pussy, she thought she would be able to catch her breath. How wrong could she be? He untied the rope securing her ankles, freeing her legs. He trailed tiny kisses up her softly undulating belly, and swirled his tongue over her nipples once more. A whimper escaped her lips as he pressed himself between her legs. His cock lay poised at the entrance to her cunt. His hands cupped around her butt, lifting her, and easing the weight from her wrists. His head rested against her neck. She felt the stubble on his chin caressing her cheek. She reveled in his unique, masculine scent. He whispered in her ear, his voice low and seductive, Im going to fuck you now, but only if you beg me.

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Chapter Eighteen
Soft whimpers and incoherent words left Lias lips as Jake nuzzled her sweet-smelling neck. He brushed his mouth over the sensitive flesh, feeling her pulse rapidly beat time beneath his lips. With his cock ready to fill her, he controlled his breathing. He stared down between their naked, glistening bodies. His stomach muscles flexed in eager anticipation. Her breasts were magnificent, plumped up, and ripe. They looked so beautiful, tightly bound by the soft rope. Jake lowered his head and teased a nipple with his tongue and teeth. Still secured by her wrists, she rolled her head back and muttered breathily. Please, Sir. Feminine perspiration dusted her body. He loved the way it gently moistened her silken flesh. His skin tingled every time it touched hers. Fuck, he ached for her. It had been a long time since hed been in total Dom mode. He was going to savor it. After all, there was no rush. Jake knew the bindings constricting the blood flow to her breasts pushed her limits, but she responded exactly as hed hoped she would, without even a hint of using her safeword. Im still waiting. You still havent begged your Master. He could barely hear the softly spoken plea that whispered from her lips. He wanted it all. Nothing but her complete submission would satisfy him now. I cant hear. I need to hear you beg out loud, he whispered, flicking his tongue over her nipple with such force that it shuddered and vibrated against his lips. He did the same to the other breast, watching the aroused peak jiggle satisfyingly from his attention.

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Please, Sir, came a whispered reply. I still cant hear you, my slave. He teased the string connected to her clit ring, gently pulling it upward, completely exposing her glistening bead once again. She jolted and her eyes flew wide open. Please, Sir, please fuck me. Im begging you, she said louder. Her hair, still wet from her recent shower, dripped down between her breasts, catching on the ropes that secured them. Her eyes were hooded and her lips moist. Hed never seen a more beautiful woman. Did I hear my slave beg to be fucked? Yes, Sir. Please, Sir. Better my slave, much better. Jake cupped his hands under her creamy, pert buttocks, lifting her. In automatic response, Lia hooked her ankles together behind him, desperately trying to pull him closer. She looked into his eyes as he entered her. All that mattered to him now was Lia. She meant more to him than anything else in the world. He couldnt resist saying her lovely name, over and over in his head. Lia. Lia. Lia. He slid his huge prick effortlessly inside her tight, wet cunt, until hed filled her completely. Then he gripped her ass, squeezing it, molding it, as he began pumping his cock inside her. Her arms were still bound, pulled taut, and secured to the bedposts. He loved the way she squirmed on his prick, fighting to accommodate his sheer size. Please, Sir, please fuck me harder, Sir, she cried out as he repeatedly impaled her over and over again. Lias submission was like a drug. Now that hed savored her complete surrender, hed demand more of the same from his sub. This is what happens to naughty girls who think they can just disappear. He pounded his cock into her moist warmth. Their Master will always fuck them severely. He filled her again. Do you understand? Yes, yes, I deserve to be punished, Sir. Please, harder. He rammed his erect penis home hard again, feeling her pussy clamp down along his entire length. He loved the way their sweat-

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covered stomachs touched as he slid fully inside, filling her again and again with his prick. Lia cried out, her body arched rigid. Her beautiful bound breasts flexed and quivered in their rope bindings as a monumental orgasm overwhelmed her senses. He looked down between their intimately joined bodies, watching her stomach undulate with orgasmic spasms. Her pussy squeezed and teased his cock, demanding its potent contents be inside her. He felt the semen being pulled up his shaft until her cunt had sucked him dry. It was the most incredible, intense release hed ever experienced. When he came, his explosive climax spilled into her with three bursts of pure pleasure. Jake rested his forehead against hers as he caught his breath. Christ hed fucked her hard, and shed taken it. Shed reveled in it, playing her role as the pleading sub to perfection. Now he knew hed truly found a woman on the same wavelength as him. He lifted his head and looked into her beautiful green eyes. Her breathing was still heavy. He tenderly stroked a hand through her damp blonde hair, gently brushing it away from her face. Her mouth parted in open invitation and he smoothed a thumb over her plump lips. Finally he found enough breath to speak. You were stunning, princess. He knew he was falling in love with her. He carefully untied her bound wrists, and they both fell exhausted onto the soft mattress. He scooped her into his arms and pulled her further onto the bed. How are your wrists, princess? He began gently massaging them, restoring her circulation. Lia just lay there, dazed and quiet. Is that better? She shook her hands. Much better. Thank you, Sir. He slid his fingers around the rope bindings adorning her body. You can be less formal now, Lia. How do these feel? Theyre not too tight, are they? No, theyre fine.

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Thats good. I think I might leave them on a little longer. They make you look so sexy. He kissed her forehead. How are you feeling? Totally spent. Me, too, he murmured as he pulled her against him. Rest here and Ill soothe your shoulders with a light massage. Lia dutifully laid her head on his chest, and he began flexing his fingers into her warm flesh, kneading the knots of tension away. Within a few seconds, light purrs of pure pleasure began coming from her. Hed forgotten how much he enjoyed interacting with a sub after an intense session. I meant to call, he offered quietly, as he gently caressed her silky smooth skin. A deep sigh left her lips, and she idly traced her fingers down his chest, running them through the smattering of masculine hair. So what happened? Why didnt you? she asked nonchalantly. He sensed there was more she wanted to say. Its complicated. I wanted to, but events seemed to get in the way. He cupped her chin and angled her face to his. I just hadnt expected you to sell up and leave Vegas for a new life so quickly. A girl can only wait so long, Jake. Its been twelve months since Joe died. My life had been on hold. After we shared that wonderful night together in your penthouse, my spirit came alive again. As soon as Ive paid my fathers debt, Ill be applying for work on the cruise ships again. Theres so much of the world I want to see. Youre still planning on leaving, then? Oh, yes. As soon as the money comes through from the sale of my parents house, theres nothing stopping me. At that precise moment Jake realized he wanted Lia to share his life. He wanted them to explore their relationship fully. The debt her father had left her had certainly pushed a wedge between them. A dilemma surfaced in Jakes mind. How could he convince her that he wanted her for who she was, and not for the money she owed him? He wanted her for the wonderful woman he knew her to be, and

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not simply a sexual vessel to pay back a debt he didnt give a fuck about. He was a wealthy guy. A million bucks meant nothing to him.

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Chapter Nineteen
Lia turned in the huge four-poster bed, and stretched out her hands in the darkness. Jake had held her in his arms, and she longed for the reassuring presence of his warm, hard body pressed against hers. All that she touched was bare, empty space. She switched on her bedside lamp, and subdued lighting flooded the bedroom. To Lia, left alone in the middle of the night, the bedposts and heavy furniture took on an eerie appearance. She traced her hand over the indentation left in his pillow. He must have been gone quite some time, because the cotton linen was stone cold. With the casino doing business twenty-fourseven, she guessed hed gone back to work. In need of a glass of water, Lia put on a white silk gown and a pair of slippers, then made her way downstairs. The house was in total darkness. Just the light from the full moon guided her along the impressive hallway. Every footstep she made echoed on the marble flooring. It was a beautiful house, but it seemed a sad house to Lia. It needed laughter to flood the rooms, but instead an uneasy coolness permeated the hush. She shivered involuntarily, drawing her robe more tightly around her. As she stepped into the dimly lit living area, she saw the wonderful vista of Vegas twinkling in the distance through the huge picture window. The beacon of multicolored lights mesmerized her as they lit up the desert. Was Jake down there, managing his casino? Lia flicked on a light as she entered the kitchen. A huge, stainless steel refrigerator stood against one wall, while all around her lay beautifully finished appliances, slotted between black granite counters, and solid oak cupboards.

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After a few seconds, Lia found what she was looking for. She filled a glass with chilled water from the fridge dispenser, and swallowed several large gulps before leaving the tumbler on the drainer. As she leaned against the granite work surface she noticed the large, ornate clock on the kitchen wall. It was four in the morning. Just what was she going to do for the next hour, day, or even month? Lia stretched and yawned, then commented loudly. Goddamn it. What the hell am I doing here? Then she remembered the hot sex shed just had with Jake, and laughed out loud. Guess its not all bad. But boy, does that guy have one serious attitude problem. The nerve of the man, demanding she be his sex slave, until the house was sold and her debt repaid. Shed given him a month to contact her, but shed heard nothing from him. Then, almost unbelievably, just as she was about to catch her flight to Florida, hed turned up at the airport. The arrogance of the guy, she muttered to herself. As Lia made her way back through the large living area, she was drawn once more to the incredible view. She stopped and stared, drinking in the scene. Her thoughts tumbled from her lips. You may have a wonderful home, Mr. Fancy Casino Owner, but you need a lesson in how to treat a lady. Care to teach me? Jakes gruff voice growled through the darkness. A scream left her lips, and she spun in his direction. She could just make out his masculine shape, almost hidden by shadow. His eyes mischievously glinted from the moonlight streaming through the window. He switched on a lamp, flooding the room in soft light. Jake wore just a pair of black sweatpants. His chest was naked, and temptingly sexy. Jake, II thought youd driven into Vegas. I couldnt sleep. Im sorry if I startled you, but the views are more spectacular with the lights off. I guessed you didnt see me when you went through to the kitchen. Otherwise, you wouldnt have said what you did.

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Lia swallowed hard. Shed said some unkind things about him. True, but unkind all the same. You heard? Yes. Her and her big mouth. What are you going to do? she asked nervously, fearing the punishment he may administer for her disrespectful talk. Jake tapped a finger against his lips in quiet contemplation as he watched her squirm. His eyes penetrated her from head to toe, making an intense shiver travel down her spine. Nothing for now. Oh? Her brows knitted together. I thought you might want to discipline me. Im minded to, princess, but Im feeling benevolent at the moment. Jake patted the empty seat beside him. Come over here, Lia. We need to talk. Slightly wary, she walked across and joined him on the leather sofa. Talk? What do you want to talk about, Jake? Cant it wait? Its four in the morning. This million bucks you owe me. Lia felt her shoulders stiffen. Oh, that again, she said in a derisory tone. I know all about the money, Jake. Ill pay you back as soon as I have the check from the house sale. You know that. Thats precisely the reaction I was afraid of I cant do any more until then. Im Jake placed a hand on her arm. If youll just let me speak, Lia. I think I may have the solution. We already know what the solution is, Jake. I pay you the money, and then we go our separate Lia, for fucks sake, stop talking. His eyes held hers, a piercing stare. If you interrupt me again, Ill put you across my knee and give you a bare ass spanking right this minute. The idea of Jake administering a bare ass spanking made her squirm on the sofa. He was incredibly strong, and his hands were large.

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Why, Lia, I do believe youd like me to spank you. She petulantly folded her arms across her chest, and slumped back in the sofa. As she looked at him, she raised her eyebrows. Youre mistaken. Jake grinned. No, Im not. He shook his head in irritation. But thats beside the point. Ive decided to forget about the money, and I want you to do the same. You mean you dont want it back? She found it hard to believe what he was saying. Surely there had to be a catch? No. Listen, princess. Im a gambling man, and life is all about chance. So Im gonna lay my cards on the table. He stroked a hand down the side of her face, and possessively tucked a stray hair behind her ear. I like you, Lia. Truth be known I more than like you, yet Ive put you in this impossible situation. The money will always come between us. Therefore, Im writing it off. She opened her mouth to speak, but he placed the tip of his index finger to her lips. Shhh, Im sorry Ive put you in this situation. I dont want to force you to be with me, but by using the money as a bargaining tool, thats exactly what Ive done. So, when I leave for work in a couple of hours time, you have a decision to make. Stay or leave, its entirely up to you. Id like you to stay because you want to. Youre right, princess. Ive got an attitude problem all right, and need to learn how to treat a lady, he quoted the exact words shed used when she hadnt realized he was there. So all your talk about having me arrested. That was just a bluff, right? Jake gently stroked the side of her face. When I saw you at the airport ready to fly to Florida, I knew I had to do something. I wanted to be with you. So I acted irrationally and selfishly by using the money to make you come back with me. Lia could certainly understand his motivation, even if she couldnt condone his method. Sometimes, snap decisions had to be made. She guessed Jakes personality had spurred him into action. After all he

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was a gambling man. His cool blue eyes held hers. She felt their connection tenfold. Christ, he wants me. This beautiful guy sitting beside me actually wants me. He doesnt care about the money. How wonderful is that? But I waited for you, Jake. When you didnt call I thought I know, I know, princess. Ive been a selfish prick and Im sorry, but I had to work everything through first. Things were complicated. I couldnt get you out of my head. Everything about you drove me crazy, princess. Your eyes, your hair, the way you smell. Everything. Its because of you that I managed to return here at all. Ive been living in limbo for three years. Thats no life for a man like Jake Benetti. I want another chance at love, Lia, but only if you want it, too. I dont want to force you to be here against your will. And from what you were mumbling out in the kitchen, thats exactly how you feel. Now she felt guilty. He wanted to move on. He wanted a new start in life and she did, too. Jake, Im sorry you overheard me talking, but thats all it was, talk. I guess I felt trapped, especially as I didnt know what you wanted from me. But lets be honest, you cant just write off a million bucks. The moneys not important, Lia. Whats important is a fresh chance, at a new relationship. Think of it this way. Your father lost twice that amount over the years at the tables. I really think Ive had every dime owed me. Jake, I dont know what to say. I Dont say anything just yet. He held her hands in his, before gently kissing her lips. Were on the same wavelength, Lia. You must know that. We have the same sexual tastes, and we connect on an emotional level, too. Weve both lost someone we loved, so we understand grief better than just about anyone. We each know how the other feels, princess. He pulled her into his arms and she snuggled against his bare chest. Lets leave it as an open invitation, Lia. That way theres no pressure. He stroked his fingers through her

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hair, soothing her senses as she listened to his steady, comforting heartbeat. The odds of you still being here when I return home tonight are fifty-fifty. Those are exactly my kinda odds.

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Chapter Twenty
The powerful headlights of the Mustang guided Jake back up the winding ridge road to the house hed once loved. A house he could love again if Lia were to share it with him. Throughout the day at the casino, his thoughts kept returning to her. Would she still be there when he finally walked through the front door? He hoped more than anything else in the world that she would. Finally, he turned the car onto the gravel driveway and killed the lights. His heart sunk as he stared at his home. Not a single interior light showed. There was no indication whatsoever of life. Was Lia inside? One thought alone kept him positive. Perhaps she was enjoying the night view of Vegas from the living area. Maybe that was why the place was in total darkness. He slid from the car and strode to the front door. When he stepped over the threshold, the alarm began to sound. In that instant he knew she wasnt there. It was a bitter blow to find shed left, and his heart broke. Like a wild, untamed bird, as soon as she could, shed fled the nest. The only consolation was hed set her free himself. As he wandered aimlessly around the large, silent rooms, he could only blame himself. Hed acted badly toward her, and even his words of affection early this morning hadnt convinced her to stay. Jake thought of all the wonderful things that hed wanted to share with her. All the plans hed been making were now of no importance. Lia had set him free from the shackles of his past, but she clearly didnt want to be involved in his future.

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His life lay empty before him. Long, lonely days stretched into infinity. All he had left was work, but that wasnt enough to keep body and soul together. He walked into the master suite. There was nothing of hers left in the room. Her clothes and personal effects had gone. There was not even a note to say good-bye. Jake sat on a chair and pulled off his boots. He tossed them carelessly aside and then began removing the rest of his clothes. Hed have a shower and then prepare himself a TV dinner. Life fucking sucks. Boy, oh boy, he murmured out loud. He shook his head, reluctantly smiling at the irony of it all. Perhaps hed misjudged Lia after all. He shook his head again. Hed been convinced they were on the same wavelength, but she obviously didnt think so. How he longed to see her beautiful smiling face again. The odds of her staying had been fifty-fifty. Early this morning when hed spoken with her, he would have laid bets on her being here when he got home. It just went to show how unpredictable women were. Jake turned on the shower and stepped under the fast-flowing water. He chose a colder setting than normal to clear his head. After five minutes of enduring the agonizingly cold torrent, he toweled himself dry, and changed into some casual clothes. Guess Im eating alone, he murmured dejectedly at his reflection in the mirror. He ran his hand through his damp hair and grimaced. Serves you right, prick. You tried to force the lady to be with you, when she clearly didnt want to. Jake entered the kitchen, and began rummaging through the freezer, trying to find something to eat. He wasnt remotely hungry. Everything looked unappetizing, especially with the knowledge that he would be eating alone. In the end, he pulled out a pepperoni pizza.

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Not the haute cuisine he was used to eating in the casino restaurant, but something he could at least manage to prepare for himself. Just as he was about to close the freezer door, a shadow fell across him. When he peered over his shoulder, Lia stood just a few feet from him. A look of pure surprise must have been etched on his face, because the blood froze in his veins. Lia! She wore a long white robe buttoned up at the front and a pair of gold sandals. Hed never seen such a vision of feminine beauty. Lia hadnt left him. She wanted to be with him. His heart soared. Shed stayed because she wanted to share her life with him. His gaze slowly drifted down her gorgeous body and the thin material covering it. Her breasts rose and fell enticingly, and her nipples were hard and protruded. Like only a woman could, shed deliberately hidden from him to make her entrance far more dramatic. He could tell from her breathing that she was as horny as hell. If it pleases you, Sir, I have already prepared you something to eat. Come here, slave. Jake closed the freezer door and leaned back against it. He stared into her beautiful green eyes, losing himself in their multicolored depths. When she was within reach he stroked his hand up her arm, feeling the tiny tremors that racked through her body. It made him want her even more. He cupped her chin and angled her face to his. He kissed her lips, pressing his body against hers, letting her feel his hard cock straining between them. He cupped her buttocks, lifting her slightly, and forcing her pussy against his erect prick. The way she clung to his shoulders and her breathy cries sent even more blood pulsing to his groin. You minx, he whispered against her ear as he threaded his fingers in to her silky blonde hair. You wanted me to think you werent here. Youre such a naughty, naughty girl. This deception cant go unpunished. He grazed his lips against her forehead,

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reveling in her womanly scent. She intoxicated him. He breathed deeply, savoring the moment. Do I please you, Sir? Her breathy words made him want to be inside her. Oh, yes, you please me. He loved it when she was submissive. He stared down into her eyes. Your presence pleases me, slave, but you are late. Lateness will not be tolerated, and must be disciplined. Now go to the bedroom and wait for me there. He watched her hurry from the kitchen. I will be along shortly, he called after her. Yes, Sir, thank you, Sir. When he was left alone, he selected a decent champagne from his collection. He placed it in the refrigerator. Later, they would celebrate their new life together, but first, Lia required a little correction from her Master. It was something they both needed in their lives to feel truly complete. At the top of the stairs, Jake entered his secret lair. The place where he kept all his implements of sexual desire and torture. He carefully selected several items that would enhance their evening together. As he entered the bedroom, he stripped off his T-shirt, and cast it to the floor. Lia sat on the bed, looking a little wary. Her fantasies may have fuelled the desire for his punishment, but now that it was actually about to happen, it was different matter entirely. Take off your robe, slave, he ordered her. She complied immediately and without question. That simple act of submission turned him on even more, making his cock strain against his pants. When she was completely naked and standing in front of him, he spoke. You must understand that deceiving your Master is not acceptable. Yes, Sir, Im sorry, Sir. It wont happen again. You led me to believe that youd left your Master for good, and that made me very unhappy.

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I couldnt leave you, Sir. Im sorry I upset you, but I wanted it to be a surprise. His heart embraced the words that spilled from her lips, and his spirit soared. It was certainly that, my slave, but you realize you cant go unpunished? Yes, Sir. Jake sat on the bed. Now lie across my knees. Im going to give you a bare ass spanking for deceiving me. Lia did as he demanded, lying across his thighs, her bare butt lifted high in the air, her head almost touching the floor. He placed his left arm around her waist and secured her legs to the floor with his own. He palmed a hand over her beautiful, peachy ass. Its a shame your Master has to redden such sexy, creamy globes, but you know you deserve it. Yes, Sir, I deserve it, Sir. He raised his right hand and noisily spanked her bare butt hard, six times in quick succession, never once hitting the same spot twice. Are you sorry, my slave? Please, Sir, it hurts, Sir. Its meant to, otherwise it would serve no purpose. Such a juicy ass, my slave. Ripe and pristine. He gently squeezed her flesh, then smoothed his hand over her reddened cheeks. He felt the heat rising beneath his fingers. I take it youve had anal sex before? he asked. Not recently, Sir. Her voice trembled. I didnt like it much, Sir. I think we can reintroduce you to it, dont you? Yes, Sir, thank you, Sir. Jake raised the tempo, delivering spank after spank to her beautiful ass. The noise reverberated around the bedroom, mixed with her whimpers of enjoyment. To feel her squirm on his lap from sexual frustration made his pulse race. His cock pushed hard against her stomach as she lay writhing across his thighs.

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He smoothed his hand over her reddened ass once more, caressing and comforting the tender flesh with his fingers and thumb. Pushing a hand between her legs, he slipped a finger into her aroused cunt. Your pussy is so wet. Is my slave having naughty thoughts? Oh, Sir, please, Sir. What is it, slave? I feel so horny, Sir. He looked down into her face. Her cheeks glowed bright pink. Tears ran from her eyes and dripped unchecked onto the floor. He loved this power play. It turned him on. Lia knew what excited him, and she would deliver it now. Im begging you, Sir. Her words filled him with immeasurable pleasure. His cock strengthened with a need to be inside her. Very well, my slave. I know exactly what you need.

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Chapter Twenty-One
Lias heart beat rapidly as Jake moved her to the bed. Scoot into the middle and lie on your back, she heard him say from behind her. His hand caressed her stinging butt until she moved out of reach. Jake certainly knew how to deliver a little punishment, leaving her begging for more. The spanking had made her severely aroused. Her pussy burned with desire. She was so hot for him, she could barely stop herself from squirming. When shed surprised him in the kitchen, she hadnt quite known what to expect. Shed seen the look of relief and pleasure in his eyes. She knew then that he wanted her, desired her. Originally, shed intended to greet him at the door, but that wouldnt have been so exciting. Apart from teaching him that he couldnt take her for granted, shed wanted to make a grand entrance. Shed been hiding inside the cloakroom. Peeping through a crack in the door, shed had a perfect view of the entrance lobby. When Jake had stepped into the hallway, and the alarm sounded, hed looked genuinely saddened by her absence. At that moment shed known what hed said to her the night before had been the truth. Jake thought they shared a connection on so many levels, and had a real chance of love. And she did, too. Thats why shed stayed. As she lay on her back in the middle of the bed, she couldnt help staring at Jakes masculine torso. He looked so damned sexy standing beside her. His well-defined chest muscles and honed stomach drew her attention. His hair, still damp from a recent shower, fell disheveled about his forehead.

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He tossed several items onto the mattress beside her, giving her a clear view of each and every one. When hed mentioned anal sex, she thought he might be teasing her, checking out her preferences, but she could tell by the lube and the pack of condoms lying next to her that he was deadly serious. A whimper left her lips when he thrust a dildo into her hand. Feel this. She saw the faint smile on his face. Sir, I He placed a finger to her lips. Do not speak without my permission, slave, not unless you wish me to discipline you again. You are merely my plaything to do with as I wish. Understood? Yes, Sir. Lias stomach twisted into knots of sexual desire. She loved being controlled. It gave her the freedom to enjoy sex. Her pussy burned with longing, and she couldnt help but writhe on the bed in anticipation. I see my slave is real horny tonight. Sir, I cant help it, Sir. Jake leaned down and palmed his hands over her breasts, rolling her straining peaks, until they pulsed with need. Her whole body responded to his touch, lifting and undulating toward him. He flicked his tongue over her aroused nipples, and sucked them hard, occasionally nipping them with his teeth. All the time, he slowly massaged her stomach in sexy, concentric circles. A cry of frustration left her lips as he skimmed a finger over her clitoris, and suddenly moved away. Mmm, I think you enjoyed that spanking. Jake removed the rest of his clothes and then joined her on the bed. He grabbed hold of her ankles and started lifting them. He roughly pushed her legs backward, until her ankles lay either side of her ears. Her ass and pussy lifted from the bed for his intimate approval. Jake held her legs in position by placing a strong forearm

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across them. He ran his other hand over her fully exposed buttocks, then trailed a finger into her pussy lips. Mmm, so aroused, my slave. You can hide nothing from your Master in this position. Ive got you exactly where I want you. Jake took the jelly dildo from her hand and waved it in front of her. It quivered and flexed before her eyes. What do you say, my slave? Thank you, Sir. He trailed the tip of the dildo across her clitoris, making her writhe and moan. Just one thing, slave. You cannot orgasm without my permission. You will be severely punished if you do. But, Sir, I Shhh, you will do as I demand. No sooner had he finished speaking than he pushed the head of the dildo inside her vagina. Lia gasped, squirming involuntarily as it slowly filled her. She felt her orgasm building, building, building. How could she deny what her body craved? A cry left her lips as Jake worked it fully inside her. With her legs folded backward, she was entirely at his mercy. She couldnt move. All she could do was feel. He changed the angle of penetration, lining the sex toy up with her Gspot. The fingers of his other hand caressed her clitoral piercing, stimulating her further. Unable to stop herself, and on the brink of climaxing, she panted helplessly. A burning pain began building inside her. Sir, please, Sir. Wait. He pumped the dildo inside her several more times. As she held back her orgasm, the pain intensified in her pussy. Oh, Sir, I cant. Wait. Sir, no, she screamed. Had he no mercy? Wait. Tears streamed down her cheeks, and she bit her bottom lip. When Jake looked at her, tenderness showed in his eyes. Maybe he had a benevolent side after all. Please, Sir.

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Come for me, slave. Come for me. Relief flooded through her. A series of convulsions pulsed through her body as he finally allowed her to climax. Her head tipped back, her eyes closed, and a long sexual whimper tore from her lips as the monumental force of her orgasm took hold. He leaned down and kissed her. Her mouth was open, and he sucked the panting breath that hissed from her parted lips. What do you say? For a few seconds she couldnt catch her breath. Eventually she haltingly said, ThankyouSir. He smiled. Im pleased that my sub experiences such pleasure. With the dildo still filling her pussy, Jake administered a large dollop of cold lube to her fully exposed anus. He began smoothing it around the edge of her puckered hole. The sensation felt exquisite, especially after her recent orgasm. Look at me? he whispered, caressing her anus. When she did as he asked, he spoke again. You belong to me now. With their eyes connecting, he pressed a lubed finger deep inside her ass. An involuntary whimper escaped her mouth, and she bit down on her lower lip. More convulsions throbbed in her pussy and anus. The whole idea of Jake penetrating her butt hole turned her on. It was such a forbidden part of her anatomy that it felt highly erotic as he speared two, and then three lubed fingers inside her ass. Still staring into her eyes, he watched every subtle movement on her face. Lia could deny him nothing. Giving Jake exactly what he desired pleased her as much as it pleased him. He continued working his fingers inside her butt hole until her sphincter muscles finally surrendered their grasp, and she was properly relaxed. Jake wiped the lube from his fingers on a towel and then began rolling a condom down his shaft. He moved to a kneeling position, then smoothed his hands over her butt. Such a beautiful ass. I shall claim it as mine. Whose ass is this? Yours, Sir.

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To do with as I please? To do with as you please, Sir. Then he guided his cock to her puckered hole. She felt it straining at her back entrance as he leaned over her folded legs and placed a hand either side of her head. He dipped down and kissed her lips. He totally dominated her. Im so glad you stayed, he whispered against her ear. His mouth brushed her cheek as his cock pressed against her butt hole. He smiled down into her eyes, and then kissed her long and hard. Jake grabbed the mahogany barley twists of the headboard and used them to hold his weight from her. His presence seemed to envelop her, surround her. Lia did the same, mirroring his movements by clutching the barley twists below his hands. Then she spread her legs wider, offering herself to him unconditionally. Her head tipped back as his cock slowly slid inside her butt. Dear heaven above, the sensation was exquisite. The dildo that still filled her pussy only added to her pleasure. Her fingers squeezed the barley twists even tighter, and she let out a gasp of enjoyment. Each time he thrust inside her, his rippling stomach made contact with her clit ring and the dildo, stimulating her further. Her breasts jiggled with each movement he made. Her lips parted and she stared into his eyes. So ice blue, yet so warm and friendly. She smiled back, aware that theyd crossed into something more than just sex. It was an understanding, a deeper knowledge and connection of who they were and what they shared. Jake, she whispered, continuing to gaze at him. Im so glad I stayed, too. Theyd only known each other a short amount of time, but her words were heartfelt and had just tumbled from her lips. Shed always thought her soul mate had been Joe, but she now had a second chance at love. Her heart swelled with joy at the look of affection reflected in his eyes.

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Youre beautiful, he whispered as he repeatedly speared her ass with his cock. He dipped down, his shoulder muscles flexing as he kissed her lips. Joy filled her heart. All the agony of the past seemed to slip away. She reached out and stroked her hand down the side of his face. Jake turned his head and tenderly kissed her palm. Everything slotted into place now. Shed finally found a man she wanted to share the rest of her life with. Was that even possible? A few months ago she would have said no, but now she knew different. His cool blue eyes held hers. You look so vulnerable, Lia. You look so masterful, Sir. Then we have made the right decision. He kissed her again, only more forcefully, filling her butt with his hard prick once more. Lia squirmed and writhed with the exquisite sensation. She was aware of perspiration dripping between their bodies, making them stick together, connect with each other. Her breasts rose and fell uncontrollably as a contraction began to tighten in her womb. It twisted and convulsed until a spasm was released from her pussy. Her whole body seemed to pulse and vibrate. Jakes cock felt huge as her butt gripped him more tightly. Jake. A whole new raft of sexual pleasure opened up to her as an unrelenting series of beautiful, wonderful spasms flooded her pussy and anus. The mixture of sensations verged on pain, and she cried out. Jake, Sir. She sensed he was very close to ejaculating as the longest orgasm shed ever experienced continued to crash through. She held his face in her hands as it contorted with the sheer pleasure as he jerked his seed deep inside her ass. Still keeping his weight from her, he rested his forehead on hers. They lay exhausted, their breathing heavy. Wow. She giggled. Thank you, Sir.

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Jake caressed her mouth with a quick kiss, and then withdrew from her. When he moved to the side, she unfolded her legs. He tossed the condom aside and then pulled her into his arms. He kissed her forehead. Thank you, princess. Weve just shared something very special. I never thought Id get a second chance at love, Lia, he said, echoing her thoughts. But you and I are made for each other.

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Chapter Twenty-Two
Jake held her in his arms, savoring the moment. Curiosity getting the better of him, he asked, Where were you hiding, when I came home from work? In the cloakroom. It figures. I should have looked in there, and youhe playfully tapped a finger to her cute button noseshould have revealed yourself straightaway. I was going to burst out and surprise you, but you were so arrogant at the airport. I thought Id teach you a lesson, she teased. Jake pulled a hand across his face and chuckled. Yeah, I guess I deserved it. I was an arrogant prick. Yes, you were. I really think you should apologize. Her lips pouted petulantly as she spoke. He pointed to his chest. You want me to apologize? he said with mock outrage. Jake shook his head. Trust a woman to turn around an argument. Im waiting, Mr. Big Casino Boss. Jake rolled on top of her. Lia giggled as he grabbed her wrists and held them above her head. He flexed his hips, nestling his still-hard cock against her vaginal entrance. He smiled into her eyes. You need to understand whos the boss in this relationship, princess. Go on, I dare you to ask me to apologize again. He laughed. Oh, no, I think Id be in big trouble if I did that, she said breathlessly.

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You will. You most definitely will. Jake brushed the hair from her eyes. He looked earnestly at her. He wanted them to have a new start. I meant what I said, Lia. I want you to live here, with me. I know we can make it work. He kissed her passionately, enjoying the soft, sensitive flesh of her lips. Her beautiful, long lashes slowly closed and caressed her cheeks, and she kissed him back. When she opened her eyes, she smiled at him. I feel the same way, too, but I need to have purpose in my life. I need to work, Jake. What about your old job at the fitness center? Jake rolled off her and pulled her into his arms again, enjoying the contact where their naked bodies touched. Her skin was so soft and womanly. Are you kidding? I was on final warning after arriving late two days in a row. Which, I might add, was all your fault. My fault? He felt his brows draw together. Yeah, dont look so surprised. Okay, its all my fault, if you say so. I do. Brad wouldnt have me working for him again, even if I were the last woman on earth. We never did see eye to eye. He was glad to see the back of me when he found out I was gonna work on a cruise ship. Now he sounds like an arrogant prick. He laughed. So why not work for yourself, princess? I was thinking of you owning your own fitness center. You want to be at the top of the food chain, Lia. Not at the bottom. How am I going to do that? The cost of real estate round Vegas is astronomical. I could always let you have some space at Arabian Nights. There are two large function rooms that are never used. Ive been meaning to rent them out myself, but never seem to get round to it. You can have them rent-free if you want. But if your pride gets in the way, you can pay the going rate with the money you get from the sale of your parents house. I take it youve still got some of the fifty thousand bucks I gave you?

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Lia lifted her head off his shoulder and looked at him. If you mean the casino chips, then the answer is no. I didnt take them. Her eyes held his. I dropped them in your vase. She laughed out loud. Theyre still there unless your cleaner has cashed them in, and suddenly gone on a long vacation. Lia playfully poked his chest, a sensual smile to her lips. You thought Id taken the money, didnt you? He went to speak, but she interrupted him. You did, dont deny it. Ill tell you something else, too. If you hadnt ripped the dress from my body, I wouldnt have taken the designer one you replaced it with, either. Becoming slightly more serious, she said, I cant be bought, Jake. Im not that kinda girl. It seems Ive misjudged you once too often, princess. I owe you an apology, Lia. I hope you will forgive me, yet again. She laughed. Of course I forgive you. I find it impossible to be angry with you for more than a few seconds. She kissed his cheek. I guess Im a sucker for a handsome face. Lia stroked her hand over his chest. Jake, I like the idea of being my own boss, and running my own fitness center, especially as it would be situated right in the heart of your hotel complex. It means we could be together more often. Thats sorted then, princess. He kissed her again. Ill look into it for you and get my attorney to draw up the paperwork. Jake tenderly squeezed her shoulder. I have a bottle of Met Chandon on ice. Ill go and get it. We may as well celebrate in style. Ill come with you. I havent eaten all day and Im starving. There are some chalupas and enchiladas in the refrigerator. Ive only gotta pop them under the grill. Did you say chalupas? Yes, Ive made some sour cream and potato chip sides, too. He grinned at her. Well, what are you waiting for, woman. Lets go downstairs. I havent felt this hungry in years. He tickled her armpits mercilessly.

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No, Jake, no, no, no, she squealed with laughter. I cant stand it, I tell you. I cant stand being tickled. Desperate to get away from his torment, she leapt from the bed, and wrapped a white robe around herself. Jake pulled on his sweatpants, and then held out his hand as he opened the bedroom door. Come on, princess. Lets get you fed and watered. It had been a long time since hed felt this good. When Lia placed her hand in his, he knew life couldnt get much better. Soon the emotional trauma theyd both endured would be nothing more than a distant memory. A bright, happy future stretched out before him nowa future which included Lia. Laughter echoed down the hallway as they ran hand in hand like a couple of teenagers, toward the kitchen. Maybe it was just the wind blowing through the eaves, but the house seemed to breathe a sigh of relief. When Lia stumbled, he joked, What would you do if I wasnt here to look after you? I cant help it. I feel so deliriously happy, Jake. Me, too. He leaned down and kissed her lips, then scooped her into his arms. Lia responded by threading her hands around his neck, and resting her head on his shoulder. As he carried her down the stairs, Jake felt whole again. He actually felt like hed been reborn.

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Chapter Twenty-Three
One month later Lia stood in the expansive garden of Jakes fabulous Summerlin house, and gazed at the horizon. The views were simply stunning. Miles and miles of breathtaking Nevada desert stretched out into the distance in swathes of shimmering purple and gold. The hot breeze brushed through her hair, making her feel happy and carefree. Palm trees and shrubbery swayed gently all around her. She breathed in, contented with her new life. She and Jake spent half their time living at his penthouse apartment in Vegas, and the other half living in this beautiful house. Lia much preferred the Summerlin property. It was far more discreet, being well away from the hustle and bustle of the casino. An almost magical atmosphere seemed to transcend the place. It was just the two of them, totally engrossed in each other. Her decision to stay with Jake had been a good one. Their relationship had gone from strength to strength. She knew shed fallen hopelessly in love with him. She smiled. Whod have thought love would blossom on that day? The day she was marched unceremoniously into his office by Juno and Moose. Crazy thing, she really loved those guys now. Jake had been an arrogant prick, and shed taken pleasure in telling him so. She smiled again. She still wondered how hed kept his cool. A cloud of dust drew her attention as it billowed in the distance. Lia lifted a hand to her forehead to shield her eyes from the overhead sun. She squinted, barely able to make out the fast approaching

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vehicle through the Nevada heat haze. It was Jakes black Mustang flat out along the ridge road. It looked like he couldnt wait to get home. Lia turned around and headed inside. She always loved it when Jake returned, because she never knew what to expect. Sometimes he would be informal, and theyd just sit and chat over an intimate dinner, and a bottle or two of fine wine. Other times he would be in full Dom mode. Thats when his dominant side would be unleashed in all its glory. Then, hed immediately bend her over the nearest sofa and thrust into her like a man possessed. Or hed shackle her to the bed and have his wicked way with her. On several occasions hed wanted her to take care of his needs. Thats when hed stand there waiting for her to sink to her knees and take his huge cock into her mouth. There was nothing she wouldnt do to please her new Master, and swirling her tongue over his engorged prick was an act she relished. Quickly, she descended the stairs, and a smile spread on her lips as she hastily tied her white robe around herself. What delights lay in store for her tonight? Sex with Jake was simply out of this world. She ran the last few yards, making sure she was there when he came through the door. With bated breath, she heard the key turn in the lock, and the unmistakable sound as he came into the entrance hall. In submissive mode, Lia walked barefoot toward him. As a mark of respect, she bowed her head. Sir, I am at your command. Is there anything you desire? The breath hitched in her throat. As she glanced down her body, she watched her breasts rapidly rise and fall. Her nipples had hardened into prominent peaks, and jutted noticeably through the flimsy silk gown, betraying her inner state of mind. Jake reached out and cupped her chin, angling her face so her gaze would meet his own. The intensity in his blue eyes mesmerized her. You have pleased me once again, slave. I have some important

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papers I need to complete for the board meeting tomorrow. Come to my office in ten minutes with a cool beer. I want you at my disposal. Yes, Sir. Lias heart beat rapidly as he strode away. She knew he had something planned for her. By prolonging the event it only added to the effect. On tenterhooks, Lia paced the ground floor. After ten minutes, she removed an ice-cold Bud from the refrigerator, and made her way to his office. It was on the second level of the house and nestled at the end of a long corridor. She gently tapped the door. Jakes sexy voice boomed from inside, Enter. When she entered the room, he was sitting in his executive leather chair. He was busily sifting through a pile of papers that were scattered across his desk. He looked up as she drew close. His eyes were hot and burned brightly. He motioned with his hand. Come closer, my slave. Lia did as he commanded, standing obediently before him. She handed him the ice-cold Bud. Thank you. Jake took a swig from the bottle, before staring intensely at her for a long time. Now disrobe, my slave. I want to see what belongs to me. He lounged back in his chair, totally at ease with himself. Confidence seemed to ooze from every pore in his body. Lia slowly pulled the robe from her shoulders, letting it slip seductively to the floor. She loved the way his eyes devoured her from head to toe, sweeping over her body in one fluid movement. It made her feel wanted and desired. Jake took another swig of beer. He lifted his chin and undid the top two buttons on his shirt, easing the collar loose. All the time his eyes held hers. Move around to my side of the desk. Yes, Sir. She moved closer to him, staring directly into his eyes. Now turn around and spread yourself across the desk, face down.

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In total submission, and with her heart beating rapidly, Lia turned and began pushing the documents on his desk to one side. His gruff voice barked from behind her, halting her movements. Did I give you permission to move those? No, Sir. Im sorry, Sir. Then put them back as they were. She quickly returned the documents to their original positions, before spreading herself across the mahogany desk. When she couldnt stretch any further, she curled her fingers around the edge, anchoring herself into position. The papers lay trapped beneath her stomach and breasts. Now listen to me, my slave. Jake began slowly caressing her thighs. He spread her legs wide apart using his feet. You are not to make a sound. Understand? Yes, Sir, she answered breathily, trembling from his sensual touch. The slightest sound, and I will punish you severely. Lia loved being at his mercy. She closed her eyes and concentrated on her breathing, wondering what he would do next. She jolted when she felt the ice-cold bottle of Bud between her shoulder blades. Thank God she managed to keep quiet. He whispered in her ear, Shhh, not a sound. Jake slowly trailed the ice-cold bottle down the length of her spine. She knew he would try his utmost to make her speak or moan. This time she was determined to keep quiet. It was her duty as his slave to make him work for her punishment. It was what turned them both on.

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Chapter Twenty-Four
Jake allowed himself a moment to admire Lias compliant body. She was so achingly beautiful. Her sylphlike form lay seductively draped across his desk. He set the Bud down, and then leaned over and whispered in her ear, Remember, just one little sound and there will be serious consequences. He smiled. They were a match made in heaven. In just the short time theyd known each other, hed found they were compatible on every levelintellectually, physically, emotionally, politically, and sexually. He knew Lia wouldnt give in too easily. Yeah, she knew exactly what made him tick. Her complete surrender was his aphrodisiac, and shed make him earn it. He cast his shirt aside, and then removed the rest of his clothes. His cock stood to attention. Hard and throbbing, the purple head wept his arousal. He smoothed his hands over her flawless back, enjoying the silken feel of her skin. Then slowly, very slowly, he traced his fingers down her arms, pressing himself lower and lower as he stretched across her naked back. He clasped his hands tightly around her wrists. He could hear her inhale and exhale, but no sound passed her lips. He nuzzled her neck, breathing in her perfume, enjoying her soft, feminine skin caressing his own where it touched. I think my slave has gone mute. She must be very, very afraid of the punishment I have lined up for her. Jake positioned his cock between her pussy lips, and slowly sunk inside her. He closed his eyes, reveling in the wonderful feeling of her tight, wet cunt wrapped so deliciously around his throbbing shaft.

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He knew she wanted to speak, and tell him how lovely he felt deep inside her. She remained quiet, except for her accelerated breathing. He felt the tremors racking through her pussy as she fought to stay in control. If it came down to a battle of wills, he would emerge the victor. It was his duty as a Dom to gain her submission. Jake continued sliding his prick deep inside her tight, wet channel. He marveled at the amount of natural lubrication an aroused woman could produce. To have found a partner who fitted so perfectly into his life made him high on endorphins, and he thanked his lucky stars their paths had crossed. At that precise moment, he knew he loved Lia more than life itself. He couldnt resist twisting his fingers into her gorgeous honeyblonde hair. Gently gathering it in his fist, he pulled on her golden mane. Her head lifted slightly, and he gradually raised her upper body from the desk, until her arms were pulled taut and her elbows locked out. Jake knew Lias new position would cause her clitoris to come into contact with the edge of his desk, stimulating her further. He figured it wouldnt be long before she gave him exactly what he desired. Using his other hand, he massaged her enlarged nipples between a finger and thumb. He continued to pound his meat inside her, almost withdrawing completely, before burying himself to the hilt once more, with one powerful lunge after another. It was time to take things further. Slaves like you need taming. They need bringing into line for their own good. He roughly brushed his thumb across her beautiful, full lips, smearing her bright red lipstick. Youre so fucking sexy, my slave. Jake let her hair go before sliding open a drawer in his desk. I have something for you. I think youll approve. He removed a riding crop, and held it out in front of her. Look, my slave, see how thoughtful your Master is. The riding crop was about eighteen inches in length and made of leather. A small flexible tongue was attached to

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the end. He swished it noisily in front of her, making her head jerk backward. This is how I train wayward slaves. I spank them with this. Do you want to know where Ill spank you? Jake smiled to himself when Lia didnt answer. Hed given her a dilemma. If shed replied, she would have broken his rule on keeping quiet. I know it seems unfair, but by being disrespectful and not responding to your Masters question, I shall have to discipline you even more severely. Still deep inside her, Jake eased them both away from the desk. He reached around and lifted her clitoral hood, exposing her hidden sexual pearl. When he placed the tip of the riding crop against her glistening bead, he was rewarded by a jolt that racked through her body. Please, Sir, may I speak, Sir? You may. It feels so nice, Sir. I dont deserve such kindness. Your Master is feeling benevolent. He tapped the riding crop against her exposed sex again. I was minded to redden your cute little ass with this crop, but on second thoughts I aim to administer exactly what you need. Right now. Jake moved his hand, leaving her pussy open to his discipline. He then wrapped his arm firmly around her waist, holding her steady. In quick succession, he slapped her sexual nub several times with the riding crop, being careful not to whip too hard. Small cries began leaving her lips. Please, Sir, I The slaps to her clitoris would hold back her orgasm. But, boy, when she eventually climaxed, he knew from previous experience that her orgasm would be mind blowing. Finding a perfect rhythm, he administered the crop to her clit in synch with his lunges, making her buck and writhe beneath him. He felt her tremors squeezing his shaft. Judging by her sexual moans, he knew she was enjoying his discipline. Each time the leather tip of the

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crop came into contact with her clit, she reared back, and a series of whimpers left her lips. With her breathing heavy, powerful spasms racked through her pussy, and pulsed pleasurably around his cock. Oh, Sir, Im begging you, harder, harder. Yes, my slave. Youre just like a wild filly. You need bringing into line. Your Master is always in charge. Lia loved being at his mercy. He whipped the crop harder against her sexual core. The sound of leather connecting with her engorged flesh, and her whimpers of submission, made him feel powerful and alive. I needpleaseharder Her words trailed away. Jake raised the pace, whipping the crop more firmly against her clit. Incoherent moans began spilling from her beautiful, sexy lips. Her pussy clamped hard around his dick, trying to suck the contents from his balls. Sensing she was close, he pounded his length harder and faster inside her. Her cries of pleasure and pain became whimpers of pure sexual enjoyment as her orgasm finally shattered through. Spasm after spasm vibrated through her pussy, teasing his potent shaft. He pumped energetically inside her, until he finally climaxed with a loud, guttural groan. He dropped the crop and held her tightly in his arms, aware of his own body jerking involuntarily, as his semen spilled deep inside her. For what seemed a long time, they lay joined together, completely exhausted. Hed shared something wonderful with the woman he lovedboth physically and emotionally. He gently removed his weight from her back. His breathing was heavy as he withdrew from her. He leaned down and kissed her between the shoulder blades. Never underestimate your Master, slave. I will always administer exactly the punishment you deserve. It is my duty to keep you on the straight and narrow. Lying spent and exhausted across the desk, she barely whispered, I know, and Im grateful. When she lifted herself upright, some of the papers briefly stuck to her breasts and stomach, before fluttering to the floor.

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He held out his arms as he sat heavily in his chair. Come here, please. Lia nestled on his lap, and he wrapped his arms around her as she laid her head against his chest. He began massaging the tired muscles of her shoulders and arms, restoring their circulation. Mmm, thats heavenly. Thats what I like about you, Jake. Youre so unpredictable, yet you always take the time to pamper me after sex. Youre a wonderful man. Jake kissed her forehead. Youre worth it, princess. He placed a finger under her chin and angled her face to meet his gaze. He knew hed fallen in love with her. We share a connection, Lia, an empathy. Between two people who care deeply about each other, thats priceless. You love her. You love this girl more than anything else in the world. Go on, dummy, say the words. After Hannahs death, you of all people should know how fleeting life is. Tell the girl you love her before its too late, and the moment has gone forever. Jake glanced down at her head nestled so comfortably against his chest. Her golden curls feathered his skin. Every so often they tickled his sensitive flesh when she moved. His heart swelled. Nestled safely in his arms lay his future. Gently he stroked a hand down her cheek. I love you, Lia. Ive fallen hopelessly in love with you. With huge eyes, Lia blinked several times as she lifted her head and stared at him. He smoothed a thumb over her full lips and smiled at her. She was so close he could see tiny fragments of turquoise and amber in her wonderful green irises. Tears began spilling down her cheeks, and her top lip trembled when she spoke. I love you, too, Jake. I love you so much it hurts. She hurled herself against him, squeezing him far more tightly than he thought possible for such a small woman. He felt her tears trickle down his naked chest. Why the tears, princess? Shouldnt you be happy?

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She playfully slapped his wrist. I am happy, you big dumb ox, she blurted out, trying to catch her breath. Cant you tell Im the happiest woman in the world? She stared into his eyes before kissing him passionately. His heart swelled at the look of love reflected back at him. Im so happy. I never thought Id find love again, Jake. Me, too, princess. He held her close, blinking quickly, aware of the moisture filling his own eyes. He kissed the top of her head. We have to make the most of every day. We have to live our lives. Lets make a promise to each other. What promise? Live life to the full. Lia smiled. Love and live life to the full. Its the only way. He held her tightly again, never wanting to let her go. After what seemed an eternity she finally pulled away. I must pick up all these documents, Jake. I hope theyre not important? No theyre just financial information for my shareholders. Boring stuff really. I need them for the board meeting tomorrow. Lia snapped her head in his direction. Youre kidding me. But Ive been lying all over them. Jake laughed at the look of surprise on her face. Princess, it will give me immense pleasure as I hand them out. The thought of your naked body lying all over them, while I was inside you, administering a little correction, will give me a warm feeling of satisfaction. I wont give a fuck when they bust my balls at the annual general meeting now. Lia put her head back, and roared with laughter. Im so glad I could help.

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Chapter Twenty-Five
Six months later Lia moved away from the doorway as yet more gym equipment arrived. She checked the box. Treadmills go over by the window. The delivery guy followed her instruction and wheeled the large packing crate to the far side of the room. Eventually, there would be a row of twenty-one treadmills. They were to be positioned in front of the vast bank of windows overlooking the hotel entrance. Customers would be able to enjoy invigorating views of the fountains that pumped enormous jets of water into the air as they ran six miles without moving an inch. At night, when the water display was backlit by multicolored lights, it would be even more impressive. A warm feeling pervaded her senses. She would finally be her own boss. It was an out-of-this-world dream, and something she thought shed never be able to achieve. Of course, it would never have happened without Jakes help. Hed found her over twenty thousand square feet of prime Vegas floor space on the second floor of his hotel. So far shed installed changing rooms, showers, and a sauna. Currently the gym itself was being filled with state-of-the-art equipment. In just seven days the Constantine Fitness Center would open its doors to the public for the very first time. She could barely wait. A couple of young men began unpacking the new equipment as soon as it was in position. She called across to them, Keep up the good work, guys. Only another twenty to go.

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One of the young men spoke. After installing fifteen rowing machines yesterday, and now these, I know Ill be counting treadmills in my sleep. He laughed. Lia smiled, as she walked toward to the bank of elevators. Jake had a guy coming to install CCTV later that day, and she needed to ask him where the cameras would be sited. Hi, Brady, she said to a waiter crossing the lobby area. Hows tricks? Hi, Ms. Constantine, he replied. Things are just fine with me. Lia could tell he was surprised that she knew his name. And how are Jackie and the kids? Theyre real good, too. Thanks for asking. Jake had instilled in her over the past few months that by remembering peoples names, you made them feel special and needed. It was the key to his success, and one she aimed to emulate. She knew the names of many of his employees at Arabian Nights now. Although she would have to remember another two thousand, if she were to have a memory as good as Jakes. Lia entered the elevator and pressed the button. Jakes office was on the tenth floor. When the elevator jerked to a stop and the doors parted, she saw Madeline seated behind her desk in the reception area. A cloud of strawberry-blonde curls bobbed as she looked up from her keyboard. Hi, Madeline. She smiled. Youve just missed him, Lia. Damn. Do you know where hes gone? Madeline, immaculately dressed as always in a plum trouser suit, pointed skywards. To the penthouse. He said he was taking the afternoon off, and I wasnt to disturb him. Not unless it was real urgent. I hope hes not in a bad mood, Madeline. I want to discuss the finishing touches to my fitness center with him.

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Honey, since youve been on the scene, the boss is a changed man. Hes a really lovely guy again. Just like he was in the old days, before Hannah died. Youve made him live again, Lia. Before you and he got together, he was like a bear with a sore head. Boy, did that man need a lesson in manners. Now its like hes been tapped with the happy stick. Whatever youre doing, keep doing it. Its certainly working, honey. Lia felt secretly pleased that Jake had blossomed since hed known her. The man she loved more than life itself obviously wanted their relationship to continue. She walked across the elegant and tastefully decorated reception area and, using the personal passkey that Jake had given her, summoned the private elevator. Guess Ill go up to the penthouse, and see what hes up to. Bye, Madeline. See you, honey. When the elevator doors slid open on the fiftieth floor, she called out, Where are you, Jake? A muffled reply sounded from down the hallway. Im in here, princess. Lia made her way to his private gym. Jake wouldnt be using the Constantine Fitness Center. There was no need. Not when he had a comprehensive selection of exercise equipment installed in the privacy of his own penthouse. He was lying on his back, benchpressing a heavy weighted bar. Masculine sweat dripped down the sides of his face. She guessed by the number of weights, the bar was carrying around four hundred pounds. Naked from the waist up, the muscles of his chest and stomach flexed as he repeatedly raised the barbell, before lowering it to his chest again. She saw his biceps and triceps straining as he pumped the flexing bar several times before finally securing it safely to the stand. Jake always did this to her. Shed been with him for six months now, but just the sight of his masculine body turned her legs to Jell-O. Lia leaned back against the doorway and moistened her lips with the

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tip of her tongue. If Jake were a meal shed want to gobble him up whole. Everything about him turned her on, from his dreamy, crystalblue eyes, to his long fingers and big hands. He could turn her to putty at a moments notice. Their relationship had developed into a deep understanding, and they were barely apart. They brought life to each others fantasies. They confided in each other. They loved each other. Jake grabbed a towel and began wiping the sweat from his chest and arms. His eyes held hers and a knowing smile drifted to his lips. Whats the matter, princess? Youve seen me work out before. His deep voice brushed like soft velvet across her skin, making the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. Her pussy tightened and throbbed with desire at the look he gave her. I know it makes your pussy wet. Feeling mischievous and more than a little naughty, she answered, Huh, call that a workout. A ten-year-old boy could lift more weight than you. Jake smiled at her deliberate jibe. Sometimes she acted like a brat just to get his attentionand boy, did it work. Her breathing accelerated as he looked at her. Is that so, princess? A wicked grin spread on his lips as he rose from the bench and moved toward her. Lia pressed her back against the wall, and closed her eyes. She adored and craved his attention. So what would you suggest I do to turn me into a real man? A girlish squeal left her lips as he suddenly grabbed her wrists and held them high above her head. His still-sweaty body pressed along the length of hershot and exciting. Lia slowly opened her eyes. Her gaze drifted to his sensual lips. She loved him with all her heart. Jake raised a brow. Cat got your tongue? Lia nodded. Sorry, Sir, Im forgetting myself, she answered in submissive mode, hoping he would take the bait and give her what she craved most, a good fucking.

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Jake leaned in and kissed her passionately. He firmly pressed a knee between her legs, forcing them open. When he pulled away she saw the smile still on his lips. His eyes twinkled from the overhead lights. Hmm, I think my slave is trying to top from the bottom. Oh, no, Sir, she answered quickly, sensing her recklessness had achieved the desired effect. Her breathing was fast and shallow. It was just a joke, Sir. Jake cupped her chin and angled her face to his. Too late, slave. I think a little correction is required to show just whos in charge. Dont you? Lia swallowed hard. The look in his eyes made her panties moisten. Yes, Sir. Jake dragged her from the wall by her wrists, and pulled her over to his exercise bench. Now, slave. Lie on there and do exactly what I say. You need to straighten up and fly right. With her legs straddling the twelve-inch-wide bench, she lay back and rested her head against the padded support. Wait here, dont move. Understand? Yes, Sir. He returned a few moments later with a pair of handcuffs. Put your hands together under the workbench, my slave. Lia complied, and Jake immediately secured her wrists together. The satisfying click as the cuffs locked in place only served to excite her further. The top half of her body lay tight against the bench, but her legs were wide open. At least she still had her clothes on, for now. When Jake produced a large hunting knife with a seven-inch blade, Lia knew she was in for an exciting time. Please, Sir, I He placed a finger to her lips. Shhh, my slave. Your Master has not given you permission to speak. Jake smoothed his free hand over her prone body, pressing his fingers through her clothes, making her squirm in response. He massaged her breasts and then lifted her chin with his fingers, so her

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neck was fully exposed and submissive. Molten fire swirled in his eyes. What you have to realize in our relationship is that there is a natural order of things. Only one of us can be in charge, and thats me, my slave. As soon as he finished speaking he roughly grabbed the neckline of her top and began slicing through the material. The hunting knife was so sharp it made quick work of the T-shirt. Lia held her breath as the cold steel tip of the knife made contact with her naked flesh. Her breasts rose and fell rapidly in the tight confines of her bra. The ruined material was brushed aside. Jake leaned down and pulled at her skirt. One long, noisy cut was all that was required to remove it. Down to just her bra and panties, Jake stalked her, circling her, observing her like a predator observed its prey. Excellent. Thats what I like to see. Anticipation and just a little fear in my slaves eyes. He held up the knife in front of her. Im going to trail this formidable weapon all over your naked body, and you are going to lie perfectly still, because that is what I tell you to do. When the glinting blade effortlessly sliced through the shoulder straps of her bra, she felt the cold steel sexily caress her skin. Dont move, or even breathe too deeply. Remember, my slave, this blade is razor sharp. So dont even move a muscle. To finish the effect he cut through the front of her bra, and her breasts bounced free. Jake tugged the skimpy lace from her body, and it fell ruined to the floor, joining the rest of her clothes. Her panties were quickly dispatched, too. They stood no chance against the awesome cutting force of the hunting knife. With her arms handcuffed beneath her, Lia lay naked and exposed on the exercise bench. Her legs straddled the painfully narrow plank, making her feel vulnerable and more than a little scared. Jake walked around in front of her. She could tell he was as aroused as she was. When he looked into her eyes, she saw power and pleasure flooding his veins. Just to make it a little more interesting, Ive decided to blindfold you. Remember, my slave, dont move, or I may accidentally cut you.

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Her breathing was out of control as Jake secured a black silk scarf around her head, covering her eyes. She had every faith in him. She could trust him. She loved him.

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Chapter Twenty-Six
Jake carefully observed Lia for a few moments, enjoying her naked body lying prostrate on the exercise bench. Beautiful, magnificent breasts undulated as her breathing continued to accelerate. With a shapely leg lying either side of the workout bench, he could see every intimate detail of her freshly shaved, baby-smooth pussy. Fuck, he wanted to be inside her, to fill her with his hard shaft. Later, when hed teased her a little more, then hed get his reward. He placed the vicious-looking hunting knife on the table, exchanging it for a simple butter knife. He rubbed his thumb over the blade and smiled. It was barely sharp enough to slice through warm butter, let alone skin. To Lia it would feel like the same knife, the very same razor-sharp steel tracing over the most sensitive parts of her body. Lia meant everything to him, and he wouldnt risk cutting her. Jake turned his attention back to her. He watched her breasts rise and fall rapidly as the increased flow of adrenaline coursed through her body. Her stomach quivered with anticipation of the unknown. As he walked around the exercise bench, he saw the subtle nuances on her face. He figured she was trying to guess his next move. Are you ready, slave? Her head snapped to attention when he spoke, making his decision to use a butter knife the right one. He hunkered down beside her and whispered in her ear. Lie perfectly still, slave, and all will be well. Disobey my instructions and you may well regret it. He pressed the blade to her lips, and an aura of acceptance descended around her. He could just hear a whimper

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deep in her throat as she fought the impulse to move. Keep very still, my slave. Very, very still. Any unintentional movement could be most unfortunate for you. He knew Lia was entirely focused on him, one hundred percent. Her complete submission made him feel powerful and alive. Lifting her chin, he slowly trailed the tip of the blade down her neck, until it reached her frightened, pulsating throat. From past experience with other subs, he knew the blade would feel razor sharp. Her breathing quickened, and her stomach undulated even faster. Her mouth parted and she swallowed nervously, but she remained perfectly still. Just like a statue. Very good, slave, he praised. You please me. Jake trailed the blade down her cleavage, before circling the base of each breast with the cold steel. The breath hitched in her throat as he held the knife to a perfect pink rosebud nipple. Using his other hand he smoothed a path to her stomach, which quivered and vibrated excitedly beneath his fingertips. He massaged the soft flesh of her belly, and then teased a finger over her clit. Her inner thoughts spilled from her lips in series of moans. I know you want to move, slave. You want to thrust your clit against my finger and enjoy the pleasure that your Master gives you. Oh, yes, Sir, please, Sir. It must be really hard wanting to move, but knowing you cant because the knife is so sharp. Just one small movement could prove fatal. Sir, have mercy on me, please. Jake sensed a growing panic in her voice, and removed the knife from her breast. Teasing her further, he stroked a finger over the swelling bundle of clitoral nerves. As he finger-fucked her clit he reintroduced the knife to her nipple. A gasp left her lips. Sir, please. What if I cant stop myself from moving?

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Jake leaned in and pressed his mouth to her ear. It is entirely your choice, slave. Actions have consequences, he whispered. Using the palm of his hand he pressed down on her stomach and then slid a finger deep into her sopping slit. A long, slow whimper left her lips. Sir, please, Sir, Im begging you, please. Very well, your Master is feeling benevolent. I will give you a moment to regain your composure. Thank your Master for his kindness. Thank you, Sir. Thank you. Straddling the bench himself, Jake placed the knife within reach and then sat facing Lia. He lifted her long, slender legs, and draped them across his thighs. Lias beautiful body spread out before him. Her open cunt glistened with feminine arousal. His cock pushed relentlessly against the inside of his pants. Fuck, he wanted her. He reached for the knife once more. In this position he could accelerate the play. He trailed the tip of the knife between her breasts and down her stomach, until he circled it provocatively inside her beautiful belly button. Please, Sir. Quiet, my slave. Using the finger and thumb of his free hand, he took hold of her genital piercing and peeled back her sexy clitoral hood. The words, Oh, no, Sir, please, whispered from her mouth. Jake placed the cool tip of the butter knife against her exposed clit. He knew this would tip her over the edge. Now, more than ever, stay absolutely still, my slave. Dont so much as twitch, or even breathe too deeply. A soft moan left her lips as he feathered the cold steel across her engorged clit once more. He knew from her frightened reaction that she believed he was holding the hunting knife. Whos in charge, slave? You are, Sir, always.

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You dont sound very convincing. Jake exerted more pressure on the knife. The words he craved the most began spilling from her lips in a torrent. Im begging you, Sir, have mercy on this slave. Shell never try and make you do anything, ever again. Please, Sir, Im begging you. Youre in charge. Youre the Master. Jake smiled to himself. He knew Lia would only keep her promise until the next time. Then he would have to discipline her again. The hours of fun he would have with her achingly beautiful body would be worth the disobedience. Very well, slave. You have pleased me with your apology. Jake threw the knife away, signaling an end to her discipline. It clattered noisily as it made contact with the floor. Lia let out a long, lingering breath, a sigh of intense relief. Jake smoothed his hands over her stomach before molding her breasts together, pushing them upward into impossible creamy mounds. She writhed beneath his touch, and he squeezed her nipples tightly between his finger and thumb. Her lips parted on a cry of sexual indulgence. Yes, Sir, yes. Now you get the fucking of a lifetime. Standing slightly, Jake leaned forward and kissed her lips. He smoothed his hands down her soft, slender arms until he reached the handcuffs, which clamped her wrists together under the exercise bench. He released the safety catch and they sprung open. His erect cock pressed against her pussy. The only thing that prevented cunt and prick contact was the thin material of his sweatpants. He pulled back, returning to a sitting position, bringing Lia with him. Her arms circled his shoulders as she clung desperately to him. The handcuffs still attached to her one wrist swung loosely as they trailed down his back. He knew hed pushed her, but he also knew she enjoyed the play, too. Quickly he yanked down his pants and held his rock-hard prick against the entrance to her pussy. You want this? he asked, brushing his lips over hers.

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Oh, Sir, please, Sir. He teased the tip at her entrance. Oh, Sir, make me come. Realizing she could, she pulled the blindfold away and stared directly into his eyes. Tears stained her cheeks. She looked so vulnerable, his heart ached for her. She focused on his lips and then kissed him passionately. Sir, please, make me come like never before. At that moment his only desire was to please Lia. He loved her without question. For a man who thought hed lost everything three years ago, including the will to live, he savored every breath that she took. She made him feel whole again. He captured her lips as the heat from her warm, wet pussy slowly enveloped his cock. When he was seated to the hilt, he squeezed her peachy tight butt in both hands, holding her close, never wanting to let her go. Jake curled a hand into her beautiful, glossy blonde hair, twisting it between his fingers. He gently pulled her head back, exposing her throat, then trailed a series of butterfly kisses down to the pulse at the base of her elegant neck. He delivered a long, slow, lingering kiss to her lips, and then worked his way across to her earlobe, brushing the soft flesh with his mouth. Taking his time, he whispered low and seductive, Marry me, princess. He knew his proposal had taken her by surprise, and he thrust once more inside her tight, wet sheath. Make me the happiest man alive. The breath hissed from her lips as he thrust again, and she gripped his shoulders tightly, digging her long fingernails into his flesh. She opened her mouth several times, before she finally managed to say, Do you really mean it, Jake? Please tell me youre not teasing. Im not teasing, princess. You know I love you. I love you, too, Jake. The words spilled from her lips as he speared her with his potent shaft again.

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Is that a yes, princess? He thrust again, this time more forcefully. Please say it is. Jake, I love you more than life itself. My answer is yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. She peppered each word with a kiss to his lips, and ground her pussy hard over his shaft, to emphasize her love for him. Jake groaned and wrapped his arms more tightly around her. Youre the sexiest woman in the whole wide world. He playfully nipped at her neck with his teeth. Grrr, and you belong to me.

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Chapter Twenty-Seven
Lia couldnt believe Jake had asked her to marry him. The knifeplay sex had been truly amazing, and now this. Maybe shed wake up any moment and find the whole thing had been a dream. An incredible, crazy dream of love conquering the deep sorrow theyd once felt. Gently, Lia brushed her fingers over Jakes masculine brow ridges. His eyes, so cool and sexy, pierced her very soul. He knew what made her tick. Yeah, he knew exactly what turned her on. Lia smiled, and smoothed her fingers down his nose before tracing the sensual outline of his mouth. She leaned in and kissed him slowly. She knew him inside out now, just as he knew her. Their tongues dueled, and she began meeting the inward stroke of his cock with downward strokes of her pussy. He felt so good inside her, holding her, loving her. He swooped down and swirled his tongue over her nipple. The exquisite sensation as he teased the swollen nub with his teeth made her arch back and slam down on his huge shaft even harder. Give it to me, he ground out through gritted teeth. You bet, she panted breathlessly as she squeezed his cock tighter with her vaginal muscles, flexing her stomach and working them both up into a frenzy. Harder, princess. Yes, Lia cried, slamming down on his shaft with everything she had. Every time she said, Yes, her wet pussy effortlessly slid down his potent prick. Yesyesyesyes.

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Jake began meeting her, with powerful thrusts of his own. Breathlessly, she looked down to see his huge dick glistening with her feminine arousal, as its length sensuously caressed her clitoral piercing. Youre mine, Jake growled. Yes. To play with anytime I want. Yes. To fuck anytime I want. Yes. From now on. Yes. You report here. Yes. Every afternoon. Yes. For your Masters pl Yes, yes. Pleasure. Oh, yes, Sir. Being completely controlled both physically and emotionally by such a beautiful man was a powerful aphrodisiac. A spasm from within, so wonderful and potent, spiraled deep inside her. It convulsed in her womb, before flowing out in a warm wave down to her pussy, where her climax milked his cock in orgasmic ecstasy. She couldnt help the words that spilled from her lips, as she finally came. I love you, Jake. OhGodhow I loveyou, Jake. Jakes mouth covered hers, as his insistent thrusts became faster and deeper. A guttural groan roared from his throat as with one final lunge, he spilled his seed deep inside her. Fuck, youre something else, woman. Lia gently caressed his face. You, too, Sir.

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With their breathing still heavy, they rested their weary heads on each others shoulder. Jake whispered, I love you, Lia. I always will.

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Epilogue
Two years later With shaking hands, Lia placed the telephone receiver back in its cradle. Although shed been expecting the news, it still came as quite a shock. She looked up from her position in the reception area. Through glass doors she could see into the fitness center. It had been open two years now, and business was booming. All the treadmills overlooking the hotel entrance were in use, and many other pieces of equipment were being used by paying customers. Jake and she were in the process of rolling out Constantine Fitness Centers in all his other casinos, too. Now everything was about to change. Lia glanced at her watch. She urgently needed to speak to Jake before he went to lunch. She couldnt hold off telling him a moment longer. Kate, Ive gotta go. Ill be back as soon as I can. Okay, Mrs. Benetti. Lia smiled. She still couldnt get used to people referring to her as Mrs. Benetti. It sounded so wonderful to her ears. As she eased herself from behind the reception desk, she figured Kate could run the center with her eyes closed. However, in the two years since it opened, she still felt the need to keep an eye on things. It was her baby. She made her way to the elevator and pressed the button for the tenth floor. She wondered how Jake would take the news. Since their

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marriage, their relationship had strengthened, but what she had to tell him would make a serious difference to their lives. Madeline looked up as she entered Jakes suite of offices. Hi, Lia. Hi, Madeline. Is he here? Yeah, sure, go right in, honey. Lia smiled. I wont knock. Ill surprise him. She placed her finger to her lips, and then held her breath as she silently opened the office door. After entering, she carefully closed it behind her. Jake was sitting at his desk, studying a collection of legal documents. After several seconds he signed each one with a flourish of his fountain pen. Her heart swelled as she looked at him. He was so devilishly handsome. Dark hair framed his masculine features. His broad shoulders seemed to fill the space behind the desk. She watched him rub a hand across his jaw as he began scanning another document. Lia made a little cough into her hand, and Jake immediately looked up. His face spread into a beautiful smile, and he held out his arms. Princess, this is a nice surprise. Lia dutifully went over to him and slid into his arms. She felt so warm and cozy nestled on his lap. Ive got something to tell you, Jake, she murmured, averting her eyes and idly fiddling with his collar. Jake lifted her chin, forcing her to meet his gaze. Really? What is it, Lia? Im guessing its important if youve left that beloved fitness center of yours to come and tell me. Are my staff treating you right? Lia giggled. Of course they are. They wouldnt dare do otherwise, what with you being their boss. She took hold of his hand, and placed it on her stomach. She saw the startled look in his eyes, as realization dawned. His mouth opened, but no sound came out. Were pregnant, Jake. I just found out. You mean Im going to be a father?

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She smiled. Thats what pregnant means, Jake. He immediately hugged her tight, and buried his head in her neck. His voice croaked. This is wonderful news. The best news Ive ever heard in my entire life. I hoped youd be happy. Are you kidding? This makes everything worthwhile. After all the hard work Ive put into this business, I want a legacy to leave to my kids. Dont you mean our kids? she joked. Lia breathed in, enjoying his unique aroma. Was it possible for a woman to love a man more than she loved Jake? No. Jake took hold of her shoulders and set her back from him. He looked at her, searching her face with his dazzling blue eyes. How do you feel? How long have you known? Shouldnt you be lying down, taking the weight off your feet? Lia giggled. I feel fine, Jake. Really I do. Ive suspected for a few weeks now. Ive been having morning sickness, but you leave so early in the morning to go to work, you missed it all. Jake tenderly stroked a stray hair from her eyes. You make me so happy, Lia. Do you know how much I love you? I was an empty shell of a man before I met you. He held his hand to his chest. Here lay a cold, empty brick for a heart. I didnt think I could ever be happy again after Hannah died, but now my heart is full again. I love you, so, so much, princess. He kissed her passionately to show his feelings. Lia wrapped her arms around his shoulders, and hugged him close. A sense of contentment soaked into every nerve in her body. Brushing her lips over his sensitive earlobe, she whispered, I love you, too, Jake. I always will. He was her Master, her lover, her confidante, her best friend, and now the father of her unborn child. She loved him.

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THE END
WWW.JANBOWLES.COM

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


At present, Jan Bowles lives in the East of England, UK. Jan has lived in various parts of the UK and Europe. When she was much younger, she lived in Los Angeles. She traveled by car across the entire length of Route 66 to Chicago. It was an experience she has never forgotten. A hobby Jan has enjoyed for many years is painting large landscapes and sweeping vistas. You can see many of her paintings on her websitewww.janbowles.com. Jan writes romantic stories, bringing passion to the pages with an emotional twist but always with a happy ending! In 2011 she received a CAPA nomination for Best Contemporary Romance, for her book, Bought for the Billionaires Bed, from The Romance Studio. In 2010 Jan Bowles received two nominations from the romance industry. In Debt to the Dom received a nomination for Best BDSM Book 2010, from Love Romances Cafe, and she also received a CAPA nomination for Favorite Erotic Author 2010 from The Romance Studio.

Also by Jan Bowles


BookStrand Mainstream: The Return BookStrand Mainstream: Love Lessons with the Texas Billionaire Siren Classic: Dark Secrets Siren Classic: The Cowboy Mavericks: Roped Siren Classic: Cowboy Bad Boys 1: Shackled by the Cowboy Drifter Siren Classic: Cowboy Bad Boys 2: Branded by the Texas Ranger Siren Classic: Cowboy Bad Boys 3: Bound by the Montana Mountain Man Siren Classic: Guilty Pleasures 1: In Debt to the Dom Everlasting Classic: Guilty Pleasures 2: Bought for the Billionaires Bed Everlasting Classic: Guilty Pleasures 3: Tamed by the Dom Everlasting Classic: Guilty Pleasures 4: Love Slave to the Sicilian Billionaire

Available at BOOKSTRAND.COM

Siren Publishing, Inc. www.SirenPublishing.com