HEIDI JOY TRETHEWAY
Any Google search will find you these images. And one of them might be me.
I’m the redhead. The one with her back arched, her eyes wide, her mouth open with desire. The one with her legs spread and her arms tied tight above her head.
I’m the one shot with her own camera and uploaded for the world to see.
And now I’m the one with the secret.
Violet can’t imagine anything worse than having her very private, very naked photos strewn across the Internet.
Until they multiply like a virus.
With her name, address, and phone number attached.
And her boss finds out.
And a stalker finds her.
Violet’s refuge is a rock star known for going through groupies faster than guitar picks. But letting Jayce get close enough to protect her exposes her secrets—and her heart—to a man whose celebrity could ruin her.
That’s because being a nobody is the one thing that keeps Violet’s photos from making headlines. And it’s the reason she can never fall for a rock star.
Secrets spread like wildfire when a celebrity fans the flames.
Violet returns to New York City from a trip to her parents’ home in Ithaca. She told Jayce that she’d deal with the naked pictures her ex-boyfriend Brady posted online by herself, but Jayce finds Violet at her apartment.
“Why did you come here, Justin?”
His real name makes his eyes spark. “I came for you.”
“For me, or because of the stalker?”
“Fuck the stalker. For you.”
“I don’t like you cursing.”
His mouth opens and closes in surprise, like I’ve just told him I don’t like sex. “Sorry. I mean, forget the stalker.”
I smile to acknowledge his effort. He looks shy, more unsure of himself now. “But that’s not why I had to see you. I mean, it’s a little part of it, I might have found a way to help, but mostly, I just wanted to talk to you. To be with you.”
It’s clumsy, but it’s real. A thrill rushes through me like I’ve just been picked at a junior high snowball dance.
“I want—” the words I’d practiced on the bus ride scramble in my brain, and I can’t talk to him about needing to be something more than a fling, or needing him to accept my dark urges that I don’t even really understand. He’s already seen my pictures, but he doesn’t know what’s behind them.
He doesn’t know what I really wanted. What I’d asked Brady to give me. And if I tell him, I’m afraid it will send him running the other way in disgust.
I shake my head. I can’t get the words past my lips.
Jayce takes another step toward me, now close enough that he reaches for my jaw and strokes my cheek with his thumb. “I want to know all about what you want, Violet.” His voice is low, vibrating from his chest. “So if you won’t tell me that, let’s start with something simple. Do you trust me?”
“Do you want me?”
“Yes,” I whisper.
Jayce drops his hand from my cheek and steps back. “Give me your shirt.”
I watch him to be sure of his meaning, then cross my arms and lift the hem of my shirt up over my stomach, my eyes locked on his until I pull the shirt over my head. I hand it to him.
His eyes sweep my neck, my freckled chest, my peach lace bra, and my stomach.
“Your bra.” It’s a quiet command, and my blood heats. I feel a flush of color rise from my décolletage to my cheeks, and my breasts are taut when I release them from the lace and wire.
I place the bra in his waiting hand.
“Sandals. Shorts.” His voice is gravelly and I watch his pupils dilate as I flick open the button at my waist, draw down the zipper and let the navy cotton slide down my hips. I hand them to him as well.
With the exception of some tiny panties that don’t even cover my whole butt, I’m totally exposed to him. This is not normal, my inner voice chides me. This strip-on-command isn’t what normal couples do.
I force the thought aside. I’m not terrified. I’m thrilled.
Maybe because this time, I’m going willingly. This time, I’ve handed over control and I’m not afraid of how he’ll use it. Or if he’ll use it against me.
Jayce drops my clothes on a chair and comes close but doesn’t touch me. I feel the heat radiating off his body as he moves to my shoulder, the smell of his sweat like salt and leather. He breathes on my shoulder and instantly my nipples tighten, then his lips move down my arm, still an inch from my skin, and I feel his hot breath all the way to my fingertips.
“I love how you smell,” he whispers, and continues moving around me. My body sparks with contradictions—frozen in place but on fire inside, wanting him to grab me, yet savoring how he restrains himself.
I feel his warmth across my back, near my bottom, by my shoulder. He does another slow survey of my skin with his lips just an inch away, across my collarbone, down the valley between my breasts, stopping just above the lacy top of my panties.
His breath fans across my lower belly and the flesh between my thighs throbs with need. I’m afraid he can see the moisture spreading in my panties, smell my sex heating with just the touch of his breath to my skin.
Suddenly, he straightens. His hand reaches for my hair but it freezes before he touches me.
“You don’t have to do this.” His face is pinched, like a deep muscle’s painful twinge.
“I want to.”
“You don’t have to do anything I ask. You can say no. You can walk away right now.” Jayce’s eyes are pleading with me. Is he asking me to walk away?
“I won’t.” I drop my eyes, embarrassed but needing to say the next words. “Unless you tell me to.”
A rough hand fists in my hair and Jayce drags my eyes back to him. “What do you want? Tell me what you want, Violet.”
“Not good enough. That’s a cop out. Tell me what you want from me. What makes your blood sing? Tell me what you dreamed about last night, because I sure as hell dreamed about you.”
Jayce captures my mouth with a rough kiss, a punishing force that steals my breath and most of my words. I know he just told me to do something, but … he dreamed of me?
“Can’t, or won’t? This is not a question. This is a command. Tell me what you dreamed about last night. Or—”
“Or what?” I whisper, current shooting up my spine with the hint of a threat. Will he force me away if I can’t describe the twisted madness of my dream? How he bent me to his will and I loved him for it?
“Or show me.”
Heidi Joy Trethway Bio:
Heidi Joy lives in Happy Valley off Sunnyside Road. She swears she did not make that up.
Heidi’s obsessed with storytelling. Her career includes marketing, journalism, and a delicious few years as a food columnist. Media passes took her backstage with several rock bands, where she learned that sometimes a wardrobe malfunction is exactly what the rock star intends.
You’ll most often find Heidi Joy with her husband and two small kids cooking, fishing, exploring the Northwest, and building epic forts in their living room.
She loves to hear from readers via messages at facebook.com/author.heidi.