This excerpt is from Arranging Love, the third book in the Tilling Passions series. Meghan and Peter are engaged, but looking for something just a little hotter …
Meghan held Peter’s gift in her lap, sipping at the wine, which was going down faster than she’d anticipated. Now that she’d been staring at it for several hours, she had to admit it was a beautiful book.
Artistic nudes of women, bound in different positions and photographed in a myriad of locations, filled the pages. Every one of them was a tribute to the power and joy of human sexuality. There was nothing sordid or deviant about the images. They were beautiful–and sensuous.
Meghan sat on the couch in the office at home, the feeble glow of the lamp wrapping her in a soft cocoon of light. She flipped through the images until she found the picture that continued to draw her attention.
A young woman lay prone on her back in a wine cellar. Candles flickered in the crevices of the cement room. Sunlight sifted through a small window, shafting light on her body curved gracefully over two wine casks. Her arms were bound to a post behind her head while ropes secured her ankles. Her legs were pulled wide, exposing labia that were swollen and glistening with moisture. Her bottom lip was clenched tightly between very white teeth as if holding back a moan of pleasure.
A deeply tanned man stood beside her, the muscles of his chest lean and well-defined. A partial leather mask shielded his identity. The lower half of his body was hidden by the barrels, leaving the observer to speculate on his nudity and level of arousal. But if the steepled points of their nipples were any indication, both partners were sexually charged. In his left hand he held a whip-like instrument made of many tails of leather.
The woman’s heavy-lidded eyes stared up at him, anticipating the next move of his right hand currently splayed on her inner thigh. The soft smile on the man’s face spoke of love and tender lust. This was not a couple intent on pain and amoral behavior. This was a woman surrendering herself to her lover and allowing him to bring her to that sacred place of euphoria.
Her fingers grazed over the picture as if touching the couple would reveal their innermost desires. Peter chose that moment to come slamming through the front door, the chill of the evening swirling around him as he stamped his feet on the Aubusson rug.
“Damn that friggin’ garage door opener.”
Setting down the wine glass, she padded into the foyer. “I couldn’t get it to work, either.” Her voice was soft in the darkness. “No snow’s coming tonight. The cars’ll be fine in the drive. We can mess with it tomorrow.” She hugged the book to her chest, wondering how they would break through the wall of tension that had been erected that morning.
Peter focused on hanging his coat in the closet. “I pressed the button, but the stupid thing doesn’t move.” He shut the door and stepped toward her. “I just need to check and see if it needs batteries, rewiring, or replacing.” Resting his hands on her shoulders, he bent and brushed his lips across hers. There was no heat, just routine. “A mechanical engineer should be able to figure out his own garage door, for chrissake.”
She had to agree. It had been working sporadically for at least two weeks, but Peter hadn’t been home long enough to know that and pointing it out at this moment didn’t seem like it would help span a chasm of disagreement.
Peter looked over her shoulder at the half bottle of wine and the empty wine glass. “You started without me?”
She pointed behind her at the second glass. “Actually, I was waiting for you.”
“Meghan, I…” Peter pulled the book from her hand. “You’ve been looking at it?” His gaze roamed from the book to her eyes.
Her fingers moved on their own volition, reaching up to caress the firm muscles of his chest. “Peter, I’m sorry. It was very shortsighted of me not to listen to you this morning.”
“No, Meggie. I shouldn’t have jumped you like that.” He held the book up. “This isn’t something couples just plunge into. It should be discussed and negotiated and discussed some more.”
“Well, then, I’d like to discuss page seventy-eight.” Meghan stretched up on her toes and pulled his bottom lip into her mouth, grazing it with her teeth.
“You don’t have to…”
“No, I don’t have to do anything, but after I calmed down and thought about it, I realized there are probably a lot of couples who find this very satisfying.” She kissed his goofy grin. “And Jules said she and Damon…”
“You talked to your sister about it?” He laughed even as he pulled her to him. “How we men face each other, knowing nothing is sacred among the Tilling sisters, is beyond me.”
Meghan ground her pubic bone against his growing erection. “As I was saying, Jules said it can be fun and add a little spice to things.”
The room spun pleasantly as Peter scooped her into his arms. “Well, if your older sister gave her blessing, who am I to deny my fiancée the thrill of domination?”