Congressman Jonathan Brond has mastered his work, his reputation and the art of sexual domination while keeping his family’s political legacy intact. But a chance encounter with college student Christiana Snow promises something he didn’t think was possible–meeting someone honest. When the charismatic man proposes a summer of sensual, sexual submission, Christiana leaps into his world—the antidote to her bland life. But Washington, D.C. is an unforgiving place; soon gossip and scandal threatens their relationship. Yet, in a town of players, sometimes introducing a new game is the only way out. Who knew love would be the winning plan?
Targeted Age Group:: 18 – 80
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Lovely began one sunny, spring day in 1996 in Washington, DC where I lived and worked. I was sitting at an outside café in Washington Harbor where I swore I witnessed a woman being lashed to a sailboat mast, happily. Lovely’s hero, Jonathan Brond, was born that day when he silently answered my unspoken question, “does she like that?” with yet another question: “Would you like to find out?” I spent years ignoring the call to write down his story. But you know how Dominants can be. Eventually they must be obeyed!
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Jonathan came to me first. (See above.) My characters “talk” to me, and he whispered into my imagination who his perfect woman would be — Christiana, the eventual heroine in Lovely. She is perfect for Jonathan, but completely wrong for his career. That conflict alone required exploring.
Yvette DeCord was a complete surprise. She was meant to be a woman with whom Jonathan dallied. But her character grew and ended up rooting the story in a way I didn’t see coming. She emerged as I wrote a sex scene in a graceful and elegant way. I knew then I had to keep her.
As for Christiana’s “best friend,” Avery Churchill, well . . . she demanded attention from the start. She showed up on page one, immediately telling Christiana what to do. It took real discipline to relegate her to at least page five! I didn’t mean for her to have such a large role. But when you read Lovely, you’ll see what I mean when I say Avery isn’t one to be put into a corner.
Chapter One (partial)
The Jefferson Suite had a reputation. Everyone said so.
Christiana Snow watched Henrick, the sous-chef, slip a red rose into the silver bud vase on the room service tray she’d been tasked to deliver. “There are some naughty stories about the guests that stay in that suite.” He winked. “Let me take you to dinner, and I’ll tell you all about it.”
She turned her back on Henrick’s smirk—and his eyes that never seemed to travel farther north than her neck. Since the day Christiana started working at The Oak she’d fought the desire to bend her knees to force his gaze to her face. It would only give him the wrong idea.
Instead she threw back two ibuprofens with her milk and then set the glass into a nearby bin of dirty dishes. Gossip made her head hurt.
She felt Henrick’s eyes travel her body as she pushed the room service cart into the elevator. “For a reporter’s daughter, you aren’t very curious,” he called after her.
Curiosity wasn’t the issue. The Oak, which stood mere blocks from the White House, attracted politicians and paparazzi—and dozens of men, sporting earbuds attached to wires disappearing into their dark suits, sent to watch them both. It took real concentration to ignore the stories that the hotel’s staff collected like trophies.
At least the tips were good at the boutique hotel and restaurant, and the mundane work gave her time to think—or think forward, as her father always said. And that’s what she was going to do—think forward and move forward. She didn’t have time to get wrapped up in other people’s lives and certainly not the pseudo reality of the D.C. politicos.
The elevator creaked to a stop. Water sloshed in the silver pitcher as Christiana leaned over the cart to push the slatted metal door aside. A dusty, oil-paint smell greeted her as she started down the hallway, lined with canvases of hunting scenes set in over-sized, gilded frames higher than she was tall and wider than her arms could stretch.
Christiana took in a lungful of the stagnant air as she reached the Jefferson Suite’s double doors at the end of the corridor. She knocked and listened for the sound of footsteps. No one came.
Her leg danced with impatience. Mrs. DeCord’s order was Christiana’s last task of the day, and she wanted to finish it as fast as possible to rush off to meet Avery, her best friend. Christiana had agreed to be her “date” at some society fundraiser that afternoon.
Christiana studied the rich mahogany crown molding, lining the long hallway. Gold brocade wallpaper led her eyes to images of smiling women, draped in gossamer swaths of pastel blue and green fabric. They stared down from their ceiling mural home, their eyes cold and full of secrets.
Christiana knocked on the door once more. After no response, she pulled her master key card from her apron pocket and slipped it to the lock slot. The door cracked open but stopped against something on the other side. Through the gap in the door, she saw a man’s shoe lying on its side.
She called into the room, “Hello? Room service. Ma’am?” No one answered though muffled voices resonated deeper within.
Well, she couldn’t wait. She pushed harder on the door, and the shoe slid aside.
The cart’s wheels whispered over the marble entryway floor. She announced herself one more time. No reply. She picked up the man’s dress shoe, an expensive leather smell wafting to her nose. She set it down beside a tufted chair in the hall.
A male voice echoed from the bathroom off the suite’s master bedroom. “No, Yvette.”
“Please take me. I won’t say a thing.” Mrs. DeCord’s voice reverberated off the tile.
“You know our agreement.”
Mrs. DeCord whined, “I don’t understand why I wasn’t invited. I’ll show up anyway.”
“You won’t do any such thing, Yvette.” He spoke her name like a caress. “Take off your panties.”
Christiana’s insides seized at the man’s abrupt change in tone. Maybe she had heard wrong. After a long silence, she urged the cart forward, but the wheels bogged down on the plush carpet in the living area.
The voice spoke. “Bend over, put your hands on the counter. Good. Look in the mirror. Eyes on me, Yvette.”
Smack! A sharp slap pierced the air, and Christiana jerked backward as if stung. Mrs. DeCord moaned. Was she hurt?
Christiana couldn’t break her gaze, eyes glued on the bedroom doors. They weren’t closed completely. They were slightly ajar, a sliver of the interior showing through a small crack.
“Open your legs.” The man’s voice, sandpaper and velvet, rooted Christiana in place even though her heart fluttered wildly. “Very nice, baby.”
Christiana took a deep breath to steady herself, inhaling musk mixed with the fragrance of lilacs. Something else hung heavy in the air.
Mrs. DeCord’s whimpers grew louder.
Should she call, so they knew she wasn’t trying to hide her presence? If they saw her, would they realize she had overheard? Should she leave? If she abandoned the lunch, they’d know she’d heard and run away, probably to gossip.
“Mmm, you like that, don’t you, sweetheart?”
Christiana licked her lips at the man’s chocolate-caramel tone. She tried to place the voice—maybe he was a radio announcer. No, he sounded too sexy and way too dangerous.
Slap! Slap! Christiana’s leg bumped into the cart and silverware clanked. Water splashed on the linen, and she stilled, but no new sound came from the bedroom.
She couldn’t abandon the lunch in the middle of the living room. She’d just have to be quick. Christiana maneuvered the cart to the small bay window overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue. She set up the silver and lifted the dome on Mrs. DeCord’s salad.
“Touch yourself,” the deep, rich voice said. Christiana’s heart punched at her ribs, and she lifted one hand to her breast to still it. Her eyes darted to the doors.
She gulped and tried to shake off the sound of the man’s sexy intonation. Christiana tiptoed over to the French doors of the master bedroom and risked a peek into the room. The bed’s comforter wilted over one side of the bed, and sheets bunched in a tight wad at the foot, bulging through the brass rails of the footboard. Pillows lay scattered on the floor. Braided black ropes hung limply from the frame of the headboard. She envisioned a restrained body, spread-eagle and helpless on the bed. Oh, god.
A chill broke out across her body. Instinct told her to click the doors shut. She winced at the snick of the door jam. Did they hear her?
More whispers escaped from behind the closed doors. She couldn’t make out the words, but the sensual rhythm of his voice rose and fell in a soothing, hypnotic cadence. Christiana’s ears strained for the man’s instructions, for what he wanted Mrs. DeCord to do next. Footsteps brushed across the carpet in the bedroom. The man spoke in rumbling purrs, approaching the bed.
She bit her bottom lip when a thought arose about that strange, human scent. Sex. A pang hit between her thighs as an image slipped into place of the faceless man—with that voice—putting his mouth on Mrs. DeCord’s neck.
A long wail and an ecstatic groan drifted from inside the bedroom.
Christiana stepped back. She needed to leave–now. If caught eavesdropping, even accidentally, she’d be dismissed. She clutched the silver dome to her chest like a shield and slunk to the marble foyer. The man’s smoky voice oozed into the main room as the suite’s front door clacked behind her, a barrier to . . . what?
She jogged down the long hallway to the elevator, punched the call button, and tried to steady her breathing as the elevator creaked upward. The man’s voice still reverberated in her chest. Relief coursed through her body, glad she hadn’t run into either of them inside, especially him. One look and he would have guessed she’d heard, had sucked in the air, heavy with sex, and understood.
Her imagination settled on Mrs. DeCord pressed into the mattress under a dark, mysterious man. His lips floated over her breast. Christiana shook her head in a vain attempt to stop the image from evolving into the man slipping his hands between the woman’s legs.
Christiana hit the button twice more. Come on. She gave up on the antiquated elevator and headed to the stairs. More questions surfaced with each step downward.
Did Henrik’s wink mean he knew? Who was Mrs. DeCord hooking up with in the Jefferson Suite? The mystery man had done something carnal to her, something she’d wanted done, though Christiana couldn’t imagine what. Something with ropes and slaps and Lord knows what else. Maybe she should’ve listened when the other waitresses, huddled in the employee break room, tittered about who slipped through the hotel lobby trying not to be noticed.
Then again, maybe not. She began to understand why her manager, Brian, had directed staff to drop off the orders and avoid looking around. He had warned, “In the political climate of Washington, D.C., some things are best not to see.”
About the Author:
Elizabeth SaFleur is an erotic romance author and recovering public relations practitioner who writes, tweets and posts under a pseudonym since her former business clients might be shocked at her new career choice. She wrote the Elite Doms of Washington contemporary erotic romance series, debuting in January 2015, after a thirty-year career serving D.C. clients. Today Elizabeth shares twenty-eight, wildlife-filled acres in Central Virginia with her husband and dog, and is sometimes separated from her laptop to indulge in dance classes and local wineries. Elizabeth is a member of the Romance Writers Association and the Washington Romance Writers. www.ElizabethSaFleur.com
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