They weren't friends. They weren't enemies. They only thing the three girls had in common was the high school they went to in Madison, Ohio - until one tragic night. Now, fifteen years later, they're returning home, where passion - and danger - await...
Renee Lincoln was the prom queen with the perfect boyfriend and the perfect life. After that horrible night, she rebelled the only way she knew how: by submitting to her wildest fantasies...
Tall, blonde, and athletic, Lacey Talbot was a golden girl with a bright future. She's found success as a photographer, but no man has ever been able to satisfy her. No man but the bad boy she left behind...
Sherra Salinger has always looked like a princess out of some fairy tale. The books she writes, though, stem from the nightmare of that one night. And she shrinks from any man's attention - especially the one stalking her...
They're coming back to Madison - and it won't be a happy reunion. There are three men, all dangerous in different ways. And when the women surrender their bodies to the heat, when they succumb to desire, they'll find the safety they desperately need...
For Renee Lincoln, a terrible and fateful night fifteen years ago shaped her irrevocably into the woman she is today. It was for the better really. As a teenager and heiress, every move she made was dictated by her mother. Wear this. Say that. Date him. Him being JD Whitcomb, the town pretty boy. But it wasn't JD's looks that Renee's mother cared about, it was his wealth and his family's social standing in Madison, Ohio. Always berating Renee for her uselessness, the least she could do is marry well. The fact that Renee didn't like JD was inconsequential. But after being slapped - hard - by the man her mother wished her to marry, Renee resolved to take control of her life. She would have devised a way to leave JD, but the decision was more than forced after that night. After he nearly raped her friend.
Now, fifteen years has passed and Renee's on her way back to Madison to see to the details of her dead mother's estate and participate in her high school reunion. Wanting to delay at every turn, Renee stops for the night at a hotel. Normally she wouldn't engage in nearly two hours of flirtation with the handsome man at the bar but there is just something about him that Renee can't get enough of. When he picks up on her deliberate submissive hints as being an educated member of the BDSM community, his white hot dominance comes raging to the forefront. Knowing it's wrong to await the hot stranger in his hotel room, completely naked except for her boots, Renee just can't bring herself to refuse the command.
The BDSM community was something Renee got into with her first love in college. It represented one more thing that she could do within her control and besides, it was bound to piss off mommy. When her boyfriend started getting too controlling in his demands that she be his slave in the bedroom as well as out, Renee dropped the lifestyle and her boyfriend. But there's just something about the hotel stranger that prods her to defy him in the hopes of incurring his sensual punishment.
After a night filled with the best sex of her life, Renee slips out of the mysterious stranger's room and continues on to Madison. No sooner does she arrive at her mother's sprawling estate when danger strikes. It's the worst B movie scenario. While Renee is oblivious in the shower, her car, front porch and entry way are destroyed. And who should walk in with the cops? Renee's hot one night stand. Not only had Renee gone to high school with Deacon Cross, but he was also a witness to that terrible night fifteen years ago. Then he wouldn't have given her a second glance but now his hungry stare not only promises retribution for her earlier desertion, but also a blatant intent to claim her forever.
But when the murderous intent of the unknown attacker nearly succeeds in killing Renee, it may be that forever isn't possible unless Renee surrenders completely to Deacon and together they can find her assailant.
This novella started off with a bang that pilfered out soon after. While I liked Deacon enough, Renee was one of those Too Stupid To Live heroines causing you to roll your eyes and laugh cynically when the bad guy successfully manages to injure her. Really, what was she expecting?
The BDSM was pretty light but there was an excess of spanking that left much to be desired. A general slap here and there is alright but an overabundant succession of spanking that brings the heroine to the brink of orgasm? Even for me, a lover of extreme BDSM novels, found the situation to be a bit too far fetched.
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For Lacey Talbot, that night fifteen years ago had finally turned into a bad dream over time, but the night of white hot sex with the town bad boy five years ago was something she wished desperately was a dream. Unfortunately the following morning's humiliating results continue to haunt her.
For her entire life, Lacey has been trying her best to accomplish everything she could in the shortest amount of time. She'd finally made a career in photography because she loved it and was once good at it. Now her work encapsulates the emptiness that she feels. Dumped by her boyfriend and told that she had a cold heart, Lacey is back in Madison, Ohio for her high school reunion. While she's been back numerous times to see her parents, Lacey has tried her best to avoid the one person guaranteed to make her feel confused: Seth Salinger and the only man to ever make her heart feel full. But he'd walked out the door with the morning light five years ago proving that Lacey's internal emptiness was something he could sense and was repelled.
Seth knows that he's the last thing in the world that Lacey wants to deal with after watching her best friend, Renee, nearly get run down by a car. Although he's been the sheriff of Madison for several years, the stigma of his trailer trash upbringing was never far behind and Lacey Talbot had always been too good for him. Since he was six years old, Seth had been in love Lacey. Five years ago, when he finally got to put his hands on her silky body, he wanted to make it last forever. But her groaned mumble of regret had him running for the door to save what little pride he had left.
Since Lacey had ruined her car in a successful attempt to save Renee's life, Seth offers her a ride to her parent's house but when they arrive they find it in ruins. Having the eerie sense that Lacey's house, Renee's vandalized home and near death are somehow connected, Seth convinces Lacey to stay with him until they can get the issue resolved. Knowing that his hasty yet determined decision to take Lacey home is beyond stupid, he can't seem to control himself where she's concerned. Stupidly, he's still in love with a woman that will never have him.
Lacey grudgingly accepts Seth's offer because at the moment she really has no where else to go and staying at her destroyed house is definitely not an option. When the heat between her and Seth flames bright once again, Lacey can't help but dive into the sensual onslaught that his body promises. But when he wrenches away from her hold, Lacey worries that he's once again repelled by her internal emptiness. Embarrassed by her half naked state, Lacey hastily tries to flee but Seth cuts her off with a verbal attack. When the truth of the emotions from five years ago come spilling out, Seth and Lacey are both surprised but that quickly fades as pent up lust has them crashing together with frantic passion.
When Lacey awakes the next morning, she feels that the emptiness that has haunted her for years is no longer there.
His eyes glittered. There was a fierceness in his shadowed face, combined with a painful vulnerability that wrapped around her heart and squeezed. Something...something important was happening - she could feel it, shifting around inside her, realigning - pieces of herself falling into place and making her whole.
She felt whole.
Chains © Shiloh Walker
Despite the fact that Lacey and Seth's love has been realized, danger still lurks. When a surprise attack is made on Lacey and she's nearly strangled to death, the suspicion that the incidents between her and Renee are connected are looking more and more like fact. Somebody is hunting for pay back. With Seth's stubborn twin sister still intent on returning home to Madison for the reunion, Seth can't help but worry that the deadly stalker will come after her too. For it was Seth's sister that was nearly raped fifteen years ago and she was also the one that killed one of her attackers.
I enjoyed Lacey's story a lot more than Renee's. For one, Lacey didn't have any Too Stupid To Live moments. Also, Lacey embodied more tangible emotions and her internal struggle was interesting. I really loved how she didn't let Seth doubt himself after she discovers his real reason for leaving five years ago. They were both hurt by that morning and they were also both determined to not let the same mistakes happen again.
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After nearly being raped and killing one of her would be attackers, the nightmare of it all has haunted Sherra Salinger for fifteen long years. Most of the residents of Madison, Ohio would say the she deserved it due to her trailer trash upbringing but Sherra is back in town and she's not the poor trouble maker she once was. That night may have been and still is a nightmare but it also served to ignite her imagination that's lead her straight to the top of the bestseller lists. Fame is always the best revenge.
Yet Sherra's fame has also come with a price. Someone is stalking her and has been for five years. What first started off as a couple of letters a month with magazine letters spelling Waiting for you, has now turned into daily emails showcasing not only the same words, but gruesome photoshopped pictures of her face on another body in snuff-pornography film poses. Although the FBI has been working the case for months, no leads on the stalker's origins have been discovered. Sherra is kicking off her new book tour in Madison, Ohio during the same time as her high school reunion and she's not going to let some wacko stalker keep her from living her life even if that life only consists of writing, drinking coffee, and escaping her house to go on the occasional shopping spree. Oh, and let's not mention her non-existent love life and fifteen year long drought. But her friend and editor is not cooperating. If Sherra still wants to go on her book tour then she's taking along a body guard.
Dalton Green has read the complex and thrilling horror novels that Sherra Salinger writes and he walks onto the job expecting to protect Wednesday Adams but he's shocked to find Snow White instead. The gorgeous and sinfully curved pale creature before him screams sex but her obvious fear is a cruel dousing on his burgeoning flame of desire. Sherra's fearful reactions to his presence sends him off to investigate. As an ex-cop, Dalton still stays connected with some of his friends on the force but the cop life is over for him. To tell the truth, he wouldn't have even taken this babysitting job if it wasn't for his need of cash. But when the background check and subsequent stalker emails suggests that Sherra is in a lot of danger - where Dalton once thought he'd be bored he's now finding himself on red alert.
Although it's been fifteen years since a man has provoked any emotion other then fear, Dalton is awakening feelings within Sherra that she's never before experienced. His pale green eyes filled with sexual hunger miss nothing and it's all Sherra can do to remain aloof in his presence. Every time Sherra has tried to become close to a man in the past it's ended in disaster. Something as simple as a kiss would set of the nightmare images of that long ago night leaving her shaking with terror. Needless to say, Sherra gave up on the opposite sex a long time ago. But it's alarmingly different with Dalton. All Sherra can think about is touching him and having him touch her and the past doesn't ever make an appearance.
It doesn't take long for Dalton to pick up on the sexual hunger that radiates off Sherra's body but the thought of seeing terror in her eyes if he made a move to touch her leaves him cold. But soon, the hungry looks can no longer be denied and the two come together in fierce passion. Unfortunately, their sexual bliss doesn't last long before Sherra's stalker makes his deadly strike and where he made mistakes with Renee and Lacey, his abduction of Sherra is smooth as silk.
I really enjoyed Dalton and Sherra's story. Although Dalton is a giant with soul piercing eyes, he provides Sherra nothing but the gentlest of protection. He had the potential to overwhelm her tattered soul but he's observant enough to see and understand Sherra's scars. He never allowed her to curl up and hide deep within herself. Instead he drew out her spirit and gave her much needed strength.
Sherra was a fascinating character. I think everyone endures trauma in different ways but she was able to profit astoundingly off her own inner fears. Also, it really took only one man to unleash her heart and when she lets go, Sherra doesn't hold anything back. After the bloody past she survived, I think for her to fall so fearlessly is a testament to her incredible strength.
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