Sunday, February 12, 2017

Valentine #12: Devlin. A Master... for hire.

What is the name of today's Valentine?

How old is he when we meet him?

Late twenties. Old enough to know better, young enough to not care.

What stands out most about him?

He's built for your pleasure, a chameleon who can change to fit your every need.

Nice guy or douche?

That is the question, isn't it?

Favorite moment with him?

Okay. So. This story came about after my bestie and I were talking like besties do. He asked me if I would ever pay a guy to have sex. I was raised in the conservative South, around the first few notches in the heart of the Bible Belt. Paying for something as salacious as sex is strictly forbidden... and as such, deliciously taboo.

So I gave it some thought. If I had the means and desire, *would* I pay for sex? Could I pay for something that would ultimately mean nothing, except scratching some itch?

The more I thought about it, the more I could see why someone would. Instead of dating scores of men to keep yourself occupied, you could order what you wanted, when you wanted. When you needed. I'm sure I'm not the only woman who has pulled that slot machine handle and ended with duds more times than you care to admit. Maybe they're an ass. Maybe they're a basket case. Maybe they can't find he clitoris with two hands, a road map and a flashlight. Imagine just calling a number and a hot man shows up on your doorstep, ready to meet your every command. No muss. No fuss. No strings. He knows what to do and do it *well.*

Whether you call him once or a hundred times, there are no weirdo emotional commitments, just good ol' fashioned, red-blooded passion at your beck and call whenever you wanted it.

That sounded like a fun little playground for someone like me. I'm an Alpha Female. I like to be in control. I prefer the chase if I'm in charge of it, that way I know exactly what I'm going to get and what I can tolerate. If someone pursued me it'd freak me the fuck out, essentially turning the predator into prey. And I don't do "prey."

But with a Bad Boy for hire, he has certain rules to follow. MY rules. We can go right to the brink of danger and dangle our tippy toes over the line without any real risk.

I find that sexy. Having a man who knows what I need and is focused solely on giving it to me, SEXY.

Devlin Masters. Sexy. It's his job to be. And he's damned good at it.

Devlin shadowed me as I walked Gus and Lucy to the door. I stood waving after them long after they disappeared down the pathway and into the darkness beyond. Devlin finally reached around me to close the front door with one hand, which ultimately pinned me between the solid, hard wood of the door and the solid, hard wall of his chest. He leaned forward, towering above me, so close that I could feel the heat from his incredible body. His gaze swept over me, as if peeling away every inch of my clothes with nothing more than a look, before it finally settled on my face.

My eyes met his. This was where it got complicated, I knew. We could spend the rest of our night ‘talking’, but I hadn’t paid to talk. I could have had that with Oliver without paying one thin dime. I had wanted something more than that, and had for a long, long time. I knew it, and I suspected that Devlin knew it, too. He was, after all, a professional.

So what now? Did I take a green light for granted here, or what? Did I simply ask for sex? Or did wait for him to make a move? Did we talk about it, or just go at it like a couple of people might on a “real” date? The clock was ticking and I had absolutely no idea what to do next.

He answered my silent questions with a slow, confident smirk as he locked the door behind us with a resounding click. He leaned forward, his mouth so near to my skin I could feel his breath against me. My knees nearly gave way when he said, “Alone at last.”

I nodded, gulped hard and licked my lips. He chuckled a bit before he turned back to the living room, tugging my hand in his so that I would follow. “You should get us some glasses, Coralie,” he murmured as he reached for the bottle of champagne to uncork it.

I nodded dutifully and scurried around the corner to the kitchen, returning with a couple of cobalt blue champagne flutes. He shrugged out of his jacket as I perched on the sofa to pour us our wine. It was a wonder I didn’t spill it everywhere. I couldn’t wrench my gaze away from his body if I tried. Those broad shoulders… that solid chest…the promise of that bulge in those slim-fitting pants…and for the next couple of hours or so it was all mine, bought and paid for.


My pulse raced as he sat next to me, so close that I became intoxicated on the spicy, woodsy scent of his cologne. I was sure he could see my hand tremble when I handed him his glass.

Those sultry eyes rendered me mute as he stared at me. Finally he raised his glass. “To old friends and new beginnings,” he said in a voice so soft, it felt like an actual caress.

I nodded as I clinked our glasses together. I couldn’t tear my eyes from his supple mouth as he drank. Again, I drained another glass. I reached for the bottle, but Devlin leaned forward to grab my hand. “You’re not going to need that,” he murmured in a low voice that sent a shock wave to my core.

“I’m—I’m not?” I stammered.

He shook his head. My head was floating as high as a cloud as he took the glass from my hand and set it on the coffee table in front of me. He eased back against the couch, capturing my face with his hand. His thumb brushed rhythmically over my cheek as he stared down into my face. “I think I know what you want, Coralie. I definitely know what you need. The question is… do you trust me to give it to you?”

My eyes widened as I stared up at him. Slowly I nodded. I stared at his mouth as it descended towards mine, closing over my lips finally in a soft, sensual kiss.

What do you love about him?

He's powerful, which I find hot as hell. He can take what he wants without stealing it like a thief, because he knows how to make it something you want more than you've ever wanted anything. He'll command. You'll gladly acquiesce because he can mold himself into any fantasy. And he can assess that need in an instant, paying attention to all the details.

What do you hate about him?

He's secretive. He's jealous. His dark side is fairly dark and more often than not, his demons drive him. That's the thing about power. There is always price to be paid.

If you went on a date, where would you go?

Anywhere I fucking wanted.

Who inspired him?

Oddly enough, I inspired him. He's a Scorpio male, which fascinates me as a Scorpio female. I've never dated one or been intimate with one, mostly because - like I said above - relinquishing that kind of control to another person would be terrifying. So instead I gave him all of my qualities, good and bad, to have that experience within the safe confines of a book.

“Seriously, Lucy? Do you really want to risk your life this close to your perfect day by ingesting a poisonous bug?” I asked, making a face.

Devlin chuckled. “Scorpions aren’t poisonous, they’re venomous. They have to sting you to do real damage, and these bad boys aren’t stinging anyone anymore,” he said as he motioned for two shots.

I shuddered anyway. “Yeah, no thanks.”

“No stomach to try a delicacy?” he teased.

“Not even a little bit,” I assured him. Yet strangely, knowing he was willing to do so only made him more exciting to me.

Clearly I had gone over to the dark side.

“And how do you know so much about scorpions, mister?” Lucy asked him.

He shrugged. “Let’s just say the subject has always fascinated me. People are so scared of them, but really, they’re mostly misunderstood. Plus, I’m a Scorpio,” he added, which suddenly explained why he had a sexy tribal scorpion tattoo trailing across his lower abdomen, heading towards exciting places south of his waistband.

Lucy, who had already gone through her astrology phase, chuckled. “That explains so much. It also gives me an idea.”

“Should I be scared?” he asked her as the bartender placed two scorpion shots in front of them.

“Always,” she grinned. They toasted with their drinks. I had to give Lucy credit. She didn’t even hesitate as she threw back that shot, swallowing the scorpion whole with nothing more than a cough or two to choke it down.

Devlin, on the other hand, drained the shot but kept the scorpion between his teeth, laying it out on his impressive tongue before he chewed it like it was a mouthful of caviar. Our gaze never wavered and that smirk never faltered. He kept me close to him though I squirmed and shook my head when he reached for a kiss.

“Eww, no!” I giggled as I turned away.

“Come on,” he encouraged with that damnable smirk. “A dangerous kiss for a dangerous girl.”

“You’re dangerous,” I corrected.

Those eyes entrapped me once more. “And that’s what you love most about me.”

Who might play him in a movie?

I've crushed hard on James McAvoy since I saw Penelope years ago. My crush took a pretty big hit with the movie Split, which shifted my crush status to "it's complicated" - (not unlike Colin Farrell after Fright Night.) Suffice it to say, if you need someone with intensity that can fit into whatever role he needs to play... he is now an indisputable choice.

Do you have a special song that reminds you of him?

Devlin is full of surprises. It stands to reason. You buy a guy to fit your fantasy, you kind of lose him in the character. But Devlin is so, so, so much more than that. He let me know fairly early on he was a classical pianist, which surprised me as much as it surprised everyone else...

Lucy plopped herself down in front of the baby grand in her magnificent suite, and proceeded to pound out the most off-key rendition of chopsticks I had ever heard. It made all of us groan, but she didn’t care. Finally Devlin edged me off of his lap.

“I’m sorry, Lucy. I can’t let you do that to that beautiful instrument.” He waved her away before he took his place on the bench.

“You know how to play?” she asked with an arched eyebrow.

“I’ve tickled a few ivories,” he assured as he sent me a naughty little wink. He then cracked his knuckles, tossed back his hair placed his hands over the keys.

I don’t know what any of us were expecting him to play, but I am fairly certain none of us expected him to launch into a classical piece, Pachelbel’s Canon in D. The more surprising part was how well he played it. He started slow, to create the atmosphere, allowing the music to lift us all on this swell of emotion he created with each note. This was more than a rehearsed piece of music. This was a song from his soul. And it was simply beautiful.

Lucy, Gus and I stared between ourselves in stunned disbelief. Of all the things I expected to learn this week, finding out Devlin Masters was some kind of piano virtuoso was nowhere on the list. It shamed me instantly. I had begun to see him as one-dimensional because that was the nature of his business—but that was not the whole of the man. Not by a long shot.

I studied him as he played, as if watching someone else entirely. He held the proper posture, his back strong and straight, striking a commanding silhouette in front of the grand piano. His dark hair tickled his neck near the collar of his shirt as he subtly tossed his head in an unconscious response to the music. Those incredible eyes closed, losing himself in the piece as his strong fingers confidently struck every key. It was clear with the emotional depth he demonstrated in this impromptu performance that he was more deeply faceted than I had previously thought.

I had to wonder what other things he had to show me.

We were speechless when he was done. It took a full second or two for us to applaud, after which he said, “I really should get around to taking lessons someday.”

Inadvertently this opened my musical inspiration up big time throughout the series, introducing me to classical pieces I had never heard before. This one is probably my favorite, from a scene in MASTERS FOREVER.

But the song that stands out the most is the one that I struggled to find. After I found out Devlin could play, it became a no-brainer that he'd play a song for CC. But what would he play? I needed it to be affirming but not overly committal. He couldn't pledge his love for her by this early scene in their relationship, but I wanted him to express wonder at all she was. And if it featured piano, all the better. After some extensive research, I came up with...

This song inspires a couple of scenes in the book, the second of which reduced me to tears. Imagine someone saying that to you and really meaning it - especially if you've never really had anyone say that to you before. I literally sobbed, thinking this would be the romantic ideal. It touched my heart.

Here's where it gets interesting... a few months after I wrote this, my husband came home from work one day *insisting* that I needed to hear this song he heard on the radio, saying it reminded him of me in every way.

I'll let you guess which song it was while I go get some tissue...

Any "Easter Eggs" planted with this book boyfriend?

We've already covered several of the bases. He's a Scorpio, check. That song, check. That everything figures so prominently in Vegas, where I got married, check. One of the bigger issues I dealt with was the ridiculous nature of clothes sizing for "plus-size" women, and the whole nature of "plus-size" in general. I used some of my own experiences when it comes to shopping for clothes as a basis behind the argument, including some of the (smaller) sizes I've worn in my life, only to be corrected in reviews that this book couldn't have been written by a woman because these sizes would have made her HUUUUUUUUUGE.

Such is the chance you take planting such personal Easter Eggs I suppose...

Where can we find him?

We start our journey with Devlin in MASTERS FOR HIRE, which on sale today for only $0.99. That's the fairy tale romance version. It doesn't get down and dirty until book two, MASTERS FOR LIFE, which is where the fantasy falls apart. Finally, in perhaps my most erotic book ever written under my real name, everything explodes in MASTERS FOREVER. But the story doesn't end there. Thanks to Graham Baxter, Devlin earns his own place in the Groupie Universe, so they cameo in other stories, such as FULL-FIGURED FLOOZIES.

And it all starts with a bargain of $0.99 - which is a significant discount off of Devlin's hourly rate.

I may be biased, but I think he's worth every penny...

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