Whip Smart (The Loft, #1) by Siena Noble
(The Loft, #1)
Publication Date: October 24, 2017
Genres: Erotic/ Contemporary Romance
After freeing herself from her controlling, manipulative, and so-called “dominant” ex-fiancé, 24-year-old Teresa Bodnar returns to her hometown of Pittsburgh to try and put the pieces of her shattered life back together. Stuck in a rut and determined to prove herself capable of moving on with her life, Tera makes a bold move: founding the city’s first BDSM club.
But opening a club for business proves to be no small task, especially where unexpected romantic entanglements are concerned. Since first meeting at a kinky costume party, the magnetic attraction between Tera and easy-going Dominant Eric Yun has been undeniable, and yet Tera finds herself denying it at every turn. She knows she has baggage to spare, and the high-strung submissive is taking no chances when it comes to her budding friendship with the sweet and seductive Eric, no matter how tempting he may be.
Eric Yun has baggage of his own. No one knows better than he does how to hide pain behind a joke and smile. He’s spent years learning to take life in stride, and just when he thinks he has it all figured out, Tera Bodnar sweeps into his life with her big dreams, stubborn determination, and soft submissive side. He’s wanted her more than anything since they met, and now it’s impossible to get her out of his head. But he can tell she’s hiding painful secrets of her own, and the more he learns about this beautifully complicated woman, the more he finds himself revealing to her about the Eric behind the smile…
As Eric chips away at her walls, Tera learns that there is much more to this man than his mouth-watering good looks and effortless charm. She’s falling for him hard and fast, but if life has taught her anything, it’s that the harder the fall, the worse the damage, and the risk of Eric becoming a casualty in the process is just too great. But how can she hope to resist him when she can’t even escape him in her dreams?
**Note: This book is the first in a series and ends on a cliffhanger to be resolved in the book two**
The loud squawk of a microphone being adjusted jolted me out of my erotic daydream. I turned away from Eric quickly to see Megan and Aaron finally getting ready to sing together. As the opening notes of Your Song started to play, a wave of relief washed over me, but it did little to soothe my jumpy nerves. I concentrated very hard on my bottle of booze and the karaoke, wishing that the sexually-charged moment we’d just shared would fade into obscurity. At first, I thought that Aaron and Megan were going for a Moulin Rouge!-inspired rendition of the song, but it quickly became apparent that while Megan was showing off her Broadway-worthy voice, Aaron was dramatically monologuing the lyrics in the style of William Shatner.
I snorted into my bottle of cider when I realized what he was doing, earning me a cheeky sideways glace from Eric that had my face flooding with warmth. “Wow, Luke was right, he really can’t sing,” I joked, hoping to win back the dignity that my snort had snatched away from me.
Eric shook his head with a smile. “He’s really not as bad as he pretends to be,” he said.
“Are you a singer?” I asked him. It was easy to imagine he was; that voice of his had a heated, sensual edge to it to begin with, in a way that made me think of hot coffee spiked with Bailey’s. Not to mention the brief moments when it dropped into a shiver-inducing low gravel that I suspected was his “Dom voice”. I pictured him at a piano, singing softly as he played with me sitting beside him.
“I can be,” he said cryptically, his smirk just barely not cocky. “Luke’s the lead singer, though.”
“Why, you guys’ in a band or something?”
I tilted my head, eying him skeptically. “You’re not just trying to mess with me, are you?”
“You really think so little of me that I would do that to you?” He put his hand to his heart as if I’d stabbed him, but his eyes were glimmering deviously.
“So, what, you were just going to casually throw it out there that you’re in a band like it’s no big deal?” I said, pretending to be aloof.
“Yeah, well, it’s hard to find someone who wants to know the real you when you’re a big famous rock star.”
I snorted again, deliberately this time. “You’re full of shit,” I said, surprising myself as I playfully shoved his arm. Damn, even that brief contact was enough to was enough to make my pulse quicken. “So, who’s all in your band?”
“Just, me, Luke, and Aaron. Luke plays guitar and Aaron’s the drummer. Aaron and I were roommates freshman year at CMU, which you know is the school to go to if you’re either a computer genius or a music prodigy, and you can probably guess which of those we were.”
“Wow, talented and humble,” I said dryly.
“Quiet, you,” he warned playfully, but I didn’t miss the edge of “Dom voice” that had crept in, making me bite my lip with suppressed desire. He continued with his story as if he hadn’t noticed the effect he had on me. “Anyway, there’s plenty of classical music and a capella groups if you’re a non-music major and you’re into that kind of thing, but we were just all ‘fuck it, let’s start our own band’, so I asked Luke to join, and we’ve been playing bars and stuff on weekends ever since. We call ourselves Alien Space Rocks.”
“Alien Space Rocks? Sounds like there’s a story behind that.”
He shrugged. “It’s a pretty boring story. We were drunk and couldn’t come up with a name.”
“So what kind of music do you play?”
“Classic rock, mostly,” he said. “Journey, Queen, plus occasionally some early and mid 2000’s stuff that was popular when we were in middle and high school.”
“So you’re a nostalgic kind of guy,” I said. “I’d like to hear you guys play sometime.”
He fixed me with a self-satisfied grin. “Who would’ve guessed there was more to me than just being a huge nerd,” he said.
Now it was my turn to pretend to be wounded. “You say that like it’s a bad thing. Didn’t think I came across as the kind of girl who’s… you know, turned off by nerdy stuff.” I gestured at my own elaborate costume.
“No, no you don’t,” he said softly, not shy at all as he very thoroughly looked me over. Briefly I was thrown back in time, feeling naked despite my clothes the way I had under his burning gaze all those weeks ago the night we met. I giggled nervously, and his smirk widened into that disarming dimpled smile. My heart fluttered; oh, if he only knew the things that smile did to me. Never before had I been so grateful for such dim lighting, which hopefully obscured the blush creeping over my face.
I cleared my throat, but my gaze lingered on him this as we both sipped our drinks. “I mean, some of us are into that kind of thing. And it’s hard not to be impressed by your dedication to total nerd-dom,” I explained quickly, checking him out briefly in his well-fitted uniform and hoping I could pass it off as simply admiring his costume.
His eyebrow quirked up, and I felt my pulse quicken as he rested his elbows on the bar and steepled his fingers to regard me closer.
“Are you? Why thank you, I’ll try not to let your praise give me too much of an ego boner,” he teased. “I mean, that is kind of a big compliment coming from you, Little Miss Jedi.”
“Excuse me, that’s Master Little Miss Jedi to you, Mister Imperial Scum,” I teased back. “I think you came to the wrong place if you were looking for someone to fuck with.”
As I lazily reached out to pick up my plastic lightsaber from the bar, Eric’s hand came down suddenly, capturing my wrist. I gasped and my eyes darted back to his face; a playful smirk was on his lips again, and I could feel my own face reddening further. This was all just a bit of harmless roleplay, wasn’t it? Some nerdy joking between friends? Mentally, I urged my pounding heart to relax and allowed myself tight smile of fake annoyance. Oh, so this is how it’s going to be, Mr. Imperial Officer? I thought. Well, two can play at that game.
I started to raise my right hand, intending to jab my finger at his face for emphasis as I hit him with a witty comeback. But before I could even finish coming up with what I was going to say, he grabbed my other wrist just as swiftly as he had the first. Instinctively, I twisted and flexed my wrists, testing his hold on me; his grip was loose enough that I could have easily broken free if I’d bothered to put up any real struggle, yet tight enough to convey an undeniable sense of command. And oh, how I wanted to struggle… but not to be free. Something about our little game had changed. The boyishly playful look on his face was now tinged with something much darker, and his eyes… I hadn’t been able to tear my eyes away from his since he’d first grabbed my wrist, but the look he gave me now was positively scorching. The energy coursing between us was almost tangible; I could feel it in the way the warmth of his hands around my wrists flowed down my arms and through my body like an electric current, in the way heat of his gaze triggered an unfurling of desire deep inside me.
“And I think all that Jedi arrogance has gone to your head if you thought the Empire wouldn’t find you here,” he said softly, after what seemed like an eternity. “What’s the matter? Can’t use the Force?”
He laughed, a low, sexy, dangerous little chuckle that had me pressing my thighs together with another surge of arousal. He broke eye contact for a moment, calmly turning his attention back to his drink as he moved my right hand over to join my left on the bar. But I wasn’t ready to be free yet. I felt a sudden sense of longing, a desperation for our little game not to be over. When he gently placed his left hand over both my wrists, I struggled hard, but pushed into his hand, not away from it. I felt him tense, and, as if he knew exactly what I was thinking, he clamped down all the tighter, rather than pulling his hand away. He whipped around to face me again, his expression a mixture of surprise, wicked delight, and a hind of imperious fury that for a split second I thought was 100% genuine. Oh, I had his attention now. And if he had any reservations about what I was doing, then the lustful “game on” look I was aiming at him surely told him all he needed to know.
He held my hands there as he took a long drink from his glass, studying me impassively all the while. The back of my neck tingled; in my highly aroused state, my senses seemed to have gone into overdrive. Were people watching us? I glanced nervously over my shoulder; Aaron and Megan had long finished their duet, and while Luke playfully ribbed his friend about his singing abilities, Megan seemed to be trying to cajole a mortified Alexis into stepping up to the microphone. For a second I felt bad for ignoring our friends, but none of them seemed to be paying attention to us. That, or they were making an effort to give us alone time…
“Don’t bother. Your rebel friends can’t save you now, Jedi Scum,” Eric sneered. “You’re prisoners of the Empire, now. So why don’t you just tell me where the other Jedi are hiding, and I promise I won’t let you suffer too much before you die. Maybe I’ll even reward you.”
“Like hell I’m telling you anything!” I said with as much contempt as I could manage. I felt a little breathless; was it possible we were having just a little too much fun with this?
His grip tightened. “We have ways of making you talk.”
“Oh, I’m sure you do. Way of making me more… compliant.”
“Keep up with that defiant attitude and you’ll find out. I have strict orders to hand you over to my superiors unharmed, but don’t think I won’t make an exception if you continue to resist me.”
“I don’t think you’d dare. Then again, maybe you just can’t resist the thought of having that kind of power over a Jedi, seeing her all weak and helpless as you bend her over your knee.”
The words were out of my mouth before I could stop them. What the hell are you doing? I berated myself. The minuscule bit of alcohol I’d had was making me far too brave. But I knew on some level it wasn’t the single hard cider that had me so intoxicated. I knew perfectly well what I was doing, and knew equally well that this could be the start of a path I wasn’t ready to walk down. But in the heady rush of that moment, I didn’t care. I was willfully blind to everything but the intoxicatingly irresistible man in front of me and my desperate need to have him spank me.
Eric’s eyes widened, and a look of hesitation flitted across his face before the mask of the Imperial Officer settled over it again. He leaned in so close I could feel his hot breath on my face.
“I’m beginning to think you’re not going to give me much of a choice,” he said finally.
My mouth dropped open a little. Fuck me, he’s actually going for it. “It looks that way. Guess you’ll just have to teach me a lesson in respect.”
He stared at me for a long moment, and for a thrilling, scary second I imagined him pulling me off my barstool and across his lap right then and there. But he simply gave a cursory glance around the room, drained the last of his beer from his glass, and stood up.
“Be right back, need to use the restroom,” he announced. He barely looked at me, then grabbed his gloves and uniform cap from the bar and turned the corner down the short hallway to the bathrooms. I felt a little dazed; my heart was still hammering away in my chest, and I was flushed all over with pent-up desire. But the arousal was tinged with a creeping sense of humiliation. Was Eric just being a tease? Or had I scared him off with my intensity?
“Hey Tera! Where’d Eric go?” Luke’s voice suddenly jerked me back into reality.
“Huh? Oh, he just went to the bathroom.” I shrugged nonchalantly. “Hey, anyone want to sing with me?”
As Megan skipped gleefully over to me, I tried to push the thought of how easily I’d let my wrists get caught in Eric’s waiting grasp out of my mind, how willingly I’d surrendered to him. But no sooner had Megan begun to tug pleadingly on my arm that my phone vibrated with a new text. With a jolt, I noticed it was from Eric.
Waiting by the restrooms.
Meet me in two minutes if you’re serious.
If not, I won’t mention it. No hard feelings.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A proud Pittsburgh, PA area native, Siena Noble has explored and inhabited all kinds of fictional worlds through her writing since age ten. Although she’s always been a sucker for a good love story and possesses an incredibly dirty mind, she never imagined that her publishing debut would be erotic romance. What started as a silly short story idea quickly became something much bigger, a demanding Master of a manuscript whose every whim Siena submitted to.
When she’s not busy reading, writing, binge-watching Game of Thrones, or doing a million other important things, Siena enjoys traveling, archery, and getting lost in the woods (also known as “hiking”). She and her better half/writing buddy/sometimes Sir/sex muse live together in Pittsburgh. Their dream is to relocate to the middle of nowhere and build a castle capable of withstanding the impending zombie apocalypse.