Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Big Huge Reader Contest - Day 22!

Den of Desire by Shauna Hart
Buy eBook / Paperback from Whiskey Creek Press Torrid
Romantic Suspense / Thriller

Mara Templeton may be a bestselling erotic romance writer, but deep down, she knows her identity’s a lie. She’s never come close to experimenting like her characters. Weeks from a deadline, she’s desperate to find inspiration. So when she accepts an invitation for a private tour of Club X, a club known for its exotic pleasures, she knows she is in way over her head. But nothing can prepare her for the club’s sexy owner.

Joe Gates sees right through Mara’s cool façade. He’s made a business of learning people’s secrets in Club X. And he’s good at what he does. He sees the unsatisfied desire in Mara’s eyes. And he’s more than ready to show her just what she’s been missing.

But someone else is watching, too.

Someone who will stop at nothing to claim her.

Sample of Chapter from Den of Desire by Shauna Hart

What was she doing here?

She still couldn’t believe that she’d let Lexi talk her into this. She knew that time was running out. After all, the deadline for her next erotic romance novel was only a month away, and she hadn’t written a single word. Readers expecting the next Mara Templeton novel were definitely going to be disappointed if she didn’t find some way to spark the muse. The two words that every writer dreads couldn’t have struck at a worse time.

Writer’s block.

Like the nemesis in the Harry Potter series, it was something that every writer feared but didn’t dare speak of aloud. But after a messy breakup two months ago, it had become her constant companion. She couldn’t deny that her breakup with Dan had been a shock. It wasn’t every day she found her boyfriend in bed with another woman. Still, it wasn’t like their relationship was a hot one. It wasn’t even lukewarm. After living together for four months, anything hot about their relationship had died a lonely death within the first few weeks.

So, why was she having this problem?

It was a good question.

One that she didn’t have an answer for.

Now, as she stood outside the club, she wondered if her problem wasn’t a bout of insanity. She looked up at the large X that hung over the door. At night, it would light up half of the block. But now, in the light of day, it was little more than an outline. She willed herself to knock, willed herself to be bold and brave like the characters in her books, but a part of her wavered.

When Lexi’d offered to take her to the club, she’d refused. As much as she wanted to be as wild and free as Lexi was, the truth was that they were complete opposites. She had never done anything like the things Lexi did. Until recently, it had seemed like her life was right on course. She had a successful career and a solid relationship. Now, she was beginning to see how naïve she had been.

Sensing that she was nervous about visiting the club, Lexi had set up a private walk-through with the owner during the day. She could still remember her friend’s good-natured prodding.

“What have you got to lose? Maybe if you walk around the place, you will get a few ideas. I know that I always do,” she said with a wink.

She knew Lexi was right.

What could touring the club when it was closed hurt?

She raised her hand to knock mere seconds before it was pulled open. Her gaze rose to meet an arresting pair of green eyes. One eyebrow arched.

“Miss Templeton?”

She offered him a timid smile. “Yes, I’m here to meet…”

“Joe Gates,” he replied, holding out his hand.

She wasn’t sure what she had pictured when she thought of the man who owned the hottest sex club in town. Maybe bald, with the look of a pervert? But she definitely hadn’t expected him to be so…sexy.

Why would a guy like him be working in a place like this?

She placed her hand in his, noting how large it felt as it closed around her own. Instead of shaking it, he pulled her inside, closing the door behind them.

“Lexi said you wanted a private tour,” he said.

Despite the darkness, she could feel his eyes traveling the length of her body.

“Yes,” she managed.

He pulled a remote out of his pocket to press a button. Instantly, the room was flooded with light. Mara looked down the long narrow hall, her surprise evident. She wasn’t sure what she was expecting.

But this wasn’t it.

The place looked like little more than a glorified basement with track lighting. After everything she had heard from Lexi about how wonderful the place was, this was definitely not what she had envisioned.

He walked ahead of her, and she followed behind him.

“Normally, I wouldn’t grant a request like this, but Lexi’s a friend,” he observed.

Mara’s eyebrows arched. She couldn’t help but wonder what his definition of a friend was. Had they slept together? Her gaze fell to the way his ass filled out the pair of dress slacks he wore. The man definitely wore pants well. His black hair curled over the collar of his royal blue dress shirt, which was stretched over wide shoulders.

She could see why the place stayed in business. The man was a walking advertisement for sex, even if he did seem to have a slight attitude problem. He turned the corner, and her eyes widened. Rooms lined either side of the walls, their interior lights blinking on in chorus as she walked past. Her attention was immediately drawn to a room on the left. A circular bed rotated in the center. The interior of the room was draped in purple satin.

A glance to the right revealed a stark contrast. Chains were suspended from the ceiling and the floor. A variety of toys hung from the pegs at the back of the room. She turned to look at him only to find him watching her intently.

“I’m sorry if it’s an inconvenience,” she muttered, her brain still a little scrambled from the view. She felt his gaze on her body, and her nipples tightened against the thin material of her dress.

“I didn’t say that. I just think it’s a waste of time,” he explained casually.

Her eyes narrowed. “I’m not sure I understand what you mean.”

He walked over to her slowly, coming to stand before her. Reaching over, he twirled one of her blonde curls around his finger. “I don’t think you can understand what the club has to offer until you experience it firsthand.”

His words robbed the air from her lungs. She could feel the heat of his body against hers. And it felt good. Too good. Her eyes met his, and his full lips slid into a smile. Her mind went to forbidden places.

Places where naked bodies met.

She had to get a hold of herself before she did something stupid.

“Look, Mr. Gates…”

“Joe,” he corrected.

“Joe. This isn’t exactly my first book,” she reminded him curtly.

His gaze lifted to the ceiling for a moment as he replied. “Yes, I know. I’ve read them.”

Her eyebrows furrowed together. “You’ve read my books?” she asked, her surprise evident.

He stared at her but didn’t elaborate.

“And?” she prodded.

His eyebrows rose, his lips curling on a smirk. “They were…okay.”

Her eyes widened. “Okay?”

He tilted his head to the side at her reaction. “Yes.”

She drew in a deep breath in an attempt to reign in her temper. “So, you didn’t like them?”

“I didn’t say that. I just mean that it was obvious that you haven’t experimented much.”

She let out a huff of aggravation. “I’m not exactly a virgin, Mr. Gates,” she replied, her lips pursed.

His eyes traveled over her body in blatant interest. “Not exactly,” he agreed.

“Has anyone ever told you that you have a lot of nerve?” she asked, her voice laced with sarcasm.

His mischievous grin made her want to slap him. “I got the memo.”

“For your information, I’ve been with a lot of guys,” she offered.

In reality, all of three, but he didn’t have to know that.

“Really? Then I am sorry.”

She nodded. The man’s arrogance was astounding.

“I’m sorry that none of them could take you the way you want to be taken.”

“They took me just fine,” she countered defensively.

One eyebrow arched. “Not enough. And not the way you wanted them to,” he explained.“Why do you think you’ve suddenly become such an expert on me and what I want?” she challenged.

His smug grin nearly did her in. “I read your books.”

She sighed heavily. He took a step closer, his hand coming up to curl around her nape. His thumb trailed along the line of her jaw. Her mouth parted of its own volition as he leaned in.

“You want to be taken, Mara,” he said, his breath wafting over her lips. “You want to be taken so deeply that you only exist for pleasure.”

All rational thought seemed to disappear with his nearness. As much as he irritated her, she couldn’t help but wonder what it would feel like to have his lips against hers, his tongue seeking out every hidden part of her mouth.

“I…” she stuttered.

“I could show you. But not while the club is closed.”

She told herself to back away, to tell him to go to hell, but her feet stayed rooted to the floor. She couldn’t deny that she was intrigued. The smoky depth of his voice teased her with something she had fantasized about for years but never admitted out loud. True, she had been with other lovers, but none of them had been able to take her to the heights she had heard Lexi muse about. Maybe deep down she had begun to believe that she would never reach them.

But as Joe’s body pressed into hers, she wondered…

“I don’t…” she began.

His finger came up to cover her lips, effectively silencing her. “Don’t you want to know? Don’t you want to feel what your characters feel?” he taunted.

Oh, God.

She did.

More than she could ever admit.

To herself. And to a stranger.

“Because until you do, you’re cheating yourself and you’re cheating them.”

She forced herself to look away from the smoldering heat in his gaze, and he dropped his hand.

“I appreciate the offer, Mr. Gates. But I’m just not into…” She trailed off, unable to describe the events that took place here.

His answering smile mocked her cowardice. “Yes, you are. You wouldn’t write about it if you weren’t curious.”

He took her hand, leading her over to a large picture window. Inside, a rectangular table covered in black leather was the only furniture. Straps lined the sides.

“Imagine what it would be like. Blindfolded. Strapped down. Completely bare. All you can do is feel.”

His words made her body cry out to be filled. She could feel his erection against her buttocks, and despite the warning in her head, she wanted more.

“Have you ever been taken like that? Given your body so completely to another?”


She hadn’t.

She had never thought she could or wanted to. But standing before him, feeling him against her as she listened to the husky sound of his voice, she realized that she did.

“Come to the club tonight.”

His breath teased the sensitive skin of her ear. It made her want to agree to anything he asked.


He turned her to face him. “I’m not asking you to participate, Mara. Not yet, anyway. I just want you to see it. I want you to see what people experience when they come here.”

She bit the inside of her lip. “Just to watch?”

He smiled, his gaze feeling as intimate as any touch she had ever experienced. “Nothing will happen that you don’t want to happen,” he assured her.

That, she was afraid, was the problem.

Buy eBook / Paperback from Whiskey Creek Press Torrid

Shauna Hart Website

Commenting and/or asking questions on an author’s blog for the day will enter you into the Big Huge Reader Contest for a Pink Sony eReader or one of three boxes packed full of RT Booklovers Convention goodies. Unfortunately, due to the grand prize being an electronic and weight of the other three boxes, this contest is for US residents only.


Kristabel Reed said...

I think I need a friend like Lexi! Poor Mara, but I'm sure Joe will help her through her fear.

Shauna Hart said...

Hi Kristabel,

I'm glad you enjoyed it :) Lexi is definitely a good friend, as we see throughout the rest of the book!

Mara definitely has a lot to learn, but don't worry...Joe is up to the challenge :)

Shauna Hart

Tilly Greene said...

Shauna, darlin', you're giving our secrets away - just kidding :-) Looks like a fun read and doubly so because I'm in the mood for some suspense.

Thank you for sharing and wetting my appetite!


Shauna Hart said...

Thanks for having me, Tilly!

I really appreciate it :)


Anonymous said...

This looks like a good read with some fun characters.

in Germany

Shauna Hart said...

Thanks, Valerie!

I hope you enjoy it :)


Stephanie said...

Whew! Feel the sexual tension flow off that scene!! Have to wonder what the big bad has to bring to amp up the tension in this? Where did the inspiration for this story come from Ms. Shauna?

Anne said...

Loved the excerpt! Another new to me author, yeah!

jean hart stewart said...

Definitely tantalizing...makes anyone want to know what comes next.would turn a saint's imagination on...Jean

Deb830 said...

Hi Shauna -

Happy Tue to you and everyone. Love the idea that Mara is a bestselling erotic romance author with writers block and needs inspiration. Did you have to do some research yourself for this book? Thanks for the excerpt.

deb ;0)

joder said...

Sounds like an interesting storyline where stepping out of your comfort zone is important. Really hoping to see where things go.

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

Judy said...

A fantastic excerpt!! It makes me want to read the book:)

Anonymous said...

WHOA ---loved the hot excerpt! Shauna you do a great job of writing sexual tension to just the right level! Ive got to read this one!

Happy Sales!

hugs, Kari Thomas, www.authorkari.com

Jean P said...

That was a intriguing and tantilizing excerpt, makes you definitely want to read more.

Anonymous said...

This book sounds too hot to hold in my hands. Have to read it on my Nook

orelukjp0 said...

Wow. I really liked the excerpt. It makes one think about the research authors put into their books. And yes, you can tell when reading them. I know I appreciate a well written book that is thoroughly research and very true to life.

Thank you also for the fantastic contest.

Cathy M said...

Wow, Shauna, love their chemistry.

My favorite line, “You want to be taken so deeply that you only exist for pleasure.”

Can't wait to read this story.

caity_mack at yahoo dot com

Shauna Hart said...

Hi Stephanie,

Actually, the idea started with the thought "what if you wrote erotic romance but someone could tell you weren't experienced?" Then, it flew from there! But, I agree, that the two of them have amazing chemistry :) And yes, it continues to grow all the way through!


Shauna Hart said...

Thanks to everyone for the kind words! I loved writing this book. It just kept getting better and better :) And these characters definitely surprised me :)


Shauna Hart said...

Hi Deb,

I might have done some research with my husband! He is always willing to help! LOL And is very supportive of my career :)

Anonymous said...

Shauna is a new to me author, and I must say after that tasty except and reading the blurb won't be for long :). Going into my to get list to hopefully pick up very soon. Looking forward to reading your work Shauna!

Pam S

Jane said...

All of Shauna's books sound so good. "The One Nighter" has really intrigued me.

janie1215 AT excite DOT com

flchen1 said...

Ooh, this sounds good! I love the idea of a writer doing research ;) Adding this to the TBB!

f dot chen at comcast dot net

Nancy G said...

Sounds great! Nothing like some "hands on" research to make a book better.


Suzette said...

Do you agree with Joe, Shauna? That if a writer writes it, they're curious?

Suzette F.

Shauna Hart said...

Glad to hear that you enjoyed the excerpt! I would love to hear from everyone if they pick up the book. You can message me on facebook or myspace :) You can also send me an email through my website!


Shauna Hart said...

Hi Suzette,

I would have to say I do agree with Joe. I think that as writers we explore areas that we may not always experience, but we are definitely intrigued by.


practimom said...

okay, i will need by trusty bucket'o'ice for this one, it seems. what an interesting concept.

Sherry said...

Your a new author to me but your book sounds really good. I loved the excerpt.


stacey said...

the hole ideal sounds hot and sexy I don't believe thay have places like that around here.not that i would be brave anuff.


Brandlwyne said...

Thank you for the post. Here is my email addy



Pamk said...

lol that's a dare if i've ever heard one. Sounds like a great read.

etirv said...

Love the excerpt!


*yadkny* said...

That was a great excerpt, Shauna! Definitely left me wanting more:)


Shauna Hart said...

Thanks to everyone who posted!

It was a lot of fun :)


Lovie said...

Not sure how I missed this post yesterday. But I did want to post because Shauna Hart is great. First heard about Club X in "Pleasure of Sin" look forward to my Club X stories.

booklover0226 said...

AAARRRGHHHH! I'm ready for more!

I look forward in reading Den of Desire.

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

Rosie said...

Wow, I so can't wait to read your books (and share your name with my best friend to buy your books too)!!! Thanks for stopping by.

Nicole Zoltack said...

What fun characters!

Nicole.Zoltack AT gmail.com

starryann said...

good excerpt, I liked it and your cover was very interesting as well,seems like a book I would like to read. who are your favorite characters or character in any of your books and why?