Outback Master

Farpoint Creek Cattle Station, Book 3

Mari Carr and Lexxie Couper

Chapter 1

Amelia Wesson—Amy to her friends—wandered around Harper Shaw’s house in Chicago and resisted the urge to pinch herself…again. She was in America. She was really here.

For most of her life, she’d dreamed of traveling abroad, seeing foreign countries, experiencing different cultures.

Hazel Sullivan, the matriarch of Farpoint Creek Cattle Station in Australia, told Amy she had a case of wanderlust, and according to Hazel, she had it bad.

Her boss didn’t have to tell her that. Amy’s best friend, Josephine, had wallpapered every square inch of her room with pictures of Daniel Johns and Silverchair when they were growing up, but Amy had opted to display the photos of foreign places she’d torn out of old calendars. She’d spend hours looking at the pictures and imagining herself walking the city streets of New York or London, Rome or L.A.

And now she was here, in Chicago, in the United States of America. Yep. Definitely a pinch-worthy moment. Meeting Harper online had probably been the best stroke of luck Amy had ever had in a life full of nothing special.

Her mobile phone rang. Speak of the devil, she thought as she glanced at the screen.

“Hey. How you going?” Amy asked.

Harper chuckled. “You’re going to have to start working on your American lingo, Amy, if you want to fit in. I’m doing just fine. Sitting in Sydney Airport waiting for the connecting flight to Cobar. Your friends better be there to pick me up so I can take over your life. Figure I’ve only got two weeks to completely wreck the impressionable minds of your students. I’m anxious to start.”

Amy felt a twinge of homesickness as she thought about the life she’d so willingly traded away for this adventure. She was the teacher on Farpoint Creek Cattle Station, and her charges—children of the jackaroos and families who worked on the station—ranged from kindy to year six. Once her students entered their seventh year, they finished their education via School of the Air.

Thank God.

Amy’s mastery of Algebra and the upper maths courses was shaky at best. Two plus two—no problem. Add in a bunch of wonky symbols and things took a bad turn.

“I’ve seen your lesson plans, mate, and I know you’re a great teacher. I’m not worried about you messing up anything. Besides, the kids are so excited about meeting you and hearing all about their American pen pals firsthand, I don’t think you’ll have time to teach them much of anything. They have a list of questions as long as the Murray River.”

Amy had come up with the idea of starting an international pen pal program a year ago and had gone searching on several educational blogs for an American teacher willing to join forces. Through some long, meandering series of clicks—she could get lost on the internet for days—she’d come across Harper Shaw, a fourth-grade teacher who was also hoping to find pen pals for her students. They’d begun emailing, making quick introductions and exploring their ideas for the letter-writing lesson. Then the emails turned to IMs, in which they shared work war stories and lesson plans. Finally, about nine months ago, they’d started Skyping, chatting for hours each weekend about anything and everything. Though they’d never met face-to-face, Amy considered Harper one of her best friends.

“So what do you think of the house? You’re there, right?” Harper asked.

“I got in about half an hour ago. It’s gorgeous. You made a mistake offering this life swap. I’m squatting here permanently.”

She heard a voice announce the departure of a flight to London through the phone. Amy could imagine exactly where Harper was sitting as she waited to begin the next leg of her journey. She’d be sitting in that same place in a couple weeks as she returned home.

Please don’t let the fortnight go by too fast.

Harper scoffed. “The way I remember it, it was you who came up with this Freaky Friday idea of switching lives.”

They’d been Skyping one Saturday morning in March—actually it had been a.m. in Oz, Friday night in Chicago—and Amy mentioned a movie she’d watched the night before. She couldn’t recall the name of the film, but in it, two women had decided to swap houses, one woman traveling to America as the other took off for England. Amy had remarked that it was a great idea and probably the only way she’d ever be able to afford a big trip to America.

“I merely mentioned the movie. You were the one who said we should try it.”

“I’m glad we did. Jesus. I can’t believe I’m sitting in an airport in Australia. I’m bone-tired from seven hundred years on that international flight, but so freaking excited I feel like pinching myself.”

She and Harper were destined to be friends for life. “I know the feeling, believe me. I’ve been so busy the past few days, getting everything settled at home, and then packing that I don’t think it had time to sink in. Now that I’m standing here, it’s just…bloody hell, it’s incredible.”

Amy had jumped at the chance to see Chicago, accepting Harper’s unexpected offer before her friend could change her mind. For days they’d tried to find a time that would work best for both of them. They’d settled on Harper’s spring break from work. Though the actual school holiday was only a week long, Harper had a week’s worth of vacation days she was willing to tack on as well. Rather than push the trip off until summer—neither of them had wanted to wait that long—they’d booked flights for April.

“I guess you managed to find the key?” Harper asked.

“Yep. Right where you said you’d leave it. Under the third flowerpot from the left on the front porch. The house is so beautiful. I’m afraid this trade isn’t exactly fair. I live in a tiny cottage twenty minutes from the station’s main homestead. Nothing fancy.”

Amy had rushed through every room of Harper’s home when she’d first arrived. Harper and her brother, Andrew, had inherited the large house from their father upon his death nearly a decade earlier. While Andrew still kept a room there, the house primarily belonged to Harper.

As she and Harper spoke, Amy wandered upstairs once more, thrilled to bits with the idea that this gorgeous place would be her home for two whole weeks.

She returned to Harper’s bedroom at the top of the stairs. The classic décor and understated elegance reflected Harper’s love of simple beauty. Her friend was lovely in an unassuming way. She didn’t need makeup to enhance her natural healthy good looks. The room, though humble, echoed its owner.

The walls were mint green and that color was pulled out in the leaves of the soft floral doona covering Harper’s queen-sized bed. There was a chaise lounge next to a bay window that looked out onto a well-kept garden bursting with flowers that screamed of spring. There was a dressing table with a chair and mirror—the sort of set Amy had always wanted when she was a young girl. The hardwood floor was covered with a soft off-white rug. Amy sucked in a deep breath and caught what she assumed was a whiff of Harper’s perfume. The fresh, clean scent matched the room and the person who lived here.

Amy sank down on the bed. “I love your bedroom. It’s so comfy and inviting.”

“It’s just a room. I cleaned the hell out of it right before I left. You’re seeing it on a good day. Usually it’s a disaster area.”

“I did the same thing to my house. Scrubbed it from top to bottom. Of course, Thomo and Blue helped, so it wasn’t too bad.”

“Thomo and Blue?”

“Those are Keith and Marc’s nicknames. You’ll probably hear them called by those more than their given names. Listen, if you need anything, just find one of them. They’ve promised me they’ll look after you. I reckon life on a cattle station is way different than what you experience in Chicago. Everyone at Farpoint is nice, but there are a couple blokes you want to look out for. Marc and Keith will make sure no one comes on too strong.”

Amy had grown up on Farpoint Creek, and while there were plenty of women on the station, her closest friends were Marc and Keith. She grinned when she recalled the bon voyage party they’d thrown for her three nights ago. Amy rubbed her temple. She could still feel a bit of the hangover.

Her two mates knew what this trip meant to her. They’d even given her a going-away present—one hundred American dollars to spend on whatever the hell she wanted. Well, with one caveat. Marc had pulled her aside later to beg her to buy him a souvenir. As if she wouldn’t. Her friendship with the two men was the only thing that made life on the cattle station bearable. Although she loved her home and her friends, she constantly longed to be somewhere—anywhere—else.

“I wish I could offer you the same protection, but I sort of purposely timed this vacation so that Andrew would be out of the country the whole time I’m away.”

Amy shook her head. “I still can’t believe you didn’t tell your brother about your trip. Given his line of work, I’m sure he would have told you to go and have fun.”

Andrew was host of a big cable show, Off the Beaten Path on the Travel Channel, and his job kept him constantly on the move. Amy continually pumped Harper for details about Andrew’s adventures. The man was living her dream, traveling all over the world, exploring different customs, religions, foods, and she couldn’t imagine a more spectacular life.

“You don’t know Andrew. What’s good for him is not good for his baby sister. He takes overprotectiveness to new extremes. If I’d told him what I was planning to do, he would have invited himself along to keep an eye on me. It’s kind of hard to do something impulsive and spontaneous with your overbearing, older brother hovering.”

“I’m sure he’s not that bad.”

Harper laughed. “Trust me, I’m painting him in the best possible light. He’s actually a lot worse than that. As far as Andrew knows, I’m spending my spring break at an educational conference and I’ll be too busy to call. Figure that’ll buy me at least one week of vacation free and clear before he starts his daily checking-in routine. It’s going to be tricky catching his calls the second week, what with the time change.”

“You know, I think it’s kind of sweet that he calls to talk to you every day.” Amy was one of three girls, but she and her sisters argued more than coddled. Harper had become the sister of her heart, the one she reached out to in times of need.

“Yeah. Truth is I love him more than the White Sox, despite his caveman tactics. But even so, I’m glad for the respite.”

“Well, I hate to break it to you, but you may have traded one bossy brother for two. Blue and Thomo can be just as domineering. They gave me an ear-bashing for days before I left about how I shouldn’t do this or to be careful of that. We may not share the same blood, but those buggers have appointed themselves the role of my keepers. I’m afraid you might be facing more of the same.”

“I’ll keep that in mind. Crap, I took a Dramamine to keep from getting motion sickness on this next puddle jumper, but it’s starting to make me drowsy. I hate flying in shoeboxes. Hope I didn’t take it too early.”

Amy looked at her watch. She’d adjusted the time as soon as she landed at O’Hare Airport. Mentally, she did the maths. Australia was fifteen hours ahead of Chicago. “It won’t be long now. The connecting flight to Cobar is going to feel like an up and down one compared to the long-arse flight you just did. Keith and Marc will be there to get you. If I know Hazel, she probably pushed them out so bright and early it was still dark, just so they wouldn’t make you wait. She’s as excited to meet you as Thomo and Blue.”

“I hope she likes me. It was really cool of her to let a stranger come to teach. No way that would happen in the States.”

“Hazel will love you. Promise.”

The Sullivan family owned Farpoint Creek. It was Hazel Sullivan who’d convinced Amy to go to Chicago and agreed to Harper taking over her position as teacher for two weeks. Hazel said letting her take the extended holiday was the least she could do, since it was probably her sons’ fault that Amy was so unhappy on the station.

Dylan and Hunter had found American girlfriends in the past year. Actually, Dylan had married his artist, Monet, and was currently on his honeymoon. Monet and Hunter’s girlfriend, Annie, had taken up residence on Farpoint and Amy spent countless hours talking to them about their lives in New York, as well as their travels to other amazing places.

“I guess I should get off here. It looks like they’re about to start calling for passengers for this flight,” Harper said. “Then I’m off to see your cowboys.”

“They’re not cowboys, Harper. Marc’s a jackaroo, cause he’s only in his early twenties and Keith is a stockman cause he’s an old bastard of twenty-eight. You might want to brush up on your Aussie vocab too.”

“Jackaroo, stockman. Got it. Oh hey. Before I forget, there are some staples in the fridge to keep you going until you get to the store—milk, eggs, stuff like that. The fresh towels are in the closet at the top of the stairs and the keys to my car, if you’re brave enough to attempt driving in America, are on the hook by the foyer table. Just remember, we drive on the right side. You crazy fools drive on the wrong side.”

“Bloody hell. I’m fine taking taxis or the train. Dying to try those things anyway. There’s no way I’d risk my life trying to tackle your roads. I reckon I’d have a heart attack every time I had to make a right turn, fearing I’d smash into somebody. Those car keys will stay on the hook.”

“Chicken shit. Fine. I planned a big surprise for you too. It’s something you’ve always wanted.”

Amy perked up. She loved pressies. “What is it?”

“If I tell you, it won’t be a surprise.”

“Where is it?”

Harper laughed. “It’s not in the house…yet. So don’t bother looking for it. And you won’t know when it’s arriving, but be ready. It’ll knock your socks off! Promise.”

“Crap. I hate surprises. Will you give me a hint at least?”

Harper refused. “Nope. Just remember to keep an open mind.”

“What the hell does that mean?”

“You’ll see.” Harper yawned loudly. “Damn, they better start loading this plane soon or I’m likely to fall asleep in this chair.”

“Okay. See you later, Harper.”

“Bye, Amy.”

Amy pressed End on her phone and sighed. If there was one part of the trip she regretted, it was that she wouldn’t get to meet Harper face-to-face.

She wondered what the surprise could be. The two of them had shared so many secrets in the past few months, Amy couldn’t even guess what Harper had planned for her.

A couple weeks ago they’d gotten drunk together via Skype, and Amy had told Harper things she’d never admitted to another living soul. Amy had been feeling sorry for herself for spending another weekend dateless and stuck at home, so she’d consumed a bottle of wine. On a whim, she’d drunk-Skyped Harper, surprised to find her friend also off her face.

Harper had been treating herself to early-morning birthday Bloody Marys, indulging in the same pity party. As usual, they’d turned to each other for company and spent nearly two hours laughing and sharing their dirtiest sex fantasies. Amy still blushed when she recalled the detail she’d gone into as she told Harper all about her sex-with-a-stranger dream. Of course, considering Harper’s fantasy was to participate in a ménage, maybe they were even in the red-hot-fantasy category.

She glanced around Harper’s room once more. She’d done it, found her way to America. Amy had spent hours on the internet planning her Chicago itinerary, making a list of everything she absolutely had to see before returning home.

She reached into her back pocket and pulled out her passport. Grinning at her foolishness, she lifted Harper’s mattress and stashed it as Hazel’s voice came back to her. “Don’t leave that passport out in plain sight. Someone might steal it.” Amy had asked who the blazes would want her passport, but Hazel told her to hide it just the same, so she didn’t lose it. Truth be told that was probably her boss’s biggest concern. She often lamented about Amy losing her head if it wasn’t attached. So, for Hazel’s sake, she’d keep her passport safe.

Rising from the bed, she continued exploring the upstairs rooms, walking farther down the hall and peeking into what appeared to be a catchall room. A treadmill covered with clothes sat next to boxes filled with Christmas ornaments, then there was a desk and a filing cabinet. Amy’s own elliptical back in Farpoint served the same purpose—used less for workout and more as a clothesline.

She ventured on to the guest room where she’d left her luggage. Though Harper would be sleeping in Amy’s bedroom—it was the only room available in her tiny cottage—Amy didn’t feel right taking over her friend’s space with such a warm and welcoming guest room down the hall. She stared at her open suitcase. She should unpack, but exhaustion was kicking in. Between layovers, flights and the taxi ride from O’Hare, she’d been traveling nonstop for nearly twenty-seven hours. Adrenaline could only take her so far. She was buggered.

She was about to collapse on the bed when a closed door at the end of the hallway caught her eye. She’d missed it on her first rushed tour of the house. Curiosity defeated tiredness.

The door was unlocked. Opening it, she stepped into the large room—and sucked in a deep breath.

The walls seemed to mimic her bedroom back home.

The stark white paint was covered with breathtaking color photos of some of the most beautiful places on earth. Several of the landscapes she recognized immediately from the pictures she’d torn out of travel magazines over the years. However, there were just as many places she’d never laid eyes on. The familiar ache in her chest returned as she realized how much of the world there really was to see.

This had to be Andrew’s room. No doubt he’d taken the color shots himself, a photographic reminder of all the incredible places he’d journeyed to.

“Lucky bastard,” she muttered jealously. The rest of the room was equally inviting. Andrew had a king-sized bed that looked soft as a cloud. Walking over, she ran her hand along the comforter, then the pillowcase. Silk sheets. Holy shit. She’d always wanted to sleep in a bed with silk sheets.

The room seemed less lived in than Harper’s. The top of the dresser was devoid of knickknacks. The books on the shelf were organized a little too perfectly. Even the laundry basket in the corner was empty. If Amy didn’t know Andrew lived here, she’d think this room was a second guest room. Of course, given the fact, the man traveled most of the year and kept an apartment in Los Angeles as well, it made sense that his room would look neater, less inhabited.

She considered returning to the guest room then changed her mind. According to Harper, Andrew was out of the country, spending the next three weeks on location in the South Pacific. Amy toed off her shoes then tugged off her blouse, jeans and panties. Stripping off her bra, she added it to the pile of clothes beside the bed and pulled down the sheets.

One night. She’d give herself one night between the silk sheets in the huge bed. Tomorrow, she’d move into the guest room.

Maybe.

* * * *

Andrew Shaw pulled onto the road that led to the home he shared with his sister and released a long sigh. He was fucking wiped out. The last three days had been an experiment in torture when his shoot was cancelled due to a monsoon expected to hit the island he’d intended to be make number eight on his Best Kept Secrets show. He’d been in perpetual motion, hopping from boat to plane to boat and then another plane before his producer called to say they were scrapping the visit.

His phone rang, jerking him from his misery. “Fuck.” One glance at the screen told him he wasn’t going to enjoy this phone call.

“What?” Andrew said by way of greeting.

His best friend, Mike, chuckled. “Welcome home. Is it too soon to say I told you so?” Mike, a meteorologist, had been watching the progression of the storm and had told him not to bother getting on the plane in the first place.

“Yeah. It’s too soon. Besides, you assholes are never right. How did you know I was back?”

“Tom called a few hours ago. Gave me the flight times. I just dropped Mars off at his house and now I’m headed home.”

Mike served as dog sitter for his cameraman Tom’s mutt. Given the amount of time Andrew and Tom were out of the country, it was probably safer to say he and Mike were co-owners of the gigantic dog. Not that either man seemed to mind sharing.

“From the sound of your voice, I assume it was a shitty trip.”

Andrew switched on the windshield wipers and bit back a curse. All this rain was starting to piss him off. “It sucked. Did you call just to rub salt in the wound or did you want something?”

They had been friends too long for Mike to take offense at his sharp tone. “You on your way home?”

“Of course I am. Where else would I go?”

“Thought you might blow off some steam at the club. Wondered if you wanted company.”

Andrew had considered heading to Velvet Chains as soon as he got off the plane at O’Hare. In the past, it wouldn’t have even been a question. The private sex club was usually his and Tom’s first stop after a long trip. It helped ground Andrew, relax him.

Mike had introduced him to the BDSM scene shortly after Andrew’s twenty-first birthday. Mike’s father and uncle co-owned Velvet Chains, so his friend had grown up around the lifestyle. Andrew had not. His first trip had been an eye-opening, life-altering experience. Mike jokingly insisted he’d known about Andrew’s Dom tendencies since their freshmen year in high school, but he figured it was best to wait until Andrew was old enough to handle the news.

Lately, however, he’d found himself becoming bored with the action at the club. While the subs were quite pretty and more than eager to please, he struggled to find the same pleasure, the same sense of adventure he’d experienced in the early days.

“Thought you’d given up the club scene since settling down with Joanne. Married life already chafing, Mike?”

Andrew could imagine the goofy grin on his friend’s face at hearing the name of his wife. Since getting married, Mike had adopted the annoying theory that Andrew needed to take a walk down the aisle too if he ever planned to be happy.

“I’d just be going for a drink. Joanne trusts me. Although knowing my sexy girl, she’d probably insist on coming with me.”

Mike had met Joanne at Velvet Chains. There’d been no doubt the moment the two laid eyes on each other they were meant to be together. Though Andrew felt twinges of jealousy over his friend’s newfound contentment, there was no way he’d admit it.

Andrew released a weary sigh. “I’m not going out tonight.”

Mike was silent for just a moment. “Good.”

Andrew felt his temper spike again. Mike had subjected him to too many lectures about his bachelor status, insisting it was time Andrew gave up his one-night stands with strangers and started looking for a serious girlfriend. Mike could be relentless when he got an idea in his head. As it was, he’d tried to set Andrew up no less than a dozen times the past few months with friends of Joanne’s who would be “perfect for him”. So far Andrew had refused every date.

“Don’t start,” Andrew warned, well aware of where the conversation was going. He’d rather hear what a fool he’d been to hop on a flight headed straight for a monsoon than be subjected to more haranguing about settling down.

“Hear me out. There’s this friend of Joanne’s we’d like you to meet.”

Andrew gritted his teeth. “Mike—” he started.

“Before you start making excuses, I really think you should agree to a blind date with Amy. She’s exactly your type. Pretty, submissive, sexy as sin. You’ll love her.”

“Not interested.”

Mike released a long, slow breath.

If there was one thing Andrew and his friend were perfectly matched in, it was stubbornness.

“Fine.” Mike’s tone told Andrew he was far from finished, but at least his friend knew him well enough to leave it alone tonight. Even so, he wasn’t sure Mike had ever relented so quickly. Andrew must sound more exhausted than he thought.

Andrew turned into his driveway and felt a sense of relief. He was home. His own bed was close. All he needed was to sleep twenty-four hours or so, and then he’d be back in fighting shape. “Listen. I’m home now. I’ll call you tomorrow. Maybe we can get together this weekend and take in a White Sox game or something.”

“Sounds good. Get some rest.” Mike clicked off with a quick goodbye.

Andrew grabbed his suitcase from the trunk and tiredly walked to the front porch. The house was dark. Harper had left town shortly after he’d taken off for his ill-fated trip, attending some sort of teachers’ conference in Minneapolis over spring break. He hoped her mini-vacation was faring better than his had. He couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to spend their time off doing what was the equivalent of more work, but Harper was nothing if not a devoted teacher. He felt the same sense of pride that filled him whenever he thought of his baby sister. She was the only family he had left in the world and he adored her.

Locking the door behind him, he climbed the stairs in the quiet house, not bothering to turn on a light. He’d grown up in this place, knew it by heart. He treaded lightly on the third step to avoid the creak, even though he knew he was the only one home. Some habits were so tightly engrained they never left.

He glanced through the open door to Harper’s bedroom as he passed, the room bright with moonlight. As expected, her bed was empty. He paused briefly, missing her. She seldom went anywhere, so when she wasn’t home, he felt her absence deeply. It was going to be a lonely week here without her bubbly, energetic presence. He’d considered going on to L.A. to stay in his own apartment, but he’d felt the urge to spend some time in his hometown.

Continuing down the hallway, he didn’t stop until he reached his own room. The second he crossed the threshold, the hair on the back of his neck stood up.

Something wasn’t right.

He quietly placed his luggage on the floor, forcing his eyes to adjust to the darkness. The curtains in Harper’s room had been open, but his were drawn. The lack of moonlight left him blind.

Taking a few cautious steps into the room, he made his way to the window. Someone was here. He could feel it. Reaching toward the wall, he found his baseball bat. He’d played third base on his high school team, but he’d hung up his mitt shortly after heading to college. However, he’d never gotten rid of the bat, the hard wood now serving as the weapon he’d kept in the corner of his room for years.

Once he wrapped his hand around the bat, he drew it up, ready to swing. There wasn’t any movement in the room, but he could definitely hear someone breathing near the bed. Approaching slowly, he almost tripped over something on the floor. As his gaze adjusted to the dark, he noticed the pile of clothing at his feet, then he managed to make out a lump in his bed.

What the hell?

Someone was in his bed, and given their deep, relaxed breathing, they were sound asleep. Turning back to the window, he quietly parted the curtains, anxious for some light. The person never stirred. Andrew kept the bat raised as he returned to the bed.

With the moonlight shining in, he could see much clearer—and was shocked at the image of a naked woman in his bed.

He glanced around to confirm they were alone. The rest of his room looked normal, nothing touched or disturbed. The only thing out of place was the beauty who’d taken up residence between his silk sheets.

Andrew stood for several moments trying to figure out his next move. The rest of the house was quiet, but part of him wondered if the woman was here as a ruse, a distraction. Shit. He needed to lighten up on the murder-mystery books. He’d read two stories in the past three days as he killed time waiting in airports because of delayed flights.

He wasn’t even supposed to be here. The only people who knew he was in Chicago were Mike and Tom.

The woman rolled from her side to her back, treating him to an unhindered view of her left breast as the sheet drifted lower.

His cock responded, stealing much-needed blood from his brain.

This woman had broken into his home. Somehow she’d known the house was empty. He fought down his arousal and decided to take action, to get some answers. He carefully put the bat down, leaning it against the nightstand in case he needed to grab it again quickly.

Then he slowly reached behind the headboard, silently searching for the straps he knew were there. He hadn’t brought a woman back to the house in years out of respect for his sister, but he also hadn’t bothered to remove the restraints he’d had installed when he was younger. Once the strap was freed from its hiding place, he walked to the other side of the bed, looking for the mate.

He took a deep breath, trying to calm down. He wasn’t sure exactly what was causing the sudden racing of his heart—the anticipation of a fight or rock-hard, pulse-pounding arousal.

Moving ever so carefully, he reached for one of the woman’s wrists, dragging it toward the first restraint. If he could fasten the straps before she woke, it would make his job of questioning her easier.

Unfortunately, luck was not on his side. The woman’s eyes snapped open at his touch. She started to scream, so Andrew covered her mouth with his hand as she began to fight him in earnest. While he had to have her by almost a hundred pounds, the petite woman waged one hell of a battle. She scratched his face as he struggled to reclaim his grip on her hand. Despite her naked state, she kicked off the covers, freeing her legs to pummel his thighs with blows strong enough to leave bruises.

Forced to keep her mouth covered, lest she wake up the neighborhood with her screaming, he tried to subdue her one-handed. When that attempt failed, he released her mouth. The woman started to scream again, so he quickly grabbed her blouse from the floor and stuffed some of the material into her mouth, muffling her cries.

Her initial shock at being gagged gave him the precious seconds he needed to snap a restraint around one of her wrists. When she realized what he was doing, she doubled her efforts. With one of her hands out of play, it was easier to capture and restrain the second.

For the first time, desperation and fear crept onto her face.

“I’m not going to hurt you.” His words sounded ridiculous even to himself. He’d gagged her and was now straddling her naked body, holding her legs to the mattress with his own after tying her to the bed. Regardless of who she was or why she was there, she’d be insane not to be afraid of his intentions.

She twisted her head, trying to dislodge the shirt from her mouth.

“If I take it out, do you promise not to scream?”

She blinked rapidly then nodded her assent.

He pulled the material away, ready to replace it if she broke her vow.

“Untie me.”

“No.” Andrew reached up to touch his tender cheek, his fingers finding the raised welts she’d put there with her long nails. “Who are you?”

Her breathing was labored, coming in hard pants after their fight. Even so, her gaze hardened and he knew she wouldn’t talk.

Something inside him cracked. He’d been traveling for days, stealing only a couple hours sleep here and there. This woman had broken into his house. She had some nerve acting like he was the villain. By God, he’d make her talk.

“I’ll give you one more chance to answer my question. Tell me who you are or you won’t like the consequences.”

She stilled beneath him, her intelligent gaze sizing him up. He should climb off the bed and call the cops. If he was in his right mind, that’s exactly what he’d do. Having her arrested would certainly be the kinder response. As it was, he wasn’t in the mood to be merciful.

Instead of answering, she threw his question back at him. “Who are you?”

“None of your business. Give me your name. Now.”

She bit her lip nervously. “I’m Amy.”

Amy? Mike’s Amy?

Andrew leaned back on his haunches, his mind whirling. Had Mike set this up? Past experience had obviously convinced his friend he’d never consent to a blind date. But would Mike actually go so far as to throw this woman into his bed?

Andrew knew the answer. It was more than possible. It was actually quite probable. Mike had the extra key to the house. He knew Harper was away and Andrew was back in town.

Andrew recalled a lifetime of little surprises his best friend had tossed his way. The high-class call girl who’d shown up at his door on his twenty-fifth birthday. The so-called conference that had really turned out to be an impromptu weekend trip to Vegas, complete with nonstop gambling and a private show with five of the hottest strippers Andrew had ever seen. Or this past year when Mike had managed to score tickets to the Super Bowl, but told Andrew they were headed to Indianapolis for his cousin’s bachelor party. He’d let Andrew bitch for three hours in the car about missing the big game, only letting him in on the surprise when they’d reached the entrance to the stadium.

Mike was the master of the unexpected, so it wasn’t farfetched that his friend would go to this extreme in a hookup. It would also explain his friend’s easy capitulation when he refused to go on a date with the woman earlier. Mike didn’t push the issue because he knew Amy was already here.

He grinned as his annoyance lifted. Amy was beautiful and feisty, with a hot accent. Australian, if he wasn’t mistaken, though he’d need to hear her say more before he could be sure. His best friend knew he was a sucker for a girl with an accent. For the second time in one night, it looked like Mike was going to be able to say, “I told you so.”

And since Mike had gone to so much trouble, far be it from Andrew to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Chapter 2

Amy frowned as the expression on the stranger’s face morphed from anger to one of pure desire.

When she’d first woken up to discover the man in her room she’d struck out without a thought to the fact she was completely naked. Now, she was feeling far too exposed and vulnerable. If she couldn’t figure a way out of this predicament, she was in trouble. Big trouble.

“I answered your question. Now answer mine. Who are you?”

The man no longer seemed quite as menacing as he had earlier. In fact, his eyes had softened, giving him an almost friendly look. “You know who I am. You and I have a mutual friend. One who’s fond of surprises.”

Amy blinked rapidly. Surprises? She recalled Harper’s comments on the phone earlier. Harper had promised her a surprise, but this? What the hell was this?

The truth began to collapse in on her. It was her sexual fantasy.

Sex with a stranger.

Oh my God. There was no way Harper would set up such a thing. Was there?

Amy struggled to take a breath, her chest constricting with fear. She’d told Harper about her desire to be captured and taken by a stranger, but it was just something she dreamed about. Masturbated to while imagining the scene in her mind. Not something she ever intended to do.

You’re in America, Amy. It’s your time to go wild. Experience it all.

Of course, there was wild and then there was completely batshit.

Is it mental? What about the trip to a sex club you included on your Chicago itinerary?

She wished her inner voice would shut the hell up. She wanted to have a proper panic attack, not deal in common sense, however twisted.

“What are you planning to do?” She wasn’t stupid. Maybe her love life had been stagnant lately, but she’d been around the block enough to recognize lust when she saw it.

“I think that’s obvious, Amy.”

She swallowed heavily as his gaze drifted lower, taking a leisurely tour of her body.

“You’re very beautiful.”

Reality tried to rear its ugly head, but she was running on empty. She was so tired, she felt numb…and receptive. It had been a long time since she’d been with a man. And she’d never, ever had sex with anyone remotely as gorgeous as this stranger. She had to hand it to Harper. She’d managed to set this surprise up when Amy’s resistance was low. Her friend had also managed to find the hottest guy on the planet.

The man rose, leaving the bed, and for a foolish minute Amy thought he’d changed his mind.

She barely managed to refrain from demanding he return. Her mouth opened, then closed quickly. She’d gone crazy, lost her mind. A stranger had snuck into her room, chained her to the bed and now she was all but begging him to fuck her.

She cleared her throat, attempting to dislodge the lump that had formed there. “Where are you going?” She needed time to get her bearings, clear her mind and free herself from these straps.

The stranger studied her face. “I’m not leaving. I thought you might need a second to catch your breath.”

At his suggestion, Amy sucked in some much-needed air. Then the man sat down on the edge of the mattress. Amy’s heart began to race. And not exactly in a bad way.

He smiled as he reached up to brush a stray tendril of hair away from her face. “We can slow down, but we’re not stopping. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t want this too.”

She wanted to contradict him, explain that she was here to see Chicago, and that was it. But it was hard to deny his words when her body had begun to flush with arousal, her nipples going tight despite her better judgment. “This is going a little too fast for me.” She tugged against the bonds once more. Maybe if she weren’t so defenseless. “Would you untie me?”

He shook his head. “No. I love the way you look right now. Completely at my mercy. You know, breaking and entering is against the law. I should punish you.”

There was something about the way he said the word punish that made Amy go completely wet. She squeezed her legs together and tried to ignore the tingles in her pussy.

“I didn’t break in. I had a key.”

His grin grew at her admission. “Then maybe I should reprimand you for fighting me.” He touched the scratches she’d left on his face once more. She recalled the way his hard cock brushed against her hip as she struggled for her freedom. He’d enjoyed the rough play.

“You scared me. I wasn’t expecting you.”

He smiled, ran his fingers along her cheek in a way that was more friendly than sexual. “Yes, you were.”

Harper had warned her. Told her to expect it. She just hadn’t anticipated the surprise would be something so…so…shocking.

Exciting.

Harper had urged her to keep an open mind. Obviously her friend had known she’d balk. What sane woman wouldn’t?

She studied the stranger’s handsome face and her anxieties melted away. He had kind eyes and somehow she felt he wouldn’t hurt her. Maybe she was being an idiot of epic proportions, but something about his face seemed almost familiar, though she knew she’d never met this man before in her life. The tension in her body loosened and she smiled.

“Beautiful,” he whispered again. Leaning closer, he pressed his cheek against hers, his breath hot in her ear. “I won’t hurt you, Amy. I promise. Just relax and let it happen. We’ve got all night.”

Her eyes drifted closed when he kissed her. His lips traveled over her sensitive places, her ears, her neck, leaving no part untouched. As far as kisses went, her midnight stranger was a master.

He reached for her breasts as he continued to worship her face. He hadn’t kissed her lips and she found herself wishing for a taste of him. It was as if he’d been pulled from her dirtiest daydreams and she felt helpless to resist.

“Kiss me.” She hadn’t intended to issue the request, but now that the words were out, she wasn’t going to pretend she didn’t want him.

He lifted his head “No. You’re my captive. Tonight, I’m the one who’ll be giving the commands. And you’re going to obey me. Completely.”

Her stomach flipped over. Jesus. Her stranger was playing the dominant card. She didn’t consider herself submissive during the waking hours, but there was a part of her that had always longed to be dominated in bed. She struggled to remember if she’d admitted that desire to Harper. She didn’t think so, but then again, she’d consumed a lot of wine prior to the sex conversation. Perhaps she’d told her friend more than she thought.

“Just don’t expect me to start calling you Master,” she said, purposely trying to tweak him. Test the waters.

He was silent for several breathless moments. “No. I won’t be your Master, but you will call me whatever I tell you to, Amy.”

It was a powerful assertion, spoken with absolute certainty. She briefly debated the wisdom in denying him then took the safer path. “What do you want me to call you?”

“For tonight, you’ll simply refer to me as Sir.”

“Sir,” she whispered, trying it on for size. It was better than thinking of him as her stranger, but infinitely more dangerous to her libido.

“You know what a safe word is?”

Amy struggled to answer. Instead, she simply nodded.

His carefree smile faded. “I’m going to have sex with you. We can make it as easy or as heavy as you prefer. I can keep this encounter light, but…” He paused.

“But?” she prompted.

“I want more.”

Amy tried to wrap her head around everything that was happening. She felt as though she was slogging through waist-deep mud in uncharted territory. “How much more?”

“Have you ever been tied up in bed?”

She shook her head. Only in her dreams.

Her answer surprised him. “Why not?”

Amy didn’t reply. Didn’t know how.

When the silence persisted, he prodded. “You like bondage. Your body is responding to it. I can see that. Why deny yourself something that turns you on?”

“I don’t know. Where I’m from it’s not that easy to meet blokes who want the same things I do.”

He considered her words. “You’re from Australia.”

She smiled. “What gave me away?”

He laughed, the expression transforming his face into something that took her breath away. Bloody hell, she’d met her fair share of sexy jackaroos, but she’d never, ever met a man who affected her quite like this.

“Pick a safe word, Amy. We’re going to play.”

Her mind went completely blank. Once again, he filled the silence.

“Oz. Your safe word is Oz. Say it and we’ll slow down, talk a bit, give you time to adjust. Fair enough?”

Was she seriously consenting to this? The man was a complete stranger. Sex was one thing, but he was offering a hell of a lot more than that. Just last week, she’d spent nearly two nights perusing websites of sex clubs in the Chicago area. She’d always wanted to visit one and experiment with some previously unexplored parts of her sexuality. What was so different about indulging in a night with this hot stranger versus one at a sex club?

About a million things—all of them having to do with your safety.

She closed her eyes and tried to force her weary brain to think, to overrule her wayward, reckless physical needs.

“Amy. Open your eyes.”

She obeyed.

“Stop thinking so hard. You can trust me. I promise.”

If Harper had handpicked this stranger to help Amy live out her fantasy, then yes, she believed she could trust him. “Okay. My safe word is Oz.”

His smile grew, setting Amy’s mind even more at ease. He reached up and released the restraints at her wrists.

She frowned. “What are you doing?”

He pulled her arms down to rest by her sides and she winced at the sharp pain. He didn’t miss the look.

“I thought we’d give your arms a rest for a little while.”

“Only for a little while?”

He gently massaged her tense shoulders, not bothering to acknowledge her question. If given his way, she had no doubt he’d bind her to the bed again before the night was out. However, he understood her reticence and was willing to give her a chance to accept that bondage without fear. She appreciated his kindness, his patience. Harper had outdone herself.

“We should establish some ground rules before we start. It’s important that we understand each other’s limits.”

“You have limits?”

He snorted at her question. “I do. But I’d rather hear yours first. Is there anything you don’t want to do tonight?”

She slowly sat up, wondering if he would try to stop her. He didn’t. He watched with no reaction as she tugged the sheet over her bare body. Something told her this conversation was going to be unlike any she’d ever engaged in and she preferred to be covered.

“Is there a chance we could do this multiple-choice style? It’s sort of hard to know how to answer considering I don’t have a clue what you’re considering.”

He ran the backs of his fingers along the side of her neck, stopping when he found her pulse point. “I think that’s a fair request. How about if I list possible scenarios and you simply say yes or no.”

She nodded. “Okay. I can do that.”

“Bondage.”

She bit her lip, then let her body, her fantasies and her overactive imagination give the answer. “Yes.”

“Spanking.”

She sucked in a deep breath. “Yes.”

“Flogger.”

The air didn’t reach her lungs despite her harsh gasp. “Um. Yes?”

He tilted his head, studying her face. “We’ll revisit that one. Anal.”

“Jesus. You just keep going for the jugular, don’t you?”

He didn’t reply, but his eyes crinkled, his laugh lines appearing.

“Okay. Yeah. We could try that…with a lot of lube.”

“So noted. Nipple clamps.”

She glanced around. “Do you really have all this stuff with you?”

“Don’t worry about the details. Just answer the question.”

Her nipples tightened, but Amy wasn’t sure if the response was based on anticipation or fear. “Can we come back to that one too?”

His gaze narrowed, letting her know he preferred an answer. Unfortunately, she didn’t have one to give. Suffering from a fuzzy head after two days of travel, she sort of wished her brain would tell her body this wasn’t a good time. Problem was her body was all systems go and fucking horny.

He rattled off the next items on the list, one right after another with no pause. “Vibrator. Butt plug. Dildo.”

“Yes. Yes. Yes. So long as they’re new, not used.”

He chuckled again. “Agreed. And not a problem.”

“Wow. You’re a regular sex shop.”

His hands drifted to the sheet and he tugged it down. “Lay down, Amy.”

So much for the get-to-know-you phase of the evening. She started to assume the position, but froze. “Wait. You didn’t tell me your limits.”

“I lied. I don’t have any.”

Bloody hell. She gave herself until count of ten to reconsider, silently saying the numbers in her head.

“Amy. I don’t like to repeat myself.”

His deep voice sent a sharp thrill through her. She hadn’t mistaken her true desire for bondage and submission. She’d felt pulled to those types of erotic romance novels for years, devouring the delicious graphic details as she read page after page, book after book. Whenever she came across something she didn’t understand, she’d head to the internet, her research almost always leading to daydreams that turned into wild fantasies that kept her vibrator busy, night after night.

Now here she was, a lonely Aussie schoolteacher, naked in bed with a domineering stranger who was promising to teach her some very naughty, very sexy lessons.

Who was she to refuse? For tonight, the teacher was going to be the student. Bring it on.

She lowered herself to the mattress, not bothering to reach for the sheet. The look in her handsome stranger’s eyes told her it would be a waste of time.

Reaching for her hands, he lifted them to the pillow and placed them beside her head. It was a pose of surrender, but she didn’t resist. She’d thrown up her white flag the moment she’d lain down.

“Leave them there.”

“Okay.”

He paused, obviously waiting for something.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, looking around.

“When I give you an order, Amy, the proper response is ‘Yes Sir’.”

“Oh yeah. Right. Got it.” She pasted on a look of innocence, knowing her reply would annoy him.

“You don’t mess around, do you? Change of plans. Since you want to play the naughty girl, we’ll start with a punishment.”

As he spoke, he lifted her. She wasn’t exactly a small woman. She liked her vegemite on toast as much as the next girl. Withholding that treat or counting calories wasn’t something she was willing to do. Regardless of the extra pounds, her handsome Sir picked her up as if she were stuffed with feathers, putting her on her stomach with ease.

“Lift your ass.”

“Excuse me?” She twisted her head to look at him over her shoulder.

“Wrong answer. Again.” He gripped her hips none too gently, raising her. Then he forced her to bend her legs, resting her weight on her knees. The new position left her very exposed. And wet.

She didn’t have time to consider what that meant before his hand struck her arse. It took her off-guard and it fucking hurt.

She started to rise, but he placed a strong hand between her shoulder blades and pushed her face against the pillow.

“Don’t move.”

“I’ll bloody well do whatever I want,” she said as his hand landed against her sensitive flesh once more.

“No. You won’t,” he said as he struck her twice more. She continued to struggle, but the man was strong as a horse. Amy’s arse was sore from his spanking, however, she couldn’t help but notice the heat was morphing into something infinitely less painful. She stopped resisting the blows. Her sudden capitulation caused him to cease striking her for just a moment. Then he picked up his rhythm again—his hand landing in different places along her buttocks and upper thighs. No slap was the same.

Amy started squirming again, but this time, she wasn’t seeking escape. She was looking for relief.

He must have recognized her need. Gripping one knee, he pulled her legs apart then ran his fingers along her damp slit. She heard him release a long breath, a whispered “oh yeah mingling with the air.

She gasped when he pressed two fingers inside her pussy. His actions were quick and forceful. After so many years with lovers who were too careful, too gentle, his rough claiming felt like a homecoming, only she was returning to a home she’d never seen.

“Harder,” she begged.

He took her at her word, adding another finger, increasing his pace. Amy’s fingers clenched the pillow beneath her head as she lifted her hips, shoving them against his delicious thrusts. He was fucking her into oblivion with no more than a spanking and his fingers. Bloody hell. Had she seriously considered refusing this gift?

Gray spots formed behind her closed eyelids. She was going to come. Her body stiffened in preparation, but he retreated seconds before she could close the deal.

“What the hell?” Impulse overrode common sense as Amy turned, ready to demand her due. “Don’t stop.”

His arms were folded. “Still trying to give the orders?”

“Fine,” she shrugged, wishing her voice didn’t sound so shaky. “I don’t need you to get what I want.”

After too many months of abstinence, she’d become an expert at finding her own pleasure. She reached for her pussy.

Strong hands grasped her wrists before she hit her target. “Wrong. You do.”

Amy tried to free herself from his grip, but he was relentless. Within seconds, she was on her back, bound in the restraints once more. Her handsome stranger, still fully dressed, straddled her legs, completing the effect.

Why does it feel so good being trapped beneath him?

Because you’re not exactly small and girly, but he makes you feel that way. That’s why.

“Had your fun?” he asked.

“Not yet.”

He grinned. “You’re a shitty submissive.”

“No, I’m not. You strike me as the type of man who works hard for what he wants. Where’s the challenge if I just lay down?”

He tilted his head. “Christ.” His brows creased. “You’re right.”

She lifted her eyebrows, surprised he’d admit such a thing. Marc and Keith told her she was too independent and outspoken for her own good. More than once, they’d referred to her as a pushy cow.

“I am?”

He nodded slowly. “Fight me all you want, Amy. Just be warned, I’ll still win.”

She yanked against his restraints, finding them too tight and definitely unbreakable. Yep. He was going to win.

But the best part? She was too.

He left the bed. Amy sucked in some much-needed air, curious as to what he would do next. He’d painted some naughty pictures in her mind with his talk of nipple clamps and vibrators.

She glanced around the room wondering where he’d hidden his bag of tricks. Had he stowed it in the house prior to her arrival or carried it in with him tonight? Given the fact the restraints had already been attached to the bedframe, she suspected he’d set the scene earlier.

Reaching for the buttons on his shirt, he slowly slipped each one from its hole. He knew she’d been on the verge of an orgasm. He obviously intended to punish her for her outspokenness by leaving her in need.

Arsehole.

God, he’s hot.

At some point, he’d parted the curtains. Thankfully, the full moon was providing plenty of light for his sexy striptease. Once he shrugged off his shirt, he started on the fastening to his pants.

No wonder he’d been able to pose her like a bloody Barbie doll. He was built. His arms were muscular and she’d take his six-pack over a half dozen ice-cold Toohey’s Dry any day.

She licked her lips when he shoved his trousers down. Either he’d tugged the underwear off with the rough cotton or he went commando.

Either way, she didn’t care.

Holy. Fuck.

The brief touches of his covered cock had teased her since she’d agreed to this adventure, but the too-quick rubs hadn’t really clued her in to what he was hiding beneath his pants.

He didn’t return to the bed immediately. Instead, he let her look her fill like a man who was perfectly comfortable in his own skin. She was no stranger to cocky, self-confident men. Australia seemed to raise that breed in abundance, Marc and Keith leading the pack.

Unfortunately, she’d never managed to attract that type back home.

No. Scratch that. Attraction wasn’t part of it. Her list of dating prospects was lacking because Blue and Thomo had the annoying tendency of warning away men they didn’t think worthy of her. That practice ticked her off most of the time, but she couldn’t help noticing none of the men ever stuck around to fight for a date with her. And that pissed her off even more.

Something told her that her best mates wouldn’t intimidate this man.

He reached for his hard, thick cock and slowly stroked it, his gaze never leaving hers. Her fingers itched for a touch and her mouth watered for a taste.

Bending forward, he dug around under the bed for something.

Ah, so that was where he’d stashed his bag of tricks.

Her mind whirled with curiosity, wondering what wonderful sexual torment he was plotting. She was disappointed when he came up with nothing more than a scarf.

“I’m already tied up. Doesn’t that seem a bit redundant?”

He chuckled, but didn’t respond. Instead, he lifted the silk to her eyes.

Oh shit.

Her heart had only just stopped racing. Now it kick-started back to life, pounding almost painfully as he tied the scarf in place. He knew his stuff. He’d managed to plunge her into complete darkness.

Losing the use of her hands had been equal parts frightening and titillating, however, losing her sight was downright terrifying. And exhilarating.

“What are you going to do?”

His hand touched her throat and she jerked at the unexpected caress.

“Shh,” he soothed. “Calm down, Amy. I promised I wouldn’t hurt you.”

“Yeah right. And then you spanked my arse. It’s still on fire, by the way.”

Her words seemed to remind him of his earlier actions. His fingers drifted along her side, not stopping until they reached her hip.

When he spoke, his breath tickled her cheek. When had he leaned so close? “You like the fire and the pain. Those hurts don’t count.”

She wanted to ask him what qualified if that didn’t, but deep inside, she already knew the answer. “Tell me your name.” It bothered her that she didn’t know. He’d told her to call him Sir, but she wanted more of him than that. Maybe the original fantasy had been sex with a stranger, but somewhere along the course of the evening, it had changed. Now she only wanted sex with him.

“You know my name.”

She wanted to push the issue, but he was right. Harper had designed this night according to her desires. It would be wrong to change the game now.

“Fine. I want you to touch me.” She hesitated for only a second before adding, “Sir.”

“Very nice. I think that deserves a reward.”

A reward sounded wonderful. Hell, given how hot her punishment had left her, she felt optimistic this was going to be good.

When his lips latched to her nipple, sucking gently, she sighed. She was right. This was very good. Soon, he increased the suction until she cried out. Then he turned his attention to her other nipple, repeating the process.

Amy squeezed her legs together, the pressure in her pussy building until it was almost painful. She’d been too close before. Her body hadn’t forgotten, or forgiven him for pulling up short.

“Please,” she whispered.

“Too soon. We haven’t pushed any of those limits yet.”

“I don’t care. I need more.”

He returned to her nipple, but this time it wasn’t his lips that issued the sexy pain, it was his teeth. He nipped at her distended flesh as she groaned and tugged against the restraints. She suddenly missed the use of her hands. She wanted to press his lips and teeth against her breasts and force him to do her bidding. Then she’d push him lower, demanding he use that sexy mouth where it would do the most good.

Unfortunately, he’d left no doubt he was in control. He’d guide the play and, regardless of her wishes, she’d get what he gave her and no more.

Worst part was acknowledging it was that fact that was making her so freaking hot. She was powerless and reveling in it.

He left the bed and the sound that escaped her lips couldn’t be called anything other than a whimper. Jesus. Who was she tonight?

“I’m coming right back.”

Again, she heard rustling under the bed. As the mattress sank under his weight, his lips found their way to her breasts again. He certainly didn’t believe in skimping on foreplay.

Her nipples were so hard, they could cut glass.

“This will pinch.”

She started to ask what he meant, but before she could form the question, he put something on her right nipple.

She yelped at the unexpected pain. Pinch was an understatement.

“Bloody hell.”

“It’s a nipple clamp.”

She considered adding the wicked clamp to her list of Not Bloody Likely, but—like the spanking—once the initial sting faded, the pain changed to something better. At least it did until he placed a clamp on her other nipple.

She released a pained moan, her eyelids scrunching beneath the blindfold. “God.”

He didn’t remove the clamps despite her comments, and she realized she hadn’t said the safe word. He wouldn’t acknowledge her complaints or cries until she uttered Oz. That realization was comforting. She wouldn’t have to shield her initial reactions or pretend for fear he’d stop.

As the pain in the second nipple eased, his attention seemed to drift lower.

“Open your legs, Amy.”

She’d pressed them together so tightly, she feared they’d cramp up. “I can’t. Hurts. Horny.”

Again, he ignored her protest. He gripped her knees and pulled them apart. “Leave them open or I’ll tie your ankles to the bedposts as well.”

There are more restraints on the bed?

She forced air in and out in an attempt to calm down. Her body was on system overload. At this point, he only need blow in her ear and she was in danger of going off like a frog in a sock.

The mattress shifted again under his weight. She felt him settle between her outstretched legs. She’d never considered herself a religious woman, but that didn’t stop her from praising any and every higher being known to humans.

He nipped at her clit with those wicked teeth of his. Amy squealed with surprise…and delight. When his tongue trailed along her slit, she knew she’d died and gone to heaven. God bless Chicago.

Her fantasy lover read her far too well and he used that knowledge against her. With his lips, tongue, teeth and fingers, he drove her to the edge of an orgasm, over and over again. Every time, he stopped just before she could find release.

“You bloody bastard,” she screamed when he pulled away for the fifth time. Her wrists were sore from fighting against the restraints. She didn’t want her freedom as much as she wanted to beat the hell out of him.

“Sweet talking will get you nowhere.”

“Fuck me. Now. I mean it.”

He chuckled. “Ask me nicely.”

Sweat trickled from her brow along her hairline.

“You do realize I’m going to kill you the second you take these straps off my wrists.”

Clearly he was undeterred. He gripped her breast and told her to hold her breath. She opened her mouth to ask why, but just then, he released the clamp.

She screamed as the sensation of needles piercing flesh assailed her. Tears formed in her eyes but the blindfold quickly absorbed the moisture.

He soothed the pain away with soft kisses, his tongue caressing the wounded tip. Her head was dazed, her body overwhelmed by his continual sensual assaults. She’d never realized pain, when paired with pleasure, could be such a heady aphrodisiac. She wanted more.

“Ready for the second?”

She nodded slowly, preparing herself for the onslaught. While the removal of the second clamp was just as painful, she was able to tolerate it better, her body anticipating its delicious reward. He didn’t disappoint her as he eased the pain with his talented mouth.

Once the sweet agony passed, he removed the blindfold. She struggled to adjust to the bright moonlight. Then he unfastened the restraints around her wrists. She lowered her arms slowly, gaze never leaving his face as she tried to anticipate his next move.

Laugh lines formed around his eyes. “If you’re still planning to kill me, do it now. Otherwise, roll over and lift your ass in the air again.”

She didn’t even feign annoyance. She was too far gone, putty in his hands. She twisted beneath him, anxious for more. She started when his hands touched her sore arse, expecting him to spank her for her threats.

Instead, he bent lower and placed a kiss on one of her buttocks. “Your ass is gorgeous.”

She laughed until he pressed her legs apart and ran his hand along her slit once more. His fingers lingered around her anus and she bit her lip. That was uncharted territory for her, though it wasn’t due to a lack of interest on her part. She’d had one somewhat serious boyfriend in her life, Kyle, and he’d considered “backdoor” activities disgusting.

Marc and Keith had laughed their arses off when she’d shared that tidbit with them one night after too many shots of Bundy. Then they’d told her to dump the uptight dickhead. She’d scoffed at their suggestion, but the next day, hungover from the rum, she’d followed their advice and broken things off. Since then, she’d lived a life more celibate than a nun’s, wondering at least a million times a day if boring, vanilla sex with Kyle was preferable to no sex at all. She decided against Kyle every time.

Her sexy stranger wiggled his finger against her tight opening, bringing her thoughts back to the present. “You said yes as long as we use lots of lube.”

When they’d discussed limits, she’d thought he was just jerking her chain a bit, trying to get a rise out of her and having some fun at her expense. Apparently not. So far, he’d made good on the spanking, the nipple clamps and the bondage. She wasn’t sure how much more her overwrought body could take.

“Um. Crap. Oz. Just for a second. Oz.”

He leaned back on his haunches as she sat up to face him. His face was more understanding than she’d expected. Truthfully, she was afraid he’d be angry with her.

“Sorry,” she said softly.

He grasped her hand. “Not a problem, Amy. I warned you before we started, you make me want more. I shouldn’t have pushed you so hard.”

“It’s not that. Bloody hell. Tonight’s ranking up there as my single greatest sexual experience and I haven’t even come yet.”

He laughed. “What’s wrong with the men in Australia?”

“Nothing. I mean, they’re okay blokes.”

“I love your accent.”

She shrugged. “It’s alright.”

He shifted, sitting as he tugged on her hand, dragging her closer until she was straddling his thighs. His erect cock rested tightly against the seam of her pussy.

Helllloooo, Mr. Wiggly.

She resisted the urge to giggle nervously. The nickname came from one of the more precocious tots amongst her year one kids, Nige. She’d lost count of how many times she’d put him in time-out for pulling out his own Mr. Wiggly and showing it to the girls.

She blushed again.

Wow. Really? You’re sitting on the hardest, most amazing cock you’ve ever seen and you’re thinking about work? Wonder why you’re not getting laid on a regular basis, Amy?

“You okay?” He shifted slightly and his hard-on brushed against her clit.

“Oh yeah.” Her quick, breathless response pleased him.

“Good.” He pressed her back against the mattress, covering her with his body. He was big…everywhere. Kyle had been slight, only about an inch taller than her. Apart from him and a couple unmemorable one-night stands prior to him, it was safe to say she’d never been with such a large man. She liked it.

He reached toward the nightstand and she followed his progress, watching as he pulled a condom out of the drawer. Talk about prepared. Her sexy stranger had set up the room perfectly. She wondered what Andrew Shaw would think about the illicit activities taking place in his room.

Wait…

How did Harper know she would pick this room?

The thought caught her unaware and a seed of doubt sprouted in the back of Amy’s mind.

Unfortunately, it didn’t have time to take root, mainly because her stranger had decided to do a bit of rooting himself. Donning the condom, he placed the head of his cock at the opening of her pussy.

She had only a moment to regret halting his anal play. Her damn reticence had cost her a new experience. Maybe she’d talk him into trying again later.

After.

Because there was no way she was stopping him now. He pressed in slowly as Amy struggled to suck air into her lungs. Her eyes hadn’t deceived her. He was definitely filling her in a way she’d never been filled before.

Once he was fully seated, he paused for the briefest of seconds. “Hold on.”

It was the only warning she received as he unleashed the same incredible strength and power he’d exposed her to all night.

He pounded into her body, offering her no reprieve. Not that she wanted it. Amy lifted her legs, wrapping them around his waist, opening herself to him even more.

Both of them groaned as he thrust in deeper.

“So bloody good.” She dragged her nails along his back. Two could play the pleasure-pain game. He hissed sharply, but his gaze told a different tale as it narrowed with hunger, his lust bared before her.

“Don’t come,” he warned her.

“What? Fuck that.”

He drove in harder, then stalled. “I mean it, Amy. You’re going to do what I say at least once tonight. I’ll tell you when to come. Don’t you dare do it a second before that.”

He punctuated his demand with a thrust that cut too deep, too close to the hot zone.

“Not. Sure. I. Can. Stop.” Each word was drawn from her on a harsh breath.

“Just a minute more, Amy. Just a minute and we’ll come together.”

His demand, combined with the slightest tinge of a plea, touched her. She closed her eyes. “Yes Sir.”

“No. Fuck. I changed my mind. Call me Andrew. Say my name. Say it and come.”

She exploded into a million pieces, her lips forming the word. “Andrew!” she cried. “God, Andrew. Andrew.”

Tremors racked her frame, shaking her bones so strongly she feared she’d break. Had she ever had an orgasm before now? There was no way she could compare those lukewarm imposters to this climax.

Andrew followed her into oblivion, his arms tightening as he bucked, his cock jerking with its release.

“Jesus,” he said breathlessly. He kissed her lightly, his lips lingering despite the fact both of them were gasping. It was the sweetest of kisses.

Finally, regretfully, he released her lips, lifted and moved out of her body. She pressed her legs together, wishing there was some way to hold on to the feeling of being filled by him forever.

From the corner of her eye, she saw him pull off the condom and toss it into the small trashcan beside the bed.

Then, as always, he used his undeniable strength to put Amy where he wanted. He twisted her boneless body to its side until he was spooning her. Their bodies curved together as if they were puzzle pieces, a perfect fit.

Amy and Andrew.

Andrew.

His name niggled at her sleepy, sex-overloaded brain, as did the restraints and the sex toys in the wrong room.

Andrew.

Amy’s eyes flew open.

Mother of God, she’d just slept with Harper’s brother!

She was naked and twisted up like a pretzel with Andrew Shaw.

The truth of what she’d done crashed down on her like atomic bombs from an attacking army. Tonight wasn’t a setup, though it definitely qualified as a surprise. Andrew had come home early and, in her sleep-deprived state, she’d convinced herself Harper had hooked her up with a fantasy lover. Had that answer actually made sense to her at some point?

Fuckity-fuck-fuck.

She’d fucked up.

And she fucked her friend’s brother.

Bloody hell. She was so fucked.

And while she knew now she’d made a whopper of a mistake, one question still remained.

Who the fuck did he think she was?