As one of the #CMCon17 featured bloggers, I get to have a little fun with a few of the fabulous authors who will be hitting the beach for Coastal Magic 2017 by showcasing their many stories. We had so much fun with last year’s At the Beach feature, that we’re doing it again.
Today J Kenner is taking us to the beach with Nikki & Damien from her Stark series. The fourth book, Anchor Me, comes out April 11, 2017; so if Nikki & Damien At The Beach gets your interest, make sure you check out the first book, Release Me.
Nikki & Damien At The Beach
The cool ocean breeze caresses my face as I sip coffee on the back patio of the Malibu bungalow that Damien recently built for me. It’s fall, and the air is crisp and clean. I’m in a thin nightgown, and goosebumps rise on my bare arms. I hug myself in defense against the chill as I look out over the beach that is the backyard and the waves crashing against the shore, so close I can feel the spray on my face.
It’s been a hell of a week.
Nothing horrific, thank goodness. No family drama. No threats from outside. None of the kinds of things that, not so long ago, would have made me curl up into a ball. Or, worse, would make me crave the sweet release of a blade against my skin. Just a tiny cut to release the pressure. Just enough so that I could go on.
This wasn’t that kind of a week. It was just busy. Just hard. Too many meetings and too many projects. A good problem to have, I suppose, but I’d managed only about four hours sleep each night. And since my husband, Damien, had been away from home on a two-week long review of various Stark International subsidiaries, I’d had no real incentive to leave work early. The house is just too damn empty without him.
He’s back now, though. He’d come yesterday and I’m happy to say that my lack of sleep last night had nothing to do with too much work.
I stand and stretch, enjoying the soreness in my body, remembering the way he’d teased me, stroked me, claimed me. With a sigh, I lean against the railing, looking out at the ocean as I remember the way I’d exploded in his arms with at least as much force as the waves crashing against the shore below.
“Now that is a lovely sight.”
I don’t turn around, but I do close my eyes, letting the warm sensuality of his voice caress my skin. My lips curve into a smile, and I feel my nipples harden beneath the thin nightgown, my body now hyper-aware and craving his touch. “I woke up alone,” I say. “That just doesn’t seem right.”
“I had a quick errand to run. But now I suppose I’ll have to make it up to you.”
“I guess you will,” I say, unable to keep the tease—and the desire—out of my voice.
I continue to gaze out the Pacific, even though I want nothing more than to turn and see him. I don’t need to, though. I’ve memorized every line of his face. The strong jaw, so full of strength and power. The wide mouth that projects a delicious sensuality. The dark hair that will, this morning, be tousled from the wind, giving him the look of a man who commands not just a board room but the elements themselves.
And, of course, those brilliant, dual-colored eyes that have seen me so well from the first moment we met.
I close my eyes, fighting the urge to turn and look at the man I love. Instead, I listen to his footsteps on the wood, then the rustle of paper as he puts what is undoubtedly a bag of my favorite croissants on the small stone-top table. I feel the caress of his palms on my bare shoulders and the brush of his clothing against the diaphanous material of my gown.
I sigh and lean back as his arms surround me and hold me tight, as his mouth bends to my ear and I realize I’m holding my breath in anticipation of his touch. “I have something for you,” he whispers, even as his fingers tease up the hem of my nightgown to slip beneath and find my core.
I moan and lean back against him, willingly losing myself in pleasure as he strokes me, teases me. How many times has Damien touched me this way, bringing me right to he precipice, and then taking me all the way to utter, soul-rendering joy? “Damien.” His name on my lips is like a prayer, a wish, a sacred vow. “Please,” I beg, as he uses those miraculous fingers to stroke me while his other hand teases my breast. “Yes, oh, yes, please.”
But my husband can be a cruel man, too, and today, he simply brushes his lips over my ear again, then pulls his hands back so that he can step away, leaving me needy and hungry and wild with anticipation.
“You need some lessons in how to satisfy your wife, mister,” I say grumpily, still facing the beach.
He just laughs. “Do I?”
“I’ll find a Learning Annex class,” I say archly. “Definitely a fail on your part.”
I turn to face him. He is as exceptional in person as he was in my mind, and just seeing him takes my breath away. How, I wonder. How is this perfect man really mine?
“Mmm hmm,” he says, clearly not believing my assessment of his failings. He takes a step toward me, then another until my gown is brushing his jeans and T-shirt. “Is that a challenge?”
“Maybe…” My sex is throbbing merely from his proximity.
“How ironic. I have a challenge for you, too. Win, and I promise I’ll spend the entire weekend working to make sure my wife is one-hundred percent satisfied.”
“And if I lose?”
He chuckles. “Then I’ll be the one who’s satisfied.” He leans in and brushes his lips over mine. “I think it’s fair to say that’s a win-win.”
Considering that nothing turns Damien on more than turning me into a melting ball of passionate goo, I have to agree completely.
“All right,” I say. “What’s the challenge?”
His grin is full of the promise of sex and sin as he moves to the table, then returns to hand me a small envelope that was hidden behind the white bag from the bakery.
I frown, curious, as I open it, then pull out a small card with what looks like GPS coordinates on it. “What…?”
He just lifts his hands. “That’s part of the challenge. Figuring out what is the challenge.”
I narrow my eyes, but know better than to protest further. I squint at the card again—and then it hits me. “Mr. Stark, you aren’t nearly as smart as you think you are.”
“Oh, but I promise you I am.”
I just toss him a lofty laugh over my shoulder, then hurry into the bungalow to throw on yoga pants and a T-shirt. And, of course, to grab my phone. It’s going to be essential for this game.
“I think you’ve been hanging out with Ronnie too much,” I say as I hurry back onto the patio and down the wooden stairs to the sand. Ronnie is our niece, and she’s become obsessed with Pokémon Go. And now my husband is sending me on an adventure, too.
I can only imagine what I’ll find…
I didn’t bother with shoes, and the sand is cool against my bare feet. Damien is behind me, and I wait for him to catch up, then I grab his hand, laughing with delight. I love tech and we both love science, so this is about as perfect as a game can get. He’d left the degree, minute and second symbols off of the coordinates, but it’s still easy enough to see where they were meant to go. I input the numbers from the card into the GPS on my phone, and soon I’ve released Damien’s hand and am sprinting toward a large rock that is a focal point of this stretch of beach.
The sand shifts beneath my feet as I run, and the cold Pacific surf reaches out for my ankles. I drop to my knees when I reach the rock and start scouring the area, but I see nothing. After a moment, Damien is by my side, the corners of his mouth twitching with amusement.
“A rock?” I say, holding in laughter. “You’ve arranged for an encounter at a rock? Because I’m not sure my comfort level with exhibitionism runs that high.”
I press my lips together to hold back a moan. I know he’s teasing me, but right in that moment, with his touch and that tinge of commanding power in his voice, I’m quite certain I’d do anything he asked.
“An encounter might be on the agenda,” he murmurs, hands now caressing my shoulders, but we won’t know for sure until you finish the challenge.” He bends and presses a kiss to the top of my head. “But baby,” he says, his voice filled with heated promise, “I need you to hurry.”
I swallow, then force my lust-muddled mind to focus. I’m certain the numbers were coordinates. I’m certain we’re in the right location. And since there’s nothing here except a rock, I’m also certain that whatever I’m looking for must be buried.
I shift so that I’m sitting on my rear, my yoga pants getting soaked as I ponder. Damien wouldn’t put something for me where the water might wash it away. Which means that whatever it is is buried on the side of the rock away from the ocean. But the rock is big and the coordinates aren’t precise, so I’m going to have to dig a long trough and hope I hit the spot.
Unless he’s left me another clue.
Fortunately, once I’m on my hands and knees on the other side of the rock, I see that he’s done exactly that. There is a small heart carved into the rock, still white because it hasn’t yet been weathered away. And inside the heart, written very clearly, is N + D. An arrow intersects the heart at an angle, and I follow the direction with my eyes, note where it’s pointing, and dig.
And less than a minute later I uncover a small metal box. I grin up at Damien, completely proud of myself, and find him smiling back at me. I open the box, and inside I find a large brass key resting on a small velvet pillow.
“Another challenge?” I ask. “Another game?”
“There might be games,” he says, helping me to my feet. “There will definitely be play.” His hands slide around me, one palm behind my neck, the other cupping my rear. “And I’m quite certain we’ll both enjoy it very much.”
“Damien.” His mouth is on my neck, and his name is little more than a moan. “What does the key unlock?”
“A room,” he says. “In a very exclusive, very intimate hotel.” He pulls back to meet my eyes. “You’ve had a stressful week. So I’m taking you away for a weekend of relaxation, pampering, and a few more games. So tell me, Mrs. Stark, do you want to shut out the world with me?”
“I do,” I whisper as I melt in his arms, because to that question the answer will always be yes.
I hope you enjoyed this beach-themed scene with Nikki & Damien Stark! If you’d like to read about what happens in the hotel, use this link to sign up for my newsletter and you’ll get the next scene as a free bonus! http://eepurl.com/chB-mT
Meet J Kenner!
J. Kenner (aka Julie Kenner) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal and International bestselling author of over seventy novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres.
Though known primarily for her award-winning and international bestselling erotic romances (including the Stark and Most Wanted series) that have reached as high as #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, JK has been writing full time for over a decade in a variety of genres including paranormal and contemporary romance, “chicklit” suspense, urban fantasy, Victorian-era thrillers (coming soon), and paranormal mommy lit.
Want to purchase J Kenner’s novels?
Take My Dare: A Stark International Novella (Nov 8, 2016)
Tempt Me (Feb 14, 2017)
Anchor Me (Apr 11, 2017)
The Stark Trilogy (omnibus)
Stark After Dark (omnibus)
Jackson Steele (omnibus)
Dirtiest Secret (Dirtiest/SIN #1)
The Most Wanted Series (omnibus)
The Shadow Keepers Series (writing as JK Beck) (omnibus)
1001 Dark Nights Vol 3 (writing as Julie Kenner)
1001 Dark Nights Vol 5 (writing as Julie Kenner)
Caress of Darkness (writing as Julie Kenner)
Caress of Pleasure (writing as Julie Kenner)
Find Me In Darkness (Dark Pleasures #1) (writing as Julie Kenner)
Carpe Demon (Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom #1) (writing as Julie Kenner)
The Givenchy Code (Code-breaking #1) (writing as Julie Kenner)
The Blood Lily Chronicles (omnibus) (writing as Julie Kenner)
Raising Hell (Devil May Care #1) (writing as Julie Kenner)
Aphrodite’s Kiss (Aphrodite/Superhero #1) (writing as Julie Kenner)
Don’t miss your chance to meet over 50 fabulous urban fantasy, paranormal, and romance authors at Coastal Magic next February! This super casual book-lover weekend happens on Daytona Beach, and gives everyone the chance to hang out with fellow readers and amazing storytellers.
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