TIED by Piper Malone is LIVE!
The heartbreak of my past has begun to heal.
After the death of my parents and a divorce, I struggled in the darkness. Craving a new life, I shed the inhibitions that have sequestered my deepest desires.
I seek an awakening.
The path leads me to Reign and into the hands of BDSM club owner Caleb Dunn. Despite his reluctance, Caleb agrees to mentor me, quickly becoming a fixture in my life.
He is a beacon illuminating my way….
We fight to keep our relationship within the walls of Reign, but the boundaries blur. The passionate moments weaving through our lives are undermined by his stoicism. But despite the wounds created by the ebb and flow of his devotion, I open myself to Caleb, allowing him to push the limits of my body and my mind…
…as I reach for the light.
Can I give him my heart and soul? Will I ever receive the same from him in return? Our future is uncertain, but one fact remains true…to Caleb, I will be forever tied.
The crazy thing about signing divorce papers is that it’s a rush of sweet relief and the wicked burn of humiliation rolled into one signature. Writing my name on the line, I wish for nothing more than the satisfaction of knowing this stage of my life is over. Instead, I look at my naked left hand holding down the thick packet of paper and feel the twinge that has become all too familiar. I am alone. Again. A heavy sigh accompanies the realization that our three years of marriage were actually three months of marriage, two years and nine months of cohabitation.
We were essentially a great couple—attractive, athletic, and financially secure. Despite our positives, we just didn’t connect. Sure, we portrayed a good image, laughed when the time was right, had nice holiday photos taken, but we were living a lie. Once we got home, we were polite apparitions of our true selves. It was painful. Both loving Bryce and pretending to be happy was agonizing. We tried therapy, vacations, and scheduled date nights; none of it made us sparkle in the way we both wanted. Dinners were silent. Workdays were discussed with a quick, unenthusiastic review. Sex, when we had it, was boring and uneventful. I got more play from the fantasies in my head and my vibrator, a happy little bunny attached to a buzzing faux cock. What can I say? Here comes Peter Cottontail.
Regardless, we had tried, and knew we were beat. Many months ago, when I’d stood in the church alcove, the painful pit in my stomach made me debate if I should walk down the aisle or ask the limo driver to whisk me away from the horrid mistake I knew I was making. When my dad looked at me with nothing but love and said, “Ready, sweet pea?” I squelched the scream and put my arm in his, praying it would all be okay. My gut feeling would resurface again a few months later and lecture me about not listening. Now, at twenty-eight, with my name artistically scrawled across the final page of the docket, I hope to recover from this stumble and start down a different path, wherever it may lead.
My apartment is a quaint space with high ceilings over a law office in town. I get a great view of the park and it’s nice and quiet. When the legal team is coming in, I am leaving. They are gone by the time I get home. It is refreshing to walk or stomp around without fear of sensitive ears. Of course, if someone wanted to murder me with a chainsaw, I’d be screwed.
I stuff the signed Petition for Divorce in the return envelope before dragging myself into the living room. Flopping on the couch, I suck in a breath at the realization that I am officially a statistic, Bryce and I are one of the more than half of married couples that split. I am divorced, living alone, and working as a medical research assistant, which is almost as mind-numbing as the nonexistent sex life I had with Bryce.
Before I can wallow too deep into the pool of shame, my phone chimes with a text message.
*Hi! What are you up to?*
My best friend, Kat, knows exactly when to throw the life preserver before I’m stuck in the vortex of self-loathing. I swear we have a psychic connection.
*Just signed the paperwork. It’s official. I can be a whore again.*
Her reply is instantaneous.
*Nice! I’m coming over. I have a surprise for you!*
Oh, boy. Here we go! Surprises from Kat are like Pandora’s box: You’re excited but pray you’ll make it through. Our friendship started years ago when we were girls who bonded over the screwing life can hand you, and grew into women who revel in the joys and pitfalls of adulthood. I don’t remember exactly when we became soul sisters; it was a seamless evolution over time. I can’t imagine life without her.
I pull out wineglasses and uncork the Pinot as she pushes into my apartment and sprints up the stairs.
“Hello, darling!” Kat yells as she sashays into the kitchen. She hugs me tightly, then pulls back, holding me at arm’s length. “You are a showstopper, Reagan. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.” Kat’s exuberance is mirrored in her overall presentation. She is naturally beautiful, stylish and coiffed to perfection even when she falls out of bed. Her porcelain skin, blue eyes, blonde hair, and petite structure scream her Russian heritage. My reddish-auburn hair, green eyes, and fair skin betray my Irish roots. Kat has always been the wild card of our dynamic duo. We never know how the adventure will play out, and we like it that way.
I roll my eyes at her affection. “Yes, Kat.” I concede. “The divorcée is a real catch for all the single guys of Boston.”
“Now, now.” She wags her finger at me. “You don’t have to tell anyone anything. Hell, you could have just escaped the convent, for all they know.” Her eyes light up with devilish delight. “Yes! That’s it! Your new pickup line can be, ‘Hey, baby, I just got outta the convent, but I’m not tired of being on my knees, if you know what I mean.’” She jabs me with her elbow and cackles wickedly.
My laugher bubbles up, chasing away the sour thoughts that clouded my mind. “I think that is beyond blasphemous, but I’ll give it to you. Wine?”
“Yes, please, and for the future, that should have been poured already. Why wasn’t it waiting on the little table by the door for me?” She shakes her head in mock agitation. “This establishment has trouble written all over it.”
“Well, good.” I lift my glass to her in cheers. “I could use a little trouble.” We clink glasses and as I savor the refreshing liquid, I wonder why I didn’t start drinking before I signed the paperwork.
“Oh!” Kat squeals. “Your present!” She claps her hands together and picks up a gift bag from next to her purse. “Here you are, love.” She hands it to me as if it’s my birthday.
“What is this for, Kat?” It’s ridiculous, but her gift has made me giddy, lighter, and I don’t even know what it is.
“Look”—on a dime she turns from lighthearted to serious and direct—“this is a shit time. I can’t say I know exactly how it feels but I’ve been through breakups, so I can empathize. This has helped me in the past, so I wanted to pass it on.” As she finishes, the smile creeps across her face. I love this woman; I know in my heart that she would bail me out of jail without a question about how I got there in the first place. I also know that she is the piper capable of leading me off the cliff.
“I already have a vibrator.”
“I know the heat you’re packing, girl. This is more for the mind.” She smiles darkly. “And for the body, too.”
I reach into the bag and touch something smooth, stiff, and a little flexible. A book? I pull out and eye the cover. A man with muscles that go on for days consumes the cover, strong, ominous, and sexy as hell. My mouth gapes as I look at Kat, who is ready to burst into a molecular status on my couch.
“What is this?”
“Only one of the hottest erotica books I’ve ever read!” She’s bursting at the seams. “You have to have it. You’ll be obsessed as soon as you start.”
“What?” I can’t believe this. “You brought me porn?”
“Hey, let’s not be judgmental. This is a love story, and it’s a fantastic gift!” Kat’s gaze falls to the cover, touching it as if to reassure the cover hottie he’ll be safe in my care. “Look, I know it’s not what you read, but I think you’ll like it.”
“What’s it about?” I can’t help but be intrigued. I know erotica is out there, and I have always been curious.
“Oh.” Kat straightens herself, poised to present a full-scale book review. “It’s about a guy who is a mega-mogul focused on securing oil fields for his family business when he meets a mysterious and, of course, gorgeous princess who inherits the land he’s trying to buy. I can’t tell you everything, but she gets captured and there might be some explosions.” She waves her hand, shooing an invisible gnat, while taking a hearty drink of wine. “I’ve told you too much. You have to read it and experience it on your own.”
“But, it’s sex, right?”
“Yeah.” She scrunches her face as if it’s the dumbest question ever asked. “They have crazy sex. BDSM sex. Naughty, wild, roll-around-outside-in-lush-flower-gardens sex.” Kat’s wicked naughtiness permeates through the good-girl exterior her strict mother has worked so hard to polish. If her mother only knew…
“Well, thanks!” I don’t know what else to say. When a friend gives you porn, you really can’t look back, can you? I lay the book on the coffee table and look at the hot piece of man on the cover. His jaw is really kind of perfect. What the hell? What do I have to lose?
Two hours later, the Pinot is gone and so is Kat. She offered to drop the signed documents in the mail for me, so they’re out of the house. She said leaving them in the new house was plah`oy pre`eznak, bad luck. I can see her point.
After settling into bed, book in hand, I start to flip though the beginning pages. I had promised Kat I would start it tonight. Knowing she will grill me in the morning, I don’t really have a choice.
Apparently, I wasn’t aware of the power of paper and ink. Four hours later, I emerge from the vortex of world where money is no object, the men are alpha and darkly dangerous, and I’m cheering on the gunfire that erupts while the hero rescues the girl from perilous danger. The clock reads 1:00 A.M. Holy shit! It’s the wee hours of the morning and I am hooked. So addicted, in fact, I consider staying up to finish. Work be damned. Much to my relief, the story is not just hot sex—which it is, and it’s fantastic—but it’s emotional, funny; it’s a love story.
Grudgingly, I put the book aside knowing I have to be up for work in five hours. I turn off the light but the burn continues. I’m needy to say the least. The way the hero pines for the princess, talks to her. How he is funny and strong and just wants to provide for her. And, yes, he’s dominant, but, man, to be fucked by that guy… That’s what dreams are made of. Passionate. Paced. In control. After my bland marriage, I’d take that any day.
Without another thought, I reach for Mr. Cottontail knowing that this session won’t take long and it’s the only way I’ll get any sleep tonight.