*Warning: The following material is intended for readers over age 18. If you are under 18 years of age, it is necessary for you to exit this page. By reading further, you’re stating that you are over age 18.
Excerpt from WHEN ALEX WAS BAD
Copyright © Jo Davis, 2009
All Rights Reserved, Penguin Group USA
A couple plays an illicit game…
After fifteen years together, Alexander and Olivia Quinn have become strangers, both in and out of the bedroom. When Alex is tempted to stray, Olivia steps in with a bold plan to save their marriage: she’ll allow him seven nights of decadent pleasure with anyone he chooses…if he confesses to each liaison—in explicit detail. And if he agrees to accept his wife’s wicked punishments.
But seven sins might be one too many.
Jason Strickland is the Quinn’s' new neighbor—quiet, mysterious, and no stranger to the darker side of sexuality. Though he knows he should resist, he becomes a willing player in Olivia's provocative game. But before the last confession, this simple sensual bargain will ensnare them all in a maelstrom of passion and danger. Because there’s something about Jason that no one knows, a secret that will lead to a web of betrayal and a plot for murder.
Olivia Quinn knew she was losing her husband when she discovered his knockout junior partner caressing his crotch by the azalea bush.
Until that moment, the party had been rather uneventful.
One of those fabled life-altering moments that seizes a woman by the throat, squeezes the air from her lungs. Blows her to dust. Refuses to allow her to cower one second longer behind a safe cocoon of denial.
Groaning, Alexander made a halfhearted attempt to peel the vixen off him. “Jenna, no.”
The flame-haired beauty only laughed, a soft tinkle in the darkness as she pressed her breasts to his bare chest. Fondled the budge in his swim trunks. “Why not? The others are by the pool. No one will see, darling.”
“Doesn’t take care of you, baby,” she crooned. “She doesn’t give you what you need. I can make you feel all better.”
Damn, that hurt like a bastard. Even if Olivia could speak, she couldn’t deny the charge.
Her husband dipped his head, brought his mouth down hard on Jenna’s. Cupped her firm breasts through the skimpy bikini top, brushed her nipples with his thumbs. A blond god in the moonlight, seduced by a fiery goddess.
But she knew the answer. They’d shared an explosive sex life, once. Had fucked like rabbits, whispering their wildest fantasies. Some included wicked things they’d do to one another, and a few they’d actually tried and perfected. Light bondage, spanking and such.
But she’d loved nothing more than fucking Alex while spinning a tale of him sinking his cock into another beautiful woman. Or a handsome man, young and vulnerable. Her erotic stories sent him over the edge, every single time.
Fifteen years and two busy careers later, they shared a home in an exclusive gated community, a Jag, a Mercedes, and a healthy 401K. Mutual respect and love. Yes, despite the gut-wrenching scene before her, she had no doubt her husband still loved her. The proof was in the small, everyday things money--and great sex--couldn’t buy.
The way Alex’s green eyes lit when she walked through the door at the end of a late evening at the restaurant, waiting for her. His fussing when she tried to lift something too heavy, his serious consideration of her opinion in all matters. A true partnership between soulmates.
But the fantasies and the scorching heat were gone.
Or were they?
Watching them kiss, Olivia’s nipples tightened to eraser points. A warm tingling had begun between her thighs that she hadn’t noticed a few moments ago. She shifted, making sure to keep well hidden behind the shrubs. Her pussy was hot, soaking wet, as confusion assailed her.
For God’s sake, Alex’s tongue was stuffed down another woman’s throat, a co-worker who’d obviously been pursuing him for a while, and she could only writhe, turned on at the idea of his long, thick cock stuffed into his would-be lover’s cunt as well. Giving in to his torment, letting her have what she’d been dying for.
Alex broke the kiss and set Jenna from him, gentle but firm. “No. I can’t cheat on Olivia. I won’t.”
Olivia’s heart stuttered. Her husband was gazing at his junior partner with wretched longing etched on his angular, handsome face.
He looked breathtakingly beautiful . . . and completely miserable.
Jenna ran a manicured nail down his cheek, across his lower lip, and smiled. “Oh, I think you’ll stray all right, my gorgeous stud. And when you do--”
“You’re wrong,” he rasped.
“Gotta run. See you Monday. Don’t forget we’re working late on the Boardman defense. I’ll wear the black skirt you like so much.” She started to leave, then snapped her fingers as though remembering something.
“Oh, and Alex?”
“I won’t be wearing anything underneath.”
Jenna walked off and left Alex standing there, staring after her swinging hips. Swiping a hand down his face, he exhaled a tired, world-weary sigh and headed back toward the pool and their guests.
For several minutes, Olivia stood silent, contemplating the reality of the situation. She was losing her husband. Though Alex was putting up a brave fight, he’d soon buckle under the weight of dark, forbidden desires. The need to explore his sexuality, his untapped fantasies, with or without his wife.
By the last guest’s departure, Olivia had formed a radical plan to save her marriage.
One guaranteed to rock Alex’s world and put the spice back into their sex life for good.
Or to destroy her husband, and their love, by using his own demons against him.
* * *
Holy Christ, what a narrow escape.
Alex Quinn stepped from the shower, glad to wash the stink of chlorine off his body. Along with the tantalizing aroma of Jenna Shaw’s perfume lingering on his skin, wrecking his control. Damn, what a lush mouth. Opening for him, sucking his tongue. A tall, lithe wet dream inviting him inside to take what he wanted.
What he wouldn’t have given for her to suck his cock, too. Jesus, he’d wanted to fuck her. Almost had. Right there in the shadows mere feet from his own party. From his wife.
The idea lifted his unsatisfied erection a notch.
“My God,” he whispered, horrified. “What am I doing?”
Using the towel, he swiped a spot of steam off the bathroom mirror and stared at his reflection. Hated what he saw; a forty-year-old lawyer in his physical prime, yet desperate with unquenched lust. Shadows haunting his green eyes, guilt eating his soul.
He was sick to death of working himself into the ground. All work, no play. Tired of coming home to the status quo, to the ghost of his marriage. Of being alone, invisible to the woman he’d once loved with an all-consuming passion. Loved still. Didn’t he?
Olivia doesn’t see me anymore, doesn’t know me.
No matter how late he worked at the office, hoping she’d be here when he got home, she was always busy with her upscale restaurant. Giancarlo’s, her family’s namesake, was the toast of fine dining in St. Louis, and rightly so. Olivia had worked damned hard to make it a success, and he was extremely proud of her, even if he did occasionally urge her to delegate some of the responsibility to her staff.
I’m the owner, Alex. Isn’t my career just as important as yours?
No way would he begrudge her independence, but . . .
God, I’m so lonely.
Yes, he thought the sun rose and set on his wife. Always would. But he wanted to feel alive. To experience all of the wild pleasures life had to offer before he became too old to enjoy them. He wanted nasty, forbidden, blistering hot sex with someone who appreciated him. Couldn’t get enough of him. If not now, when?
No easy answers.
And Monday would arrive all too soon.
Pulling a pair of silk boxers over his deflating penis, he walked into the bedroom. To his surprise, Olivia wasn’t asleep. For a moment, he allowed himself to drink her in.
She was propped on a couple of pillows, reading a romance. Olivia, reading? Searching his memory, he couldn’t recall the last time he’d seen her pick up a book. Truth be told, she usually came home from the restaurant a couple of hours after he went to bed. Alone. So, he really had no idea what her other interests were anymore.
Dim light from the lamp on her side of the bed cut the gloom. Caught at the raven hair tumbling past her slim shoulders and framing a delicate oval face graced by full sensual lips, a blade of a nose, and wide blue eyes. Her classic beauty struck him like a fist in the stomach, as always.
Too bad they never made time for one another anymore.
As if she’d heard his thoughts, Olivia glanced up from her book and pinned him with a laser blue gaze so very intense, a flicker of panic seized his gut. Had she seen him and Jenna tonight?
But the notion was dispelled as she flashed him a small, secretive smile. Marking her place, she laid the book on the nightstand and patted the bed beside her. “Join me, handsome. I need to talk to you.”
Talk. Woman Code for Your Ass is Toast.
So she had seen. He spread his hands in appeal. “Liv, I’m sorry.”
“What for?” Giving him a puzzled frown, she tossed back the covers.
“Come to bed, Alex. Lord, you’re strung tight. What’s wrong?”
“I-I--” He broke off, unsure what to say. Shit, he’d nearly blown it! “I’m sorry you didn’t seem to enjoy yourself tonight. It’s never been much fun for you, making nice with my partners and employees. But they’ve come to expect the annual Quinn and Quinn spring pool party.” Shrugging, he gave Liv a weak smile and joined her in bed.
Congratulations, asshole. Now you’re a liar as well as a cheat.
“Oh, I don’t mind.” She dismissed his apology with a wave. “I like your associates, you know that. I need to talk to you about something else. Something important.”
Wary, he cocked his head. “Anything, sweetheart.”
Scooting around to face him better, she nibbled her lower lip as though weighing a heavy decision. Suddenly, her worry cleared, mind obviously made up. “Alex, do you remember the weekend we married?”
He closed his fingers over hers. “Of course I do. We went to Puerta Vallarta. It was lovely, but not nearly as exquisite as you.” Corny, but at least it wasn’t a lie.
Her azure eyes sparkled. “And you were the blond god of my dreams. Remember where we made love for the first time as husband and wife?”
“We made love a lot in those days.” He laughed, the sound a little sad and wistful to his ears. He hadn’t meant for his loneliness to slip. “But yeah, I remember. We walked down the beach, away from the resort a mile or so. We wanted each other, right in the open with the ocean pounding the shore a few yards from us. No matter who might happen along.”
“And it started to rain.”
“But that didn’t stop us, did it?”
Liv squeezed his hand, looked straight into his soul. “Somewhere along the way, something did,” she said quietly.
A shaft of pain pierced his heart. “Liv--”
“Remember the fantasies we used to share in bed?”
He nodded, wondering where she was going with all of this, and more than a bit nervous. “We made up a ton of them. They were fun. Exciting.”
fucked. Down and dirty, delicious fucking,” she mused. “Be honest. Have you, before or since, experienced such intense orgasms as when you pretended to bury your cock in another lover?”
His prick twitched, coming to life again. Shit! What the hell was she driving at?
“No, I haven’t.” He stared at his calm, serene wife. “But those scenarios were safe because I was really with you. We played the game together.”
“So why did it end, Alex?” She ran a hand down his cheek. “Why don’t we share our darkest fantasies anymore?”
“I don’t know, baby. I guess there just wasn’t anywhere left to go with them.”
Jesus, that hurt most of all. Even if Liv hadn’t seen him kissing his junior partner, she sensed their distance. Knew their once unbreakable bond was fading, her husband on the verge of turning from her. Had they really reached the end of the road sexually? Had they become little more than friends with benefits?
“What if,” she said slowly, “I told you there’s one avenue left unexplored. That I know exactly how to rekindle the spark, get things back on track for us?”
Alex blinked. “If you have an idea, I’d love to hear it.”
“The plan is risky,” she cautioned. “We’ll both be required to let go of our taboos. Open our marriage to new experiences, ones that will either backfire or heal us as a couple. What I have in mind could transform you into a very happy, sexually satisfied man.”
Her seductive words poured over him, quickening his pulse. “Good God, Liv. Are you suggesting . . . ”
“That you act on your desires. That you allow yourself to indulge in the wicked pleasures you’ve only dreamed of, guilt-free.” Liv’s hand strayed to the slit of his boxers where the head of his throbbing cock peeked through. Swirling the tip with one finger, she continued. Lured him with her siren’s song.
“Look how hard you are at the mere suggestion. Truth is, I get hot and wet just picturing my sexy husband entering his lover. Knowing he has my full blessing to fuck her or him into oblivion. One partner this time, perhaps a ménage a trois the next. Would you like that?”
“Y-yes. I mean no,” he groaned, assailed by the images she awakened. His dick was on fire, ready to detonate. “Liv, baby, I can’t.” But he’d already been considering it, hadn’t he?
“Why not?” Pushing down the front of the boxers, she grasped his penis. Stroked.
“There’s nothing in this for you. I get all the benefits and you get hurt.” Closing his eyes, he spread his legs to accommodate her attentions. Lost himself in her touch.
“Not if we do things my way. Besides, if we keep going as we have been, I get hurt anyway.”
Alex no longer had to agonize over whether she’d seen him and Jenna groping one another. Liv had been watching . . .
The breath left his lungs as the truth hit him like a runaway truck. He opened his eyes, read the unmasked emotion in her blue ones.
Olivia was aroused by what she’d witnessed.
Rather than letting their marriage die, she’d chosen to participate in their sexual reawakening as a couple. To give him the freedom to explore . . . and then what?
“Your ground rules?” he gasped. Her hand pumped him, slow and steady. Bringing him near to orgasm.
“I’ll allow your liaisons, with any lover you wish so long as you are honest about being married. Also, I don’t want to know beforehand when you plan to seek your pleasure. This gives you the thrill of being naughty, you see.”
“The catch?” God, he was going to explode.
“After each encounter, you’ll confess to me,” she purred. “In detail. Every caress, every word. Then, my love, I’ll exact your punishment. That is the price you will pay for our pact.”
“You’ll willingly submit to whatever discipline I choose and no, I won’t tell you what the punishment might be. I’ll only say that the encounters you pursue give me permission to enjoy myself likewise. You’re the gambler here, so you take the chances and live with the consequences. One thing more.” Her lips hitched up in a small smile.
“You get seven confessions total. After the last punishment is delivered, our pact is done and we must make a decision on where to go with our marriage.”
“What do you mean?”
“Maybe we’ll want to continue our pact for another seven confessions, same rules.” Increasing pressure of the strokes, Liv looked him straight in the eye. “ Or we might embrace a whole new sexual lifestyle together.”
Alex moaned, unable to stave off the orgasm. Cum boiled in his drawn-up balls, shot from the base of his spine so hard it shook his body. Semen spewed over her hand, his boxers, the sheets. On and on, thick and hot.
When he lay spent and panting, Liv leaned over, placed a loving kiss on his lips. “Do we have a pact?”
The monumental impact of his answer made him tremble in fear. And anticipation. One way or another, their lives were about to change forever.
“Yes, sweetheart. We do.”
* * *
The restaurant would survive without her for a few days. Finally, when it was almost too late, she understood that.
But Alex loved her.
Olivia repeated the mantra throughout the bright Monday, which stretched on, interminably long. The silence was broken only by a pair of delivery men, who glanced at her in curiosity more than once as she had them erect her new purchases in the downstairs media room.
She declined to reveal what the items were for, but suspected they knew all the same. After a generous tip, they left, averting their gazes.
Bored, she donned her bikini bottoms and went to sun in a lounger by the pool. Normally, she’d be more cautious about sunbathing topless, but the lots on their right and out back were wooded, part of hers and Alex’s property, and their widowed neighbor on the left, Bill Strickland, had died a couple of months ago, leaving no children. The sprawling mini-mansion stood sad and empty, and what might become of the place was anyone’s guess. Their gated community boasted a burly security guard and a group of snoopy, blue-haired old retirees who watched everyone that came and went like beady-eyed hawks. Hell, they probably knew Tae Kwon Do.
So, no worries.
Which was why, a few minutes later, she was shocked as shit to open her eyes and see a man staring at her over the top of Bill Strickland’s fence.
Squeaking in alarm, she snatched a towel over her breasts. His eyes widened and his head ducked out of sight. Before she could find the words to admonish him, the man’s distressed voice drifted from her deceased neighbor’s yard.
“Gosh, lady, I’m sorry! I-I wasn’t expecting, I mean I didn’t . . . damn.”
For some reason, his stammered apology enchanted her. Soothed her fright. He truly seemed as surprised as she by the encounter, and dreadfully embarrassed to have been busted ogling her.
Relaxing a little, she called out. “Are you a friend of Bill’s?”
A pause. “I’m his nephew, Jason Strickland.”
Ah. That explained things. “You’re in town to take care of his estate?”
“You could say that,” came the muffled reply.
“This is a tad awkward, shouting through the fence, don’t you think? Come over if you’d like, Jason. The gate is unlocked.”
After a moment’s hesitation, footsteps shuffled through the grass. The latch clicked and the gate squealed open. Liv turned her head to see the man walk tentatively inside. Nervous, he wiped his hands on faded jeans slung low on his hips and sporting holes in the knees
“I’m really sorry,” he said, color staining his cheeks.
A young man, Liv noted. No more than twenty-three or so. Shaggy, sun-kissed brown hair fell to strong shoulders, not too broad. He had a lean build, hard with muscle, but not bulked. His navy T-shirt was new, unlike his jeans, and emphasized his flat, almost concave, stomach.
And holy cow, was he a looker. High supermodel cheekbones, a boyishly handsome face. A perfectly sculpted mouth.
“You gave me a start, that’s all. Come, Jason, sit down.” She gestured at the lounger on her right, which Alex used when they relaxed together. Strickland approached, sharp gaze taking in his surroundings warily, as though he expected to be jumped.
Curious, she wondered at his story. Why hadn’t Bill ever mentioned his own nephew?
Jason sat on the edge of the lounger facing her, hands clasped between spread knees. He made an attempt to appear nonchalant, but the tense set of his posture gave away his discomfort. He was poised for trouble and seemed totally unaware of the fact, as though the survival instinct was ingrained into his DNA.
Liv held out her hand. “I’m Olivia Quinn, but most people call me Liv. My husband, Alex, is working right now, but I’m sure he’d love to meet you.”
Jason’s eyes widened a fraction. He stared at the offered hand for a couple of seconds before enclosing her palm in his. “I . . . thanks. I don’t know how long I’ll stay in the neighborhood, but I’d like that.”
His hand was strong, callused, the nails clean. These were the hands of a working man who’d known little luxury. The bruised look in his lovely, mocha brown eyes hinted at secrets, pain, and hard-won knowledge beyond his years.
If she had her guess, Jason Strickland had been hurt. Badly.
“Forgive me for being so forward, but Alex and I believed Bill died without an heir.” At his pinched expression, she relented. “Now it’s my turn to apologize.”
He gave her a small smile. “No, it’s fine. I was Uncle Bill’s only living relative.
I had no clue he left everything to me, and his lawyer had trouble tracking me down. I never realized Bill gave a shit about my welfare.” He shrugged. “His absentee nephew was a better option than letting the state take it all, I guess.”
So young to be so cynical. Poor man.
“What will you do now?”
He shook his head, gaze dropping to his battered tennis shoes. “I don’t know. I’ve always dreamed of having a nice place to hang my hat. But that mausoleum doesn’t feel like home. I’ll probably sell.”
Reaching out, she patted his knee. “I hope you’ll stay while you figure out what you want to do. My husband and I would enjoy having you around.”
Jason’s gaze went to the hand on his knee. Traveled up to linger on the towel covering her breasts, and on to her face. She sucked in a breath at the heat in his eyes. The longing.
“Then maybe I’ll have to stay,” he whispered. Getting to his feet, he took her hand from his knee. Kissed her fingers. “It’s been a pleasure meeting you, Olivia. I’d like to get to know both of you better.”
Her pulse pounded, tingling warmth moistening her sex. Had Jason meant to imply he’d be open to more than neighborly friendship? Letting go of her, he skirted the lounger and headed for the gate. On impulse, she called after him.
“Lunch with me, tomorrow?”
He froze. Glanced over his shoulder. “What time?”
Triumph surged in her breast. “Eleven-thirty.”
A ghost of a smile tugged at his lips before he answered. “I’ll count the minutes.”
With that, he disappeared through the gate.
“So will I, dear Jason.” She grinned to herself. Oh, yes, the chemistry was there, and if Jason was willing . . . this young man might play a vital role in their future.
The wait for Alex no longer seemed unbearable as before. She had no doubt he’d fuck Jenna tonight, and there were several others in their acquaintance Liv knew would be thrilled to bed him. Her magnificent husband was seething with suppressed sexual desires that had gone ignored for far too long.
If she knew Alex as well as she’d always believed, he’d be very eager to share his confessions and receive his punishment. Soon he’d come to crave his discipline from Liv as much or more than taking his lovers. Then, she’d enact phase two. A bold plan.
The survival of their marriage depended on it.
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