The ringing of the telephone
jolted Chris Paytah out of a sound sleep. His fiancée, Martie Liotta, stirred
beside him, mumbling sleepily, "What time is it?"
her forehead. "Go back to sleep, wótheȟila,"
he said softly, shifting so that when he reached over her for the telephone, he
wouldn't crush her or their unborn child with his body. He picked it up on the
third ring, noting that the clock on her bedside table read 5:30.
even six a.m., this had better be good," he said into the mouthpiece when
he put the receiver to his ear.
Captain Paytah," replied a nervous-sounding female voice. Chris frowned as
he tried to place it. "This is Jenna Malloy. I'm Patrick Walton's
Ah, that's who
she was—Jenna Malloy. Patrick Walton was the lieutenant who ran D Shift out of
Firehouse 343. That his girlfriend was calling the station's captain—at home,
no less—was a bad sign that his first Christmas with Martie was about to be
"I am so, so sorry to bother you at home," Jenna
was saying, "but I'm at the hospital with Patrick. We've been here about
two hours already and he wouldn't let me call before now."
wrong with Pat?" Chris asked, concern for his fellow fireman crowding out
his annoyance at having been woken so early on his day off.
doctor is having some tests run, but says that based on his symptoms, it looks
like a pretty severe case of food poisoning. Hell of a way to have to spend
Christmas morning, in the damn ER."
to hear that Pat's unwell. But it's good you're with him to keep him company,"
Chris told her. "Have you called his family yet?"
"He doesn't want me to—he didn't even want me to call you, but I know he's
supposed to start his shift in about ninety minutes and the way things are
going here, I knew he wouldn't make it even if he claims he's feeling better.
But he's still throwing up and running to the bathroom, so I seriously doubt
Pat's in any shape to work. Anyhoo, I'm gonna call his mom next, then his dad—I
guess we can at least be glad we've already done Christmas with our families."
Chris stifled a
sigh as he rubbed a hand down his face. Ninety minutes wasn't enough time to
find a replacement. The guys on A, B, and C shifts had long been looking
forward to having Christmas off, to spending one of the holiest of days with
their families. He knew Simon was especially looking forward to it, as he and
his wife Laura had just gotten married the month before and he was planning to
surprise her with a new car.
you just sit tight and take care of Pat. I'll take care of covering for him,"
Chris said then, sitting up slowly so as not to disturb Martie further. "Give
him my best hopes that he gets better soon, and I'll say a prayer that the two
of you are able to salvage your Christmas plans."
you, Captain. I will."
up, Chris dropped the cordless handset on the bed and got up.
view, as always," Martie mumbled from behind him.
He should have
known she wouldn't go right back to sleep. Chris turned back to her and flashed
a tired grin as he gave a little shake to his naked ass. "I'm glad you
think so," he said. "Now go back to sleep."
yawn that escaped her, Martie nevertheless sat up, the hand that had covered
her mouth falling to her rounded belly. Heat and lust flooded his veins and ran
straight to his groin at the sight of her full, bare breasts resting over the
child inside of her. Pregnancy, Chris decided, had made her a hundred times
sexier than the day he'd met her.
awake now," Martie replied as he crossed the bedroom and pulled a pair of
boxers out of a dresser drawer. "I take it you're going in for Patrick?"
"Mio caro, you have to work tomorrow
yourself," she reminded him.
worked a double before," Chris replied as he yanked his underwear up. The
shifts at both stations in Gracechurch ran for 24 hours at a time. Three of the
shifts—A, B, and C—each had two regular shifts a week, and D Shift had just
one: Sunday. Because there was an even number of shifts versus an odd number of
days in the week, each member of the D Shift team got a second day in by being
the odd man (or woman) on one of the other squads during the week. The only
rule they had to follow was that they couldn't work C's second rotation of the
week or A's first, as the former preceded D Shift and the latter followed it.
Chris was not
only the captain of Firehouse 343, he was the squad leader for A Shift. He'd be
breaking the rules if he worked a double.
a time of crisis, honey, but there's no crisis today," Martie pointed out.
"Besides, it's Christmas."
By now he'd
pulled his uniform pants on, as well as a tank top and a plain, long-sleeved t-shirt—winter
was in full swing in Montana and it was damn cold outside. Slipping his arms
into the long-sleeved uniform shirt he'd just pulled off the hanger, he left it
open as he walked over to her side of the bed, sitting on the edge and taking
her hand in his.
"I know it
Chris said softly, lifting her hand to his lips and kissing the back of it. "You
know that you and the little one will be tȟanmáhel all day.
But as captain, it's my responsibility to take his place, at least until I can
convince someone else to do it. And given that it is Christmas, I have strong doubts that anyone's going to be too
to see the disappointment creeping onto her face, but Martie nodded. Taking a
breath, she looked up at him with a sad smile. "Tȟanmáhel? I don't think you've used that
grinned lightly. "Sorry, I thought I had. Loosely translated, it means 'on
my mind' or 'in my heart'. In this case, I mean both. I'll be thinking about my
girls all day, and missing you both all day."
raised an eyebrow. "Christopher, there's no proof yet that this baby is female.
Yet from the beginning, you've believed we're having a girl. Where's that macho
demand for a son that all men seem to have?"
make no mistake about it, I want one of those too," he said with a laugh. "But
something in my gut tells me the little angel nestled inside you right now is a
placed his hand on her belly, overtop of hers, as he spoke, drawing from her a
full smile. That made him feel marginally better about having to leave her.
Raising his other hand to cup her cheek, Chris stared into her eyes as he said,
"I promise you I will do my best to get someone to cover at least half the
shift. Maybe we'll still be able to salvage our Christmas plans, as well."
both his family and hers had demanded an appearance, Chris and Martie had
decided that they would spend their first Christmas together alone. In order to
appease both families, however, they'd made arrangements to stay with both
before and after the holiday. They'd spent the last two days in Billings with
the massive Liotta clan, giving and receiving gifts. Chris had also received
many more warnings about the pain he would suffer should he ever break Martie's
heart, reminding him of the day her brother Tony had declared they would throw
down if that ever happened.
needn't have bothered wasting their breath. Chris knew, and Martie knew, that
they were forever.
Tuesday, they were due to pack up the Explorer again and head up to Wolf Point
and his parents' place. Martie had already met his family, of course—much to
the unending delight of his mother. Hannah Paytah had fallen in love with
Martie the moment she laid eyes on her, and when she'd heard they were having a
baby, she'd cried tears of joy. Of course, she'd also voiced the same opinion
as Martie's mother Carmen, and was demanding that they get married before the
baby was born. His grandfather, Leland, had also taken a shine to Martie, who
loved the old man just as much in return. Chris enjoyed watching them together,
even when the ailing octogenarian flirted shamelessly with Martie, who always
laughed and told him he was a flatterer.
however, they'd wanted just for the two of them. They'd talked of making dinner
together and watching a few classic Christmas movies before making sweet,
passionate love to one another.
sigh, Chris leaned forward and placed a kiss on Martie's lips. She raised her
hands to hold him at the neck, drawing him closer as their tongues twined
together. Liquid heat burned through him again, making him want more than just
that kiss—she was naked, after all, and it would be only too easy to get that
way as well. But damn it, he had a job to do, and so reluctantly pulled away
course, it didn't stop him from tweaking one of her nipples as he stood to
return to the dresser for a pair of socks.
Martie grumbled. "If you must go, be careful out there. You know we're
supposed to get more snow today."
know. Something to look forward to is the snow in combination with human
stupidity. At least we won't be bored."
here's to hoping there won't be too much fun," Martie countered. "No
one wants to end up in a hospital on Christmas. Just ask Patrick Walton."
nodded. "Good point."
later, after clearing a sheet of ice off of each of his windows, Chris pulled
in at the station. Snow hadn't started falling yet, but it was damn bitter cold
outside, and he rushed into the building as fast as his feet would carry him.
Thank goodness the heating system was new and state of the art—no chance of it
breaking down any time soon.
Webber, a good friend and firefighter, stepped out of the office as he
approached it. "Hey, Boss. What're you doing here?"
regarded her carefully. Although Tonja had gone through with her plans to move
to Gracechurch and join the 343 team to honor Calvin Maynard, her late fiancé,
she'd withdrawn into herself, rarely spending time with any of her fellow
firefighters outside of work. With him, the man who had once been Calvin's best
friend and now had his job, she was just shy of icy. She was always polite and
respectful, but she'd become rather reserved in his presence, referring to him
by rank or "Boss"—never by name. The woman before him was a far cry
from the Tonja who'd clung to him the day of Calvin's funeral.
his throat, he replied, "Patrick's in the hospital with a severe case of
food poisoning. I'm covering for him."
don't have to do that, I can work a double. I know it's against the unspoken
rule that no one works a double, but I don't mind," Tonja replied.
her expression was a mask, Chris suspected he knew the real reason behind the
offer: This was her first Christmas alone in four years, and work would
distract her from missing Calvin.
holidays could really sucker-punch people.
he didn't want to risk an argument—and truthfully, he hadn't been looking
forward to having to work a double, as none of their regular volunteers had
officer status—Chris brightened, as an idea had just come to him.
about we split it?" he suggested. "I'll work the first twelve hours
while you go home and get some real sleep. You can come in and relieve me at
seven. That way we won't have to fuck up anyone else's Christmas by trying to
get one of the other officers to cover for Pat."
nodded. "Sounds like a plan."
said, Chris joined her in the office to go over the night's reports. C Shift
had responded to two car accidents due to icy roads. Although transport to the
hospital had been required for one of the victims, she had thankfully suffered
little more than a broken nose and minor lacerations to her forehead.
was wearing a seatbelt?" Chris queried.
nodded. "Believe it or not, they were. I guess even stupidity has its
limits. Driving without a seatbelt is foolish in the best of weather. Doing so
in a Montana winter?"
grinned. "Definitely not the wisest of things to do," he said
Her fiancé didn't
know it, but his being called in to work had proved fortuitous. She'd already
had one special present planned for Christmas Day, but with Chris at the
station for half the day and evening, Martie used the time wisely to plan a
second—and much sexier—surprise for him.
departure that morning, she had indeed fallen back asleep, grabbing his pillow
and holding it to her chest as though she were holding him. Though she would
never tell Chris, Martie had cried. They'd been looking forward to this first
Christmas together so much; the day was for just the two of them, and their
plans having to be put on hold had put a bit of a damper on her spirits. She wanted
to blame the entire episode on raging pregnancy hormones, but the truth was she
was disappointed. As she felt sleep claim her again, she had said a silent
prayer for a way to make the day special for the man she loved in spite of the
ringing for the second time that morning woke her a few hours later. Chris,
apologizing profusely for having roused her from sleep, let Martie know that he
would not be working a double after all, as he and Tonja were going to split
the shift. He'd be home in time for dinner as his lieutenant would be relieving
him at seven that evening. Martie was ecstatic and made a mental note to call
Tonja and thank her later. Then, as she sat eating breakfast, she pondered just
how she was going to make this evening really
special. Surely they'd do as they'd already planned, but what else could she
do? She was both excited and daunted by the prospect of doing something
remarkable that Chris would never forget.
Then it came to
her: Everyone was supposed to be nice to get presents from Santa, but what
about doing something naughty? Martie had to laugh aloud as the idea began to
bloom in her mind of just what she wanted to do and how she was going to pull
it off. While she worked on part of the second surprise, she thought once more
on the unbelievable circumstances that had brought her to this moment. She was
a strong, independent woman who had nevertheless held a secret hope in her
heart that she would find someone to share her life with, a man who would love
her for who she was and not be intimidated by what she did. Martie ought to
have known she would eventually find him in the fire service, and she would be
grateful every single day for the rest of her life for Chris. But it would have
been awfully nice to have skipped over all the losers she'd had to go through
before finding him.
choosing to be with Chris hadn't been without difficulty. First, there was the
whole Graham Henderson thing. Martie shuddered just thinking of her former
boss, and the hell he had put her, Chris, and Ronnie Thompson through just a
few months before. Then there were her girlfriends and a select few of her
family members—they all wondered how in the world a smart, savvy woman like
herself could be so sure about a man she barely knew. Her best friend Anna,
when she'd confessed to having slept with Chris the first night she met him,
had given her a wide-eyed stare and several moments of open-mouthed silence,
before pointing out that not using protection had been careless. Never mind
that she could (and had, in fact) get pregnant, what about venereal diseases?
What had she been thinking? She was a woman whose business was saving lives—how
the hell could she have behaved so recklessly in regard to her own?
as the memories came back to her. Yes, she and Chris had been reckless. But he
had been in deep emotional pain, and she had simply wanted to comfort her
fellow human being. People engaged in what psychologists called "grief sex"
every day. Smart, savvy people didn't always make the best of decisions, though
as she felt her baby move inside of her she smiled, and she knew that had she
the chance to live that night over again, she'd make the exact same decision.
Even if she and Chris hadn't chosen to be together, she would have had this
baby to love and care for, and she simply couldn't regret that.
horrible reason for their meeting one another, a spark had been ignited between
her and Chris that first day that smoldered and grew over the first two weeks
of their acquaintance. Though there had been a bump in the road that almost
kept them apart for good (no thanks to her own paranoia and a couple of
interfering busybodies), once things had settled, Martie and Chris had realized
that what they had was something powerful and real and worth exploring. So she'd
moved to Gracechurch to be with him, and soon after had discovered she was
pregnant. The day she told Chris he was going to be a father, he'd told her he
wanted to marry her. And he probably would have done it sometime in the three
months since if she hadn't told him that despite living together, in spite of
the impending parenthood, there was no reason to rush into something so
Maybe it had
been her insecurity rearing its ugly head again, or maybe just a little bit of
that "missing" common sense Anna and everyone else had asked about.
But she had wanted—needed, even—more time to get used to the idea of becoming a
mother. Of becoming a wife. Of saying sacred vows and binding herself to Chris
for the rest of her life.
that I don't love you," she'd told him. "I just need time to take it
all in. So much has happened to me so quickly, mio caro, that I just need a little more time to adjust to all
these changes in my life."
clearly reluctant to do so, had nodded his understanding. Of course, that hadn't
stopped him from presenting her with an engagement ring bearing a 3-carat
princess-cut diamond with smaller channel-set diamonds on either side and
formally asking her to marry him on Thanksgiving…on bended knee and in front of
every member of the A Shift platoon, no less—not to mention Simon Temple's
family. She had blushed furiously even while she cried tears of joy and
exclaimed that of course, she would marry him. Her only caveat had been that
they weren't going to get married until their son or daughter could be a part
of the ceremony. It was a condition Chris had readily agreed to, so pleased was
he that she had finally said yes.
the finishing touches on her naughty Christmas present, she readied herself to
head out into the cold. Martie dressed warmly in layers and made sure to cover
her head and ears. As she climbed into her car—more like squeezed into it—it
occurred to her that she was either going to have to hire a driver soon, or she
was going to have to go on maternity leave earlier than planned, because she
was gaining weight at a more than steady pace and would soon be too big to fit
behind the wheel.
The drive into
town was slow, though not because of the snow that had started falling. It was
rather pretty, in fact, all the large flakes drifting down from the sky to
settle everywhere. No, it was the wind that made driving a little more
hazardous today, the gusts coming from the north rocking her new Ford Escape
more than usual. Martie had the feeling that the wind was but a precursor to
the bigger storm the weather forecaster had predicted was on its way. Though
she had survived many a Montana winter without fear before, she knew she could
no longer selfishly think of only herself. She had to consider what would be
best for the child she carried inside her, and holing up in the cozy apartment
she shared with Chris was suddenly a very appealing prospect.
however, she needed to concentrate on her driving so that she could get to the
firehouse in one piece.
arrived at Firehouse 343, she hurried out of the car and into the station,
where it was much, much warmer. She headed for the office and found it empty,
and then a burst of laughter from the lounge told her where everyone was.
Martie crept up to the partially open door and nudged it open, thankful for the
quiet movement of the well-oiled hinges, and saw that Chris and the four men
and one woman on D Shift were gathered around the television watching a movie.
The appearance of Chevy Chase wearing a Santa Hat on the screen told her it was
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.
there's no White Christmas or A Christmas Carol in the station video
library," she quipped.
All six of the
firefighters jumped at the sound of her voice. Martie laughed as Chris tried
and failed to catch the bowl of popcorn he'd launched into the air, which
eventually made a spectacular mess all over the floor.
will you please clean that up for me?" he said, then stood and tried to
avoid stepping in the fallen kernels as he rounded the couch he'd been sharing
with Will Haggerty and Ian Farmer.
what are you doing here?" Chris asked as he reached her.
Martie smiled. "Surprising
my fiancé on Christmas, that's what," she replied, standing on her toes to
touch her lips to his. She then hefted the covered plastic container she'd
carried in with her. "I brought a little something for everyone, as well:
chocolate chip biscotti."
A round of
cheers rang out from the other five firefighters. Farmer jogged over and, with
an exaggerated smile, gently took the container from her and carried it over to
a table, where the group gathered around it eagerly. Haggerty joined them after
he finished sweeping up the spilled popcorn.
Chris called out as he turned and watched them open the container and grab
pieces of the Italian pastry, a smile on his lips. "Don't you people have
any manners? What are you supposed to say?"
As one—two of
the guys already having a bite of biscotti in their mouths—the five
firefighters replied "Thank you, Martie!"
as she watched them begin to devour the gift she'd brought them. "Don't
forget to save some for the captain, eh?" she said, then turned her eyes
up to Chris. "I brought something for you, too. Wanna see it?"
a wicked gleam coming into his eye. "Am I going to have to lock the bunk
room door?" he teased softly.
just need to sit down," she replied, taking him by the hand and guiding
him back to where the couch had been placed in front of the TV. "Sit,"
she commanded, making her expression serious as she pointed to the furniture.
Chris gave her a mock salute and did as instructed. Martie then turned and
pressed the stop button on the DVD player, popping out the movie they'd been
watching and setting it aside. She then reached into her coat pocket and pulled
out a thin CD case, keeping it turned so that Chris could not read the label as
she pulled the disc out and placed it on the tray. After tapping the open/close
button on the player, she moved to join him on the couch.
remote and play that," she told him casually as she slipped out of her
coat and set it aside.
With a curious
glance in her direction, Chris reached forward and picked up the remote from
the low table between the couch and the TV, then pressed play. On screen, the
slightly shaky image was of Martie, and he instantly froze as her voice came
through the TV's speakers.
Carver, what will we be seeing today?"
There was a
blur as the camera turned and a new face appeared on the screen, a woman with
light brown hair and a ready smile. She wore a white lab coat over a turquoise
blouse, and the nametag pinned to one side read Dr. Leanna Carver. "Today,
Martie, we're going to be performing an ultrasound scan, and if Baby Paytah
cooperates, we'll be able to determine whether the little one is a boy or a
goodie," said Martie's voice. "Chris swears it's a girl, but I have
my doubts. His mama only had boys, his brother had a boy, and trust me—boys run
in my family too. We made a bet of a hundred bucks as to who is right."
laughed lightly, and the camera blurred again as it was turned toward a screen
on the wall. The lights were turned down and then they heard the doctor's voice
again. "Okay Martie, here comes the part all we women hate."
"No…kidding!" Martie exclaimed on the
video, the view shaking again. "Man, that stuff is cold! All these decades
of obstetric care, and no doctor's ever figured out a way to warm that shit up?"
heard again on the screen, as well as from a few of the firefighters, as some
had drifted over to watch the homemade video with them.
moment and…there's baby," said Dr. Carver.
On the screen
now was the black and white but clearly definable image of a small human shape.
Chris, who had joined her for a few of her appointments over the last five
months but had yet to see an ultrasound, gasped audibly and leaned forward.
Martie felt tears sting her eyes to watch him so enraptured with the sight of
voice described what they were seeing as she had at the last ultrasound,
talking of arms and legs and facial features, noting that the baby's size was
right on schedule for this stage of development. She then said that now that
she'd covered all the essentials, she was going to see if she could get the
baby to flash the camera.
speak," the doctor added with a laugh. "Now Martie, push on your
belly a little. Prod the baby a bit to see if it will turn for us."
Martie replied on screen.
Chris turned to
look at her as she sat beside him, his eyes misty with unshed tears. "This
is…it's the best present, Martie. The best ever. I don't even care if it's a
boy or a girl."
Martie took his
hand in hers and lifted it to her lips to kiss the back of it. "Keep
watching, mio caro," she told
him softly, and with a smile, he turned back to the screen.
A few minutes
went by in which they could clearly see the baby moving, but nothing definitive
as to gender. "Come on now, little one," Martie said on the video. "We
want to show your babbo whether you're
a son or a daughter. Help us out here."
'babbo' mean?" asked one of the firefighters, all of them now gathered
around and watching with them.
up at the speaker. "It's an Italian word for 'daddy.' A little less common
than the more easily recognized padre."
minute, what's this I see?" said Dr. Carver's voice then. The image on the
wall screen that the camera was focused on shifted yet again.
not a penis, is it?" said Martie's on-screen voice.
the umbilical cord," replied Dr. Carver. "Look a little lower, down
appeared on the screen again, as it had earlier when she'd been pointing out
various features. It moved to circle around what could now clearly be seen
between the baby's legs.
like you owe your fiancé a Benjamin, Martie," Dr. Carver said. "This
baby is definitely a girl."
pay attention to Martie's voice asking if the doctor was sure, nor the zooming
in of the ultrasound screen that defined the baby's very female parts even
more. He was too busy jumping to his feet and shouting in triumph.
he cried loudly, turning to look down at Martie as the D Shift platoon applauded.
"I told you we were having a
tears from her eyes as she stood and threw her arms around him. They held each
other tightly for a moment before Chris drew back, kissed her lips, and then
leaned down to kiss the rise of her belly. He spoke softly in his ancestors'
tongue, and though her Lakota was not yet up to conversational, Martie believed
he had just said "Hello, my daughter."
stood and embraced her again. "You have given me the best gift ever,"
he said again. "Thank you, Martie."
welcome, Chris," she replied, smiling through tears of joy. As they parted
again, the D Shift guys and girl came around the couch and offered handshakes
and visited with Chris and the team a little longer, even managing to snag a
few of the biscotti to nibble on, but the snow was coming down harder now and
Chris was beginning to worry. So she packed up the DVD of the ultrasound and
bundled herself up again, walking arm-in-arm with Chris out to her car. He
stayed close as she climbed in and put her seatbelt on, leaning in to kiss her
more thoroughly now that there was no one watching.
you," he said when he came up for air. "You've just made me the
happiest man in Montana. No proof indeed."
thinking of the naughty present he would be receiving later that evening. "Just
wait to see what I have in store for you at home, Captain Caveman."
hugely. "I can hardly wait to see it," he said. "Though I doubt
anything can top that video."
She turned the
key in the ignition, the car engine coming to life smoothly. Martie turned the
dials to clear the front and rear windows of fog, then turned to Chris and
said, "We'll just see about that, won't we?"
out the window for the sixth or seventh time, hoping to see some sign of Chris.
He'd called about half an hour ago to let her know he was on his way home. She
told him that she'd already started dinner and couldn't wait to see him—and to
drive carefully, because the snow hadn't stopped and had begun to accumulate
not long after her visit to the station. He'd promised her he would take all
necessary precautions, but it didn't stop her being concerned.
Explorer pulled into the lot. Martie grinned, and felt her nipples and her clit
tighten in anticipation. She hurried over to the dining table, where she'd laid
the accessories for her surprise, picked them up, then dashed over to the chair
she'd set up in the living room. She was so excited and anxious for Chris's
reaction, she could feel herself getting wet. He was going to love this
present—whether a true Dom or not, she hadn't met one man yet that didn't like
having control over his woman when it came to sex.
naughty gift, Martie was going to give Chris complete control over her.
eyes as she waited for him to come through the door, she concentrated on
regulating her breathing—the panting would come soon enough. Or so she hoped.
Goodness knew what Chris would have her do for him.
Or to him.
The sound of
his key in the lock sent little fingers of excitement dancing along her spine.
Martie quickly licked her lips, then took one last calming breath before the
door was opened, letting in a small gust of the frigid evening air. It blew
across her already heated skin before he closed the door and she felt her
nipples pucker in response.
trailed off, and she knew he'd seen her. How could he miss her? She was sitting
on a chair in the middle of the living room, wearing nothing more than a Santa
Chris queried. She could hear him removing his coat as he stomped his boots,
likely to rid them of snow. It took all her willpower to remain silent. It was
a part of the game, after all, that she not speak unless directed to do so.
Chris just hadn't figured that out yet.
He walked over
to her. She sensed him standing in front of her, could feel his body heat as he
reached down and took from her hands the "owner's manual" she'd
prepared. "Congratulations," he murmured, reading from the cover. "You
are now the proud owner of a one-of-a-kind Fuck Me How You Want To doll. She is
life-sized and fully functional, just waiting for you to give her a command."
the pages rattle in his hand as he swore softly. "Holy sh… Martie, this is
one hell of a surprise."
She wanted to
nod. Wanted to smile. But she could not—he hadn't given her permission.
rattled again, and Martie realized he must have turned to the second. It was
good that he was reading what she'd written, as she wanted him to know that she
was really into this, that she was doing this to make him happy. Sex could be
initiated by either one of them, and she'd certainly jumped his ass more than
once. But to give him complete control over her, the permission to make her do
whatever he wanted her to? Had to be every guy's fantasy come true.
received a pregnant model, do not feel you have to treat her like glass,"
he read aloud. "Don't be afraid to get a little rough and pound that pussy
hard. She will let you know if play gets to be too much by saying the safe
word, which for your doll is 'bambino'."
to him swallow heavily, and then he tossed the papers aside. He leaned close,
so close that his warm breath ticked her ear and made her racing pulse fly even
faster. "I think I'm going to like this present very much," Chris
told her huskily, then licked her earlobe.
When he stood
back, she heard him undoing his belt buckle. "Open your eyes, Martie,"
he said, and she complied, as he'd given her a command. Martie felt her mouth
water at the sight before her: Chris had freed his cock and was stroking it,
getting it ready for the fun they were about to have.
Then he stopped
and stepped closer. "Suck it. I want to feel the back of your throat on my
forward and took him into her mouth, holding onto his hips as she enveloped
every inch. She pulled back again, swirling her tongue around his shaft as she
moved, then deep-throated him again. She moved one hand to cup his balls, massaging
them as she continued to give him what he desired. Chris removed his shirt as
she worked his hard length, licking and sucking as he'd told her to do.
deeply as she performed her task, his hands reaching down to take hold of her
nipples, twisting and pinching them, pulling so that her enlarged breasts
lifted away from her body. He cupped the flesh in the palm of his hands,
kneading it as he continued to tease her. Electrical pulses of pleasure zapped
through her, from her breasts to her navel and back again, and Martie felt
wetness seep from her a second time.
pulled away from her. Martie broke character just long enough to look up at his
face. He was staring down at her with raw hunger in his eyes—she could see that
he very badly wanted to fuck her, but he was holding back. Whether to simply
prolong the fun or because he was worried about hurting her (as he had been
lately, which was why she'd put in that line about not being afraid to get a
little rough), she couldn't tell.
he commanded her. Martie stood. "Play with your nipples."
Martie had to
fight a smile as she complied. One thing she'd learned quickly about Chris was
that he loved to watch her touching herself; he loved that she was confident
enough in her own sexuality to caress the intimate parts of her body while he
watched. It seemed to turn him on even more to see her massaging her breasts or
bringing herself to climax through masturbation.
down with one hand and finger your pussy," Chris commanded. Martie
complied, of course, though she noted in the back of her mind that her stomach
was getting in the way. Soon, she wouldn't be able to reach her clitoris, which
was something she'd have to address with him another day.
clit in small circles, Martie continued to watch Chris's reaction. He stepped
out of his shoes, reached down to pull off his socks, and then stepped out of
his pants and underwear. He began stroking himself again as he watched her.
Having his eyes on her as she played with herself aroused her even more, and
she could feel the first twitter of an orgasm building within.
soon became rapid. The orgasm was getting stronger, and soon she would lose
control of it.
a moment, Martie did as she was told. Part of her, a small one, wanted to
continue, to finish what he'd made her start. But then, she'd given him
control, hadn't she? Chris obviously had been able to tell that she was getting
close to climax, and he wanted the pleasure of getting her there to be his and
his alone. Oh damn, this was going to be such sweet torture for her, if he
planned to bring her to the brink only to pull her back at the last second more
down on the couch and spread your legs for me," Chris said.
immediately turned and walked over to the couch. Lowering herself carefully,
she leaned back on the pillows and opened her legs wide. Oh, how she hoped that
he was about to fuck her, but damn if that wicked gleam in his eye didn't just
tell her that was not what he had planned at all.
move. I'll be right back," he said, then walked away and into the kitchen.
A tremor of
anticipation rippled through her. What was Chris going to get? What was he
planning to tease and torture her with? Would it be the chocolate sauce or the
whipped cream? She shivered again, more than willing to lay there as Chris
dribbled the condiment over her clit or her nipples and then licked it off. He
preferred her natural taste, of course, but they'd had lots of fun playing with
sound she soon heard told her it would not be food, and it would definitely be
torture. Oh God, she thought. They'd never played with ice before. Would she
enjoy it? she wondered. Certainly Chris would, Martie imagined, as it was his
idea. But truthfully, she didn't see the attraction to using ice in sex play.
How could it be fun? It was cold.
Reaching up to
scratch her head, wondering what was taking Chris so long, Martie pushed the
fuzzy Santa hat off. She was on the verge of breaking character again and
sitting up to see what he was doing when she heard him approaching. With a
sigh, she settled in to wait for whatever he planned to do with that ice.
minute," Chris remarked as he rounded the couch. "I don't recall
telling you that you could move—and yet I see that your hat is no longer on
your head." He set the glass of ice on the coffee table. "Stand up."
Trying not to
frown, Martie lifted herself up off the couch and stood to face him.
around," he told her, and with her curiosity rising, she did as told. A
second later she felt the warmth of Chris's hand rubbing a circle on her right
ass cheek, then he stunned her with a sharp smack. Martie was unable to hold in
a gasp of surprise.
situations," Chris went on, rubbing her left ass cheek before smacking
that one as well, "when the sub is disobedient or acts without permission,
then she is punished. You were naughty, Martie, and so I must punish you with a
spanking. Now stand wider, then bend over and place your hands on the couch."
Sensations of a
nature she could not quite define began to course through her, and though she
did as she was directed, Martie began to wonder what she'd gotten herself into.
She couldn't help but ask herself if she hadn't just wakened a sleeping
beast—Chris appeared to be enjoying himself fully as he was really getting into
the role of Dominant, and she found herself wondering if he perhaps had a Dom
side after all.
this far not only exposed her ass, but the folds of her pussy as well. When
Chris smacked her for the third time, it was right across the center of her
cheeks, and she felt the sting across her labia as well. But something
unexpected happened then—a thrill of pleasure actually followed the pain, and
did again when she received the fourth smack. And the fifth, and so on…to the
point that she was nearly as ready to burst as she had been when pleasuring
herself. A new query flitted silently across Martie's mind then, and she
wondered if, perhaps, there was a submissive inside her after all…
…and perhaps a
bit of a masochist, as she was really, really
enjoying getting spanked. Her hands gripped the couch cushion so tightly her
knuckles were turning white.
Chris said, breaking into her thoughts with his voice. "It looks like
someone is getting excited by her punishment. Let's try something else, shall
returned to her thoughts, but that was not what Chris did. Instead, he
positioned himself behind Martie, placing his hands on her hips. She could feel
the head of his cock brushing her labia, and she silently begged him to push it
inside her. Oh, was she ever ready to be fucked. She wanted him so badly right
now that she found herself pushing her ass backward.
That earned her
another slap on the ass. "Don't move," Chris commanded, and she
whimpered. Damn, she thought. She
wanted him inside her so much that she was nearly ready to beg for it. What was
he waiting for?
She heard him
pluck a cube from the glass of ice, and once again Martie trembled. After
having her ass thoroughly spanked, her blood heated with lust, and her pussy
swollen and ready for her man to take her, it might be just what she needed to
cool down a bit, until he was ready to give her what she needed. But the
torture began anew when she felt him slowly moving his hips back and forth, the
shaft of his cock rubbing against her folds while the head brushed against her
swollen clit. She nearly jumped out of her skin when she felt the cool, wet
surface of one of the ice cubes against her right ass cheek.
it in ever widening circles, precisely over the areas that by now were surely a
bright red from the spanking. Martie felt her skin becoming slightly chilled as
the sting was taken away, but her blood continued to burn as he was
simultaneously fucking her without actually doing so. He kept it up even as he
treated her left ass cheek to the same care.
not to come unless I say so, Martie," he said then. "I can feel you
trembling beneath me, trying to hold it in. In that you are being very good, mičhanté."
Lord, would the
strangeness never cease? Bent over like this—with her pussy being teased and
her ass being cooled—he had called her something in Lakota. And she liked it! Martie actually liked that he
had given her a new pet name, even if she didn't know what it meant. She
wondered if it would find its way into their daily life, or if he would save it
for sexual playtimes like this one.
A moan escaped
her as the ice was now being trailed along her spine and back to her ass. Chris
followed that up by sliding his tongue in its wake, and then suddenly she felt
his cock leave her. She whimpered, silently pleading with him to return—he hadn't
been inside her but his cock had been touching her, and that was better than nothing.
wetness touched her folds and Martie cried out in surprise. Chris slid the ice
cube up and down her opening, teased her throbbing clitoris, and then once
again followed with his tongue. When he reached her clit she bucked against
him, and it took every ounce of her willpower not to release the orgasm that
was desperately begging to be set free. When she moaned, Chris chuckled.
he whispered huskily, and she felt the heat of his breath on her most intimate
skin. "But very good, mičhanté. You did not let go."
teased her folds again, and again he licked the cold away. The pleasure-torture
continued, and Martie began to moan as she fought the tightening in her belly.
Holding it in like this, she knew she was going to have one hell of an orgasm
when he did finally let her come. It was likely to be so strong she would have
trouble remembering her name.
heart swelled with emotion when the realization hit her that such had been
Chris's aim all along. This naughty game was supposed to be her present to him, and yet he was giving so much of
the pleasure to her. God, how she
loved this man…
as much as I love the taste of this pussy of yours, I think I want a taste of
your nipples, too," Chris said then. "Stand up and turn around."
as she was told, as she was now fully aware of what the attraction was to using
ice during sexual play. It was the same as using chocolate sauce or whipped
cream, just with different sensations. The end goal, however, was the same: satisfaction.
Martie decided that being tortured with ice cubes wasn't so bad if he was going
to follow it with that wicked tongue of his.
and failing to keep a smile from her face, she stared into his eyes briefly,
seeing the love and lust and happiness she felt in herself mirrored in those
dark orbs, and was pleased to see Chris smile briefly back. When he schooled
his expression so did she, because the game wasn't over yet.
wider…that's it…and put your hands behind your back," he instructed.
complied with his order, moving her feet slightly more than shoulder width
apart and clasping her right wrist in her left hand at the small of her back.
Yet another ice cube was drawn from the glass (surely he'd gone through at
least two by now) and he touched it to her left nipple. Martie gasped audibly
as Chris rubbed it in a circle first to the left, and then to the right. Her
breathing hitched when he took it away and moved it to the other breast as he
dropped his head, re-warming the puckered nub first with his breath and then
with his tongue. Her head dropped back as he suckled her, and she moaned.
iced and thawed her nipples several times, eliciting sharper and sharper cries
of pleasure. Martie wasn't sure how much more torture she could take when he
turned and grabbed another of the melting ice cubes. As he melted the first
with his mouth against her right nipple, he began to slide the second back and
forth across her pussy.
she cried out, her hips jerking forward.
Chris stood straight and stared into her eyes as he continued to slide the ice
cube back and forth, rubbing it in a circle around her clit before caressing
her labia again. Even though he wasn't warming her after each swipe as he had
before, Martie could still feel the heat rising in her blood, flushing her skin
and adding to the powerful orgasm that continued to grow deep in her core. They
had teased each other in the past, but nothing—nothing—compared to the exquisite sensations that were the only
things keeping her standing besides sheer willpower. Chris, already a highly
skilled lover, had jumped into the exceptional category with this sensual
thing she knew, Chris was putting the tiny rock of an ice cube in his mouth. He
wrapped his arms around her shoulders and brought their bodies together, then
leaned his head forward to kiss her. Martie fought the urge to return his
embrace even as she opened her mouth to accept his tongue, which delivered the
ball of ice, covered with her essence, onto hers. They passed it back and forth
as he once again moved against her, sliding his hard shaft across her slick
folds, but still not entering her.
whimpered in protest. Chris tipped his head back and looked at her with a
smirk. "Is something wrong, mičhanté? Do you not like what I have done
to you today? You did ask for it, you know."
is wrong," Martie gasped, assuming she had just been given permission to
speak. "And I… I have loved everything. You have touched my heart…as well as
raised an eyebrow. "But?" he pressed, emphasizing his query with a
slightly more forceful thrust between her legs.
when are you going to fuck me?!" she demanded.
he replied, the corner of his mouth lifting in tandem with that insufferable
eyebrow again. "You mean this?"
last word, he tipped his pelvis on the forward thrust and smoothly surged into
her. Martie cried out loudly, in her mind thinking At last! as he filled her with every inch he had. Chris moved his
arms to grab her ass in both hands, saying, "Wrap your arms around me,
threw her arms around his neck as he lifted her off her feet. She wrapped her
legs around his waist as he withdrew and thrust deeply into her again. Crying
out again, she held tightly to him as he turned and started walking toward the
bedroom. When he reached it, he nudged the door open with his foot, never
breaking stride, and carried her over to the bed. There he laid her down across
the width of it and leaned down to kiss her, thrusting his tongue into her
mouth at the same time as he thrust his cock deep into her pussy.
sigh into his mouth, Martie tightened her hold on Chris, lifting her hips to
encourage him. Not that he needed any encouragement, as he smoothly and effortlessly
rocked his hips back and forth, drawing out almost completely before pushing
himself into her again, going balls deep each time. The pace was slow at first,
steady and careful; Martie knew he was doing that—and holding himself up off of
her—to spare the baby, but damn it, she didn't just want him to make love to
her. She wanted to fuck, something they
hadn't really done since her pregnancy had started showing. Chris was afraid to
hurt her, to hurt their child, by being too rough. And she certainly wasn't
unsympathetic to his concern, but after having spoken to her doctor about it,
Martie knew that there was nothing Chris could do to her sexually that would
harm either of them.
him a little reminder of what she'd written in the owner's manual, Martie moved
her arms from his neck and planted her hands firmly on his ass. She tore her
mouth from his as she gave him a squeeze, smiling as she said, "Playtime's
over. Now fuck me."
paused for the briefest of moments, studying her face. She could see the raw
need in the black depths of his eyes, one that spoke of a primal urge to take
her hard and fast. To claim her as his. She could see that he was asking if she
was certain, and Martie gave him a small nod, holding his gaze as she did so.
his head again for one more passionate kiss, Chris slipped himself out of her
and scooted back off the bed so that he was standing on his feet. He took her
by the hips and pulled her toward the edge, then positioned himself at the apex
of her thighs as he took her breasts in his hands. He squeezed them, pinching
her nipples between his thumbs and forefingers as he slammed his cock into her
once more. Martie cried out loudly and Chris growled, the animal nature inside
him taking over as he moved in and out of her. He pounded her harder with each
thrust, but Martie wanted more. Releasing her tight grip on the edge of the
mattress, she raised her hands to him and he took them in his, lacing their
and faster Chris moved, his pace becoming frenzied as he slammed into her again
and again. Martie's breath was coming in sharp, panting gasps as the orgasm
that had been building all evening surged through her once more, preparing her
for what she was certain would be the strongest release she'd ever had.
"Chris…Chris…CHRIS!" she screamed a moment
later, no longer able to contain the power of her climax.
released her hands suddenly and grabbed her hips, his clasp almost painful as
he madly thrust in and out, roaring loudly as he finally reached his own orgasm
and emptied into her. Martie felt his cock throbbing with his release and she
screamed as she came a second time.
tell that her climax had been the strongest ever by how utterly limp Martie had
gone when they both came down from their orgasmic high. Chris smiled
contentedly and sighed as he stood, lifting her carefully and walking her out
of the bedroom and into the bathroom—she uttered not even a token protest, so
he knew he'd loved her damn good. Chris sat her down softly on the commode and
then turned to the linen closet for a washcloth, turned the tap on, and soaked
the cloth with warm water. He wrung it out and then turned to Martie once more.
up for me, wótheȟila," he said softly.
Martie looked up at him with a
tired grin. "After all that, mio
caro, I don't think I can go another round. Not for a while."
Chris laughed quietly. "Frankly,
neither do I," he said as he nudged her legs apart and reached down to clean
her. "You have no idea how hard it was to keep myself in control. Just
walking in the door and seeing you sitting there with nothing but that Santa
hat on? I swear I almost blew a wad there and then."
Cocking his head to the side, he
took in the faint blush she wore and frowned slightly. "Baby, do you still
have no idea of how indescribably sexy you are? You're even more attractive to
me with my child inside you than you were before I knew she was there."
Martie's blush deepened, but she
smiled. "Someone's been reading up on how to treat his pregnant partner, I
Chris shook his head as he reached
to re-soak and wring out the cloth, which he used to wipe himself clean before
he tossed it in the sink and then knelt before her. "While that may well be
true, sweetheart, that's not why I said those things. Every single word comes
from my heart, which has grown far greater in size with the love I have for you
and our baby. They're not just meaningless platitudes uttered to make you feel
better about gaining weight. I say them because I mean them."
squeezed when her eyes misted over. Martie took his face in her hands and
kissed him deeply. "I love you, too," she said when they parted. "And
now…now I'm famished."
chuckled again and stood, then held his hand out to her. "I worked up
quite an appetite myself," he said as they crossed the hall and stepped
into the bedroom. There he grabbed a pair of pajama bottoms for himself and a nightgown
for her that said "Baby on board." When they were dressed, he turned
to her, gathered her into his arms, and simply held her. One hand soon fell to
the rise of her stomach and he asked, "You're sure the baby is okay? Did
she move at all?"
shook her head. Then she giggled as she felt the movement he had just asked
about. "She must like the sound of your voice. While we were…occupied…she
was still. Maybe she realized it was Mommy and Daddy time, who knows? But I
swear that's the first time she's moved since you came home."
I can hardly believe I was right, and we're having a girl," Chris said
with a sigh.
turned her head up to look at him. She raised her hand to his cheek and said, "Merry
smiled, feeling his chest swell with emotion as he dipped his head down and
touched his lips to hers. He embraced her tightly once more as he replied, "Merry
stepped back, and with his hands on either side of her stomach, bent and kissed
the roundness of her belly. "And a Merry Christmas to you too."
One of the things indie authors who are of limited means have to do is formatting. Not just for ebook editions, but print as well.
For those of you unfamiliar with what that entails, formatting is setting up the manuscript so that all the margins (spaces between the text and the edge of the page) match, all your paragraphs are properly aligned (so that they're even with each other on opposite pages), and all your fonts (the style of the test) match. Formatting an ebook edition is a little different from formatting a print edition in a number of ways, such as hyperlinks -- you can add them to an ebook edition but not a print one, for obvious reasons. Thus, if you prepare your ebook first, you must remember to remove the hyperlinks to say, the purchase page for other books you have for sale, or your fan page on Facebook, before copying and pasting to the print template -- otherwise the printer will think you want that text underlined and colored (Microsoft Word underlines hyperlinks and colors them blue).
I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon working on formatting Holiday Heat. I set up the Kindle edition, then started working on a print edition. The later gave me tons of trouble when it came to the headers (the top of a page where the author's name and the book's title are) and page numbers (can be in the top, outside, or bottom margin/footer; I put mine in the center of the footer). I must have made three or four attempts on that before finally realizing that it just wasn't working for some reason. I am still not quite sure what the heck I was doing wrong with CreateSpace's template, but I could not get the header or footer right.
Frustrated with my lack of success and frankly tired of doing the work over and over again, I found myself about to give up on the idea of a print edition of Holiday Heat entirely. It is, after all, only about 110 pages overall, and the more I think about it, hardly worth the effort of making a print book (unless the printer you use offers pocket trade, usually 4x6, as a trim size). But then I had an epiphany that split into two ideas...
One: The book I am releasing on 12/13/14 this year is Volume 1, and next year about the same time I plan to release a second holiday collection -- Volume 2 -- featuring the guys and gals from the Firehouse 343 world. The first idea is that a few months after the ebook release of Volume 2, to put both 1 and 2 together in an omnibus edition. This would make a print edition more practical as it would (likely) be around 200 or more pages.
Two: While waiting until the time an omnibus of six holiday tales is likely to come about (probably sometime around spring or summer of 2016), I could print up -- on my own printer here at home -- some "galley" copies of each volume. I'd bind them in a presentation folder (the kind with a clear cover so that a picture of the book cover would be visible) and sign them for anyone who buys a copy -- or wins one in any contests I participate in (they'd make great prizes!).
So... That's where Holiday Heat stands right now. Just a few more steps before it's release on the once-in-a-century date of 12/13/14!
In other news, I started writing what I thought was going to be an erotic short story. As the writing continued -- much thanks to my Muse for cooperating lately! -- it became clear pretty quickly that it would become much more than that. The two characters -- Eric and Whitney -- began to grow in my mind, their story became richer and more engrossing than a mere short story. It will at least be a novella. But as the two are college seniors, I quickly realized this could be my first New Adult book, and suddenly it didn't at all fit with the erotic theme I'd started with. After talking to some author friends, I decided that I was going to remove the very erotic beginning and turn that into it's own short story. All I had to do was change the characters' names and a few other details. Eric and Whitney's story is already one of romance, growth, change, and so much more. I can hardly wait to share it with you all!
The question then became -- what to do with the erotic short? Post it on the Diary as a freebie? Hold onto it and write more such short tales, then package them up in a collection? Do both? I'm thinking I may well do both. So keep your eyes peeled for something slinky and sexy to be posted in the next few days!
Thanks for stopping by, and don't forget to come back!
Just watched a video that an author made in response to someone who emailed her complaining about the price of an ebook and how one dollar of said price is going to be donated to a charity. Said person also claimed that it doesn't take much to get a book out these days because "everyone is doing it" and confessed to returning the book ("the best" the author had written) after having read the entire thing. After sending this email, the person blocked the author from being able to respond.
Needless to say, the author was livid.
I would be too. For one, $4.99 is not asking too much for an ebook, especially if said ebook is going on 600 pages. If it was 200 pages or less, yeah, I might balk at the price - and simply not buy it. That's the thing to do, people: If you don't agree with the price of something, DON'T BUY IT. Very simple and easy to scroll past and move on. I sure as heck would not be so classless as to buy a book, read it, return it, and then write the author to spew vitriol about how I hated the price of the book and how it's *so easy* to publish a book.
Because hey, for two, it is NOT that easy to publish a book. People who think so are clearly clueless about the process. Yeah, there's a lot of lackluster material out there due to the advent of self-publishing, but for those of us who are truly dedicated to putting out quality material, there's a helluva lot more involved than pounding out a .doc or .docx or .pdf file and throwing it up on Amazon or Smashwords. We spend hours a day trying to get the stories in our heads to translate on the page the way we imagine them. This means it can take weeks, months, or even years to produce a finished manuscript. Then there's the editing, formatting, cover art, and marketing to consider. All that costs time and LOTS of money. Authors give up so much to their craft it's unreal.
Still think publishing a book is just so easy? Try it sometime and then get back to me on how easy it is.
Third thing is that I would NEVER return a book I paid for and then read. That is, in no uncertain terms, THEFT. You are degrading the hard work that went into the production of that book. No author gets the full price of their book in royalties, so not only are you stealing what little they do get, you're stealing from everyone else who worked on the book as well. Some writers don't have second or third jobs to supplement their income. If you download from a piracy site or buy-read-return a book, you are stealing money to pay bills, put food on tables, clothes on backs, gas in cars... Do I need to go on?
Downloading from a piracy site or buying then returning after you read IS STEALING. Don't be a criminal.
Also, don't write to an author to protest the prices they charge. That's tacky and rude and just makes you look like an idiot. Once again, don't like the price of something? Don't buy it. If you have something to say but can't say anything nice? Keep your mouth shut and your opinion to yourself.