Authors: Eve Berlin
Table of Contents
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Heat trade paperback edition / November 2010
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Berlin, Eve.
Pleasure’s edge / Eve Berlin.—Heat Trade paperback ed.
eISBN : 978-1-101-44511-2
1. Authors—Fiction. I. Title.
A huge thank-you to my critique partner and dear friend, R. G.
Alexander, for holding me together through some difficult times, and for reading everything I write. And thanks to the fabulous Lauren Murphy, for beta reading this manuscript in only a few days, for loving my hero as much as I do, and for the combination of squeeing fan-girl and soft-edged honesty that helped to make this a better book.
I must also thank my editor, Kate Seaver, for wanting me to write for her, and for inspiring me to write this story.
Dylan Ivory knew the moment she saw the hulking figure pul into the parking lot in front of the Asian Art Museum on a classic Ducati, the motorcycle in flawless black and chrome, that it was
. Alec Walker, the man she was there to interview. A man famous for his talents and knowledge as a sexual dominant in the Seattle BDSM scene.
It wasn’t the black leather jacket that gave him away. It wasn’t his massive size. It was an attitude of fearlessness and utter confidence as he brought the bike to a stop, revving the engine once before shutting it off. The way he swung his leg over the gleaming tank and pul ed his helmet off like a cowboy dismounting a stal ion. It was an aura of pure power she could feel even from several yards away, like a soft blow to her body.
Alec Walker without his helmet was even better. Dark hair—
nearly black—that curled just a little and brushed the col ar of his jacket. A strong profile that could have been carved from marble.
Dylan stood next to her car, door stil open, keys forgotten in her hand. Why was her heart racing? But she couldn’t tear her gaze away from the graceful movements of his large hands as he pul ed his leather gloves off and buckled his helmet to the motorcycle’s seat.
She was stil watching when he lifted his gaze and found hers.
Piercing, bril iant blue eyes that
her. And knew she’d been watching him. For the first time in her adult life, Dylan felt completely flustered.
If only her pulse would calm down, damn it!
This is a professional meeting.
Yes, but that didn’t seem to inhibit her response to this man one bit. She would have to pul herself together before she talked to him. She was here to learn from him. To do research. Jennifer, the submissive woman she’d connected with via the Internet who she’d met with the week before, had told her she should talk with Alec Walker; but she hadn’t warned her how overwhelmingly gorgeous he was.
Alec Walker was a man who should come with a warning.
He smiled, a stunning flash of bril iant white teeth, his mouth a lush slash in an otherwise completely masculine face, surrounded by a trim black goatee that made him look a little evil. She liked it, that evil look. Heat spread out from her bel y like liquid fire.
He was moving toward her now. Her knees shook.
Closer and closer, until he was standing on the other side of her white Audi sedan.
“I have a feeling you’re the woman I’m here to meet.” Deep voice, rich and surprisingly soft. Sexy.
She could only nod her head.
His lips quirked at the continued silence. “Dylan Ivory? Erotica author?”
What was wrong with her? Why couldn’t she put a sensible sentence together?
“I’m Alec. Shal we go inside?”
“What? Yes, of course.”
She shut her car door, clicked the lock button. And tried to ignore the heat creeping al over her skin. Suddenly her wool coat felt too heavy, even in the usual Seattle autumn damp. She was far too aware of the man walking beside her as they approached the imposing Art Deco entrance of the museum, flanked by its pair of stone camels. She’d always loved this building, as wel as the exhibits. When Alec had suggested they meet at the café inside, she was pleasantly surprised. She had a fondness for art, and for Asian art in particular, and she’d been to this museum a number of times.
They mounted the wide stone stairs and Alec put a gentlemanly hand at the smal of her back. A shiver went through her. She glanced at him, found him smiling at her. But they were both quiet as they moved through the entrance, their footsteps echoing on the marble floors, then up the smal flight of stairs leading to Taste Café, which was in the center courtyard of the museum.
They moved through the café, and Alec gestured to one of the smal tables beneath the vaulted atrium ceiling. Surrounding the courtyard were statues: Buddha, Vishnu, Kali. Dylan swore she could smel the ancient stone beneath the scents of coffee and tea in the stil air. Diffused light filtered in through the frosted glass of the atrium windows, accented by amber wal sconces that gave off a subtle golden glow. It was a peaceful place, where Dylan had often come to have a quiet cup of tea, but today she was al nerves inside.
Why was she so worked up? He was just a man. Just another interview.
He helped her off with her coat, held her chair for her. Nice, old-world manners. Al too rare in this cosmopolitan city.
He took his leather jacket off and laid it across the back of his chair, sat down, his pose relaxed, assured. He wore a charcoal gray sweater that outlined his broad shoulders. The man real y was massive, built like a pro footbal player. His features were pure male, from his square jaw to his chiseled chin and cheekbones.