A huge thanks to Maggie Nash for inviting me on her blog today. Maggie suggested I post whatever I fancy. After asking my readers what they’d like to see here, I’ve chosen to share some of my thoughts on how our self-image affects our sexuality. It’s an integral part of my heroine’s journey in my latest book release, and I believe an issue close to many of our hearts.
Let’s face it; the idea of stripping down and standing naked in front of a lover can be scary. No, let me change that to terrifying. Our minds are conditioned to some mythical clothing size being the litmus test of our worthiness for man, society, and just about every other factor in a woman’s life.
For those of us that fall way outside that magical X classification, it can be a lonely existence, one we try to fill with food, reading, and anything else that lets us hide from that cold, unforgiving world.
Reagan Edwards, my heroine in High-Stakes Loving is, well, curvy. She believes she could lose thirty pounds and still have extra softness. That feeling of being fat, and not pretty, has held her back in some aspects of her life. She’s allowed the taunting voices of the “mean-girl brigade” during her teenage years to twist her reality of how she looks. Those jibes of “fat girl, fat girl” and the pointed stares in the gym change room crystalized from sheer rudeness to form some kind of witness statement of her unworthiness and lack of beauty.
There’s a sense of tragedy to how easily some of us allow such stupid remarks to eradicate our self-confidence in one area and yet bolster us to stand up for ourselves in another. We’ll fight for respect against a misogynistic twit in a professional setting who wants us to stay in a dead-end job because apparently a vagina means you lack intelligence. However, the idea of walking from the bed to the bathroom whilst naked and in full view of a man who professes to be in lust with us is beyond contemplating.
The fear of rejection is crippling. You put yourself out there. Then someone, a person whom you’ve allowed to get close to your heart—and maybe for all the wrong reasons, because truly they didn’t deserve such an honor in the first place—leaves you hanging on that cliff. You’re stunned, then numb, and then the need to retreat takes over. Once again, you’re hiding under your blanket of anonymity.
Luckily for Reagan, she has two Doms, Mike Langley and Quinn Sullivan, who refuse to allow her to stay hidden under that toxic shield. It’s only after they rip it away from her and force her through her personal firewall of fear and rejection that Reagan discovers that not only is she desirable, but that her very self is what gives joy and beauty to these men.
In many respects, writing Reagan’s journey was a cathartic experience for me, including her awakening of her own beauty.
It’s important to add, there is only one person who allows you to keep up a distorted view of yourself. And that’s you. So be kind to yourself. In fact, show yourself some respect and consider the idea that you have always been beautiful. You just haven’t opened your eyes wide enough to see.
High-Stakes Loving, King’s Bluff, Wyoming 2
BlurbFormer SEALs Quinn and Mike have discovered in King’s Bluff, Wyoming, a town that embraces ménage and BDSM lifestyles. Even better, they found a sweet woman they could love—if they could only gain the shy librarian’s trust. Overhearing that she adores capture fantasy stories, the two Doms know exactly how to get her attention.
Trapped between two experienced Masters, Reagan surrenders. They’re commanding, determined, yet gentle, and everything she ever wanted. Even as she learns what it is to be cherished, a secret from the past emerges, threatening her reputation. She hires her lovers to investigate, expecting them to be on her side. But the damning evidence they uncover rocks their relationship.
As pressure for the truth mounts, danger stalks Reagan. Someone out there believes secrets are best left buried.
Long-held misconceptions and fears stand in their way, risking their futures and allowing the threat closer. The three must fight as one for their love to survive.
ExcerptMike pushed the door closed with the kind of unhurried movement that reeked of confidence. He leaned back against the wood, crossing his arms over his chest. Quinn stepped forward, hat in one hand and a black gym bag in the other.
She frowned and glanced up at his face.
“A SEAL always keeps a bag handy. Mike and I have everything we need in here.” He dropped the bag at his feet, followed by his hat.
“Everything?” She guessed he meant more than a clean shirt and deodorant.
“For tonight anyway.” Quinn stalked forward, his body now so close she had to lift her chin high to meet his gaze. “Reality-check time. I’ll ask you again. Do you want this, Reagan? Because we’re not some pansy-ass Ken doll version of Doms.” He caught her wrists and drew them behind her back, holding them there with one hand.
Her pussy throbbed. She tested his hold, wanting, no, needing to struggle. He tightened his grip. Firm. Inescapable.
Quinn used his grip to push her up against him. “You’re caught, sweetness. And that’s just a preview of things to come. We’re gonna order you about, tie you up, eat your pussy till you’re begging us to let you come, say no because that’s the kind of bastards we are, then we’re gonna eat you up all over again.” He lifted his free hand and ran his thumb over her bottom lip. “I want to discover all the ways you light up when we bury our cocks inside that warm heaven between your legs. You’ll come when we say so and not before. Defy us and you’ll be punished. Still interested?”
Dominated. Tied. Theirs.
Her mouth opened but her voice refused to cooperate.
Mike pushed off the door. “We need the words, Reagan.”
Quinn lessened his hold until her hands fell away to her sides. Somehow, the action left her…bereft.
“Strip,” Mike ordered.
“Here, in the hallway?” They had to be kidding.
Mike’s mouth pressed down in a harsh line. But it was his cold stare washing over her like an icy bath that made her gulp.
She hurried to remove her shirt and tank top. Her fingers struggled to get a grip, as if covered in woolen mittens. Why did the guys have to stand so close?
Dragging the tank top over her head, the easy-fit cotton now impersonated skin-tight spandex, hooking on her elbows until with one hard pull, she managed to lurch free. Sexy, Reagan. With her gaze lowered, she dropped the clothing at her feet.
Thank God for front-closing bras. Her breasts spilled out. Don’t think about all that pale skin. Just hurry. They’re waiting. The white cotton joined the rest of her clothing. After toeing off her sneakers, she pulled her panties down with her jeans.
The cool air wafted over her bare skin. She shivered. There she was, naked in front of Mike and Quinn. And yet, every part of her was alive with a slow burn that kindled from deep between her legs. She moved her gaze from Quinn’s boots to her chest. The hard points of her nipples stood like beacons, screaming her arousal.
Oh, heck, her breasts. She raised her arms.
“Hands by your sides, sugar.” Quinn’s deep voice cut in.
Lowering her hands was like refusing to swim even as the water closed over her head. Her fingers twitched. A tightness filled her belly. Standing there, like a horse on display, seemed so wrong. Shouldn’t she argue back?
“We’re going to push you, Reagan. Well beyond what you’re used to from a partner. In or out of bed.” Mike tilted his head. “Have you been with a Dom before?”
“No.” Only in her dreams. This reality was so much more.
Mike walked behind her.
She forced herself not to swivel around. Look ahead. Chin up.
A line of knuckles brushed against her butt cheek.
She started. Her breasts jiggled.
Mike’s chuckle singed her ears. “Easy, sub.”
She dragged her gaze up to Quinn’s face. The heat of his stare made her stomach muscles quiver, as if he’d twirled a feather over her belly button.
“Ever been tied up?” Mike’s hand curved over her hip.
“No.” Her face heated. It seemed so foreign and carnal, talking about bondage in such a matter-of-fact way.
“N-no.” She coughed past the shag pile carpet coating her throat. “I haven’t done anything, besides, you know, normal stuff.” Two lovers at college and an ex-boyfriend in Sheridan. All missionary men, and she wasn’t talking bibles.
This time Quinn chuckled. “We’re gonna open up a whole new world for you, sweetheart.”
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