Arrogant Bastard by Zara Cox – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher to celebrate the recent release of Arrogant Bastard, the third book in Zara Cox’s Dark Desires series. Enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a copy of the book.

I’m known as the Black Widow because the desires I hide inside are pure poison.
I was a different person once. Faith, a young wife, hoping to become a mother. My life was pleasant. Stable. It was hell. Until Killian Knight opened my eyes to a world of espionage and intrigue. He saw something in me, something I was too afraid to acknowledge. I didn’t want to be excited by the danger. Didn’t want to crave the wicked passion only he could provide. But I did want, so now I run. And I pay.

I never meant to corrupt her, but I’m not sorry.
After all, I’m already damned.

After four years of searching and longing, I’ve finally found her. Faith, the one person in the world I breathe for. She lives beneath my skin as surely as I wear proof of our transgressions inked on my body. And like the forbidden fruit that doomed us from the beginning, our end is inevitable. We lived with no regret. We loved without inhibition. We betrayed those closest to us. We killed for that love. Now…we will burn in hell together.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Killian
Present Day

I’ve found her.

After four years and two months.

I stare at the screen, my blood pumping relief and shock and fury and joy through my veins. The cocktail of emotions paralyzes me for several minutes.

Then I force myself to analyze what I’m seeing.

Her hair is different. Longer. Darker. Pin-straight and rigid where soft, friendly waves used to be. The curve of her jaw captured by the camera lens also shows the difference. She’s leaner. Meaner. Even from this obscure angle, I can tell any trace of gentleness has been wiped clean. Eroded by sin and tragedy and horror. The change was probably inevitable, but I still don’t want to see the evidence.

To anyone else, the picture would seem ridiculously vague, the image nothing more than a blurred black-and-white pixelation of hair, chin, and shoulder.

It’s the reason my algorithm spat it out almost reluctantly, a last batch of possibilities in the dregs of to-be-discarded possibilities, and then dumped it in my supercomputer’s equivalent of a spam folder, the code scrolling impatiently as it waited my command to delete, delete, delete.

But I know it’s her. Despite the dark leather cap pulled low over her forehead. Despite the bulky jacket designed to hide her true shape. Her stealth speaks volumes. Besides, she’s in my blood, in my heartbeat. After so many years of dead ends and fruitless hoping, of agonizing disappointment and withering despair, this time I simply…know.

It’s her. The Widow.

My hand shakes as I hit the zoom-in key. My gut churns, and I feel a little sick as my ever-helpful brain cheerfully supplies me with all the ways she could’ve continued to elude me—if I’d turned away, for a second, to stare at one of the other three screens on my desk. If I’d trusted my supersmart computer and accepted the prompt to delete without reviewing this particular needle in my mountain of haystacks. If I hadn’t tweaked the code yet again last night to capture just such an obscure image.

Hell, if I’d blinked at the wrong time…I torture myself with infinite possibilities as I stare at that mesmerizing angle of chin and shoulder.

A chin I’ve trailed my treacherous fingers over many times in helpless wonder.

A shoulder I’ve rested my guilty but secretly unrepentant head on.

There’s so much more to her. And I treasured every single inch of her forbidden body, fucked her at every opportunity she granted me. Until she systematically erased herself from my life.

But why New York? And why now?

I know how good she is. Hell, she’s the best or she wouldn’t have eluded me for this long. The thought of another four years without her punches a cold fist through my gut. With it comes the certainty that I wouldn’t have survived those next four years without her. That I’ve been clinging on with the very last dregs of my endurance to make it this far.

But here she is…

The Widow.

I can’t see her eyes, but I don’t fool myself into thinking they’ll hold an ounce of softness. What we did changed us forever. And not for the better.

I lean back in my chair. Exhale slowly. Terrified of blinking in case she disappears from my screen. It doesn’t matter that I’ve copied and stored the longitude and latitude of her location in a dozen vaults on my server and memorized every single piece of data on the screen.

New York City. East Fifty-Third Street. CCTV camera. A one-in-a-billion shot.

Without taking my eyes off her, I reach for my phone and press the voice activation app. “Good evening, Mr. Knight.”

“Nala, how many times do I need to tell you to call me Killian?”

“You have yet to change my default settings, Mr. Knight.”

My lips twitch but a smile doesn’t quite form. My eyes water with the need to blink. But I resist. “I changed them last week. You reset them again, didn’t you?”

“I assure you, I’m quite incapable of doing that.”

“Yeah, right. Fine. Place a call for me. Pilot. Home.”

“Dialing pilot. Home,” the female AI obliges me.

Nelson Whittaker, my LA-based English pilot, picks up on the second ring. It’s three a.m. but he answers as if it’s normal working hours. Which it is, to be fair. Everything is normal for me in my line of work.

“Good morning, sir.”

“How soon can you get to the airport?” I snap.

“As soon as I put on my trousers and chuck a bucket of water over my son to wake him up,” he replies with a dark chuckle.

My fingers fly over the keyboard as I save her information in a few more electronic vaults. “Give William my apologies,” I say.

“No need. He’s been champing at the bit to take the new girl for another spin.” The new girl being the Bombardier Global 8000 I added to my collection of private jets last month.

“In that case, I expect to see you at Van Nuys within the hour.” At this time of the morning, traffic from their Santa Monica apartment should be light enough to get them there fast.

“We’ll be there.” He clears his throat. “I expect the paperwork regarding out-of-curfew flights—”

“Will be taken care of. I’ll text you the details but we won’t be straying far from the usual parameters.”
“Very good, sir. Destination?” he asks crisply.

My gaze tracks that chin. That shoulder. The hair. Four years’ worth of turbulent emotion threatens to rip free. My chest burns with it, but I contain it. “New York.”

About the Author: Zara Cox has been writing for almost twenty-five years but it wasn’t until nine years ago that she decided to share her love of writing sexy, gritty stories with anyone outside her close family (the over 18s anyway!). This series is Zara’s next step in her erotic romance-writing journey, and she would love to hear your thoughts.

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Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Google Play, iBooks, or Kobo.

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Wicked S.O.B. by Zara Cox – Spotlight and Giveaway


Long and Short Reviews welcomes Zara Cox, who is visiting with us to celebrate today’s release of her newest book, Wicked S.O.B.. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of the book.

For so long, I lived for revenge. Now I live for her.

Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that Quinn Blackwood is not someone you mess with. I see. I want. I take. And you better not get in my way. That’s how I built my billion-dollar empire. That’s how I made my enemies pay. That’s how I won the one good, pure thing in my life, Elyse “Lucky” Gilbert. But after what I’ve done, my luck may have run out.

There is a fine line between love and obsession.

I’m not a fool. I didn’t think coming back to Quinn would be easy. That we would fall into a happy future and the darkness inside him would just disappear. Still, after everything we’ve been through, I couldn’t leave him to fight his demons alone. I’ve tried to convince myself nothing else matters as long as we’re together. But if I give him what he needs, will there be anything left of me?

Enjoy an Excerpt

It’s 5:45 a.m.

From the living room window, I stare eastward and take in one of the many spectacular views from Quinn’s penthouse ninety-two floors up. I love watching New York City come to life in the mornings. Love watching the light on the Chrysler Building’s spire blend into the rising sun’s rays. Love the warmth of first morning light on my face. And having just come through my first, fierce NYC winter, I crave the sun with almost rabid zeal. It must be the native Californian in me.

New York City is fast becoming the center of my world, though. It’s where the love of my life, the reason for my existence, lives after all. I don’t doubt that Quinn’s presence in the city is what makes it extra special for me.

But it’s also become clear that while he lives in the most dynamic city in the world, this isn’t his home. He doesn’t have a home. I don’t have a home either.

Between Quinn and me, we’ve lost sight of what a true home means. I’ve tried to convince myself nothing else matters as long as we’re together. My heart clenches in fear at the thought of losing what we have. In a world of unlikely possibilities, Quinn and I ending up together was one in a million.

I didn’t fool myself into thinking the path to our future was going to be easy. I returned to him on my own terms, despite knowing from the beginning that taking on a man like Quinn Blackwood would be the challenge of a lifetime. I live that overwhelming reality every day. Even before I saw his face, I knew his power over me was borderline absolute and that he intended to own every last cell in my body the way he owns half of the city we live in.

My mouth twists in a smile. I’m not with Quinn for his money, but if I were, I’d slavishly fulfill his every desire for the chance to live in this stunning Park Avenue apartment every day for the rest of my life.

A few days after we moved in three months ago, we woke up to an overcast city below us and nothing but blue sky above us. The sensation of floating above the clouds was incredible. We spent the day in bed, staring at the view from our California King when we weren’t fucking in the heavens.

I want many more days like that.

I sigh. Turn around. And freeze.

He’s lounging against the wall in the hallway, wearing gray low-riding sweatpants and nothing else, with one knee propped behind him. My mouth goes dry as those penetrating eyes watch me in silence.

Quinn’s deathly stillness is one of the many unnerving things I noticed about him when we first met. Despite his towering six-foot-three height and his sleek but solid frame, he moves with a quiet, devastating elegance that literally stops my breath when he walks into a room. And that is even before the exquisite masculinity of his sharp cheekbones, square jaw, and sensual lips. The contrast between his startling silver blue eyes and dark hair never fails to trap and hold the attention of anyone he comes into contact with. I’ve literally seen grown women, and men, stop and stare when he walks on the street.

That dangerous attraction holds my total focus now.

His eyes search mine, the unnervingly direct gaze examining every corner of me. Probing for flaws I can’t hide and concerns I’m struggling to contain. But then that’s nothing new.

“Tell me what you’re thinking about,” he commands from across the room in a low, sleep-rasped voice that makes my toes curl.

I want to start this day with a cleanish (snort) slate. But I know any attempt to evade him will be spotted a mile off. He sees too much. He always has. “Your money,” I reply, choosing the least volatile truth.

His eyes flare for a moment before he shakes his head. “No, you’re not. You go out of your fucking way to avoid anything to do with my money. Try again.”

I’m not touching that statement with a ten-foot pole, so I shrug inwardly and state another truth. “I love this apartment. I’m not moving.”

His unwavering eyes gleam the way they do when he’s debating the pros and cons of giving me what I want. His leg slowly straightens, and he moves toward me. He stops behind the wide sectional sofa he fucked me on last night. Strong, elegant fingers spread over the back of it as he angles his body toward me. “I see. Have I finally found something of mine that you love enough to claim for yourself, Elyse?”

When he holds out his hand to me, I don’t even think of refusing. He guides me around the sofa, pulls me into his arms, and spears his fingers into my hair. Our lips meet in a hungry, thorough greeting. Then he nibbles at the corner of my mouth, my cheek, my jaw to my ear. “I’ll think about not moving us if you agree to spend the day with me.”

I frown and plead with my melting brain to function. “It’s Monday, Quinn.”

One hand trails down my body to squeeze my ass in silent rebuke. “I know what day it is. I’m taking the day off.”

My jaw drops to the floor, and I jerk back to look into his eyes. “No way.”

“Shut your gorgeous mouth before I put my cock in it. I’m buying you breakfast; then we’re spending the rest of the day being slobs.”

About the Author:

Zara Cox has been writing for almost twenty-five years but it wasn’t until nine years ago that she decided to share her love of writing sexy, gritty stories with anyone outside her close family (the over 18s anyway!).

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads
Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, iBooks, or Kobo.

 

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Beautiful Liar by Zara Cox – Q&A and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter the Rafflecopter to win a trade paperback of the book.

How do you personally distinguish between pornography, erotica, and erotic romance?

Wowsa, okay, let me put my thinking cap on! Pornography has one purpose and that’s to induce sexual excitement for those who want to read or watch two people copulating. In a way erotica is a variation of that, in my opinion. Erotic romance has sex at its heart, sure, but it also has strong emotions that eventually lead to love—at least in my books. My characters are super hot for each other, sometimes right from the moment they first meet, and sex plays a huge part in how they navigate the often turbulent waters of finding their happy ever after.

What authors do you think write excellent erotic fiction?

My go-to authors for great erotic fiction are Sylvia Day, CD Reiss, Whitney G, JA Huss and Alessandra Torre. There are tons more I could name, but I’ll be here all day!

How do you judge what makes a good erotic story when writing your own fiction?

The emotions that propel my characters to act the way they do. Emotion drives my characters’ every thought, every word, every sex scene. Without emotion it would just be two people having sex.

What are the biggest public misconceptions about erotic romance?

That it’s porn. 

Who is your favorite erotic author and why?

Sylvia Day. And, sorry to repeat myself, because she writes emotional stories that grab you and don’t let go.

People call me many things: CEO, billionaire, bastard. Q.

I love women. I love sex. I love money. I love hot, wild nights with no promise of a future, because a future is one thing I don’t have. I’m twenty-eight years old. I won’t live to see thirty, and I don’t care. Or I didn’t, until her.

Nobody plans for a life like this. Some of us just end up here.

They call me Lucky, though luck has never been on my side. Before I met Q, my life was a big, twisted mess. Never enough money, never anyone to trust. No way out. With Q, the shame and fear disappear. Instead I feel pure pleasure, and that’s something I’ve never had before. But if what I’ve just learned is true, we’d better enjoy every second together while we can…before our time runs out.

BEAUTIFUL LIAR was previously published as Porn Star

Enjoy an Excerpt

BEAUTIFUL LIAR Blitz Excerpt

“So it’s true? It’s not a con? This job really pays a million dollars? For…sex?” she rasps.

“You think I’d admit it if it was a con? What did the ad say?”

Her delicate jaw flexes for a second.

“One million uninhibited reasons to take a leap.
One million chances to earn a keep
One million to give in to the carnal
Are you brave enough to surrender,
For a payday to remember?”

It speaks even more to her desperate state of mind that she remembers the ad verbatim.

I remain silent and wait for her to speak.

“So…assuming it’s not a con, how will this work, then?”

“If you pass the next few tests, and I decide you’re a good fit, you get the gig. You’ll receive one hundred thousand dollars with each performance.”

“So…ten performances…over how long a period?”

“Depending on how many takes are needed, anywhere between three weeks and a month. But I should warn you, it’s hard work, Lucky. If you think you’re just going to lie back and recite the Star Spangled Banner in your head, think again.”

Her fingers drum on the table, the first sign of nerves she’s exhibited. “I…I won’t be doing anything…skanky, will I?”

“Define skanky.”

“This is going to be straight up sex. No other…bodily stuff? Because that would a firm no for me.”

My mouth attempts another twitch. “No water works, waste matter or bestiality will be involved in the performances.”

Her fingers stop drumming. “Okay.” She waits a beat, stares straight into the camera. “So when will I know?”

I hear the barely disguised urgency and I rub my finger over my lip again. “Soon. I’ll be in touch within the week.” I’m not sure exactly why I want to toy with her. But I sense that having her on edge would add another layer of excitement I badly need.

When she opens her mouth, I interrupt. “Goodbye, Lucky.”

A passing thought about the origin of her name is crushed into oblivion. I press the remote to summon the bodyguard to escort her out, and I leave the room.

In my study a few minutes later, I bring up the screen on my desk and activate the encrypted service I need. I open the application and within minutes, the members of my exclusive gentlemen’s club are logging in.

My email is short and succinct.

The next Q Production is scheduled for release on 20 May 2015.
Limited to ten members.
Bidding starts in fifteen minutes.

I start the countdown and rise to pour myself a neat bourbon. I swallow the first mouthful with two prescribed tablets, which are meant to keep me from going over the edge, apparently, and stroll to the floor to ceiling window. I look down at Midtown’s bumper-to-bumper traffic. This mid-level penthouse is one of many I own in this building and around New York City.

Technically, I don’t live here. I only use it when volatile pressures demand that I put some distance between the Upper West Side family mansion and myself. I would never stray far for long. For one thing, I’ve accepted that my family would never leave me alone.

I know what I know. So they’ve made it their business to keep me on a short leash. But with over three hundred properties in my personal portfolio, and a few thousand more under the family firm’s control, there are many places to disappear to when the demons howl.

Today, the Midtown penthouse is my temporary haven.

I turn when the timer beeps a one-minute warning.

I return to my desk and adjust the voice distorter. When the clock reaches zero, I click the mouse. “Gentlemen, start your bids.”

My words barely trail off before the first five bids appear on the screen. Sixty seconds later, the total bid is at a quarter of a million dollars. I steeple my fingers and wish I were more excited. The money means nothing. It never has. It’s the end game that excites me.

My mind drifts back to Lucky. I turn the gem of her elusiveness this way and that and admit to myself she has potential.

I want to take a scalpel to all her secrets, bleed them and soil my hands with the viscera. I also want to fuck her until her body gives out. Right in this moment, I’m not sure what I want more.

So I concentrate on the numbers racing higher on the screen.

Half a million. One million. One point five.

My phone beeps twice. I pick it up and read the two appointment reminders on the screen.

7pm – Dr. Nathanson. My shrink.
9pm – Dinner with Maxwell.

I re-confirm the first and delete the second.

Cancelling dinner with Maxwell will bring a world of irritation to my doorstep. No one cancels dinner with Maxwell Blackwood. For a start he’s one of the most powerful men in the country.

He’s also my father.

Yeah, my name is Quinn Blackwood, heir to the Blackwood Estate, only child of Maxwell Blackwood and Adele Blackwood (deceased). My family owns a staggering amount of property across the eastern seaboard of the United States and a few in the west. According to the bean counters, I’m personally worth twenty-six billion dollars.

But tangling with my father in hell is what I live for. Have done since I was fifteen. So I ignore his summons and watch the stragglers fall away until I’m left with the top ten bidders. The bids wind down, and within the space of half an hour, I’m just under two million dollars richer.

I spot the familiar name of the top bidder and I sneer. Taking his money on top of everything else is darkly satisfying.

Once bidding ends, I close down the application and call up another list. Dozens of charity websites showing pictures of starving children flood my screen. Within minutes, fifty charities are the grateful recipients of two million dollars.

I may be Quinn Blackwood, occasional user of prescribed meds to keep the demons in check, who moonlights as Q, porn star to an exclusive few who pay millions for my work.

And I may be an unhinged asshole with serious daddy issues.

But no one said I wasn’t a giver.

About the Author: Zara Cox has been writing for almost twenty-five years but it wasn’t until nine years ago that she decided to share her love of writing sexy, gritty stories with anyone outside her close family (the over 18s anyway!).

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Google Play, iBooks, Indiebound, or Kobo.

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Top 5 Favorite Spring Activities by Zara Cox – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of the book.

Top 5 Favorite Spring Activities
1. Reading in the garden when it’s sunny
2. Taking my first vacation of the year
3. Shopping for summer clothes
4. Cycling in the park with my kids
5. Writing outside in the sun

In a family of cold-hearted black sheep, I, Axel Rutherford, am the blackest.

My father has hated me since the day I was born. The feeling was mutual. In the shady underworld that was my legacy, Cleo McCarthy became my light. She was beautiful, passionate, and my whole world. So naturally my father had to destroy us. First he sent me away. Next he claimed Cleo as his own. But now I’ve returned, and nothing will stop me from taking back everything that is rightfully mine.

He was the love of my life—when my life was still my own.

We were young enough to believe we would last forever, Axel and I. But neither of us realized how cruel life—
and our families—could be. Now I’m trapped in a gilded cage: desired by Axel, who must never know the full truth, and controlled by his father, who would sooner see me dead than free. And I wouldn’t even care, except that it’s no longer only my life at stake.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Cleo – Gunpowder & Lead

For far longer than I care to remember, I’ve held the power of life and death in my hands. Between one breath and the next, the responsibility was thrust on me. A permanent state I had no hope of escaping. Not if I wish to keep the one remaining parent I have, my mother, on life-supporting machines rather than six feet under with my dead father. Machines that stay on or could be turned off in an instant, depending on which move I make in this deadly game of chess that is my life.

At twenty-six, I should be putting my actively pursued, proudly earned interior design degree to good use. Instead it’s a front for my real vocation as Finnan Rutherford’s companion. A career I didn’t choose but find I’m now irreversibly immersed in.

I had to learn the game fast or risk losing my life through apathy. It’s a good thing I’m a fast learner. I discovered that I’m an even better student with a loaded gun against my temple.

I’ve stood over too many graves and seen the risks Finnan takes with others’ lives not to have learned my lesson. So now I comply. I obey. I smile through the ravaging pain and the blood-red rage in my heart.

And I plot.

Revenge is the only thing that sustains me. It keeps me breathing, helps me place one foot in front of the other, and steers my compass true.

On the worst days, I wonder if everything I’m fighting for is even worth it. Those dark days I yearn to give in. But I can’t. Not yet. Not if I want my mother’s death and countless others’ on my hands. Having finally accepted the responsibility of my birthright, I’ve also accepted responsibility for those in my care. I do this for the dozens who don’t know that me staying on my knees is the only way they get to breathe.

Checking out would be the cowardly. Although I haven’t ruled it out completely as a last resort. For now, like the six prom dresses I tormented myself over choosing from what feels like a million years ago, I’m keeping my options open. The grim, otherworldly humor behind the sentiment almost makes me smile.

The oil-smooth door swings open behind me, wiping away every last trace of phantom humor. In the den where countless lives have hung in the balance, I fight the shiver that trembles up from my ankles.

In the half hour since my return from New York, he’s kept me waiting in this room that reeks of violence and corruption. A deliberate act meant to establish my weakness and his power.

“You failed me again, my angel.” The accusation is softly voiced in a deadly rasp.

I force my spine not to stiffen and take a breath. My gaze rests on the view of the immaculately kept Connecticut mansion grounds and encroaching dawn for an extra moment before I turn around.

Finnan Rutherford, the man everyone thinks is my adopted father but is as far from a father figure as the moon from the stars, regards me from his impressive six-foot plus height. Despite the early hour, he’s fully dressed in a tailored white shirt and navy three-piece suit, his Oxford pinstriped tie neatly knotted. Not a hair out of place. Like his four sons, he’s built of strong Irish stock with a square jaw, thick shoulders and smoky gray eyes always set with narrow-eyed focus. For the longest time, I was terrified of that stare, couldn’t imagine that he didn’t see into my soul and read the intentions in my heart. But I’ve learned to contain that emotion when in his presence, much like I contain all of my emotions these days.

I stride forward, slowly, and pause against his desk, my own gaze direct. “I warned you this plan would fail. You didn’t listen. Don’t blame me now that my predictions are coming true.”

One dark eyebrow lifts. “Are you saying you weren’t the right person to handle this? That I was I wrong to think I could trust you to get it done?”

I swallow the kernel of terror that threatens to break free. I know better than to answer in the affirmative. “I’m saying I would’ve done things differently. Sending me to him almost every night for two weeks reeks of desperation,” I say with a shrug, even though my heart is hammering. Finnan doesn’t like his faults pointed out. But I’m done dancing around the issue. Or subjecting myself to another long night involved in a staring contest with Axel Rutherford.

About the Author: Zara Cox has been writing for almost twenty-five years but it wasn’t until nine years ago that she decided to share her love of writing sexy, gritty stories with anyone outside her close family (the over 18s anyway!).

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Google Play, iBooks, or Kobo.

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Porn Star by Zara Cox – Spotlight

9_13-porn-star-banner

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher to celebrate the release of the first book in Zara Cox’s new series Dark Desires, Porn Star.

9_13-cox_pornstar_ebookZara Cox brings her self-published novel to Forever as the start of a sexy new series.

People call me many things: CEO, billionaire, bastard. Q.
I love women. I love sex. I love money. I love hot, wild nights with no promise of a future, because a future is one thing I don’t have. I’m twenty-eight years old. I won’t live to see thirty, and I don’t care. Or I didn’t, until her.

Nobody plans for a life like this. Some of us just end up here.

They call me Lucky, though luck has never been on my side. Before I met Q, my life was a big, twisted mess. Never enough money, never anyone to trust. No way out. With Q, the shame and fear disappear. Instead I feel pure pleasure, and that’s something I’ve never had before. But if what I’ve just learned is true, we’d better enjoy every second together while we can…before our time runs out.

Previously published as I, Porn Star.

Enjoy the Excerpt:

“So it’s true? It’s not a con? This job really pays a million dollars? For…sex?” she rasps.

“You think I’d admit it if it was a con? What did the ad say?”

Her delicate jaw flexes for a second.

“One million uninhibited reasons to take a leap.
One million chances to earn a keep
One million to give in to the carnal
Are you brave enough to surrender,
For a payday to remember?”

It speaks even more to her desperate state of mind that she remembers the ad verbatim.

I remain silent and wait for her to speak.

“So…assuming it’s not a con, how will this work, then?”

“If you pass the next few tests, and I decide you’re a good fit, you get the gig. You’ll receive one hundred thousand dollars with each performance.”

“So…ten performances…over how long a period?”

“Depending on how many takes are needed, anywhere between three weeks and a month. But I should warn you, it’s hard work, Lucky. If you think you’re just going to lie back and recite the Star Spangled Banner in your head, think again.”

Her fingers drum on the table, the first sign of nerves she’s exhibited. “I…I won’t be doing anything…skanky, will I?”

“Define skanky.”

“This is going to be straight up sex. No other…bodily stuff? Because that would a firm no for me.”

My mouth attempts another twitch. “No water works, waste matter or bestiality will be involved in the performances.”

Her fingers stop drumming. “Okay.” She waits a beat, stares straight into the camera. “So when will I know?”

I hear the barely disguised urgency and I rub my finger over my lip again. “Soon. I’ll be in touch within the week.” I’m not sure exactly why I want to toy with her. But I sense that having her on edge would add another layer of excitement I badly need.

When she opens her mouth, I interrupt. “Goodbye, Lucky.”

A passing thought about the origin of her name is crushed into oblivion. I press the remote to summon the bodyguard to escort her out, and I leave the room.

In my study a few minutes later, I bring up the screen on my desk and activate the encrypted service I need. I open the application and within minutes, the members of my exclusive gentlemen’s club are logging in.

My email is short and succinct.

The next Q Production is scheduled for release on 20 May 2015.
Limited to ten members.
Bidding starts in fifteen minutes.

I start the countdown and rise to pour myself a neat bourbon. I swallow the first mouthful with two prescribed tablets, which are meant to keep me from going over the edge, apparently, and stroll to the floor to ceiling window. I look down at Midtown’s bumper-to-bumper traffic. This mid-level penthouse is one of many I own in this building and around New York City.

Technically, I don’t live here. I only use it when volatile pressures demand that I put some distance between the Upper West Side family mansion and myself. I would never stray far for long. For one thing, I’ve accepted that my family would never leave me alone.

I know what I know. So they’ve made it their business to keep me on a short leash. But with over three hundred properties in my personal portfolio, and a few thousand more under the family firm’s control, there are many places to disappear to when the demons howl.

Today, the Midtown penthouse is my temporary haven.

I turn when the timer beeps a one-minute warning.

I return to my desk and adjust the voice distorter. When the clock reaches zero, I click the mouse. “Gentlemen, start your bids.”

My words barely trail off before the first five bids appear on the screen. Sixty seconds later, the total bid is at a quarter of a million dollars. I steeple my fingers and wish I were more excited. The money means nothing. It never has. It’s the end game that excites me.

My mind drifts back to Lucky. I turn the gem of her elusiveness this way and that and admit to myself she has potential.

I want to take a scalpel to all her secrets, bleed them and soil my hands with the viscera. I also want to fuck her until her body gives out. Right in this moment, I’m not sure what I want more.

So I concentrate on the numbers racing higher on the screen.

Half a million. One million. One point five.

My phone beeps twice. I pick it up and read the two appointment reminders on the screen.

7pm – Dr. Nathanson. My shrink.
9pm – Dinner with Maxwell.

I re-confirm the first and delete the second.

Cancelling dinner with Maxwell will bring a world of irritation to my doorstep. No one cancels dinner with Maxwell Blackwood. For a start he’s one of the most powerful men in the country.

He’s also my father.

Yeah, my name is Quinn Blackwood, heir to the Blackwood Estate, only child of Maxwell Blackwood and Adele Blackwood (deceased). My family owns a staggering amount of property across the eastern seaboard of the United States and a few in the west. According to the bean counters, I’m personally worth twenty-six billion dollars.

But tangling with my father in hell is what I live for. Have done since I was fifteen. So I ignore his summons and watch the stragglers fall away until I’m left with the top ten bidders. The bids wind down, and within the space of half an hour, I’m just under two million dollars richer.

I spot the familiar name of the top bidder and I sneer. Taking his money on top of everything else is darkly satisfying.

Once bidding ends, I close down the application and call up another list. Dozens of charity websites showing pictures of starving children flood my screen. Within minutes, fifty charities are the grateful recipients of two million dollars.

I may be Quinn Blackwood, occasional user of prescribed meds to keep the demons in check, who moonlights as Q, porn star to an exclusive few who pay millions for my work.

And I may be an unhinged asshole with serious daddy issues.

But no one said I wasn’t a giver.

About the Author:Zara Cox has been writing for almost twenty-five years but it wasn’t until nine years ago that she decided to share her love of writing sexy, gritty stories with anyone outside her close family (the over 18s anyway!). This series is Zara’s next step in her erotic romance-writing journey, and she would love to hear your thoughts.

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