Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sunday's Safe Word Shelf: Me, You, and Us Series by Deanndra Hall

Unforgettable You #2
For Sheila, a lie is a deal-breaker. But what if it’s not a lie? What if it’s just not the whole truth?
Being a popular Dom at the nicest BDSM club in town would be the top of the mountain for lots of guys, but for Steffen Cothran, it’s meant heartache. He lost someone he thought he might be able to have a future with to his best friend when Trish Stinson and Clint Winstead patched things up. He knows he wants a relationship, but so far he’s had trouble finding that one person, the one he knows he's meant to be with, to make that happen.
That all changes when Trish and Clint walk into the club with Trish’s best friend, Sheila Brewster. Even though he's met her, he never really had much contact with her. But Clint has a plan: He’s looking for a Dom to protect Sheila in case her abusive ex-boyfriend manages to get paroled. And Clint happens to think that Steffen is a great candidate for that position.
Steffen and Sheila’s relationship starts casually and quickly grows into a promising romance. But one question makes all the difference, and when Steffen doesn’t lie but doesn’t tell the whole truth with his answer, Sheila’s left wondering if she can ever trust anyone again. And when Steffen’s little omission shows up on his doorstep in full-blown chaos, the relationship he’d had such high hopes for is shattered, possibly forever.
In the aftermath, Sheila sets a course for self-destruction that turns out to be more dangerous than anyone could’ve imagined. With no one to blame but himself, Steffen finds it hard to help a woman who won’t have anything to do with him.
Two broken hearts. One huge mistake. A few really bad choices. And a lifetime of pain if things can’t be righted. It may be impossible to mend the broken trust, and their love could be lost forever.
The second in the Me, You, and Us series following Adventurous Me, Steffen’s story in Unforgettable You is funny, smart, sweet, kinky hot, and heartbreaking. It’s a tale of what happens when you forget that there’s not a lot of difference between a lie and a partial truth, and what love really means when two people belong together.
WARNING: This book contains explicit sexual situations in graphic detail. Not intended for readers under the age of 18. Reader discretion advised.

Adventurous Me #1
"Boring? Tiresome? Predictable? We'll see about that."
When Trish's husband of almost 30 years announces that he's leaving her because she's "boring," she sets out to find an adventure. Her attempt to drink her heartbreak away drops her onto a handsome gentleman who invites her to have an adventure, and Trish can't help but say yes. 
She embarks on that adventure, but her path keeps crossing with that of another - Clint Winstead, a Dominant at the club, Bliss, and the one person in the place who seems to despise her. And that's fine with Trish. After all, there are plenty of other Doms there who want to play. 
But when an annual event at the club throws Trish and Clint together for two weeks, both of them are horrified, not by the pairing, but by the feelings they're trying hard to deny. As the time passes, it's harder and harder to deny what they know is true - that is, until one nearly-tragic incident that almost changes both their lives irreparably. And when Trish realizes that continuing on with her commitment could cost her the ultimate - her life - she knows that it has to end. But does it? 
Trish is the queen of second chances. But this second chance might just come at a price too high to pay. A little adventure is a good thing, but perhaps she's gotten far more adventure than she can handle. 
WARNING: This book contains explicit sexual situations and BDSM themes. It is not suitable for readers under the age of 18. Reader discretion is advised.

“You think you’re pretty funny, don’t you?” She’s trying to pretend she’s mad, but I can hear her chuckling.

“A real riot. Oh, and I meant part of what I said.”

“Which part?”

“Let’s see . . . the parts about eating your pussy, and the part about ass fucking you.”

“Oh, is that right?”

“Yeah, it absolutely is. Good thing you’re not here.” I’m still chuckling.

“Oh? And why is that?” Something sounds wrong. I can’t figure out what it is, but it just doesn’t sound right.

“Because if you were here, I’d do everything I said I was going to, and I’d do it to you right now.” About that time, the doorbell rings. “Hang on. Door.”

I look through the peep hole and then start to laugh. When I open the door, there she stands, phone in hand, and I realize the seemingly odd quality to the call was because I could also hear her outside the door and didn’t realize it. “Can I come in?”

“I don’t know. Do I want you to?” She’s got on a short trench coat, and she opens the front.

She’s fucking naked underneath.

Well, that cut my decision-making time drastically. “Yes. I absolutely want you to. Get in here.” I yank her by the arm into the house, slam the door shut, and pin her against it, crushing her mouth with mine. She’s mumbling into my lips and waving her arms around. “What?”

“Let me take off the coat!”

I shake my head. “No. I like it. Makes you look all mysterious, like a spy or something.”

“I’m afraid we’re about to ruin the lining.”

“Yes, I think we probably are. I’ll buy you a new one.” I smash her against the door again, then lift her and wedge her between my body and the door so she can ratchet her legs around my waist like a vice. One arm under her ass, I manage to reach into my pocket and hand her a foil-wrapped condom with the other. “Here. Unwrap this while I release the animal.” I undo my belt and fly, then push my boxer briefs down until my cock springs free. Once I get the condom rolled on, I bury myself in her with one swift stroke. She cries out as I take her rough and fast, and there’s nothing in the world that I want to do more than fuck this girl, right here, right now. With my face pressed into her neck, I moan out, “God, Sheila, you’re killing me. Your body’s like a drug.”

She takes my face in her hands, kisses me lightly, and snarls out, “Just fuck me.”

And I do. I fuck her so hard I’m pretty sure her teeth are rattling. She bounces up and down from the force and occasionally mutters, “Oh god,” or, “Damn, Steffen.” With every stroke, her tits bounce a little, and occasionally I catch a nipple in my teeth and give it a nip, which makes her yell. I like that a lot. I’m banging her like a barn door in a tornado when she cries out, “Oh, damn, Steffen, I’m coming!” I don’t try to tell her to wait or stop or anything, just let her go, and when she grips me, I come too. I swear, it was so hard and fast that I think I smell smoke.

“Good god, girl, this is what you get when you show up on my doorstep like that.” I carry her to the sofa and let her perch her ass on the back, then pull out of her.

“That means I’ll do it more often.”

“Won’t hurt my feelings at all.” I lean down to her and kiss her, my hand wrapped around the back of her head. When I break away, I smile at her. “Hi there.”

“Hi. Surprised?”

“Very. Pleasantly . . ."

The writing of Unforgettable You
I never intended to write Unforgettable You. Adventurous Me was supposed to be an independent novel, but I kept having readers ask me about Steffen and Dave. They were pretty solid characters, so I decided I’d give it a whirl.

In Adventurous Me, we saw Steffen get his hopes with Trish dashed. I knew he was crushed; I didn’t realize how crushed he was until I started to hear from him in Unforgettable You. He was really counting on being able to step into that relationship, and being the first Dom there with whom she scened played a huge role in that belief for him. Even though he and Clint are very, very good friends, Steffen pretty much assumed the “all’s fair in love and war” mentality when things fell apart. I was pleased that Clint held no ill will for him; in fact, he felt somewhat guilty that Steffen was hurt so badly.

I also had no idea what had gone on in his past, and I certainly couldn’t have anticipated how horrifying it was. When it turned out to be almost as bad for Clint, I felt like pure evil had descended into the story, and I had to capture that, its essence and terrible truth, so it could be understood for what it was and how it had shaped his life.

I think Unforgettable You is actually a lesson on how the things we grow up with and experience can shape our lives, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. Steffen loved his father and missed him once he’d passed away, but it was a simple and old-fashioned notion instilled by the man that unknowingly colored his adult behavior and led to problems for him. What Steffen learned is a classic example of believing something just because someone in authority said it was so. I’ve seen that over and over in the area where I live. But unlike in a lot of instances, Steffen’s belief didn’t cause him to be narrow- or closed-minded – instead, it caused him to behave in a particular way that hurt him and the people he most wanted to be near.

When I met Steffen in the first book, I thought the same thing everyone else did, that he was an ego-driven stud-wannabe who was just gaming his way through the female factor at the club. But I was so very wrong about him; Steffen is so much more than that. I’m glad I had a chance to really get to know him.

And you might find it strange that I talk about him that way, but it’s all true. One of the things I love to do is build strong, well-defined characters, and then let them talk. And talk they do. Adventurous Me was a mess that almost didn’t happen because I started writing it in third person omniscient point of view and it was horrible. I thought about it and thought about it and finally wondered: What will happen if I just let Trish tell her story? The result was the funny, smart, snarky, sexy voice of the book that I published. It just made sense to me to let Steffen tell his own story, and tell it he does in his own sexy, smart, sweet, and sometimes sad voice. I thought of him as just an extraneous character in the first book, but he’s so much more, so complex and emotional. When all of his protectiveness kicked in, I wanted to cheer. But I couldn’t; I was writing. Ever tried to type and clap at the same time? Doesn’t work!

Sheila was just Trish’s “wing woman” in the first book, but I knew she had more story to tell also. As a friend, she was a good one; as a main character, she’s a great one. I love the way their personalities play off each other. Where Clint and Trish’s personalities are more balancing and complementary, Clint more conservative and Trish wild and crazy, Steffen and Sheila are very well matched in their personalities. They both like to laugh, both have quick, sarcastic wits, and both are committed to each other. It’s a match made in heaven; well, once they get finished slogging through hell.

In all, Unforgettable You wrote itself pretty quickly once Steffen started to tell his story. Some parts were harder to get out onto the page than others, and in several spots I spent a good deal of time crying – couldn’t help it. Just as in Adventurous Me, the plot in Unforgettable You took me some places I wasn’t quite prepared to go, and left me wounded and bleeding a few times too. But in the end it all works out as it should.

I think my favorite line was this one to Steffen from Sheila: “I want to know you, really know you. You have a beautiful soul.” Thanks, Sheila – I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Author's interview with Steffen Cothran from Unforgettable You
DEANNDRA: So this is Deanndra and I’m here today with Steffen Cothran, who is just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.
STEFFEN: Oh my god, you’ve found a way to make me blush!
DEANNDRA: You’re used to hearing that.
STEFFEN: Actually, yeah, I kinda am, although that’s definitely not what I’d want to be known for, to tell the truth.
DEANNDRA: And what would you want to be known for.
STEFFEN: Why, my sexual prowess, what else? *laughing*
DEANNDRA: So are you legendary in the bedroom?
STEFFEN: *smirking* Yeah, in my own mind.
DEANNDRA: Uh-huh. Just as I thought. So, what are you up to these days?
STEFFEN: Hanging out at Bliss, trying to look cool while I pant after some of the subs who hang out there with us.
DEANNDRA: Looking to collar one of them?
STEFFEN: Nah. They’re all just looking for fun. They don’t really want anything serious and, if they do, they most certainly haven’t ever bothered to let me know that.
DEANNDRA: And if they did?
STEFFEN: Uh, I might consider one or two of them, but probably not. They’re not really my type.
DEANNDRA: In what way?
STEFFEN: In that they’re great to scene with, but if I had to live with them day in and day out, I think I’d probably lose my mind. It’s going to take a special woman to be with me. She’s going to have to tolerate an inordinate amount of bullshit, and most women just can’t do that.
DEANNDRA: Bullshit? From you?
STEFFEN: I’ll admit it – I’m a smart ass. I can’t help myself.
DEANNDRA: Well, at least you know that about yourself.
STEFFEN: No sense denying it. It’s the truth.
DEANNDRA: So what does a great scene consist of for you?
STEFFEN: Hmmm . . . bondage. Definitely bondage. I love a spreader bar and leather cuffs. A Hitachi Magic Wand. A big bottle of lube. Maybe a ball gag and a blindfold. A nice suede flogger, or maybe a paddle. Nipple clamps, adjustable if she’s not very experienced, and clover clamps if she is. And candles.
DEANNDRA: Wax play, huh?
STEFFEN: I like it, but that’s not what I meant. Just to set the mood. Something nicely scented, lavender or jasmine or something like that. Maybe a bubble bath afterward. Chocolates. Wine.
DEANNDRA: Are we talking about scening or seducing?
STEFFEN: Yes. *laughing*
DEANNDRA: But you want to make her scream?
STEFFEN: Depends on what kind of screaming we’re talking about. From fear and pain, no; well, okay, maybe a little. From pure intensity of climax, absolutely. And then lots of moaning – lots and lots of moaning.
DEANNDRA: So this isn’t just about sex for you, is it?
STEFFEN: No. It’s not. I most definitely want a kinky girl who can meet my needs, but I want to meet hers too. And I want to connect with her on a level that goes way beyond just physical.
DEANNDRA: So you’re looking for love.
STEFFEN: Aren’t we all?
DEANNDRA: I’ve already found it.
STEFFEN: Lucky you! Yeah, I hope I eventually do. That’s my goal anyway. Best case scenario would be to find someone through a mutual acquaintance. It’s risky out there these days. Take a sub home with me, wind up in pieces in a drainage canal. Counter-productive to forming a lasting relationship.
DEANNDRA: Wow – I’ll say. It puts the lotion on its skin . . .
STEFFEN: Exactly! *laughing* Talk about a mood-killer . . .
DEANNDRA: We’ll have none of that. You’re far too good-looking to be fish bait.
STEFFEN: *smirking* Thanks. That makes me feel sooooo much better.
DEANNDRA: So, questions. Tats? Have any?
STEFFEN: Nope. Not because I don’t like them. Just never have gotten one, that’s all.
DEANNDRA: Piercings?
STEFFEN: I’ll never tell . . .
DEANNDRA: Well, that’s no fun. Beer or whiskey?
STEFFEN: Definitely beer.
DEANNDRA: Blond or brunette?
STEFFEN: Redhead.
DEANNDRA: Ooooo! Okay! There’s hope for me yet!
STEFFEN: You’re taken.
DEANNDRA: And if I weren’t?
STEFFEN: I think my search would be over. *winks*
DEANNDRA: Well, aren’t you the charmer?
DEANNDRA: Steffen, I’m so glad I got a chance to talk to you. Good luck, sweetie. You’ll be fine.
STEFFEN: Thanks. You’re an angel. Good talking to you too.

Hey, it’s Deanndra and I’m here with Clint Winstead, Steffen Cothran, and Dave Adams from Bliss. Guys, it’s great to have you here.
STEFFEN: Thanks! It’s good to be here.
CLINT: Yeah, it is.
DAVE: I can’t think of two better knuckleheads to be sitting here with.
CLINT: Feel the love.
STEFFEN: Wow. Thanks, Dave.
DAVE: You guys know I love you. I have to say, I’ve watched one of these guys grow up . . . well, actually, when you get right down to it, I’ve watched them both grow up and –
STEFFEN: Again, thanks, Dave. You do realize I’m forty-five, right?
DAVE: Couldn’t prove it by me.
CLINT: He knows you pretty well, Cothran.
STEFFEN: Don’t worry, Winstead – it’ll be you next.
DEANNDRA: Are you guys always like this?
CLINT: Absolutely. We’re tons of fun.
DAVE: Tons of bullshit is more like it.
DEANNDRA: Okay, so . . . what would you say is the hardest part of being a Dominant?
DAVE: Okay, you two experts, why don’t you take this one?
CLINT: Oh, god. Well, let’s see . . . I think the hardest part of being a Dom is finding ways to challenge your submissive without overwhelming them. I mean, driving a sub into subspace is a form of overwhelming them, I suppose, but it’s different. Subspace is more of an emotional and physical overload, wouldn’t you say?
STEFFEN: That’s a good way to put it. By overwhelming, I think he’s trying to say frightening or hurting them. Yes, some subs get off on pain, but you don’t want to physically injure them, although I really do believe there are some subs out there who want to be physically injured. They find that arousing. Me? I don’t want to physically injure anyone. I like applying the pain, but I don’t want someone injured.
CLINT: Yes, what he said. It’s one thing to leave a mark. It’s another to draw blood. If that’s what they want, it’s one thing, but to do that while they scream their safeword and just ignore it? Not cool.
DAVE: Do that at Bliss and I’ll bounce your ass into next week.
CLINT: He will too. I’ve seen him do it.
STEFFEN: Not pretty.
DEANNDRA: And what do you think the best thing is about being a Dominant? Steffen?
STEFFEN: Hmmmm. I’d say . . . the moment I like best is that moment when the submissive is doing what I’ve told her to do to satisfy me and then I stop her just before I get there and turn my attention to her. I delay my gratification because I want her to be satisfied before I take my pleasure, and I have no doubt that I can satisfy her. When you do that, you don’t have to require her submission – you get it automatically because she’s so satisfied that she’s desperate to please you.
DEANNDRA: Really? 
CLINT: Oh, yeah, absolutely. If you do that, if that submissive knows that you were almost there and you decided to forego that for their pleasure, that’s true power. She’ll walk through fire for you. And the promise of your own satisfaction is incentive to please her. It’s kind of, um . . .
DAVE: Reciprocity.
CLINT: Exactly!
STEFFEN: Yeah, I’ve heard these so-called Doms talk about how they won’t let their subs orgasm for like two weeks. A good Dominant not only wants their submissive satisfied, it’s their job to satisfy that submissive. I’ve heard of submissives who want to be spanked, whipped, beaten, slapped, tied up, gagged, blindfolded, locked in cages, burned, cut, but I’ve never talked to one who wanted to be sexually frustrated for two weeks. That’s just ridiculous. Maybe they’re out there, but I haven’t found them.
DAVE: And I want to speak to something right now. These women swoon over Dominants who want to humiliate them, subject them to horrifying things, ridicule them, talk to them like shit, basically just use them. And they flock to these guys. I just don’t get it. Yeah, we play with them, but we play with their bodies, not their minds and hearts, and there’s mutual satisfaction involved. We try to foster an atmosphere of meeting needs, not offering submissives for fodder. That’s no good. Somebody goes away feeling smug and superior, and somebody else goes away unsatisfied and maybe even feeling hurt. More than being a Dominant, I’m a man. If the woman I’ve been with goes away unsatisfied? I should be embarrassed, not bragging. Guys?
CLINT: Absolutely.
STEFFEN: Couldn’t agree with you more.
DEANNDRA: Wow. I like you guys. So, who’s got a permanent sub?
CLINT: Me! Sorry. Gotta brag.
STEFFEN: Working on it.
DAVE: Not interested.
DEANNDRA: Dave, I’m sorry but I don’t believe you.
DAVE: Believe it.
DEANNDRA: Sorry. Don’t.
CLINT: Yeah, don’t. He’s lying.
DAVE: No I’m not!
STEFFEN: He is. Guaranteed.
DAVE: You guys are full of shit.
DEANNDRA: I agree with them. If the right submissive walked in, you’d be on her like a hangover on Sunday morning.
DAVE: I already AM on ‘em that way. I just don’t want to keep ‘em.
DEANNDRA: Okay, Dave, you just keep telling yourself that. Thanks for talking with me, guys. Congratulations, Clint.
CLINT: Thanks!
DEANNDRA: Steffen, good luck.
STEFFEN: Thank you.
DEANNDRA: Dave, love ya.
DAVE: Love you too, darlin’.
DEANNDRA: Aw, that makes me smile.

Author Bio:
For as long as I can remember, I've been a writer . . .
and it has served me well. I wrote for local publications, wrote marketing and advertising materials, wrote for academic publications, and eventually grew jaded with the writing profession as I often watched others take credit for my hard work. I retreated into the world of 3-D art in the fiber and textile mediums and hid out in a world of colors and textures. But, truth is, there was always a story or two in my head. It wasn't until Nikki and I met in my imagination that I decided it was time to let those stories out, and I'm glad I did. My readers now get to enjoy the fruits of my imagination and, believe me, it runs wild!

On the personal side, I've been happily married to my lover and best friend for over thirty years, and I have two wonderful adult kids who've blessed me with two excellent choices of life partners. When I'm not writing, I'm playing with my three crazy little dogs, hiking in a local recreation area, kayaking, working out at the gym, tending my herbs, cooking, or doing some kind of research.
But I'd really rather be writing!


Unforgettable You #2

Adventurous Me #1

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