Laid Bare with Flair Contest Day Six!

Today’s prize comes via the fabulous Beth Kery!

Sweet Restraint
Publisher: Berkley Heat
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: July 7, 2009
Format: Trade Paperback

This time, he’ll never let her go…

Chicago Special Agent Shane Dominic was in love with Laura Vasquez until the day she left him and married another man. Thirteen years may have passed, but Laura’s never disappeared from his fantasies, or destroyed his desire to learn the truth about why she left him. When her husband, the criminal mastermind behind an international ring of thieves, is murdered, Shane knows this is his one last, desperate chance to learn Laura’s secrets. And he’s not above using their scorching hot passion for one another and a little domination to do it.

One look at Shane, and Laura’s own memories come back to haunt her. Her feelings run deep, but she’d never divulge her secrets—a desperate vow that’s compromised when Shane stuns her by taking her as his captive to a secluded cabin. Here, she will finally belong to him, be subjected to his every torturously erotic whim, and be forced to trust him with a shocking truth she’s hidden for so long—one that will expose them to a danger closing in on the both of them.


When he returned downstairs he found her in the kitchen leaning against the counter, the steam beginning to rise off a tea pot on the stove behind her. She studied him with those exotic, slightly slanted green eyes that still occasionally haunted his dreams… although with less and less frequency, thank God.

She’d removed her long wool coat and wore an ivory colored, soft-looking sweater and jeans beneath it. Her dark brown hair hung loose around her shoulders. He could just make out a chain on the side of her neck but the pendant hung beneath her loose sweater. Other than that glimpse of gold she wore no jewelry. She didn’t wear a trace of make-up.

Not that she required either.

He set the manila folder he’d found upstairs on the counter. The small bedroom where he’d found it appeared to be solely occupied by Laura. A surprisingly sparse amount of Huey’s clothing and personal items were in the master bedroom suite. The majority of his personal items were in the basement. Shane tried to ignore his satisfaction at the evidence of their separate existences within the house. Lots of married couples slept apart after thirteen years, after all.

He flipped open the manila folder, revealing dozens of travel brochures to exotic locations.

“Planning on going somewhere sometime soon?”

Irritation and something else—was it embarrassment?—flashed across her impassive face. She shut the folder quickly.

“Not that it’s any of your business, but the answer is ‘no.’ I just like to…think about getting away.” Her gaze flicked up to meet his. “You know how Chicago is in the winter time.”

“Yeah, the snow in Banff, Calgary looks like it’d be much more relaxing than Chicago snow,” Shane deadpanned, referring to one of the brochures he’d seen. She merely turned away without responding in typical, infuriating Laura-fashion. “Were you in bed? When they called earlier about Huey?” he asked, thinking of the unmade bed he’d seen in her room.

“Yes. I hadn’t fallen asleep yet though. I had a show at my gallery this evening. It went well, but I was exhausted from all the preparation. I was in bed by ten.”

“What time did you leave your gallery?”

“I had a wine and cheese party for the showing. It started at six thirty. I locked up at around nine-thirty.”

He nodded his head slowly. She straightened from her leaning position, obviously sensing the tension that suddenly seemed to thicken the air between them.

“I thought you said you weren’t here to interrogate me.”

“I asked. You answered. Some people call that conversation. Don’t you think you could use something stronger than tea?” he asked, glancing pointedly at the teapot when it started to whistle.

“Huey has a bar downstairs if you’d care for something stronger.”

He frowned as he watched her pour the hot water into two mugs. He’d rather drink the probably foul tasting herbal tea she prepared than take a sip of Huey May’s premium party-time liquor.

She hesitated when she turned around to hand him the tea. “Would you…would you like to sit down in the living room?”

He nodded once and followed her into the subtly lit living room. She sat in an upholstered chair and he took a seat on the couch. When he glanced up after sipping his tea, trying to hide his grimace at the bitter taste, he noticed the queer expression on her face as she studied him.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, the cup still an inch from his lips.

“I just recalled that Joey told me that you were going to be married earlier this year. I suppose by now congratulations are long overdue.”

He set down the tea on the coffee table in front of him. “Joey and you talk about me?”

She started in surprise at the question. “Not much. Occasionally. Why?”

He shrugged. “He and I never discuss you. Ever. He seems to think you’re a taboo topic where I’m concerned.”

“I see,” she said after a pause. He watched as she took a sip of the tea, momentarily mesmerized by the sensual movement of her throat as she swallowed. “Just like family, isn’t it? Never to talk out loud about their ugly secrets?”

He leaned forward, his elbows on his knees. “Joey was never ashamed of you. You’re the one who kept the secrets Laura. And not the Vasquez family’s—Huey Mays’ secrets.”

She just stared at him, as calm and enigmatic as the sphinx. Years of frustration, fury and thwarted desire bubbled up to the surface. He found himself engaging in a full-fledged offensive when he’d never even planned for battle.

“You realize, don’t you, that your husband and his little gang represented everything that your father hated? All the government corruption, the selfish grappling for power and money at the expense of the people—all of those things he wrote about in his books…What he lived for to defeat?” Shane prodded, referring to Laura’s father who had been a Cuban political dissident. Shane had liked and respected Richard Vasquez enormously and he’d always sensed the regard had been mutual.

When Laura’s father was finally released from a Cuban prison he’d fled to the United States where he’d eventually become a respected professor at the University of Chicago. He’d published extensively on the topic of the crushing effect of corrupt government and dictatorships on the human psyche and spirit.

“And how could his daughter have turned around and married the devil? Is that what you’re thinking, Shane?”

Her quiet voice infuriated him even further.

“How his daughter could have bedded down with him, sold her soul to him, bent over for him or any one of his greasy pals whenever he demanded it. Yeah, I’ll bet your father’d love to know the answer to that if he were still alive. I know I’d give my left nut to hear that explanation myself—not that I’m holding out for any substantial answers. The only thing I warrant is that crap you fed me thirteen years ago after you married Huey about your undying love for your saintly husband.”

She set down her mug stiffly. “What are you talking about?”

“Electronic surveillance, Laura.”

“You had this house bugged?”

He shook his head in mixed frustration and disgust when he saw the last vestiges of color drain out of her face.

“That’s right. We were lawfully intercepting Huey’s phone and internet conversations for almost a year, but he was careful about what he revealed. He was a suspicious guy, your husband. I finally convinced a federal judge that wiretaps weren’t enough. We got a court order to listen in on his little playpen downstairs. It never paid off in regard to the case in the way that I’d hoped. It took an ex-jewel and fur thief who also just happened to be a Chicago cop for a period of time—a little weasel who’s in the witness protection program—in order to get the names, written documents and details that we needed to pin Huey. Everything about how they would use police computers to track jewelry, fur and rare coin salesmen’s car rental and hotel information, all the dirt on their little extortion ring…how they took regular payments from known criminals in return for keeping silent about their rackets.

“So the bugs down in your basement didn’t pay off in the way I’d hoped,” Shane continued, “but the agents who got assigned the monitoring detail weren’t complaining much even though it’s usually a shit job that nobody wants.” He leaned forward intently. Despite his intense anger, he kept his voice low although he couldn’t dull the bitter edge of his sarcasm. “Especially when Huey threw one of his little sex parties for his friends. You know about those parties. Don’t you Laura?”

She just stared at him, her silence and coldness sending his fury near the boiling point.

He stood up abruptly and grabbed her shoulders. She didn’t resist him when he pulled her up. He pressed her to him, crushing her full breasts into his lower chest, the sensation of her distended nipples making his cock harden with amazing alacrity. Her scent—soap mixing with the once-familiar underlying odor of sweet, succulent woman—entered his nostrils, sending him further into a spinning chaos of desire and rage.

He leaned down and spoke in a soft, vibrating voice just inches away from her parted lips.

“Nothing to say, Laura? Always so controlled. But you weren’t so silent down in the basement entertaining Huey and his friends, were you? You screamed and moaned and begged like a good little whore while they took their turns with you, double-teamed you—whatever Huey demanded of you, you did. Yeah, your father would have been so proud to know about his daughter’s generous hospitality to her husband’s friends.”

Her green eyes flashed. “How do you know it was me?”

He gave a harsh bark of laughter. “Let’s see—what was my first clue? Oh yeah—That’s right Laura, suck him nice and deep like a good little wife. Show him how nice we treat our guests.”

He blinked in shock when she slapped his cheek, the evidence of her crumbling façade shattering his own brittle control once and for all. He grabbed the wrist of the offending hand and twisted it behind her back, pressing her tighter against him in the process. She cried out in surprise and discomfort.

“Is this how you like it, Laura?” he growled. Their eyes met briefly, her startled stare searing right through his shattered defenses. “How could you do it? How could you let those assholes touch you? You’re mine.”

He saw eyes go wide but he didn’t give her a chance to respond to his totally irrational proclamation before he covered her mouth with his own.

He drank from her furiously. Pain vibrated through his flesh. Not the discomfort of a wound or an injury, but the raw, searing pain that came from exposing a desire that had long been denied.

At that moment he needed Laura Vasquez just like he needed to breathe.

Later he wouldn’t be able to say at what point she stopped struggling, precisely when her tongue began to tangle with his, or when her hands rose to caress his neck and her fingers delved through his hair. She pressed against him almost frantically, the abrupt appearance of her need shocking him…and nearly blinding him with lust.

The sensation of the hard centers of her breasts pressing against his chest, the feminine softness between her thighs rubbing subtly against his hard cock, the incredible silkiness of her skin, all combined to form a powerful ward against logic.

Order Sweet Restraint



Today’s question: Who’s your favorite edgy hero? Not a run of the mill nice guy, but a bad boy, a man with a dark past?

I’ll choose a winner from the comments tomorrow at noon pacific! Good luck, everyone and don’t forget winners have three days to claim prizes or I’ll re-draw.

100 comments to “Laid Bare with Flair Contest Day Six!”

  1. bookfanatic
    July 8th, 2009 at 11:24 am · Link

    I can’t choose between Tegan from Lara Adrain’s Midnight Breed series, Lucan from the MB series, Deke from Shayla Black’s Wicked Lovers series, and Hunter from the WL series.

  2. Ilona
    July 8th, 2009 at 11:27 am · Link

    Like Lillie I can’t choose between Zarek and Wraith……. but if I have to pick just one then I guess I go with Zarek, just because I’ve been rereading his story for longer 😀

  3. Sarah
    July 8th, 2009 at 11:33 am · Link

    i would have to go with Eric from the Sookie Stackhouse series

  4. Valerie
    July 8th, 2009 at 11:40 am · Link

    Wow, so many of my fav bad boys have been mentioned, and I have a new one.

    Karoly from Marie Treanor’s Hunting Karoly.

    He’s a vamp, he kills people, but he is oh so yummy!!!

    Great post!!


  5. Calila
    July 8th, 2009 at 11:57 am · Link

    J.R. Ward’s Zsadist or JD Robb’s Roarke…..Please don’t make me choose. LOL

  6. Fedora
    July 8th, 2009 at 12:00 pm · Link

    My favorite reformed bad boy is Sebastian St. Vincent, from Devil in Winter. He turns into such a pile of mush for Evie–it’s sappy but heartwarming ;p I do love it when someone’s world is completely turned upside down like that. Or Alex Markov in SEP’s Kiss an Angel–he’s literally brought to his knees by love.

  7. Terri W.
    July 8th, 2009 at 12:09 pm · Link

    My favorite bad boys are Zarek from Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter series, Zsadist from J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series and Richard Tiernan from Anne Stuart’s Nightfall.

  8. Karin Shah
    July 8th, 2009 at 12:10 pm · Link

    Oh, so many to choose from. I’ll go with Larissa Ione’s Wraith (I can’t wait to read about Lore)
    But Zarek and Jacques are old favorites.

  9. Maija P.
    July 8th, 2009 at 12:15 pm · Link

    My choice is Zarek from Dance with the Devil (by Sherrilyn Kenyon).

  10. Andrea
    July 8th, 2009 at 12:15 pm · Link

    I’ve been rereading Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changling books. Right now I’d have to say my favorite is Clay Bennett from “Mine to Possess”, just like VampFanGirl. But a close second is Jake Bannaconni from Christine Feehan’s “Burning Wild”. It’s something about those shapeshifters.

  11. Jeanette Juan
    July 8th, 2009 at 12:15 pm · Link

    Mine would have to be Zarek and Acheron in Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series.

  12. jennifer cecil
    July 8th, 2009 at 12:18 pm · Link

    I also like Eric from the Sookie Stackhouse series.

  13. Maureen
    July 8th, 2009 at 12:23 pm · Link

    My favorite would be Diaz from Cry No More by Linda Howard.

  14. Gloria T.
    July 8th, 2009 at 12:50 pm · Link

    I would have to say Zsadist is my favorite edgy hero

  15. Jane
    July 8th, 2009 at 12:51 pm · Link

    I like Nick from Lisa Kleypas’ “Worth Any Price.”

  16. Estella
    July 8th, 2009 at 1:41 pm · Link

    Has to be Roarke from the In Death series by JD Robb!

  17. Raonaid Luckwell
    July 8th, 2009 at 1:57 pm · Link

    Am I biase to say Dev Peltier only because he’s my favorite character from Sherrilyn Kenyon?

  18. Sandy M
    July 8th, 2009 at 2:10 pm · Link

    Zsadist is my favorite edgy hero. He’s burrowed so deep into my heart he’ll be there forever!

    Congrats on the new release, Beth. You know I’m looking forward to reading it!

  19. Larena Wirum
    July 8th, 2009 at 2:19 pm · Link

    I am going to have to go with Zarek in the Dark Hunters series. :mrgreen:

  20. E.L.F.
    July 8th, 2009 at 3:09 pm · Link

    I have to say that I concur that Roarke is one of my all-time favorite bad-boys but there are quite a few other contenders…yes, the Black Dagger Brotherhood is full of wonderfully appealing tortured souls but I also quite enjoy Anne Bishop’s heroes from the Jewel pantheon and C.L. Wilson’s Rain Tairen Soul and….the list goes on….

  21. Roberta Harwell
    July 8th, 2009 at 3:14 pm · Link

    I have to go with Eric from the Sookie Stackhouse series. Have a great day.

  22. delitealex
    July 8th, 2009 at 3:28 pm · Link

    Niol from Midnights Master is my favorite edgy hero.

  23. Pat Cochran
    July 8th, 2009 at 3:56 pm · Link

    WOW! All those bad boys, only one I have ever heard of! ( that’s heard of, not read! ) That name is Acheron, some commenters on a blogsite mentioned how taken they were with him!

    Pat Cochran

  24. Amelia
    July 8th, 2009 at 4:04 pm · Link

    I’m going with Anton Cheval from Kate Douglas’s Wolf Tales.

  25. alba
    July 8th, 2009 at 4:29 pm · Link

    Love Rhage from Jr wards BDB
    Zadist from S kenyon
    I would go on but I don’t want you to get glassy eyed.

  26. Amy M
    July 8th, 2009 at 4:32 pm · Link

    I also like jacques from christine feehan…

  27. Beth R
    July 8th, 2009 at 4:36 pm · Link

    J.R. Ward’s Zsadist

  28. Mary
    July 8th, 2009 at 4:36 pm · Link

    Oh I love a Bad Boy with a dark side. One of my favorite hero’s is Ash from Undercover.

  29. Patty S.
    July 8th, 2009 at 4:51 pm · Link

    OMG, too many choices… I agree with the others about Wraith, Zarek, Zsadist, Deke. But I also have to include any of Shannon McKenna’s bad boys, Malachi from Shiloh Walker’s Hunter series, Ken from Christine Feehan’s Ghostwalkers. It’s like having 10 chocolate desserts lined up in front of me, all delicious and beautiful. How can I possibly choose 1?

  30. Diane Sadler
    July 8th, 2009 at 5:02 pm · Link

    lots of people love Acheron, so do I but I just finished a book by Alyssa Day and her tortured hero’s name is Justice; loved the book and the story and Justice

  31. Chasity
    July 8th, 2009 at 5:05 pm · Link

    My favorite is Shade from Larrisa Ione’s Demonica Series.

    He is all Badass, heart breaker, tough, hot but deep down he desires to find a wife and have children.

    He is my FAV because he is not afraid to Kick ass and protect those he loves….. at the same time he knows how to be gentle and caring!!!

    What a package deal!!!

  32. Rita A
    July 8th, 2009 at 5:10 pm · Link

    Captain Jack Sparrow. I know, he is not from a book.

  33. Amy S.
    July 8th, 2009 at 5:24 pm · Link

    Sweet Restraint sounds great! Zsadist

  34. Cathi O
    July 8th, 2009 at 5:51 pm · Link

    Bad boys are great until they meet their soul mate, and lose their edge. I love all of the ones listed above, but I think Carlos Rivera, Zsadist, Jean-Claude, and Zarek are the ones who have retained that edge.

  35. Mahley
    July 8th, 2009 at 6:30 pm · Link

    Zsadist, Zarek and Roarke – in that order! I already picked up Sweet Restraint – I’ve been eagerly awaiting its release for months! Wicked Burn is in my ultimate romantica top 5 🙂

  36. Janet H
    July 8th, 2009 at 6:42 pm · Link

    Zarek is for sure a bad boy. But I think that Kye from Keri Arthur’s Riley Jenson series has serious potential to be really bad.

  37. Lisa F.
    July 8th, 2009 at 7:01 pm · Link

    Wraith from Larissa Ione’s Demonica series!

  38. jennifer onealwatts
    July 8th, 2009 at 7:05 pm · Link

    It’s a little off base but I would have to say wolverine as played by hugh jackman or vin diesel in pitch black

  39. Shelly A
    July 8th, 2009 at 7:52 pm · Link

    Jack from Shayla Black’s Wicked Ties. ooh, he’s so hot.

  40. Mari
    July 8th, 2009 at 8:02 pm · Link

    Favorite Bad boy? Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader) 😆

  41. Caffey
    July 8th, 2009 at 8:24 pm · Link

    I love reading these excerpts of Beth Kery’s book!

    Who’s your favorite edgy hero? Not a run of the mill nice guy, but a bad boy, a man with a dark past?

    For me, its one I recently read because there is so many good ones! The one I read was Lyon from DESIRES UNTAMED by Pamela Palmer. This is a July book so its just out. He’s a shape shifter but so is tortured within!

  42. Carol Woodruff
    July 8th, 2009 at 8:25 pm · Link

    My fav is Zadist too.

  43. Cindi
    July 8th, 2009 at 8:55 pm · Link

    I love all of the above bad boys! I want to add Clay from Kelly Armstrong’s Otherworld series.

  44. ann marie
    July 8th, 2009 at 9:04 pm · Link

    I agree with all of the above, but the one that stands out in my mind would have to Acheron. 😈

  45. Llehn
    July 8th, 2009 at 9:55 pm · Link

    I choose Edward from the Anita Blake books. Ok, so he is not exactly a hero in the conventional sense but he has been playing for the good guys in the series so far so that’s gotta count.

  46. stacey smith
    July 8th, 2009 at 10:55 pm · Link

    I would have to say Sherrily Kenyon’s Acheron is one of my fav.and for tv show angel from buffy.

    July 8th, 2009 at 11:04 pm · Link


  48. Lori T
    July 9th, 2009 at 7:29 am · Link

    My favorites are JR Ward’s Zsadist, Larissa Ione’s Wraith, and Shiloh Walker’s Malachi. You just gotta love those bad boys!!

  49. Ann Blake
    July 9th, 2009 at 7:40 am · Link

    Nathan McBride from Andrew Peterson’s “First To Kill”. Great read..

  50. Christine
    July 9th, 2009 at 7:42 am · Link

    I have to go w/ Jean Claude from the Anita Blake Series. You just never know w/ him. Do you trust him or not