*Deep, long exhale of existential relief*
It’s done and they’re here. Stealing Persephone is available on Amazon and KU. Go get it while I rest. I’m exhausted, gang. How many times have I told you that a book was a mistake or a surprise? After Saving Kate, I swore I was done writing about straight people sex and boys kissing boys was very much my Happy Place. But then Jenna came along and everyone wanted more of her. Including Darius. Originally, Jenna just existed to prove that Quinn was indeed a straight man. I get a little tired of the “unlucky in love” and inexplicably single yet otherwise utterly perfect straight guy falling for the savvy and experienced gay Romeo trope. Show me how he’s straight so I know it’s real. Unfortunately, I got carried away and fell in love with Jenna so she naturally had to fall in love too. I rearranged the last half of A Thief In The Night so her and Darius could live happily ever after. THEN, everyone else fell in love with Jenna and wanted to know what happened with her and Darius. Which just created a whole big mess of possibilities. I’ve had huge plans for Lake Cliff and Carlton House and intended for them to overlap here and there but something amazing happened when our Lake Cliff boys fell in love with Jenna. This book is full of Easter eggs and foreshadowing but let’s start at the beginning:
Darius was twenty-four when he lost his father and he’d almost gone the length of his father’s life without falling in love. He didn’t think he’d outlive his father by too many years but he thought he’d nearly outrun the curse. He thought he’d outrun her until she got lost in Stockwell. Something touched Darius’ shoulder and whispered in his ear, the night Roman ruined his well laid plan. Darius
looked down at his hand and remembered the way it trembled when he answered his phone and heard the panic in Roman’s voice the night she found him. Darius felt panicked too. Something of his was lost.
“A girl was just taken into the Underground, here at Stockwell,” Roman said quickly. Darius heard the trains and the river around Roman and could see him on the map in his head then pointed at Constantin.
“Someone’s grabbed a girl near Joe Green’s station. I want everyone looking and I want her in a car and on her way here in two minutes. She better not be harmed. Go get her,” he ordered then put the phone back to his ear. “They’ve got two minutes and I’ve sent Constantin,” Darius told Roman.
“We’re almost to you,” Roman said then ended the call. There was some sort of drama with the girl Quinn was fooling around with before he met Roman. Darius knew about the girl and he had reservations about Quinn until he acted like a man and cut the girl free. Roman predicted he would and Darius had someone monitoring the situation until he decided he could trust Quinn. Darius had a feeling he was about to meet Quinn’s jilted nurse. The poor thing was probably having the fright of her life and would be in shock for days. Roman called her “plucky and adorable”. It would be a shame if they were too late.
“Any news, Tom?” Darius called as Roman arrived.
“None yet, sir. But it’s just been about a minute or so…”
“Fuck,” Darius said as he dialed Joe Green then hung up as Quinn rushed at him.
“You have to find her,” Quinn said. Darius gripped Quinn’s arms tight and pinned his eyes.
“Everyone is looking for her. I will have her location before…” Darius felt his phone vibrate then held up his hand and put it to his ear. “Do we have her?” He asked and Quinn held his breath.
“Yeah, we’ve got her but… Ouch!” Constantin gasped and Darius’ head pulled back at the sound of a struggle. “Ma’am, please! Motherfuck… Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Just get her arm. We’ve got her, Darius. We’ll have her there as soon as we can get her into the car. They found her behind the stairs on the last platform. Three of Green’s runners got a hold of her but she just about got free of ‘em. Jim Wise got sprayed in the eyes with some paint and she busted Mackie’s nose with a brick. Mackie’s little brother, D, was still tryin’ to have a go at her but he took off when we said you was lookin’ for her. Come on, Wallace! Get the blindfold tied so we can go!” Constantin begged then muffled a shriek. “Shouldn’t be too much longer.”
“Thank you,” Darius said as the hand holding the phone dropped. What kind of women was Quinn into? “She is en route and should arrive in about three minutes,” he said and Quinn became heavy as he held onto Darius for support.
“Is she…?” He asked and Darius frowned as he set Quinn away from him.
“She might be a little scratched and bruised but she’s fine, I was told. I’m not sure she needed our help,” he said and Quinn looked stunned. Darius smiled as he recalled Constantin’s shriek. “My people found her just in time to save her attackers. She got hold of a can of spray paint and blinded one then broke the other bloke’s face with a brick. There was another guy on top of her but he took off,” he added and Roman laughed softly. “You might hire her, as a backup for Mr. Bishop,” Darius said as he went to the coffee table and found the pictures of Darlington and the call and messaging history for every phone he’d touched in the last three months. “While we’re waiting. I’ve got him connected to Dash and I may know what his game is,” he said. Roman became alert and his brain spun like a top as he flipped through the folder.
“He is selling for Darlington,” he stated.
“Son of a bitch,” Quinn swore under his breath.
“This Dash is his distributor and is using his connections to find young men to sell at parties for Darlington,” Darius explained as he pointed at the folder and Roman nodded in agreement.
“The ones who’ve gone missing got greedy and ran?” He said.
“Jayce wouldn’t leave me like that! He has to be out there!” Quinn insisted as he became agitated and Roman held up his hand soothingly. Darius’ eyes tightened as he watched Roman balance his desire to protect Quinn with his determination to see their plan through and assuage their need for vengeance.
“We’ll find him if he’s alive, Quinn,” Roman promised.
“I know but this doesn’t help us find him,” Quinn argued and Darius slid Roman a warning glance. Darius understood why Roman wanted to comfort Quinn but he knew better than to promise something he couldn’t deliver.
“If we can’t find Jayce, we find a way to make Darlington tell us where he is,” Roman said and Quinn pulled him into his arms for a tight hug.
“Thank you,” Quinn said.
“We still might not find him in time,” Roman warned him and Darius looked away, giving them a moment as Quinn’s eyes shimmered.
“I know but you said ‘We’re going to have to search…’. It’s always been just me and Jayce. And just me dealing with Jayce. I’ve never had help before,” Quinn explained.
“You’ll always have help,” Roman said and Quinn hid his face in Roman’s shoulder.
“I know,” he whispered.
“What do you know?” Roman asked as he leaned back.
“The thing Jenna and I were talking about,” Quinn said as he gave Roman a pointed look. “I know,” he said and Roman smiled as he cradled his face. Darius gagged then checked his watch. It was all precious and he wished them both well but Quinn’s missing nanny would be arriving at any moment.
“You’ll have to tell me about it later,” Roman said and Quinn nodded.
“I will,” he said and Darius turned as he heard a car arrive and doors open then slam shut. Constantin opened the door and looked exhausted and shaken as he helped Corley guide a kicking, thrashing bundle of hair and profanity into the warehouse.
“Put me down or I swear I will…” She growled and Darius didn’t understand what was happening. Constantin was sweating and Corley was swearing to every deity under his breath and she was so tiny and…exquisite. Darius couldn’t make out very much of her face but her hair was a rich, silky tornado as it flopped over her eyes. Her jumper was torn and sagged around her shoulders, revealing a stained and ripped white camisole. Darius’ collar tightened and his shirt clung to his body as a white cotton bra strap slid down her arm. Her grey leggings were filthy and Darius was in pain. She had a tiny waist but it flared into a full, firm round ass and lush thighs which were busy kicking and stomping. Her knee nearly caught Constantin in the groin and he grunted as he jumped back.
“Jenna!” Quinn called as he laughed and her head snapped toward him
“Quinn?” She gasped and Darius was disoriented.
“This is her?” He asked in disbelief then gestured for Constantin to release her. Darius sniffed and it took physical effort to keep his feet where they were. She smelled impossibly good. The smell of cake, frosting and coconut was so absurd in Stockwell, in Darius’ warehouse, and he couldn’t understand how she could have been dragged on the floor of the Underground and mauled by Green’s clumsy thugs and still smell like fucking heaven. She froze as the blindfold was untied and Darius couldn’t feel his body or hear anything over his heart. She had the biggest, warmest brown eyes and her lips were full and pouty and glistened as she panted.
“Quinn!” Jenna cried and raced into his arms. He squeezed her then leaned back so he could look at her.
“Are you ok?” He asked as he tugged her bra strap in place and she nodded. “I’m so sorry,” he said as he hugged her again and Darius thought it was a bit excessive.
“I’m fine!” Jenna insisted and Quinn became serious.
“Why were you following us?” He asked and Roman pointed as he raised his brows at her.
“That is a very good question,” Darius said and he cautiously leaned so he could get a better look at her. Her skin was so flawless…
“You said you were going to Stockwell and I was worried because who in their right mind goes to Stockwell?” She said to Quinn and Darius flinched as she offered him a sheepish smile. “No offense! This is all very lovely and you all seem very nice,” she added cautiously as she greeted people as they returned from searching for her.
“It’s a shitehole, love,” Darius declared impatiently. “You would have to be out of your mind to go to Stockwell. Why are you in Stockwell?” He demanded and Jenna pointed at Quinn.
“I just said… I was worried about them,” she stated very slowly and gently then blushed as her eyes slid down Darius’ body. Heat followed in their wake and he took a step back as she fixed her jumper and swept her calamitous bun back, off her face. She was breathtaking as she pulled back her shoulders and his eyes fell into her cleavage. Her breasts pushed decadently out of the cups of her bra as she offered her hand. “You must be Mr. Darius. I’ve heard quite a bit about you,” she said and Roman stifled a laugh. Darius was mesmerized and slightly appalled as he took it.
“It’s a pleasure?” He said as he searched her eyes. There was so much curiosity and fire.
“Are you friends with Ramon?” She asked and Darius blinked down at her.
“Roman,” Roman complained and she waved dismissively.
“Yes. Are you friends with Rubin?” She murmured as she stepped closer and Darius felt a tremor of fear. Dear God, it’s her. No, no, no, no, no.
“We’re cousins,” Darius replied then looked to Roman for help. Get her out of here.
“I won’t hold that against you,” Jenna said silkily.
“We need to get her home,” Quinn groaned sensibly.
“We could drop her off then run by your place so you can change,” Roman mused and Darius nodded quickly but he couldn’t get his eyes to leave her lips.
“I’m going to be a corpse tomorrow but I don’t have to work!” Quinn stated jauntily. Jenna chewed on her lip as she offered Quinn an apologetic smile then aimed it at Darius.
“If it helps, I’m sure Mr. Darius could give me a ride home,” she suggested coyly and Darius tensed to run. The only women who dared to command him were his mother and bunică yet he felt a very strong desire to do this small, insane woman’s bidding.
“I don’t think that’s…” Darius began but Roman gasped.
“I think it’s perfect!” Roman declared and Darius’ jaw fell. Traitor! “It’ll save us loads of time and you can tell Darius all about how you managed three grown men with just a rock and a can of spray paint. Give him a few pointers,” he suggested to Jenna as he towed Quinn toward the door.
“I don’t think this is…” Quinn argued but Roman cut him off.
“It’s perfect,” he stated pointedly and Jenna gasped.
“There you go! Everyone, listen to Ronald,” she cheered and Roman glared.
“I’m trying to help you,” he ground out.
“Don’t!” Darius and Quinn yelled. Jenna made a very loud and assertive shushing sound as her hands pushed into the air and her fingers splayed. She was the most beautiful, batshit crazy thing Darius had ever seen and not a single person in the warehouse knew what to make of her. Jenna sensed that she might have overstepped just a touch and Darius’ eyes were glued to her lip as she bit into it then cleared her throat.
“Sorry, just them!” She hissed at people at the table and around the warehouse then gestured at Darius, Roman and Quinn dismissively. “Now,” she said as she turned to them. “I haven’t had the best time, these last twenty-four hours, so if it’s alright with all of you, things are gonna go Jenna’s way for a bit,” she declared then dared them to argue. Fuck me, she’s incredible.
“That’s my girl,” Roman said and she gave him a withering look.
“We’re not there yet, Roland.” Jenna stated then smiled threateningly at Quinn. “I’m sure you have no reason to object whatsoever,” she warned.
“He doesn’t. We’ll be on our way,” Roman said and Quinn looked worried as he was pulled toward the door. Those miserable arseholes are abandoning me, Darius realized.
“Roman,” Darius growled and they ran and ducked behind a stack of crates.
“Now, about those gentlemen in the tunnel,” Jenna began exuberantly as her arm slid around Darius’. “I took a women’s self-defense class and I learned some very handy tricks,” she explained and Darius decided Roman didn’t need to see another sunrise as he heard him howling with laughter. Darius heard Quinn mutter something and Roman admitted he didn’t have plans for the evening.
“Roman!” Darius roared as he turned to go after him but Jenna held on tight and tugged hard.
“I’m certain your mother raised you with much better manners,” she said and Darius paused.
“I beg your pardon?”
“You really should. You’ve been quite rude,” Jenna said. Darius looked at the table and Constantin and the rest of the gang were hiding smirks and signaling for him to get moving.
“You’re all fucked when I get back,” he promised and he heard Tom snort. “Get the car ready,” he barked and Corley stood and slowly backed toward the door.
“The car?” He confirmed and Darius’ arm flailed.
“Yes, the car! I can’t drive her to…?” He raised his brows at her expectantly and she squealed giddily as she clasped her hands behind her.
“ Chelsea!” she announced and Darius would have whimpered if they weren’t being watched. Her breasts pushed against the front of her top and the left was very close to spilling out.
“I can’t drive her to Chelsea in the back of a delivery truck,” he ground out and Darius was dizzy as she raised her left shoulder.
“I don’t mind!”
“Get the car!” He begged then cleared his throat. “I want the car.”
“Yes, sir,” Corley said as he slipped out of the warehouse. Jenna rose on her toes and craned her neck as she inspected the sitting room Darius kept in the back of the warehouse.
“This is quite sharp,” she said and Darius frowned.
“It’s comfortable enough,” he murmured then nodded at the door as Constantin opened it and the car pulled up.
“Do you live here?” She asked and Darius shook his head.
“No.” He helped her over the threshold as Corley waited by the car. Jenna stopped at the door and raised her brows haughtily as she crossed her arms defiantly, pushing her breasts higher. Darius gulped as he fought to keep his eyes on hers.
“I’ve got nothing waiting for me but a bottle of wine, which I plan to down in the shower. I’m in no hurry,” she said and Darius’ eyes tightened.
“You’ll fit in the trunk,” he warned and she snorted.
“I’d love to see you try.”
“Did someone give you drugs while you were lost?” Darius asked and Jenna grinned.
“No but I might not mind, depending on what you’ve got,” she said and he brushed his hand through his hair. Christ, she’s fucking stubborn.
“I have a home but it’s my grandmother’s. I go there when I want to sleep,” he explained quickly and she hummed in approval then lowered into the car and climbed onto the opposite seat. She sat in the middle of the bench and curled her feet under her as Darius slid onto the seat across from her. The door shut behind him and he groaned as her scent flooded the cabin and wrapped around him.
“How do you have a home but it’s your grandmother’s?” She asked as she flipped up the armrest and peeked into the console.
“Do you understand who I am?” He asked and she rolled her eyes.
“I did figure it out. You’re king of the baddies,” she stated nonchalantly and his brows jumped.
“And I thought nannies were supposed to have a little more common sense. My father bought the home shortly after we first came to England. It was our family home until he built a larger home for my mother. We kept bunică in it and she’ll stay there until she dies but it passed to me after my father died. How old are you?” He said quickly as he admired how long and elegant her neck was as she set her hands on the seat and leaned to look out the window. She was so small but so decadently curvy. His hands itched and his dick was hard as her back arched and her ass stuck out.
“We’re still a ways from the river,” she noted then sat as she crossed her legs under her. “I’m twenty-six, how old are you?” She countered and Darius chuckled wryly.
“Too old for whatever you’re into,” he said suggestively and she pulled a face.
“Too old,” she muttered then snorted dismissively. “Don’t pretend you’re not into this,” she said as she gestured at herself and Darius shifted discreetly.
“Into what?” He asked then forced his eyes to the window as she made a pffftttt sound.
“Proper and perfect nanny in the streets, deranged pegging dominatrix in the sheets,” she declared and Darius coughed as his head swung toward her.
“The fuck, woman?” He complained and she bit her lip sheepishly again as she shrugged.
“That might be a touch of an exaggeration but you know what I mean.”
“You don’t look very perfect,” Darius lied as he waved at her and she held up a hand.
“I was getting pissed in a pub just about twenty-four hours ago because I caught the man I thought I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with snogging the fuck out of your cousin, Ralph. My life has been quite a ride since then and this is the result. But if you have any doubts, you’re welcome to meet me at the park tomorrow afternoon. I’ll wear a smart looking dress with pockets and bring a ruler, so I can slap the back of your hands when you get grabby. If that will turn you on,” she offered.
“No,” Darius squeaked then cleared his throat. “I’ll pass. Are you always this forward?” He asked and she licked her lips as she studied him from across the dark car.
“Do you have a problem with women who are forward or are you afraid of what happened back there?”
“What are you talking about?” He asked warily and she gasped then slid across the cabin and crawled onto the seat next to Darius, practically into his lap. He tensed and pressed himself into the cushions behind him.
“You don’t strike me as a liar or stupid,” she said as she braced her hand on his lap and leaned close. Her fingers spread and she looked down as they curved around his erection. Her nose brushed against his as a wicked grin tilted her lips. “You ever meet someone and felt like you’ve had sex with them before, even though you hadn’t? Have you ever looked at someone and knew, deep in your bones, that you were going to have sex with them and it would change your whole damn life? That it was going to be so good and so hard, your soul would limp when it walked into heaven?” She asked and Darius swallowed hard.
“Do you think I’ll see heaven?”
“That depends on what your idea of heaven is, Mr. Darius,” Jenna whispered and her breath tasted clean and sweet as her lips hovered over his.
“Just Darius is fine,” he said and she purred.
“Is there something else you’d like me to call you?” She asked and Darius shook his head faintly as they crossed the bridge. They were nearly there but his control was slipping.
“I’m not interested,” he said and she gasped again.
“You are a liar!”
“I’m not doubting the sex will be incredible. I’d fuck you so hard, those perfect little teeth of yours would come loose. But I don’t fuck girls like you, Jenna. You’re the kind of girl a man calls back and makes plans with. I’m not interested in that,” he explained. She chuckled and she fell against him as the car rocked to a halt.
“You’re assuming I’ll want you to call me back,” she said as the hand around his cock squeezed and Darius clenched his jaw as need and heat swelled within him. “I’m sure you know where to find me, if you change your mind,” Jenna breathed against his lips then pushed away from him as the door opened. She winked as she turned and smiled up at Corley as she stepped out. “Thank you so much! I can’t wait to be home and in my bed again,” she declared then bent so she could wave at Darius, giving him one last glimpse of luscious, bouncing cleavage. “I’m sure I’ll see you again soon.”
“Let’s go, Corley!” Darius called as he beat on the roof and the door swung shut. He watched as she waved again then turned and jogged victoriously up her front steps. The car pulled away and he groaned as he scrubbed his face with his hands then swore. They smelled like her. He looked back and she was gone and he swore again as he slammed his head against the headrest. He shut his eyes tight and he could taste her as he pictured her naked, spreading cake scented bubbles over her skin in the shower. His mouth watered and blood pounded in his ears as his hands clenched. Darius’ hard-on throbbed angrily as he imagined it buried in her pussy. He knew she’d be wet and tight and moan like a siren. That she’d be heaven. “Fuck!” He spat as his fist hit the roof of the car again. “Pull over!” He yelled and leaned as the car swerved then pushed the door open before it came to a stop. “I’ll find my own way home,” he said as he ran into the nearest alley.
Darius jumped and grabbed a fire escape and pulled himself up and over. He leapt from the rail to a window ledge then quickly scaled the side of the building. He reached the roof then located Jenna’s flat and sprinted and jumped from building to building. The attic window had an ancient, rusted lock and Darius broke it with a stiff jab of his elbow then ducked through the window easily. He found his way to the stairwell and Jenna’s door then quickly slipped inside. She had a narrow but immaculate galley kitchen and he smiled at the spare key and the cork on the kitchen counter and his head tilted as he listened to her singing in the shower. She was off key and so loud but it was adorable. Darius smiled as he stepped into the hallway and peeked into the small sitting room. He scanned quickly and wasn’t surprised to see that it was tidy despite the books and cardigans scattered around the room. His pulse raced at the cardigans and he frowned. What was it about Jenna that suddenly made them so sexy? They were possibly the most innocuous garment a woman could wear. Nanny on the street… The shower stopped and Darius was anxious and impatient as he pushed her bedroom door open silently. Steam and the scent of her shampoo and body wash rolled from under the door and Darius’ brain begged him to run as his body became tight and restless. She was humming as she brushed her hair and he was nervous as he looked around her bedroom. Her bedding was white and a worn but cheerful quilt was folded at the foot of the bed. A scarf was draped over the lamp, casting the room in a tranquil aqua glow. Everything was neat and cozy and there were more books but he was so fucking aroused and panicked as he listened to her rub marshmallow scented lotion onto her skin. You need to run! The bathroom door opened and Darius gave up as he pulled her into his arms.
“Oh!” She yelped but her hands slid over his shoulders and she pressed herself against him as he captured her lips. Her hair was wet and cool as it slid around his fingers and he groaned raggedly as he pulled and the towel around her chest loosened. She let it fall and Darius was intoxicated and helpless as his tongue swirled and thrust desperately. His hands curved around her ass and she jumped and wrapped her legs around his waist as he lifted her.
“Please tell me you have condoms,” Darius said as his lips ground against hers.
“I gave my last two to my sister,” she huffed as she sucked and licked. “Her prospects were looking a lot better than mine last night,” she added and they grunted as they crashed on the bed. She was soft and slipped and twisted impatiently beneath Darius and her hands fought with his clothes.
“Christ! Slow down!” Darius hissed as he caught her hands then pinned them over her head. He released them so he could rise on his knees and peel off his coat and his head spun as he looked down at her. His eyes glided over dark pink nipples, a softly rounded belly and a small patch of shortly trimmed hairs between generous, impatiently squirming thighs. “Futu-i!” He cried then shook his head. No. Do not fuck her, he warned as he flung his shirt at the wall then dove at her breast. “I have to hear you come,” he said as his lips washed over her nipple.
“Any time you’re ready,” she urged as her fingers swept through his hair and clutched at his skull. Darius sucked the peak into his mouth and she whimpered as she writhed beneath him. “Or before you’re ready. Please!” She said as she took his hand and pushed it between her legs.
Were you expecting anything less from Jenna? Darius wasn’t ready and neither are you. This one’s steamy and full of laughs but it’s dark and extremely gory at times because it’s October and I’m a bit of a ghoul. Beware but hurry!
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