Heartpsell Media, LLC
Jaspir has been in love with Lady Merlyn since they were children, but she has always been out of his reach. Trained as a Pleasure Hound and now surviving by selling his body to rich women, his heart has always remained loyal to his true love.
Liam was promised to Merlyn in their youth, but he’s always known that he's not the man in her heart. With their betrothal approaching, Liam seeks out Jaspir for help. Eager to ensure the happiness of the woman they both love, Jaspir agrees to train Liam in the pleasure arts.
What starts as rivals in an uneasy truce, soon turns carnal when Merlyn learns of their secret lessons. In a society where men are second class citizens, Merlyn is torn between the attentions of two men who would do anything to rule her heart.
""Our time is up, Merlyn.""
""Should I buy more?""
Jaspir hesitated. He closed his eyes, resting his forehead against hers. She had his heart, but he would never be allowed to possess hers. He set her back on her chair.
""No,"" he whispered. He lifted his head and looked into her eyes. ""No,"" he said more firmly.
Another hour, another day would change nothing. It had taken years to get over her. Who was he kidding? He'd never gotten over her. He never would.
""My time is up because you have another lover coming?"" she asked.
Jaspir pulled away from her, staring into her golden brown eyes. ""No. There is no one else.""
She cocked her head to the side, the birdlike motion signaling that she was investigating his words. Just as Merlyn only spoke facts, she had a knack for sensing when someone told half-truths.
""I have no other lovers coming today."" Something compelled him to go on, to assure her of her place in his heart. ""You own my heart, Merlyn. I have loved you, and only you, every day since the first day I met you. I will continue to love you every day of my life.""
She searched his eyes, her head cocking the opposite way as she considered every angle of his new statement. ""Why is it that I believe you? There is no possible way to prove your declaration. Love isn't a tangible thing that you can point to. It isn't measurable.""
Jaspir took her hand and placed it on his heart. ""Do you feel that? What reason does a heart have for racing?""
""It’s a fight or flight response from the autonomic nervous system.""
""Do you think I'm preparing to flee due to fear of you? Or that I'm preparing to harm you?""
Merlyn shook her head.
""Look at me, Merlyn. What do you see?""
""I see that your pupils are dilated."" Her eyes dipped lower. ""Your nostrils are flaring, and you are panting.""
""I can tell you that my stomach aches when I think of you. My palms sweat and I feel light headed. Not to mention what happens in my sex organs. That's nearly every system of the human body engaged at the very thought of you.""
""These symptoms happen every time you think of me?""
""Fascinating,"" she breathed, eyes bright.
Jaspir grinned at the curious creature before him. She pressed one hand to his heart. The other she ran over his forehead. Her fingers came away with beads of sweat. Her thumb returned and traced his lower eyelid.
""I'd like to study this phenomenon some more."" She looked into his eyes. Her own pupils were large, her nostrils flared, her breath came in small pants. ""May I return to make more observations?""
ABOUT Ines Johnson
Ines writes books for strong women who suck at love. If you rocked out to the twisted triangle of Jem, Jericha, and Rio as a girl; if you were slayed by vampires with souls alongside Buffy; if you need your scandalous fix from Olivia Pope each week, then you’ll love her books!
Aside from being a writer, professional reader, and teacher, Ines is a very bad Buddhist. She sits in sangha each week, and while others are meditating and getting their zen on, she’s contemplating how to use the teachings to strengthen her plots and character motivations.
Ines lives outside Washington, DC with her two little sidekicks who are growing up way too fast.