Book Title: Her Master's Choice
Author: Karen Mercury
Genre: Contemporary BDSM Romance
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
When Shannon Bloomfield hears a rumor that an influential, anonymous food critic is visiting her restaurant, she has no idea it’s the exotic, erotic bad boy Tate Gooding who holds her fate in his culinary hands. Tate, burned out on the club circuit life and traveling around the States for his guidebook company, wants a deeper, more meaningful relationship with the three-star chef. Tate instructs Shannon in a thrilling new realm of private—and public—play, pushing her limits with every new scene. Shannon discovers that her inner “Force-Me Queen” is an expert tease, skilled at keeping Tate on the edge. But a creepy stalker has photos and threatens to expose Tate’s cover and their back alley scenes. Tracking down the culprit brings the couple closer than ever in their power plays, and Shannon learns that breaking out of her comfort zone is an arousing adventure when it’s Her Master’s Choice.
And then his eyes met hers.
The guitarist’s smoky eyes held a glimmer of acknowledgment, as though they had known each other before. Shannon tried to only briefly engage diners’ glances because she didn’t want to get drawn into long, trivial conversations with them.
This time it was different. She met and held the musician’s warm, sly look. His eyes looked as though lined with kohl, his upper lip under the sparse Latin lover’s moustache full and bowed like a cherub’s. Women would kill for cheekbones like his, and he had a thoughtful, poetic aura as he slightly tilted his head and regarded her.
She had no choice. She had to go to his table and acknowledge that he’d engaged her.
Luckily he was sitting one table down from the commander in chief, who really seemed to be getting off on that hand-cut pasta. The President hadn’t even touched his water glass, he was so intent on rolling the slimy mushrooms around in his mouth. Good.
“Hi,” Shannon said experimentally. It wouldn’t hurt if Reagan saw her chatting it up with diners. In addition to handing out stars for excellence, Hamsun rated each restaurant in slightly lesser categories such as ambience and service. These were notated as one to four fourches, or forks, printed in bold pink if it was exceptional. Shannon had always had a bold pink fork for service. Ambience was never bolded, probably due to her sloppy chalkboard. “How is your meal? I see you selected a glass of Summerhawk cab. That’s my personal favorite, too.” It was. It really was.
He didn’t seem concerned about his meal or his wine. “Are you Shannon Bloomfield?” His voice was deeply resonant, and it occurred to Shannon he could be an actor, too. Actors dressed flamboyantly hip like that sometimes.
“Yes. I am.”
He grinned crookedly. “I was just wondering if I should order the flan.”
Shit! He was referring to that whole Hamsun debacle a year ago—and within earshot of the new rater! Instinctively, Shannon tried to stand between him and the Teflon President, who luckily didn’t seem to have heard. “Oh, that! I personally think we were just having an off day. Every other reviewer gave our flan top rating. We don’t even serve it anymore.”
“But you should keep serving it, to prove that rater wrong.”
Shannon changed the subject. “I see you’re having the grilled squid. That’s our special tonight—we change our menu weekly.” She wanted to make sure Reagan heard that, but he appeared to have his mouth and concentration buried in the lamb with roasted garlic sauce.
The musician disregarded her promotional skills. “Are you married, Shannon?”
What the fuck? What the hell does that have to do with anything? I like self-confident, but this guy is a bit too arrogant for his own good! However, she had to be gracious within earshot of the alleged rater. “No, I’m not. This restaurant is my life. I’d never have time to get married. You know, to some of us who are dedicated to pairing opposing flavors and using ingredients at their absolute peak—”
“You should.” The musician regarded her levelly, utterly fearless and confident. “You’re a stunning woman, but your inner glow would burst forth more freely if you just let loose and allowed yourself to get properly fucked once in awhile.”
Shannon was struck mute. The young couple at the next table were, too. They both swiveled their heads, their eyes widening in shock. And, naturally, The Gipper had heard the entire thing, too. Lamb actually fell from his mouth onto his plate, tumbling along with a few peas. His Superman hair gleamed in the romantic candlelight.
Once Shannon determined the musician had actually said what she thought he had, she had to respond politely. Maybe he was from a rival restaurant and wanted to ruin her second chance at regaining her star. She moved her mouth, hoping something halfway mannerly would come out. “Uh. Yes. That probably never hurts anything, now, does it? However, I do date someone. He’s very supportive of my free-form plating and my unique—ah, here he is now.”
Shannon for once bought a break when this guy she’d dated about three times breezed through the doorway. She hadn’t seen Tom Bukowski’s name on the reservation list, yet here he was, happily striding toward her with open arms. He was a chef at another no-starred Berkeley restaurant and he really did nothing for her. She was going to tell Tom she was too busy to date just because they had no chemistry. Tom was definitely “bro zoned.” Men were never interested in being only friends, but he sure did come in handy right now.
The musician looked at Tom with disgust, his upper lip trembling. “I said properly fucked, Shannon.”
Oh my God. Will nothing shut this man up?
Karen’s first three novels were historical fiction involving pre-colonial African explorers. Since she was always either accused or praised—depending on how you look at it—for writing overly steamy sex scenes, erotic romance was the natural next step.
She currently has over 20 ménages with Siren Publishing.
She lives near Napa, California where she shoots archery, collects minerals, plays with her not-so-little Newfoundland pup, and does other “guy” things.