By Ashe Barker
“…you are delightful company and absolutely beautiful. You take my breath away. I really should tell you now, if I can find any way to convince you to remain with me tonight, I will do so."
What if someone handed you over a million dollars in uncut diamonds, and a note? For services rendered…
A random act of kindness years earlier gives rise to an astonishing chain of events. Johan Klaas holds the key to the mystery and he will help her – for a price. Can she trust him? Should she? And what has Christa ever done to deserve such a reward?
Swept from her modest flower shop in England, caught up in the opulent global diamond trade in Antwerp and introduced by her millionaire lover to a sensual world of pain and pleasure, Christa is determined to solve the riddle.
Christa Barnes is baffled when the man of her dreams – or should that be her wildest fantasies? – turns up at her sleepy little flower shop and insists she has something he would like to purchase. But Johan Klaas is an international diamond dealer and he is not remotely interested in acquiring a bunch of geraniums, preferring instead to discuss gemstones.
Christa’s next unexpected caller is a motorcycle courier clad in black leather and bearing a package for her. She opens it, expecting the latest seed catalogue, and finds instead a fortune in uncut diamonds and a note.
For Services Rendered. See what you can make of these.
Johan Klaas works at the heart of the global diamond trade based in Antwerp, and he agrees to use his contacts and knowledge to help trace the origins of these particular stones. For a price.
As the relationship between Christa and Johan deepens, so does her understanding of the way in which a natural, artless act of kindness years before can start an amazing chain of events.
This book was previously released with a different cover. The story includes sexual scenes and BDSM, and is intended for audiences of 18 and over.
He was still lying on the bed when she emerged from the luxurious en suite clad in just her new pajamas and a generous splash of Chanel Coco, the expensive perfume a Christmas present from her sister. The sheer, camisole-style top tied in front with a couple of fragile ribbons of lace, and the fabric left little to the imagination. Her breasts were outlined clearly, the dark pink nipples pressing little points into the delicate material. The pants were long and loose and Christa thought they would not look out of place in a harem. Very appropriate, Christa reflected… Or inappropriate, depending on your view.
Christa paused in the doorway, self-conscious suddenly. She was normally so cautious, prim almost. This was so unlike her, really, she ought to—
“You were right, chérie. The outfit is very pretty indeed.” Perhaps he recognized her indecision, her wavering, but Johan allowed her no time in which to reconsider. Christa was glad of it as he rolled from the mattress and came to stand before her. He gently fingered the ribbon which masqueraded as some sort of shoulder strap. “May I…?”
“May you … What?” Her voice was a husky whisper.
“This.” He eased the strap down her arm, causing the gossamer-thin fabric to cascade away in a soft sweep. One breast was exposed. Christa held her breath. It never occurred to her to seek to cover herself.
Johan lowered his gaze, his lip curling in sensual appreciation. He cupped Christa’s face between his hands to hold her still for his kiss. She was going nowhere, in any case. His lips were warm, soft, teasing hers until she opened for him. His tongue explored her mouth, curling around hers in a hot, suggestive dance.
Christa mewled deep in her throat when he lowered his hands to stroke her shoulders, then trailed his fingers lower still to tease the erect, exposed nipple. He circled it with his fingertips, then took the hardened bud between his finger and thumb and applied just enough pressure to make her gasp.
“You like this, ma petite? Did I hurt you?”
“No,” she breathed. “It was just, I never…”
“Pleasure is good, is it not?” He cupped the full mound in his hand and caressed her slowly, stroking his fingers across the quivering peak before he caught it again and, this time, squeezed hard enough to make her squeal. “But pain is even more exciting, if properly applied. Do you not agree, little Christa, my beautiful flower-seller?”
Christa should have been frightened: his words made no sense. At the same time, she understood him perfectly, and was in no doubt as to his meaning. He intended to hurt her, and he meant her to enjoy it.
How had he known? How had he had even the slightest inkling that she might respond? She had hardly known, herself, until this moment.
“Yes,” she murmured. “Oh yes.”
He chuckled and kissed her mouth again, at the same time easing her other strap from her shoulder. A tug was all it took on the two fragile scraps of lace which tied in front to hold the two halves of the top closed. The garment opened and he was able to slide the top from her body and drop it behind her on a low sofa.
Now his palms caressed both breasts, his touch firm yet still gentle. Christa arched, presenting her body, asking for more.
Johan broke the kiss to trail a hot, damp path across her collar bone and down to her breasts. He locked his hands behind her, under her bottom and lifted her so he could better reach her nipples with his lips. Christa grasped his shoulders and flung back her head as he took first one peak, then the other, into his mouth.
Christa moaned. “That’s… That feels so…”
He sucked, curling his agile tongue around one engorged nipple. A crackle of electricity surged from the pebbled nub straight to her clit. Christa opened her legs and wrapped them around his body, not minding in the least that he remained fully dressed whilst she was as near naked as made no difference.
He turned, and walked back toward the bed, as Christa crossed her ankles in the small of his back. He leaned forward to tip her onto the duvet then followed her down.
His mouth closed around her nipple again, the suction harder now, the sensation more intense. Christa’s pussy tingled and clenched as she writhed against him, desperate, purring, seeking more.
“The pants are gorgeous, as are you, chérie, but I think we might lose them now. Do you agree?”
Christa did agree, whole-heartedly. She reached for the waistband, intending to shove them down past her hips, but Johan caught her hand and stopped her.
“No, allow me. Please.”
About Ashe Barker
USA Today Bestselling author Ashe Barker writes erotic romance and spanking romance in a variety of genres including contemporary, BDSM, paranormal, historical. ménage, gay romance and time travel. She is a #1 Amazon Bestseller and all her stories feature hot alpha males and sassy submissives, often with a lot to learn. Kink abounds, and there’s enough dirty talk to satisfy the most demanding smut lover. However dark and dirty the setting, love always emerges triumphant, and her stories never fail to deliver a satisfying happy ever after.
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And just a little more about the author:
Who or what was the inspiration for Christa? Is she anything like you?
Well I’ve never entertained a desire to sell flowers, but the mystery at the heart of Rough Diamonds is based on my experience working in the care system in the UK some thirty years ago so I suppose Christa does draw on something of me.
So, tell us a bit more about Johan. He’s stern and sexy, and obviously successful in his career, but what else is there to know?
Well, I think you just about covered the basics there. Johan is driven and successful, but he is also honest in his dealings with a strong sense of duty, and of justice. He wants Christa from the beginning, but he’s willing to work for it and takes nothing for granted. He’s kind to her, and generous, and he shares her sense of adventure and curiosity about the origins of her surprise windfall.
Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. I try to be fairly ordered about it. I like to be at my desk (well, more accurately the kitchen table) laptop fired up and coffee to hand, by nine in the morning and I tend to write for most of the day then. There are also a lot of related tasks to keep on top of, mainly to do with promo or research, or keeping in touch with readers and other authors. It’s definitely a full-time job for me.
What's your favorite love story? (movie or book)
I adore Love Actually and I can’t count how many times I’ve seen that movie. It has lots of love stories all rolled up and woven into each other, but I think perhaps my favourite is the one featuring Hugh Grant.
I also remember reading Katherine by Anya Seton many years ago, and I’ve never forgotten the magic that shimmers between Katherine and her hero, John of Gaunt. Their lifetime love affair is set against the dramatic backdrop of medieval England, a period I also like to write about.