Bad-boy divorce attorney Karl Dawson has seen all the ways love can go wrong. That’s why he’s given up on it. Jaded and feeling restless, he has playmates, not girlfriends. A leather-clad Dominant, he comes and goes in the city’s after-dark playgrounds as he pleases. That’s how he likes it.
Lara Fox is an independent jack-of-all-trades who can do anything she sets her mind to – except that falling-in-love thing. She’s got a need for control too strong for most men, and an inability to walk away from a challenge. Including a challenge like Karl. He’s cocky, arrogant, and demanding. That’s how she needs it.
They’re perfect for each other. But what begins as a sensual battle of wills turns into a journey neither is prepared for when Lara is threatened and emotional walls start to crumble.
ISBN-10: 0425219186 * ISBN-13: 978-0425219188
Length: Novel Release Date: January 2, 2008
“Sasha White’s WICKED definitely lives up to its name; the sizzling hot and sexy storyline has characters you’ll fall in love with.”-Fresh Fiction.com
“This fast moving story is sure to keep you wanting more with its erotic action, delightful characters and intriguing plot. It was also nice to hear Karl’s story after getting to know him a bit in Bound and Trouble, though reading the previous stories isn’t imperative to keep up in Wicked. 5 Angles!”- Fallen Angels.com
*WICKED received an Honorable Mention in the National Leather Association International’s Pauline Reage Novel Literary Award. 2008
“Why is there a woman under your desk?”
Karl Dawson’s steps faltered as soon as he entered the office. He stopped walking to enjoy the view of the denim covered heart shaped ass sticking out from under his assistant’s desk. Definitely female. And the way it was tilted up at an angle made his hand itch to spank.
“I’ve switched sides.” The smirk on Graham Nelson’s pretty face as he said that made it clear he was full of shit.
Dressed in black slacks, a purple shirt and a pink tie, he was such a flaming homosexual that Karl toyed with the urge to hose him down with the fire extinguisher, just to see what would happen.
Instead, all he did was raise an eyebrow, fix his assistant with a look, and deepen his voice slightly. “Graham.”
“My friend Lara. She’s installing a wireless network for us.” Graham stood back from his desk, planted a hand on his outthrust hip, and eyeballed him. “Your client base has increased thirty percent in the last two months alone. This is needed.”
Karl eyeballed him right back. The divorce business was booming, and Graham was right – his legal services were in high demand with no signs of slowing down.
Shit. He hated changes made to his computer. Computers were not his friend. Anything beyond email gave him a headache and Graham knew it. “If you put more crap on my computer and my life gets more difficult … so does yours.”
“Actually …” a muffled voice came from Graham’s desk and Karl tried not to notice his body’s reaction to the delectable ass wiggling and waving as the woman backed out from beneath it.
She stood casually, thick black locks streaming down her back as she tossed her head and met his gaze head on. “Once I get my hands on your laptop you’ll be able to connect to the Internet from pretty much anywhere in the building, including the restaurant downstairs. We’ve set up a dedicated server for your files and all your data has already been transferred. I can teach you how to navigate the new programs in less than fifteen minutes, and life will be easier for you both.”
Graham waved his hand airily. “Trust me on this, Mr. Dawson. The upgrade will make my job easier, therefore your life simpler.”
The words barely registered in his mind as Karl watched Lara check him out. He recognized the appreciation in her gaze and an answering hunger stirred inside him.
He arched an eyebrow her way. “You’re going to teach me?”
“Sure.” Her smile turned suggestive. “I have no problem teaching a man how to do things right.”
“I don’t usually need instruction from my women.”
She shrugged. “All men need instruction at some point or another.”
Fire leapt to life inside of him, but Karl didn’t bother to respond. It had been a hell of a morning and he wasn’t really in the mood to deal with attitude from anyone, sexy or not.
And she was very sexy.
Bright blue eyes, smooth honey colored skin, and lush cocksucking lips made her very tempting, but she wore her arrogant attitude like a second skin. A second skin that blanketed a small, tight body in faded jeans and a skimpy pink t-shirt that made it clear she wasn’t wearing a bra. When his gaze lingered on her pert breasts, her nipples hardened and surprisingly, his mouth watered.
The image of her stretched out on his bed, tied down and still trying to tell him what to do flashed through his mind and he shook his head. She’d be too much work.
“I’ll be in my office when you’re ready.” He strode into his office, aware of her eyes on him as he walked, and closed the door.
Spring fever had hit full force this year and he’d been fighting his restlessness for a while. How it happened he didn’t know. Work was great. The divorce business was booming, and as one of the city’s top sharks in that pool, he was making more than enough money to make him happy.
Women had always been easy for him. He wasn’t blessed with particularly good looks, his blond hair had just enough curl to make it unruly and his brown eyes were nothing to speak of, but women still wanted him. Even more so since he’d started making the big bucks.
He could get as much sex as he wanted, in any way he wanted, and he’d enjoyed it a lot in the past. But lately, sex just didn’t seem to be enough to hold his interest, and the fighting and negotiating of high profit divorce work was becoming tedious.
At least when he was at The Dungeon he knew it was him the women wanted. When the divorcees and society ladies he met through work hit on him, he was sure they wanted the successful lawyer, not the man.
And yet, last night, for the third time in the last two weeks he’d left The Dungeon alone.
The underground sex club had been his playground for many years, and his reputation as a Dominant had grown so much that offers for companionship were never lacking. More than a couple of offers for sexual play had been made the night before, but he’d turned them all down.
If one of his regular playmates, Jan or Marie, had been there he might’ve been into it. His girls were always eager to please, and that was always fun, but he hadn’t been in the mood for someone new. Strange considering he used to thrive on the challenge of training a new submissive, or just having a new girl for one night. But, the usual sex games had become … boring.
Hell, his life had become boring. Something was missing.
A sharp rap on his door had him shaking his thoughts off, and focusing on the day ahead. “Come on in.”
Lara strode into his office, a challenging smile on her lips and a gleam in her eye. “Ready for your lessons?”
This one was definitely not boring.
Yet, something tightened in Karl’s chest when he looked at her, and he wasn’t sure if it was annoyance, amusement, or … arousal.
Lara Fox couldn’t help herself, she loved flirting too much.
She’d flirt pretty much anytime, anywhere, and with anyone. It made her feel good – made her feel strong and sexy, and in control.
Normally she didn’t initiate flirtations unless she was looking to pick someone up for a night, or hustling him at the pool table. But Graham’s boss was pretty yummy, and she was suddenly very hungry. Despite his obviously expensive suit, crisp navy blue tie and polished shoes, Karl Dawson had an edge to him.
Maybe it was the scar running through his eyebrow, or the hint of ink she saw on his neck when he turned his head and his hair shifted. Then again, it could just be the look in his dark chocolate colored eyes – the look of a man who knew his way around a woman’s body.
“I promise I won’t hurt you,” she said when he didn’t reply to her taunt about the lessons. “Just show me your laptop and we can get started.”
“Sweetheart, you couldn’t hurt me if you tried,” he said as he opened up his laptop.
Oh, you might be surprised, Lara thought with a hidden smile. But instead of saying so, she winked and played a little more. “Is that an invitation?”
Dark eyes flashing, he held out his hands, palms up, and flashed her a cocky grin. When he didn’t say anything further Lara sauntered around the desk to stand beside his chair. Their eyes met and a tingle zinged through her.
So tempting to just straddle his lap and plant a big kiss on him. Just to see his reaction. Well, and to enjoy it too, because there was no doubt in her mind that she’d enjoy kissing him.
A small smile graced her lips and she turned to the laptop, bent at the waist, and started tapping out commands without another word. The silence stretched and the tension built. Lara’s blood heated and she shifted her stance, arching her back a bit more and locking her knees as she bent over the desk.
If they’d met at another time in another place, she was sure they’d have a hell of a good time for a few hours. But he was her friend’s boss, and that could make things awkward when she wanted to walk away — and she was always the one to walk away – so it wasn’t going to happen. Which meant she had to keep her hormones in check.
The heat of him next to her as she worked was distracting. She worked faster, keeping her eyes on the computer, but she couldn’t help flirting with the fire just a little bit by shifting her weight so that her hip brushed against his shoulder, then away again.
Karl’s chair shifted back a little and she felt his eyes on the tribal tattoo on the small of her back, her ass, her legs. The desire to be touched, to connect – just for a short time — awakened inside her and she closed her eyes briefly.
This was not good. Not good at all. She needed to get out of there. Her lunch break was almost over and she had her own job to get back to.
Yeah, that was it. Work.
She gave herself a mental head slap and straightened up.
“Okay, look at this,” she called him forward. “It’s obvious you’re familiar with the Internet and email, which means you also know that it’s not always reliable. With the dedicated server you can store all your files on here and they can be accessed by anyone with the passwords.”
All business, Lara went on to explain what the passwords were, and how he could change them to his own. How he could make certain areas accessible only to him, and leave others open to Graham and anyone else he needed to share information with. She showed him the new programs she’d installed at Graham’s request, all the files they’d already transferred, and showed him how to work the system, as well as the advantages of the wireless connection.
“Got it?” she asked.
“You were right,” he nodded. “These changes will make things a bit easier. Thank you.”
She chuckled. “Try not to choke on the words.”
“Hey, it doesn’t happen often, so when it does I don’t mind admitting I was wrong.”
She perched her butt on the edge of his desk and leaned back on her hands. The posture thrust her breasts forward and the air sizzled between them as his gaze swept over her. “A little arrogant, aren’t you?”
“Not arrogant.” He grinned wickedly. “Confident.”
Her mouth ran away without her brain again. “It’s been my experience that men as confident as you are often overcompensating for something. What do you think about that?”
“I think you haven’t experienced me.”
An unladylike bark of laughter jumped from her lips. “Oh ho! Is that a challenge?”
His eyes darkened and his smile became almost predatory. “Maybe it’s a warning.”
Lara’s heart pumped faster and blood raced through her veins. Suddenly she was feeling very alive.
She pushed away from the desk and started for the door. “Too bad. I’ve always been a sucker for a challenge.” Her hand was on the doorknob when his next softly spoken words halted her in her steps.
“But a warning scares you off?”
Now that was a challenge.
It didn’t take her long to find the right place. The little Italian restaurant was buried between a print shop and a new age retail store, and she was even on time.
“Not what I was expecting,” she said as joined her dinner partner.
He was eye catching, even dressed to blend with the crowd in dark slacks and a button up shirt. Her eyes had gone straight to him at the small table along the far wall the minute she’d stepped through the door. Maybe it was the curls. The dark blond looked soft and enticing. The urge to reach out and touch was strong.
He gave a small smile when she was settled in her seat. “You don’t like it?”
“I didn’t say that.” She looked around the place – red and white checked tablecloths, candles in each centerpiece, and the dark skinned couple at the kitchen doorway arguing passionately made the atmosphere homey, yet still intimate. “It’s just not what I expected.”
“I’m going to take that as a compliment,” he said with a rough chuckle.
Lara met his laughing brown eyes and grinned, relaxing a little. “It was meant as one. Predictability is boring.”
Karl was intrigued. “Do you think it’s really as simple as that? Keep things unpredictable and life won’t be boring?”
“Why not?” Lara leaned back in her chair, her smile bright and flirtatious. “Life is meant to be lived. That means experiencing new things all the time and not getting stuck in a rut.”
“You’ve never been in a rut?”
Something dark flickered in her eyes, and then it was gone. “Not me. I’ll try anything once and do the good stuff again … and again.” She leaned forward, putting her arms on the table and plumping up her cleavage nicely. “What about you?”
Karl’s blood heated when he heard her say the magic words. “You’ll do anything once? That’s a pretty bold statement.”
“I’m a pretty bold girl.”
“Yes, you are, aren’t you.” So very different from what he’d always wanted in a woman – in a submissive. As much as it surprised him, there was no denying his body’s reaction to her, and that, he wanted to explore. “But I’ve met many who say that – not everyone can back it up.”
She laughed outright. “Oh, I can back it up. When I want to.”
His balls tightened and he smiled. This was going to be interesting.
A small movement behind her showed the waitress on her way over so he changed the subject. “Would you like some wine with dinner?”
She shook her head. “I don’t need alcohol to have a good time.”
Even more intriguing. He waited for the waitress to leave to get their drinks before leaning forward and gazing at her intently. “What do you need to have a good time?”
“Nothing but a willing partner,” she winked playfully. “And sometimes I don’t even need that.”
He laughed. She was a spitfire, and he was officially interested.
Their drinks arrived and they ordered their meals. He watched Lara as she looked around the restaurant, sipped her iced tea, and flirted with him. She wasn’t being shy about it at all. She went from sassy and bold, to sweet and almost little girlish at times, making his pulse pick up when she looked at him from under her lashes, and nibbled on the luscious bottom lip that had him imagining lots of long, wet and sloppy blowjobs.
Oh yeah, he wanted her on her knees before him, smiling pretty and begging for his cock. “You’ll try anything once, huh?”
She shrugged. “Pretty much, yeah.”
“Pretty much? Or you will?”
It was an outright challenge, and he waited expectantly to see if she was really as bold and adventurous as she claimed. If she just might have a submissive streak, a need to please.
He watched as she leaned forward, her silky top shifting enough to tease him with a quick peak at the deeper pink of a nipple before she shifted and it was gone. His eyes traveled over the smooth skin of her neck to see her lips part slightly and her tongue press sassily against little white teeth as she watched him look her over.
Neither spoke, and the tension built. Hot, electric and … exciting. That what he was feeling—excitement. For the first time in too long, he was captivated.
White turns up the heat with electrifying erotic scenes and a delicious alpha hero. It’s a realistic portrayal of two commitment-phobic people who turn sex games into romance. Fans will recognize some secondary characters from previous books, and new characters add just enough conflict to make things interesting. The plot moves at a good pace, and the sex is edgy, including threesomes and a M/M couple.- Romantic Times Magazine
Sasha White provides a WICKED erotic romance starring two likable protagonists who believe love and marriage are societal farces. The metamorphous of Lara from tough independent street brawler to submissive is done with tenderness and caring, which makes her transformation seen genuine. The return of players from BOUND and TROUBLE add depth to this contemporary by showcasing the BDSM lifestyle can include commitment. Sub-genre fans will enjoy Sasha White’s latest heater. - Harriet Klausner