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Authors: Eve Berlin

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Desire's Edge

BOOK: Desire's Edge
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Table of Contents
 
 
 
 
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
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Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
 
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
 
This book is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.
 
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
 
Copyright © 2011 by Eve Berlin.
 
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions. HEAT and the HEAT design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
 
PRINTING HISTORY
Heat trade paperback edition / September 2011
 
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
 
Berlin, Eve.
Desire’s edge / Eve Berlin.—Heat trade paperback ed.
p. cm.
ISBN : 978-1-101-54407-5
1. Women lawyers—Fiction. I. Title.
PS3602.E7577D47 2011
813’.6—dc22
2011011590
 
 

http://us.penguingroup.com

To my friend K. B. Alan, who knows why.
And to my darling R. G. Alexander, always—
and you know why, too!
I knew I wanted to be spanked the first time I stumbled across the idea while reading one of my grandmother’s Victorian romance novels. All of those silk petticoats gathered around the heroine’s waist, while the hero held her firmly over his breech-clad knees, his hand coming down smartly on her pinking cheeks, her protests ringing falsely even to my young ears, yet making it all the more delicious, somehow.
It made me wet then.
It still does.
And yet, it’s nothing more than an unfulfilled fantasy I hold secret.
If I hadn’t suspected that before, Jake’s cruel words to me when I finally admitted my desires to him made it certain. Some things are better off left hiding in the dark. Even when it’s the truest side of one’s self.
 
DIARY OF KARA CRAWFORD
 
one
 
 
There was no reason for Kara to be thinking about being spanked at her best friend Lucie’s housewarming party—or about the diary entry she’d made the night before. Except perhaps that she’d had too much wine because she was feeling sorry for herself still, nearly six months after her breakup with Jake. She poured herself another glass anyway, and was taking a sip when she spotted him across the crowded room.
Dante De Matteo.
She hadn’t seen him since the last week of her junior year in high school. Not long after he’d knocked her louse of a boyfriend at the time on his ass. Brady had deserved it. She’d caught him cheating on her, and when she’d confronted him, he’d gotten ugly about it, grabbing her arm, bruising her, yelling in her face. And if she hadn’t already had a mad crush on Dante before then, his coming in to rescue her like her own personal white knight had certainly sealed the deal.
She remembered Dante’s face once Brady was moaning on the ground and two teachers had run up and grabbed him, probably to keep him from hitting Brady again. She remembered his dark eyes, how shadowed they’d been. Fierce. Vulnerable, as he’d looked at her, which had surprised her. She’d wanted to say something. To thank him. To ask him why he’d done it. But she’d been too young to know how to handle it.
Then Dante had been suspended. And soon after that he’d left for college and she hadn’t seen him again.
It had been more than twelve years, but she’d know him anywhere. He still had those chiseled good looks, all broad shoulders and long, lean muscles, but everything more refined, streamlined. The dark brown hair that used to fall into his face but was cut short now. And those eyes . . . She supposed most people would call them brown, but she remembered how they could flash gold in the sun.
She went warm all over so fast, it was like being engulfed by flames. Sensory overload. She had to look away. To get out of there.
I’ve sworn off men. Sworn off!
She ducked her head and made for the back door, her wineglass clenched in her hand. She was not going to think about how hot she’d been for Dante all those years ago, all through high school. And apparently still was, from the way her pulse was racing.
Outside, the early January night was cold and damp, but she was used to that having grown up on Mercer Island, just across the bridge from Seattle, where Lucie and her roommate, Tyler, lived now. And she needed the cold to settle her body, her head.
No men right now
.
Her life had been so much calmer since her last relationship was over. No more drama. No more expectations. Everything nice and peaceful, and she liked it that way. Or, that was what she told herself, anyway. How she explained to herself why she hadn’t even dated much since the breakup, which was not like her. She’d been with plenty of men before Jake. She didn’t want to think about how that relationship had affected her. Had ground down her confidence.
So, her vibrator was her current best date. So what? She could go home, take out her pink plastic friend, and imagine it was Dante De Matteo between her thighs . . .
She shivered, squeezed her legs together, sighed.
She sat down on the porch swing, the wooden slats biting into the backs of her thighs through her knit wrap dress. Settling back onto a small pile of pillows, breathing in the crisp evening air, she took a long sip of her red wine and crossed her legs.
She was just buzzed enough to easily slip back into brooding about being alone. All of Lucie and Tyler’s friends were happily paired off, it seemed, the house full of nuzzling couples. Until Dante had arrived. She’d noticed he appeared to be alone. Like her.
Not that she wasn’t better off by herself right now. Maybe forever. It was still too soon after the disaster with Jake for her to feel any differently, to want to be in a relationship again. She hadn’t completely shaken her bitterness yet.
She brooded for several minutes more, ignoring the jump start to her nerves she’d had inside, seeing Dante again. Or pretending to. Until she heard a footstep on the creaky boards of the porch. She looked up and saw a tall silhouette, a dark outline against the light coming through the doorway. Tall and well muscled and sexy as hell.
Dante.
Her whole body surged.
“Kara? Is it really you?”
“Dante. Hi. What are you doing here?”
He stepped closer, into the light of the porch. He was well dressed, in dark slacks and a sweater that fit him like it was custom-made for his body. Maybe it was. He looked too damn good.
“I ran into Lucie a few days ago and she invited me to the party. I haven’t seen you since I left high school. Did you ever get that degree in art you wanted?”
She shrugged, trying to look cool. To keep cool. But seeing those same eyes looking at her now with unabashed appreciation, in a way she’d fantasized about since she was fourteen, was almost too much.
She took a breath, tried again.
“I took a lot of classes in college, but my parents didn’t exactly approve of me pursuing art. I dropped it after a while.”
“If I remember correctly, you were a good painter. Didn’t you show at some state competition in high school?”
“I can’t believe you remember that.” She felt her cheeks going warm.
He leaned against the doorframe, one of those poses only the most confident of men could get away with and still look completely natural and relaxed. “I remember a lot about you, Kara.”
“Do you?”
He smiled, his dimples flashing. How was it any man could look so smooth and so boyishly charming at the same time? She could see the teenager he’d once been beneath the more masculine planes of his face. Under his sophisticated looks, his immaculate clothes, he was still the old Dante, she was certain. He’d always been kind. Even in high school, when boys were mostly jerks. Dante was the sort of guy who would talk to anyone at school, not just the jocks or the cool kids. Who would stand up for the smaller boys who got picked on by the bullies. He had stood up for
her
. And she was just as charmed by him now as she’d ever been.
BOOK: Desire's Edge
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