Guess what’s coming on Monday? The second book in our HITCHED series, WHIPPED! And if you read HITCHED and liked it, you will looooooove WHIPPED–because it’s Vi’s story! You know what goes great with fiery redheads? Aussie abs. Yep. (We checked.)
So OF COURSE we want to share the first chapters with you! Chapter 1 is posted below, Chapter 2 will be posted tomorrow, and Chapter 3 will come on Saturday. And then we’ll let everyone know about all the launch day awesomeness on Monday! What a great five days coming up!
And now, without further ado, we present to you…Chapter 1 of WHIPPED! Enjoy!
* * * * *
I pull a black 14″ dildo from the box at my feet and place it front and center on the table, moving tubes of lube, a set of handcuffs and an assortment of butt plugs to the side. “I’ve got a feeling we’re going to sell this bad boy today,” I say to Zoe, who’s checking our front window display.
When she laughs it’s like perfectly pitched bells ringing. Like what Tinker Bell might sound like in a mostly full-grown adult body. I say ‘mostly’ because my business partner and friend struggles to hit 5′ even in heels.
She practically skips over, her vibrant purple lips matching her pixie hair, smiling widely. “Looks great. I will be very impressed with the woman—or man—who goes home with that.”
“You and me both!” I check the clock, a red retro thing we found at an estate sale. “Time to open.”
Whipped is our baby. After some minor ennui on my part with my job as a full-time Dominatrix, I realized I was ready for a new challenge, and the timing was perfect for Zoe and me to create an intimate, fun, trendy and educational adult toy store in a town that can never have too much adult fun.
If you can’t sell a dildo in Vegas, you’re doing it wrong.
Our instincts proved true and six months in, business is booming. Unfortunately, stocking a store with the best products isn’t cheap. We both emptied our savings into Whipped, and while we know we’ll eventually break out of the red, we have to eke by until then.
As if reading my mind, Zoe hands me a stack of mail. I shuffle through it, frowning. “More bills. Must our vendors always insist on getting paid? It’s uncharitable,” I say in a mock southern accent, dramatically sweeping my red hair off my shoulder and channeling my best Scarlett O’Hara.
Zoe taps her metallic purple nails on the counter. “It truly is. You’d think having the privilege of selling to sexy, adorable, brilliant women such as ourselves would be enough. What has the world come to?”
I grin and wink at her as I drop the demanding envelopes into a file behind our register. “We’ll figure it out.”
She nods. “I know. In the meantime, how’s the hunt for a roommate coming?”
At the reminder I check my phone and see another email from “Inferno12.” I laugh at a lame joke involving clowns he sent and confirm our meeting for tonight. “I might have found someone,” I say. “I haven’t met him yet, but he seems nice and we get along online. I’ll know by tomorrow, though at this point I’d likely rent to the evil clown from American Horror Story to get Mr. Harris off my back.”
She pats my hand sympathetically. “Another person who insists on being paid what they’re owed?”
I laugh. “It’s outrageous.”
The bell above our door rings and Zoe disappears into the back to finish inventory while I smile warmly at the grandmotherly woman shyly looking around. I give her space and take a moment to gauge what she thinks she’s here for, and what she’s actually here for. There’s usually a difference, even if the customer doesn’t yet know it.
She’s in her 70s, I’d guess, with short, halo-like, white permed hair and a pastel pantsuit paired with a floral blouse. She clutches her beige purse against her stomach like she’s not sure why she came in, but I see her eyes light up as she looks around. I’m guessing she’s either recently widowed and ready to explore her own sexuality, or she’s in a new relationship. She’s mostly looking at our books, but I see her eyes flicker to the center display I just set up.
I walk over to her, my body language relaxed, warm, open. “Hello. I’m Vi, co-owner here. Is there anything I can help you find?”
“Thank you, young lady. I… well, I guess I have some things I want to try while I’m still around and kickin’. And I heard lovely things about your store.”
I send a heartfelt thank you to whoever talked us up as I smile at her. “Are you looking for something for yourself or for you and a partner?” I gently guide her around the store as we talk, gauging how she responds to the different toys, creams, lotions and lingerie on display.
“Just for me. My husband died about a year ago, and I’ve been feeling this… itch? Does that make sense?”
I rest a hand on her arm. “Of course it does. It’s completely natural and healthy to want to express your sexuality and enjoy it.”
Her smile widens. “That’s what I think too,” she says. Then she cups her hand over her mouth and leans in, as if telling me a great secret. “I do think I shocked my Bridge Club when I told them I’d be coming here. But just watch, they’ll be following in my footsteps soon enough, the old birds!”
I couldn’t help but share in her laughter as she relaxed in the knowledge that she would get no judgment from me. She reached for a small vibrator—the Silver Bullet—and held it up. “Maybe this?”
I hold her eyes for a moment. “That’s a good brand, and it works well. But…” I flick my eyes to the 14″ beauty behind her. She turns and looks at it, her eyes widening as I point. “I think that’s what you really want.”
I can see her internal battle as she tries to decide if she should give in to her own cravings. I make it easier, taking both the bullet and the dildo and walking to the counter. “Tell you what,” I propose, still smiling. “Get the dildo, and I’ll throw in the vibrator as a gift. That way, if you don’t like it, you’ll still have something else to try.”
She follows me to the register and stands opposite me, her purse already open, a secret smile on her lips. “I suppose it couldn’t hurt to try.”
I wink at her. “I promise, you won’t regret it.”
As she pays, I place her new toys in a bag with a few of our cards and hand it to her. “It’s been nice talking with you. I threw in some coupons for your Bridge Club, should they be so inclined to follow in your steps.”
I can still hear her laughing as she leaves the shop, the golden bell heralding her departure.
Zoe joins me at the register, a look of awe on her face, not for me, but for the woman who just left our store. “Mad props to her. I hope when I’m her age I’m still that adventurous.”
I look down at my petite partner with affection. “I have no doubt you will be.”
Zoe’s phone beeps and she checks it, then types in a text as she bites her lower lip and furrows her carefully plucked brows.
“Boyfriend trouble again?” I ask, knowing the signs all too well.
She looks up, all the joy sucked from her expression by this one text. “He’s on his ‘no sex until marriage’ kick again. His priest convinced him I’m causing him to sin so now he wants to sleep in separate rooms.”
“It’ll last three days at most,” I say.
“I know. But in the meantime, it sucks. And not just the no sex. But the guilt, the pressure, the way he makes me feel like the whore of Babylon, even though he’s the one who initiated our first time two years ago, and he’s the one who asked me to move in with him. This man is just thoroughly confused.”
“That’s one word for it.” My sarcasm is too thick to hide and she flinches.
“He’s a good man. Kind, nice, respectful. He just has some religious hangups. No one’s perfect.” Her huge blue anime eyes look sad, and I put my arm around her shoulders and side hug her.
“I know he’s not a bad guy. I just want you to be happy, in and out of the bedroom. A guy who has to shower immediately after sex each and every time isn’t going to work long term for a girl who owns a sex toy shop. Especially since he’s still never even been here and insists on telling people you work at the mall.”
I drop my arm and she paces the shop, fixing displays that don’t need fixing. “When you say it like that, it sounds awful.”
That’s because it is awful, but I’ve said enough. Zoe is the sweetest person you’ll ever meet. Not a mean bone in her tiny body. I’m fiercely protective of her, but I often have to remind myself she’s also a grown woman who can make her own choices. Even when it comes to Henry.
“What about you?” she says, oh-so-subtly dodging the conversation about her love life and instead focusing on mine. “It’s been almost a year since your breakup with Chad. Any new men on the horizon?”
“Only the occasional sub I’ve hooked up with at the club,” I say, as I now straighten merchandise that doesn’t need straightening. “But nothing serious. I’m too focused on our business to think about that right now.” I had the perfect guy in Chad: smart, sexy, charming, talented, a committed submissive who enjoyed my Dominatrix side… but once I got everything I always thought I wanted, it didn’t work. And I haven’t been ready for a new commitment since.
When the bell rings, signaling another customer, we both turn with smiles which turn to adolescent giggles when we see who it is. “He’s back!” Zoe says.
He is indeed, in all his ripped glory. The man in question struts through our store with a new blonde on his arm. He’s dressed in jeans that hang at his hips ‘in just that way,’ to lamely quote every romance novel ever written. And that’s all he wears. Seriously, dude never has a fucking shirt on. Not once, and he’s come in at least once a week since we opened. Always with a different girl, always with the jeans and no shirt, always with the cash—and always with the sexy.
Oh, and did I mention he’s Australian? Because he is. Not that it matters. I can’t stand the guy. I don’t care that his abs are made of steel or that he looks like he’s hung like a horse. I blithely ignore his deep tan, perfect white teeth and eyes the shade of the bluest ocean. I won’t even think about his bed-head hair that’s always that flawless mess of dark blond that looks like he’s been running his hands through it.
No, none of that matters. He’s the epitome of player. He’s the reason I’m seriously considering a sign that says “No shirt, no shoes, no service.” Except he spends a lot of money here and we need customers like him, as Zoe reminds me every week.
The Aussie Hottie browses through our displays, picking, as always, the best of everything. The woman with him drapes her body against him as if she might die if they aren’t touching at all times. Without any shame she rubs his cock up and down over his jeans and nibbles on his ear. Worried they might actually have sex in my store at any moment, I smile and walk over to them. “How can I help you today?”
He nods to the girl who giggles and wiggles off to look around. “Oh, just the usual today. Unless you have something new and exciting for me?”
The way he asks that, I feel like he’s hinting at more than just our products, but I ignore the double entendre and shake my head. “Just what you see here. I don’t think we’ve had any new deliveries since your last visit here with…” I cock my head, pretending to forget the other woman’s name, even though I never knew it.
He smiles, a dimple forming on his cheek. “That was Natalie.” He glances at the blonde. “That’s Jessie.”
“You’re a busy man,” I say. I’m not really judging. One of my best friends is a total player, too. Always a different girl. But he’s also up front and honest. I don’t know if this guy is or not.
“It’s a distraction. For me and for them,” he says, his eyes digging into mine as if trying to uncover my secrets.
“Do they know that?”
“Sure they do.” He steps closer, our bodies inches apart. So close I can smell his aftershave. Minty spice. “And they’re open for more than just a one-on-one, if you’re ever interested.”
Not that I haven’t ever experimented with a threesome, but I’ve generally found they’re better in theory than in reality. Still, it’s been awhile since even a casual sexual experience for me, and my body feels the heat of him even as my mind tells me to walk away. Nothing good can come from a man this confident, this clearly used to being in control. Not my type. At. All.
I take his purchases to the register as he pulls out his cash.
“Why new toys every week?” I ask, handing him the bag.
“I may be a coit,” he says, his accent stronger with the slang that I assume is Australian for ‘I sleep with all the women,’ “but I’m not a cheap asshole. And I don’t reuse sex toys with different women. I let them keep whatever we use together.”
A begrudging respect grows for him, but his cockiness still rubs me the wrong way.
He hands me a small stack of gold embossed cards with VIP written on them. “If you and your friend ever want a night out, come by around 10pm Wednesday through Sunday nights and tell them the Aussie Hottie sent you. I’ll make sure you get good seats.”
He winks at me as he walks out the door with his date by his side, and my cheeks flush to what I’m sure is a bright red.
Zoe and I are both quiet until we’re sure he’s out of earshot, then she starts laughing. Hard. Like doubled-over-at-the-waist laughing. “I can’t believe he knows our name for him!”
I can’t help but follow suit and it feels good to laugh so hard your sides hurt. “He’s a cheeky bastard for sure.”
As our breathing comes back and our laughs slow down, Zoe nudges my shoulder. “He’s sexy as sin, Vi. And he’s obvs into you. You should do him.”
I shake my head and shove his note into my pocket. “I am not ‘doing’ the Aussie Hottie. He’s definitely not my type.”
Zoe just grins and returns to inventory.
The rest of the day speeds by as we work with our customers to find them what they want and need. By the end of the day I’m tired, but happy and excited to meet my potential new roommate.
Even more excited when I get another passive-aggressive note from Mr. Harris.
If it’s not too much to ask, I would greatly appreciate some indication that this month’s rent might perhaps be paid before next month’s rent becomes due. Though owing two months’ rent would save me on paper, as I could just send these notes for both amounts owed at once. Still, if we could avoid further social embarrassment I would certainly be grateful. And I’m sure it would be easier for you to not have to wait quietly behind your door pretending not to be home when I come by to inquire about the money owed.
Your landlord and neighbor,
I glance over at his side of the duplex and see that his car is gone. Good. I hurry over and jot down my response note to leave on his door.
Thank you for your kind note and gentle understanding of my unusual position. As someone who has lived here for several years and always paid her rent on time, I’m sure you can appreciate that this is an unusual circumstance which I’m trying to mitigate in a timely manner. Your patience is always appreciated.
That done, I slink into my house before he can return. I hate owing money and being late on payments, despite my joking with Zoe. I’ve never been in this position before, but I know I’ll get caught up soon.
My doorbell rings and I check the condo to make sure everything is in its place before going to answer it. I might be meeting my new roommate, which is why my place is unusually clean.
But when I open my door, it isn’t Inferno12 standing there. It’s the Aussie Hottie. This time, though, he’s wearing a shirt.
His blue eyes widen when he sees me, then his face spreads into an entirely too sexy grin. “Well, isn’t this a fine bit of luck!”
* * * * *
Things just got interesting, didn’t they? 😉 Read on to Chapter 2 here…and here are the links where you can preorder WHIPPED:
And, of course, what kind of heartless beings would we be if we didn’t leave you with a pic of Lachlan Piece, the Aussie Hottie himself?