Coming Soon: Psychology of Submission

Psychology-of-Submission-Final-200We are closing in on my next release.    I can’t wait for everyone to read Traci and Sean’s story in Psychology of Submission that comes out Thursday, June 4th.    Even if you haven’t tried other Corbin’s Bend stories yet, this book would be an excellent introduction for you to the series.

I’m sharing a new scene today that I haven’t shared before.   Traci, a psychologist, has to deliver the keynote speech at a professional conference in front of her peers and she is very afraid of being ridiculed for her topic.    She has just met Sean and they are on their first date the night before her speech.  Sean is trying to help her stay calm.

 

Extended Excerpt:

Sean took care of the check. They exited the restaurant and walked hand-in-hand back up the pier towards the large Ferris wheel. Sean stopped long enough to buy a bag of pink, fluffy cotton candy which they enjoyed as they awaited their turn for the ride.

Only once they were safely settled into their gondola and leaving the ground did Traci notice Sean hadn’t been exaggerating about his fear of heights. Sean got quiet as they stopped and started to take on new riders, moving higher and higher.

“Why didn’t you tell me you really didn’t want to come on this ride? I can tell you hate it.”

“I don’t hate it. I just hate the way it makes my stomach churn. I hope I’m not going to embarrass myself here.”

“That’s not possible. Anyway, we all have things we’re afraid of. Yours just happens to be heights.”

Sean turned in the seat, focusing his attention on Traci instead of the gorgeous skyline of the city below. “You seem fearless. What is Traci Jackson afraid of?”

Such a baring question. Maybe to the outside world she looked fearless, but inside, Traci felt anything but. Her vulnerability hung precariously in the air. She longed to confide in Sean. He was a good listener and they had clicked so well, yet she didn’t want to ruin their night by exposing things to a man she was never going to see again, let alone a man who could do nothing to fix her problems anyway.

“You know. The normal stuff,” Traci finally answered noncommittally.

“I’m afraid you’ll have to expound on that. I’ve lost all perspective of what normal is.” He smiled kindly, before continuing. “I don’t want to pry, Traci, but yesterday you sure seemed like something had you spooked. What’s happening with you that you don’t want to attend any of the conference dinners?”

His eyes bored into her, reminding her that she was the center of his attention right now. Despite how nervous that made her feel, it warmed her to know he saw her… really saw her. Her insecurity mingled with the cool evening air had brought a visible shiver.

“Hey, you’re getting chilled.” Sean moved to take off his jacket like a gentleman, but before he could get it off, Traci leaned forward, closing the distance between them. She fought back the tears threatening as she realized she was now less than twelve hours away from delivering her keynote speech tomorrow morning.

Sean caught her, pulled her into his arms, and wrapped his sports jacket around her to cocoon them together for warmth. It was his comforting “shhhh” that made her tears spill over and down her cheeks to drip onto his dress shirt. He smelled so good, and his muscular arms holding her felt like a slice of heaven. Alarm bells were going off, telling her she was crossing a line she shouldn’t.

It might be crazy, but she’d never felt safer than being held by Sean one-hundred feet off the ground. He stroked her back lightly and helped her take a few calming breaths. They cuddled silently for several minutes, each enjoying the quiet intimacy of their private embrace. Each unsure how to proceed.

Sean took the lead, pulling apart just enough to pin her with a look that held more questions than answers. He was as tempted as she was to throw caution to the wind. His fingers brushed her cheek gently and swiped at her tears, never taking his gaze from hers. Traci’s heart raced at the possibility of a kiss, but Sean maintained his gentleman status.

“I may be out of practice, Traci, but that didn’t feel like normal to me. Why don’t you tell me what’s really going on with the conference?” Traci tried to hide her disappointment that he wanted to continue to talk, especially about a topic she wanted to forget.

“There’s nothing you can do about it, Sean. It’s just something I need to work through on my own.”

“You’re used to working through issues on your own, aren’t you?”

Traci didn’t want to let his off-hand comment hurt her, but it did. She was used to working through issues on her own, not because she wanted to, but because it’s just the way it had to be. “I’ve had to get good at it, yes.”

Her voice had a sharp edge and she could see Sean noticed, but he didn’t back down. “In case you missed it, this time you don’t need to work through your problem alone.”

“You don’t know anything about it.”

“So fill me in.”

“Why?”

“Because I want to help.”

“Why?” Traci’s voice sounded accusatory.

“Why do I want to help you?”

“Yes. I mean you barely know me.”

Sean looked hurt. He moved his fingers from her cheek to her chin, holding her face as he leaned in so close she felt his minty breath. “I’ve spent the last several hours getting to know you. I feel very close to you right now. You are a good person, Traci, and I don’t know what it is, but I know there is something going on with you and those goons that were chasing after you in the hall yesterday. I’m worried about you.”

His eyes shone with a sincerity that took her breath away. Her protective wall was crumbling as he resumed his gentle stroking of her back. He waited so patiently for her that when she finally started talking, her fears came out in a panicked rush.

“I must have been crazy to agree to give the keynote speech tomorrow. When they asked me last year to present, I assumed it would be in a small breakout session with just a few other professionals there to debate the material. I never dreamed they would schedule me to speak in front of the entire assembly in tomorrow’s session. I should have backed out the second I found out, but now it’s too late for them to find anyone else so I’m going to have to go through with it.”

Her shivers were back and Sean scooped her back into his arms to hug her tightly. “Hey, everyone gets a bit nervous with public speaking. I’m sure you’ll do great.”

It would be so easy for her to let him think she just had a case of stage fright, but now that she had her guard down, the words spilled out. “I was on the debate team in high school. I’m not worried about speaking in front of a crowd.”

He pulled back to peer down into her eyes again. “So then what? Are you not prepared?”

“I’m prepared.”

“Are you afraid your topic is going to put them to sleep?”

Traci’s snorting laugh was unladylike and Sean chuckled. He was waiting for her answer.

“I think I can pretty much guarantee no one will fall asleep.” That had his interest piqued.

“I’ll bite. What is your area of expertise?”

“It’s a bit controversial. A few of my peers don’t agree with my findings. Others just aren’t mature enough to handle the debate the topic spurs.”

“You still haven’t told me… wait…” Sean’s eyes widened. “Are you a sex therapist?”

“Not exactly, but close. A lot of my research skirts sexual topics, yes.”

Sean whistled before breaking out into a wolfish grin. “Wow, how’s that for luck? The first woman I ask out on a date in eighteen years and she’s a sex therapist.” Traci slapped his chest harder than she’d meant to.

“I said not exactly. It’s a lot more complicated than that.” She was getting defensive. She was so tired of having to defend her field of expertise.

Sean got serious again quickly. “Listen, I was just kidding around. I think it’s great, Trace.”

She was completely caught off-guard by his familiar use of her nickname. She wasn’t sure what to say so Sean pressed her. “Are you good at your job, Traci?”

She took a deep breath before answering. “Yes. I’m a good therapist.”

“Somehow I already knew that. Next question. Did you work hard on your research and putting together your presentation?”

“Of course. I’ve worked my ass off.”

Sean grinned. “Would it be ungentlemanly of me to let you know that I’m pretty sure your ass is still part of your body? I should know. I’ve admired it several times tonight.” He slyly let his left hand slide down from her back and cupped her butt, squeezing gently in appreciation. Even in the dim lighting, Traci could see his grey eyes clouding with desire. Her own breathing was becoming short and she waited, hoping again for a kiss.

*****

You’ll have to wait for the release on Thursday to catch the exciting end of the scene.  Psychology of Submission comes out on Thursday, June 4th.   While you’re waiting, you have enough time to read Life’s Unexpected Gifts, the story where we met Traci as Troy’s sister last season.

Blurb:

Traci Jackson has been a therapist in Corbin’s Bend for several years. She’s helped many residents navigate their own D/s and DD relationships, but she hasn’t found her own HoH. Through her patients, she’s been researching and writing about the dynamics of dominance and submission in relationships for years. She loves her field, but she hates attending professional conventions where she’s treated like her specialty isn’t valid.

Sean Campbell is juggling raising his teenage daughter alone in Chicago while running a large convention hotel. When the annual psychologist convention comes to town, he literally bumps into the most beautiful and intelligent woman he’s met in a long time. He gets the surprise of his life when he finds out her specialty is D/s with an emphasis on corporal punishment.

They may find sparks from the minute they meet, but Traci and Sean have more than just the long distance between Chicago and Corbin’s Bend separating them. Sean has never heard of domestic discipline before. Will Traci pack up and leave Corbin’s Bend to be with the man she’s falling in love with, even if he can never be her true HoH?

Cover Reveal: Psychology of Submission

I am thrilled to be participating in Corbin’s Bend Season Three line-up.  If you read Life’s Unexpected Gifts during season two, you know Troy’s sister Traci played a very important role in Troy and Hallie’s HEA, but she was left still looking for her own Mr. Right.    Traci is getting her own story in season three.

It is with great pleasure I introduce you to Traci Jackson and Sean Campbell from Psychology of Submission, due out on June 4thl!

Psychology-of-Submission-Final-200

Blurb:

Traci Jackson has been a therapist in Corbin’s Bend for several years. She’s helped many residents navigate their own D/s and DD relationships, but she hasn’t found her own HoH. Through her patients, she’s been researching and writing about the dynamics of dominance and submission in relationships for years. She loves her field, but she hates attending professional conventions where she’s treated like her specialty isn’t valid.

Sean Campbell is juggling raising his teenage daughter alone in Chicago while running a large convention hotel. When the annual psychologist convention comes to town, he literally bumps into the most beautiful and intelligent woman he’s met in a long time. He gets the surprise of his life when he finds out her specialty is D/s with an emphasis on corporal punishment.

They may find sparks from the minute they meet, but Traci and Sean have more than just the long distance between Chicago and Corbin’s Bend separating them. Sean has never heard of domestic discipline before. Will Traci pack up and leave Corbin’s Bend to be with the man she’s falling in love with, even if he can never be her true HoH?

Excerpt:

Traci stood grounded, her heart rate increasing with each step he took in her direction. By the time he arrived in front of her, she could feel her heart pounding in her ears. She forced herself to take a calming breath before she hyperventilated.

“Hi. I hope you don’t mind me waiting out here for you. I was worried about you.”

“Me? You were worried about me?”

He smiled indulgently. “Yes, you. You’re the only person I’ve noticed running in the direction of the ladies room today. I thought maybe you were ill or needed help.”

Without thinking, Traci answered unguardedly, “I’m not sure you can help with my problem, but thanks.” She was embarrassed with her admission as soon as it left her mouth.

He didn’t seem to notice. “You’d be surprised. I can fix a lot of things around here.” His playful smile was unnerving.

“I bet you can, Mr…..?” She tried not to look as anxious for his name as she really was.

“Campbell. Sean Campbell. And you are?”

“Traci. Traci Jackson.”

He reached into his suit jacket and came out with a business card, handing it to her. “I’d like you to take my card. Call me anytime if there’s anything you need during your stay. Anything at all.”

Traci reached out for the card, enjoying the zing of electricity when their fingers brushed. She barely took her gaze off his mesmerizing grey eyes long enough to glance down at his card. When she read it, her excitement doused.

By the time she looked back up, reality was settled in. She lost her concentration, almost sending the armful of folders to the floor in another heap.

“Here. Let me take some of those before you lose them again. Where are you headed? I’d be glad to help you deliver them.”

At least he was a gentleman, even if he was only doing his job. “That’s great Mr. Campbell, but I see you’re the general manager of the hotel. I’m sure you have a lot more important things to do than help me deliver research papers.” She hated the disappointment she heard in her voice. What had she expected? Having handsome strangers sweep you off your feet only happened in her romance novels.

“Sean.” When she looked at him confused, he repeated. “Call me Sean.”

“Okay, Sean. Thanks for the offer but…” He didn’t let her finish. He reached out and took almost the whole stack from her arms.

“Lead the way, Traci.”

Sean made small talk as they headed in the direction of the ballroom. “Forgive me if this is too forward, but it looked like some of the men from your conference were harassing you earlier. Would you like me to call security to station someone down in this corridor?”

His offer surprised her. “I don’t think that will be necessary. Now, if you could arrange for a public flogging session for them, that would be awesome.”

Traci’s face flamed when she realized what she’d said. She was relieved when Sean burst out laughing at her ridiculous request.

“Well, I’m afraid we had to recently tear out the pillory. It seemed to upset some of the guests. I could check to see if we might have it in storage if you’d like.”

They were laughing together as Sean played along. Traci realized how great it felt to share a laugh with the professional accompanying her.

“So where are you from, Traci?”

“Denver.”

“That’s great. How long are you in town for?”

“Just through Friday.”

“So you’re here for the psychology conference?”

“Yep.”

“You a doctor?”

“No. Just a psychologist.”

“That’s great. You taking on new patients?” He had a twinkle in his eye.

“Maybe. You almost out of questions? I feel like I’m on a game show. What’s the prize if I win?”

They arrived at the table outside of the main ballroom. Traci put her pile of folders down and motioned for Sean to do the same. A full minute had elapsed, but her fun question was still hanging in the air. She noticed Sean had started to look nervous. He faltered before continuing.

“I’m afraid I have one final question and your prize depends on your answer to the question.”

The pause was dramatic. He grinned as he delivered his final question. “I was wondering if you’d like to join me for dinner this evening?”

A date request was the last thing Traci expected. Her nerves flew into high gear and she stood, grounded yet wobbly. Sean sensed her instability and reached out to take her forearms in his, just like he had earlier. They stood linked while Traci got more and more flustered. Sean inched them closer, slipping one arm behind her back to stabilize her.

“I’m definitely out of practice for asking pretty women out on dates, but I do think it’s customary for said woman to respond with either a yes or a no. I sure as hell hope you’ll say yes. It may take me years to get the nerve up to ask someone again if you crush my confidence.”

Traci chuckled. He was good at disarming her. She liked that. “Dinner, eh? I guess that would be okay. I’d love to see more of the city.”

“Then it’s a date. I’d love to take you to one of my favorite spots in the city. I haven’t been there in a long time. It will be a treat for me, too.”

“Sounds good. What should I wear?”

“Something casual. I’ll meet you in the lobby at six?”

“Six. Sounds good, Sean.”

For the briefest of seconds, he looked like he might lean in for a kiss, but thought better of it. Instead he just brushed her arm with a quick pat goodbye before turning to head down the hallway.

A date. I came all the way to Chicago for a real, live date. I didn’t see that coming.

*****

Check out all of the Corbin’s Bend stories here and you can read about Traci’s brother, Troy in Life’s Unexpected Gifts.

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