Blackmail only works if you can stay in control, and Alice has no intention of relinquishing that to someone like him.
Bullied into spending Christmas with some family friends, Alice Stone does her best to cope until the bane of her youth finds out about her dark little secret.
Asher Montgomery, an arrogant playboy who does whatever he wants, decides to make his trip home for the holidays worth the trouble. While searching for some blackmail material to use on his family, he comes across something particularly juicy. With proof of Perfect Little Alice’s secret life, Asher has every intention of making a game of it, but he never dreamed that she would fight back.
Neither expects the trip to suddenly devolve into a whirlwind of sex, seduction and secrets. For three days, Asher and Alice dance with each other, determined to gain dominance of their situation and find out who will be on top—literally.
But long-standing perceptions begin to change and feelings develop, whether they’re ready for them or not.
Reader advisory: This book contains a scene of public sex and elements of dubious consent.
General Release Date: 8th December 2020
Alice Stone stared through the slightly fogging glass. It was cold as hell outside and the car’s defroster could hardly keep up.
They’d passed the first gate onto Maiden’s Head Bridge a few minutes before and were coming up on the second. She could see the guard tower, like an old-school sentry protecting the only bridge to the city. The comparison wasn’t normally wrong, but because of the holidays, it was now decorated in the festive spirit. While not overly done, it did have a few twinkling lights in the window and a pair of wreaths on the gate. At least an attempt had been made.
Alice’s mom, Catherine, pulled up and spoke to the guard, and after their name was confirmed as being on the guest list, he opened the large, angry-looking wrought-iron gate and let them in. Alice’s stomach sank the moment the sound of gravel crunching beneath their tires met her ears.
“Will you stop moping?” Catherine asked with an agitated sigh.
Alice took a deep breath and shifted in her seat until she was comfortable again. Her ass had gone numb about two hours before. Why does something like this always get worse closer to the destination?
“I’m not moping.” Alice said pointedly.
“Right,” her mother scoffed and shook her head. “It’s three days. You’ll be fine. Besides, how long’s it been since you’ve seen Gerald, hmm-m?”
It’d been years. Their communication in the meantime had been cards and handwritten letters, which she always loved receiving. But physically, in person, Alice hadn’t seen Gerald since her dad’s funeral four years prior.
“I love Gerald,” Alice said before her voice dropped in tone. “It’s his family that I can’t stand.”
“Hmm-m.” Her mother sounded as though she agreed.
Gerald Montgomery was a family friend. He had been her dad’s mentor and had treated the man like his own son. Gerald was a kind, very sweet, eccentric man who was the top dog at two law firms—one in New York City and one in Los Angeles. His name was bicoastal.
But then there was his family… Gerald had amassed a substantial fortune through his years on the planet, and as a result, his family had that vibe. He still very much had that I-grew-up-poor-and-worked-hard-for-what-I-have attitude, but they had the mentality of a stereotypical old-money sort of family. They acted entitled, high and mighty, and as though their opinions were the correct ones. While yes, they weren’t necessarily bad people, it was clear they’d lost touch with reality some time ago.
Some of the grandkids were even worse.
Catherine guided the car along the winding road until Maiden’s Head Manor finally came into view. It was a monstrous gothic building with blood-red brick, a gray-slate roof and spires that threatened to claw open any low-hanging storm clouds. It was a pretty place, really, until the morning fog settled in. Then it became horrifying, especially since it was so isolated. Located in the Thousand Islands that dotted the bodies of water between New York and Canada, it was isolated. No one could hear the screams.
The terrifying structure was given a bit of softening in the form of Christmas decorations, however. There were garlands, lights, wreaths and large bows on every pillar. A few of the bushes they’d passed along the road to the manor were decorated as well. In truth, it was quite lovely, but it still didn’t put her in the Christmas mood.
When the invitation had come in the mail, Alice had been prepared to ignore it—even though it had been penned by Gerald himself. She had been willing to say she had to work, that she couldn’t find the time or that her car had broken down. She’d had a slew of excuses at the ready, just so she wouldn’t have to see his family, but Catherine had put an end to that rather quickly. She’d all but kidnapped Alice and dragged her along. As she’d been saying frequently since, ‘it’s only for three days’.
Her mom parked a little later, nestling their regular car amid the more expensive foreign models. Alice followed her to the door, and the moment it opened, she was bombarded with family members. Retreating to her happy place, Alice went through the motions of greeting those who offered her their empty pleasantries. Fortunately, they were as uninterested in maintaining a meaningful conversation as she was.
Soon, they were led into the study where Gerald sat behind his desk. He was hunched over, his reading glasses low on his nose and his attention sharp. Alice felt better seeing him. He was like her granddad.
“Eh-hem,” Catherine cleared her throat, drawing attention to them
Gerald looked up and plastered a wide smile across his lips. “You’ve made it!” He beamed. “Oh, my dears, it’s so good to see you both.”
He rose from his desk, and they met him in stride. When it became her turn for a hug Alice had to admit that she might have squeezed him a bit harder than she should have. She’d missed him.
“It’s lovely you’re here,” he said as he held Alice’s face with tenderness. “So good to have some people on my side.”
“Oh, it can’t be that bad.” Catherine laughed.
Gerald let out a huff and gave her a knowing look. “Twelve rooms and I doubt it will be big enough.” He chuckled. “We’re still waiting on Lynda and Asher.”
Alice’s stomach turned, but she did her best to keep it down. Lynda and Asher were Gerald’s oldest grandkids and were her age. Alice had spent so much time with them growing up, and while Lynda was fine, Asher was the most arrogant ass she’d ever had the misfortune of meeting.
A fan of any genre, C. Tyler enjoys writing a wide array of stories, from fantasy and paranormal, to contemporary. Whether it’s a bad boy biker, or a burly shifter, there’s a little something for almost everyone.