For Master of the Opera, Act 4: Dark Interlude, releasing Thursday, February 20…
In the fourth fiery installment of Jeffe Kennedy’s scintilliating Master of the Opera, a woman surrenders-body and soul-to the one man who is everything she desires, everything she craves, and, possibly, everything she fears…
Reeling from the discovery of a dead body in the Sante Fe Opera House, intern Christy Davis is forced to reassess the strange, erotically-charged relationship she’s forged with the mysterious masked man who lives in the labrynths below. Could her masterful lover be capable of murder, and worse? Perhaps it was the thrill of danger that drew Christy to him in the first place-like a moth to the flame-instead of a more conventional romance with the opera house’s handsome benefactor, Roman. For the sake of her sanity, she must at least give Roman a chance. But for the love of her master, she must give in to every wild fantasy, every wicked game, and every whim he commands…
Is Christy prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice? To surrender her heart, her soul, her everything? First she must acknowlege the truth: a woman in love can serve only one master…
Dark Interlude Excerpt
“Have you come to me?”
It felt like the moment the proposal should have been. The question asked as a formality because both hearts already knew the answer.
He opened his arms and she hurtled herself into his embrace. She pressed herself to him, drinking in his scent, man and more. The vibrant energy that infused him streamed through her and she wanted him, so deeply she thought she would weep from need. She raised her face to his and his mouth descended on her, feeding on her lips in turn, like a starving creature.
He murmured, deep in his throat, a sound of wordless longing. One strong arm held her tightly against him while a gloved hand splayed over her jaw and cheekbone, as if testing the reality of her presence.
“I want to be with you,” she told him between kisses, “in every way imaginable.”
“You know how it must be. There are rules.”
“Yes.” She remembered offering her throat to the bear—the fierce and extraordinary surrender and ecstasy of the moment. “I’m yours.”
In truth, she always had been. She saw that now.
He drew a length of silk from his pocket, presented it over his upturned palms. “Do you surrender yourself to me?”
Offering herself in sacrifice to the bear. Blood without death. Ecstasy and pain. Her blood surged with her pounding heart, nerves burning bright and arousal flooding her senses.
A wave rolled through her. She turned up her face, offering her throat to the beast.
He bound her wrists together and she watched from a curious remove, already feeling that meditative sense of giving herself over to the forces of the world. Of all the worlds, whatever and wherever they might be. The place she truly existed. Her breath rose and fell with aroused intensity, the full sides of her breasts swelling against her inner arms.
When he blindfolded her, it became another level of yielding.
He led her along by her tied wrists, never faltering, her unfailing guide. Trusting him was no longer a conscious exercise. He would make sure of her footing and her way. She smelled water, and the always cool air of the lower levels grew damp on her cheeks, with a more penetrating chill. She shivered and he paused, then wrapped his cloak around her, cozily warm from his body heat, his musky scent filling her nose.
“Step into the boat.” It was the first time he’d spoken since she’d called him Master.
But she followed his lead still, finding her footing in the small boat that rocked on water so still it made no sound. He helped her to sit and she folded her bound hands in her lap, while he tucked the cloak around her. They moved, gliding, and the sound of oars dipping in and out of the water added to the surreal feeling.
“How is there a lake here?”
In answer, he sang a song she’d never heard, of deep waters that ran under the mountains of time. She floated, on the water, on the music, on the surging desire that made her thoughts melt away.
All she really wanted was for him to touch her again.
But she had cast herself into his power as surely as she’d stepped into this boat that carried her across an unknown underground lake. If she struggled against it now, she’d surely drown. No, the key was to ride along, not to fight it.
She felt strangely serene, giving up the need to fight everything.
Calm and free.
The hypnotic dipping of the oars ceased and the boat ground lightly against a dock. The air seemed warmer here, nearly balmy, as if they’d crossed into another world.
Then the Master was beside her, slipping strong arms under her knees and lifting her against his muscular chest. He stepped up onto the dock, his boots thunking on the wood, then set her on her feet.
“Warm enough now?” His breath feathered across her cheek. She nodded, and he pulled the now stultifying cloak from her. Then he removed the blindfold. “Look.”
She gasped at the beauty of it. The dock fed onto a boardwalk and all along it white pillar candles lit the way. They glimmered off the black mirrored lake water and ascended in tiers up stairs and winding walkways that ran through archways of black-leaved trees. The candlelit paths traced a route up a hillside to a series of towering stones set in a circle. Torches ringed them. The place glimmered of magic and clarity.
“Fairyland,” she said on a breath, then felt silly.