Excerpt – Taming Sugar

Taming Sugar © 2019 Rebecca Grace Allen

The rumble of Hunter’s truck was easy to catch in the otherwise quiet evening. Roxy waited eagerly until he reappeared beside her, holding a bottle of wine. A very expensive and rare bottle of wine, judging by the name and vintage on the label.

Was your quick errand to a winery?”

He smirked. “No. This is from my own personal storage.”

Whoa. She hadn’t imagined him to be a wine connoisseur, but Roxy was starting to think she’d imagined Hunter Finn all wrong.

He produced a corkscrew from his pocket and uncorked the wine.

There’s a few things I’ve learned to appreciate since I moved here,” he said. “Things that don’t involve money or fame. Hard work. A beautiful sunset. A meal made from scratch.”

He sat down in the chair next to hers and poured a single glass.

Some things get better the more you wait for them. Like wine.”

Roxy rolled her eyes and picked up the empty glass, holding it out in his direction. He didn’t fill it.

I don’t need a lesson in wine from you,” she told him. She knew enough from the time she’d spent in her father’s bars.

Don’t you?” He nodded toward her glass. “Put that down.”

She frowned, but did as she was told.

Now close your eyes.”

Again, Roxy obeyed, willing to play his game. The chair beside her scraped over the patio, and then he was by her side, one hand brushing her face, knuckles skimming over her ear. A shiver coursed through her as he moved her hair to settle on her opposite shoulder. Then his hand was on the back of her neck, thumb solid at the base of her head.

Her next inhalation brought the scent of wine into her nostrils. She didn’t dare open her eyes to check, but she guessed he was holding the glass in front of her.

What do you smell?” he asked. “Explain it.”

His touch was making her too fuzzy-headed to think clearly, but Roxy tried anyway. “It’s a woodsy scent. Like the air out here, but with a fruit flavor. Cherry.”

He didn’t tell her if she was right or wrong, but the scent vanished as he moved in closer and brushed his lips over her ear. “Do you want a taste?”

Hot breath washed along her cheek. Roxy twisted in her seat. “Yes.”

Say please.”

Roxy almost growled. Just like when he insulted her, being made to beg hit some previously untouched chord inside her. It pushed her deep into a place of obedience and held her there, a place that both repulsed and enticed her at the same time.

She gritted out the word, “Please.”

Hunter ran his lips along her earlobe, then down her neck, nipping gently. The rasp of his beard over her skin made her every nerve ending tingle and come alive. He was making her wait, torturing her, and she gripped the armrests of the seat.

Returning to the shell of her ear, he whispered, “Say please, may I have a taste of wine, Sir?”

Roxy froze. She knew what the word Sir meant. Men had asked her to call them that before, and she’d complied, even when saying it felt like nothing more than a memorized line. But this…this didn’t feel like acting. No, this felt real.

Hunter pressed his thumb harder against her neck. “You haven’t spoken, and your body’s gone stiff, but you’re not frightened. You know how I know that?”

She fought to find her sarcastic side. “Because you’re secretly psychic?”

Hunter laughed. Tightened his hand a little more. It was a move just shy of threatening.

No, sugar. But there’s another thing you didn’t know about a man like me. I didn’t only date for money. I dated for power, and not just in politics. More women than I can count have fallen to their knees for me. I assume you know what that means?”

She swallowed. “I’m guessing that was what you were talking about when you said you got what you wanted.”

Pretty much.” His laugh sent another warm breath over her skin. Since when did warmth make her shiver?

Am I about to become another one of those kneeling women?”

He found the juncture between her neck and shoulder with his teeth and bit down until she yelped. “If you’re good.”

Roxy tried to recover, tried to find something crass to say, but her head was spinning too much, her thighs pushing together in an attempt to stifle the ache between them.

You pissed me off from the minute I met you,” he said. “But I haven’t stopped thinking about you since. No one has kneeled for me in ages, and it’s an itch I needed to scratch.” He licked over the spot he’d injured. “I think it’s an itch for you too, isn’t it?”

She was panting now, body straining in the chair. “I think it might be.”

I think so too. So, let’s try this again.” The scent of wine drifted by her nose once more. “May I have. A taste. Of wine. Sir.”