by Megan Hart


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It's an acquired taste…he just has to acquire it

Elise knows what she wants in the bedroom, and she makes sure she gets it. Her thirst for domination has long been quenched by a stable of men only too happy to bow down before her.

But sexual satisfaction isn't the same as love, and she's been burned in the past by giving her heart too freely.

Niall is handsome, smart, successful and sweet—sweet as vanilla. When they meet, their romantic connection is electric, even though he's way on the opposite end of the kink spectrum. Despite how she fights it, Elise falls for him—but how can a relationship work when both lovers want to be on top?

"Hart wields her pen like a scalpel…in this soul-searching, emotionally sensitive story. Strong characterization and smooth, yet forceful, writing captures your attention and holds you hostage."

—RT Book Reviews on The Space Between Us

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780778318040
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication date: 02/24/2015
Edition description: Original
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 340,327
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Megan Hart is the award-winning and multi-published author of more than thirty novels, novellas and short stories. Her work has been published in almost every genre, including contemporary women’s fiction, historical romance, romantic suspense and erotica. Megan lives in the deep, dark woods of Pennsylvania with her husband and children, and is currently working on her next novel for MIRA Books. You can contact Megan through her website at

Read an Excerpt

There's something so lovely in the curve of a man's spine when he is on his knees, head bowed, hands behind his back. The back of his neck, vulnerable and exposed. The splay of his toes pressed to the hotel carpet that rubbed at his knees and would scrub them briefly red. I would leave my own marks on him, careful to be sure they'd fade as fast as the rug burns. I couldn't leave anything permanent on him. We'd agreed on that from the first.

I didn't want to hurt him much anyway. That had never been my game. A little sting, here or there. The slap of leather on his bare skin. The press of my teeth or scrape of my fingernails—those were things to make him shudder and moan. I would always rather get what I wanted by promising pleasure instead of pain. That was what worked for us.

Esteban had been waiting for me in that position when I came into the hotel room. The lamps off, late-evening sunshine glimmering through the mostly drawn curtain providing the only illumination. He would've been willing to do the things we did with the curtains open wide, every piece of both of us exposed and nothing soft about it. I was the one who liked the lighting to be dim, unfocused. Dreamy. I found myself more easily that way.

"I brought you a present," I said as I shrugged my shoulder bag onto the desk. It clinked heavily, as I'd meant it to, so that he'd wonder what on earth I had for him inside it—and maybe be a little nervous.

Esteban was not facing me, and he didn't turn while I unpacked my bag, even though I could tell by the strain of his muscles that he wanted to. Desperately. I laid out all the presents I'd brought. Sometimes I had a plan for how things were going to go on our monthly dates. Carefully constructed scenes I worked out thoroughly in my head so I could be sure to get it all right. Not today, though. Today I felt ripe with possibilities I'd not yet even considered.

With a hand behind my back to hide what I held, I took a seat in the chair in front of him. I let my skirt ride up a tiny bit to tease him with the glimpse of stockings beneath. I put one high heel between his knees, my shin grazing his inner thigh.

He smiled, but didn't move. His mouth was a little wet from where he'd licked his lips. I leaned and cupped his cheek, and he nuzzled into my palm.

"My good boy," I murmured. I held out the small box that had once held a bracelet. "Open."

He took the box from me and sat back on his heels to pull off the lid. Inside, a coiled black ribbon. He shivered a little when he took the satin from the box, letting it trail over his hands and wrists. He looked at me, and I tugged the end of the ribbon to wrap it around his wrists, now crossed in front of him, not too snug. There was enough ribbon to go loosely around his neck, too, and to loop down around his already hard cock.

"I thought it would be something…tighter," he said in that delightful accent that never failed to trigger a shiver of my own. "So I couldn't get away."

"If I need more than this to bind you, then I might as well go home right now," I said.

Esteban shuddered, his eyes fluttering closed for a moment. When he opened them, his gaze had gone dreamy and dark. Several beads of sweat had gathered on his upper lip, and his tongue dipped out to taste them.

I loved seeing how my simple words affected him. I leaned to nuzzle the corner of his mouth, close enough for intimacy, though we never kissed each other on the lips. It was another of our rules, this one unspoken but never broken. I stroked a hand over his dark hair and let it linger on the back of his neck, feeling the muscles bunch and pull at my touch. I let my mouth travel along his jaw to his ear.

"Open," I said again, not meaning a box this time.

Esteban opened his mouth at once. Obedient. Willing. Delicious and beautiful and, for the moment, mine.

I slipped my first finger into his mouth. He bit playfully; I took him hard by the chin to make him go still. He gave a soft sigh-moan, so I gripped him a little harder. I pulled his face toward me, teasing him with the promise of a kiss we both knew would never come—but that was part of what worked for us. That promise, that denial.

I ran my wet finger down his chest and circled the head of his erection, which was tapping his belly. When he strained toward me with a small growl, I gripped him tight and said into his ear, "Hush."

He did at once, my good boy, his cock throbbing in my hand. I put my fingers in his mouth again, and this time he didn't bite but instead wet them eagerly for me. I stroked his ribbon-bound cock again with slick fingers, slowly, then moved my hand down to cup his balls.

"Tell me what you want." Sometimes I made him send me a list of things he fantasized about beforehand, though I hadn't this time. And I asked without any intention of giving him what he wanted, which we both knew. Yet today, without a plan, restless and feeling caged by work and family and life, I was curious to see if what he asked me for was something I would give.

"I want to kiss you," he told me, "there."

"Here," I replied, easing up my skirt to show him a hint of lace panties. I pressed my fingertips between my legs and raised an eyebrow.

"Please," he added.

"Maybe." I laughed at his frustrated expression. I leaned to take his face in my hands, looking into his eyes. "You are adorable."

He tilted his head, his eyes half closing for a moment. "I want to please you."

"I know you do. And I want your mouth on me—" I laughed softly again at his shudder. "But not just yet. Get on the bed."

Esteban blinked a few times, not responding immediately. I was ready for that, my hand already grabbing the ribbon tangled around his cock and tugging in sharp command. The tug wouldn't hurt him as much as my disapproval at how long it took him to get to his feet.

If you've ever tried to get up from your knees with your hands bound without pushing off from anything, you know how awkward and graceless it can be. Far from impossible, especially when the binding was mostly decorative. But still, he hated to be clumsy, which was part of the reason I yanked again, urging him to get up faster without taking the time to balance himself. We ended up standing face-to-face, my fingers still curled in the ribbon. In my heels I was an inch or so taller than he was, the perfect height to look down instead of straight on. I'd done that on purpose, too.

"Do you need me to repeat myself, Esteban?"

"No, miss."

"Tell me again what you want," I said. "I want to please you."

Fuck, how I loved the shiver in his voice. Later, I would make him say it to me in Spanish. I would make him teach me how to reply, and we would both laugh at how I butchered the words. In this moment, though, there was no laughter.

Only anticipation.

I stepped away from him, and his body rocked forward as I pulled the ribbon free and let it fall to the floor. It had been a whim, something pretty to start off with. I'd seen it on sale at the craft supply store while on an errand for my mother and had thought of Esteban immediately. I'd caught myself thinking of him more and more often in the times between our dates. I didn't want to consider the reasons why.

"I want you on your back," I told him.

He took a step backward, then another, before turning to crawl up onto the bed. He'd stripped the comforter off before I arrived, and I took a moment to enjoy the view of a beautiful, obedient male sprawled out on crisp white sheets before going to the array of things I'd already set out on the desk.

I'd picked up the ribbon because it had been a little playful, and the thought of making a gift of him to myself had pleased me. The sleek, smooth object I had in my hand, however, had not been an impulse purchase. I'd taken a long time to research it, making sure I picked the right one. Molded of heavy tempered glass, the heft of it was enough to cause serious damage if you dropped it on your foot…or your balls. It didn't look like a sex toy as much as some sort of avant-garde sculpture, clear glass swirled with blue, red and orange. Cool to the touch, it would warm nicely to body temperature. You could wash it in the dishwasher, according to the product description, though the idea of that made me shake my head. I had a similar toy at home, longer and a little thicker, but the curve of this one had been designed to perfectly caress the prostate. This toy was not for me.

With the glass plug in one hand and a bottle of lube in the other, I knelt on the bed between Esteban's legs. "I brought you another present."

He pushed up on his elbows to look and grinned. "What is this?"

"You know what this is." I put the lube on the bed and ran my hand up the inside of his thigh. He shaved his chest and his balls, but here the fine black hairs tickled my knuckles. I stroked my fingertip along his cock, then lower.

His knees fell open at once, giving me access to his body. When I cupped his balls, Esteban gave another of those delicious, low gasps. His hips rolled.

"Look at your pretty cock, already leaking for me." I circled a finger around the head of it, drawing the slick precome onto my fingertip and holding it up. Locking his gaze to mine, I licked it away. It was a bit of a show for him, to trigger another of those noises, but no lie, the fact that he was so hard, so aroused that he dripped for me before I'd barely touched him, never failed to set me on fire.

"Tell me what you want," I demanded again, but soft and low, my voice a caress and not a slap.

Esteban shifted on the bed, his feet going flat on it as the space between his knees widened. His fists gripped the sheets, but he knew better than to reach for me. For a second I wished he'd try—I would never truly hurt him, but discipline him? Oh, yes. We could do that.

"I want to see you," he said.

I pretended to consider it, holding up the glass plug while I used the other hand to play with the buttons on my blouse. One, two, exposing a hint of nipple. The beauty of small breasts is being able to go without a bra, something which Esteban had once admitted to me drove him wild with lust. I stopped. He groaned. I laughed, and so did he. I put my free hand on his belly and the one holding the plug on the bed to support myself as I leaned over him, letting my mouth brush his chin before I nipped him.

"No," I told him. "You haven't earned it yet today."

He did reach for me then. His hands moved over my thighs and hips, bunching my skirt. He kissed my cheek then my jaw, and found my throat where he nibbled and sucked the way I loved it.

"I can convince you?" he asked into my ear, stroking his hand upward to cup my breasts. Thumbing my nipples through the thin fabric of my blouse, he moaned softly when they hardened at his caress. "So much easier to touch you…"

I slapped his face lightly and gripped his chin, digging the blunt tips of my nails into his flesh. Esteban's eyes closed immediately. His body tensed. His arms went over his head, fingers linking his hands.

I almost came, then and there, his reaction a better aphrodisiac than anything in the world.

"You will touch me when I say you may touch me." My voice low. Dangerous. Stern.

"Yes, my goddess."

"Fuck, I love it when you say that." My fingers loosed their grip, leaving a few marks I soothed quickly with my tongue. I sat back. "Look at me."

He did.

I shifted between his legs then straddled one of his thighs to press my pussy against him. I was wet through the lace. I held up the lube and the glass toy.

His cock jumped. So did the muscles on his inner thighs. And, a moment later when I pressed a slick finger against his tight hole, so did the muscles there.

It wasn't the first time I'd ever played with his ass. One of the first things we'd talked about when we started this relationship was turn-ons and -offs. Limits, hard and soft. Expectations. Safe words. We'd been practical about it, making lists. Our agreement wasn't anything that would stand up in court, but it was one we'd worked on carefully to be sure it suited us both. Realistic, maybe to a fault.

This was not a love affair.

It was, however, the first time I'd ever used an object on him instead of only fingers or tongue. Esteban had told me his fantasies about being taken that way, and though on the surface what we had together might appear to be all about what I wanted, it was truly about satisfaction for both of us. He wanted to please me; I got off on being pleased. But more than that, I reveled in the way the smallest things I did to him got him hard. Made him ache. I loved making him come for me, his orgasms like a tribute. Something he owed me and I deserved.

I warmed the toy's chilly glass against my hot flesh while I ran my nails, scratching, up the insides of his thighs. Tickling over his balls and the shaft of his cock. I dripped lube on his prick and stroked him, though when he began to move into my closed fist, I laughed and stopped.

Esteban's laugh broke with a gasp. "Please."

"Not please." I pinched his nipple, not hard enough to hurt but definitely hard enough. "You know I shamelessly fetishize you speaking Spanish to me."

His hips had bucked when I pinched him, and he gasped again. "Compláceme, por favor."

Spread open for me, unbound but not moving because I hadn't given him permission, Esteban nevertheless gave me a wicked grin. He fucked upward, getting a few thrusts in before I gripped his cock tight at the base to keep him still. His eyes twinkled as he ran his tongue along his bottom lip and said something else in Spanish. I didn't know what it was. I didn't really have to. He could be reciting his grocery list or a poem. My Spanish was limited to ordering off the menu at a Mexican restaurant. It was the sound of him speaking his native language that worked me up, and he knew it.

In response to his naughty teasing, I pressed a slick finger to his asshole, making him gasp. "You want this?"

"Oh…yes. Please, please, please… Por favor!"

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Vanilla 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really good !!!
JoannaDursi More than 1 year ago
**arc provided by Harlequin via NetGalley** 3.75 stars!!!! I'm so used to the male being the dominant in books that I wasn't sure how I was going to feel while reading Vanilla. Elise was much easier to relate to then I thought. She definitely showed the softer side of a Dom. The story showed so many different aspects of her life and yes, there was sex but it's not all what the book is about. I liked Elise and Niall together. I wouldn't mind reading more about them AND I want payoff for a certain little plot point!!!
smg5775 More than 1 year ago
While Elise's sexuality in VANILLA is femdom, this story is about a woman's life and how she fits her sexuality into it. Elise is a single woman who co-owns a company where her partner wants to play more than work. She is involved in a sexual relationship with a man whose significance is that he is only a sexual partner. She is the mediator and voice of reason between her mother and sister and her sister-in-law. War is breaking out within the family over her nephew's Bar Mitzvah. Her twin brother has opted out of the war. Elise is the only one who seems to care about her nephew and his needs and wants. I liked Elise. She is independent. She was broken in the past and she is wary of romantic and emotional involvement. She must deal with the put downs of her mother on choices she has made. When she learns the truths of the past she has to decide if she wants verification and validation of those truths or if she will let it go. When the opportunity for romance occurs she wants him but will he accept her as she is including her sexuality. Niall, her brother's co-worker, believes in the stereotype of female Dommes. Elise has to determine whether she can teach him the truth of her choices or let him walk away. The uncertainty on both their parts is painful but necessary to build trust between them if their relationship is to succeed. VANILLA is more than a story of sex. It is a woman's story of learning to let go of the past, live in the present with the choices she has made and not allow others to shame her for those choices, and building for a future with pride, dignity, and love. Elise does that.
RobertDowns More than 1 year ago
Elise kind of rocked my world. She’s damaged and half-crazy and filled with domination tendencies and a texting fiend who doesn’t let a single message go unanswered (the callback can occasionally be an issue for some) and sexy and an outfit whore and there’s probably just a bit more that I’m missing. But she’s good at falling for the wrong men. Which begs the question: Why settle for a bastard? Tis one of life’s great mysteries. Curiosity has gotten the better of me before, and it probably will again sometime soon. Questions tend to lead to more questions, and before I know it, it’s completely out of control. Niall wasn’t one of my favorite characters. Let’s just get that out of the way right now. Maybe it’s because I became protective of Elise, and her domineering antics. Were I to have her all to myself, though, I’d probably be in over my head in less than ten seconds. But good plans fail and even great ones don’t always succeed. VANILLA proved a little formulaic, but I was willing to forgive it this shortcoming, because yes, I was rather invested with Elise. Probably too much in this particular instance, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. Isn’t that why we read erotica? At least that’s the case with me anyway. I want to see the panties drop and the breasts bounce and the shower scene and the ladies scream and debonair with more than a hint of flair and slightly contrived plots that sometimes coat check my imagination and the occasional ménage a trois. And all I can say is I’m a man with an active imagination. And I don’t give a crap if it’s supposedly just for chicks. I received this book for free through NetGalley. Robert Downs Author of Falling Immortality and Graceful Immortality
Maria-Rose More than 1 year ago
This erotic romance tells the story of Elise and the three men she is involved with. The first is a man she refers to as George, her ex boyfriend whom she no longer has any contact with but with whom she is still emotionally attached. The second is Esteban, her lover who gives her what she desires but in a strictly sexual relationship with no strings. And the third is Niall, ostensibly the hero of the story, whom Elise meets at a photo gallery exhibition where pictures of her in various femdom poses are displayed. Niall works with Elise's brother and is not into kink and definitely not the variety that Elise likes. But something about him sparks her interest and vice versa. Elise will have to decide where she wants her future to lie. Firstly I have to say that I'm never quite sure how things will turn out in a Megan Hart story. Will there be a happy ending? Will lovers go their separate ways? I know to expect steamy sex scenes and heartwrenching emotions but I'm always on tenderhooks as the story plays out. In fact, that's one of the things that delights me about reading her novels, that they aren't predictable, and that's refreshing. I loved this story! It starts with a bang, showing Elise's dominant side in a steamy sex scene with her lover Esteban. It shows what she craves sexually, but her heart isn't in it - nor does she want her heart to be involved as it's still broken from her relationship with George. So already we have a complex character who is unfulfilled and not sure if she's even looking for someone. When she meets Niall, she knows that part of his interest is his fascination with her kink - a kink that makes him uncomfortable but doesn't stop him from pursuing her. I really liked Niall, and I felt that I understood him and his desire for Elise even as he wars with himself over what is acceptable to him. Their sex scenes are equally hot if different than the ones Elise shares with Esteban. Emotionally she becomes attached to Niall and this creates a problem for her, knowing he might reciprocate the feelings but not really understand her. And yet she finds he does know her, he pays attention to her and that's more then she's ever gotten in the bedroom from her submissive lovers. Secondary characters play a key role in the story, Elise's family and her co-workers and friends heightening the tension and adding depth to the emotional side of the story. It was a reminder that no matter what happens in the bedroom the rest of ones lives play out like everyone elses, with problems and friendships and the minutiae of living. I didn't know what Elise was going to decide, who she would end up with until the very end as the story played out. The ending was sweet and satisfying and lovely, making me laugh and shed a few tears. I look forward to more stories that test the boundaries of sex and love from this author. 5 stars.