Stare Him Down
Stare Down # 3
By Riley Murphy
This is Michaela and James’ story…
When he agreed to walk away from the lifestyle for her, he never expected she’d subversively push him back into it. Until she did…
After tragedy stole the only man James Barrington looked up to, his perfect and orderly life hit a brick wall. One minute he was the right-hand man to the owner of the company, and in the next he was the boss fighting to stop a hostile takeover the only way he knew how. He needed to marry his late mentor’s over-protected daughter, Michaela Donavan, and stay married to her until the threat to the company was averted.
While they were together, James had no intention of disrespecting his in-name-only wife by remaining entrenched in the lifestyle. For the time being he was prepared to walk away from his Dom-like pursuits. He had to. Michaela was the opposite of everything he embodied. She was soft, where he was hard. Gentle, when he favored rough. She was refined and elegant. The epitome of a virtuous woman, and he wasn’t going to do anything to change that. Circumstances may have forced them to enter into a marriage of convenience in order to keep her father’s legacy alive, but the moment that legacy was secured they’d both be free to go their separate ways.
Michaela knew this may be her only opportunity to finally get the one man she has always fantasized about. She’s spent years studying him. Idolizing him. Wanting him in a way she wanted no other. And now? Well, her father always told her to seize whatever good came out of the bad, and Michaela was ready to do just that. Heartbroken over what happened, and faced with the task of saving the company, she sees James’ sensible offer as the perfect solution. A way to achieve two things she desired most at one time. James may consider this a marriage of convenience, but she’s determined to covertly change his mind on the matter.
One submissive tease at a time.
Maybe if James had been a different man he wouldn’t have noticed her subtle actions. Maybe if he was any other guy he could have overlooked them. Truth be told, he might have had a fighting chance if each “accidental” midnight encounter didn’t fire his blood and call to the Dom in him to come out and master this beautiful woman.
He couldn’t do that. This was Michaela Donavan. The innocent vanilla who had no idea what her sultry actions were doing to a seasoned Dom like him. This was no time to let desire get in the way. He had to maintain control and stay focused in order to save the company. Surely, once this happened he’d able to put aside the wickedly dirty thoughts her unintentional actions inspired in him before it was too late and he acted on them.
Michaela wasn’t going to give up. But with the prospect of their arrangement coming to an end before she succeeded to re-Dom him in her direction, she knew what she had to do.
She had to go submissive on him.
Guest reviewer JM here. I am reviewing Riley Murphy book – Stare Him Down. First off, I am a big fan of the BDSM aspect of the book. The book was set up a little different than I have read before. The history part of the book was very long spanning several years. It then launched into a more traditional style of story telling. The book shifts the point of view shifted between the two main characters James and Michaela, which I liked. There was a lot of anticipation in the history of James and Michaela, and it finally got down to the huba huba action once the history of the two is over and it started moving along.
The story was interesting – James is a prominent Dom and Michaela is the boss’s daughter who is really into James way before it is appropriate. We explore where James and Michaela become friends before they get together when Michaela is a teen and then in college. Michaela plays mind games throughout the book trying to snare the reluctant, only because she is the boss’s daughter, James. This kinda bugged me as I didn’t like her trying to trick James into things. The book has a few surprises that did keep me guessing and did move at a steady pace. I am not giving a lot of plot here because I don’t want to give any spoilers because the principal section of the book took a surprising turn and is the main thrust of the book.
There is a lot of talk of sub training technique in the story, but not necessarily a lot of detail about sex. The lack of detail is why it only got three and a half stars of explicit because there is more technique than actual play in my opinion. Now don’t get me wrong there is plenty of steamy stuff.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. James and Michaela are intriguing and dynamic.
“Before I go anywhere I thought we’d play a game.”
“Aren’t you tired?” He didn’t look up. He just stared with unseeing eyes at one of the numerous envelopes in his hand.
“No. I’d call this game Truth or Dare, but all I have is the magic lasso so we’ll call this a game of honesty to the bone. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?”
Triple goddamn fuck. Only his eyes moved as he looked at her across the table. “A game? Why?”
“It will be fun.” He knew for sure it wouldn’t. “I lasso you first.” She made a big show of tying a loop, and when she looked as if she might actually try to throw it over him, he reached forward and grabbed the coiled end out of her hands.
“I wouldn’t want you to hurt yourself.”
She gave him one of her infamous Da Vinci muse’s smiles, and said, “You have to play by the rules.”
Yes, and if the nasty devil on his shoulder stayed out of this, he would. He ran his finger over the cord that was surprisingly soft, and inclined his head. “I’m listening.”
“You have to answer the question I ask you with total, and I mean absolute truth, so help you God.”
He tried not to grin, but she was so serious he couldn’t help teasing her. “Okay, should we pinkie swear on it?”
She tugged on the end of the cord she held, forcing him to keep a firmer grip. “Listen, if you don’t answer truthfully then there’s no point to any of this.”
Interesting. Did she even realize she’d just admitted she had an agenda so this wasn’t a game per se? “Agreed. The same goes for you when I get my turn, right?”
“Sure.” This quick reply told him she wasn’t thinking about the end game, only the beginning. “I’m ready, are you?” He barely had the chance to nod when she blurted out, “Did you have thoughts today about having sex with me?”
Alrighty. To his mind there were a couple of things here that he needed to pay attention to. Some more obvious than others. First, her conviction. It was clear to him that she’d been planning to hijack him like this for quite some time. Second, she’d be a lousy bridge player because she didn’t have a strategic plan in mind. And third, just like the night in his hotel room a few years ago, she had not one drop of patience. Even now, she seemed barely able to contain herself, waiting for his answer.
And what did that mean?
He had to make his answer count. Better than that. It had to be epic. All-encompassing. Screw it. His answer was going to blow her mind.
Riley Murphy writes sexy, humorous, and emotional romance, happy ending guaranteed. An optimist, she believes life is amazing, people are complicated, but in a good way, and we should never stop learning. Riley currently calls Florida home with her gorgeous husband. She has two phenomenal kids, one adorable-to-the-max grandchild, and a very bossy pooch.
When Riley’s not working she enjoys reading, oil painting, and getting to the Sunday crossword before anyone else does, so she can fill-in all the easy answers first, and pull the smart card with the family.
Things Riley loves:
Connecting with readers
Doing giveaways for her readers
Things Riley Hates:
Laundry. Seriously. She’d rather slam her fingers in a car door than do the dreaded bleach load.
A few of Riley’s favorite reviewer quotes:
If you love intellectual mind candy, read Ms. Murphy’s work!
Creative, profound and soul searing scenes abound…
One wonders if Ms. Riley is in the sex therapy and marriage counseling business as a day job. The D/s part of this story is Fabulous.
If Riley wasn’t an author she’d be an international spy with top-level security so she could have a peek at Area 51 and decide for herself if those green guys are for real. Failing that, she’d likely go with chicken sexer.
You can visit Riley website at:
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