Hair Pulling by Lily Harlem......
When I was a little girl with blonde pigtails, there was a boy, Simon, in my class who liked to tug and pull them. He always did it with a naughty grin and when the teacher wasn’t watching. Eventually me being me, I turned around and gave his hair a good yank back.
He looked hurt and asked why I’d done it, in fact I think his little seven-year old eyes filled with tears. I told him because he did it to me, and I didn’t like it. He confessed pretty quickly that he only did it because he wanted to be my friend, he liked me and was sad that I completely ignored him all the time – of course I did, he pulled my hair! I told him if he wanted to be my friend then he had to be nice to me, which I think included playing hopscotch with me and my friends at playtime, and not indulge in any more hair pulling.
After that Simon and I became firm friends until he moved away to live in Sweden. But I always remember the unusual way he tried to get my attention and when writing Grand Slam that memory of confusion came back to me. Though being an adult now, there were different undercurrents at play. But much like Simon, Travis pulls Marie’s hair to get her attention. He gathers it into his fist, drags her close and tugs until her scalp tingles and her legs go weak. Now that’s sexy hair pulling, being squashed up against a hot, hard man, who’s claimed you, taken over your senses, who wants to see if a little pain mixed with pleasure is your thing – oh yeah!
Here is the excerpt where Travis reveals just what he likes to do to women and how he likes to do it, lets just say, Marie’s eyes are opened wide and her heart rate cranks up several notches!
California had seduced me with promises of a new life working at Los Carlos Tennis Academy. What I didn’t expect was the dark, brooding number one seed, Travis Connolly, resisting my help. He wasn’t interested in my psychology skills. Instead his attention was drawn to the edgy, sharper corners of my desires, proving that they existed, setting me challenges and driving me crazy to the point of combustion.
I’m the best tennis player in the world—officially—so why would I need a damn woman full of psychobabble to get me on form? Despite my irritation, however, I can’t resist pushing Marie Sherratt’s buttons even though doing that shows her the darkest shades of my lust, the parts of me I buried deep. So I set her a challenge, one she rises to, one that has me rising too, and before long my game relies on her calling the shots, hitting the target and bending to my will. One thing was certain, being not just master of the court, but also of Marie is seriously good for my soul.
“Some people like pain,” he said, still not looking at me.
“Masochists you mean?”
“Yes, I suppose.”
Shit, was he trying to tell me that he enjoyed the pain the accident had left him with? If so, we really needed to discuss this. “That’s not the majority of people though.”
“No, but more than you think. And some people like administering pain.” He turned to me, cocked his head slightly and moved into the space I’d left between us.
I looked into his eyes. Swallowed and tasted his cologne as it traveled into my nostrils and then laced my tongue. “Would you consider them to be good people, Travis? These individuals that like to hurt others.”
“I’ve known a few people who like to give and receive higher sensations, and most of them I consider to be good friends as well as good people.”
I hesitated, felt his body heat radiating toward me, wrapping around me as I pondered his words. We were close, very close, and his consuming presence made logical thinking much harder than normal. “I’m not quite sure what you’re telling me.”
“You talk about pain like it’s a bad thing, Marie.”
He smiled but it wasn’t a sweet smile, more like one of a hunter who’d spotted prey.
“Pain is unpleasant for a reason,” I said. “Because it’s bad.”
“I disagree.” He raised his eyebrows and widened his eyes. It was a challenging, cocky gesture.
A tingle snaked its way up my spine and threatened to wreak havoc in my body by turning into a tremble. But I beat it down. I wouldn’t let a patient get to me this way. I was the one supposed to be holding the reins here.
“Maybe, Marie, you should open your mind to new ideas with a little more grace.”
“I fail to see how I haven’t been graceful in discussing your theory that pain is good.”
“Can we keep it that way?”
“I hope so.”
“In that case,” he flicked his attention from my eyes and looked at my hair, “would you like me to demonstrate?”
Damn, the guy made me feel tiny. Even though I was wearing heels, his broad chest and wide shoulders were looming over me. “Okay.”
He twitched the right side of his mouth into a half-smile. Now he looked like a hunter who’d captured his prey. A trickle of fight or flight seeped into my system. Which would be my best option?
“Now that’s the first rule.” He reached up and undid the clasp holding my hair on the top of my head. It tumbled around my shoulders as the clasp fell to the floor.
“Doesn’t consent require knowing what you’re agreeing to?” Fuck, with him this close and stroking my hair, spreading it out, I’d pretty much agree to anything. Who was I kidding? Fight or flight was not an option, the only thing that shot through my mind was giving myself over to him. Allowing him to do whatever he wanted, control my body, feed it what it needed.
Damn, it had been too long since I’d been with a man. It was making me desperate.
He slotted his other hand over the left side of my head, the sound of him sliding his fingers over the shell of my ear noisy. My breath hitched and I locked my knees to stabilize my stance. I stared up at him, noting the small shafts of black hair sneaking out of his skin on his chin and the way his bottom lip was a little plumper than the top.
“You see, some pain,” he said, gathering my hair up at my crown and tugging to create tension on the roots, “can heighten the awareness of everything else going on in the body.”
He pulled harder, forcing my head to tip back.
I gasped as discomfort shot across my scalp.
He increased the pressure a little more.
I reached out and clutched at his shirt, felt his hard chest beneath. “Travis, I—”
“Shh, I’m just showing you.” He slipped his arm around my waist, dragged me close and yanked my hair, really hard.
“Ow, I—” A barrage of sensations blasted through my system. The feel of him pressing up against me, hot hard male, all wide pecs and solid thighs. The pain from having my hair tugged with force, and the awareness that my belly was shoved right up against his groin. A groin that held a wedge of thick flesh.
“Just feel,” he whispered, hovering his lips over mine. “Endorphins are rushing into your bloodstream, giving you a natural high as pain alerts your nerve endings that something exciting is happening.” He slid his free hand up my back, tracing the outline of my spine through my blouse.
I breathed in the air he was breathing out, warm and sweet. The scream of hurt in my scalp made me want to wriggle but being held so firmly and confidently kept me still. The heat of the discomfort slipped down my nape and neck and over my shoulders, then combined with the lovely sensation of him stroking my back.
“Can you feel it?” he whispered. “Pain mixing with pleasure, the lines between the two blurring.”
I could feel it with every fiber of my being. My skin was alive with awareness, my breasts were heavy and desperate for stimulation, and between my legs I was buzzing for action. Good, hard man action, preferably of the naked, sweaty variety. “Yes,” I gasped.
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MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
As a fan of sports-themed romances I was immediately drawn to this book and the nicely flowing collaboration from Ms. Harlem and Ms. Felthouse. As both authors are known for their erotic works it was clear from the start that there was going to be lots of steamy interludes and these scenes in fact became quite frequent and veered into the realm of BDSM with some spanking and other play. The scenes never became too overly intense though so readers turned off by this kind of play will still want to take a chance on this book.
Travis is still recovering from an injury and has decided to start over in America, turning his back on the BDSM lifestyle he's found comfort in. He's felt a bit lost since coming to America with tennis his only outlet. To help him recover he's put in close quarters with the slightly staid sports psychologist Marie and it's not long before he introduces her to the BDSM lifestyle as they start mixing business with pleasure. Travis was arrogant from the start but I still found myself drawn to him and his sexiness. He can be sweet and playful one minute and domineering the next but he's still a good match to bring Marie out of her shell. He claims to be a Dom but I was never fully convinced that he was in complete control in their play. It was a very washed out form of BDSM that the two of them engaged in.
Marie was dedicated to her craft but was quickly willing to do anything to help Travis' game. To get him to heed her "psychobabble" she agrees to let him introduce her to BDSM and their on and off play soon becomes a real relationship as she blindly follows along towards their quickly rushed HEA. Marie wasn't a complete Sub in my opinion with her questioning of his commands in their watered down BDSM scenes. She was a supportive heroine, and though she enjoyed discovering the dark side, she was never completely comfortable in the Sub role.
The tennis scenes were well-written putting me in the center of action. I would've enjoyed seeing more of these vividly depicted scenes and been introduced to more players so as to broaden the scope of the story and make it more well-rounded though. Even with these small quibbles I still found this an entertaining fantasy read where you don't want to think too deeply about consequences, just enjoy the erotica ride of these two apparent opposites coming together.
My rating for this book is a B-/C+
*I received this book from the authors for review in exchange for my honest opinion.
Lily Harlem lives in the UK with Mr Harlem and a host of rescued animals. She is an award winning author of contemporary erotic romance and writes for publishers on both sides of the Atlantic including Ellora's Cave, HarperCollins, Total-E-Bound, Xcite and Sweetmeats Press as well as self-publishing. Her HOT ICE series regularly receives high praise and industry nominations and sportsmen who are talented both in and out of the bedroom often feature in her novels. But whichever book you choose of Lily's one thing you can be sure of is it will be wildly romantic and down-and-dirty sexy. Enjoy!
Facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lily-Harlem-author-page/200182030094568
Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over seventy publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include Best Bondage Erotica 2012, 2013 and 2014 and Best Women's Erotica 2013. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies. She owns Erotica For All, and is book editor for Cliterati. Find out more at: http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9