Playing the Game (Neighborly Affection, #1)
She expects dinner with neighbors, but gets sex with a side of safewords.
Mechanical engineer Alice still drools over her sexy neighbors a year after she’s moved in. She can’t decide whether they’re roommates or partners, but either way, they spark a wanton desire in her that has her imagination–and vibrator–working overtime.
Henry, director of everything around him, studies human nature and applies philosophies to his paintings as well as his relationships. Quirky, polite to a fault, and formal, he follows his own code of honor even when it means denying himself.
Flirtatious and playful, Jay needs stability, guidance, and to please others. His antics counterbalance Henry’s stuffy ways while he brings a level of vulnerability and fun to everything the trio does.
BDSM play with the enigmatic artist and flirtatious joker across the hall allows Alice to put aside the linear thought processes which have kept her unsatisfied and distant with other lovers. She must dismiss her preconception of love, sacrificing her independence, if she’s to find a permanent place in their beds and hearts.
Henry clicked his tongue. “Jay and I have both noticed your interest, Alice. It’s nothing of which you need be ashamed. We’re flattered.”
She waited for his gentle brush-off. God, why couldn’t she meet any available nice guys? Ones who could dress themselves in the morning and put a meal on the table once in a while? Ones who could hold her attention for more than three dates but wouldn’t pressure her for commitment?
“Definitely flattered,” Jay chimed in. His gaze raked over her body.
The move might’ve earned a stranger a drink in the face, but not Jay, her de facto best friend. His look was what she’d wanted when she put the dress on. Even if he was untouchable.
No rule against fantasizing. She’d apologize and promise to rein it in and everything would be fine.
“Manners, Jay.” Henry released her arm to pull out her chair. “I won’t tolerate such boorish behavior. Alice deserves more dignified attentions.”
She studied her sandals against the dining room rug. Dignified, undignified…hell, she liked ’em both.
“She wants to play, Henry. You know she does, even if she hasn’t said so.”
Jay rarely sounded so serious. She opened her mouth to ask about their game when Henry spoke.
“Enough, Jay. Sit down and keep your eyes on your plate if you can’t be polite.”
Jay’s eyes, defiant, lusting, caught hers. And then he sat and stared at his plate. What the hell had she walked into tonight?
“Alice. Please accept my apologies for Jay’s rather forward behavior.” Henry took a softer tone with her than with Jay, gentler, and his hand grazed her bare back. “The young are always in such a rush.”
She would’ve smiled if she weren’t so confused by their behavior tonight. Jay might have her birthday beat by eighteen months, but the impatience and immaturity she had shed still clung to him. Henry had a decade on Jay, but age wasn’t what set him apart. She imagined him mature and controlled even as a child. Dignified.
Henry tipped his head and captured her gaze. He was taller than she was. Not much. She might match him in heels, not that it mattered, since they weren’t dating and never would be. His height hit the sweet spot that made standing beside him exquisite, even if she’d never admit it aloud to the ones she turned down, the ones who weren’t the perfect fit.
Henry’s fingertips trailed over her spine, and she shivered.
“Except when they’re a bit skittish,” he murmured. “Is that what you are, Alice? Perhaps you’re feeling unsure of your place here?”
She couldn’t meet his gaze for long. His eyes invited her to drown in tender concern, implied an intimacy that made her nervous and needy. Jay proved no help, his focus locked to his plate.
“If you don’t wish to play, my dear, that’s fine. We three may still have a lovely dinner, and your longing looks will be no less welcome for the declined invitation.”
Her gaze flicked back to Henry’s. She wet her lips. Beneath the nerves welled a thrilling jolt, an anticipatory burst of glee.
“But there could be more if I want it?”
This sexy as hell book brings a new erotic level to BDSM. Alice a smart and sexy women can't get enough of her neighbors Jay and Henry and when she enters into a Dom/sub relationship with them things turn from hot to sizzling, they start of friends and turn into so much more. The author brings you right into their world, the sex scenes are amazingly sensual and crazy hot, she writes these scenes so creatively that you feel part of it and beg for more. The chemistry between these three could bring down the house. I loved the story and the getting to know the characters on a deeper level. I felt a little lost at the end almost as though it shouldn't have ended yet buy otherwise this story brings you on a wild ride sexually. I do t want to give too much away, you have to experience this story on your own. 4 stars
Crossing the Lines (Neighborly Affection, #2)
A safeword won’t save her from love.
After six months of cavorting in her neighbors’ bed, Alice admits signing the contract to be Henry’s sexual submissive is the best decision she’s ever made. He delivers on his promise to give her sexual satisfaction. But submitting to his dominance alongside his long-term lover shows her the sharp line between sex and love. Henry loves goofy, eager-to-please Jay. Neither man has promised to love her.
Hiding her feelings grows harder every night she spends with them. As they struggle with wounds old and new, her emotional turmoil threatens to shred their arrangement. Is it time to bow out before they show her the door? Or can a triangle be the shape of true love?
Silver metal attachment points dangled from brown leather straps dark as a liver chestnut and loose-wrapped in deep green silk. Green like the cloth peeking out of Henry’s pocket. Green like Jay’s ring. She bounced on the balls of her feet, giddy with relief. These cuffs were hers. She belonged.
“Do you remember your safeword, Alice?”
“Yes, Henry.” Yes, yes, I know it, please put those on me.
“Tell it to me now, please.”
“Pistachio.” I won’t need it.
She struggled to restrain her impatience under his thoughtful gaze.
“Hold out your arms for—”
Thrusting her arms forward, she offered her hands side by side and loosely fisted.
Henry raised his hand until his palm brushed her fingers where they curled under her hands. He bent at the waist and bestowed two gentle kisses, one to the back of each hand. He revealed a slight smile as he straightened. “Your eagerness pleases me. Perhaps it’s been too long for us.”
Always. Two weeks of waiting and wanting, and such a short time when fulfilling her sexual desires became a joyful hobby for him. He’d taken a year to make the decision, to agree to invite her into his relationship with Jay. How hard had Jay pushed to make that happen? Gratitude flooded her, both for Jay’s interest and Henry’s willingness to play along.
Henry slipped the cuffs on her and tightened the straps. The silk slid over her skin. Two inches of chain separated her wrists. Henry lifted them over her head, extending her arms until the stretch hurt before lowering them a smidge. “Is this position comfortable, Alice? Be truthful, or our time together will end early tonight.”
Jesus. Was he trying to scare her? His voice held a sharp edge of command. A safety reason, muscle strain, probably, had to be the cause, but to threaten to end the night early… “It pulls a little on my shoulders, but it doesn’t hurt.”
He lowered her wrists another fraction of an inch. “Better?”
“Good. Be still for me.”
She complied while he made adjustments above her. Metal spun, whirring like screw locks on carabiners.
Henry backed away to the edge of the light. “Relax your shoulders, Alice.”
She lowered her shoulders as best she could and shivered at the secure grip of the cuffs around her wrists.
“Rotate your hands for me. Wiggle your fingers.”
She obeyed without question. His safety concerns were for her benefit, and she wouldn’t interfere no matter how desperate she grew to feel his touch. Having the length of his body grazing hers as he’d held her arms above her head hadn’t helped. Holding still had been difficult when she’d wanted to rub herself against him like a cat.
He circled her, always at the edge of the light, prowling. Jay stood somewhere in the darkness, his role in this game as shrouded as his body.
“You’re a very good girl, Alice.” Henry spoke in conversational, relaxed tones. He stepped in front of her, a foot away, and unbuttoned his jacket. “I want you to understand that now, before we begin. You haven’t displeased me in any way. Do you understand?”
He held his coat out behind him, and Jay stepped from the darkness to take it.
“Yes, Henry. I haven’t done anything wrong.”
Henry unbuttoned his shirt cuffs and rolled his sleeves to the elbow.
“Correct.” He leaned in and kissed her, hard, one hand on her chin holding her in place as he nipped at her lips. “This is not a punishment but a pleasure.”
Jay, Henry and Alice are back and sexier and hotter then ever. Each character is trying to figure out the meaning or feelings in their sub/Dom three way relationship and what the future may hold. This book is just as sexy but with more emotions hanging out there. Alice's emotions especially. She doesn't want to give this relationship up, she's more than fulfilled but she also has a deeper connection with these two guys and she can't loose that either. I don't want to give too much away but I know you'll be just as hooked as I was in this story and cannot wait to read book 3. Very sexy, sensual and emotional. 4 stars
Playing the Game (Neighborly Affection #1)
Crossing the Lines (Neighborly Affection #2)
Neighborly Affection characters:
The hem of Alice’s dress tickled her thighs as she took her seat. “I think I’m getting better at this interviewing thing.”
“Oh?” Tracing the rise and fall of her knuckles, Henry raised her hand to his mouth and delivered a slow kiss. “How so, sweet girl?”
“Well, I mean, okay, it’s still odd to be telling strangers about our arrangement. Not that I’m ashamed.”
“No, of course you aren’t.” Henry claimed the seat beside her. “You’ve accepted a challenge to explore your sexuality with honesty and purpose.” The solid bulk of his body, the heat of his thigh pressed to hers, steadied her. “It’s a noble, delightful pursuit.”
“A lonnnnng pursuit,” Jay chimed in. Mr. Can’t-Sit-Still dropped to the dove gray carpet at their feet and rested his head against their knees. “What you two need is more snap judgments. No time to brake. You just gotta pedal on through.”
“A dangerous proposition, dear boy.” Gripping Jay’s shaggy black hair, Henry tugged with teasing strength.
Even the suggestion of control fueled Jay’s imagination enough to produce a throaty whimper. Maybe they’d put on a show for her tonight.
“What if, in your haste, you discover too late the package you carry isn’t properly secured?” Henry released his grip and smoothed the wrinkles in her dress Jay’s squirming had wrought. “You might lose what you hold most dear.”
Jay slung his arms around their calves. “Nope. I got a good hold.” Straightening his back, he shuffled closer, tipped his head, and shot them his widest charm grin. “But if you want me to inspect a package for you, I’m always up for that.”
She bumped his ear with her knee. He rocked dramatically sideways, sprawling his legs out but clamping down with his arms so she and Henry rocked with him. “See? Good hold.”
“So noted, stud.” She curled into Henry’s shoulder and let herself feast on the citrus and leather wash of his cologne. “Maybe we’re both getting better at this interview thing now that we have a few under our belts.”
“You’re wearing a belt with that dress?” Craning his head back and wedging himself between her knees, Jay choked on a cough. “Alice, do you know you’re not even wearing—“
“A modicum of discretion, please, my dears.” Henry’s command tone had Jay in a formal waiting pose faster than waffles had him at the breakfast table. “In our increased comfort with interviewing, we must remember to spare a thought for those only meeting us for the first time now.”
Turning, he captured her with his pine-dark gaze. He’d tucked her panties away in a pocket before they’d entered the room. If they got through the interview, maybe he’d allow her to search his suit for them afterward. Desire itched in her fingers. She locked her hands in a tight clasp in her lap.
Eyes gleaming, Henry rewarded her with a wisp of a smile. “Not all of them have joined us for Alice’s recounting of playtimes past.”
“It’s good to stay one step ahead.” For her, for sure. For Henry, hell, he always worked half a dozen steps ahead. “Have you looked at all these bookshelves on our interview stops? These readers have voracious appetites.” Running to catch up with him tended to leave her breathless and sweaty in his presence. Not a bad way to spend the evening. “We should make more memories before we fall behind.”
“Adjourn for playtime?” Henry rose to his feet. His tailored slacks flashed an outline of beauty beneath. “Yes, I believe we’ve finished here.”
Jay shot up and hustled to the door. “Interviews. Piece of cake, right?”
“Yup.” She took Henry’s hand, and he pulled her to him. “Piece of cake.”
The luckiest part about being a good girl? She got to have her cake and eat it, too.
About M.Q. Barber and the Neighborly Affection series:
The story that began in PLAYING THE GAME (Neighborly Affection #1) continues in CROSSING THE LINES (Neighborly Affection #2). A Neighborly Affection short story, THREE-WAY TIE, is available as a free read on Goodreads.
M.Q. Barber likes to get lost in thought. She writes things down so she can find herself again.
Often found staring off into space or frantically scratching words on sticky notes, M.Q. lives with one very tolerant, easily amused husband and one very tolerant, easily amused puppy.
She has a soft spot for romances that explore the inner workings of the heart and mind alongside all that steamy physical exertion. She loves memorable characters, witty banter, and heartfelt emotion in any genre.
The former Midwestern gal is the author of the Neighborly Affection contemporary romance series. Pick a safeword, grab a partner or two, and jump in.