Welcome! I'm Juniper Bell. The Year of the Rabbit starts off with a bang at the condo of Komo Brown, the most sought-after man in Chicago. What else can you expect when a picky former archeologist, a horny movie star, and a cantankerous accountant are thrown together? Meet Komo:
Let me also introduce the famous and horny Cherie St. Clair...
And so our story begins...
Bloody footprints. What a way to start the weekend.
Komo drummed his fingers on the glass patio door. It offered a lovely view of the snowy courtyard along with the aforementioned set of bloody prints. Not a typical sight in downtown Chicago, but then again, few sights at the home of Chicago’s most sought-after gigolo could be called typical.
Bloody footprints. What to do?
He could call the police. Unfortunately, a certain world-famous member of the female sex, currently tied up in his bedroom, might object to a sudden invasion by law enforcement.
He could follow the footprints as far as they led. If he found himself in the vicinity of a dead body, well, being dead, it would be in no particular hurry to be discovered. If it was only wounded, the inevitable call to the authorities would be required.
His client had been waiting too long already. She didn’t deserve to be cheated out of her happy ending by the noisy arrival of paramedics.
He let out a low whistle. Instantly his cantankerous servant, who never seemed to sleep, glided to his side. Tomako kept her head bowed, her body in its usual humble stance.
“Get to the bottom of those, would you?” He gestured to the red marks on his courtyard tiles.
“If you need my help, you know where I’ll be.”
He saw the dark fans of her eyelashes quiver against her ivory cheeks. For months now, he’d been desperately lusting after her. But how could he despoil someone so tender, so vulnerable? He hadn’t even wanted to hire her, but she’d threatened to take a job as an accountant at a nearby brothel if he turned her away.
Brusquely, he waved his hand in dismissal. He’d been away from the bedroom too long. He’d left Cherie trembling on the edge of orgasm for hours now. She’d paid good money and deserved her satisfaction.
Nice work if you can get it. Though sometimes he thought his previous career as an archeologist might be preferable. As a gigolo, his pickiness tended to keep his income in check.
With a sigh, he ambled back to the bedroom. Cherie’s pornographically spectacular body lay spread-eagled on his black satin sheets. He estimated that 65% of her was in its original state. The rest had been altered for her movie-going audience. Cherie could get any man she wanted, but she couldn’t be bothered to offer an orgasm in return. So she brought her horny self to him whenever she was in town. He assumed others tended to her needs in the other major metropolitan areas.
Though blindfolded, she sensed his arrival and moaned loudly. She arched her chest, thrusting her plum-sized nipples toward him.
“Now, now. All in good time.” He soothed her with a long stroke of his hand across her breasts, down her perfect, flat stomach, to her pink sex. He palmed her pussy, preparing for her final descent into orgasmic bliss. She writhed like an animal. This was a job, no doubt about it. Cherie left him cold, though of course he managed to fulfill his professional obligations.
Though lately, only by picturing a certain cranky servant had he managed to do the deed. Fantasies of Tomako’s slim, lithe body produced instant arousal. He ought to pay her extra for her unintentional fluffing services.
Tomako stood in the doorway, as if he’d conjured her with his lewd visions. And damn, hadn’t he told her not to call him master? It inspired far too many lusty impulses.
“Yes, what is it?” Then he saw the gun in her little hand. It shook slightly. Her dark eyes were wide with shock, ink blots against her bloodless face.
“I took care of the ... problem.”
“You did?” He made a gesture meant to be calming.
“One of her fans.” She waved the gun wildly at the bed.
“One of my fans was here?” Behind the blindfold, Cherie looked absurdly pleased.
“He went crazy. He had a rabbit.”
“I had a bit part in Fatal Attraction, as a child.” Cherie frowned. “Maybe the rabbit was a tribute.”
“Shut up, you! You nearly got that poor bunny killed.” A sob shook Tomako’s slender frame. “I love rabbits, they’ve always been my favorite animals. I relate to them.”
Komo didn’t like the feel of this. “Tomako, hand me the gun. Why do you have a gun, anyway?”
“It was his. He was going to kill you. I couldn’t let him.” The gun shook like a leaf in a gale.
“Of course you couldn’t. Is, um, is he okay?”
“I left him out in the snow. He’s really mad.”
Relief whooshed through Komo. At least his faithful servant hadn’t killed a man in his defense.
“The blood was fake,” she added. “He wanted to lure you outside, kill you, then have his way with what’s her name.”
“Cherie St. Clair,” said the movie star, sounding irritated. “If no one’s going to get me off, could someone get me out of here? The last thing I need is paparazzi showing up.”
Komo stopped in the middle of taking off Cherie’s blindfold. The movie star blinked, adjusting to the light and the strange scene. Komo straightened up and took a step toward Tomako. He had to get that gun from her before she did something crazy.
“Are you coming to kiss me?” God, the wistful look in her eyes.
“No, I’m coming to take the gun away so we can all relax.”
“Oh no. I’m not giving up the gun. You think I’m just a quiet little girl, don’t you? Someone no one ever notices?”
“I never even knew you existed until now,” said Cherie. Komo had to admire her cheek, still tied up but just as snippy as ever. He tossed a pillow over her sex.
Tomako ignored her and pinned her wide dark eyes on Komo. “Is that how you see me? A little nothing? A little scared rabbit?”
“No, of course not.”
“Don’t humor me. Tell me the truth.”
“You want the truth?”
She nodded bravely, but couldn’t hide her fearful wince.
“I think about you all the time. I think about your dark, satiny hair and the way you walk, like silent music. I think about what’s under that coat you wear. Take it off, now.”
A flush of color swept her face. As if transfixed, she took off her coat, transferring the gun from one hand to the other. The body underneath was just as graceful and sensual as he’d dreamed. She wore a simple white t-shirt and black cotton pants, like what a dancer would wear while running errands. He ravished her with his eyes. When he met hers again, the look in them made his heart clench. Hope against hope, exquisite vulnerability.
“Is that what you wanted to hear? That I’d rather lick your little toe than give a movie star one more multiple orgasm?”
“Hey! I will be demanding my money back, FYI.” Cherie wriggled against the silk ties at her wrists. They didn’t give, of course. He was a professional.
Komo ignored her. “That my idea of heaven would be feeding you strawberries in a hot tub, licking a stray drop of juice off your nipple, watching you tremble and sigh? That I wonder all day long what you’re doing here, why you work for me, where you came from? That I want to know everything about you, that I hope you feel something for me…”
“I do,” she said fervently. “I do, I do.”
The universe fell into sweet, singing alignment as their eyes met and clung. Neither moved. Neither breathed. Komo barely noticed that Tomako had dropped the gun. She stood awkwardly, arms dangling, as if unsure what was next.
“Oh for heaven’s sake,” snapped Cherie. “Why don’t you take your shirt off and be done with it?”
Time for her to go. Dragging his eyes away from his lovely Tomako, knowing the two of them had all the time in the world, Komo crossed to the bed to untie Cherie.
The movie star gathered her clothes but didn’t bother to put them on. Naked, she strolled to the door, tossing Tomako a mocking look as she passed.
“It is the Year of the Rabbit, after all. But that’s okay.” She twitched her hips as she made her exit. “At least someone’s getting a happy ending.”
Thank you so much for reading! Here's the link to get back on the tour bus. I hope you have a great time on the Year of the Rabbit blog hop. Tons of prizes are up for grabs, including a Nook and your choice of ebook from my backlist. My next release is June 14 from Samhain -- "Restraining the Receptionist." If you'd like to check out the blurb, just scroll down. Thanks for stopping by. Happy Easter!