Monday, October 5, 2015

Blitz: "Terms of Service" by Emma Nichols

Terms of Service cover




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 Blurb:


People change. Motives change. Situations can change.



For six months, Hannah Matthews has held it together as best she can for her twin girls. On Labor Day, she returned from their vacation only to discover her husband had cleaned out the apartment and bank account, but left the bills. Over-educated and under-employed, her lease has increased, her income hasn’t, and she's forced to seek an unconventional living situation.



Affluent businessman Gavin Meyers is looking for someone to punish since his divorce has left him bitter and wounded. When his lawyer suggests he find a hobby, he can only think of one: revenge. When he spots a personal ad for a sugar daddy, he knows this woman will suffice.



Keeping it perfectly legal, he has a lawyer draft a contract, the Terms of Service for their new life together. It seems cut and dried, but love, lust, and revenge are complications that defy every perfect plan.




Snippet #1


Gavin Meyers glared at his wife across the mediation table.  “Let me get this straight,” he began in a low threatening voice.  “You cheat on me with my own sister, I catch you in the act, and you expect alimony?”



Anyone else would have been cowering, but not India.  They had met at Yale where after growing up in an affluent home in a wealthy country club community and years of private schools, he found her bohemian ways enthralling.  As he graduated with his MBA, the final step to complete his grooming to take over the family business, he began to imagine his life with the cookie cutter, pearl wearing, demure, socialite stay-at-home wife who would then transition rather easily into stay-at-home soccer mom, and a knot had formed in his gut.  He had wanted something different, wanted to stand out from the crowd.  He had wanted a wife who would keep their relationship spicy, liven up his life.



Technically, he got what he wanted.  India was not an easy conquest.  She didn’t want to be married, not just to him, but also to anyone.  She didn’t want to be tied down.  She did, in fact, try to run away the night before the wedding to join an artists’ commune in New Mexico.  At the time it had seemed fortunate that the buses had stopped running in Hartford for the night and her father intercepted her.  He shook his head at the memory.  Maybe it would have been better to suffer that humiliation than the one he currently endured.



His little sister, Elizabeth, whom everyone had called Bitty since birth, had always been the black sheep of the family.  Now, however, she had transitioned into full-blown outcast.  She had done the unthinkable.  Her first faux pas was participating in the act which resulted in the breakup of her bro ther’s marriage, but… and this part was even more unforgivable as the word was whispered only behind closed doors and after glancing conspicuously around to see who might be eavesdropping… she was a lesbian.  A lesbian!



No, it wasn’t losing India that had Gavin so outraged.  It was losing half of his possessions, half of his wealth, and all of his pride.  “Well?”  He demanded an answer to his question.



“This isn’t about money,” she said quietly, her enormous blue eyes completely devoid of all emotion.  “It’s about what’s fair.”



He felt the heat rise in his face and he worked to control the rage building within him.  “Fair?  Please.  Honestly, India.  The more you speak, the more I know it’s about the money.”  He stared at her for a moment.  “So, what?  You want to be able to fund your own little starving artists’ colony?  You want to be able to sculpt for sheer pleasure and never worry about a job again?  Is that it?  You were unfaithful, you broke our vows, I kicked you and my scheming little sister out, and now you think you deserve money?”  He looked as though if he could reach across the table, throttle her and somehow get away with it despite a room full of witnesses, he would do it.



After taking a few deep breaths to manage his anger, he looked around the conference table.  His lawyer, Ms. Pendergast, was sitting to his right, urging him to calm down by means of a severe look.  He had hired a woman to make him appear more sympathetic.  Better than how he currently felt…pathetic and completely emasculated.  Shrugging he said, “I believe we are at an impasse.  I refuse to give in to the incredibly high demands this woman is making of me.  I refuse to accept that she can have an affair that ends our marriage and expect me to give her money.  We both graduated from Yale.  Let her get a job for a change.”  He saw India redden and look away.  “I realize that is a foreign concept to you, my dear, but I insist.  I told you to take your car, your possessions.  I even offered you our cottage on the Outer Banks.  All of this I am willing to give you, but you want more?  And not just more, but you want $20,000 a month until you remarry?”  He expelled a humorless laugh.



“I know how you feel about marriage.  Take my offer and run, because I refuse to fund the rest of your life.”  He stood and shook hands with everyone present, save his wife.  To her he simply offered a suggestion.  “Think about it.”




Terms of Service teaserSnippet #2


“What’s going on with you, Hannah?”  He spoke gently.



Her head dropped.  Finally, in exasperation, she mumbled, “I don’t want to talk about it.” Then she looked away.



“Okay,” he said calmly. “Let’s start with an easier question.  Where did you go when you left the house today?”  Gavin concentrated on maintaining a calm exterior, even if it killed him.



She sighed.  “I had to go to a child support hearing.” She stared at him with wide eyes.



It was as though she was willing him to ask the right questions so she could give him the correct answers, the answers he so desperately needed.  “So, Amy was with you,” Gavin said.  Hannah nodded in response.  “All right.  I take it the hearing went badly?”  He hadn’t had to deal with this aspect of divorce proceedings.



Suddenly, the dam broke and Hannah spewed forth the details of the hearing.  “He brought the stripper with him,” she mourned.  “I can’t believe he brought her with him!”  She set her mug on the railing as she shook from the emotion of it all.



Gavin studied her.  Was she still attracted to her ex?  Was this why she was so upset?  Or, he desperately hoped, was it something else?  “Do you still want to be with him?” Truth be told, he had to know.



The look on Hannah’s face said it all.  She was revolted, disgusted at the idea.  “No,” she said adamantly.  “I have no desire to ever be with Brett again.”



Now they were getting somewhere.  “Then what’s troubling you so?”



She exhaled slowly for a moment.  “I hate having it shoved in my face.”  She shook her head.  “I hate having to see he’s happy with her in a way he never was with me.”  She fixed her expressive eyes on him.  “It’s knowing I’m not enough.  It’s having my pride continually shattered.  It’s the constant blow to my ego.  It’s feeling so alone…” Her voice trailed off.



“Is that what you feel?” Gavin asked incredulously.  “You feel alone?”  He opened his arms and took a step toward her, but she backed away.  “Let me be close to you,” he said.



Hannah stared at him like a deer caught in headlights.  “I can’t,” she murmured, shaking her head.



He tried a new approach.  “Don’t you ever want to be close to someone?  No strings?  No expectations?”



“Yes, but…”



“But what?”  He walked toward her with open arms and watched helplessly as she backed away.



“I’m too scared,” she admitted in a whisper.  This time she didn’t back away, this time she didn’t drop her gaze.



Gavin knew she was out of space.  There was no more room for her to back away.  He had her pinned against the corner of the railing.  Slowly he stepped towards her as if he were trying to tame a wild mare.  “I won’t hurt you,” he murmured, reaching for her.



She closed her eyes.  “I don’t believe you.”



Gavin wrapped his arms around her and drew her into the warmth of his embrace.  He could feel her stiffen at first, unwilling to yield, unwilling to admit defeat.  Instead of being discouraged by her reaction, he welcomed the challenge.  Ever so gently, he caressed her back and ran his fingers through her hair.  Slowly, almost unnoticeably, she began to melt into him.  “What do you have to lose?”



She murmured something against his chest. He could’ve sworn he heard her say, “My heart.” Something inside him shattered. Gradually her emotions broke and the tears, which had remained unspent for so long, sought release.  He wiped and kissed them away.



“Let me hold you tonight,” he murmured against her temple.  He could feel her begin to stiffen again.  “We won’t go to bed.  We’ll just build a fire and lay out here under the stars all night long.”  He hadn’t really thought this through.  The old Gavin would’ve checked the weather report to ensure the temperature wouldn’t drop too low, and there was zero chance of rain overnight.  This new Gavin cared only about making Hannah happy at any cost.



There would be blankets and a fire to protect them from the chill.  There was a covered lanai to protect them from the rain.  All that mattered was Hannah felt comforted and loved.




terms of service teaser 2



Snippet # 3


Easing himself onto the lounger, he carefully positioned them and once satisfied, covered them.  The way he tucked them in moved her more than she could express.  Suddenly, she felt the need to hide her face against his neck and breathe him in.  He smelled like leather and the way he held her felt like security.  She wrapped a hand around his neck and was surprised to hear his heart beat erratically at her touch.  Testing her theory, she tried again, caressing his cheek with the back of her hand.  Laying her hand over his heart, she discovered she had achieved the same results.  Smiling, Hannah nestled in closer.



“What are you smiling about?” he asked mirthfully.



“What makes you think I’m smiling?”  She challenged.



He chuckled.  “I can feel your face move.”  He s .troked her cheek.  “Tell me.”



Her newfound knowledge made her feel powerful and bold, so she quickly revealed what had made her react.  “I can make your heart beat faster,” she said as she leaned away from him so she could watch his reaction.



“I’m not surprised,” he commented absently.   At the time, he was tracing her jaw line with his finger.



His touch was breathing life back into her.  She had forgotten what it was like to feel.  Like a drug, his caress was intoxicating.  Her eyelids drooped halfway as she allowed emotion to overrule reason.  What would one night hurt?



Suddenly Gavin spoke.  “I bet I can make your heart beat faster,” he murmured as he stared at her.



“Mmm, how’s that?”  She offered a lazy smile.



His face grew serious as he studied her.  She felt him doing that thing again, measuring the distance.  She knew without him acknowledging it, her heart was racing.  Lucky for him, he hadn’t commented.  It would’ve ruined the moment because right now all she could concentrate on was the need for his lips on hers.



Not one to disappoint, Gavin dropped his head several degrees to connect with her hungry lips.  It was as before, a surge of passion washed over her and nearly knocked the breath from her.  His hand was pulling her closer, but she couldn’t see how it would be possible unless she were to suddenly fuse with him.  When they finally broke free, she touched her lips in surprise at the tingling sensation left there.



***



It was too much.  He finally had a chance to be close to her.  He couldn’t scare her off by coming on too strong.  “I’m just going to hold you for the rest of the night.  You’re safe with me Hannah,” Gavin said softly as he held her face against his shoulder.



Over the next few minutes, Gavin felt her body slowly relax; slowly grow limp, until at last he knew she was asleep.  This was when he felt most comfortable talking to her, telling her what he never would’ve told anyone.  “I think I may be falling in love with you, Hannah.”  He sighed and brushed her hair away from her face.  “Funny thing about love,” he mused.  “You never see it coming.  For me, you snuck in like a thief in the night and stole my heart.”  Then he nestled them deeper under the covers, wrapped his arms more tightly around her, and fell asleep.



Young couple in love on black background








emma face



about emma nichols


What made her decide to be an erotica author?



Simple.



How else was she going to parlay her two favorite past times into a career?



Emma is single and loving it. Like her first character, Alysin, Sin for short, she doesn't believe in settling or in settling down. She loves to indulge in her passions whenever the mood strikes and enjoys keeping all of life's cliché moments spicy.



Known for her sense of humor, Emma surrounds herself with friends whose antics often become the source of book fodder. Her ideal situation would be to explore the Caribbean while writing. She pursues that dream daily.




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