1. Book of the Month Extract - Suite Seventeen

    Suite Seventeen by Portia Da Costa "'Suite Seventeen contains all Portia's trademark treats from the arousing narrative, a wicked blend of deviant episodes, and an undercurrent of pragmatic and poignant romance.", said Ashley Lister, Erotica Readers and Writers Association.

    Sounds good, doesn't it? Here's an extract to whet your whistle:

    I don't really know why it's called Suite Seventeen. It's not actually a suite, but simply a large fairly luxurious room with a bathroom. But it does offer so many more facilities than any normal bedroom does.

    Tucking my bag under her arm for a moment, Maria deftly slips the key-card into the slot and opens the door, before stepping back to allow me to precede her into the softly lit interior.

    My heart thumps hard again.

    As expected, a familiar dark-clad figure is sitting in one of the large overstuffed chintz-covered chairs. His body is still and utterly relaxed, almost as if he's been meditating while he was waiting for my arrival.

    'Will that be all Ma'am?' Maria asks, keeping her gaze lowered as she pops my bag on the sideboard, then skitters backwards respectfully towards the door.

    Before I can answer, my fellow 'guest' speaks softly. 'No, stay a few moments if you would.'

    His voice is deep and beautifully accented. It's the sort of voice that seems to play upon nerve ends in sensitive intimate places and induce pleasure even without the benefit of physical touch. It's certainly doing diabolical things to me.

    Maria half-steps towards the door and then falters. She bites her soft pink lower lip, in a quandary. She's been refused permission to leave, but probably needs the permission of another to stay. Her eyes flit swiftly around the room, and she suddenly shrugs, almost apologetically … but not to me and not to the man in the chintz chair.

    I don't think she'll be in any real trouble, but I suspect her thighs might get even pinker before the night is out.

    But it's not really Maria's thighs I should be worrying about. It's my own. Growing more and more excited, I press them together, and clench my buttocks and sex. Anything to get some stimulation. I'm so turned on now that I swear I could scream … and I don't think he's even looked at me yet.

    For several moments, he just sits there in silence. Utterly motionless, he stares out of the window at what is really a very beautiful night. The heavy velvet curtains are open and light from the high-riding full moon adds to the glow of illumination provided by several carefully arranged antique lamps.

    The tension in the room is thick enough to slice. I'm the one who's biting her lips now, and I'm clenching my fists too, while Maria is clearly fighting hard not to fidget and dance about. She wants to get back to her own man, I know that, and, even though he's not specifically my type, I can understand why she dotes on him.

    But what of my man?

    My heart flutters. Can I really call him that? Can a man so dominant and so alpha be claimed that way? He's a force of nature and that's difficult to possess.

    Suddenly I have to gasp. I didn't realise I'd been holding my breath. The small sound finally attracts the attention of the long figure lounging amongst the chintz.

    His eyes are lustrous in the warm light, mesmerising and slanted and the colour of beaten copper. They look almost alien somehow. He favours me with a narrow perusal, taking in everything about me in a single long quantifying look.

    His body is possessed of an uncanny, almost reptilian stillness and, if it wasn't for the slow even lifting of his deep broad chest, I could almost imagine he was a graven image. A lifelike representation of some ancient Mediterranean god.

    The seconds and moments string out and I imagine my nerves being stretched like elastic bands. But, just when I think I really am going to scream, he blinks once, in a sweep of thick black lashes and tilts his dark head a little.

    Oh, God, let me move. Let me speak. I'm going crazy.

    But of course, I can't speak. Or move. Not without his permission.

    'So … Here we are,' he says quietly and the soft words seem to bounce off the delicately patterned paper on the walls.

    I curl my toes inside my shoes and seriously wonder if I'm going to pass out.

    The words also seem to unlock something inside him. He relaxes even more in his chair, stretching out his long, long legs in front of him. He's wearing leather trousers, which should be a ridiculous macho-stud cliché, but actually just look wonderful encasing his lean powerful thighs. The fine hide gleams too, just like his eyes.

    'Undress her,' he says in a level ordinary voice as if his request was entirely normal and usual.

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