Whiskey Creek Press Torrid
The Pleasure of Sin
When Jade Monroe's sister, Ruby, is murdered, she vows to find her killer.
But coming to New Orleans means facing the one man she has never been able to get over, her sister's ex-boyfriend.
Clay Devlin stole more than just a kiss years ago. He stole a piece of her heart. Now, he is her only link to the life her sister led.
But Clay wants Jade to leave New Orleans. And the closer she gets to him, the more she begins to wonder what he is hiding.
As Jade investigates, she discovers that Ruby had secrets. Secrets she kept hidden from the people around her. Secrets she indulged in a private club. But Club X is not your average club. It's a sex club that caters to all kinds of tastes, no matter how dark or forbidden.
As much as she tries to deny it, she is pulled deeper into a world where fantasy is reality.
Will she discover the truth before it's too late?
Or will her passion become the ultimate weapon against her?
Sample Chapter For THE PLEASURE OF SIN by Shauna Hart
New Orleans, Louisiana
He threw her roughly across the bed, his body quickly covering hers. Grabbing her wrists, he thrust them high above her head. He ripped the belt from her robe and used it to tie her hands to the headboard. A hint of a smile curved the corners of her mouth. The blindfold she wore blocked out his answering grin. He tore open her robe, exposing her body to the cool air from the overhead fan.
Spreading her legs wide with his knees, he bared her silky, wet folds to his view. He drove into her, his hands returning to circle her neck. A startled choking sound escaped as she bucked beneath him. As he tightened his grip, she winced in pain. She struggled against the tight bonds on her arms, her gagging sounds echoing in the small room. He continued to pound into her even as her mouth opened in a scream of panic.
She jerked in a crude attempt to throw him off, but he held her even tighter. Her body jolted in terror, but he continued, never missing a beat. His tongue slid across the side of her face, one hand coming up to pinch her nipple. She strained against him as a frantic plea left her lips. He let out a hoarse cry of satisfaction as her body went limp.
* * * *
Jade Monroe led the young couple through the house, stop-ping only to highlight a few key features. “As you can see, it’s a real find. Wood floors, high ceilings—you couldn’t ask for a better deal.”
They exchanged eager glances, their eyes brimming with possibility. “What are they asking, again?”
“Two twenty-five and I have to be honest, that is a generous offer. This house could go for two seventy-five easy,” she explained as she walked over to the door.
“Well, what do you think?” he asked, turning to his wife.
Jade watched them in quiet anticipation. She knew that look. It was the look of a sale. She envied them, envied the open field of choices they had. Her cell phone began to vibrate in her purse, causing her to move closer to the door.
“Why don’t you two think about it for a minute? I’ll be right outside,” she suggested, pulling the door open and taking a seat on the front steps.
She grabbed her cell phone from the side pocket on her purse. “Jade Monroe.”
“Jade,” her mother whimpered.
“Momma? What is it?”
“Your sister…your sister…” she trailed off on a sob.
Panic raced up her spine at the desperation in her mother’s voice. “Momma, slow down. What’s wrong with Ruby?” she de-manded.
Muffled sounds filled the line before she heard her mother’s tearful reply. “Ruby is dead. The police called this morning!”
Jade’s heart seemed to stop. She reached for the railing on the front steps, clinging to it as if it could provide some support against the pain. Dead? An image of Ruby when she was younger drifted into Jade’s mind. Ruby was too full of life.
She couldn’t be dead.
She just couldn’t be.
“How?” was all she could manage.
“They said she was murdered. I just can’t believe it. My beautiful little Ruby.” Her mother’s cries echoed her own in-ternal ones.
She would never see Ruby again, never laugh with her. The thought robbed the air from her lungs. Tears began to slide down her cheeks. It didn’t seem real. But it was.
“I won’t rest until I find out what happened to you, Ruby,” she vowed softly.
* * * *
New Orleans, Louisiana
Two Weeks Later
Jade entered the lobby of the New Orleans Police Depart-ment determined to get answers. Despite her many calls, the po-lice had provided only a few minute details. The vague information she had gathered on the phone had barely supplied an accurate cause of death. Her sister had been strangled, and then shot.
After she’d waited for a few minutes, a detective finally came out to greet her.
“Ms. Monroe, I’m Detective Ambrose,” he said, reaching to shake her hand.
She couldn’t help but notice that she was a bit taller than him. His brown jacket hung open loosely, his white shirt barely containing his bulging stomach.
“It’s nice to meet you, Detective.”
“Why don’t we go into my office?” he invited.
His hair was combed over in the front, but as he turned to lead her through the hall, she noticed the large bald spot it was covering. Sunlight poured into the small office. She took a seat in front of his desk, her gaze inevitably drawn to the crime scene photos that peaked out of the files on top of it. He quickly gathered them together, placing them on the bureau to his right as he took a seat in front of her.
“Now, how can I help you, Ms. Monroe?”
Jade leaned forward in her chair. “I wanted to know what progress you’ve made on my sister’s case.”
“Well, unfortunately, not much. Your sister is one of seven people murdered that weekend. We are gathering information, but I’m afraid we are not much further along. The autopsy provided a few clues, though,” he said, reaching for the file. “Apparently, on the night of your sister’s murder, she had intercourse.”
His lips formed a grim line. “Are you sure you want to hear this, Ms. Monroe?”
She lifted her chin a notch. “Yes. I want to know what hap-pened to my sister.”
“Well, when we found her, her arms were tied to the bed,” he explained with a grimace.
“So, she was raped?” The word fell out of her mouth like a curse.
He took a deep breath, refusing to meet her intent stare. “Well, we don’t believe that it was rape,” he admitted.
“What are you talking about?”
“Well, due to the other items we found in her house, it ap-pears that your sister was involved in bondage,” he elaborated.
It wasn’t like she was naïve enough to be ignorant to the fact that some people got off on some pretty strange stuff, but she had no idea that her sister was a part of it.
At her silence, he continued. “Anyway, considering the fact that there was no forced entry, we think that your sister knew her killer. Unfortunately, the lab was unable to collect any semen samples, which probably means he used a condom. Do you know if your sister was seeing someone?”
“She never said anything,” she replied softly.
“Were you aware that she was pregnant?”
“What?” Jade gripped the arm of the chair tightly.
It didn’t seem possible.
Detective Ambrose nodded. “The lab confirmed that your sister was five weeks along.” At Jade’s look of surprise, he gave her a somber smile. “I take it your sister didn’t share a lot with you.”
She stared at the top of his desk, her head reeling. Why hadn’t Ruby told her? Ruby had always gone her own way, but…pregnant? Jade tried desperately to maintain focus. “Do you have any suspects?” she managed.
He shifted uneasily in his chair. “We’ve questioned several people,” he returned evenly.
“I’m afraid I’m not at liberty to discuss that, ma’am.”
“But I’m her sister!”
“I’m sorry, Ms. Monroe. I can’t divulge certain facts about the case to you, even if you are family. I promise that I will keep you updated as new developments occur. Are you in town for long?”
Jade straightened in the chair. “I’m staying in town until I find out who killed my sister,” she informed him sincerely.
Detective Ambrose bristled. “Ms. Monroe, I wouldn’t rec-ommend that you get involved. You could jeopardize our case.”
“It doesn’t even sound like you have a case, Detective,” she reminded him, her anger boiling to the surface.
He took a deep breath. “Like I said, it’s best if you leave the investigating to us. I promise that we are doing everything we can to solve this case.”
“And, if she was your sister? What then? Could you just sit back and wait?” Jade asked.
When he didn’t reply, she stood up, heading for the door.
“Ms. Monroe, please don’t get involved. There’s a very good chance that your sister knew her killer, which means that any dime-store investigating you do could be dangerous,” he instructed firmly.
Jade turned to face him. “I’ll be in touch,” she replied.