I am both super excited and a little sad to say that Free For All, Red Light Series book 4, releases tomorrow morning. The part of me that’s not thrilled (okay, it’s a really small part) is pouting because I believe this will be the last in the series, although you know me, I never rule out a return visit entirely. Plus I do think there’s still some unfinished business left in the District. You know, like Mari the hooker. 😉
I have thoroughly enjoyed writing Star and Rick’s story. Though it took them four whole books to do it right, I hope you’ll note that this book is not part of the Exotika line. Translation… you might just get that HEA you’ve been waiting for!
This series is one of my absolute favorite and contains the books I’m most proud of writing. I’ve taken two trips to Amsterdam since I began the project and found a city I loved. There are so many contrasting and unusual aspects about it from the canals (did you know they have more than Venice?), to the laid back, artsy atmosphere and of course the crazy nightlife. I’ve canoed through the wetlands (like Rick and Star do in this book), eaten pastries from Huize Van Wely, visited the Red Light district, and even stayed on a houseboat docked in the Amstel river near the opera house… all sacrifices in the name of research of course! LOL I hope all that hard work paid off but I’ll let you be the judges of that.
Another random fun fact about the books… There is not one single chapter between all four of them. None of the books have chapter headings. Instead, each book has a theme that divides the scenes. In Through My Window (book 1), it’s the time of night as you follow Star through a night on the job. In Star of Christmas (book 2) it’s the sections of a play starting with Overture (as there is a naughty stage production in the book). For Can’t Buy Love (book 3), it’s song titles all the way. My favorite of course, was Crazy Little Thing Called Love. So what’s are the headings all about in Free For All (book4)? Check out the excerpt below and see if you can guess…
After a courtship filled with nights steamy enough to thaw the lingering winter chill, Sarah is finally beginning to believe she might have found the one man who can support her career as a sex worker in Amsterdam’s Red Light district. But when she asks around, it’s clear Rick isn’t taking advantage of the freedom their open relationship offers. None of the sexiest girls in the district have serviced him for months.
Afraid of losing the star of her extra-naughty dreams, Sarah confronts her boyfriend about his change of heart. Rick confesses he’s no longer interested in wild times without her. Instead, he’d like to try experimenting with multiple partners, show off his sexy woman and revel in the company of like-minded hedonists. Fortunately, he knows just the place for a debauched experience wicked enough to make even an experienced hooker blush.
A sexual free-for-all is on the menu at one of Amsterdam’s infamous swingers’ clubs, and by the end of the night, Sarah is going to get the surprise of her life.
“When love is not madness, it is not love.” ~Pedro Calderon de la Barca
Wind whips tendrils of my hair from the French braid I’d locked it in. Loose strands sting my face as I ride behind Rick. Tonight we streak through the twilight on his beloved Ducati instead of peddling on our bicycles. I must admit I prefer to cling to his heat and let the modern machinery do the work. I bury my face between his shoulder blades, counting on the broad span of his shoulders to protect me from the world around us.
How different it is to rely on someone after years of fierce independence. Somehow it doesn’t seem as debilitating as I’d once considered such neediness. Knowing he would be equally lost without me balances our power. I grant myself permission to cling tighter to my man.
He revs the engine as though he’s as eager to arrive at our destination as I am. We lean into the speed together.
He downshifts. I peek over his shoulder. Ahead, absolute blackness denotes the space where the river cuts through the unassuming countryside sprinkled with the glow of distant residential areas. A few more curves reveal a beacon, drawing us closer like moths to a flame. White lights drape from the decks of a mammoth ferry boat. I squint at the sudden brightness.
The bursts grow bigger in the night, reminding me of fallen stars. What other cosmic signs do I require to supplement my hopefulness? None.
Rick glides into a vacant space near a covered walkway. Silence in the wake of the roar of the engine is deafening. I peel myself from his back and wait for him to join me on the boardwalk leading to the docked vessel. He does, his stare locking on my flushed cheeks a moment before studying my studded leather jacket and skintight pants. It took both of us to pour me into them earlier. The effort was well worth it.
“You know, we don’t have to—”
“Yes. We do.” I nibble on his lower lip. “Let me give you what you need.”
“I need you.”
“You have me.” I rest my head on his shoulder.
“Will I after tonight?” The graze of his fingerless leather touring glove on my cheek grants me visions of all sorts of naughty role-playing possibilities. I file them away for another time.
“How can you be sure?” I swear I can hear his heart pounding beneath my cheek. “This isn’t worth the risk. Let’s go home, Sarah.”
“We’re going inside.” I wrap my fingers around his belt buckle where it peeks from between the unzipped flaps of his jacket. Without another pointless argument, I pivot and angle toward the entrance. He seems like he might object again but the door swinging open interrupts his futile attempt to change my mind.
“Rick. Good to see you.” An enormous bouncer with a bald head greets us. The thick chains between his septum and bridge nose piercings fascinate me. He slaps a meaty hand on Rick’s shoulder. The impact rattles our bones where we’re still joined together. “Thanks for covering last time. My youngest daughter had the flu and Jillian was out of town visiting her sister.”
“No problem.” Rick beams. “How is the munchkin? Still have you wrapped around her little finger?”
“A man in a house full of girls is doomed.” His growl doesn’t match his adorable grin. “They run wild and there’s nothing I can do.”
I’m sorry for my irrepressible giggle when his attention swings toward me, breaking the moment.
“Ludger, this is my girlfriend. Sarah.”
“Nice to meet you, but I thought your name was Star.” He’s gentle when he envelops my fingers in a delicate shake.
“You know him?” Rick cocks his head at me before catching himself. “Sorry, what happens through your window…”
“He’s not one of my clients.” I would remember. A man his size would hardly fit in my tiny Red Light loft.
“Whoa.” Ludger stacks his hands in front of his chest and wiggles his thumbs. “Awkward turtle!”
“What the hell is that?” Rick tilts his head, asking exactly what I’m wondering.
“I dunno. My kids do it. Seemed appropriate for implying… I mean, I didn’t know she worked the district. You know that’s not my thing.”
Rick grimaces. “It’d be okay if you had. If not, how do you know her?”
“Who do you think covered for you while you were busy onstage in Tommy’s Kinkmas pageant?” Ludger laughs, a boom that might scare me if he weren’t so damn huggable. “I suppose it wasn’t an act after all, though. No wonder the show was so hot. I had to stop at least half a dozen assholes from storming the stage for an up-close-and-personal look.”
“Was everyone in the EU there?” Rick’s cheeks glow a little.
“You should be proud of what you can do together.” Ludger smiles, revealing a silver skull and crossbones on his front tooth. “Jillian’s the best thing that ever happened to me. If you find someone who can love you for who you really are, you’re set for life.”
I stare up at Rick, waiting for his friend’s advice to sink in.
“Shit. You’re right. Okay, Sarah. Let’s do this.” He holds out his hand to me.
I squeeze his fingers with one of my hands then kiss the palm of my other and reach up on tiptoes to pat Ludger’s cheek. “Thank you.”
“Not sure what that was for, but you’re very welcome.” He nods. “I heard you’re a first-timer. I’ll let Rick show you around. Think you should know the basic rules though. We have an undress code. Through this door is a changing room. Lingerie only on the other side. Besides that, it’s nothing you wouldn’t guess. Respect the wishes of the people around you. No cameras or cell phones either. What happens here, stays here. And most important, have fun.”
“I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.” I smile at the two guys then head toward the pink door Ludger had gestured toward. Rick aims for a similar blue portal on the other side of the lobby. “See you in a minute.”
“Miss you,” he calls softly.
“Oh please.” Ludger mimes sticking his finger down his throat.
Buy from Ellora’s Cave.