Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Weakened (Manhattan Bound #1) by Juliet Braddock

Title: Weakened 
Series: Manhattan Bound #1
Author: Juliet Braddock
Genre: Erotic Romance
Release Date: November 17, 2014

The glittering skyline of New York City provides the perfect backdrop for romance and high drama as a young woman meanders her way through the concrete maze of Manhattan in WEAKENED, the new erotic romance novel from Juliet Braddock. 

Blinded by the lights of Broadway, budding theatrical publicist Maxine Kirk stumbles into the arms of her beloved teenage crush, unleashing desires that she never imagined with one soul-obliterating kiss in the rain against the dazzling backdrop of the New York skyline.

Enter Drew McKenzie, a rising star on the Great White Way with dashing looks and talent to match. Heir to a long line of luxury department store moguls, he possesses the social prominence and charisma to land him the top slot on old Manhattan Society’s most desirable bachelor list. 

Instantly, Maxine finds herself lured into Drew’s high society world only to uncover a complicated man beneath the glitz and glamour of his public persona. As soon as the curtain falls, Drew sheds his stage costume to reveal a daring Dominant side.

When Drew challenges her to explore his unconventional sense of passion for a week—leaving her with the option to walk away after seven nights—Maxine ponders the consequences of his proposal.

Titillated by his proposition, Maxine clamors to discover a surreptitious and possibly perilous world with Drew, all the while questioning her own preconceived notions on romance.

Secrets surface, revealing haunting truths that test both Maxine and Drew of their own intentions. But in this high-stakes game of trust, only the strongest survive. 

From the neon lights of Times Square to the lush fields of Central Park, with great attention paid to the extravagances he can afford her, Drew entices Maxine with his prowess, tempting her into a brand of romance like none other. 

However, as Maxine journeys to discover her heart’s darker desires, she wonders if Drew himself will decide to pursue their affair—all the while acquiescing to his pleasures as he leaves her weakened….

“Love, love, LOVED this book and can't wait for the next one! Drew couldn't be a more perfect Dom, he's patient, kind…but so dominant Alpha you can't help but drool over him.”~One-Click Book Addict
“Juliet pulled me into this story right from the word ‘go.’ She wove a tale that's both believable and inventive, leaving you in love and weak in the knees. There is so much passion in her words, and care taken with the characters and story descriptions. I cannot say enough good things about this book.” ~ Undeniably Addicted to Books
“The chemistry between Max and Drew is off the charts!” ~ Amazon Customer
“The words are so well written and the budding relationship between Maxine and Drew is beautiful. I can't wait until the next book to see where she takes them.” ~ Amazon Customer
“In love with Maxine and Drew already, two characters silently suffering but putting on a brave face for the world. They are both flawed and beautiful, these characters have the makings of a wonderful love story. I couldn't stop reading this and can't wait for the next installment.” ~ Amazon Customer
“These characters are so well suited for each other you can't help but cheer for them, because the author leaves you craving and wanting more. The glitz and the glam of New York is the perfect setting for this beautiful well written story." ~ Amazon Customer

“So where are you from?”
“A...s-small town—right outside Pittsburgh,” she managed. She had to gather her thoughts. She couldn't stutter her way through an entire conversation with this man all night. Already, she could sense that he was the type who would remind her of her jitters later, and Maxine certainly didn't want this silly evening to haunt her at work. 
“What brought you to the big city?” he questioned her.
Purposefully, she stopped herself before she answered him and took in a deep breath. “I’ve always been in love with New York,” she explained, thoughtfully choosing her words. “The theater…the vibrancy…the never ending sense that there’s always something to do or someone to see…”
“Quite a culture shock for a small-town girl, isn’t it?” he asked, his tone softening a bit.
“I’ve been visiting for well over a decade,” she continued and flashed him a weak smile. “I knew what I was getting into.”
“You sure about that?”  Now his eyes were teasing. “There’s always some element of surprise living here.”
“You grew up here?” she asked, knowing he had. She could recite his entire Wikipedia entry, which didn't say much about his personal life other than he was born and raised in Manhattan to an exceedingly wealthy family of Scotch-Irish immigrants.  His ancestors built their fortune as early merchants in New York and went on to create one of the longest-standing, upscale department store chains in the United States. 
“I did,” he said so very simply. “The city is under my skin an in my blood. And just like everyone else, I bitch and complain…but I couldn’t live anywhere else.”
All the while, as they carried on with an air of civility, Maxine couldn't ignore those burgeoning feelings—those sensations—that seemed to set her senses fluttering. The intake of his breath and the gentle patter of his voice soothed her. That fresh scent of him, bathed in Clive Christian cologne, tickled her nose, intoxicating her with a blend of citrus and spice—even though she didn't know Clive Christian from Christian Slater. While he stood so close, he managed to refrain from touching her—even with the slightest of movements—and she tingled…shocked by her ache for his caress. 
Maxine couldn't even recall their conversation as it was happening. Drew had managed to send her off to some surreal spot from which she really wasn't too keen to return. Although she attempted to remind herself that she wasn't the only woman he'd engaged with that evening, she enjoyed this stilted repartee between them.
As they stood alone together against the backdrop of Manhattan's brilliance, it remained questionable whether he would even remember her in the morning, and she knew the chances were slim to none. However, she decided to indulge in these unexpected seconds of undivided attention in which he indulged her fully.
Releasing his hands from the bannister, he took a step back but then dared to reach out and stroke the backs of his fingers to her cheek. Maxine was certain that he could feel the heat rising from her skin, but she chuckled softly over the tickle of his touch. Again, he seemed to be surveying her, interviewing her for the next round of she knew not what.
“You have all the basics down,” he began. “Smart, well-rounded. Pretty…”
“Pretty?” she nearly choked. No one—aside from her parents and Ben—ever complimented her in such a way.
“Are you arguing with me?” he inquired with an air of displeasure.
Hold it together here, Maxine, she coached herself. “It’s in the eye of the beholder, I suppose.”
“We can discuss that a little later…” he said, just as Maxine felt one huge drop of rain plunk down upon her, right in the middle of her forehead, as she looked up into Drew’s eyes.
Just her damn luck, the rain poured forth from the sky! 
“Um…I think it’s time to…”
Lunging forward and surreptitiously slipping his arms around her waist, he pulled her close to him. Maxine didn't have time to think—to react—to his quick and sleek move.  All the while, she reveled in the slight knock of his knees, the strength of his thighs, the feel of his chest pressed against hers…
“It’s time to kiss you, Maxine…”

“I have to issue a punishment this evening.”
Mouth dangling, ready to protest, Maxine could only stammer, “Y-you said you wouldn't...you'd work up to the...pain...”
“Did I say anything about pain this evening?” he asked. “I wouldn't even dare to think of implementing any of the standard consequences yet. It's not going to hurt you—physically—in the slightest, little one. But I do guarantee, it's going to be uncomfortable before you have your pleasure tonight.”
Maxine had no clue as to what Drew had in store, and although she yearned to find out, she quietly commanded herself to remain unruffled.
“Now Maxine, before we delve deeper, we do have some major insubordinations to address.”  Thoughtfully, he tapped his index finger against his chin. “Want to guess one of them?”
Just for sport—and to shatter her already weakening faculties—he traced the underside of her breast. Shoulders slumping, she sighed.
“Oh, for crissakes, Maxine, have I not already warned you?”  He took a step back to shake his head in dismay. “Posture. Mind it. At all times.”
“But you…when you touch my boob…it…”
“Oh, little darling one, I know damn well what happens when I touch your boob,” he said and clasped his hands behind his back. With that, he leaned back just a bit, enhancing the outline of his erection against his rather tight khakis.
Fucking tease, Maxine thought to herself as she popped her shoulders back again to embody a more rigid stance. However, it was her own damn boobs that were getting her into trouble. Again! If only he hadn't pinched her nipple over their (what became disrupted) dinner, she might have mustered some stamina. However, his constant taunting only left her fighting with herself to restrain that ache—that fullness—weighting her tiny silken bra.
“Getting back to the focal point of our conversation here, it’s apparent that you need some shaming here…”
With the full bravura of a pet parent who just caught Puppy doing something so very naughty, he questioned, “What did you do?”
“What did I do?” she muttered to herself, scrambling to think back upon their week. She’d tried so hard to remember her indiscretions, but her mind suddenly drew a big, hulking blank!  Fuckballs.
“You were very bad this week, Maxine,” he said as if she needed a reminder. “Last Saturday morning, I recall that you were so very impatient with me…”
“Oh, yeah!” she called out suddenly with a pompous grin. “I...went after…your cock …”
Lifting his cool blue eyes toward the ceiling, he pursed his lips in frustration. Little did she seem to understand that his petulance stemmed from her potty mouth and not directly from her misbehaving ways. She was so damn cute when she tried to be brash, but Maxine didn’t realize how she turned him on with her words.  How he fucking needed her.
“I'm waiting,” he said with a cough. “And I can wait all night...”
Swallowing the lump in her throat, she added, “Sir.”
“Trying to remind myself that you're a mere novice…” he said, mocking frustration with himself. How he loved to watch his sweet and precious Maxine caving into her desires of the unknown. 
He rubbed the slight stubble on his chin and minded her thoughtfully. Just to establish her agreement to submit, he had to push her a little—if not goad her—in order to seek their culmination of reward.
“Any idea what else you’ve done this week, Maxine?”
Uh-oh. Now she was at a true loss for words and thought.
“No, Kind Sir…”  She hoped her sweet plea would ease his consternation.
“Remember when you did this?”  Drew stretched his tongue to a point and traced the entire circle of his mouth. “Recall that?”
“Mmm-hmm, Sir…”
“That’s temptation like none other, Maxine—and I shall not be seduced in that manner.”
“But I was…I wanted to…it was flattering…” she attempted—in desperation—to explain. “Wanted to…”
“Just say it!” he ordered. “Say it!”
“I wanted to suck your cock, Sir…”
“Yes, you did,” he nodded with approval. “And did I deem you worthy to do so just yet?”
Sulking again, she shook her head.  True to his word, he was indeed making her feel quite uncomfortable.  “No, Sir…”
“Have you even done that before?”
“Are you kidd—”  However, Maxine stopped herself and retreated quickly to her submission.  “No, Sir, I have not.”
At that moment, it was Drew’s mind that reeled.  He’d be her first blow job—her first.  Oh, just to feel those sweet little lips surrounding him…
Snap the fuck out of it, Mack, he commanded himself. 
“And what else?”
As Maxine scrambled to replay every single moment of their week together, her mouth dropped. She came up empty, and she pondered the consequences of her honest response when she admitted, “I, um...I honestly don't know, Sir.”
“You were a minute late in your research homework,” he admonished. “That's three strikes. You're out, Maxine.”
“But I…”
“Want to try for four?  You touched yourself in your sleep. How about five?  Don’t think that Lou didn’t tell me all about how you tried to coax my plans out of him the other night…” he rambled on. “I'm sure we can go for six here if I give you another minute...”
Her lips unfurled into a frown, and she pondered what her punishment might entail. While trepidation still held her in its grip, Maxine grew increasingly curious as to what Drew had in store.
“Come closer, Maxine,” he said, wrapping his arm around her waist and turning her toward the window in one fluid swoop. He pointed to the delicatessen across the street. “You see the little grocery on the corner?”
“Mmmhmm,” she answered, only to feel the pinch of Drew’s fingers on her backside before she corrected herself. “Yes, Sir.”
“You said they deliver?” he casually asked.
“Yes, Sir, they do.”
“So,” he sighed, “you know them personally?”
“I know the delivery guy,” she said, digging her heels into the plush carpet. “Sir...”
“Even better yet...”  Framing her face with those skillful hands, he held her completely still to look deep into the fear rising in her big green eyes. “If you want to continue with our relationship, Maxine, you must first learn to obey.”
“I know, Sir,” she said, swaying her hips as he held her. “And I'll try my best...”
“Good girl,” he praised. “Now I'm just going to make an assumption that you're not on birth control. Am I right?”
She shook her head quickly. “No, Sir...I'm not...”
“Well, we have to take care of that if we're going to make love tonight, don't we, little one?”
“Yes...yes, Sir...”   
“What I need you to do right now is very important,” Drew said, circling his hand over her lower back, round and round—dizzying her with arousal. “You’re going to call that number on the awning, and you’re going to ask them to deliver a package of condoms. And then you’re going to answer the door.”
Mortified, Maxine took a step back within the circle of his arm, only to realize that she was trapped between him and the radiator. “Drew!  I...”
“Here’s my phone. You have sixty seconds to finish your call.”
Only in New York, Maxine thought. Only in New Fucking York.

Juliet Braddock’s first efforts in creative writing came long before she learned to put crayon to paper. In fact, she began spinning stories in her head nearly as soon as she could form complete sentences. As long as she can remember, she’d always created sagas about imaginary friends, family members and pop culture icons, and kept everyone around her entertained with her witty—but often very tall—tales.

For her sixth Christmas, Juliet’s mother got her a child’s typewriter to preserve all of those creative thoughts filling her head, but she quickly switched to ball point pens and notebooks when the ribbon ran dry. 

Most of Juliet’s early attempts at writing romance focused on members of Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet or young leading men on Broadway. However, as she matured as a writer, she decided that it was just as much fun to create her own romantic heroes and heroines.

At an early age, she also developed a love for big cities, and the tallest of skyscrapers were never high enough for her. Juliet’s wanderlust would eventually lure her to New York, a city she often visited during her formative years, and her love affair with Manhattan began. She’d promised herself that one day she would return for good. 

Juliet’s passion for writing and for big cities converged, and after graduating with a degree in Journalism, she decided to set out on a journey to find her heart…just where she’d left it. 

A week after her college graduation, Juliet made the big move from a small town to New York City, where she has made her home ever since.

In between building a career in communications and writing on the side, she’s indulged in international travel, theater and art. A wine and food buff, she’s by no means a connoisseur, but she can give a few good restaurant recommendations if you’re in the city. 

“There’s something so inspiring about living in a city like New York that’s so rich in culture and so very vibrant. Every neighborhood has its own story to tell,” Juliet says. “I often do my best plotting on the subway, just observing the lives unfolding around me. New York truly has a billion stories nestled between the skyscrapers.”

A proud Manhattanite, Juliet couldn’t live anywhere else—except for Paris, perhaps—and is a gushing cat-mom to a Russian Blue mix who was rescued as a kitten from the streets of Brooklyn.


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