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Shame Me Not
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Shame. Panic. Desire. Dominance. Disgust.
All feelings that I was familiar with from the age of sixteen. That’s when I met Ana. The girl next door who became so much more. Until her, I was alone in the dark desires that I didn’t understand, that I couldn’t reconcile.
My best friend, she accepted me. Helped me see that there was no shame in the things that we both craved. Her submission was a drug, my dominance over her a high that I’d never experienced. When we were together, I was at peace for the first time in my life.
But it was too good to last. Our own guilt over our feelings, of our appetite for pain and pleasure, destroyed us.
I was convinced that all I needed was a chance, just one more chance to overcome my shame, and Ana would be able to trust me again.
If only it were that easy.
*WARNING: This book is an erotic romance and does contain consensual sexual situations between characters under eighteen that include submission and domination.
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Ten Years Ago
My eyes locked in on her as soon as she walked in the door. Her long blond hair hung loose as she scanned the room. Her small breasts pressed against her sweater and I stared as only a sixteen-year-old boy could. I didn’t know who she was, but I wanted to.
“Oh, look. Our new neighbors are here,” my mom said from behind me. “Come on, Kevin. Help me and your dad welcome them.”
We shifted through all the people at our post-holiday party we threw, making our way to greet our new guests.
“Natasha, I’m so glad you could make it.” Mom addressed the older woman standing next to the girl who captured my attention. I assumed it was her mom since they both had matching blond hair and blue eyes. “This is my husband, Liam, and my son, Kevin.”
“Hi, so nice to meet you.” Dad reached his hand out to both women.
“Nice to meet you, too.” She shook his hand with a gentle hand. “This is my daughter, Anabelle.”
Anabelle. It fit her. She gave a small smile and shook my dad’s hand. Our parents fell into small talk about the weather and my dad’s drive back from the capital building, and I zoned out.
How could I focus on anything other than the girl pinning me in place with her grayish blue eyes?
They held no emotion. No friendliness, no irritation or anger. When I looked harder, I thought maybe I could see a hint of sadness. I wanted to figure out if I was right. To pull it from her and have her share it with me. Instead, I went for a small smile and a hand raise that was supposed to pass as a wave.
She huffed out a breath, almost a laugh, and her lips twitched. It wasn’t much; only one side quirked up. But it reached her eyes, transforming her face. She wasn’t beautiful in that overdone way like the Stepford daughters I was normally around, but she was naturally stunning. Her lips were full, but the bottom seemed too big for the top one, and her nose was almost too wide for her face. But on her, it blended into a canvas I couldn’t look away from, especially when she licked her bottom lip. She wasn’t being seductive. Hell, she wasn’t even looking at me anymore. She had turned to focus on our parents talking, but she still drew me in.
I blinked a few times when I heard my mom say my name.
“Huh?” I glanced at the girl, Anabelle, to see her smile had grown. Probably laughing at what a fool I was making of myself.
“You guys will be going to the same school. She’s a sophomore too.” My mom turned to our new neighbors. “Kevin’ll have to show her around and introduce her to some friends. They’re such a good group of kids. We’ve known most of them since kindergarten.”
“Oh, how fantastic.” Anabelle’s mom turned and squeezed her shoulder. “See, sweetie. You’ll do great here. No need to worry about a new school and not fitting in.”
I looked back at Anabelle just in time to see her cringe at her mom’s comment. I couldn’t imagine her not fitting in. She had an aura, something relaxed and cool, and the guys would be tripping over each other to get to know her.
“Sure. I’ll show you around. It’s a cool place and everyone is really nice,” I tried to reassure her. She only nodded when my mom cut in.
“Natasha, I have to ask where you got the dress. It’s gorgeous.”
“Oh, this old thing.” She waved her hand before resting it on Anabelle’s shoulder. “I got it a few years ago from a boutique in Nashville. Ana dug it out of the back of the closet when she was picking out my outfit for tonight. She always helps me out with my clothes. Heck, with everything.”
My mom laughed at the joke, but I saw the way Ana’s shoulders tensed and how she forced a smile. I had to fight taking her tight shoulders in my hands to soothe her. After only ten minutes, I wanted to take on her stress. Instead, I offered a friendly smile, hoping it . . . I don’t know. Just hoping it helped.
“Nashville?” Dad asked. “Is that where you’re moving from?”
“Yes. My husband and I recently separated and just us girls are moving here to be closer to friends.”
Ana’s jaw flexed and her lips pinched leading me to assume it wasn’t the smoothest of separations.
“Well, we’re happy to have you here,” my mom replied easily, never missing a beat from her years as the perfect politician’s wife. “Kevin, why don’t you two grab a drink and then head up to the bonus room,” my mom suggested before turning back to Ana’s mom. “Unfortunately, it’s a mature neighborhood and not a lot of kids to keep each other company. Although his friends don’t live too far away. It will be nice to have someone his age living so close by.”