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A Quartet of Pleasures – Four Steamy, Symphonic Shorts
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New from Annabel Joseph–a collection of four steamy shorts about friendship, love, and seduction.
Definitely Kinky: Ruby’s known the guys in her string quartet forever. There’s Jonathan, the bossy lead violinist, and Steve, the cellist, who plays ref when they’re at each other’s throats. Then there’s Ethan, the viola player. After five years, he’s still a mystery: quiet, unassuming, and intensely dedicated to the music they create. Who would’ve thought he’d be the one to step up and comfort her after a wedding reception gig goes haywire? Who would’ve thought they’d end up in each other’s arms?
Perfect and Powerful: Sure, Ruby can’t stand lead violinist Jonathan most of the time, but she agrees to play his girlfriend at a party so he can fend off a stalker-ish fan. Only problem—over the course of the night, she discovers Jon’s an amazing dancer, and an even better kisser. When she’s in his arms, she forgets how much he irritates her, because he’s so passionate and forceful, so unapologetically in command.
Play With Me: Steve’s the big brother type, always has been—tall, blond, fun-loving, faithful, and protective. When Ruby shows up on the wrong night for one of his famed pajama parties, he graciously invites her to stay and hang out. Everything’s great, until she gets a little too drunk on hard cider and professes her horniness for him. Repeatedly.
The Full Concerto: The good news: the Gold Quartet has been invited to play one of their favorite concertos as guest artists with the noted Berlin Philharmonic. The bad news: the concert falls on Ruby’s birthday, so she’ll be traveling to Europe with her fellow musicians instead of celebrating at home with family and friends.
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Where Ruby Tangles With Ethan
Ruby sat straighter in her chair and stared at Jonathan as their Haydn piece reached its climax. As first violinist, Jonathan’s job was to keep the quartet on track. He gave her a look that said Just keep playing, even as a group of cavorting wedding guests got more and more naked a few feet from their instruments. In her line of sight, the groom, dressed as a glittery pleather unicorn, knelt at his bride’s feet and whinnied loudly each time she flicked him with her equally glittery riding crop. As Ruby played her second violin part through to the finish, she wondered if it was the first time in history a Haydn concerto had been punctuated by a fetish-unicorn’s orgasmic scream.
She glanced over at Steve, their cellist and unofficial business manager. Clearly, he’d booked this gig without asking enough questions. Even if he’d asked questions, she wasn’t sure the full picture could have been conveyed. After accompanying a sedate wedding at the courthouse to the strains of Pachelbel’s Canon in D, the Gold Quartet had set up their semi-circle of chairs to perform at the nearby reception. That was when they realized the bride and groom were kinky, and all their friends were kinky, and everyone invited to the wedding was kinky as hell, and that they planned to celebrate with a party of epic kinky proportions.
Of course, they were an equal opportunity string quartet. They performed at any and all weddings, along with balls, receptions, and corporate events, but if Ruby had known it was going to be this kind of wedding reception, she would’ve twisted her long, brown hair up in a bun, and worn a machine-washable gown.
“What are we playing next?” asked Ethan, the consummate professional. With his dark hair and striking blue eyes, their viola player could look as stern as Jonathan when he wanted to, but unlike Jonathan, he was never a dick. As he leafed through his music folder, Ruby stuffed down laughter. Here they were, the three guys in their tuxes, and her in her elegant champagne-satin gown, in the middle of a post-wedding orgy.
“Why didn’t they hire a DJ?” Jonathan muttered as the naked people beside him groped each other, lost in their erotic world.
“Quartets are classier,” Steve answered, deadpan.
Ruby did laugh then, letting her concert demeanor slip. She was brought back into line by a sideways frown from Jonathan, his amber-brown eyes popping beneath his auburn hair. He suggested a more rambunctious Beethoven piece to match the heightening mood around them. Ruby glanced at her watch as she lifted her violin to her shoulder. Another hour to go, and they were already reaching for the Beethoven.
At least the demanding piece would distract her from the uncomfortable scenes going on around her. She wasn’t a prude, and they’d seen plenty of strange things at wedding receptions, but people who hired string quartets were usually aiming for sophisticated, highbrow affairs. This reception was energetic, fun, and loving, but not highbrow by a long shot. She wasn’t sure how to deal with it.
Just play, Ruby, she told herself. The men soldiered on, and so did she, even when wedding guests started spanking each other in time to the music. One of the women actually asked Jonathan in the middle of a piece if he would spank her with his bow, and he crisply declined, going red beneath his manicured beard. Ruby and the others shared amused glances as their usually perfect leader dropped a couple of notes. From Steve’s smile, she thought he might have agreed to spank the drunk woman. He was the blond, laid-back party boy of their group. As for Ethan…
Well, she didn’t know. Ethan never gave much away.
Ruby was trying not to give anything away. The truth was, she was fascinated by the BDSM activities around her. Kind of flustered. Kind of worked up, because finding pleasure through pain wasn’t an alien concept to her.
She’d experimented a little over the years, not with partners, because she’d never found the courage to express what she wanted, but on her own, using clothespins and paddles and half-ass bondage she could easily escape. It excited her, but she wasn’t sure she could survive doing things like that with another person. What if they thought she was a pervert? Or worse, what if they thought she wasn’t enough of a pervert? What if she couldn’t handle what they wanted her to do?
These wedding guests seemed able to handle anything. They interacted with each other naturally, some of them switching partners, some of them playing in duos, threesomes, foursomes, or moresomes, content to hurt or tease at will. She was watching one of those moresomes with a squirming pang of arousal when Ethan caught her gaze.
She quickly looked away, then back again, so she’d seem less guilty. She glanced at him often when they played, since he sat on her right, but also because his dark, tousled hair was kind of sexy compared to Jonathan and Steve’s short cuts. Ethan’s blue eyes were as light as his hair was dark, at least in the sun. Inside, like now, they were the azure shade of an aquamarine sea.