Read a Chapter is *NEW* added feature at As the Pages Turn! Here you’ll be able to read the first chapters of books of all genres to see if you like them before you buy them. Today we are featuring the erotica romance/romantic comedy, Shuffle Up and Deal by Susan DiPlacido. Enjoy!
- Print Length: 427 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 145058859X
- Publisher: Neon Fiction (March 3, 2010)
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Meet Izzy Santillo. She’s a charming-but-lonely thirty-four year old woman who loves poker and harbors a secret crush on the reigning king of Hold ‘em.
Meet Nick Nolan, the reigning king of Hold ‘em. On the tables, he’s fast and loose and almost always wins. But when it comes to women, playboy Nick holds his cards too close and always loses.
When Izzy and Nick meet in embarrassing fashion at a Las Vegas poker tournament, Izzy’s secret dreams turn into a public nightmare. But despite her humiliation, she may have finally sparked Nick’s interest in something other than cards. Before long, Nick takes a gamble on Izzy and raises the stakes when he offers to help her sharpen her game. But Izzy’s convinced that Nick is bluffing and will fold his hand after he’s had her on the flop. But a string of outrageous proposition bets and steamy trips on the poker tour, from Los Angeles to Miami, make these two fierce competitors realize that it may be time to put all their chips on the table. Will Izzy and Nick pair up? Or will they lose it all if they go all-in for each other? Sit down, ante up, and hang on, as Nick and Izzy get ready to Shuffle Up and Deal.
“Izzy,” he whispers in my ear as he nudges me from behind. It’s gentle, but I was in a deep sleep, so I’m groggy and slow to respond.
I had forgotten he was even here. My boyfriend du-jour. It’s an on and off relationship that, for tonight at least, is on.
He pushes his body closer, spooning me, wrapping an arm around my waist. His breath is warm and sultry in my ear. His erection is pressed against my thigh. “You awake, Iz?”
“Mmm,” I mumble, slowly swimming back up from the depths of sleep to regain conscious thought.
His hand moves under the covers, caresses the front of my thigh and starts pulling up my nightgown. His hand is sure and soft, the fabric silky as it glides across my skin. “Wake up,” he urges as his hand moves back down, between my legs.
“Sleepy,” I murmur. I could easily go back to sleep. But the sad fact is that since we’re more “off” than “on,” I really don’t get much fun in the sack, so I’m happy to forego sleep for sex tonight.
“I’ll make it worth your while,” he says as he gently but firmly coaxes my thighs apart. I’m mostly awake, but still hovering on the brink, too lazy to engage with him, but also lacking the will to resist, mostly just content to wait a few seconds and see if I’ll wake up enough or doze back off. He moves back from me slightly, his hand holding my inner thigh, leveraging to pull that leg back as he agilely shimmies himself between my legs and rolls me on my back. He’s warm and I like the weight of him on top of me, the warmth of his groin pressed against mine. Awake enough now that I could engage, I still play it lazy and just sigh and keep my eyes closed.
“I know you’re awake,” he says, calling my bluff. He kisses the side of my cheek, uses one elbow for support as he reaches between us to tug at my nightgown again. Quickly, it’s up over my hips, so we’re skin on skin contact below the waist. I grin, realizing he must not have just rolled over and started in on me. He must’ve been horny enough and taken the time to pull off his boxers and pull on the condom before waking me up.
I decide to tease him a bit for it. Asking, “What would you have done if I hadn’t woken up?” What I’m hoping for is a little bit of dirty talk.
“I knew you were awake,” is all he says as he goes for the top of my nightgown, pushing the skinny strap to the side and then gliding his whole hand beneath the silk to cup my breast. He gives a firm squeeze as the heat of his palm makes my nipple react as I keep my eyes closed in blind surrender, heightening the other sensations. As my nipple hardens, he rubs and squeezes again, grinds his hips to press his erection right up against me.
A sigh escapes me.
“You ready?” he asks me.
He goes to work kissing me. He really is an excellent kisser. He slips me some tongue as his fingers playfully pinch around my nipple. He slides down, kisses my neck, warming me inside and out.
I’m getting tuned up, definitely. Flushed skin, those wonderful quivery feelings running through my blood as he dips down and catches my nipple in his mouth. No fooling around taunting me, he sucks. And sucks. It rocks me.
Taking a breath, he asks me again, “You ready?”
Eyes still closed, reveling in the dreaminess mixing with the rushes, I say, “Go ahead and check.” That’s what I’m longing for now, for his hand to reach down and stroke me, build the heat right there.
But he declines. Instead answering, “You’re ready.” He scootches back up, reaching down and taking hold of himself instead of pleasuring me. His skin is fevered, his shoulders taut under my hands, and already there’s a trace of humidity and salt in the air between us. Though I can’t see it, I can feel his hand moving as he strokes himself a few times. It drives me crazy with heat and I lift my hips in offering.
Wordless, he aligns himself and thrusts inside of me. I was ready, and he glides in, filling me up, making me sigh again.
“Good to go?” he asks as he pumps a few times.
“Go,” I tell him, pulling his shoulders down closer to me so I get the full heat of his body.
“Going,” he says, picking up the pace quickly. He props himself on his elbows for more leverage so I release his shoulders and raise my knees, wrapping my legs around his waist. “Going harder,” he tells me as he pumps more furiously.
I still don’t open my eyes, instead reveling in the physical sensations and conjuring images of what we look like. Hot. We look hot. It feels so good, him jacking away inside me, the heat between us. Instead of watching, I imagine Nick’s face this way. I’m fantasizing about him watching me. I can feel beads of sweat forming at my hairline, I know my mouth tightens and muscles twitch when he suddenly goes harder, quite hard, quite deep.
I moan and then bite my lower lip as he starts panting above me. I can imagine his face perfectly like this. His deep blue eyes staring rapt as he makes me react beneath his control. His well chiseled jaw, his normally serene, unreadable face betraying him now. There’s no way he’d be able to keep that mask in place as he drives into me with power, as I clench tight around him and thrust back against him.
“Izzy,” he pants.
“Keep going,” I encourage him, but I can tell this late-night round won’t last much longer because he’s straining and panting, giving it to me with all he’s got. So I take matters into my own hands. I reach between us, the heat palpable to my hand, and slide a few fingers across my clit. No fooling around, I press hard and rub furiously, already sensitive and responding.
“So hot,” he says, and I know he’s watching me. He barely loses a pump but I know he’s watching me work myself into a frenzy beneath him.
God, imagining Nick watching me and getting off on it just prods me along. Shameless, I’m utterly shameless about it. I know just what he’d look like, hovering over me, his long, lanky frame, his buttocks clenching with each and every delicious pump. His face betraying every ripple of intense pleasure. “Oh,” I moan as I feel him tense, know he’s close.
I’m right on the edge, but I need a little more, just a little more time. My hand strokes furiously, I buck against him. “Keep going,” I plead with him.
“Close,” he says, and I know it’s my warning.
“Please. Please! Keep going,” I tell him again, setting myself on edge. “Keep going, Nick!”
“Oh, no,” he grunts, then rasps my name. Pained sounding, but still frantically pumping.
“No! Izzy!” he howls again, but his hips thrust, seemingly involuntarily.
“No,” I tell him, but I’m so close now it might not matter. “Not yet, Nick! Keep going!”
“Coming.” He says that quietly and the pumping stops, but my hand doesn’t. Luckily, I’m there. Just a couple more rough rubs and I erupt, coming with him still buried inside me, clenching around him, the mental image of his face watching me egging me on to milk every last aftershock.
Rapt in the hazy glow, I’m catching my breath as he pulls out and climbs off of me and rolls to the other side of the bed. A harsh edge to his voice as he says, “You did it again.”
“Mmm?” I ask distantly, still sprawled out and pleasantly holding my hand to crotch.
Over his shoulder, he hisses, “You said his name again!”
My eyes snap open and the glow evaporates. Ashamed now, I close my legs and wiggle upright as I arrange the nightgown to hurriedly cover myself up. Softly, I say, “I’m sorry.” I reach out a hand but he moves away and sits up and gets off the bed. He stalks over to the chair in the corner where his clothes are neatly folded and grabs his pants.
“Andy,” I say. “Don’t go. I really am sorry.”
“Hmph. At least you do know my name.”
“Don’t be silly.”
“Silly!” He shouts it. “You think it’s silly of me to be upset that my girlfriend called another man’s name while we were making love?”
I know he’s pissed, and I don’t blame him. I feel guilty and deserve his anger. And I will gladly grovel and make it up to him. But right now it’s the middle of the night and I just want to defuse the situation, so I try to cajole him and lighten him up. Coyly asking, “Would you rather I called his name while I was having sex with you? Or would you rather I call your name while I have sex with him?”
He gives his shirt a snap in the air but doesn’t miss a beat. Says, “That’s a flawed question, Isabella, and you know it.”
He does stop fiddling with his clothes as he looks at me and says, “It’s flawed because it’s unrealistic. You can’t sleep with him.”
“I know!” I say cheerily. “So it’s not like I’m cheating on you.”
Exasperated, “Please,” is all he says as he starts pulling the shirt on. “I just don’t understand it. You don’t even know this person. What could you possibly be so attracted to?”
I know that this is not the place for me to respond honestly. His tall, lanky body, his penetrating eyes, his beautiful little mouth, but, mostly, how incredibly sexy it is to watch him at the poker tables. How, with just a glance, he can seemingly see and understand everything the other players are thinking. And yet, I can never see the machinery in his mind working. He’s completely unreadable. Like the most glassy-surfaced lake that plunges to unknown depths. All that intelligence and intuition are just…
Andy is staring at me, and I wonder if he can tell what I was just thinking about. He looks cross. “You’re unbelievable,” he says, buttoning up.
Shit. He could tell.
“Andy, please. You’re right. You’re absolutely right. It was terrible of me and I’m so sorry. But please don’t leave. It’s the middle of the night and it’s cold and rainy out there. Tomorrow is Easter! Just come back to bed and I’ll make it up to you.”
He picks up his socks and shoes and takes a seat in the chair, but he stops dressing. Says, “I just don’t even have a fundamental understanding of what you’re attracted to. You don’t know him, Izzy!”
“I know,” I say with a shrug. Then, “What attracts you to Jessica Simpson?”
“Stop it,” he says. “There’s a basic difference between men and women and how we process attraction. Men are visually stimulated. Women intellectually.”
“Well, maybe I just have some male tendencies is all,” I say, lying.
“I don’t call out the name Jessica when we’re making love!”
“So you’d prefer I call out the name of someone I know, then? Perhaps it’d be better if I’d fantasize about one of your friends?”
“Perhaps I’d prefer if you’d fantasize about me and call out my name!”
He’s got me there. If I wanted to turn this around on him, I could start a real brawl by pointing out that it hasn’t escaped my attention how much attention he lavishes on Jennifer every time she’s around. I could point out how I’ve caught him being visually stimulated by her while I was sitting right next to him. But I don’t want to do that, because what I have done is wrong. It’s not about winning this fight so much as about reassuring him and making it up to him. I’ve hurt him. Worse, maybe he’s worried because next week I’m going to Vegas, and there is a small chance I could run into Nick.
Realizing that, I feel even worse, and even somewhat flattered. Maybe Andy’s just worried and jealous. But I’d never cheat on him. I just need to reassure him. So I bite my tongue and measure my words and say, “Andy. I am really sorry. And you’re right about all this. I promise I’ll stop thinking about him. But for right now, you don’t need to worry anyhow. Like you said, I don’t know him, so there’s no chance we’d ever be together.”
“Oh, don’t flatter yourself, Iz.” With that, he starts pulling on his socks.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, darling, that even if you did know him, you wouldn’t be sleeping with him.” He pauses to pull on a shoe, then looks me in the face as he says, “Don’t get your hopes about that trip to Vegas. Sure, you might meet him. But remember, men are stimulated visually, Iz.”
I drop my gaze and pull the blanket up to cover myself, twice as ashamed of myself now. Andy’s right, of course. That’s why the comment stings. There’s nothing Nick Nolan would ever see in geeky me.
Across the room, Andy rises, and I realize how badly I’ve screwed up. He’s a decent, good-looking, smart guy, and I’ve alienated him by not appreciating what I have. Worse, I’ve hurt him. “I’m really sorry,” I whisper.
“And do you really have to be so slutty all the time?”
“Sorry,” I say, knowing what he means.
“I know we’re familiar and all, and it’s hot in a pornographic way that you like to get off. But you’re just so selfish and slutty about it. It’s pretty off-putting afterward.”
“You woke me up,” I say.
“I woke you up. You got yourself off, though.”
“Someone had to do it,” I mutter under my breath.
“You know, babe, you should try appreciating me more. I’m a great guy, Izzy, and I’ve been good to you over the years.”
“I know,” I answer.
“Sweet dreams, Isabelle,” he hisses as he walks out the door.
But that just sparks my anger. He knows I hate that. I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help myself. “Isabella!” I shout after him, just before the back door slams shut.
I stew in it a minute. I’m a shit, without question. But he does oogle Jennifer in front of me. I flop back on the bed and close my eyes and indulge myself with visions of Nick Nolan. Sweet dreams, indeed.
Reprinted with permission from Shuffle Up and Deal by Susan DiPlacido. © 2010 by Neon Fiction