January 23, 2013

Surrender to Sanctuary

by Leah St. James


A young woman is brutally murdered, her body dropped into the sea and carried by the tides onto the beach at a federal park at the Jersey Shore.  Hometown investigators believe the woman simply partied too hard and fell overboard, but FBI Agents David Owens and Anna Parker know better.

David and Anna quickly trace the victim’s path from a local adult BDSM club to a dangerous and shadowed world that caters to those who practice a lifestyle of domination and submission, and not just for fun and games.

To find the truth and stop a madman before he can kill again,  they will need to break all the rules. They will need to pose as Master, and as slave. And despite their growing attraction and possibly love for each other, they’ll need to give the performances of their lives – because discovery means certain death.

SURRENDER TO SANCTUARY is the first of two stories that takes a look at a controversial ancient lifestyle and the people who practice it—people who’ll do anything to protect its future. Look for the second book, SANCTUARY’S PROMISE, in spring 2016.


(In this excerpt, David is trying to convince Anna that it would be a big mistake for her to put herself into a position of such vulnerability. And Anna isn’t buying it.)

“You’re tiny.”

There was a hint of disdain in his voice, and she straightened her spine. “Hardly. I’m five‑seven.”

“Still shorter than the average man, and you weigh, what, about one thirty?”

She nodded. “Thereabouts, yes. But I’m tough.” In a moment of insanity she nearly flexed her biceps at him, but checked the impulse when he rolled his eyes and let out a disgusted huff of air.

“Yeah, tough,” he murmured, running his gaze down her body once more. “And at least forty pounds lighter than most men, probably closer to fifty pounds under the average weight, and more.”

“What’s your point, David?”

He tapped his fist on his forehead a few times before answering. “The point is, you’re young and beautiful and you’re offering yourself to be sold like chattel. What if some sicko picks you for the Saturday night test drive? You think can just say no and the nice man will leave you alone? You put up a fight and God knows what’ll happen.”

Suddenly hot and cold at once, Anna shivered and folded her arms across her chest. “You’re sweet to be concerned, but I can’t tell you how I’ll react to a hypothetical situation. Just trust me that I know how to take care of myself, and I will, in a way appropriate to this investigation.”

His eyes narrowed, and he laughed softly. “Oh yeah?”

She recognized what was coming next, yet did nothing to stop it. And in a flurry of movements, he tugged her arms behind her back, captured her wrists with one hand, and kicked her legs wide apart, planting his solidly in between. Then he hauled her to his chest and with his free hand, grasped her face and tipped it up. His grip tightened, all over, and he held her locked against him.

“Go ahead, try to get away from me. Try to move. Your arms, your legs.” He paused. “Admit it. You can’t even use your teeth. Maybe you could spit, but that wouldn’t do anything but piss him off.” His eyes, a deep indigo now, roamed her face. “I’m not even using half my strength here, Anna.”

No, she could tell he wasn’t. He held her tightly but with care. His hands warmed rather than bruised. His legs locked hers in place, separated and useless, the denim of his jeans chafing her bare skin. Their torsos and hips were pressed together, fitting like they belonged, and as if suddenly realizing the same thing, he sucked in a breath and abruptly shifted his weight.

It was a minute before she could speak over the pounding of her heart. “You’re trying to scare me, but it’s not working. I’m not afraid of you, David.”

“Yeah? Well you should be.” He groaned then, a sound that came from somewhere deep inside, and his hands gentled, at her wrists, her face. “What the hell,” he said under his breath just as his lips came down on hers.