My Christmas book is OUT NOW! 🎄
I finally have a new book out!
My new release is out, $2.99 and in Kindle Unlimited! I would love to know your thoughts if you pick up Christmas Captive. It's gives me all the warm Christmas feels!
Keep reading for the blurb, links and excerpt!
Grab Christmas Captive in KU ➡️ https://amzn.to/2HTKshf
You're on Mr. Kline's naughty list.
Money means power. Power means getting everything I want.
And I want Amicia. The unforgettable exotic dancer is offering herself for sale to make money.
I don't care how much I have to pay to own her.
All I care about is making her mine.
But Amicia has a dark secret... one that will destroy us both before we get our happy ending.
Grayson Kline is rich, handsome, and the city's most eligible bachelor.
He's also the man who just bought me. He owns me for twenty-four days.
On Christmas morning, I'll be free.
My only rule?
I can't fall for the billionaire who holds me captive...
Christmas Captive is a STANDALONE, holiday themed full-length romance novel from USA Today bestselling author Isabella Starling.
We met up in front of Le Cabaret once Capri’s shift ended. It felt strange seeing the place now that I didn’t work there anymore. I’d spent the rest of the evening wallowing the loss of a job I hadn’t even meant to stick with.
Capri rushed out of the building in her second-hand fur coat. As always, she looked fabulous and she pulled me in for a hug, kissing my cheek as she whispered, “Are you excited?”
“Not the word I’d use,” I muttered as she linked her arm with mine. “So, how reputable is this place?”
“I know a girl who’s done it before. She auctioned her first time trying… you know.” She winked at me, making me pale. “From behind? She got a hundred fifty grand from it.”
“That’s horrible,” I muttered. “And perverted.”
“Then why are you doing it?” Capri questioned me.
“Because I need the money.”
“Don’t we all.”
We made our way to the auction house which was in the Notting Hill area. The house was a historical building, and we were patted down before being allowed to enter. Once in there, our names were written down and we were ushered into a large communal shower and ordered to strip naked.
I felt humiliated, but there was nothing to be done. I had to go through with it, and it wasn’t as if I hadn’t been naked around other people before.
Capri and I scrubbed down before we were shown to the waxing room. The name alone made me wince, but it was nothing compared to the rough hands of the Russian women who waxed us bare, as rough as if they had a personal vendetta against us. Then, we were rubbed down with oil, our hair styled, and our makeup done.
Finally, a bored-looking man presented us with a contract each, the papers a mile long. I gave Capri a worried look, but the blonde had already scribbled her signature.
“What?” She rolled her eyes. “I’ve already made up my mind.”
I went through the pages painstakingly, obviously annoying the guy watching us until he was tapping his foot so loud, I just went to the last page, flushing as I wrote down my name on the dotted line.
“Good,” he said, snatching the papers away from me. “About damn time. Now get in line. You’ll be up soon.”
I was too shocked to reply, and Capri and I were ushered to a line of girls waiting in the backstage. We’d been dressed in pink silk robes and nothing else, with a pair of heels on our feet. Capri looked beautiful, and from the jealous looks of the other girls, I assumed I looked good as well.
"Amicia Romano, you're up next."
My knees nearly gave out as I stood up. I tried to find Capri behind me, but it was too late. Someone shoved me from behind, and I stumbled onto the stage, shattering the first impression I'd wanted to make. Snickers and chuckling followed me as I made my way to the front of the stage, my cheeks burning brighter than any Christmas tree.
"She's twenty-two years old," the auctioneer read off his notepad, raising his brows at the lack of information on it as I took in the room before me. It was like a theater, with about sixty people watching me move on the stage. "No college degree, just a high school diploma. Well, how disappointing." He took a long, leering look at me, adding, "Though her looks almost make up for it, don't you think?"
I glared at him, but he paid it no mind, ordering me to strip on the stage. Though I'd known it was coming, my cheeks were alight with embarrassment as I pulled the belt off my silky pink robe. The crowd stared, the bright lights above me blinding as I slowly slid the robe over my shoulders.
This is what I was good at—it's why I'd wanted to be a dancer my entire life. I had the presence, the mysterious je-ne-sais-quoi so many others were missing. And I believed in myself passionately, despite the entire world attempting to convince me that I wasn't good enough.
It was why I was standing on that stage, after all. To be sold to the highest bidder. To receive money in exchange for my body. It would make all my dreams come true.
My body swayed to the sound of music only I could hear. Through the bright stage lights, my gaze flitted from one person in the audience to the next, trying to find a face to settle on. They were all men—older, suited-up men with unforgiving faces and hungry eyes devouring my now naked body. My hands slid down the generous curve of my waist, fingertips gliding over silky soft skin. Just then, my eyes zeroed in on a man in the third row, wearing a grey pinstripe suit with a black shirt and a black tie underneath.
His dark gaze was enough to make me stop for a single second, frozen by the weight of his stare. He was handsome in a cruel way, all sharp lines and the dark shadow of stubble that never quite went away. Dark salt-and-pepper streaked hair was slicked back, shaved closely on the sides and longer on top. He was devilishly handsome. And he screamed danger.
The robe fell to my feet as the audience watched, mesmerized. I danced for the man watching me and no one else. My body twisted and turned for him, my eyes glued to his as he swallowed, his Adam's apple bobbing in his throat.
He raised his paddle.
Every person's head snapped toward him.
"A hundred thousand," he said in a deep, gravelly voice.
"A hundred thousand!" the auctioneer repeated. "Do we have a higher bid?"
"Hundred fifty!" someone yelled from the crowd as I stood shivering in front of them. I was eager to cover up, my hands trembling, needing to retain some dignity. But I forced myself to keep my hands crossed at the wrists behind my back.
"Two hundred thousand." The handsome man was still staring at me, his eyes devouring my body.
"Three hundred," came the bid from a third man.
"Five hundred thousand."
The crowd gasped at the amount of money, but the stranger I'd fixated on wore a cool, unforgiving smile. He was in this to win it, and something told me he wasn't used to losing.
The bids kept coming. Finally, there were two men left bidding for me, the numbers getting closer and closer to one million dollars. I would get ten percent of that money. It was shocking how little they were willing to let me have, but to me, that amount of money was life changing.
"Seven hundred fifty thousand pounds."
The crowd wasn't even muttering anymore, they were whooping, cheering the handsome man on. The other man, an older guy in his fifties with a head of thick silver hair, grimaced and shook his head.
"Seven hundred fifty going once," the auctioneer spoke up. "Seven fifty going twice. Sold, to the highest bidder!"
My legs nearly gave out as I picked my robe off the floor. With my cheeks burning, I didn't dare look at the man who'd just spent a fortune for a single night with me. I wondered whether he knew the small amount of money I'd receive from the sale. I wondered whether he cared.
I slid the robe back on my shoulders and made my way into the backstage, where the next girl was already being prepped. I was in a daze, barely aware of my surroundings as I was escorted to the changing room. Before the auction began, they told us we'd be allowed an hour to prepare for our night with the highest bidder, but now, a rattled woman with a clipboard in her hands ran toward me, knitting her brows together.
"We need you in front of the building now," she barked at me.
"What? I was told I'd have an hour to get ready."
She fixed her headset and shook her head. "Mr. Kline wants you right now. There's no time for that. Tie up your robe and follow me."
With shaky hands, I redid the bow at my hip, covering up my body with the pink silk as I followed the woman outside. It was December first, and as I stepped into the chilly winter night, I trembled from the cool air and the hint of snow in the icy air.
A limousine was waiting in front of the building, and the woman wielding the clipboard ran toward it now, clicking her high heels. I followed behind, struggling in the ten-inch stilettos I'd been told to wear for the auction. My heart was pounding as I stumbled, the woman waving me over impatiently. "Come on now, hurry! No dillydallying."
I managed to make it to the car, my heels slipping on the ice-covered road.
"Wish me luck," I muttered to the woman. In response, she merely gave me a you-do-not-amuse-me look, opened the door, and ushered me into the dark interior of the black limousine.
I got into the car, and the moment I sat down, the vehicle pulled away from the curb, making my heart race in expectation. The interior was all smooth, buttery black leather and tinted windows. I fumbled around for the seatbelt when the dark voice I'd remembered from the auction spoke up.
I looked around, finally spotting a dark shape materializing in the seat opposite mine. We were separated by three feet of space, yet his presence still made me feel a chill right down to my bones.
"But, it's safer to... I just wanted—"
"Leave it," he repeated, firmer this time. "Quintus is a driver with decades of experience. We won't be in danger with him."
I nodded weakly before placing my hands in my lap, staring at the spot where the voice was coming from. He was still hidden in the shadows, but as we pulled out of the parking house attached to the auction building, his handsome profile came into view, rendering me speechless.
He was handsome. Dangerously handsome.
He didn't look at me, instead focusing his gaze on the cityscape of London as we drove away from it. I couldn’t take my eyes off him, though. I was mesmerized.
“Why did you want me to come with you right away?” I demanded.
“I saw you,” he answered simply. “I didn’t want to wait.”
“Are you…” I bit my lower lip. So many questions were on the tip of my tongue, yet I was too nervous to ask.
“Go ahead,” he encouraged me with a sly smirk.
“Are you going to hurt me?” I blurted out.
He pondered my question for a moment, before nodding once, saying, “Yes. But you’ll be rewarded handsomely for it.”
“The payment I’m getting is meager compared to what you paid,” I muttered.
“I’m not talking about that.” His voice was sexy, dark and dangerous. And it was doing things to my insides I didn’t want to admit.
“I’m talking about another offer, from me to you, Kitty.”
My skin prickled when he used my nickname for Le Cabaret. “Do we know each other?”
“We will soon,” he answered cryptically.
I reached over to the car door and opened it. He called out my nickname and lunged for me, dragging me back into the vehicle and slamming the door shut. My heart beat faster than ever as he held me in his arms.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” I hissed.
“Saving you from your own stupidity,” he scoffed, letting go of me. I retreated to my seat, my cheeks burning with embarrassment. He buckled me in himself then, careful not to touch me as he slid the seatbelt over my body.
For the next few minutes, he allowed me to stare sullenly out of the window. I had so many more questions. I needed to know what he’d meant by the offer he mentioned.
"What is your offer?" My voice was shaky as I delivered the question.
"I knew you’d ask soon enough. Well, Kitty, I'm not an evil man," Grayson told me, a wicked smirk taking over his handsome face. "I am a cruel one. I am offering you half of the money I paid for you today.”
"Three hundred and seventy-five thousand?" I tried not to show my own shock as he nodded.
"What do I have to do for it?" Couture House was only paying me seventy-five thousand quid. It was breadcrumbs compared to the money this man was putting on the table.
"I don't want one night with you, Amicia." He reached forward, his fingers taking my chin and making me look up at him. My breath catches in my throat, waiting for his next words. "I want twenty-four of them."
"What d-do you mean?" I hadn't meant to stutter, but I was feeling weak in his presence.
"I want you to be my willing captive for twenty-four days, and twenty-four nights. You'll begin today, December first. By Christmas morning, you'll be free."
"And until then?"
"Until then..." His fingers moved down my neck, wrapping around my throat with firm pressure. "You do everything I tell you to do. You don't leave, not once, or you renounce your right to the money. You are mine. For twenty-four days."
I gasped as his fingers squeezed, making my mouth open and my eyes flutter as I stared up at him.
"So, what do you say, Kitty?" His voice was silky smooth and delicious like aged bourbon. "Will you be my Christmas captive?"