Sacrifice of the Pawn
Surrender Games Book 1
by Lydia Michaels
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Surrender Games follows the emotionally charged and highly erotic contemporary romance saga, The Surrender Trilogy.
Isadora Patras has sacrificed years raising her younger siblings, Lucian and Antoinette. As her brother and sister grow more independent, she feels her purpose is lost. Aching to do something selfish and hungry for a taste of the forbidden, she takes a lover—her father’s protégé and trusted family friend, Sawyer Bishop.
In a secret affair trust is tested, respect is bartered, and reputations are on the line. Sawyer has always been Isadora’s mentor, but now it’s her move. She’s through being a pawn and ready to demand the respect of a Queen.
The Surrender Games Series should be read after The Surrender Trilogy.
Unsure what to make of the shift in energy, she collected her glass from the bar to buy time, but something was definitely different, and she didn’t understand why.
“Is something wrong, Sawyer?”
His gaze followed her as she came to sit on the empty side of the settee. “When did you stop calling me Mr. Bishop?”
The soft, cajoling rumble of his voice was more soothing than probing. Voices like that could make audio instructions sound like Shakespeare.
Thinking over his question, her brow tightened. “I’m not sure. I suppose I was a teenager when you invited me to call you by your first name. Should I go back to calling you Mr. Bishop?” she teased. It seemed silly to think of him as anything other than Sawyer.
Turning his wrist, the ice in his glass shifted. “The boys … they’ve be friends for a long time.”
“And hopefully they will be forever.”
“And I’ve been your father’s friend for as long as I can recall. He gave me a job when I was fresh out of college.”
“And now you run one of his companies. What is it you’re trying to say, Sawyer?”
“You’re very young, Isadora. Too young to have a boy in college and a ten-year-old in your care, but you do it with the maturity of an experienced woman.”
“Thank you, but Lucian’s my brother, not my son. And Toni… I may act like her mother, but I’m not. I take no joy in erasing our mother’s memory.”
He glanced at his empty glass, the filtered moonlight reflecting in the crystal as he placed it on the table. “I should go.”
Tipping her glass over his, she filled it with a finger of scotch. “Not before you finish your drink.”
Peering through thick, black lashes, he gave her a questioning look that made her feel immediately foolish. Why had she done that?
He twisted to face her. “What are you doing, Isadora?”
“I don’t know. I’ve had a lot to drink.” Her voice dropped to a rasp as her gaze latched onto his, holding so tight she could hardly spare a blink.
“Is that it then?”
Her lashes fluttered, breaking the spell, and she laughed nervously. Those eyes were hypnotic, especially when he looked directly into hers. She shook her head, shaking off the affect. “Is that what?”
Lifting his glass, he finished her offering in one swallow, placed the tumbler on the table, and stood. She rose as well, the camaraderie they’d shared earlier rapidly evaporating. Perhaps thirty-seven wasn’t such a good year.
Tension closed in on her, its impending heaviness puncturing the inebriated haze cocooning her mind. The unfamiliar imbalance was more than the effect of alcohol. Maybe she was coming down with something.
She didn’t want him to go and his proximity to the door filled her with panic and heat. Stay, she wanted to say, but something kept her quiet. She wanted him to make the decision without her prompting his response.
It became a game of guessing what he might do or say next and she liked the uncertainty, found it unsteadily thrilling. Her heart beat too fast as she tried to identify a time she’d ever felt so nervous in such a fulfilling way. She didn’t typically favor anxiety, yet she coveted the feeling now, a dark anticipation for every motion, every word. So much to lose in such a simple decision, yet she hadn’t a clue what she’d gain if he chose to stay.
“I apologize for intruding on your evening,” he said, stepping around the table.
Her heart jerked. Her disappointment was a physical jolt that convinced her something else was happening here—something she shouldn’t feel.
She stepped around the other side of the coffee table and met him on the carpet, frantic to keep him there a while longer. She didn’t want to be alone, but maybe he was feeling this strange energy too and figured it best to leave.
“Sawyer, what changed?”
“The fact that you don’t know is a testament to your young age.”
Affronted, she drew back. Perhaps she was a bad drunk, because his words hurt more than they probably should.
She wasn’t an idiot and though she didn’t have much experience with men like Sawyer—or any men for that matter—she wasn’t a prude. Something changed between them tonight. A sort of chemistry had evolved.
She never felt this kind of attraction around him before and maybe he felt it too and that was why he was trying to escape. But she was drunk, so perhaps her perception was off.
Rather than further embarrass herself, she stepped aside. “I’m sorry if I did something to offend you.”
Gah! She always said the worst things. What was she trying to get, a sympathy stay? That was not what she was after.
“You did nothing offensive. It’s just … not appropriate for me to be here—alone with you. It’s late.”
Embarrassed that her eagerness reeked of inexperience, she looked away. She shouldn’t let him see her like this. She’d have to see him again and it was utterly humiliating to think he might assume she was some sad, desperate woman trying to seduce her father’s colleague when she just wanted a little company. Oh, God, she was desperate.
Her gaze dropped to the carpet as a dark sense of inadequacy swallowed her. “I understand. I didn’t mean to…” …whatever I’ve done.
She didn’t look up to see if he was staring at her. She didn’t need to. She could feel his stare measuring her. He hesitated as he approached the door.
“You’ll call if you need anything?” he asked softly.
Never. “Of course.”
With nothing more to say, he left, his leather-soled footfalls drifting almost silently as he made his way to the foyer.
Humiliated, she turned to the bar and lifted the expensive bottle. No matter how much her life resembled that of an adult, she never stopped feeling apart from the actual authority figures. A little girl with a license to leave the kiddie table for one meal before an early bedtime.
Rethinking the last couple hours and degrading herself for every unflattering impression she might have left, she wished desperately to erase the entire evening. She was not on his level and he saw her as his colleague’s pathetic kid who was astoundingly short on friends.
Collecting the glasses filled with watered down ice, she decided not to return to her father’s study anymore. Every time she left this room she felt like half a person—tonight more so than usual.
She dumped the ice in the sink at the wet bar and sat the glasses on the counter. “What a waste.”
The door to the office creaked and she pivoted, gasping as she found him still there and staring at her from the threshold.
“My…” He shook his head, brow tense with lines of tension. “I forgot my jacket.”
Her chest tightened as she blinked at him in question. His jacket was behind her, yet she lacked the will to move.
Was he really back for his jacket? Had he left it there on purpose? He watched her, keeping his distance, like she was some sort of black widow. She mentally laughed. She was about as threatening as a baby bunny.
Putting her back to the bar, she gave him room to get his belongings and go. Reaching past her, he slid the jacket off the back of the chair and stilled, close enough for her to see the contrast of silver threaded in the dark hair at his temples.
Her skin tingled as breath locked in her lungs, his scent crawling into her. A million moments she shouldhave had collided in her mind, borrowed memories from novels and cinematic romances and what she knew most girls experienced years before approaching her actual age.
His arm brushed the front of her blouse and his eyes shut on a whispered curse. Every breath she took tightened her clothing. She was winded, yet standing perfectly still.
“Tell me to go. Tell me to forget the jacket,” he whispered, voice low as it scratched along her every tender nerve.
She said nothing and he let the jacket slide down the chair and onto the floor. She couldn’t blink and she began to tremble subtly as he turned to fully face her, staring into her eyes.
Each inhalation lifted her breasts higher. Her lips parted, the scent of expensive scotch, rich cologne, and sin clouding her mind. She wasn’t a small woman. Thin, yes, but too tall. Yet, looking up at him now, she found her height perfect, and his stature arrestingly right. Strong.
“Tell me to go, Isadora,” he repeated, voice rasping in a way that prickled the back of her neck, seeming to lift the fine hairs along her collar.
There was something more than drunken secrets here. She edged closer, never one to act audaciously, but maybe this was the self-indulgent moment she’d been waiting for. Brazen seemed right.
Drawing in a shaky breath, she softly whispered, “I didn’t want you to leave in the first place.”
Uttering another curse, he reached for her so fast she took a startled step back, only to be blocked by the bar. His hand swept into her hair, fingers terrorizing her sensible bun, as he jerked her body to his on a gasp. His aggression was as unexpected as his intensity. The shocking press of his lips was a welcome delight. Warm. Unquestioning. Experienced.
His other hand surged low on her back, pulling her body flush to his as their heads tilted and his mouth opened against hers. Heat swirled low in her belly as her hands sought a place to rest.
A fever took hold, burning hot, as her knuckles flexed and her fingers dug into his broad shoulders. The distant thud of the bottle hitting the carpet only vaguely registered, as he spun her and backed her toward the desk.
His mouth opened wider, his tongue spearing between her lips, greedily taking as he dipped her over the surface, arching her backwards and exposing her neck. The five o’clock shadow covering his jaw scraped over her delicate skin, making her toes curl.
He lifted her and objects moved along the desk, the lamp light jostling in the shadows. Her knees drew up as a chair skidded out of the way. He towered over her, kissing, licking, biting. And her body was on fire.
Objects clattered to the ground as his touch dragged up her leg, hiking her simple pencil skirt higher. The bunched material gave way, sliding as high as her hips when he fit his legs between hers.
The weight of his arousal pressed against her core. She gasped and everything stilled.
His heavy breathing mingled with hers as his stormy eyes flashed in the light shining from the desk lamp. She’d never been in such a tangle. They were so close it was difficult to determine whose parts were whose.
“Shit.” He made to rise, but her grip on his shirt tightened. “Isadora,” he rasped, almost pleadingly.
Hating the regret she recognized in his gaze, she almost let him go. Almost.
She could do this--they could do this. Who would know? They were both adults.
Lifting her head, she gently brushed her lips against his. Shockingly, it seemed enough to hold him there. His mouth tilted over hers, pulling, slowly taunting, until everything inside of her seemed to stretch like warm taffy and melt her body into his. The tension left his shoulders as his weight sank into her.
His hand followed the curve of her hip, tracing the nip of her waist and un-tucking her blouse one ripple of fabric at a time. His warm fingertips scorched the hidden skin of her belly, skimming over her ribs with practiced ease. Her body arched as the swell of her breast filled his palm and her lips parted on a sigh.
“We shouldn’t do this,” he whispered, his thumb tracing delicate swirls over the hardening tip of her nipple.
There was no way she was letting him leave now. The press of his arousal was leaving her panties slick and his hand was working some sort of magic under her blouse.
“Yell at me, Isadora. Tell me to stop, to take my hands off you.”
“Stop fighting it, Sawyer.” She loosened the top button of her blouse. And another. And then another.
He eased back as the silk parted. He looked at her as no man ever had. “Jesus. You’re beautiful.”
Blinking, he stood and gently pulled her with him. Leaving her shirt open she quickly straightened her skirt.
His attention drifted around the room and he grimaced. “Your bed—”
“Is upstairs. Too close to my sister’s room. Here’s fine.”
His mouth pursed. He didn’t seem pleased with the options.
Releasing her hand, he shut the door tightly and turned the antique key sitting in the lock.
To read on, please download your copy of Sacrifice of the Pawn here.
Queen of the Knight
Surrender Games Book 2
The game has changed and no player’s position is safe…
In a world of power, money, deceit, and lust, no player is exactly how they seem. Love and trust are at stake when the game is changed and old enemies come out of hiding, disguised as friends.
Isadora Patras must proceed wisely. After thirteen years of heartbreak and denial, she no longer trusts her instincts. One man embodies her past, the other could be her future, but which one holds her heart? Isadora must choose between her family and two very different men. Either way, her choice could cost her everything.
In a game of kings, bishops, rooks, and knights there are no guarantees. But if Isadora wants to be a Queen, someone will have to lose.
The Surrender Games Series should be read after The Surrender Trilogy.
The Surrender Trilogy was released in 2013. It was an Apple iBooks Bestseller. Surrender Games is a spin-off of The Surrender Trilogy. It is a series that features the side characters of the trilogy and will eventually deliver each hero and heroine’s HEA.
It is highly recommended that readers read The Surrender Trilogy BEFORE reading Surrender Games.
Lydia Michaels is an award winning author of over 30 contemporary romance novels. She lives in Pennsylvania with her wonderfully supportive husband, beautiful daughter, and many crazy fur babies. If she is not off spending time with her family you can usually find Lydia at her computer working on her next story or hiding somewhere quiet with a great book. She loves taking a romantic plot with steamy chemistry and pressing the bounds of love. Her books are intellectual, erotic, haunting, always centered on love.
Lydia Michaels' darkly compelling Surrender Trilogy was an Apple iBooks bestseller and she has been featured in USA Today. In 2015 she was the winner of The Best of Bucks Award and she has been nominated as Best Author in the Bucks Happening Magazine three years running [2015, 2016, and 2017]. She is a four time nominee for the prestigious RONE Award.
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