Five Stars Five Stars (Desire Island #5)- Claire Thompson Page 0,1

trepidation from the island’s guests. Shani’s skin thrummed with expectation, her inner submissive reserves fully primed.

Just then, the faint whiff of the particular leather balm Adam Hawk used to treat his whips floated in the air. Shani drew in a sharp breath, resisting a very strong urge to turn around and see if, by some miracle, the man himself would appear behind her.

Even now, though he’d left the island just over a week ago, she could almost feel his gaze upon her, as if he’d left a piece of his spirit behind to watch over her. Her mother, steeped in the Native American traditions of their ancestors, would have said Adam and she had walked together in the spirit world before taking their place in this one. All Shani knew was that the very first time he had gazed at her with those clear green eyes, she’d felt as if she were reconnecting with a part of herself she’d thought had been taken from her forever.

But he’d had to leave after only four days on the island, and it would be at least a month before she saw him again. If she saw him again…

Shani hushed her mind, returning her focus to the scene. The drumming resumed, its pace faster now. Her heart increased its beat along with the drum. She focused on remaining still and strong, receptive to the hot kiss of the lash to come.

But, instead of the searing flick of the blazing whip, only another cool, salty breeze brushed over her skin. There was a shuffling sound and the soft murmur of masculine voices behind her. Was something wrong? Again, she resisted the impulse to twist her head back to see what was happening.

Finally, she heard movement again. Oddly, that sweet, soothing scent of leather balm tickled her nostrils once more. In her mind, she whispered a soft prayer to the spirit goddess. If she could conjure Adam’s scent, could she conjure the rest of him?

She heard the excited gasps of the onlookers as the whip ignited in her peripheral vision. Quieting her mind, Shani closed her eyes again, mentally preparing for its fiery kiss.

The fire licked in searing, rhythmic strokes over her skin, moving in time to the steady beat of the drum. It hurt! Oh, it hurt, it hurt, it hurt! Her breath came fast and urgent, her heart pumping violently in her chest.

As always happened, this was when she questioned her own special brand of madness. Why had she thought she wanted this burning lash snapped cruelly against her flesh, welting and marking her, its flame singeing away the tiny hairs on her skin?

But it wasn’t so much a matter of wanting it. She needed it. It stilled the constant tumult of her thoughts and quieted the haunting memories of a past she longed to erase. The insistent, perfect snap of the whip provided welcome erotic pain—a cleansing pain that stilled her mind and soothed her soul.

Yes, she silently mouthed. More. More, more, more.

As the fiery whipping continued, she settled into herself once more, fully accepting the stinging heat that graced her skin. Her heart slowed and her panting breath subsided into a deep, slow rhythm that matched Tommy’s steady beat.

She imagined it was Adam wielding the whip. The fantasy was so real at that moment that she could have sworn it was him behind her now. She could actually smell the distinctive scent of his skin, which had reminded her of clean cotton dried in the sun, with a spicy note of fresh ginger root. She could visualize him, squinting a little as he concentrated, the whip held confidently in those long-fingered artist’s hands.

“Adam,” she murmured, too quietly for anyone to hear.

She let the fantasy overtake her, sliding down into the experience and allowing it to claim her completely. Her entire body was tingling with pleasure now, her clit throbbing, her nipples hard as the searing tresses whipped lightly against her body.

All too soon, the whip’s flame sputtered out.

She bit back a cry of frustration, aching for the scene to continue. She wanted to sink deeper into a subspace where no dark memory could touch her. She wanted to get to that place that wasn’t oblivion, but the opposite—a place of pure, peaceful awareness, where she remained fully in the moment, every nerve ending receptive to the erotic pain.

But the scattered applause and eager cries of, “Me! Pick me next!” yanked her back to reality. It was only a demo, after all.

Hands reached