It was a game with only one rule — ultimate pleasure.
Reviews for Total Surrender
— Romantic Times Magazine
"Cheryl Holt scores big with TOTAL SURRENDER. Following in the erotic path set by Robin Schone, Lisa Kleypas, and Catherine Coulter, she taps into secret fantasies tied closely to a romantic love story. Though the novel is quiet sexually explicit, readers will find it a satisfying romance--one that they will gladly surrender to."
"I was totally blown away by TOTAL SURRENDER, a tale both erotic and poignant. Sensational characters, and a very compelling read that readers couldn't put down unless you're dead!... Don't miss this author. She's a sparkling diamond!"
What fans are saying about Total Surrender
"You're moving up, baby!"
— Nes, Holland
"You are really cooking on the front burner!!!!"
— Jean, Florida
"Thank you for the terrific read. Bought TOTAL SURRENDER last night, read until my eyes wouldn't stay open any longer..."
"Oh... to be able to write a wonderful, wicked book like you did!!! WOW! THIS ONE SIZZLES!!!"
— Margaret, Kentucky
"This book was FANTASTIC! I couldn't put it down. I read it in one sitting."
— Wateena, Illinois
Awards for Total Surrender
Reviewer's Choice Award Winner Best Sensual Romance of 2002
Finalist, Best Sensual Romance of 2002 Scarlett Letter Award
July Top Pick
"...Exceptional..." says Romantic Times Magazine
Total Surrender Sneak Preview
From somewhere distant, a clock chimed the midnight hour, and Sarah slipped from her bed and crept to the peephole in her dressing chamber. After retiring, she'd lounged and walked the floor, occasionally checking to see if anyone occupied the hidden room, but so far, it had been empty, and her apprehension and anticipation grew.
Michael Stevens completely absorbed her thoughts. Their nude encounter the previous evening, followed by their brief chat on the lawn that afternoon, had her head spinning. She'd kept tiptoeing to the door that separated their suites and pressing her ear to the wood, yearning to detect him moving about, but her attempts had been greeted by silence. No one appeared to be there.
Once, she'd even firmly and carefully turned the knob, though she wasn't certain of her intent should the loathsome thing have swung open. Almost with relief, she'd discovered it locked from his side, precluding any decision about how she'd progress, or there was no telling what heedless act she might have perpetrated.
Would she have brazenly entered? Searched his personal papers or read his diary? Hoping to find what?
Though she hated to admit it, she was desperate to breathe the air he inhaled, to inhabit the territory where he roamed, to handle his belongings, to rifle through his shirts and examine his cufflinks. Thank goodness he'd had the foresight to secure his door, thus preventing any such foolishness on her part!
Cursing her sorry, disordered mental state, she climbed onto the footstool and, silent as a mouse, adjusted her eye to the peephole. She froze; her heart pounded. The event for which she'd been waiting all day was about to commence.
Michael Stevens rested against the pillows and sipped red wine from a stemmed goblet. His steady gaze remained fixed on the entrance.
He was once again wearing only a pair of trousers, chest bared, and the sight was extremely arousing. All that naked, male flesh, all that dark, swirled hair, was unsettling and thrilling. She longed to run her fingers through the matted pile, to rub her nose against it, while she traced over sinew and bone.
With a slow hand, he stroked the bottom of his chalice against his torso, arcing down in circles to his stomach, then lower, to the ridge in his trousers. The motion induced him to stir uncomfortably, and his groin flexed.
Just then, a woman joined him, another cloak shielding her identity, but she wasn't the same lover Sarah had spied upon the night before. She moved differently, and she was shorter and broader across the shoulders and buttocks.
Mr. Stevens rose up off the cot and stalked toward her like a predatory beast, all elegance and smooth, menacing purpose. His whole torso seemed to glimmer with an undefinable emotion that reached out to Sarah, billowing across her nerve endings, tickling her abdomen and breasts. A wall separated them, yet he beguiled her, and she couldn't prevent herself from wishing that his enticing regard was focused in her direction.
How she'd adore the chance to become the female enclosed with him! To stand next to him, to bask in his presence, to have those stunning blue eyes searching her own. If she was ever lucky enough to acquire a subsequent opportunity at being sequestered with him, she wouldn't be so quick to send him packing!
Mr. Stevens began with the same question he had the prior night. "What's your name?"
The woman spoke softly and, as before, Sarah couldn't detect her answer.
"Who is your husband?" There was a telling silence, a muttered comment, then Michael's sarcastic grin, and Sarah would have given all she possessed to behold the woman's expression. Finally, he asked, "What is it you would like to do for me?"
After a lengthy hesitation, the woman leaned forward and whispered in his ear, hovering close. He'd cocked his head, listening, and Sarah suffered a strange flash of envy and jealousy at noting their nearness, but she impelled herself to remain calm. To watch. To study. No matter how disturbing, she had to ascertain what they were contemplating.
"Ah... I get to choose..." he mused. "Have you been informed about what I like best?"
The woman nodded and said something, but the only word Sarah could decipher was mouth and, upon hearing whatever she was suggesting, Mr. Stevens's eyes glittered with triumph. What was it that he liked best? There seemed to be a cryptic code to these assignations that everyone could interpret but herself, and not understanding the intricate meanings was the worst sort of torture.
"And you're still inclined to proceed?"
"I'm a big man. Bigger than most."
"Aye," the woman murmured, "so I've been told."
"Once you've started, you have to finish. You might find it unpalatable."
"I'm sure you're wrong. I expect it will be very pleasant." The woman was obviously regarding him speculatively, appraising his marvelous physique "I wouldn't have scheduled an appointment if I wasn't disposed to continue to the end."
For what precisely was he contracting? Sarah wondered. How many ways could a man and woman delight in each other's physical company? Plainly, there were many clandestine behaviors about which she was unaware, though Mr. Stevens had hinted at some of them during his abridged visit.
Eagerly, she eavesdropped, anxious to learn more.
"Are you undressed under your cloak?" Mr. Stevens inquired.
Coming up behind her, he trapped her in the corner, and she stiffened at the sudden contact. His hands fell to her waist, and the muscles across his back tensed and bulged as he pulled her against him. She unfastened the clasp, and he dictated, "Push it off your shoulders."
She complied, but the hood stayed on, so her face was still hidden, and Sarah's view included the woman's arm and back. Mr. Stevens's questing fingers lifted to cradle her breasts and, although Sarah couldn't see the maneuver, she sensed his ministrations.
He was trifling with the woman's nipples, twisting and twirling them as he had Sarah's own, and she observed, stimulated and agog. He rocked his front against his lover's backside, and he dallied, his searching hands never still, until he had her squirming. The woman groaned, as though in misery, but Mr. Stevens only gripped her tighter.
"Does your husband touch you like this?" he queried.
"How about like this?"
"No," the woman repeated, gasping and writhing, and Sarah received the distinct impression that he was smirking and preening.
Men! She'd never comprehend their thinking or their motives!
She strained against the peephole, but she couldn't discern exactly what he was affecting. He was caressing the woman, but how? How was he provoking her to dissemble so dramatically.
His paramour was definitely relishing his thoroughness. Guttural moans issued from her throat, a fist wrestled against the leg of his trouser, grappling for purchase against the taut fabric. In visible ecstasy, her head tipped back, and Mr. Stevens kissed and bit against her nape.
He rotated her, until they were facing the mirror, and the moment became too personal for Sarah, because she recalled only too well how he'd positioned her when he'd been in her dressing room, how he'd cupped her breasts and toyed with her nipples. She could still vividly recall the heat and scent of his skin, the strength of his resolve.
Her nipples began to ache. With each beat of her heart, her pulse pounded through them. They cried out for a type of relief she couldn't describe and, hoping to ease their distress, she covered one of them with her palm. The contact set off a maelstrom of agitation that rolled through her chest and rushed down her stomach, centering between her legs.
Her womanly cleft dampened, the flesh swelled. In agony, she grazed down her abdomen to her wet core. Even through the fabric of her nightrail, she could feel the radiating warmth. Her total being pleaded for a release that was outside her realm of experience, and a frantic longing seemed about to sweep her away. Without a doubt, the novel, strange appetites were stirred by what she was perusing.
Stop watching! she ordered herself. This isn't right or proper, but she could no more quit than she could halt the sun from rising on the morrow. She was mesmerized by the sight of his bronzed fingers on the woman's pale breast. The display incited unnatural cravings and kindled formerly shrouded desires, desires that she had no means of quelling.
Although she should have felt ashamed or--at least--confused, she simply became more and more curious.
Unrepentant, she pressed against the peephole, braced for more.
He was a master in seduction...
With the last of her family's possessions gambled away by her dissolute brother, Lady Sarah Compton has traveled to a country house gala for one last moment of grace and beauty. But she is unaware that the occasion is actually a notorious trysting event, where members of the aristrocracy can indulge their every sensual fantasy and erotic whim. Nor does she realize that the striking man who has stolen into her bedroom is none other than Michael Stevens — a rake who gives and takes his pleasures boldly...
She was a pupil, willing to learn...
The bastard son of an earl, Michael Stevens relishes his reputation as London's most notorious seducer. But he has no idea what to make of the auburn-haired beauty he'd nearly mistaken for a new conquest or how such an innocent could possibly have been invited to a gathering where London's bored elite caters to each other's carnal desires. When the lady refuses to heed Michaels' warning — to leave the house for her own protection — a powerful attraction grows, and soon, he longs to tutor the very proper Lady Sarah Compton in the art of passion...