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From Joey W. Hill—author of the Knights of the Boardroom series—comes a novel of erotic games and power plays, in which an adventurous woman attempts to break down her own barriers…
Athena is an accomplished businesswoman in control of every aspect of her life. But since the death of her husband, she’s had the desire to explore submissive cravings she’s had for some time. Unfortunately, Athena is known as a Mistress, because that’s the role she’s always played.
Her type A personality was strong enough to serve her husband as a Domme because that’s what he needed. It’s not until she meets Dale, a retired Navy SEAL, that she attempts to discover what her own submissive desires are. But letting go of her control is not so easy.
Fortunately, Dale is an accomplished Master who can help Athena live out her fantasies. And as she slowly surrenders to his touch, both of them will learn more about the nature of love between Dominant and submissive, and how it defies all expectations.
The Erotic Power of “Small” Gestures by Joey W. Hill!
Like most erotic romance authors, my passion for my genre started as a member of the audience. I looked for erotic content in books, movies and TV that struck a spark in my imagination and said “this is the core of what erotic romance is about”.
What appealed to me, and what I integrate into my work, is the power of the “small” gesture. It’s not the “grab her and pin her against the wall” moment that has the most potency. That’s certainly an ideal outcome (lol), but what pulls me into the scene with the characters is a single gesture, word, or look. For instance, in “Double Dare”, one of the earliest Zalman King Red Shoe Diary vignettes, Joan Severance is sprawled out in sensual dishabille on the rug while Steven Bauer stands above her. They’ve just broken out of an ardent embrace, but this moment is a significant pause, where he’s simply staring down at her. Then he takes his bare foot, hooks it under her calf and slowly pushes it, making her spread her legs wider for him. That’s the moment that makes my heart beat faster and engages my libido full steam ahead. Everything is there – power exchange, emotion, sexual tension.
Here’s a “small gesture” moment when Dale and Athena, my hero and heroine of Unrestrained, meet for the first time. Athena is at her usual BDSM club, watching a performance by a masked Dom (Dale). Athena served her husband as a Mistress because that’s what he needed, but now that she’s a widow, she’s discovering a deep longing to try the submissive side of things. There are several “small gestures” in this scene, but my favorite has to do with a glove. See what you think. Enjoy!
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Despite the diverse club population, Athena was fairly certain she’d never seen a Master quite like this one. Unless it was in one of the confusing, erotic dreams that had been teasing the edges of her sleep of late, dreams she didn’t feel comfortable sharing even in this venue. Perhaps especially in this venue.
Willow, his submissive, was a regular at the club, one who craved heavy punishment from a Master, hence the pseudonym. A willow bent under any punishment, but didn’t break. She was tied spread eagle to an upright metal frame. This room had several frames like that, as well as a pegboard of whips, floggers, paddles, thumpers and uncomplicated restraint options. The Fortress of Solitude tended to attract those who preferred to use the basics and let psychological domination do the rest.
At the moment, this Master was utterly still. He held a cane in one large hand, the end resting in the half-curled palm of the other, while his gaze coursed over his captive’s body. Willow was stripped to the skin, which would be a viewing pleasure for anyone watching, but his body language said that was irrelevant to him. Even more importantly, it told Willow she was stripped for his pleasure alone.
He stood with feet evenly braced, T-shirt pulling across his shoulders and chest, his ass and thigh muscles taut beneath the mold of the denim. The tilt of his head, as if he was listening to something no one else could hear, made the rule of silence in the Fortress not a guideline, but a mandate that would incur punishment if broken. Athena wet her lips.
His masked profile could have been etched from granite, his jaw looked that resilient. She wanted to see the rest of his face. She thought he’d be dark haired, because the scattering of hair on his arms was dark, and his five-o’clock shadow was a blue-black that made a woman think of pirates. Since the shadowing in the room made it impossible to determine his eye color, she imagined them as green, then brown or blue. A dark blue, like a cold ocean, hiding pleasures and dangers both.
He moved then, sweeping the cane across Willow’s buttocks, a strike across the widest part. She jerked, biting down on the gag. He did it again, creating an X, and then kept doing it, focusing on her ass and upper thighs.
The girl was a pale-skinned, white-haired blonde with a soft, pretty body. She had the tattoo of a rose on the back of her shoulder, the thorny stem winding its way around her shoulder blade and to the front. When she twisted in pain, reacting to the cane, Athena glimpsed the rest of the tattoo. The stem ended at her left nipple, which was pierced with a barbed barbell.
He stopped. The girl panted behind her gag, her fingers opening and closing in the cuffs that held her to the frame. She wore a blindfold, but Athena saw the tears that had trickled down to the corners of her mouth. Her body was shuddering. Athena’s stomach was quivering in response, a sympathetic tingle in her thighs and buttocks where she had them pressed against the wall. She could sit down on the couch in the corner, but she preferred to be here, part of the ungiving and cool cinder block wall.
The masked man planted a boot between Willow’s spread feet. Caressing her biceps, he slid a black-gloved hand over the tender bend of her elbow before he dropped his touch to her hip. Willow’s head turned toward him, the attitude of her body one of yearning, desire for his attention. Wanting to please him.
Was he a consistent sadist, or had he tailored his skill set to Willow’s need for pain? He might be the type of Dom who chose a different sub on each visit, enjoying the challenge of exploring various techniques, anticipating the needs of different playmates. Even so, he’d have a personal preference; most Doms did. Athena wondered what it was, wondered what it would be like to be bound to him uniquely, such that he would reveal his own desires and let her be the willing recipient of serving them.
Willow shuddered in the man’s grip. From the slackness of her mouth, the jerky movements of her body, as well as the flushed look of her swollen clitoris, she was soaring. Teetering on the edge of climax, caught in mindless submission, the state a Dom loved to see.
He put his mouth against her ear. Speaking was permitted if the Master or sub had a safety issue to clarify. He spoke so softly, however, that Athena couldn’t hear him. Willow did, her trembling increasing. She shook her head, a whimper escaping her. Though the sound was muffled by the gag, he gave her marked ass a sharp smack, and she stilled, obeying the rules. His touch now became more gentle, though his tone increased enough that Athena caught the rumble. He had a deep voice. She found that pleasing, soothing. Apparently, so did Willow. The girl nodded at last, more tears leaking out from under the blindfold. Anything for you, her body language said. I will give you anything. I will fly for you.
Athena swallowed. She closed her eyes, imagining being where Willow stood, feeling that lash. Could such pure agony purge deeper, more emotional pain, bring it all to the surface, let it bleed out, boil forth like a pus? The idea mesmerized her, held her paralyzed against the wall, caught up in the sounds, the tears, the miasma of Domination and surrender.
The Master gripped Willow’s hair, yanked her head back as he slid his hand down her front, covered her clit and labia and began to massage. Two of his fingers pushed inside her wet pussy as his thumb worked her outside. Willow struggled, wailed, and then she came. Athena shifted to the other wall so she could see the girl’s climax spurt over his gloved fingers. Her gaze latched onto his forearm, pressed against Willow’s abdomen, and she thought about the heat of that arm against her own flesh.
He didn’t stop when Willow was done, continuing until she was squirming in discomfort. He gave her another disciplinary smack, forcing her to accept her Master’s will in motionless agony, his manipulation of the oversensitized nerves. By the time he chose to stop, she would have been in a puddle on the floor, had her restraints and the arm he had around her waist not been holding her up. He removed his other glove by pulling at the fingers with his teeth, then shook it loose so it dropped to the floor. Stroking her hair with the bare hand, he bent to press a kiss to the crown of her head.
The glove had landed three feet away from Athena. She stared at it as he performed aftercare for his sub. It was a vital process that gave emotional reassurance to Willow, told her she’d done well, that she’d pleased her Master. It also physically grounded her, since a sub could be so disoriented right after an intense session like this that she couldn’t even be trusted to walk unaided.
Setting her drink on a shelf, Athena bent to pick up the glove. She told herself she did it so it wouldn’t be in the way, so that the Master wouldn’t step on it, but as she held it, she couldn’t resist slipping it over her hand. The glove had retained the heat of his body. She imagined how it had emanated through the thin outer layer, adding to the burn as he slapped Willow’s ass.
The man straightened and looked over his shoulder at her.
Her cheeks flushed, but rather than prompting her to pull the glove off, his look made her fingers curl over it. Vaguely, she thought she should apologize, because she might be disrupting his session, but speaking wasn’t allowed. Plus, she wasn’t sure if she’d offended him. His body language gave nothing away.
At some point, she wasn’t simply meeting his gaze; she was caught in it. Wishes, inarticulate needs, things so contained she wasn’t sure she could move for fear of eruption, seemed to rise up to a perilous level inside her. She wanted to tell him something, tell him everything, but she had no idea what. Or even how to start.
Some shocking part of her wanted to sink to her knees, wait until his other gloved hand touched her face, lifted her chin. He’d command her to take Willow’s place on the frame and send her soaring as well.
Retrieving her drink, she turned away, leaving the room. Aftercare was personal, intimate. Even though this Master and Willow were in a public club environment, Athena didn’t have a desire to intrude on that. It made too many things hurt.
It wasn’t until she’d left the room that she realized she was still wearing the glove. She took it off, left it on a drink table next to the archway leading into the Fortress, where he’d be sure to find it. She had to suppress a strong urge to keep it. She wanted to sleep with it on her pillow, her cheek against it. She wanted to put it back on her hand, rub it between her legs the way he’d massaged Willow, and imagine him whispering in her ear. Come for me.
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About the Author
Whenever I’m asked to provide personal information about myself for readers, a ball of anxiety forms in my stomach as I think: “Okay, the next couple of paragraphs can change forever the way someone views my stories.” Why on earth does a reader want to know about me? It’s the story that’s important.
So here it is. I’ve been given more blessings in my life than any one person has a right to have. Despite that, I’m a Type A, borderline obsessive-compulsive paranoiac who worries I will never live up to expectations. I’ve got more phobias than anyone (including myself) has patience to read about. I can’t stand talking on the phone, I dread social commitments, and the idea of living in monastic solitude with my husband and animals, books and writing is as close an idea to paradise as I can imagine. I love chocolate, but with that deeply ingrained, irrational female belief that weight equals worth, I manage to keep it down to a minor addiction. I adore good movies. I’m told I work too much. Every day is spent trying to get through the never ending “to do” list to snatch a few minutes to write.
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