The second book in The Hardest Word series is out today. Hard Lessons should be popping up on Amazon any time, and on Barnes and Noble. It’s already there on ARe and of course Totally Bound. Here are the buy links
Hard Lessons continues the story of Freya, a would-be submissive who struggles to make a D/s relationship work as she is unable to speak so can’t negotiate her limits or use a safe word. She has persuaded Nick Hardisty, an experienced Dom to work with her, but he insists on his own terms for her ‘education’. For one month she is his. Will it be enough? Too much?
Here’s an excerpt. Nick and Freya are becoming better acquainted.
“You’re welcome, all part of the service. So now, we’ve established that you’re my guest. A trainee, not my prisoner, and you’re free to come and go as you like. So you need a key. Having said that, I’ll expect you to be here, available, when I want to scene with you, and that will be a lot of the time. Most of the time, probably. A month isn’t that long and we have a lot of work to get through. And you’re so damn sexy I can’t seem to keep my hands off you in any case. But you’ll have some downtime too, occasionally, and you might want to go somewhere. You might even want to nip home, pick up your mail, more clothes, that sort of thing.
“Which reminds me, I brought your gear in from your car while you were in the shower. It’s on the table in the dining room. I expect that’ll soon look like a bomb site but I intend to cope by keeping the door shut and not going in there. And we’ll eat in here.”
I’m speechless, or my equivalent of it. I just stare at him for a few moments before I leap up and run for the door, my towel flapping around my bare legs. I trot down the corridor and into the dining room, to be greeted by the sight of my sewing machine in pride of place on the polished mahogany table, surrounded by my boxes and bags of quilting paraphernalia. I turn, walk slowly back to the kitchen, to find him still there, just pouring milk into his third cup of tea.
He glances up as I come back in. “All present and correct?”
I nod, then, “But I thought you were angry that I brought it.” My hands sign the words, and I try to do it slowly but still have to form the question three times before he understands me.
“I was displeased with you, not angry. And I was displeased because you disobeyed me, not because you brought your sewing machine here. I don’t mind what belongings you have here with you, or how you spend your free time. I don’t even mind you making a mess, as long as I don’t have to look at it all the time. Which reminds me, a woman from the village, Mrs Dickens, comes in twice a week to clean the place, do my ironing, that sort of thing. Wednesday and Friday mornings usually. Try to make sure you’re dressed when she’s here. Or out of sight. I can do without the gossip. I’ll tell her to leave the dining room alone.”
“Does she clean the dungeon too?”
His look of scorn is answer enough. “Why do you think I keep it locked? I value my privacy, Miss Stone. More tea?”
Well, we all have our secrets. Me even more than him, I’m inclined to think.
I nod, and sit back down in my carver chair opposite him.
“Back there in the dungeon, when you thought I was leaving and you wanted to stop me, you thumped the floor with the paddle. Was that your way of saying ‘Oi’?”
His question takes me by surprise, though by now I should be ready for anything, I suppose.
I look at him sheepishly, nodding slowly. I suppose it is, although I’ve never really thought of it like that. It’s just what I do to attract attention so that I can sign. I prefer to think of it as a way of saying, ‘Please, turn around, please look at me’, which seems more polite. I can also manage a fairly piercing whistle too, good over distances but not at all appropriate for indoor use. I sign all that to him, finishing with an apology if it seemed rude. I was in a blind panic at the time and not thinking straight.
He grins at me, genuinely amused. “Girl, you amaze me. You may not speak, but you’re one of the best communicators I’ve ever met. Inventive, expressive and honest. Your eyes, your body language, your gestures. You manage to let me know everything you’re thinking, you telegraph it loud and clear. Even that first night, at the club, I had no difficulty understanding you. And I totally love your ‘Oi!’ Do a whistle for me.”
I shrug, and just do it. Loud, shrill, the most ear-splitting whistle I can drum up at short notice. Well, he did ask. He flaps his hand to quieten me. “Christ, girl, you’ll shatter the bloody windows. Come here.”
I stand, walk tentatively around the table to stand before him. He grabs me, pulls me onto his lap, and suddenly he’s laughing like a bloody drain. I try to adopt a snooty expression, but he somehow finds the ticklish spot between my ribs with his fingers. I’m wriggling frantically, my silent giggles lost as he tumbles me from his knee onto the floor, following me down to wrestle me into helpless, gasping submission.