Guest Post: Beth D. Carter

A Cover Says it All

The first thing that draws our eye is beauty. And beauty is everywhere; the color and texture to a painting, the sun setting in the horizon, a favorite actor or actress, and in simple things like the smile of a child or the sparkle of a diamond ring. Is it no wonder, then, that the cover of a book must be absolutely perfect to set apart from the competition and draw the buyer’s eye?

I will admit I have bought a book solely on the cover. The book I bought was Forbidden by Evangeline Anderson. It was about two angels sent to earth and the cover blew me away when I first saw it. Luckily, it was a wonderful story, so I didn’t have to suffer with buyers remorse.

Now-a-days, with the cost of books (even ebooks), a story has to take full advantage of every strategy to grab the readers’ attention. The cover has to incorporate a lot detail, so it’s very important that the cover artist bears in mind not only the story, but the artist themselves. Most publishers won’t consider that far, only content with producing a sexy look to market the book. I think I’ve been very fortunate that the two publishers I’ve worked with have actually listened to my ideas, my feelings, because the work I’ve produced is not just a thing to me, it’s alive. I’ve breathed life and soul into each story, and I appreciate the artists who take the time to listen what I envision.

For my novel, Kismet, I had pictured ‘green’. Toward the end of the book, when the hero, Kris, and the heroine, Evie, are declaring their love, they are locked in a passionate embrace deep in the Louisiana Bayou. So I told that vision to the artist and she came up with a truly beautiful cover.

There are certain covers that jump out at a reader and proclaim “Buy me now!” I went to Lissa Matthews bookshelf and my jaw hit the floor. Have you seen her covers? OMG! I think my favorite is Artic Shift. What a powerful cover with the blown out white and hungry looking man.

It is said a picture is worth a thousand words. Even in the digital evolution of e-books emerging, a cover is one of the most important aspects of giving personality to the story. It guides the reader into seeing the hero and heroine, bringing them to life and adding depth to the drama unfolding. All of which is needed for that brief time where the reader escapes into fantasy.

-Beth D. Carter

Guest Post: Cassandra Carr

The Five Stages of Editing

by Cassandra Carr


You’ve probably heard writers talking about being in their “writing cave” or “editing cave”, but did you ever wonder what exactly we’re doing in there? You can see it involves a lot of caffeine and swearing, but other than that, the process is a mystery, right? I’m here to give you some insight into the editing process, told strictly from my point of view. Your mileage may vary.


First stage: Denial

I’ve got plenty of time to get those edits in. Rather than doing them, I think I’ll watch more episodes of Queer As Folk (great show, by the way, if you’ve never seen it).


Second stage: Anger

Why did that pesky editor give me so freaking many changes to make?!? Doesn’t she know I need to finish this disc of Queer As Folk so I can send it back to Netflix? Surely my writing doesn’t need this amount of work!


Third stage: Bargaining

I bet if I email my editor and tell her I’m working REALLY HARD on the changes, she’ll give me an extension to finish them. Also, if my family doesn’t eat a few meals because I’m too busy editing to make dinner, well, we could all use fewer calories, right?


Fourth stage: Depression

I’m NEVER going to get these changes done. My book release will be pushed back, my editor will be mad at me, and my contract will be terminated. Why did I ever think I could do this?


Fifth stage: Acceptance

Whew! Finally got them! Now I can send the manuscript back to my editor and emerge from my editing cave triumphant! Then I will pour myself a huge martini and watch the entirety of Queer As Folk that just arrived in my mailbox.


Yeah, that’s pretty much how it happens…but don’t tell any of my editors that. They all think I’m working my fingers to the bone! We’ll let this be our little secret, k?



Professional bull rider Conner Raub hides a secret from the world. He’s a Dom. When he meets a submissive on tour who pulls at his Dom tendencies, he fights to deny his true self, believing his colleagues will condemn his lifestyle.


Jessica Talbot is new to the BDSM scene and the bull riding tour, but after seeing Conner come to the aid of a submissive being mistreated in a club, she sets out to have him for her own. After their first night together she asks him to train her to submit and he refuses, afraid to mix business with pleasure. But Jessica isn’t deterred. She’ll do whatever it takes to make him realize he can have it all—a career, true love, and the BDSM lifestyle he craves.



Conner packed up the last of his stuff and threw it into the duffel bag. The first event of the new season was starting in a few days and he was flying out to New York City later tonight. He was looking forward to meeting up with his best friend Brady Parrish. His mind flashed back to the previous evening at Decadence. He wished he could tell Brady about the BDSM lifestyle he wanted. Brady was a great guy and wouldn’t judge him, so maybe he would some day, but how do you bring something like that up?

Hey dude, pass me the rosin. By the way, I like to tie women up, spank their asses red, and then have them suck my cock to thank me for it.

He rolled his eyes.

Yeah, right. No big deal.

He couldn’t tell anyone on the tour about his lifestyle preferences. The NBT wasn’t exactly the most liberal-minded sport around. After all, many of the riders, as well as the officials and executives were from the Bible-beltin’ South. It was bad enough evidently many of the riders had been aware he and Brady sometimes shared women—he didn’t need word of this getting out. It could ruin his career. The NBT was all about family and hardworking values, not Doms and whips and spreader bars.

His cell phone rang, jolting him back to the present. “Yeah?”

“Yeah? Nice greeting,” Brady replied.

“Sorry,” Conner answered. “My mind was a million miles away. What’s up, dude?”

“Just wanted to find out what time you’re getting in tomorrow. I’ve got a rental, so I can swing by and pick you up.”

“You don’t have to do that. I was gonna take a cab.”

“Not necessary. Besides, then you can buy me dinner. What time does your flight get in?”

“Hold on.” He rummaged through his stuff until he produced his ticket. “Nine fifteen. US Air, Kennedy.”

“Cool. See you then.”

* * * * *

Jessica loaded her computer into her messenger bag and headed out onto the event floor. She still had four stock contractors to find before she could relax and watch the competition. Her co-liaison had said the first event was always crazy and this one was certainly living up to its hype. Between the new contractors, new bulls, and the new her—well, not exactly new, but new to this “first event” stuff, she was about to blow a gasket.

Jessica had known when she’d taken the position she might encounter some old-fashioned attitudes regarding her ability to do her job, but she was still astounded at how often it happened. She knew bulls—her daddy was a cattle rancher. She knew all about the different breeds, and why one breed was preferred for one job over another. She understood which made a good bull-riding bull, and how to pick one in a draft based on what you needed to get out of the ride. But it didn’t matter. Some of these assholes saw her big boobs and figured she was here as eye candy.

Spotting Jack Tucker, she hurried after him. “Mr. Tucker,” she called. She was gaining on him but he appeared to be ignoring her. “Mr. Tucker.  I’m Jessica, the liaison from the NBT. We met last season? I need to go over a couple of things with you.” She’d just caught up with him by this time and she glanced over to see if he was listening at all.

“I turned in my paperwork,” he replied as he kept walking. “Now get outta my way, girlie. I’ve got stuff to do.” He spit a stream of tobacco right in front of her and Jessica had to consciously try not to flinch. It wasn’t the first time she’d seen tobacco being spit, but to know he’d purposely done it right where she’d be walking—ick. He’d done a similar thing last year and was obviously trying to intimidate her, but was barking up the wrong tree if he thought she was going to slink away like some chastised dog.

“Mr. Tucker,” she began, trying to keep her voice down and even. “You left a few pieces of your paperwork blank and I need to have those parts filled in.”

“I’ve been doin’ paperwork for the tour for longer ’n you’ve been alive, girlie,” he said. “I’ve never had a problem.”

Jessica took a deep breath and tried again. “We’re putting the bulls into a database. Without information like year of birth, weight, etcetera, our database will be incomplete. If you just take a few moments of your time to look at your records I’ll leave you alone.”

He stopped and turned to her. “This tour’s gettin’ to be more of a pain in the ass every year.” He stabbed a finger in her general direction. “People like you comin’ in and tryin’ to change everything. Modernize, you say. Well, I say if the system ain’t broke, don’t fuck with it.” Jessica decided she’d had enough after she saw his pompous expression.

“Mr. Tucker, you have one hour to have this information to my colleague, Rick O’Meara, in the Official’s Room. If you don’t, I will disqualify your bulls.” Spinning on her heel, she began to walk away, forcing herself not to run. Before she got ten feet, though, a rough hand gripped her arm.

“What did you say, you little bitch?” He squeezed and she gasped from the pain.

Before she could process anything further Conner was there, prying the man’s fingers off her arm. “Get your fuckin’ hands off her.”

She looked up at him. His lips were set in a thin line and his eyes were as dark and stormy as one of the Texas tornadoes she’d seen dozens of times living on the Panhandle.

Tucker released her. “I’d suggest you go find the information the lady requested,” Conner growled, getting in the other man’s personal space. Since Conner had a good eight inches and at least seventy pounds on the man, he backed down immediately.

“This isn’t over,” he told her, then turned and stalked away.

Conner lifted her arm. “He hurt you.” It wasn’t a question.

“It’s not a big deal,” she answered. A profound sense of gratitude swept through her body and as she stared up at his eyes, which had darkened even further as he looked back at her, she felt as if she could drown in them. Normally she’d prefer to fight her own battles, but she didn’t know what Tucker would have done to her if Conner hadn’t intervened. She shivered.

Her skin felt searing hot where his fingers touched it, and whether from the leftover adrenaline of the situation or from her reaction to him she didn’t know, but her breath was coming fast and furious, making her look like a panting fool. His gaze flickered down to her breasts and then slowly returned to her face.

“I saw the whole thing. You have to report him. He can’t be treating you like that. You were just doing your job and he wasn’t doing his.”

She was mortified he’d witnessed such an embarrassing situation. Jessica was afraid he would go tell the tour she couldn’t handle herself and she’d be out of a job. Even with all the crap she had to take, she loved this job. If she could’ve been a bull rider she would’ve, but she’d been cursed with the wrong DNA, so she did what she could to be close to the sport. She looked down, sighing. “Don’t worry about it,” she mumbled, dropping her eyes.

He grabbed her chin and forced her to look at him again. Her pussy heated as she remembered how he’d done the same thing to his sub that night at Decadence. “I am worried about it, and you’re not gonna waylay me.”

“Conner, please.” She bit her lip to keep from saying anything else. She had a feeling saying ‘Conner, please kiss me, please make me yours, I want you’ wouldn’t go over very well.

He took a giant step back then and dropped his hand. “I apologize. I don’t even know your name and here I am touching you. I have no right.”

You can touch me all you want…

But since she couldn’t say that, instead she held out her hand. “Jessica Talbot.”

“Conner Raub, but I guess you know that,” he replied, grinning as he took her hand in his much larger, work-roughened one.

“Yes,” she confessed, her face flaming. She hoped her interest wasn’t written all over her face.

“I don’t think I’ve seen you around here. You new?”

“I came on board around the middle of last season when Steven had his heart attack.”

Conner nodded. “Steven worked too hard. It looks like you do too.” He studied her face and then his eyes narrowed. “Do you have the power to disqualify his bulls?”

“No, but if I told the officials to they would.”

“Just like that, without an explanation?”

“Of course not, but if I told them he withheld information I requested they would disqualify him. They’re cracking down on that stuff this season.”

“So you were ready to make an example outta him?”

Jessica shrugged. “I did what I had to do.” And now what she needed to do was get away from Conner Raub. “Anyway, I still need to find three other contractors. Thank you for coming to my rescue. I hope we can keep this between us—I don’t want people thinking I can’t handle myself around here.”

Conner’s jaw tightened. “I don’t like the idea of him getting away with mauling you.” He stepped closer and Jessica felt her nipples tighten against the lacy confines of her bra. Thankfully she needed a sturdy bra to give her large breasts the support they needed, so her arousal didn’t show. That would’ve been more than she could’ve handled. Yes, she wanted Conner, but not like this. She needed time to figure out how to seduce him in her own way, in her own time.

“I’ll let you go, on one condition,” he told her. “I wanna see your arm later tonight. If it’s bruised you’re gonna report him. I’ll come with you.” His tone brooked no argument and her sex flooded with more moisture. His nostrils flared and her face flamed. Could he smell her?

She turned away, calling over her shoulder, “Okay, thanks again,” as she fled as fast as her legs would take her.

Conner felt as if he’d been kicked in the chest by an ornery bull. He’d been walking back to the riders’ prep area after registering when he’d come upon Jessica and that guy. When she’d said she’d disqualify the asshole’s bulls he’d silently cheered, loving the way she’d stood up to him. He wanted a submissive in the bedroom, but a girl with spunk outside it was so much more entertaining.

But the guy had gone and grabbed her and Conner had seen red. After he’d sent the guy packing Jessica had looked up at him like some kind of hero and his dick had instantly gone rock hard. Trying to avoid her eyes he’d looked down, only to see her gorgeous, lush breasts heaving and he’d almost lost it. Only through sheer force of will he’d garnered through his years of being a Dom had he been able to drag his gaze back up to her face.

Then he’d touched her chin, and she’d said please and bitten her lip, and he’d moved away so fast he’d probably left skid marks with his boots lest he act on what his brain had started screaming at him. In that moment he’d seen what this woman was—a natural submissive. He’d automatically reverted to how a Dom would treat a sub. He’d apologized for touching her without permission. But all she’d done was stuck out her hand to shake his, so he’d ignored his still-screaming brain and introduced himself as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening.

And he thought he’d gotten away with his sanity until he’d told her he wanted to see her arm later. Even from a foot or more away he’d smelled the force of her arousal after he’d issued the command—another sign she was submissive. He’d very nearly lost his cool and then she was gone.

Rubbing his face, he continued toward the prep area. When he arrived, Brady was already there. “Dude, you okay? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“Fine,” Conner answered. He placed his gear bag on the table in front of him and began to pull out everything to inspect it.


“Yeah.” He figured that was the easiest explanation he could give for why he looked shaken up. He sure as hell felt shaken up, but he needed to get his head in the game fast or this event would be all over for him.

Brady left him alone while they finished their prep work. Then they took their stuff up to the area behind the chutes and settled in to watch. When Brady’s turn rolled around, Conner provided his usual assistance getting him situated on his bull and helping him loop his bull rope underneath the bull’s massive girth and bring it up the other side. He was pushing the bull away from the near fence when he felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. He ignored the feeling for the moment and concentrated on his friend. When Brady nodded he let go and Brady and the bull went careening out of the chute.

Brady held on for the full eight seconds and then scrambled off the back of the still-bucking bull, landing on his shoulder and rolling left, away from the pounding hooves. He sprang up and ran toward the rail. Conner reached his hand out and grabbed Brady’s biceps, ready to pull him over if need be. The bull fighters got the beast corralled, though, and both he and Brady directed their attention to the scoreboard.

“Ladies and gentlemen, that was last year’s winner, Brady Parrish, the King of Rodeo, ridin’ Extremist.” There was a pause. “Looks like Brady’s picking up where he left off last year. He scores an 89.5. That puts Brady in first place with five riders remaining.”

“Good for you,” Conner said, clapping his best friend on the back. “But I’m gonna beat your ass.” Finally he allowed himself to turn around. Standing not thirty feet from him, looking at him as if he were a dessert buffet and she was a starving chocoholic, was Jessica. She licked her lips and Conner barely stifled a groan. His dick took notice and he ruthlessly forced it back down. Riding with a hard-on was a bad idea for a whole bunch of reasons, not the least of which was the riders didn’t wear cups and getting bounced around on a bull while sporting a boner was bound to be a very unpleasant experience. He allowed himself to stare her down for a moment before touching the brim of his hat in a silent salute and turning back to the chutes.

When it was his turn to ride he was thankfully able to focus and stayed on for the full eight seconds, scoring a 90 and taking over first place. After completing his turn and picking up his bull rope from one of the bull fighters, he climbed over the rail. Now his ride was done, and he wanted to see Jessica’s arm. He had a feeling there would be a clear handprint visible on her pale skin. While that thought would have turned him on if it was his handprint on her ass and she was a willing participant, it made him want to kill if that bastard had hurt her. How often did she get manhandled? He intended to get some answers.

Looking around, though, he didn’t see her. Accepting congratulations from his fellow riders, he continued to scan the area around him. Where had she gone off to? Now he was pissed. She knew he wanted a look at her arm. Was she avoiding him? After the look she’d given him a few minutes ago, that possibility seemed unlikely, but maybe she’d run like a scared jackrabbit. Wouldn’t be the first time he’d scared off a woman when they got a peek at his dominant side. Maybe it was for the best. He damn well shouldn’t be opening that can of worms while he was on tour. But man, she made him want to.

Jessica hid behind a sponsor sign, her back pressed to the cool plastic. What was she doing? She knew Conner wanted to see her arm and instinctively he wouldn’t rest until he’d tracked her down, and yet here she was, hiding from him. Isn’t this what she wanted—him coming to her on his own? She wiped her damp palms on her jeans and raised her eyes to the roof of the arena. Was she strong enough to do this? Was she strong enough to go after what she wanted?

She knew the draft would be starting soon and she had no choice but to face him then. She had to be there to note which bulls got drawn so she could deal with the contractors tomorrow. Grabbing her bag, she peeked out from behind the sign and then darted into the corridor.

“Thought you could avoid me?” A silky Texas drawl wound its way around her ear and she jumped.

“C-Conner,” she whispered. Clearing her throat, she continued. “I was going to the draft area.”

“Me too. I’ll walk with you.” He fell into line with her, making his long-legged stride shorter to match hers. “How’s your arm?”

“Fine, truly. Thank you for asking.” She bit her lip and looked away.

“Don’t do that.”

Her head whipped around. “Do what?”

“Bite your lip. It gives a man ideas.”

“Ideas?” God, she was turning into a parroting idiot…

“Yeah, ideas. Ideas me and any other warm-blooded man around here would have after lookin’ at your mouth. I don’t like it.” He glanced at her. “Dammit! You’re still doing it.”

She did, and the thought only excited her more. Her sex clenched hard and she gasped at the onslaught of sensation.

He stopped and looked down at her. His eyes blazed with lust and something else—anger? Was he angry with her? And if so, why?

He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I’ve never,” he paused and took another breath, “ever met a woman like you, Jessica. I hardly know you but you make my blood boil.” He closed his eyes for a second, and when he opened them they had cleared. Her brow lowered in confusion. “But as much as I’d like to act on the attraction I feel for you, I can’t. I won’t. You work for the tour. I can’t get involved with someone who’s employed by the tour. If it went south my career could be ruined and I can’t abide that. Have a good night.” He turned and continued down the hall, his long legs creating distance between them quickly. What had just happened?

Jessica finished her work for the night and called her neighbor Viola to check on her apartment. Viola was watching it for her while she was on tour. Jessica’s daddy had pitched a fit when she’d decided to hold on to the place, saying it was stupid for her to spend money on an apartment she wasn’t even at eight months out of the year, but Jessica treasured her independence and had dug in her heels.


“Viola? You sound tired. Did I wake you?” Viola wasn’t old by any stretch of the imagination, but Jessica still felt a little guilty having her bringing in her mail and watering her plants for weeks at a time between the periods Jessica could be at home.

“No, I was just absorbed in my reading.”

Jessica smiled. Viola went through murder mysteries like most people went through oxygen. “All right then. How are things?”

“Oh, fine. But my life is boring, you know that. Tell me what’s going on in yours. Did you talk to that boy yet?”

Jessica had told Viola about Conner during her last visit with the woman before leaving for New York City. She’d been bursting at the seams wanting to talk about him, and since most of her friends from high school or community college were wrapped up in their own lives she hardly talked to them anymore. Of course, she didn’t tell Viola where she’d met him—she wasn’t ready to discuss her sexual proclivities with anybody, least of all her older friend.

“Yes, actually, I did. But it didn’t go quite like I expected.”

“What do you mean?”

Jessica winced as she recalled Conner’s face. “He happened along when I was trying to deal with an ornery subcontractor. They’re the guys from each farm who handle the bulls. Anyway, this guy is a real jerk. He wasn’t cooperating with me—giving me the information I need, so I threatened to disqualify his bulls. Well, he didn’t like that idea at all and grabbed my arm.”

“He did what?”

“It wasn’t that big a deal. Things like that happen sometimes.”

“Did you report him?”

“No. If I reported every guy who said or did something offensive I’d be reporting half the contractors on tour. It’s just part of life here.” She could feel Viola’s disapproval through the phone line, so she plowed ahead. “Anyway, Conner made me show him my arm. He got this look in his eye and I thought maybe he’d ask me out, but then he turned tail and ran. I don’t know what to think now. He seemed almost… I don’t know, angry or something.”

“That I can’t help you with. I never know what men are thinking. If I did maybe I’d be married right now.” Jessica made a dismissive noise and Voila laughed.

“Those men don’t know what they’re missing.”

“So what’re you gonna do now?”

“I don’t know. I guess wait and see how he reacts the next time I see him.”

“Probably as good a plan as any.”

“Listen, I should go. It’s late and I’m tired. The first event is always kind of crazy with everybody getting used to new rules, new staff…”

“You take care of yourself, you hear?”

“I promise.”

Jessica ended the call and tossed the phone on the bed. Flopping down next to it, she blew out a loud breath. Why did Conner act so strangely around her? She resolved to find out.

Copyright 2012, Cassandra Carr



Cassandra Carr is a multi-published erotic romance writer with Ellora’s Cave, Siren, and Loose Id who lives in Western New York with her husband, Inspiration, and her daughter, Too Cute for Words. When not writing she enjoys watching hockey and hanging out on Twitter. For more information about Cassandra, check out her website at, “like” her Facebook fan page at or follow her on Twitter at



Guest Post: Kate Davies

This holiday season, I got a Christmas card from a friend in England. It was handmade, with a cartoon drawing of two characters from a TV show we both used to watch (and was the reason we first “met”online). While the show was running, she created a series of cartoons based on the characters that became a YouTube sensation, even coming to the attention of one of the actors involved in the storyline.

I first started watching this show because another friend, who lives in Beirut, tweeted me about it when a new actor was hired. “He’s fantastic!” she told me. “You have to watch it!” (For the record, the show was As The World Turns, and the actor was Eric Sheffer Stevens, who played Dr. Reid Oliver.)

Over the course of the eight or so months I watched ATWT (up until its last episode on September of 2010), I discussed it with viewers from the UK, Germany, the Philippines, and all over the US. It’s currently airing in the Netherlands, and I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to relive the experience with viewers there.

And when I was getting ready for the ebook release of Take a Chance on Me, I asked my cartoonist friend in England to do the book trailer for me.

Take A Chance on Me Trailer

One of my favorite things about the internet is how it makes the world bigger and smaller at the same time. I’ve met some of my favorite people via the internet, connecting with them over shared interests and mutual fangirling. When the aforementioned actor landed a new gig on a sitcom, a group of us from all over the country flew to LA to watch the pilot being filmed. It was fun seeing the filming process (and meeting the actor), but even more exciting to meet each other in person after spending so much time together online.

Writing can be a solitary process, but the internet has helped alleviate that somewhat for me and, I suspect, many others. It’s connected me with readers, other writers, and fans in various fandoms around the world. I’ve discovered soap operas in Germany, England, Spain, and the US. I’ve made friends in Europe, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Lebanon, and the Far East. And I’ve re-learned that despite our differences, there is far more that connects us.

So what’s your favorite experience on the Internet? Who have you met/what have you discovered that’s made a difference in your life?

Kate’s latest release, Take a Chance on Me, is now available in print. If you’d like a trading card for TACOM, just email your address to kate AT kate-davies DOT com.


Amazon: eBook   Print

Samhain: eBook   Print

About the Author:

I’ve been hooked on writing ever since my third grade teacher singled out my desert island story for praise in front of the class.  (Lots of palm trees and coconuts, plus a quirky monkey for comic relief…)  And my mother is fond of reminding me that she still has my first self-published effort, a personal picture book from around the same era titled, “When Mommy is Cold, I Have to Wear a Sweater.”  Since then, I’ve dabbled in everything from poetry to playwriting to short stories to personal essays.  For a while, I even wrote copy for an online shoe company from time to time.  Sadly, free shoes were not part of the contract.  But my heart belongs to romance.

I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, both National and my local chapter.  I’ve served as newsletter editor and president, and was thrilled to receive the first-ever Lucy Award, given for consistent pursuit of a career in romance writing.  (And getting a contract four days after earning the award was icing on the cake!)  I can’t say enough good things about RWA.  Not only has it been an amazing source of industry information and craft knowledge, but the friends and mentors I have met through RWA are ones I truly cherish.

On a personal level, I live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and children.




Guest Post & Giveaway: Sindra van Yssel

It’s good to be on Lissa’s blog. I’m a fan of her work so getting to do a guest post is really a privilege. I’m also doing a giveaway; comment or ask a question on this blog by January 7 to receive a book from my backlist of your choice.

Mysteries and romances have one big thing in common: the reader knows how the story is going to end the entire time. Yes, in a mystery you don’t know who the killer is (although even that isn’t true in some police procedurals) but you know the detective is going to unmask him or her at the end. And in a romance you know the hero and heroine are going to be together. What you don’t know is how they are going to get there. How are they going to make it work?

Sometimes it all seems so natural. The perfect Dom. A submissive woman who has been craving the touch of a man like him her entire life. Two people who are made for each other, and all they have to do is overcome their fears and learn to trust. Maybe she’s not comfortable being a submissive. Maybe, more rarely, he’s not comfortable being a Dom, like in Cherise Sinclair’s short “Welcome to the Dark Side.” Often one or both of them have some issues with commitment. But even though they fit nicely, they still have to figure out their own way to do BDSM, and that’s where the excitement lies for me. Is this going to be a total power exchange relationship? Or a just in the bedroom kind of thing? What do they call each other? Is there a collaring or a wedding or just an understanding?

Characters find their own way, in a good BDSM romance. I started to give some examples, from Lissa’s Pink Buttercream Frosting, Annabel Joseph’s Comfort Object and my own Recipe for Submission, and I realized I’d have to give away endings. But I think it’s enough to say that those books end with the main characters in different relationships because they are different people in different circumstances. The endings aren’t prescriptions for how all BDSM relationships ought to be, but they are right for the characters.

I had some extra fun with this in my latest release from Loose Id, Dom and Domme. I started out with two dominant personalities in Betsy and Gray, and had fun letting them bash heads. The relationship they come up with in the end isn’t for everyone, but it fits for them and makes them happy.

Here’s an excerpt from early in book:

Elizabeth didn’t miss the gesture. This is my place, he was saying. And of course it was. All she could do was walk in like she belonged. It might be my place too if Vincent is serious about wanting to sell.

Gray was the same old stubborn Gray, the man she’d dreamed about dominating. That much was true. But with Gray the dreams hadn’t always been about D/s. Sometimes it was enough to imagine his lips on her, his cock in her, his hips moving. And a few times in those fantasies, he’d been the one telling her to what to do, although she wasn’t about to tell him that now. Or ever.

The room he’d ushered her into was gorgeous. Red silk with gold embroidery covered a sumptuous bed in the far corner. The bed looked so soft and fluffy she wanted to jump on it to see how she’d sink into the mattress, and the pillows were big, square, and overstuffed. It was the sort of bed that would probably cause all sorts of back troubles if one spent a week sleeping on it, but it obviously wasn’t for sleeping on, anyway. There was a black lacquered chest of drawers, almost narrow enough to be a nightstand, with sweeping accents that reminded her of a pagoda. A tilted bowl held a variety of condoms and packets of lube. Vincent, who had invited her to Excess so she could see if she wanted to buy it, had told her every room had a supply of toys. The pagodalike chest had to hold the Orient room’s toys because there wasn’t any other place for them.

She had met Vincent at a party in San Francisco, and they had ended up co-topping a petite blonde. That had been quite an experience. Men definitely topped differently from women. Why didn’t I just share Amanda with Gray? That would have been the right thing to do, the only fair thing to do for Amanda. Normally she was as strict with herself as she was with her subs. But the idea of sharing Gray had made a knot in her chest as painful as it would have been over ten years ago. Dammit.

In the near corner was a neat stack of black cushions of various shapes: wedges, squares, rectangles. For putting one’s sub in exactly the position one wanted them in, Elizabeth figured. Nice to see someone appreciated BDSM wasn’t all about how hard one swung a whip or how much someone could take. She liked having things just so, and the cushions would make a good start. Way more practical than the bed. She wasn’t sure what they had to do with the Orient, but she supposed they didn’t go much better in any other themed room.

She heard the door click behind her. She turned to look, and a moment later Gray was kissing her again. His strong hands pulled her close to him as their lips met. She put her arms around his shoulders and hung on. She didn’t resist when his tongue nudged her mouth open and slipped inside. She kissed him back fiercely, tongue slipping with tongue, lips bruising with the force of their passion.

His chest felt like granite against hers. She knew she wasn’t particularly huggable in the corset, but it didn’t seem to bother him any. He was so strong. He’d been in good shape in college, playing on the school rugby team, but obviously he’d been working out since. As a domme, she’d rarely been physically stronger than the people she’d topped. She had to pull something out of them that made them want to submit, which usually wasn’t a problem because they were paying her good money and didn’t want to waste it. She avoided playing with male subs at clubs because they so often wanted a relationship, something 24-7, and were persistent about it even if she told them that was off the menu. Why some people thought stalking was going to make them attractive as full-time slaves was something she’d never understand.

His hands slid from her waist to her ass. She wasn’t going to complain; they felt good there. When he pulled at her butt cheeks, she could feel the stretching in her pussy. What would it be like to submit to that strength or to be overpowered by it? The thought made her catch her breath. Her heart hammered. Her pussy yearned for some friction, and the corset felt tighter than ever.

She was willing to bet he was hard, but with her pulled against him, his groin was even with her corseted tummy, and she couldn’t feel very well through the corset. It couldn’t be comfortable being hard and having all that boning grind against one, could it? She smiled inwardly, dropped her hands to his ass, pulled him tight, and squirmed against his crotch. He moaned into their kiss. Like a little pain, do we?

Then he released her and took a step back. She relaxed her hands and let him go. Yes, he was definitely hard. She could see the ridge in his tight jeans. She smiled, satisfied. He was breathing heavily.

“You okay?”

He nodded. “Yeah, I’m good. Better than good. But feeling you in my arms again, I want to pick you up and put you on that bed and fuck the lights out of you. I want to hold you down so you can’t escape. I’m not feeling especially sane, and consent didn’t seem very important for a second there, so I decided I’d better spend a moment and get my head together.”

After he said fuck, the rest kind of blurred in her mind, and it took a second or two for it all to register. She nodded. “You’re stronger than me.”


She grinned at him wickedly. “The only real way to redress that issue is to tie you up, isn’t it? I bet we have something suitable.” She strode across the room to the pagoda dresser and pulled open the top drawer. It was full of floggers and paddles, so she pushed it closed and opened the middle one. Nylon cuffs, a blindfold, and some rope. Everything she needed, although she would have preferred chains. She liked the way they clinked. Ropes were too quiet, didn’t have enough heft to them.

He pressed up behind her as she bent over. Yes, he was definitely hard. And despite his comment about consent and her vulnerable position, she didn’t move away. Thoughts of him pushing her panties aside and taking her flashed through her mind. She was usually all about negotiation, but this was Gray. She knew from experience sex with him was damn hot even if it didn’t involve D/s.

His fingers tapped their way from her waist upward, finally seizing the tops of her breasts where they bulged over the corset. He tugged, lifting her breasts out of the garment and cupping them. “You’re not getting those on me, love, so put them back.”

She tossed cuffs, blindfold, and rope on the bed instead and pushed back against him. Her pussy pulsed, wanting to be filled. Nothing complicated about that. For once she didn’t have to be the hard-ass. Better to do this on her terms before he thought he was topping her again.

“Put a condom on and fuck me, just like this.” She looked back over her shoulder, wiggling her butt. Do it, slave. She knew those words would ensure her not getting what she wanted. But the idea of saying them made a tremor run down her spine. She’d take good care of him if he was hers. She’d see to his pleasure as well as her own. She was not a cruel mistress unless a sub desired cruelty.

Somehow she doubted he would be persuaded. He took a step back, presumably to get his pants off and the condom on. Good enough. At least he was following orders.

He yanked her shorts down, the fabric pooling around her ankles.

“I didn’t tell you that you could do that,” she told him. She glared at him over her shoulder. The air felt cool against her pussy, but with him a foot away, there wasn’t any good way to warm it up again. She wanted to whirl around and slap him, and she wanted to stay where she was, open, ready. Fuckable. Fuckable won, but she had to grab the dresser hard to stay put. She tried not to scrape the lacquer with her fingernails.

“I didn’t ask. They were in the way.”

“You’re not in charge here.”

“Neither are you.” He took his shirt off, which stopped her from replying immediately. She stared at sleek muscles, hard pecs, six-pack abs. He hadn’t looked that good back in college. He’d been working out.

She straightened, turned, and kicked the shorts away from around her ankles. She kept staring while he pulled off his boots. She wanted to push him back, straddle his face, and make him pleasure her. The men she was used to would love that. Gray’d never had a problem with going down on her, but she knew that wasn’t the right move. How did “normal” people have sex again? But then normal didn’t necessarily apply either. Gray was apparently a dom now, and she could tell from the murmurs she’d overheard when they were facing off he had a solid reputation in the local scene. God, this is fucked up. I don’t want to fight him. I just want him to make love to me.

“So, then. Vanilla?” he asked.

“I usually prefer sorbet.”

He grinned. “And I’m a chocolate chip guy. But I want to make—have sex with you. And I’d like us not to kill each other in the process.”

She smiled sweetly. “But black widows are so sexy.” At the glare on his face, she added, “Fine. Vanilla. For old times’ sake. They were very good old times, after all.” And besides, I’m soaking wet here, and if you don’t do something about it, I’m going to be very frustrated.

“They were.” He pulled off his pants. He was going commando. One of the things she loved to order men to do. His cock was big—she’d known that. And sticking straight out, ready for her. She’d forgotten quite how thick it was. That would fill her very nicely. Stretch her. Yum.

“Lean over the bed, Betsy. It’s more comfortable than the dresser.”

There was nothing she’d rather do. Except. “Please?”

He set his jaw and then nodded. “Please.”

She turned, leaned against the bed, and spread her legs. Soon his cock would be inside her. Delicious friction. Exactly as she’d been imagining it for years. Almost.

Nothing happened. It only took a few seconds to roll a condom on. He wasn’t touching her and teasing her, much less fucking her like she wanted. She looked back over her shoulder.


“Well what?” He smirked. His cock was in its rubber sheath, an inch from her pussy. For some reason he was standing still.

“Fuck me.”


Damn him. “Please fuck me, Gray, you bastard.”

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