Sunday 13 November 2011
An Ordinary Girl
My book An Ordinary Girl was inspired to some extent by the horrible duo Fred and Rosemary West. I thought about how awful it would be to have parents like them. And so my damaged heroine, Ash, was born and I then had to create a damaged hero - Noah, a war photographer who endured something terrible in Afghanistan. It doesn't sound like this is a recipe for an amusing story and while An Ordinary Girl is not a comedy, it does have a lot of humour in it.
Although the book starts with what appears to be a BDSM scene - it isn't! It is however, an erotic romance so if you don't like hot sex, you might want to avoid it!
Ash is an ordinary girl, leading an ordinary life, but behind her smile she hides a secret so damning she’s sure no one could ever love her.
Noah is a war photographer who’s come back from Afghanistan with a secret so dark he can’t escape its smothering grip.
Both need redemption. Ash looks for it by making people happy. Noah seeks it under the whip of a Dom. They’re damaged souls, drowning in guilt, unable to escape the legacies of their pasts. Then their worlds collide in an explosion of fireworks so strong it singes not only them, but those around them. It’s said love heals all wounds, but sometimes before love enters the heart, the intense fire of passion has to burn a path, lighting the way.
Noah was a bad boy.
As the leather strap tightened around his balls, pain surged into his left leg. Noah jerked and a loud groan escaped his lips. Fuck it.
“Sorry,” Noah panted.
The masked face moved closer to his. “I don’t think you’re sorry at all. My instructions were quite clear. I said don’t move and you moved. I said no sound and you not only groaned you compounded your error by speaking.”
A muscle in Noah’s leg had gone into spasm. He hadn’t been able to help moving, but he knew in this room there was no excuse. He hung naked from a hook, secured by his wrists, feet just touching the floor, backside pressed against the wall. The leather cuffs were tight but lined with silk to leave no mark. Considering what went on in here, the irony didn’t escape him. Nor did the sad truth that he was paying for this crap.
Apart from Noah and his tormentor, the room was empty. The windows were covered. Nothing hung on the walls. The floor was sanded boards. But the air swirled with Noah’s pain and humiliation along with the Dom’s lust and excitement.
The masked man spun him to face the wall and Noah automatically braced himself, his shoulders tensing.
“Don’t move,” the guy snapped.
Christ. All he’d done was— The crack sounded overloud as the whip snapped in the air. Noah held his breath and waited. The Dom feathered the whip down his back, over his butt and legs in gentle, delicate lashes, though Noah flinched at each one because he knew what was coming.
He pressed his cheek to the rough plaster and fixed his gaze on a stain where a bug had been squashed on the adjacent wall. The parallel with his situation was something else that didn’t escape him. Noah sucked in a breath. Crazy that he could be thinking with any clarity while at the mercy of a sadist, yet wasn’t that what he was paying for? The lashes grew stronger, faster and turned cruel. Fiery rain fell on his skin, heat ripping through him until his entire body blazed. Noah bit into his cheeks to stop himself from calling out and tasted blood.
The Dom grunted as he struck him. Noah didn’t want any lasting scars. Those he had were enough. What he needed was the pain, to be burned by the whip, for angry welts to be raised on his skin but no more.
Yet it wasn’t enough. Nothing was ever enough.
Clear thinking, my ass.
The whip landed more gently on his shoulder and the tail slithered the length of his spine to trickle down the crease of his butt. The guy came up close, pressed his body into Noah’s tender back and jammed the hard ridge of an erection against him.
“I can’t go any further without shedding blood,” the Dom said in a cool voice. “We should try something new.”
He moved back and Noah felt the pressure of the whip handle nudge his anus.
“No,” Noah barked.
Spun round to face his tormentor, he wondered if he’d be made to pay for that denial. Noah was supposed to be in control, wasn’t he? Wasn’t that was this was all about? The submissive had all the power. He only needed to say one word to make it end.
So why had he blurted “no” and not the safe word?
Because I don’t want this to stop. Noah filled his lungs and yet felt as if he’d dragged in no air. He was afraid he wanted to let things go too far.
The Dom stared at him. The mask covered three quarters of his face. All Noah could see were dark brown eyes, tight lips and a square chin.
“Why do you want to be whipped?” the Dom asked.
“Why do you like to whip?” Noah sucked in his cheeks. If he was going to be punished for not answering, he might as well make his defiance worthwhile.
“Power,” the Dom said. He trailed the whip handle from Noah’s shoulder to his groin and pressed it into the delicate skin of the crease. “Pleasure.” He teased Noah’s erection, held tight in a leather cage, tip exposed, rubbing it with the warm handle. “The combination of sex and danger is a huge rush.”
Noah had noticed. He looked down at the Dom’s massive boner. The naked body was that of a man no older than Noah but with a superior physique, one honed at a gym. He wondered what the guy did for a living, whether he had a wife and kids, whether he was only like this inside this room. Could Noah divide his life in the same way? Was that the way forward he was looking for?
“In my hands, this whip can be as soft as a lover’s tongue, explosive as lightning or vicious as a tiger’s claw. I use it to bring what my subs desire. But you…” His voice trailed into silence.
“But me what?” Noah asked.
A hand circled his cock and squeezed. Noah restrained his shudder of fear.
“The whole point of these sessions is that they’re the meeting of opposites. I like to hurt and you should like to be hurt, but that’s not what’s happening. You feel no pleasure when I inflict pain. Lucky for you, I’m capable of stopping.”
A brush over Noah’s glistening cock head and the guy brought his thumb to Noah’s mouth and rubbed it over his tongue before Noah could press his lips together.
“You’re not a pain slut,” the Dom said. “There’s nothing submissive about you. No matter how hard you try to play the game, I know you don’t like to be dominated. Neither is this a sexual thing for you.”
Try telling my cock that. Noah’s dick was erect despite his mental pleading. He wasn’t gay, so why the fuck did the thing have to fill with blood?
“The only thing that allows me to encourage you to keep coming here is that I like to be cruel, and whatever else is happening in this room, you’re suffering and that pleases me. What I’m not sure about is whether I’m the cause.” His mouth quirked in a grin. “I fear not. So in order to rectify that, I’m inclined to find a way of persuading you to tell me what the fuck is wrong with you.”
Noah didn’t like the sound of that. “This is about punishment. That’s all.” The lump in his throat grew larger.
“Punishment for what?”
“Something that has nothing to do with you.”
The Dom’s eyes darkened. He stared at Noah for a long time before he moved away. He came back holding a length of black material and a sharp knife, the blade glittering under the spotlights. Noah’s balls tingled. Fuck, fuck, fuck.
“You’re here in my realm where I am king. It has everything to do with me.” He tied a blindfold around Noah’s eyes.
“No.” Noah struggled, thrashing from side to side, but the world disappeared. He wanted to scream his safe word, it hovered on his lips, but the knowledge that he didn’t deserve to say it kept him quiet.
“Hold still,” the Dom snapped.
Noah stopped moving, but his breathing was ragged. It ceased altogether when he felt something sharp press into his chest below his breastbone. Oh shit.
“What are you escaping from?” The Dom’s voice was smooth, deep and hypnotic. “The stresses of life? Conflicted about your sexuality? Overwhelmed by onerous responsibility? Guilt? What did you do?”
Noah could feel himself shaking, limbs twitching, jaw juddering.
“Answer,” the Dom growled.
He trailed the blade up Noah’s chest to his collarbone. Is he cutting me? For a split second Noah wished the guy would kill him. Then common sense kicked in. If he died like this, his father would kill the Dom and join him in hell. Not a pleasant thought.
“How did you get those scars? They look new.”
Noah’s brain lost connection with his mouth.
“This knife is sharp. Don’t make me force you to speak.”
“An explosion,” Noah blurted.
The Dom sighed. “You gave that up much too easily—which proves my point.”
Rage roared through Noah. He was not a coward. Not one more word.
The knife slid down Noah’s body toward his cock. His belly tensed and he clenched his fists in the cuffs.
The Dom’s laugh echoed in the room. “Some find knife play highly erotic.” The blade reached Noah’s groin. “How do you feel?”
Scared shitless. Afraid I’ll wet myself. Afraid I’ll tell you the truth. Noah tried to bring moisture back to his mouth and failed.
“Intense physical and psychological reactions are normal when someone is afraid. A raging erection or a wilting cock. Tears or laughter. Pleading or silence. I’ve seen them all. But don’t worry. I’m an expert in knife play.”
The blade caressed his balls and Noah felt them run for cover. His bloody cock remained hard. Idiot.
“Are you a guy who wants to live on the edge?” the Dom asked. “You like tasting danger? Or do you just like being controlled by someone stronger than you?” The man’s sweet breath washed against Noah’s cheek. “Does that make you feel safe and protected? The thought that you can cede control to another? Answer.”
The Dom laughed. “I didn’t think so. You do have some sort of control issue though. I just can’t quite figure it out. Nor how far you want me to go.” The blade rose to linger on Noah’s ribs and pressed between them.
He’s cutting me. Noah began to shake. I could tell him. I could tell him.
“You only have to say the word if you want me to stop. Pain or pleasure? Your choice.”
And like that, the moment was lost because this was about neither pain nor pleasure. Only about choice.
“Nikon,” Noah said, and the blade fell away.
The blindfold dropped from his eyes and he looked at the blunt knife in the Dom’s hand and then down to the sharp one on the floor.
“I don’t take stupid risks especially with people I don’t understand.” The Dom freed Noah’s hands.
His entire body hurt, but the pain in his arms made him gasp. Noah fumbled with the contraption around his cock and balls.
“Need help?” the Dom asked.
Christ no. “I got it.”
Noah sighed when the last leather strap fell away. He looked straight into the eyes of the man he paid to torment him. “I’m not coming back.”
“That’s what you said last time.”
“I mean it,” Noah snapped.
“You said that too.”
The Dom caught hold of Noah’s hair and yanked his head back. Shit, that hurt.
“You will tell me what the hell it is you’re hiding. I know you want to. What did you do? Fuck your mother?”
“I’m not a fucking pervert. My mother’s dead.”
“Did you kill her?”
“No. I wish I had.”
The Dom smiled and let him go. Noah headed for his clothes and dressed as fast as he could.
“Give me a call,” the Dom said.
“I won’t be doing that.” Noah opened the door.
“I’m cheaper than a psychiatrist and much more fun.” The guy laughed.
Noah slammed the door behind him in a fit of childish pique and clattered down the stairs to emerge onto a bustling Knightsbridge street.
* * * * *
Ash was a good girl. Everyone said so. She’d just given up her seat on the bus to an elderly lady and been rewarded with a big smile. On her way home, after a day working as an advisor for the Citizens Advice Bureau, the CAB, Ash was brimming with thanks.
“I don’t know what we’d do without you, Ash,” Phil Smith, head of southeast London’s CAB, had said.
Maisie Blackburn clutched Ash’s arm before she left work. “You’ve saved my life. It’s thanks to you we still have our home.”
Then Karl Williams had collared her outside the door. “I don’t know how you persuaded them all to agree, but I’m certain I can manage the debt now, Ms. Elleston. You’re a star.”
The old lady got off the bus, and before Ash could reclaim her seat, a teenager grabbed it, the thumping music coming from his earphones audible to everyone in the vicinity. Ash thought better of advising him he’d damage his hearing. She clung to the pole and tried not to inhale the body odor of the guy standing next to her.
One day a week, Ash worked as an advisor for the CAB, a registered charity reliant on the services of volunteers, providing support for local communities. She’d been trained to help people resolve legal, financial and every other sort of problem by providing independent, confidential advice that was totally free. It was fascinating work and it made Ash feel good when she managed to sort out issues people had been unable to deal with themselves.
Extra-good when they told her how grateful they were.
Until pangs of guilt hit hard, because how could it be right to feel do-goody satisfaction by helping unhappy people? By the end of a day spent listening to a catalogue of disasters ranging from workmen who’d left a bathroom without running water, to a woman who just needed to talk to someone after she’d had to put down a dog she’d had for seventeen years, Ash’s warm feeling had usually submerged under exhaustion though she never let it show. Ash never let anything show.
By the time she opened the door of the house in Greenwich she shared with three others, Ash had her happy face firmly in place. Ronan’s motorcycle leathers lay sprawled up the stairs like a headless drunk, and Ash hung them on the hook. She went into the kitchen to find Ronan wearing a suit and pacing. It was the first time she’d seen the six-two guy in anything smart. Ash hadn’t known he even had a suit.
“I’m not late, am I?” she asked.
“No. I’m just anxious to get this over with.”
Ash sighed. “I’ll go and get changed.”
Ronan followed her up the stairs. “What are you going to wear? The blue dress with the daisies?”
“If you like.”
“Whatever you want, Ronan.” Ash tossed her coat on the bed.
“I’ll look through your wardrobe while you shower.”
This was not an evening she looked forward to. She shouldn’t have agreed to go, but Ronan had pleaded, and Ash had given in. She was a pushover and Ronan a skilled persuader.
She emerged from the bathroom to find Mr. Control-freak had gone though he’d laid out her clothes on the bed. Ash towel-dried her short, black hair, sprayed it with a stay-in conditioner and slipped into the dress. Shoes and jacket on, she went downstairs.
Mike, her other male housemate, was in the kitchen with Ronan.
“Oh, the luscious girlfriend.” Mike winked at her.
“You look great,” Ronan said. “Ready to go?”
Mike put his mouth to her ear. “Don’t use tongues. You don’t know where his has been.”
“I heard that,” Ronan said.
“You were meant to.” Mike grinned.
Ronan grabbed Ash’s hand and propelled her out of the house in the direction of the station.
“Sure you can remember everything I told you?” he asked.
“My dad despises liberals, vegetarians, cats and me.”
“Oh, and don’t bring up global warming unless you want a lecture.”
Ash yanked at his hand. “Ronan, you’ve not seen your parents for ten years. I don’t think your father wants to talk about global warming.”
He shot her an anguished glance. This was a Ronan she’d never seen before. He was usually so cool and collected.
“You’re scaring me,” she said. “What’s wrong?”
“They’re my one weakness.” Ronan’s grip tightened. “What were your parents like?”
Ash smiled. “Yep, lucky me.”