by Lauren E. Rico
Publication date: November 17th 2020
Genres: Adult, Dark Romance, Romance
Alison Armitage has more responsibility than God. At least, that’s what it feels like some days as she manages her multi-billion-dollar business. She’d give just about anything to NOT be in charge. Just for a little while. Just behind the closed doors of her incredibly expensive and incredibly lonely apartment
One night after one too many cocktails, she stumbles upon a chat room for people like her—dominant in their everyday lives, looking to be dominated. Just a little bit. Titillated, she explores further and soon finds herself with a very exclusive invitation to participate in a very unique ‘experiential’ resort. A place where people can come to live out their fantasies in an immersive environment, for a short term period. Where all guests have been carefully vetted and all “play” is consensual—and closely monitored for safety.
Too late, Alison discovers that the sexy world of her fantasies is a long way from the reality she now faces. And the only thing keeping her on the right side of safety and sanity is the dark and brooding man she’s been made to call “Master.”
The problem is, she’s not so sure which side is the “right” side anymore.
Most people would tell you that consent is a solid thing. You either give it, or you
don’t. You either have it, or you don’t. And while that works in external situations, the
internal ones are a whole other story. The simple fact of the matter is that the head and
the heart often work independently of one another. Oh, not in a physiological sense, of
course. In that regard, there’s pretty much a standard operating procedure in place. An
S.O.P, if you will. Not so clear are the rules, terms, norms, expectations between these
two vital organs as pertains to emotions. Love, grief, anger… lust.
My head tells me quite clearly that I have been brought someplace against my will.
Without consent. That, in and of itself, should be enough to have me chomping at the bit
to get the fuck out of here. And yet… there’s the heart, saying, “Hey, you know what?
This all feels kinda good. This seems to be something we’ve been longing for. Something
that’s been missing.” Hmmm. Okay, so heart gets a little squidgy, and suddenly it’s not
And that is where the first domino falls, sending into motion one long, rippling,
tumbling wave of other dominos that cannot be stopped before they reach their terminus.
What the hell does this all mean?
Fact One: I didn’t ask to come here.
Fact Two: I don’t like the fact that I don’t have the freedom to do what I want,
when I want.
Fact Three: I don’t like that other people are in control of my fate.
Fact Four: I’m in a near-constant state of arousal because of facts one through
Fact Five: I feel better than I’ve felt in years.
Fact Six: My heart—my entire body—is consenting to what is happening to me.
Fact Seven: My head resents the shit out of Fact Five.
The expression goes: “The mind is willing but the flesh is weak.” But I’m starting to
wonder if that isn’t the other way around. Maybe it’s the mind that’s weak for trying to
reason its way out of what feels so natural to the body.
Alison Armitage is a powerful woman at the top of her field. But just once, she’d like to give up control to someone else…control of her decisions, her body, her life. It was only a fantasy…until it wasn’t. Until the day she was abducted and brought to a remote island where she was trained to serve a man known to her only as Master. A man who promised to cherish her and keep her safe. A man who considered her to be his personal property.
What she never anticipated was developing feelings for the stranger with the dark, stormy eyes and commanding tone. Nor did she expect that his touch would ignite her body with a passion she thought only existed in movies and romance novels. Now, with each passing day, she falls harder and deeper for him and for this lifestyle as she finds a freedom and contentment she never imagined possible.
But no sooner has she come to terms with her new role and her new life than her world is up-ended once more, leaving her bereft, heartbroken and furious. This time, it’s Alison who has the upper hand and she’ll stop at nothing to get what she wants…as soon as she figures out what exactly that is. And until she can untangle fantasy from reality, she is destined to be a slave to both.
He turns his back and walks to the other side of the room where the dresser is, pulling open the top drawer and taking something out. I can’t see what it is until he faces me again. It’s a slip of black fabric. Not a tie or a handkerchief, as far as I can tell. So, what is it? It isn’t until he holds it with both hands, stretching it out horizontally, that I realize it could only be one of two things: a blindfold… or a gag. And, while I’m a little more turned on by the former, I don’t think I’d be especially opposed to the latter. Either way, it’s going to be a first for me.
“How’s your anxiety level?” he asks me.
The question is a bit jarring and it takes me a second to process it.
“Why, did I do something to make you think I wasn’t okay?”
He shakes his head slowly. “No… but not everyone responds well to not seeing,
and I didn’t want to find out the hard way that you’re one of them.”
Ah, so it is a blindfold, then!
“Master, there is nothing I want more right now than to do this with you. I’m fine. I
A slight shrug from him. “I wanted to be sure.”
I offer him my most confident—and seductive—smile.
“Oh, you can be sure,” I murmur huskily.
And that’s all the reassurance he needs. He nods once and comes to stand behind
me, just out of my line of sight. And then warm, strong hands are securing the cloth in
place as the world goes dark around me. Suddenly, my breath is louder in my ears, and
I’m aware of a shift in the space of the room as he moves from one location to the other.
I’m just wondering how long it will take for my sense of smell to be heightened when I
get a strong whiff of something minty that makes my nose twitch.
I feel his finger press to my lips.
“Shhhh. Just experience,” he murmurs. I nod as I capture his thick finger in my
mouth and suck it. He chuckles softly. “All right then, give that back now, please.”
He reclaims his appendage and I can just picture the tiny, satisfied smirk that he sees on my face as he looks down at me. It’s not a smirk for long, though. The minty smell—whatever it was that he was holding close to me—is gone and I’m just wondering what he’s up to when I feel his touch at the apex of my thighs.
Well, he’s not wasting any time, is he?
Award-Winning radio host Lauren Rico is one of the top classical music broadcasters in the country. Her voice is heard nationally on SiriusXM’s Symphony Hall channel, as well as on radio stations in New York City, Charlotte and Tampa. She’s even been known to accompany travelers as they fly the skies over Thailand, Oman and China as part of the in-flight entertainment on several airlines. Her love and passion for classical music have allowed her to breathe new life into the stories of the great composers.
And now Lauren is telling some stories of her own…
Beginning with her erotic thriller, Reverie (Harmony House Productions, 2016) she set out to “put the sexy back in Bach” –creating a riveting tale of passion, deception and redemption set against the backdrop of an international music competition. She rounded out the trilogy with Rhapsody (Harmony House Productions, 2016) and Requiem (Harmony House Productions, 2017).
From there, Lauren partnered with Entangled Publishing, LLC to create the first in her Symphony Hall series of romances, Solo (Entangled Publishing 2017). Her most recent release, Blame it on the Bet, is the first in the five-book Whiskey Sisters series (Entangled 2017). Upcoming projects include four more Whiskey Sisters romances, a follow-up to Solo and a super-secret, as-of-yet-unnamed thriller.
Lauren hopes to bring classical music to a new audience by showcasing it in twisty, steamy stories that grab the reader and keep them turning pages–and YouTubing the music–into the wee hours.
When she’s not on talking on the radio or typing on her laptop, Lauren enjoys time with her husband and spectacularly spoiled mini-schnauzer.
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