As a writer and lover of all things dark and romantic, I always get asked about recommendations for any dark romances on the horizon. With that in mind, I’ve decided to team up with a few other indie authors to give you the heads up on the latest releases in the dark romance realm.
First up is Ruthless by Michelle Jo Quinn, featured in Dark Desires: Contemporary Romance Set.
In a struggle for dominance and power, will love conquer all?
Her name is Stella.
With her innocent, girl-next-door looks and kind eyes, people are easily fooled into thinking she’s just any other woman. Beneath her unassuming tan trench coat is a leather corset, paired with silk panties and thigh high fishnets. At night, she is Lady Luna, ProDomme, and co-owner of an exclusive BDSM club.
It’s the only life she’s ever known…until she meets him–the man who makes her wonder if she’s capable of love.
His name is Preston.
He’s wealthy, handsome, powerful and he hasn’t met a woman who denies his wants. His insatiable lust for the opposite sex has marked him a notorious player…until he meets Lady Luna, a woman born for pleasure and the only one can’t ever have.
He’ll stop at nothing until she’s under his control, but what happens when she wants more than what he’s willing to offer?
The girl kneels in front of me, not a single strand of hair out of the carefully braided dark brown locks. I can’t see her eyes, but I know she’s afraid. She needs not fear me, but she has to respect me. A few lit candles, vanilla-scented, in two corners of the room illuminate her soft, naked skin. I ache to touch her, but she is not mine. I am not here to love her. I’m here to teach her, to mold her for him.
She needs to learn to be perfect for her Master.
“Collar.” I drop the intricately designed leather piece in front of her. The gems embedded in the leather flicker as they catch the candlelight. This girl is lucky, except she doesn’t know it yet. She is and will always be taken care of, as long as she’s good.
I watch her pick up the collar, gauging its weight on her trembling hands. She pauses before letting the leather touch her skin.
She has to learn. There are consequences for disobedience. I raise my hand just past my shoulder, and flick my wrist—a kiss of leather on her skin. She whimpers. The room fills with the scent of her arousal.
I lean forward, a breadth away, enough to catch the scents of jasmine in her hair, and orange blossoms on her neck. “It will be easier for you to obey. Don’t speak. Nod if you understand.” Her head bobs up and down once. “Collar,” I whisper against the silkiness of her skin.
The girl reaches up and attaches the leather, gem-studded collar around her neck. It’s a masterpiece. She’s a masterpiece, much like the others. I’ve known this as soon as I catch a glance. I know his type.
Her skin is taut, flawless, her breasts are shapely, her nipples pert. She’s what people may call pretty, but she’s troubled, aching to be loved. It’s not important for me to know her name. I am her teacher, and she is my student. My aim is to fulfill a goal—to transform her, make her perfect, so she may please her Master.
I resist glancing up and looking at the dark glass before me. I know he’s watching, as he very well should be, to ensure her training is as expected. But he bores easily, or he’s never fully sated. This girl is his third sub in a matter of months. How he finds and picks them, I can’t know. I assume he’s a powerful man, inside and outside the bedroom. He takes what he can, whatever is his will.
I’m here to make sure he gets it.
But he gives as good as he gets. All three subs have been eager to learn, excited to please.
This girl is quiet. She’ll be ready in no time. I pace around the room, circling her, studying her. I flick my wrist and snap at her knees. She moves them farther apart.
“Hands behind you.” My voice is steady and strong. I see slender fingers wrap around each other as she places them on the curve of her back. I walk to the chest and choose the proper tool—a scarf from her Master. The silk fabric is soft and delicate in my hands—a stark contrast of how leather feels against my palm. I make quick work on her wrists, trapping them behind her back. Taking the edges of the flogger, I ghost them over the length of her spine. She moans at the sensation. I cannot resist the minute curve on the corner of my lips.
“What are your safewords?”
She shifts slightly before replying. “Moon for stop.”
“And when you’re close to your limits?”
I nod despite her not able to catch my silent reply. She’ll be ready before the night is done.
I stride back to the chest, reflecting on the gifts before me, some made of metal, others of wood, some plastic, more fabric, and one glass. I pick up the black metal rod, admire the craft, then bring it over to the girl. I sit languidly behind her, taking one foot and strapping her ankle with the leather cuff, and then do the same with her other dainty foot. The form makes her bend forward, her face close to the ground. Eventually she will tire and lift her buttocks in the air, with her face resting on the cold slate floor.
I stand and admire, and listen to her whimpers, waiting until I see my success. I want him to see her. To see that she’s ready. Stepping aside, I give him a better view. I can almost feel his warm breath through the glass. I can feel the magnet of his power, his dominance. At that instant, I make a mistake of looking.
The red light turns on—my signal to leave. Warmth crept up my face. I am abashed by my insistence, by my slight lack of control. I look away, and without another word, I leave the girl to her Master.
As soon as I’m out of the door, I lean against it, panting. I grip the flogger harder in my hand. Pull yourself together, I think, and remind myself who I am. What I am. Within these walls I am Lady Luna and no one else.