Today I’m delighted to welcome Queenie Black to my place as part of her
Hard-Pressed blog tour.
(Look out for the chance to win a copy of the eBook at the bottom of this page)
Over to you Queenie…
I recently found myself thinking about the issue of space.
As the oldest of many, many siblings (more than you can count on one hand) I never had my own room when I was growing up. A brief sojourn at university gave me a room of my own with a pash-killer bed (yes, they really did have beds known as that in the 80’s but I met my soulmate and got married before three years were up.
Thirty years, a shared bedroom and four children later I still don’t have my own physical space in my home. There’re plenty of rooms in the house that I could use now that the chicks have well and truly flown the nest, but I no longer know what to do with physical space. I write in the living room in front of the TV or in bed with the door open where I can hear the goings on in the rest of the house because I don’t like the feeling of being apart and away from the hub of where things happen, away from the living areas. Used to being always on call, (after my children, it was caring for elderly relatives) I feel the need to be available and shutting the world out behind a door makes me incredibly unsettled. I’ve tried writing in the garden shed but I couldn’t bear the sensation of being set apart. It felt like a punishment, not a privilege.
These limitations on having my own space made me realise that for me the ability to find space doesn’t rely on having a writing shed or a craft room or a reading nook. I learnt from early on in my life to be space self-sufficient. In other words, I might have been there physically, but I was elsewhere in my head. I learnt to carve space out in my thoughts while I was doing household chores, or driving to work, or sitting with my family in the evening. I found space in reading while hiding in the boughs of the tree overhanging my neighbour’s yard, or on buses to work, in my breaks. When I couldn’t read, I imagined. I created events and scenarios, characters that took me away to places where I could be alone, breathe, rest or have adventures.
These flights away from the hurly-burly of life are what fueled my imagination and gave me the material to write. They filled wells of creativity but also helped me become more emphatic and able to see other people’s viewpoints. The limitations of physical space throughout my life, have, in fact brought me to here, to the creative person I am today, and I’m pleased and proud of that person.
Doing without has made me able to do within, if you like.
I wanted to explore that a little in Hard-Pressed. Having Lucien take away Rose’s control and provide her with the care and support she needs while she faces her fears gives her a safe emotional space to discover who she can be. To learn what he always knew- that she is strong enough to surrender to her needs without losing herself.
Master Lucien has one night at Club Hard.
One night…to show bodyguard Rose Dainty that he can be the Dom she needs,
One night…to show her that submitting to him doesn’t make her weak, that true submission requires strength and trust.
Will pushing Rose to her limits prove to her she can trust him with her body and heart, and can she let go of her deepest fears long enough to enjoy her surrender? `
They both have everything to prove and everything to lose.
I mounted the six shallow steps and faced the double front doors. Twin carriage lights cast a soft gleam over the brass plaque with its discrete lettering:
Private Members Only
I desperately wanted to run back down the steps, leap into my car, and drive home, but if I did, nothing would change, and I’d go back to dividing my time between working out, Candy Crush Saga, and the occasional night out with my friends. I might miss out on learning something about myself, something that could make a difference in my sex life. Worse, I might miss a chance at love.
I stayed, my feet rooted to the floor, but the insides of my hands were so damp, my finger slipped on the brass bell, setting off a short, discordant jangling. I winced as I rang it again properly this time. That certainly wouldn’t endear me to anyone.
Shifting from foot to foot, trying to keep the blood circulating in my toes, I looked around. Behind me, the gravel drive snaked away to a discreet carpark, and trees and shrubs created shadows within shadows. Autumn had finally reached London and in this exclusive part of it, crisp, clean air and earthy leaf mulch replaced the smell of fast food and exhaust.
I shifted again, starting to get irritated. If you were going to demand a woman wear nothing but a skirt that barely covered her butt, and a top that was little more than a bit of elastic bandage—on me it was ridiculous, if I sneezed, I’d pop out over the top—then you should damn well open the door promptly. Now, despite wearing my warmest coat over the absurd ensemble, there was a distinct draught zipping under my hem and freezing my exposed butt cheeks.
I lifted my finger to stab the bell again, and the door swung open.
Bloody hell. A real butler. I was no stranger to mansions with staff. Working as a bodyguard meant I saw the inside of a lot of wealthy homes, but so far, a liveried butler was a new one to me.
“Can I help you?”
I cleared my throat, wondering if there was any etiquette for addressing a butler, aware that my finger was still lurking in the vicinity of his eye. “Umm, I’m, ah, it’s Ms. Dainty. To see Mr. Dufort. I’m expected.”
He waved me through into a large marble-floored hall with a fire burning at one side. A wide, elegant staircase at the back curved away to the upper floors.
“I’ll inform Mr. Dufort that you’re here, if you’d like to take a seat.” He indicated a collection of sofas and easy chairs huddled as if for warmth around the fireplace. I made a beeline for the heat.
“May I take your coat?”
I crossed my arms tightly. No way was I exposing my scantily clad self. “Ah, thanks, but I’m a bit cold.”
“I see my guest has arrived, Henry.”
I turned away from the fire to see Lucien Dufort crossing the hall toward me. The floor seemed to drop a few inches and I had to grab the back of a chair to steady myself as his delicious, rich chocolate voice with its faint French accent wound around me, setting my heart hammering.
A tall, elegant man, he moved toward me with predatory intent, covering the floor in loose, confident strides, but it was his eyes that held my gaze, dark eyes, sharp with intelligence and power. He wasn’t a handsome man. His narrow-bladed Gallic nose, inherited from his mother, was slightly overlarge for that, but his lips were sensual, and the mix of tenderness and lust in his expression as he looked at me sent electric tingles charging down my spine.
“Rose, welcome to Club Hard.” He lifted my hand and pressed a kiss to the back of it, his tongue flickering into the little hollow between my two smallest fingers, mimicking the act of sex. Normally, that would be an instant turn-off, but when Lucien did it, everything inside me melted. I tugged my hand free and shoved it into my coat pocket. This was bad. We hadn’t even started yet and my hormones were doing a happy dance.
“Your coat, ma petite.”
I undid the buttons reluctantly and he stripped it off my shoulders, giving it to Henry before indicating my feet. “Barefoot, please.”
I obeyed, steadying myself with one hand on Lucien’s forearm. I could have rested it there all day, enjoying the feel of thick bone and the flex of hard muscles, but I quickly unzipped my boots and gave them to Henry, who took them as solemnly as if I was handing him the crown jewels for safekeeping. He disappeared, taking my things with him, and I stood shivering, waiting for Lucien to say or do something. I shouldn’t have felt vulnerable. I fought with this amount of flesh on display, so it shouldn’t have bothered me, yet insecurity and apprehension crept hand-in-hand up my spine. “Lucien?”
He cupped my chin, his palm warm and sure, his thumb stroking my cheekbone in a gesture I found calming. “Tonight, you will address me as Monsieur, or Sir.” His words sank deep inside me, reaching a place I wasn’t aware existed. A place I didn’t want to believe existed. I stepped back, dislodging his hand.
Lucien’s cheek creased in amusement. “So, ma belle perle, the challenge begins. Are you ready?”
Amazon USA: https://amzn.to/2lXpCSP
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2kswibm
I’ve always loved writing and I won my first prize for a short story when I was still at primary school. I’m an avid reader of romance and erotic romance and can usually be found with my nose in a book. The dynamics and sheer variety of human relationships fascinate me, and this is what I like to explore in my writing. I live in North Yorkshire with my husband and cat where I enjoy running and Tai Chi.
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Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/queenieblackauthor/
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