Ready for June?

Can you believe the year’s almost half gone already? Let’s break June in right, and by ‘right’ I mean: Let’s do the June Instagram Challenge!



Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. “Maren,” you’re saying, “that’s a helluva lot of blog posts. And you, my girl, are a hideous blogger.”

You’re absolutely right, but I’m also stubborn and I’m gonna make the attempt, damn it. Plus, it’s not blogging. It’s Instagramming…whatever the hell that is, but I’m dedicated, double damn it. So dedicated, in fact, that when my cellphone finally died this morning, I gave up buying a cheap replacement and instead spent a small mortgage payment on something most people would still consider to be a cheap phone. Yup, you heard me. A small mortgage payment. On something that will, at best, last only 1-2 years. The mind boggles and the wallet cries.


That’s a pretty sad wallet, right there. But while new smartphones are neither for the penny-pinching, nor the weak, they do spark cool Facebook conversations. Like this one:

Facebook Friend: What kind of phone did you get?

Me: Samsung Galaxy S5, upgrade from the S3. I looked at the S6, but there’s just no freakin’ way I’m paying $550 for a phone that won’t last more than a year.

Me: And by the way, the only reason I was able to tell you all that, was because the Ex already asked what kind of phone I bought and then quite patiently explained exactly what I have when I told him, “A black one with chrome on the edges. And see the case I got for it? It looks like a pocketbook.”

Facebook Friend: I’m an IPhone gal myself. Got a 6. Now I’m jonesing for at least a 6S plus. Larger amount of storage. I’m never satisfied!!!

Me: I have never even come close to maxing out my storage. I’m not even sure what my storage is.

Me: Or where to find it.

Ya’ll, I’d only just got a decent grip on the rotary before they took it away from us. …Shhh. Listen. If you’re very, very quiet, you can hear an entire generation of young people activating their voice recognition software to ask, “What is a rotary?”


As soon as my new phone finishes charging, I’m going to download a dinosaur ringtone. I do so miss the old sounds. Then I’m going to spend the day getting savvy with apps. I have two days and about twelve years of technology to catch up on. Wish me luck and:



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Posted by on May 29, 2016 in Uncategorized


Rules of Writing that Every Writer SHOULD Break

For instance, never ever EVER–on pain of punishment and the death of your firstborn—never use all caps for emphasis in your book. Well, I don’t have a firstborn, so I did it anyway. See? I’m such a rebel.

Now that the silliness is out of my system, let’s get this blog party started!

Just about every week, I field at least one email or private message from someone saying they love my work, they’ve always wanted to write themselves, would I please take a look at what they’ve got so far, maybe they should self-pub too and could I help them with that. My standard answer to all of that has been (and will continue to be): Thank you. Absolutely, you should write it! No, I’m sorry, I can’t read your work for professional reasons. Absolutely, you should self-pub and when you do, Amazon has pages and pages of instructions to help you get started. If you need more help than that, check out their how-to forums. A writer should first and foremost be a reader. Every possible problem you could ever have will have already been posted and answered multiple times on that forum.

I do this not because I am antisocial or cranky (although, if I am being cranky, it’s probably because the coffee IV has stopped dripping), but because I am technologically… I was going to say challenged, but that’s not quite right. Y’all, I took my phone back to the store after only one week because it had stopped ringing. They had to show me how to work the volume button.

So, I won’t help with the technical side of publishing. Instead, I thought I would help with the writing side of writing. The number one thing I would tell anyone who is either published or unpublished is this: Know the rules of writing. There’s just one problem with that. While the “rules” of writing can be found literally everywhere on the Internet, just about most of them are…(drum roll, please)…WRONG! Or, if not wrong, at least breakable.

“Okay, genius,” you say. “How am I supposed to know the difference?”

You’ll know, dear reader, because I’m about to tell you.

Rule #1.) The Chicago Manual of Style is the Bible for writers everywhere and it must be followed without exception.

FALSE! The Chicago Manual of Style is the Bible for writers of papers, thesis, professional documents, schools and colleges, etc. etc. etc. It is not the bible for novelists. Why? Because novelists write to paint a story within the imagination of the reader. We manipulate words, sentence structures, the ebb and flow of paragraphs that must be either short or long or incomplete depending on what we’re writing, and there’s just no place for that kind of shenanigans within the CMoS. I will say this, however: There is a world of difference between manipulating the rules of punctuation, grammar, and sentence structure, and not knowing them to start with. Eats Shoots and Leaves is both fun and informative. It’s the best book on the subject I’ve ever read. So, if you slept through English like I did, I highly recommend it.


Rule #2.) Every genre has a formula that you, as an author, must follow and never deviate from. (Better known as: I’m the author. I’ll write whatever I want.)

TRUE… but only to a point. Every genre does have a kind of formula, but do you always have to follow the formula… No, you don’t. Only one person is writing your book, and if you want to screw it up, by all means I support your right to do that. I will, however, call into question your decision-making process. You may have the best plot-twist in the history of all authordom, but I would encourage you to keep in mind that the longevity of your writing career is based upon your ability to tell a story that will satisfy your readers. If you write an ending that pisses off one reader, chances are good that person will not buy your next book. Piss off enough readers, and you’ll end up working a counter where your most oft-asked question will be: Would you like fries with that?


Rule #3.) Never use flashbacks or dream sequences.

FALSE! By all means, use flashbacks and dream sequences. Just use them correctly. “But, Maren,” you ask, “what do you mean by ‘correctly’?” That means, before you use either, ask yourself: 1.) Does it move the story along? Or, 2.) Does the dream or flashback impart vital information to the reader about the hero/heroine’s character? If you can’t answer yes to either question, then do not use a dream or flashback in your story. Why? Because you run the risk of confusing your readers or worse, boring them. Again: Would you like fries with that?

Rule #4.) Don’t care about your characters.

FALSE! If you as the author don’t care what happens to your characters, why should your reader? According to several articles and websites I’ve recently wandered through (Cherry Adair mentions it on her website; it can also be found at Live Write Breathe. In fact, every place I’ve been to seems to be quoting the same material, so I’m having a little trouble determining the accuracy of such a broad-sweeping generalization), 97% of all writers never finish that first book. So on the surface, not caring about your characters in order to get that book finished seems like sound advice. But I just don’t believe it. Care about your characters. Care about portraying them to the best of your ability. Care about plotting their downfall and their rise to overcome it, whatever ‘it’ is. Because as I said, if you don’t care what happens to them, why should your readers?

**Note: I do want to take a minute to mention two things: 1.) I had the opportunity to meet Ms. Adair in person. She is a very nice human being who teaches workshops on how to build great characters. And 2.) She is currently hosting the Finish the Damn Book Challenge which is open to “anyone unpublished, not published within the last three years, or those with three books or less, traditionally or indie published as of April 1, 2016. Other rules apply, but check it out. If you qualify, wonderful prizes (including a prepaid registration fee to the RT Convention in Georgia 2017) will be handed out.

Rule #5.) Writing rules are made to be broken.

TRUE! But not if you don’t know what those rules are. Part of being an author is knowing how to write. Not the how of putting one word in front of another to create a sentence, only to put those one in front of another until you reach whatever magical word quota allows you to slap a climactic ‘The End’ onto that last pageand get on with your life. I don’t mean just knowing which words are nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. I mean, you need to be able to diagram a sentence. You need to know how to alter the way you write to allow for rapid action, emotional suspense, or sex. Whether you write by plotting or pants-ing (a term used to describe authors who write whatever simply comes to them, which is also known as ‘writing by the seat of their pants’), you need to know how to outline your story. You need to know that your story will require one main plot, a number of subplots that make the instant achievement of that main plot’s goals difficult to impossible, a dire consequence that makes the reader believe all is lost, and then a resolution capable of saving the day. A word of advice: Never, ever pull a hitherto unknown villain out at the very last minute (Mountain Man) because you will never live it down. Trust me.

So take your time. Learn your craft. Get involved with author authors in real life or online, in forums, on Facebook. Ask questions. Hone your skills and never stop learning. With every new book you write, you’ll get better.



Posted by on May 10, 2016 in Uncategorized


See what the reviewers are saying!

I’m playing on Katherine Deane’s blog today. Come visit us, but not before you take a look at what the reviewers are saying. Or rather, how about instead we see what the READERS are saying?

la isla

Nina –

I’m on my second session – just looooove the book – but I want all details fresh in mind writing my 5 star review at Amazon.:-)
To all not reading yet – this is one of the best books so far in 2016 – you’re not doing yourself a service not buying yet!!!

Mary –

Yesterday after reading Maddy Mine (without stopping) I also reread Holding Hannah and Keeping Kaylee lol it was a good day I loved it. I see myself in Maddy’s character so it’s great for me. Where’s my dungeon master? Lol!

Kristy –
To the wonderful author of the Masters of the Castle series,

I love your work! I am such a fan that I’ve read them all–some of them, twice! Furthermore, your last work, entitled “Maddy Mine” inspired me to begin a fun writing project of my own, which I fully intend to show you when it’s done. If it’s ever done.

Barbara –

I have to begin by saying you are one of my favorite authors!  I just purchased your latest Masters of the Castle book MADDY MINE, and I also got your novella MEETING MARSHALL.  It was hilarious!

SH –

Oh my, I’m still trying to fully absorb this fantastic story! Maren Smith has hit a home run with this book! Dominick could not be any more dominant if he tried and Maddy is absolutely perfect for him. Together they are like fireworks on the Fourth of July! A very well written, thought provoking, steamy fun filled adventure you really don’t want to miss!

Get your copy today! Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Blushing Books!
1 Comment

Posted by on April 26, 2016 in Uncategorized


Dating her… Dungeon Master Style

This is the last day of the free chapter previews. If you haven’t got your copy yet, run–don’t walk–to your nearest keyboard (see, you’re already there. How cool is that?) and get your copy before they’re all gone!

Except, they’re in ebook format, so they’re never all gone.

Awesome sauce!

dating her dungeon master style

Preview #3:

Maddy had just enough time after the plane touched down to race to the nearest bathroom and check her face. It was worse than she thought and, apart from a few wet wipes in her purse, everything she needed to fix her makeup was in her suitcase. With any luck, it was on a luggage cart being shuttled across the airport to the last plane she had to take before she reached her destination: the very tropical La Isla del Paraíso, the center hub of Rita’s new resort, where all the behind-the-scenes activity necessary for the running of such a massive BDSM operation would take place. Maddy couldn’t wait to get there, not only because travel like this was exhausting, or because—as freelance promotional jobs went—this one would prove quite lucrative once her article was published (hopefully for Rita as well), but because this little mini vacation was almost like the fulfilling of a secret dream.

Not since her clandestine reading of Fifty Shades of Grey had Maddy dared to indulge her most secret fantasies. She’d tried to share some of those fantasies with Virgil once, but he’d made it very clear that, in the realm of responsible adulthood, everyone knew that certain thoughts, certain feelings, just had to live in the dark. This wasn’t the middle ages and hurting other people was illegal for a reason. Women weren’t supposed to want to be dominated, so Maddy tried not to—except when delving between the pages of the books she sometimes liked to read. Her heart wasn’t supposed to quicken over thoughts of being held an erotic captive, tied to a sensually cruel man’s bed, or—be still the beating—turned across a strong man’s knee while he spanked her for being ‘a bad girl’. Or a good one. Or perhaps even for no reason at all. Maddy was equal opportunity kinky that way.

But, no. Grown-up, responsible women weren’t supposed to want that sort of thing. Certainly they weren’t supposed to actively seek out those kinds of engagements, so Maddy hadn’t… not until the day she got Rita’s email. In her wildest dreams, never would Maddy have thought she would come to a place like this. Yet, here she was, staring at her reflection under the unflattering lights of an airport bathroom in Nassau, of all places. She was, literally, a hop, skip, and a jump-flight away from mingling amongst all the men and women Rita had hired to cater to society’s most daring—people who, unlike her, thought nothing at all of giving free rein to all the feelings and urges that Maddy… just couldn’t help but hide.

She wasn’t going to indulge; she already knew that. She’d already had that internal argument. She’d had it pretty much daily since she’d accepted this job, and every single day, she came to the same irrefutable conclusion. For all that Maddy found the idea of dominance and submission, authority and discipline, control and total power exchange intriguing, it all came down to this: she wasn’t skinny enough, young enough, or pretty enough to engage in such nonsense.

She was thirty-eight, for crying out loud, and she barely knew how to put makeup on.

I’d still feel something for you other than embarrassment or disgust!

Turning from her reflection, Maddy dug into her purse. It took every wet wipe she had, but she finally got the black, tear-track smudges off her cheeks and out of the creases to either side of her nose. Folding the wet wipes into very small pieces, she used the corners to touch up what remained around her eyes. It wasn’t perfect, but at least she no longer looked like a KISS groupie who just fell out of the tour bus. Combing her fingers through her wavy blonde hair, she grabbed her purse and hurried to catch the next flight.

As it turned out, she needn’t have bothered rushing. When she reached the departure gate, it was not a commercial plane she found waiting for her. It wasn’t even a prop-plane. Rather, it was a small jet, big enough inside to stand up straight and with seating for sixteen people, but smaller by half than the next largest plane in that airport. Impeccably dressed in black, gray and red uniforms, a man and woman were waiting to greet her at the steps leading up into the jet.

“Miss Cameron?” the woman asked, shifting her clipboard to hold out her hand.

“That’s me.” Maddy shuffled her purse to her other shoulder and shook it. “Sorry I’m late.”

“Oh, I didn’t say that,” the attendant demurred, still smiling.

“No, you didn’t,” Maddy agreed, keeping her tone light and friendly. “But if you know who I am, then either I’m the only passenger on the log or I’m the last to arrive.”

The woman’s soft laugh and reluctant nod were the only acknowledgement Maddy needed to know it was the latter.

“Sorry,” she said again.

“You were in no danger of being left behind,” the male attendant assured her. Gesturing to the stairs, he took the lead. “I’ll show you to your seat.”

She definitely wasn’t the only passenger flying out. Unlike her last flight, this time all the seats (arranged in four short rows, with two overstuffed chairs on either side of a very narrow aisle) were already taken up. Rita had mentioned that Maddy wouldn’t be the only guest attending this once-in-a-lifetime vacation-style tour of the island resort. Although she was the only one writing a promotional piece (at least, as far as Maddy knew), the rest of the group was made up of investors, insurance agents, accountants and lawyers, and even one curious local politician, no doubt wondering what an adult-themed pirate resort could bring apart from revenue to his highly tourist-driven economy. Taking up the entire first row, he was the easiest to pick out, flanked as he was by a retinue of three men, all of whom were dressed impeccably in three-piece suits.

Squeezing sideways down the narrow aisle behind the male attendant, Maddy made her way past all those unfamiliar faces until she suddenly spotted an unexpectedly familiar one, and her feet instantly rooted to the floor. The man from the last plane, M. Dominick, was sitting in the very last row next to the only empty chair on the plane. Her heart raced, climbing ever upward until she could feel it perched in the very back of her throat. She tried to swallow past it, but her heart refused to go back down where it belonged. Her stomach somersaulted. Her palms, oh lord, they were sweating.

“Here you go,” the attendant said, drawing abreast of that final row. As he indicated the seat, M. Dominick stood up and suddenly Maddy had an epiphany. She knew who this gorgeous specimen of man was. Rita had been very clear about what kind of vacation this would be. Her staff needed hands-on training, her investors needed reassuring, and so did the lawyers and accountants. To that end, Rita had promised everyone that she would hire the best professionalevery fine hair prickles up her arms as Maddy heard again what he’d told her: I suppose you could say my line of work revolves around motivation and training—that money could buy to show her hired Dominants the ropes.

“When it comes to the best in BDSM resorts, what’s the first name that springs to mind?” Rita had asked her, way back in the beginning when she’d first mailed Maddy copies of the brochures for her dungeon-based retreat.

“The Castle,” Maddy had obligingly replied. It had been that easy a question. Although she had heard of other places—places in Seattle, New Orleans, Chicago, and even Wichita; places that were arguably just as nice when it came to dungeon-oriented facilities—the Castle had been around the longest. It was the biggest; albeit only in operation now for, what, four years? Although Maddy had never been there herself, according to everything she’d read about the place, it was staffed by the most competent and knowledgeable Dominants to ever gather in any one location.

That was who he was. He was the professional Rita had flown in from the Ohio-based Castle. He was the one specifically hired to help establish the policies and procedures that would encourage safe, sane and consensual play for all of Rita’s would-be guests.

What does the ‘M’ stand for?

Oh… In the back of her rattled head, where every other thought had already scattered like birds on a gust of wind, she heard again that low and sultry laugh. Let’s save a little mystery for our next meeting.

She had been so, so sure there wouldn’t be one and yet here he was, those honey brown eyes staring deep into hers, that quirk in his smile curling seductively higher and higher while her stomach twirled inside her like a drunken ballerina.

“Is there a problem?” the attendant asked, his smile gradually fading the longer Maddy stood there, frozen mid-way down the aisle, staring like an idiot. A grinning idiot. She could feel it pulling at her mouth and just couldn’t make herself stop. She was lighting up, filled to the brim with excitement and jittering, and drunken ballerinas and butterflies and, God, how insane was it to feel so damned happy about bumping into him again so soon?

She didn’t even know him.


“No,” she said, the heated flush of embarrassment stealing up into her cheeks. “No, it’s fine.”

“More than fine for me.” M. Dominick stepped out of the aisle to give her the window seat.

Bending down long enough to stuff her purse under her seat, Maddy had a half-second of ‘what the hell’ when it occurred to her she was presenting a Master of the highly-celebrated Castle with an unobstructed view of her jean-clad ass. Her face burned hotter. She quickly plopped her butt into the seat.

And then it hit her, what the ‘M’ in M. Dominick stood for. When her wide-eyed gaze snapped to his, his eyes lit up and a grin split his handsome mouth. Re-seating himself beside her, oh so casually, Dominick leaned over and asked, “What’s my first name, little girl? I want to hear you say it.”

A fizzling shock thrilled through every raw nerve-ending she owned when he called her that. Little girl. As if she were little. As if she were a girl, and not a woman courting her forties. She’d never in all her life felt anyone call her any kind of pet name. Never. Before she knew it, her mouth was open.

“Master,” she answered, every consonant of the word sparking a whole new wave of thrills that rippled through her.

He laughed again, that same slow chuckle. “And don’t you forget it.”

* * * * *

Right from the start, this had been a ‘vacation’ Dominick hadn’t wanted. First, he’d had to leave two good hours before it even qualified as the ‘crack of dawn’, and second, he’d had no time for the gym, breakfast, and God only knew whom they’d got to fill in for him in the Dungeon. His routine was seriously shot to shit. On any other day, that would have killed his mood. Today, however, was turning out not to be the wash he’d been inclined to label it. Nobody had told him there would be eye-candy the likes of Maddy to keep him company over the next seven days. That right there changed everything.

Having her bend over in front of him like that didn’t hurt, either. It hadn’t even been intentional. Having worked in a place where submissives made a practice out of looking for good reasons to bend over, Dominick prided himself on being able to tell at a glance when feminine wiles were employed by sheer accident or by carefully crafted design. Maddy was a sheer accident kind of girl. He liked that.

He liked the way her face turned that brilliant shade of hot pink while she’d stammered over calling him ‘Master’. She hadn’t been able to hold his gaze while she’d said it, either. She’d dropped her eyes to her lap and her face had gone even redder, but she had done it and he really liked that. All he could think about now was how fiercely she might blush if forced to say that while bound naked upon his bed, wrists cuffed to the headboard and ankles on a spreader bar—or cuffed to the headboard along with her wrists. Yeah, that was how he wanted plump, shy, stammering Maddy—ass arched up off the mattress, every inch of her laid sexually bare to his scrutiny and his touch… and his use.

A hungry stir of interest was already turning the crotch of his jeans into an uncomfortably tight prison, and she’d only offered that bent-over view for half a second. Already it was burned into his memory—round, curvy nether cheeks, fully fleshed out in denim and decorated by scrolls of colored thread and sequins on the pockets. It had been all he could do not to lay his hands on her right then and there, squeezing, kneading. Owning…

Now Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Blushing Books.



When Marshall is approached for help by another vacation resort, he responds by sending his most notorious sadist, Dungeon Master Dominick. His job: to fly to the Caribbean and help institute the same Safe, Sane and Consensual policies that have made the Castle such a success. Though not at all pleased by the assignment or its disruption to his routine, the last thing Dominick expects are complications… until he bumps into Maddy Cameron. She’s plump, she’s pretty, she’s every bit the complication he doesn’t want or need, and yet he can’t help himself. Every time he gets close, he can’t wait to get closer still, to touch and be touched, to taste her, tease her, torment and possess her. Not just for a few scenes or a few days, but for the rest of his life… if only Maddy’s past scars will let him.

Hired to write a promotional review for a pirate-themed BDSM resort, Maddy looks on the opportunity as if it were a once-in-a-lifetime vacation – a vacation that comes complete with a tall, dark, arrogant and masterfully good-looking Dominant thrown in. It’s been four years since her disaster of a divorce, and though she knows she’s neither young enough nor thin enough to keep the attention of someone like Dominick, the allure of an illicit island fling is more than she can resist. Still, flings – like most relationships – don’t last, and better than anyone, Maddy knows the pain of letting herself get too close.

For Dominick, however, a little pain is all in a day’s pleasure. Maddy might not know him well enough now, but she’s about to find out that the world’s most infamous Dungeon Master never did take ‘no’ for an answer.



Posted by on April 25, 2016 in Uncategorized


Pirates, Plunder and Punishment… Oh My!

pirates plunder and punishment

On the fence about whether you might want to read this or not? How about another sample chapter, this time where boy meets girl… Dungeon Master style?

* * * * *

It was almost ten o’clock and he knew he was running late, but only for Marshall’s Morning Meeting and really, what did that matter? This was a week, and at the Castle all weeks passed pretty much like any other—each filled to the brim with customers, discipline, structure and routine. A big believer in routine, Dominick had fine-tuned his own years ago. These days, he rarely deviated: Every morning, up by six. Gym, shower and breakfast, in that order. Then down to the dungeon for work until about seven or eight that night. In bed again by ten; midnight if he had a guest tucked under his authoritative wing. So long as a man had a routine, what did he need meetings for?

Dressed in the all black uniform of his Dungeon Master persona—leather pants, boots, wide black belt, and wrist cuffs (no shirt; it amused him each time he caught a guest either admiring his broad, muscular physique or being intimidated by it)—Dominick shut off his apartment lights and headed down from the third floor to the main offices on the second. He checked his hair in the hall mirror as he passed it—short, dark brown, no cowlicks sticking out on the back of his head; perfect—and ran a quick hand over his neatly trimmed circle beard, smoothing down the hair that framed his mouth. Avoiding the elevator, he took the stairs, passing two Little Maids on the way. One was Anna Lawson, a relatively new employee; the other, most likely, was a customer. He swatted Anna as he walked by and both girls dissolved into startled giggles.

“Who was that?” the customer whispered.

“Master Dominick,” Anna tittered in reply. “He rules the Dungeon. You’d have to be very naughty to be sent to him.”

Rounding the far corner, Dominick made a mental note to expect the Little Maid later that day. In all likelihood, she would take one look at the sort of dark dealings that made up his little corner of the Dungeon proper and run back upstairs. Perhaps even screaming ‘onions’ all the way. He chuckled, remembering a certain redhead two years ago who’d done that exact same thing when she had been matched to him. Then again, who knew… this might be one Little Maid tempted enough by his devil side to stay and sample some of the forbidden fruit he was so very good at offering.

Castle life, he mused, was as much about forbidden fruit as it was routine. He didn’t chase after tornadoes or punch sharks or pull kittens out of trees, but he had carved a fine life for himself out of the minutia and monotony. Happiness, in his opinion, was knowing what to expect day in and day out, and if the only true deviation to his routine lay with the naughty boys and girls trying so playfully to get a rise of out him, well—his hand went to the whip coiled and clipped to his hip—he knew how to deal with that.

“Good morning,” Kaylee said, glancing up from the receptionist’s desk where she was sorting through a wild array of photos for the new brochure layout. After so many years working here, seeing women running around—as Kaylee was—dressed in Victorian-era ball gowns and playing with modern day conveniences no longer threw him. “You’re running late. The meeting’s almost over.”

“If it’s almost over, then I’m not running quite late enough.” Stopping in front of a row of mail slots, Dominick removed the contents from his. There were only two items: Diane’s file, which he dropped on Kaylee’s desk into the properly marked Out Box; the other, he took with him to the coffee pot. He turned the manila envelope over in his hands, but there were no markings on either side. “What’s this?”

Not quite hiding her smile, Kaylee tucked a lock of brown hair back behind her ear and shrugged. “Marshall said to give it to whoever showed up last.”

Kaylee was the Queen of Falsehood Avoidance. Although lies had brought her to the Castle originally, it was one of the few tendencies Master Marshall had drummed out of her, one stern paddling at a time, long before they were married. So when she said, ‘Marshall said to give it to whoever showed up last,’ he believed exactly what she said, exactly as she said it. The problem was, that wasn’t what he’d asked.

“That doesn’t answer my question,” he noted, setting both coffee and creamer aside to pick up the manila envelope again. Kaylee rolled her lips together, definitely hiding a smile. Shooting her a warning frown, Dominick slid a finger under the sealed flap, pried the glue apart and looked inside. The second he glimpsed the airline ticket, he exploded. “No! Absolutely not! Why am I always the one singled out for this crap?”

“Because you’re always late,” Kaylee cheerfully called after him when, coffee forgotten, he headed for the closed conference room.

“I know where you live,” he threatened—without effect; she laughed at him—and threw open the office door. He barged inside, offering a ‘good morning’ to the entire room by way of a resounding, “Hell no!”

Thirteen Masters occupied fifteen chairs around a large rectangular table. Seated at the head, Marshall nursed his coffee mug and a small stack of unassigned customer files. Sam, Parker, Kade, the twins Travis and Trevor, Mistress Miranda, Parker, Emerson the schoolmaster, head butler Grimsley, Brody, the stable master, and last year’s newest recruits, the soldiers Eric and Reeve, circled around him. It wasn’t everybody who should have been in attendance, not by a long shot. But compared with what he held in his hand, Dominick wasn’t concerned about anyone else’s conspicuous absence.

He threw the envelope on the table in front of Marshall. “Find someone else,” he ordered, folding his burly arms across his chest and lobbying his most formidable frown at the Master of the Masters, his employer and friend of more than eleven years.

“Ha!” Miranda crowed, laughing triumph lighting up the soft brown of her eyes. Turning to Kade, she held out her hand.

“Did you even read the assignment?” Kade dug his wallet out of his back pocket, grumbling as he passed a wad of folded bills into the tall housekeeper’s hand.

“Ones,” she said dryly, fingering the wad. “You’re paying me all in ones?”

Once the Castle’s most infamous playboy, Kade’s grin remained as lecherous as it was unrepentant. “You can still smell the g-string they came out of.”

“Oh my God!” Miranda dropped the bills. Jumping up from the table, she ran for the adjacent bathroom to disinfect her hands. “Chelsea was supposed to have softened you!”

“It was her g-string,” Kade called, as most around the table erupted into laughter.

Marshall cracked a smile, but that was all.

Dominick didn’t do even that much. “Hell no,” he repeated.

“We drew lots,” Sam supplied. “You weren’t here, so you got the short straw.”

Frowning down the length of the table, Dominick said, “Jackson’s not here, give it to him.”

“Jackson stayed up all night with a sick baby,” Marshall said. “He’s exempt because family comes first. Everybody knows that.”

“Fine, give it to Alan. He’s not here either.”

“No, he’s not,” Marshall calmly agreed. “What he is, is on vacation.”

“Oh, big fat hairy deal,” Dominick snapped, waving an irritated hand toward the bank of tall windows. His fingertips caught the morning sunlight streaming in. “He’s probably across the field at O’s.”

“Picked up a packed lunch from Cook Connie just before the breakfast rush,” Grimsley confirmed, giving the grey undervest of his butler’s uniform a smart tug down over his trim waist.

“He had his bag with him,” Parker supplied, with a wink and smile. “Again.”

“He’s on vacation,” Marshall repeated over a sip of coffee. “Where he chooses to spend it is his own business. He’s excused. You’re not. If you don’t want extra assignments, show up for a meeting once in a while.”

“I had a client!” Dominick protested, no less irritated but now grasping at straws.

Marshall had no problem calling him on it, either.

“Your client left on the bus over an hour ago,” he said, ice-blue victory eking into the chill of his steely eyes. “You had plenty of time to get here, had you been so inclined. The problem is, you weren’t, and I’m tired of half-assed attendance at meetings I deem important enough to call. All that aside, Rita Moberly is a friend of mine. I owe her a favor, she’s called it in, and so I’ve promised to send my best Master to help get her venture up and running at a professional level as fast as possible.”

Nowhere near mollified, Dominick cast another hard look around the table, taking in the smiles and smirks on all those obviously thrilled not to have been saddled with the chore themselves. Crap. He stifled a disgruntled sigh. “What kind of venture?”

“Seriously.” Kade bounced out of his chair to grab the envelope out from between the two men. “You have got to read this.” He fished out a full-color brochure and slapped it on the table in front of Dominick. “You get to play pirate for a while.”

Dominick took one look at the sixteenth-century Spanish Galleon in the main picture and exploded all over again. “I get seasick!”

“Man up.” Kade slapped a pill box of Dramamine, also taken from the envelope, on the table next. “Nothing you ate will be the worst thing ever tossed into the ocean. Besides, while the rest of us are shoveling snow and de-icing the courtyard, you’ll be lounging in the Caribbean sand! How can you not be excited about this?”

“You go,” Dominick shot back.

His smile becoming a wince, Kade shrugged. “I wouldn’t mind.”

“Rita requested anyone but him,” Miranda said, coming back from the bathroom, two extra wet wipes in hand with which to clean the money he’d given her. “Apparently, he bedded one investor’s wife and another’s daughter.”

“Same investor,” Marshall informed them.

“Same weekend,” Kade added, his wince softening into a smile again. “In my defense, I thought they were sisters.”

“How is that a defense?” Miranda scoffed.

Kade flung out both hands. “Hey, I have a weakness for redheads.”

“You have a weakness for anything that moves,” she shot back, laughing. “Including the family dog!”

“Hey, she came onto me!”

“She was an Irish Setter!”

“I told you I had a thing for redheads.”

“You have your assignments,” Marshall called over the top of everyone else’s—including Kade’s—laughter. “Let’s get to it.”

Laughter diminishing, Miranda and the other Masters got up, scooting their chairs in and filing from the room to continue Kade’s good-natured ribbing somewhere else. Soon, Marshall and Dominick were the only two left at the table. Neither moved until the door bumped softly shut behind the last man out.

Gesturing to the nearest seat, Marshall waited until the frowning Dungeon Master gave in grudgingly and sat down. Scowling, shaking his head, he dumped the remaining contents of the envelope out onto the table next to the Dramamine and brochure. He picked up the airline ticket, frowned at the time of departure, dropped it distastefully, and picked up the brochure. His frown only deepened.

“This,” he told Marshall, as their eyes met again, “was dirty pool.”

“Who better than you should I send?” Marshall replied. “You’ve been here since before the first Castle stone was uprooted out of Scotland and shipped to us across the Pond. You’ve been involved in the implementation of every rule and edict. You know how to train dominants into being strong, consensual Masters. You know how to keep submissives safe. Rita wants to set up a vacation resort as close to ours as she can possibly make it and, in order to do that, she’s going to need all the help we can give her if she’s to navigate all the legal pitfalls waiting to ensnare an ordinary resort, not to mention one centered around BDSM. So,” Marshall’s tone dropped low and cajoling, “I’ll ask again, who better than you should I send?”

Dominick wasn’t impressed. “Someone who enjoys traveling. You’re fucking with my routine.”

“Just think,” Marshall soothed, leaning back in his chair. “Instead of isolating yourself in the Dungeon, you’ll have a whole island full of people to bend into your routines. Three, in fact, if I’m reading this right.” Taking the brochure from Dominick, Marshall opened it and handed it back. He tapped the top, to the right of the crease. “Three islands.”

He didn’t want to go to one. To learn there were three did not make the venture any more appealing. “This is a BDSM resort?”

“A perpetual battle between the ‘American navy’ and the pirates of the Cove,” Marshall said, pretty much echoing the spiel emblazoned across the front of the brochure. “Customers can pick whether they want to be pirates or civilians, with the threat of becoming ‘captured’ by the other side as a daily option. In addition to all the standard resort amenities, both sides have realistic replica ships of the age and offer mini cruises throughout the islands. You can lie in the sand all day, eating lobster and sipping Ti Punch, and then hit the Dungeons all night long.”

Dominick’s frown grew. “She serves alcohol at her BDSM dungeon resort?”

“One drink maximum each day; same as here. Plus, clients there are restricted from entering the Dungeon or participating in scene negotiations until the drink stamp changes color.”

“Drink stamp?” Dominick turned the next page, reading the fine print now.

“Apparently, she’s got a waterproof stamp that gradually changes color after an hour on the skin. Anyone who drinks gets stamped, and there’s no way to make it disappear any faster than by time’s measured passing.” Marshall was quiet for a moment. “Or removing the skin, but I should think simply not drinking would be easier.”

“One would think,” Dominick muttered dryly. “Matters of consent get muddled enough without throwing fools and alcohol together.”

“Which was pretty much the same objection you gave when we decided to bring a bar into the Castle. We haven’t done that badly. With the proper instructor, she should be okay, too.”

Slapping the brochure onto the table, Dominick glared at him. His fingers drummed once upon the colorful photo of the ship. “Do I have a choice in this?” he asked bluntly.

Marshall barely blinked. “None whatsoever.”

His fingers drumming again, Dominick gathered up the scattered contents as well as the envelope they’d come in. “Fine. Stop blowing smoke up my ass,” he growled, launching to his feet. “I’m fucking going already.”

* * * * *

Maddy Cameron came home from work two hours earlier than usual, excited to share her news. In less than two weeks, she would reach the halfway point in her four-year school plans, gaining her Associates, and already she had an internship lined up. True, she would be doing a lot of fetch and carry grunt work for the editor of the Morning Sun, a Podunk paper with a circulation of only about twenty-thousand, but still, it was a start and Maddy was thrilled. So thrilled that she jogged up the red brick walkway right past the unfamiliar Buick parked behind her husband’s super-reliable Kia, hopped the front porch steps and had her key in the deadbolt before it registered that something was off. She looked back over her shoulder at the Buick for a long time, then she opened the door. That was when she got her second clue.

A long-stemmed line of alternating blood-red, soft pink, and snow-white roses trailed from the door into the living room, where a romantic meal for two was laid out on the coffee table, right down the middle of her good lace table runner. Brand new, tall white candles crowned the crystal candleholders her grandmother had gifted the day she and Virgil were married. An intimate scattering of china dishes were positioned between them, littered with fresh strawberries, crackers, and slivers of ripe brie cheese, caviar, and dipping chocolate.

“Oh,” Maddy said, her hand resting lightly upon her chest. She was so touched that Virgil would do something like this so… unexpectedly. It wasn’t their anniversary yet, not for another two months. But while something special like this struck her as a beautiful way to celebrate the news she had to share, how could Virgil have known about it already?

Which was when the shock and surprise wore off enough for her to notice the not-so-subtle signs that the food on those dishes had already been picked through. Those new candles were partially burned, trickles of dried wax bisecting both sticks all the way down to the crystal holders. A brown leather purse with fringes sat on the carpet at one end of the couch. A square of folded paper napkin had fallen on the floor beside it, a smear of lipstick darkening one corner. Cock-sucker red. Not her shade.

Her smile faded, and for a moment all Maddy could do was stand there. Her hand pressed harder and harder on her chest, needing that touch to keep her pounding heart from breaking straight through her ribs like an alien out of its human host.

“Oh, yes,” a soft sigh drifted down the hallway from the bedroom she and Virgil shared. “There… right there, baby… oh my God, yes…”

All stability seeped from Maddy’s legs as she turned from the living room to gaze in absolute disbelief down the unlit hallway. The bedroom door was cracked open. It felt as if she had left her heart lying in the entryway as she crept down the hall, past the bathroom and the spare bedroom where one day they had talked about having children, but which for now substituted as a place to store her crafts and his photo equipment, as well as all the other flotsam of their life which had no other set place of belonging in the house.

She was startled by how much her hand shook as she reached to push the door open that much wider. She was shaking all over, in fact. Strange, how she hadn’t noticed that. Not until she saw the figures entwined on the bed.

She looked like a frog; that was the first ungracious thought Maddy had as she stood statue stiff, frozen and staring in the threshold. A skinny blonde frog with her knees drawn up and her legs spread so impossibly wide, biting on the back of one finger while Virgil licked and sucked and nibbled voraciously in between her thighs. He had his fingers inside her. Glistening slickness coated his hand—something Maddy could have gone the whole of her life without seeing and never once felt deprived.

She must have made a sound. She didn’t think she had, but suddenly the blonde frog’s eyes flew open wide. Seeing Maddy standing there, she grabbed Virgil’s head with both hands and they both bolted upright.

“Shit,” Virgil said, but not before she saw the most painful truth flash across his face. Before the guilt mirrored in his eyes, the emotion Maddy saw assail him first was nothing less than irritation. Not regret or sadness. Irritation. “It’s not what it looks like,” he tried to say, but Maddy wasn’t so stunned that she didn’t know in an instant exactly what this was. And just like that, her ten-month marriage was over.

Not right away, of course. No, it took another four months for it to give up hope and gasp out its final breath—four months of couple’s counseling, of tears, of knowing every time he left the house or came home fifteen minutes late from work that it was because he might still be seeing the Frog. Four months of Virgil locking his phone against her and taking it with him everywhere, including into the bathroom. Of battered trust and blame and a biting insecurity so devastating that she couldn’t stop herself from following him into night after night of yelling and screaming matches that inevitably resulted in their neighbors calling the police. And finally, at the very end, that last insurmountable straw when he’d looked at her across the counselor’s desk and said the one thing she’d never expected him to say, the one thing she would never for as long as she lived forget or forgive him for: “Maybe if you’d take better care of how you look, I wouldn’t have to cheat!”

Those words had cut so deeply, sometimes she could still feel them as if they were a physical blade slicing deep into her soul.

“Maybe,” he’d thundered, his once handsome face contorting with revulsion, beating at her with tones of such contempt that he could not have inflicted more damage if he’d physically assaulted her, “Maybe if you didn’t dress like a goddamn pig, or put on some makeup, or put the fucking cake down and picked up a damn carrot once in a while, I’d still feel something for you other than embarrassment and disgust!”

For the second time in her life, completely unable to move, Maddy had sat frozen, hugging her purse to her chest, the most ineffective of shields while Virgil shoved out of his seat to loom over her, stabbing at her with an accusatory finger. “Do I still love you?”

She still remembered the way his voice had boomed, making her whole body flinch.

“How the hell could I love any part of you?”

Making her bones shake.

Across the desk, the counselor raised both hands for peace, and yet it was the potted ficus bush beside her chair that whispered an intervening, “Excuse me…”

“How could anyone possibly love anything that looks like you?” Virgil attacked again, finally freeing her tears. They’d poured out of her like an unending monsoon rain.

“Excuse me…” The ficus brushed her shoulder, then shook her gently with a twiggy hand. “Excuse me. Ma’am?”

Maddy snapped awake mid-sob. She jerked upright in her chair, at once disoriented (she blinked several times at the back of the airline seat ahead before remembering where she was) and then horribly embarrassed because, as happened more often than not even now, four years after her divorce had been finalized, she’d awakened a crying, hiccuping, snot-filled, red-nosed mess.

The stewardess hovered over her, one gentle hand still on her shoulder and a mix of concern and sympathy in her brown eyes. Even knowing it wasn’t the same woman, for a moment, Maddy couldn’t stop herself from seeing the Frog.

Offering a wince of a smile, the stewardess asked, “Are you all right?”

“Oh.” Scrubbing her hands across her eyes—the balls of her palms came away smeared with the mascara she’d forgotten she was wearing; great, now she looked like a raccoon—Maddy nodded. “Yes, thank you. I’m sorry. I’m fine.”

Judging by her look, the stewardess harbored private doubts, but she nodded and moved on anyway, wading down the narrow aisle to attend what few other passengers occupied this puddle-jumper of a plane. It wasn’t many. This was the red-eye, which left Maddy as one of only six people on a flight that could, at maximum efficiency, have held twenty. That was what she got for traveling on the cheap, but although Rita had offered to fly her from Miami to Nassau first-class, Maddy just hadn’t felt right about accepting a completely free, all-expenses paid vacation in the Caribbean and up-charging her flight on someone else’s dime. Especially since it was a less than two-hour flight. She could endure anything—including coach on a crop-duster—for two hours.

She needed a tissue.

Sniffing, Maddy scrubbed at her eyes again. Twisting to see behind her chair, she spotted what might have been a closed bathroom door. Of course, it might also have been a closet. There weren’t any signs. It was also an accordion door, which wouldn’t afford anyone a lot of privacy. But then, people probably weren’t expected to need to use the bathroom on such a short flight.

Maddy sniffed again, craning her head to see forward down the aisle, but the attendant had just ducked behind the farthest curtain to talk to the pilots. Desperation was an awful thing. She was seriously considering the pros and cons of using her sleeve when a fold of white handkerchief suddenly appeared around the back of her chair just over her left shoulder.

“Oh my God, thank you.” She took it, snapping out the cloth before it dawned on her that was she was about to do to this very nice square of white linen would not be washed out before she had to return it. “Uh…”

“Blow,” drawled the deep and honeyed, and somewhat amused voice directly behind her.

Her runny nose didn’t give her a lot of options.

“I am so sorry,” she apologized, and blew. It was neither a dainty, nor a ladylike sound. Her face turned hot, and then she just sat there, the wad of soiled cloth in her hands, dreading having to hand it back. “I don’t suppose you’d give me your mailing address? I’ll wash this and send it straight back, I swear.”

Even more amused, the man behind her said, “Keep it. It’s fine.”

“Are you sure?”

“I wouldn’t have said it, if I wasn’t,” he replied. “Men in my line of work should only ever say what they mean. To do otherwise is a waste of everyone’s time and their breath. I don’t waste my breath.”

What an odd thing to say. Even odder, was the strange quivering that vibrated her insides when he said it.

Maddy had never been an easy-going, talk to strangers sort of girl, but he’d given her his handkerchief. Not wanting to be rude, she twisted around to look back at him through the crack between the airline seats. “What do you do?”

She didn’t remember her smeared makeup until she saw the look that crossed the face of the man sitting directly behind her. His incredibly handsome face, oh be still her beating heart! The man was a flesh and blood Adonis, seemingly poured into his clothes—black jeans and sneakers and a baby blue t-shirt with a sad Stormtrooper and the words ‘I had friends on that Death Star’ emblazoned across the mouthwatering breadth of his chest. His hair was short, combed back and so dark it seemed almost black. So was his mustache and the thin lines of beard that framed the sides of his mouth and covered his chin. Half a day’s worth of stubble lined his jaw, detracting from the handsome chisel of his features not a bit. She only realized she was staring when the gorgeous lips under that neatly-trimmed mustache twitched. Her gaze snapped back to his eyes just in time for her to see his initial look of surprise melt into one of sudden and intense interest.

Her nose had to be redder than Rudolph’s and, if the palms of her hands were anything by which to judge, the mascara she’d forgotten she was wearing was now so smudged she looked like a KISS member fresh off the concert stage.

Maddy snapped around so fast she almost fell off her chair. She grabbed the armrests, readjusting herself in her seat, already stammering, “I-I… I’m sorry. I must look frightful.”

She fumbled with the wadded handkerchief, forgetting entirely that she’d already used it for other purposes and only just catching herself before she tried to scrub her face clean. Was the bathroom still closed? Now she was afraid to look.

“Nonsense,” the man behind her said. “You wear it well.”

Already trying to wipe under her eyes with her jacket sleeve—so, not only was she red-nosed and makeup smeared, but blotchy now, too—Maddy stopped. “What?” she asked incredulously. “The ever in-vogue snotty weepy-eyed look?”

The low chuckle that rolled over the top of her chair tickled though her, awakening senses she never would have thought could be titillated in such a situation as this. “I wouldn’t have used ‘snotty’, but yes.”

Her answering laugh was more of a snort. “Nobody wears this look well, believe me.”

“You’d be surprised. Believe me, I’ve seen it often enough to know.”

Maddy couldn’t help herself. “Are we talking about your job again?” She twisted back around, trying to peer at him through the seats in such a way so that he could not see her. “You make a living out of making women cry?”

She tried to make a joke out of it, but her faltering laugh ended in a squeak when he stood up, abruptly exiting his row. He came around to her side and dropped into the empty seat beside her.

“I don’t think you’re supposed to do that,” she hedged, but he only flashed her a wink and a smile and made no move to return to his own seat.

“If they make a fuss, I’ll switch back. Besides, this way I can see more of who I’m talking to than just the back of your head. And to answer your question: When I do my job right, yes, women sometimes cry.”

A slow tendril of warmth twined up through her, settling into her cheeks. Was the plane really this hot, or was she blushing? She hoped she wasn’t blushing. “What exactly did you say you do again?”

“I didn’t.” Settling back in the seat beside her, when he crossed his legs his knee bumped hers. Airline chairs being narrow anyway, he filled his so completely that his arm couldn’t help but overlap the armrests. His right elbow brushed against hers and Maddy tingled all the way from her shoulder to her wrist. “I suppose you could say my line of work revolves around motivation and training.”

“Like, for companies and retreats and such?”

He smiled. “And such.” That smile was at once both self-satisfied and crocodilian. “What do you do, if I may ask?”

“Promotional advertising. Freelance, mostly.”

“Ah. So are you on a business trip, or is this flight purely for pleasure?”

Thoughts of Rita and her BDSM island made Maddy squirm. “Um… a little of both, I guess. A friend of mine is trying to start up a vacation resort. She offered to let me sample the amenities in exchange for writing up a glowing article on what she has to offer.”

Was it a trick of her writer’s imagination or did his warm brown eyes, already so intent upon her, sharpen that much more? “Is that so? Is this resort in Nassau?”

“No, that’s just a touch-down point,” she confessed, instantly wondering what she’d said to make his smile broaden and his eyes drop to his lap. His chuckle made her squirm all over again. She struggled to sit still. “The resort is actually on a series of small, privately-owned islands. I’ll be switching planes as soon as I land.” Unable to bear the curiosity and certain she’d missed something important, Maddy asked, “Why did you laugh?”

Nodding to whatever thoughts he kept private, he offered instead, “I could use a good vacation. Perhaps if you think it’s worthwhile, I’ll pay that resort a visit. Will your article be published somewhere I might read it?”

A slow flush of heat burned up through the middle of her as Maddy debated briefly, knowing she shouldn’t give out personal information (she’d seen the movie Red Eye) and yet, before she knew she was doing it, she reached under her seat to retrieve her purse. Pulling a business card from her wallet, she handed it to him. Her website address was printed in bold red ink across the bottom beneath an old fashioned writing quill. “The article won’t be printed on my blog, but I always post where they can be read. You know… for future clients to preview my work. Things like that.”

He accepted the card, studying it quietly. That self-satisfied smirk still curved his lips as he slipped it into his back jeans pocket.

“Sir?” Appearing into view over the row ahead of them, the same airline attendant who had awakened Maddy from her nightmare said, “I’m going to have to ask you to return to your seat. We’re preparing to land.”

Leveling a smile at them both, she moved on, leaving Maddy to hide a small pang of disappointment behind a reluctant smile of her own. She didn’t know this man from Adam. He could have been anyone, including a serial killer (she’d seen Red Eye twice, in fact). She shouldn’t care so much when he stood up and retreated to his proper place in the row of seats behind her.

At least he had her business card. Who knew? Maybe she’d hear from him again, an innocuous little email six months from now that would read: Nice article.

Although, really… what were the odds? He was all that and a bag of chips; she, on the other hand, was a chubby, middle-aged divorcée with mascara smeared all over her face. He was just being nice, that was all. He’d given her his handkerchief and then sat with her until she felt better. He wasn’t going to call her. Hell, he hadn’t even given her his name.

Maddy jumped a little when a strong, broad hand poked sideways through the gap between their chairs, thumb up, fingers straight and loosely held together. “M. Dominick,” came that low sultry voice from behind her.

Her stomach did the most amazing and insane series of somersaults. It was ridiculous how happy it made her as she shyly fit her smaller hand into his (both backwards and upside down, an awkward way in which to shake) and the warmth of his fingers closed back over hers.

“Maddy Cameron,” she said over her shoulder. She faced quickly forward, afraid to let anyone—especially him—see her smile. “What does the ‘M’ stand for?”

“Oh…” He chuckled again, letting go of her hand. “Let’s save a little mystery for our next meeting.”

As if there would be one. She grinned like an idiot anyway. They were strangers on a plane. He wasn’t going to call her, they weren’t going to date, hook up, or form any kind of lasting relationship. Whoever heard of strangers getting married or living happily-ever-after after only what, fifteen minutes together on a red-eye flight?

Still feeling the phantom strength of his grip in her fingers, Maddy turned her face to the window and ordered her silly heart to stop beating so hard and fast.



When Marshall is approached for help by another vacation resort, he responds by sending his most notorious sadist, Dungeon Master Dominick. His job: to fly to the Caribbean and help institute the same Safe, Sane and Consensual policies that have made the Castle such a success. Though not at all pleased by the assignment or its disruption to his routine, the last thing Dominick expects are complications… until he bumps into Maddy Cameron. She’s plump, she’s pretty, she’s every bit the complication he doesn’t want or need, and yet he can’t help himself. Every time he gets close, he can’t wait to get closer still, to touch and be touched, to taste her, tease her, torment and possess her. Not just for a few scenes or a few days, but for the rest of his life… if only Maddy’s past scars will let him.

Hired to write a promotional review for a pirate-themed BDSM resort, Maddy looks on the opportunity as if it were a once-in-a-lifetime vacation—a vacation that comes complete with a tall, dark, arrogant and masterfully good-looking Dominant thrown in. It’s been four years since her disaster of a divorce, and though she knows she’s neither young enough nor thin enough to keep the attention of someone like Dominick, the allure of an illicit island fling is more than she can resist. Still, flings – like most relationships – don’t last, and better than anyone, Maddy knows the pain of letting herself get too close.

For Dominick, however, a little pain is all in a day’s pleasure. Maddy might not know him well enough now, but she’s about to find out that the world’s most infamous Dungeon Master never did take ‘no’ for an answer.

Now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Blushing Books!

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Posted by on April 24, 2016 in Uncategorized


Maddy Mine is here!!

It went live last night instead of this morning, but who’s complaining? The latest Masters of the Castle book is now available. Which kinda screws up today’s game, so I went ahead and drew three names from the hat. The winners are: Virginia Swanson, Debbie Bowman, and Julie! I’m notifying the winners now. In the meantime, here’s the sample of Book 7 in the Masters of the Castle series, Maddy Mine. I hope you enjoy it!:)




When Marshall is approached for help by another vacation resort, he responds by sending his most notorious sadist, Dungeon Master Dominick. His job: To fly to the Caribbean and help institute the same Safe, Sane and Consensual policies that have made the Castle such a success. Though not at all pleased by the assignment or its disruption to his routine, the last thing Dominick expects are complications…until he bumps into Maddy Cameron. She’s plump, she’s pretty, she’s every bit the complication he doesn’t want or need, and yet he can’t help himself. Every time he gets close, he can’t wait to get closer still, to touch and be touched, to taste her, tease her, torment and possess her. Not just for a few scenes or a few days, but for the rest of his life…if only Maddy’s past scars would let him.

Hired to write a promotional review for a pirate-themed BDSM resort, Maddy looks on the opportunity as if it were a once-in-a-lifetime vacation—a vacation that comes complete with a tall, dark, arrogant and masterfully good-looking dominant thrown in. It’s been four years since her disaster of a divorce, and though she knows she’s neither young enough nor thin enough to keep the attention of someone like Dominick, the allure of an illicit island fling is more than Maddy can resist. Still, flings (like most relationships) don’t last, and better than anyone, Maddy knows the pain of letting herself get too close.

For Dominick, however, a little pain is all in a day’s pleasure. Maddy might not know him well enough now, but she’s about to find out the world’s most infamous Dungeon Master never did take ‘no’ for an answer.


Preview #1



He was the Dungeon Master, the Jail Keeper, the mysterious and oft-times feared Gaoler. Master Dominick to the customers, his friends called him everything from Dom to Nick to Dominick, and his lovers… ah, his lovers—like the nubile woman sweating before him, her arms bound in a sleeve behind her back, and her thighs and ankles strapped to the Sybian she rode—his lovers called him Sir. And sometimes, as it was in this case with sweet, seductive little Diane, he was: “Please, dear God, no please, no please, no please…”

He liked being God.

Diane moaned, head bowed, the short, spiky curls of her dark hair sticking out all over, and her eyes tightly closed. Sweat poured from her, every inch shining under the orange-amber glow of the fake wall torches. Her buttocks tightened, quivering in time with the low hum of the Sybian. Her nipples were hardened peaks, little tan buds straining high on glistening breasts as she arched her back. She shivered. Her hips worked relentlessly, grinding and grinding in undulations that quickened and slowed, quickened and slowed, in time with the tensing of her belly and thighs. She had a detachable cock in her pussy, another in her ass, and a nub of textured bumps that she rocked on, preferring to rub to keep the buzzing tight against her clit. It was the dildo in her ass that kept her from riding with the same wild abandon that he so often saw when it came to Diane. She hated anal. So Dominick made sure she got plenty of it every time she requested him. He loved that clench of her jaw, the way her brow beetled and her eyes squeezed, the way her mouth flinched as she felt both cocks invading her at once, rattling inside her, humming along in time with the faint buzz of the machine between her legs.

Dominick circled her, crop in hand, admiring the way she trembled as she neared orgasm. She’d come twice already. She’d wanted to quit after the first one, but three biting lines of his crop across the round swells of her ass and his command—“Ride through it. I didn’t say you could quit.”—kept her going.

“I can’t,” she whimpered, shaking her head, but her belly betrayed her. Tiny spasms made the soft rounding of her abdomen flex. Her thighs shook and shook and shook. Between that and the Sybian, it made her whole body jiggle in all the most alluring places. “I c-can’t…”

Without a word, Dominick walked behind her, letting her feel the flat, slapper-style tip of the crop caress a wandering path across her shoulders as he circled. Her skin shivered, goosebumps breaking out in a pepper of trepidation as he stroked the nape of her slender neck, down the slope of her right shoulder, following the curve of her arm as he rounded to her front. Her whole body shuddered when it descended to her right breast.

“No!” she gasped, head thrown back, her eyes flying open wide—a pleading storm of grey fixing on him so desperately.

“No is not a safe word,” he said, and struck. All considering, it was a light tap, but his aim was dead-on. The slapper caught the thrusting tip of her nipple and Diane shrieked, her mouth rounding in a way that made his already hard cock strain against the zipper of his black leather pants. Yet, the jerk of her body was not a writhe to avoid the crop’s next stinging bite. Her back arched, offering her breasts for more, and he gave it to her. Harder this time. Three sharp downward snaps that grazed the very tip of her nipple, making it swell with welts and need.

She moaned, her stomach tightening. The muscles fluttered as he let the crop tip wander down between her breasts to her belly, teasing a circle around her quivering navel before journeying lower still.

A soft, two-knuckle rap at the door caught his ear, signaling him that time was almost up. At this point, Diane had two hours before the buses departed for the day and she would have to be on one of them. Two hours wasn’t a lot of time once he figured in the necessary aftercare, but it was long enough.

“No,” she gasped, bowing forward. As if that could prevent him from reaching any lower. “Please no…”

With her arms bound behind her and her legs strapped to the Sybian, she had no real defenses, and no way but one in which to stop him once the crop found her clit, trapping it between the humming nubs of the Sybian and the slapper. She knew what that way was, too, and he could see she was thinking about it. It was right there, haunting the depths of her stormy eyes as she gazed up at him, her expression one of pleading but her moan betraying nothing but the depth and intensity of her building desire.

One side of his mouth quirking into a smug smile, Dominick used the crop to caress between her trembling legs. She bit her bottom lip, rolling them tight together to keep back the moans but, teased into prominence by the constant vibrations, her clit made such an easy target. She could have called ‘red’ at any moment. He gave her plenty of time to consider it, while first he rubbed, then patted, then pressed, forcing her clit to the rattling thrum of the seat to which she was bound, and finally, with her wide eyes locked so helplessly upon him, both begging him no and pleading him yes, he commanded, “Now,” and struck.

It wasn’t hard. One didn’t need force to make a blow to so tender an area unbearable, but she still shouted, her need so guttural and hoarse, her hips bucking up into the kiss of the crop and her bottom grinding to ride both cocks. Her belly was a mass of quivering muscle, each straining to reach what she had claimed she couldn’t. What she had thought she couldn’t.

It was his job to prove her wrong.

And damn, but he was good at his job.

The smell of sex and leather tainted every breath, teasing him with the allure of her body’s responsiveness. She was so stimulated, so aroused that she’d forgotten how much she hated anal. She rode the Sybian with abandon, the twitches of her orgasming body reacting to the trailing crop, both offering herself for the next bite and welt, and shying away from the coming pain.

He loved those little twitches. He loved every flinch and moan, the increasingly frantic undulations of her lithesome body as she absorbed both pleasure and pain, every indrawn gasp for breath that begged so wordlessly for more, for everything he had and all he could give her. He loved the way the Sybian dripped with her fragrant oils, the way her pussy smacked so wet and eager upon one cock while the dusky pucker of her anus took the widest curve of the other, over and over again, as she rode from one orgasm to the next, and all because he had ordered her, “Again.”

He loved that he could so exhaust her, without ever taking out his cock.

He loved every rolling drop of sweat that cut rivulets through the sheen of her nubile body. He loved every gasp, every groan, every sob she wept out, both in desire and in despair. But most of all, though he would never admit as much out loud, he loved it when her time was up, because that meant he could put her back on the bus for home—sated, sore in all the right ways, with bruises on her nipples, ass, and the insides of her thighs—and he wouldn’t have to see her again until the next time. Not that someone new wasn’t waiting in some shadowy line somewhere for her turn to kneel before him. There was always someone else. But then, that was his job, wasn’t it?

For all that he might find it at times tedious and somewhat repetitious, he loved his job. He was good at it. One or two or even three naughty little girls at a time, oh yes.

Dominick was good at being God.

Available now on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

two day sale


Posted by on April 23, 2016 in Uncategorized


Remember the Trading Cards?

I don’t think I ever posted about the trading cards before. Does anyone remember these? Unless you got a swag bag at the New Orleans RT Convention a couple years back, then you probably don’t know I ever made them, but I was looking these over last night and my inner nerd came out. Instead of putting a short blurb on the back, I should have made a spanking game out of these. Ah, you drew the Master Marshall card. +2 to Lecture. Oops! You just got Jackson: +3 to Paddle, Sitting Abilities drop to -5. Uh oh, look who just got sent to the Master’s Office. Roll to Save, otherwise, it’s Game Over.

Okay, that probably wouldn’t make a very interesting game. Let’s play something else instead.

Tomorrow, book 7 of the Master’s of the Castle series goes live, so for today, let’s play a little game called MotC Clue. Remember Clue? It was a Who, What, and Where game. That’s what we’re going to do. Step 1: Using the Trading Cards, pick your favorite Master. Step 2: Pick your What. Step 3: Pick your Where. Step 4: Leave your comment: Master Marshall, Bondage and Discipline, in the Library. All commenters will have their name entered into the squid hat for tomorrow’s drawing.

Ready to play?

Awesome! Here we go:

STEP 1: Pick your Master

Marshal card front

Marshall back










Sam front cover

Sam back cover











Jackson trading card

Jackson back










Parker front card

parker back










Kade front cover

Kade's trading card










Alan front cover

Alan back cover










Dominick front cover

Dominick back cover










Step 2: Pick your What (Spanking, Bondage/Restraints, Ropes, Electric Play, Fire Play, Edgeplay, Orgasm Control, Needles, Wax Play, Sensory Deprivation, Daddy/Little Girl Time, etc…)

Too Freakin' Cute Not to Post

Too Freakin’ Cute Not to Post

Step 3: Pick your Where (anywhere in the Castle–The Master’s Office, St. Castle’s schoolroom, Nursery, Stables, Dungeon, 101, the Supper and Show, the gardens, a Cottage, etc…)

Step 4: Reveal your choices in the comments section to have your name put in tomorrow’s drawing for a free Kindle copy of Masters of the Castle, Book 7: Maddy Mine, due out on Saturday!


It’s almost here! Squee! So excited!



Posted by on April 22, 2016 in Uncategorized

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