MASTER OF THE GAME is a new reprint of my mid 1990s Black Lace title, Continuum. I'd describe it pretty much as romantic erotica because even though there's some pretty intense BDSM sensuality in the book, and some multi partner escapades, there is a strong central relationship at its heart and a 'happily ever after'! :)
Portia note: This excerpt is the start of the book, but I must warn you that as I'm a disorganised twit, and don't have access to a fully edited version I can use for excerpts, this bit is from my original draft of Continuum. As far as I can see though, it's identical, or almost, to the finished version.
It arrived, as momentous things so often did, amongst the cluster of files and documents in her internal mail.
Joanna Darrell picked up the small square envelope, which was undistinguished by any name or address, and felt herself tremble. She had a fair idea of what was inside, but still she held back from the moment of opening it, savouring a tension that she had come relish over these last, strange months; a sense of expectancy that made her heart leap, and her loins grow hot and heavy.
What would he want this time? Something complicated and serious - involving long hours of preparation, and a solemn ritual? Or perhaps a lighter scene, something domestic, rather urgent and flirty?
With the envelope in the centre of her blotter, she sat quietly for a few minutes, occasionally touching her cheek, or her hair, or her thighs through the cloth of her skirt. She flexed her fingers. If she didn't open the envelope, but instead wrote a name upon it and had returned it to its sender, nothing would happen. He had given her that option from the very beginning, but it was a right to refuse of which she had never taken advantage. She was an addict. He knew it, and she knew it. What the envelope contained was a summons to something that was so much a part of her psyche that she could not even consider giving it up. Now, or ever.
Reaching for the envelope, she felt an area at the very centre of her quiver and soften. There was a slight, warm rush between her legs. It was the effect he always had on her, even when he wasn't physically present. As she slipped a fingernail beneath the pristine white flap, she felt her panties grow sticky, and her nipples, dark and pink like two rosy plum stones, become puckered and hard beneath her blouse.
The message was terse, but that didn't bother her. Sometimes he was expansive, almost poetic in his communications, but when his words were short and sharp, he was at his most exciting. His most severe.
I will come to you tonight at nine. Be ready.
There was no signature, no mark, but who else would write to her like this? Who else would expect her to obey him?
Glancing at her Cartier watch - his gift - she suppressed a groan of longing. How could she last all those hours? She was ready for him now. Not ready in the sense demanded in the letter, because she was in her office, and empowered by her status, her expertise, and her clothing. But her body was entirely prepared to receive him. His instruction, on the white paper, had made her wet. Anticipation of the words had begun the process, but reading the actual command had made her a helpless slave to her own raw desire. Shifting in her executive chair, she tried to ease the nagging ache in her genitals. Squeezing her thighs together produced a thin spike of pleasure.
This, she thought, smiling wryly as she wriggled like a horny teenager, was the reason he so often sent his summons this way. When a letter, or an e mail arrived in the morning, she had the whole day in which to work herself up into a frenzy. It was an additional way of controlling her, she supposed. She was subjected to many long hours of unrequited passion and arousal, which was just as much a torment as what would come later. Even masturbation couldn't help her, although she often succumbed to it several times a day while she was waiting. She would only become stirred again at the slightest thought of him. She would be working on a report, or be in a meeting, and she would suddenly think of his eyes, his narrow hands, or his cock. And she would be ensorcelled all over again: her heart pounding, her soul twisting with the simple fact of his absence, the folds of her sex slick and engorged, throbbing in readiness for his touch. A touch she had to endure so very much before receiving.
'Damn you,' she whispered, smiling and wondering if she dare stroke herself through her skirt.
He would know, of course, if she had been playing with herself. He would suspect it, because - as he was fond of telling her - she was wanton and greedy for stimulation; and when he questioned her, she could conceal nothing from him.
She could almost hear his voice - the blunt question. 'Have you touched yourself today?'
'Yes... Yes, I did,' she would answer, quaking. Oh, how he delighted in wringing that first confession from her.
'How many times?' His stern eyes would flash.
'And where did you do it? All this wickedness...'
'Twice in the ladies cloakroom, and once at my desk, when I was alone.'
'And did you climax each time?'
'And when you were in the cloakroom? Did you remove your panties, or keep them on?'
'I took them off... Both times.'
'And these times when you took off your panties... How did you do it?' He would be aroused by now, and she would feel him behind her, pressed against her, his cock hard and imperious through his clothes. He would push it against her naked bottom, or her thigh. 'Did you stand? Sit? Crouch? Kneel? Squat?' Emphasis would be on the last word, the most demeaning.
'Squat,' she might say, even if she hadn't. He enjoyed her verbal pictures, and the lewder they were, the more they entertained him.
'And did -'
The sudden ringing of the phone destroyed her fantasy.
'Hell's teeth!' she hissed reaching for it.
The call was routine, but it reminded her of work to be done, and other phone calls that were required of her in turn. Still aroused, still wet between her legs, she slid her treasured message into its envelope, then into her briefcase, and prepared to return to the tasks and challenges of the real world. The continuum of dark pleasure would always be waiting for her because in a sense she could never really leave it. There was only a thin, illusory membrane between it and the mundane existence, and all it needed was a thought or word to break through...
The day, surprisingly, went well. Without false modesty, Joanna knew she was genuinely good at what she did, and her awareness of the letter secreted in her case seemed to act like a natural 'upper', sharpening her judgement and granting clarity to her thoughts. But it was late by the time she left the building, and she was glad of her customary chauffeured car to take her home through the hassle of the city.
Her apartment, as ever, was a haven of peace and tranquillity, its quiet orderliness preparing her for the long, ritualised hours ahead. Putting away her coat and her attaché case was like putting away the lesser part of herself, to leave a goddess, complete and shining, to wait in readiness. Feeling her excitement rise anew, she poured herself a drink. She only ever took one drink before he arrived, but even that was a part of the event itself, the first gathering and honing of her senses.
Sipping her gin, she relished its silvery bite on her tongue. It was a clean taste, but pungent, and it seemed to focus her rather than befuddle or inebriate. She took it with her into the bathroom, taking mouthfuls now and again as she undressed and showered, and went about her complex and very thorough toilette. When both the spirit, and her cleansing were done, she rinsed the glass, then returned naked to her bedroom.
In her long mirror, she studied herself critically, looking for any defect or shortcoming which might displease her coming visitor. She found nothing serious enough to worry about, but decided that she would soon need her hair cutting. Her blonde curls were very soft and very fluffy when freshly washed; relatively short still, and looking somewhat ingenuous in the way they clustered around her ears, and across her brow. How now Shirley Temple? she thought, grinning at her reflection and wondering if America's sweetheart had ever anticipated what was now taking such grip on her senses.
Still assessing herself, she ran her hands over her full, bare breasts, her gently curved stomach, and her long, well-toned thighs. Her flesh, all over her body, was firm and resilient. Smooth. Unblemished. A perfect canvas on which to paint his whims. She turned, pirouetting on her toes, and looked over her shoulder at the rounds of her bottom. At one time she would have said they were too round, too ample; but now she knew different. Her lover was an artist who sometimes favoured broad strokes. He needed space, space on her body to express himself. Reaching round, she cupped herself, cradling the sleek, peachy lobes in her hands. She experienced a frisson of fear, and pleasure, imagining how her buttocks would look and feel in an hour or two.
The carriage clock on top of the bookshelf chimed the quarter hour, and shook Joanna from her narcissistic musings. He was always prompt, and there were preparations yet to be made. Nude still, she sat at her dressing table and applied a little make-up. Just eyes really, a touch of fawn eye-shadow, smudged kohl pencil, brown-black, a coat of mascara; all waterproof. She would cry before long, and runnels of paint on her cheeks were so unflattering. Her mouth she slicked with gloss, and this was colourless; there would be kisses a-plenty amongst all the groans and tears.
The making up took but a moment, but the next stage might take a little longer. She crossed to the wardrobes that covered the entire length of one wall, and pushed open a sliding door.
So much to choose from; so many beautiful things, all bought, but not all chosen by him.
At first, Joanna had felt uncomfortable with the many gifts he gave her. She was used to paying her own way in the world, and facing the consequences of her almost childlike extravagance; so to have so much luxury lavished upon her was an affront to her independence. Her cock-eyed and rather accommodating form of feminism. But she had soon come to see that she earned every penny of her lover's largesse. Earned it in a way that would have found most other women wanting. Each exquisite item in this wardrobe had been paid for with her anguished cries, her sweat, her impassioned writhing over many, endless-seeming hours.
She pulled out an elegant lace-encrusted nightdress in ivory pure silk. The light yet substantial fabric seemed to flow over her fingers, bringing a flood of sweetly poignant memories in its wake. He had presented this gown to her, that first time, in France, when he had revealed himself to her as he really was. She had worn it in bed, while he had made love to her, and she could still feel it sliding over the throbbing heat in her skin as he thrust deeply and joyfully into her sex. She had still been wearing it later, when he had leapt from that bed, his flesh still scented with her fluids and her perfume, and knelt on the floor before her, then offered up his own naked body just as she had offered hers, earlier, to him. Nostalgia curved her lips as she considered the lovely gown.
Her lover could take it just as well as he could dish it out, she thought, smoothing her fingers again over the silk. This egalitarianism was one of his most endearing qualities.
The ivory gown was superb, but somehow it didn't fit her mood. She replaced it on the rack, and flicked further along the serried line of garments, some of which were more exotic than others.
Finally, she came to an old favourite, perhaps the least sultry item in her collection, but full - despite that - of its own particular symbolism. Aware that time was passing, passing, she shrugged quickly into it, then hurried to the mirror.
The innocent, curly-top image was reinforced by her choice; a long, voluminous, Victorian nightie in the softest of unbleached cotton. Its only trim was a network of fine smocking at the yolk, and a thin flounce around the cuffs and the collar. Her fingers trembled as she fastened the tiny mother of pearl buttons. There were only moments left before the pre appointed time, and her lover was never, ever late.
Her feet bare, she scurried around the room, making the finally adjustments to the decor. She turned out all lights but the Tiffany lamp by the bedside, creating soft pools of coloured radiance to illuminate the room. She lit an aromatherapy candle to provide a perfume for their diversions; the odour of patchouli soon filled the expectant silence. Savouring the exotic vapours, she opened the top drawer of her dressing table, and took out certain implements which she laid out on the bed, their stark nature quite at odds with the satin counterpane. Her lover would appreciate the provision of a choice.
Finally, she stacked two of the plump, lace trimmed and embroidered pillows from the head of the bed down at its foot, and feeling almost dizzy, she laid herself face down across them, her bare toes just touching the Persian carpet. With as much grace as she was able, she hitched up the long flowing skirt of her nightdress and folded it as best she could into a roll that rested above her waist. At moments like these, she occasionally wished she had accepted his offer of her own personal maid, to help her prepare for him; but there was a certain magic to these moments of solitary reflection. This heavy, almost charged time of waiting. She also knew that if there was ever anything particularly elaborate that needed doing, she could always call on her dear, dear Cynthia. Her handsome friend would be more than happy to do anything that required hands-on contact.
Breathing deeply, Joanna tried to centre herself, to assemble the well of composure that would see her through what lay ahead. She could feel the coolness of the air against her naked bottom and thighs, and she relished it while she could. Soon there would be only heat. She folded her arms on the counterpane, encircling her head, her cheek against the satin. He might put her in restraints, later, when he really hit his stride.
There wasn't much time to settle herself, because a second or two later, she heard a series of small sounds which culminated in footsteps outside her bedroom door. She could hardly breath as the handle turned, and the door swung open. There was a pause, then a measured, near silent tread approached her on the thick-piled carpet, and a potent presence filled every corner of the room.
A cool, narrow hand settled on the curve of her right buttock, and into the stillness, she softly said:
Here are the buying links!
Amazon :: US :: UK :: CA
Also from :: Waterstones and Barnes and Noble
Digital [as Continuum at some vendors]
Amazon :: US :: UK :: CA :: AU
iBooks :: US :: UK :: CA :: AU
Also from :: Kobo :: Nook :: Kobo :: Nook UK
Original and best cover, IMHO!