Who knows where pain ends and pleasure begins?
The chance of a new life out in the wilds of the Yorkshire moors sounds too good to be true to shy musician Eva Byrne. Stifled and smothered within the cocoon of her brilliant academic career, Eva yearns for something different. Something real and exciting. Something she can feel.
Excitement. Passion. Pleasure. She finds that sexy, enigmatic Nathan Darke can provide all these and more when she moves into his home as violin tutor to his young daughter. But Eva’s sensual encounters with her demanding, domineering new employer quickly evoke her deepest fears, as he introduces her to the trauma of submission and marks her with his particularly dark brand of love.
But will Eva’s natural curiosity and thirst for new experiences be enough to withstand the sting of Nathan Darke’s exquisite touch? Will simple surrender be enough as he challenges her every inhibition, taking her on an erotic journey of self-discovery and liberation?
About the Author
Until 2010, Ashe was a director of a regeneration company before deciding there had to be more to life and leaving to pursue a lifetime goal of self-employment.
Ashe has been an avid reader of women's fiction for many years—erotic, historical, contemporary, fantasy, romance—you name it, as long as it's written by women, for women. Now, at last in control of her own time and working from her home in rural West Yorkshire, she has been able to realise her dream of writing erotic romance herself.
She draws on settings and anecdotes from her previous and current experience to lend colour, detail and realism to her plots and characters, but her stories of love, challenge, resilience and compassion are the conjurings of her own imagination. She loves to craft strong, enigmatic men and bright, sassy women to give them a hard time—in every sense of the word.
When she's not writing, Ashe's time is divided between her role as resident taxi driver for her teenage daughter, and caring for a menagerie of dogs, cats, rabbits, tortoises and a hamster.
Read an Excerpt
Copyright © Ashe Barker 2016. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Totally Bound Publishing.
“Red. Red. Enough. Stop now, please!”
Shit! Not again…
Nathan doesn’t voice his frustration out loud—with some considerable effort—but he knows the rules and honors the safe word immediately. Taking a deep breath, and with a last rueful glance at the naked, quivering and only very slightly pink buttocks of his latest she-said-she-was-oh-so-willing partner, he places the barely used spanking paddle on a side table behind him. Reaching around with his left hand, he loosens the straps restraining the cringing blonde, who has now started to sob prettily. Using his right arm, he supports her around the waist to stop her imminent descent to the floor as he frees first her wrists, then her ankles.
Taking her weight, Nathan lifts the girl from the dark brown leather sofa, across the back of which he’d strapped her so carefully only minutes earlier. He carries her across the room to deposit her face down on his large bed, remarkably gently given his darkening mood. He dumps a box of tissues beside her.
“Dry your eyes, Susanna. We’re finished.” Sniff, sniff, whimper, whimper. Christ!
He has deliberately softened his voice. No point taking his frustration out on Susanna. She’s tried her best—probably. Possibly.
“You can get dressed. Unless you want to take a shower first. Then I’ll phone you a taxi.”
He congratulates himself on managing to keep a lid on his mounting frustration, inwardly cringing at the tears and sniffling. He’s not entirely convinced by the display of grief and shock—the lovely Susanna is not above a spot of scheming and manipulation to get her own way, he’s sure of that—but still, he isn’t in the business of making women cry. Not really. Cry out… Now, that’s different.
He might be a dab hand with a cane, he definitely likes to hear them scream, but all this sobbing? No. He wants his subs to look back rather more fondly on his attentions than he suspects Susanna will. He prefers them to be more appreciative of the pain he can inflict, and the pleasure, and to leave his apartment humming.
But hey, what do you know? The lovely Susanna is already beginning to rally. In fact her sudden, rapid and pretty much total recovery before his very eyes seems little short of miraculous, given the quivering mess that was draped across his sofa just moments ago. She is starting to sniff daintily and is now obligingly rolling over onto her back, her arms flung up onto the pillow to show off her curvy little pink-tipped breasts to best advantage.
Sitting alongside her on the edge of the bed, and still fully dressed apart from his black, soft leather jacket and navy tie, Nathan signals with a flick of his finger that she should stay face down. The view is definitely not without its attractions, but, in truth, his interest in her breasts—or indeed any other part of her anatomy—is at an irrevocable end.
He reaches into a drawer beside the bed for the large tub of Savlon he keeps there. Unscrewing the lid, he takes a generous scoop of the soothing cream onto his fingers and starts to spread it across her backside. As gently as he is able in his current frustrated state, he works the cream into her buttocks. They were just beginning to glow nicely, in his view, and could use a couple of dozen more strokes to bring her sweet little arse to full tenderness, ready for a good, hard, satisfying fuck.
Time to call a halt, he acknowledges ruefully. Susanna just isn’t going to cut it as a submissive. Pity, but there you are…
Snatching a couple of tissues from the box on the bed, he wipes his hands. He stands, gazing down from his height of six-two at the undoubtedly lovely blonde stretched out on his bed…and realizes he just wants her out of here. Now.
Tunneling his fingers through his over-long dark hair—he usually pulls it back into a sleek ponytail, but he prefers to let it hang loose to his shoulders when he’s in Dom mode—he ponders the mysteries of women. And, in particular, what brought Susanna, decked out in a very fetching black and red leather corset and thong, along to The Manor House, that exclusive club in leafy, suburban north Leeds. There, she paraded around in front of him until he eventually beckoned her over and treated her to the spanking she was obviously looking for.
That went well enough—she seemed to appreciate his efforts and he certainly saw promise there. She obligingly agreed to meet him the following week. They had coffee together at Starbucks in City Square, discussed his requirements—his exact requirements—and she agreed to join in his ‘games’.
He’s always very explicit regarding what he has in mind. Over the years he has found it best to avoid any misunderstanding up front. Susanna is no exception. His submissives need to agree, willingly, to do what he asks. Indeed, it’s always something of a surprise to him that some even offer more. Again, Susanna is a case in point, having suggested that a nice bit of age regression could offer an interesting twist to their bondage and discipline play.
Not to Nathan, it wouldn’t—not his idea of fun at all. He turned her down politely but very firmly. But if she’s so keen on gymslips and canes, why has she wimped out at the first sight—well, seventh stroke, actually, in this evening’s case—of a very unassuming spanking paddle?
He had a lot more than that planned for her over the coming few weeks. She is absolutely gorgeous, just his favorite type of submissive. Not that he has a particular physical preference. He doesn’t care whether they are blonde, brunette, with blue eyes, green or brown, tall or petite, slender or curvy. Well, if he’s honest he does have a fondness for willowy redheads, probably because they tend to be fair-skinned so their buttocks go a beautiful, delicate shade of pink without too much effort on his part. Although he’s flexible regarding physical appearance, Nathan does go for a particular demeanor. Privately, he calls it his ‘librarian look’. He likes submissives who present themselves as meek and modest, unassuming, studious, quiet, shy. They can be plain—but preferably not too plain—dress as if they are going to a funeral, wear bottle-bottom glasses—you can always remove glasses, he’s found, if they get in the way of a blindfold—and not say boo to a goose. The fun comes from peeling back those layers to reveal the sexy, demanding, responsive little temptress underneath, the slut under the prim and proper outer shell. He loves to transform his subs from demure Sunday School teachers to panting sex goddesses in a matter of minutes. Female orgasms are absolutely the biggest turn-on Nathan Darke can ever imagine—he loves it when they come.
He particularly loves how women sound when caught up in ecstasy—their soft, breathy moans, groans, panting. And screaming. He particularly likes to hear a woman scream, so he doesn’t use gags that often. And he loves the writhing and stretching as a woman spreads herself out under him or in front of him, even when she’s bound and blindfolded, completely open to his touch and reveling in all he offers. And that sublime moment when they reach the point where they’re begging him to fuck them—hard and fast and often. He aims to please, and as far as he’s aware no woman has ever left his bed disappointed.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
My goodness I had a hard time with the leading lady for most of the book. She's pretty hopeless, and I tend to prefer emotionally stronger characters. She's got low self esteem, panic attacks, touch phobia, depression, and arachnophobia to top it all off. Plus she's 22 with the body and wardrobe of a 16 yr old.
Hot, sexy, erotic and beautiful trilogy! Read them all!
Oh my gosh...I am hooked on the dark side! The Darkening was an incredible read for me. There wasn't one thing I didn't like. All the elements I enjoy where here for me to enjoy. The characters were just WOW (I'll get back to them in a moment). The dialog had me alternating between laughing and fanning myself. Let's not forget the details. Frankly, the attention to detail that some authors use can sometimes be wording and boring. However, this was not the case for me today. The author description of the countryside astounded me. I could just see those English Moors and fields of heather. I see other reviews where people will say this is just another FSoG. I do wish people would stop comparing every erotic novel to FSoG because frankly, I enjoyed this story so much more. Between the smarmy comments, the British humor and slang (which I do get) and the hot sex, I was riveted and could not put this book down. If I was to have one complaint about this book is I wish it was longer. Nathan Darke, charming, good looking, British. I can’t resist a guy with an accent. *SIGHS* My initial impression of him is a certain well known Dom minus all the angry emotional baggage and phobias. However, let’s be honest, the real star of this story is Eva. She’s intelligent, talented violinist, frumpy and socially clumsy. I adore the fact that she’s not perfect. With her frizzy red hair and smallish breast, frankly, I find her a breath of fresh air in her less than perfect state. In addition, even though she seems social inept, she does not come out all mousy meek. Oh no…she’s got a saucy back-bone that does rear her head. It is when that backbone pops up and she starts sparring with Nathan that I love her best. Yes, their sexual attraction between them is hot, and the sex SIZZLES, but really it is when they are interacting on a vocal and emotional level that really draws me in. OK...here's the part where I warn about the sex content. There is both vanilla sex as well toys and BDSM action. While the BDSM will automatically rate a book at 4-Flames it's the author's attention to detail (See above) that really does it for me. Hot, yummy and anytime Eva wants to tag out I'm sure that will be many a reader happy to take her place. When author Ashe Barker say in the blurb that the story “ends on a cliffhanger that some readers might find upsetting” she is not kidding. I have yet to read a cliffhanger that had me screaming at my Kindle NOOO! Seriously, that is a cliffhanger guaranteed to have you panting for the next title. I personally cannot wait for the next book. Is Darkening a book worth reading? Oh yes! This is a series definitely worth my recommendation. An added note - an over done cover can make or break a book. I like a cover that simple and this one rocked it for me. Its clean lines and elegance is what initially drew me to wanting to read Darkening in the first place. Shadows and a violin...simple perfection. I received this book from JeepDiva for the express purposes of an honest review. The opinions and rating of this review are solely mine and in no way was I compensated. Stars – 5 Flames – 4