Hard Choices

Hard Choices

by Ashe Barker

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Hard Choices by Ashe Barker

Is true submission the one thing money can’t buy?

A month with the Dom of her dreams. Just one month to learn all that he can teach her, as well as to convince him that he’s the Master she wants. The Master she needs. Forever.

But her training ended in disaster when Nick asked her to do the one thing she could not willingly accept—hand her body over to another Dom. Alone again, confused and heartbroken, Freya tries to rebuild her shattered life. However, soon she has no choice but to appeal to Nick for help once more. How will he respond?

Despite his insistence that their relationship is temporary, Nick has missed his silent pupil, and when she returns to his home he’s determined to keep her there this time. But when his family responsibilities intrude on their fragile truce they turn to an unlikely source for help.

Nick’s friend Dan introduces them to his friend Tom Shore, whose West Yorkshire moorland farm offers the perfect solution to Nick’s problem. Freya enjoys the company of Tom’s new bride, Ashley, and that of Dan’s enigmatic brother Nathan Darke and his brilliant submissive, Eva Byrne. And the surprise return of someone from Freya’s past further enriches her growing circle of friends. But when personal tragedy strikes, will her Master be able to set aside his bitterness at her betrayal or was their fragile relationship doomed from the beginning. When everything is at stake, both Freya and Nick face the hardest choice of all.

Do opposites attract, or are some differences just too wide to bridge? And is true submission the one thing money can’t buy?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781784300388
Publisher: Totally Entwined Group Ltd
Publication date: 06/06/2014
Series: Hardest Word , #3
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 180
Sales rank: 921,107
File size: 2 MB

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 2014. All Rights Reserved, Total-E-Ntwined Limited, T/A Totally Bound Publishing.

As my brain clears, I start to work out what to do. Not that my options are many and varied exactly. The clearest certainty is that I need to get to A & E. That means an ambulance probably, or a taxi perhaps. Except the nearest taxis are in the town centre, a good ten minutes’ walk, and every time I try to get to my feet I feel dizzy. I can’t see me managing to walk into town. I’d end up under a bus more likely. And of course I can’t phone for an ambulance. I can’t phone anyone.

Shit. Shit. Shit!

I wish, for the umpteenth time, that Summer was still here. But she isn’t, and it’s a Saturday so Max at the bank won’t be in his office for another two days. And there’s no one else I can call. No one I can text. No one I can ask to help me. Maybe, in a few hours’ time, my body will be over the initial shock and I’ll be able to manage more than a few steps without feeling faint. I glance at the clock. It’s just going up to five in the afternoon now and I realise I’m looking at the possibility of being stuck here all night, unable to move, my wrist throbbing and swelling and turning all shades of purple in front of my eyes. I so need to be in hospital, I need X-rays and a plaster room. I know that people don’t die of broken wrists, but Christ, it fucking hurts.

How did I get to be so alone? I’m a nice person, mostly. I don’t have any family but I must have friends. Somewhere. I deserve to have friends. There must be someone.

I wonder about my new best friend, Pat, but he’s too far away and in any case I doubt he has my number programmed into his phone. He wouldn’t have any idea who the soundless call was coming from—he’d probably think it was some sort of crank. He wouldn’t put two and two together and realise I might need help. Summer hasn’t answered a call from me in weeks, but in my desperation I stagger across the apartment to find my phone, tucked down the side of my sofa in the lounge. I try to call her, clumsily navigating my way through my speed dial with my right hand to find the last number I had for her. The call goes to voicemail after a couple of rings.

I’m sitting on my living room floor, my injured wrist laid across my lap as I assess my dwindling options. There’s one person left who might, just possibly, be able to help me. Nick is nearby, hopefully. As far as I know he had no trips planned, this should have been the last day or so of my month with him so he might still be around the area. And, provided he hasn’t deleted me from his speed dial, he’ll know who’s calling from the caller ID. And he’ll know full well that I don’t make voice calls. He’ll realise. Surely he’ll join up the dots.

I grab my phone and find Nick’s number. I put the phone on speaker and hit call. And I wait.


If there were any tears left I could have cried with relief when I hear Nick’s voice come on the line. At least I’ve made contact. Now all I need is to somehow make him understand enough of my predicament to get him to dial nine-nine-nine.

“Freya? Is that you? Freya?” He sounds concerned now. And maybe a little exasperated. Christ, don’t let him hang up thinking I’m just messing about. My panic mounting, I do the first thing that occurs to me. I tap the phone. Twice. My safe signal, or one of them.

Silence. Then, “Freya, is something wrong?” His tone is softer now, and all concern.

He’s getting it, thank God. I tap the phone twice again.

“Right. Freya, if you’re there and listening to me, can you click into the phone? You remember, that clicking noise you can make?” His tone has hardened, businesslike now.

I grab the phone with my right hand and jam it to my ear, clicking as loudly as I can into the mouthpiece. This is working. It has to work. I knew Nick could help me.

His next words confirm it. His tone is calm now, in control. “Okay, I get it. You’re there. Now, one click means no, two clicks mean yes. So, Freya, is there something wrong?”

I click twice.

“You need help?”

Again, two clicks.

“Are you at your apartment?”

Two clicks.

“Right. I’ll be there in twenty minutes. Can you wait that long?”

I’m stunned. I never expected that. He’s coming here! Actually coming. I just thought he’d suss out that I needed an ambulance and offer to make the call for me, get the paramedics here. I didn’t expect him to just drop everything and come straight round to my flat.

“Freya, is twenty minutes all right?” He sounds worried now, so I give him two quick, reassuring clicks.

“Right. I’m on my way.” The phone goes dead. But help is coming, so I sink onto my sofa, and I wait.

He’s here in just eighteen minutes. I’m assuming he was in Cartmel when he took my call, so even on his motorbike he’s broken a speed limit or two getting here. I guess that must mean something.

The welcome roar of his bike outside lets me know he’s here, then the sound is muffled as he enters the underground car park. I don’t see the bike, but I just know it’s Nick. Half a minute later my door entry system buzzes. I’m waiting by the door so I press the button to let him into the building, and take my front door off the latch. Then, exhausted by my efforts and overwhelmed by relief that my solitary ordeal is over, I sink to my knees.

It’s there, kneeling just inside my door, leaning against the wall with my injured wrist cradled in my lap, that Nick finds me moments later. He dumps his crash helmet on the floor as he crouches in front of me. “Christ, Freya, what’s wrong? You look awful. Ashen…” He knows I won’t answer so he does a quick scan and immediately spots my wrist.

“Bloody hell, love, that looks sore.”

I nod, tears once more coursing down my cheeks. He reaches out, his palm gentle against my cheek. “You need to go to casualty, Freya. Get it X-rayed, though I wouldn’t mind betting it’s broken. Are you hurt anywhere else?”

I shake my head.

Suddenly his voice hardens as a thought occurs to him. “Fucking hell, did someone do this to you? Shall I call the police?”

Again I shake my head.

Now he’s puzzled. “So how…? Did you fall?”

I nod then wince as another wave of dizzying pain washes through me. He sees it, and drops the questions for now.

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