An escape from the real world can only ever be temporary.
Rowan Stanton knows he is submissive. He loves to look after people but the country hotel he works at can't quite fulfill his need to serve. When he succeeds at getting a new role as houseboy at The Retreat, an exclusive BDSM hideaway in the New Forest, he believes it's his dream job. Inexperienced in many ways, he soon realizes he's not as prepared as he thought for the demands placed upon him.
Lorcan Wilder is young, rich and successful. He's also haunted by nightmares and has sacrificed a decade to his business. Selling it gives him the freedom to explore his Dominant side and four weeks at The Retreat are the start of a new life. He doesn't expect the young submissive employed to serve him will have such a profound effect on him. Exploring and pushing Rowan's boundaries is exactly what Lorcan needs to separate himself from his past.
Lorcan makes full use of The Retreat's facilities, from the genuine dungeon to the secret toys concealed in every room. He rediscovers his energy for life and gradually re-engages with the world. However, his efforts to compartmentalize the past ultimately fail and he comes to realize what he's always known—that true submissives have an inner strength he can only envy.
By the end of his stay, Lorcan can't let Rowan go, though he thinks he must. What will convince him that he's allowed a happy ever after, and will he find the courage to accept it?
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Copyright © L.M. Somerton 2018. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Pride Publishing.
“Who’d have thought there would be so many applicants for a role where the job description includes nudity and a willingness to get your arse whipped?” Carey Hoffman leafed through the pile of paperwork in front of him. “This is a lot harder than recruiting for club servers.”
“Relax, Sir. It’s important we find the right people. The more applicants we get, the better chance we have of finding someone perfect.” Alistair Easton, Carey’s submissive, kneaded his Master’s shoulders. “Our first paying client deserves the best.”
“That’s so good.” The tension melted from Carey’s shoulders as Alistair loosened knotted muscles. “Maybe we should go upstairs for an hour so that you can relieve other parts of my anatomy.”
Alistair giggled. “Not a good idea if you want to invite people in for interviews this week. We have work to do.”
Scowling, Carey turned to his friend and bar manager Harry Croft. “What’s a Dom to do, Harry, when his sub takes charge?”
“Generally,” Harry replied, “I find it’s best to do what I’m told.” He ruffled his sub’s hair. Kai Smithson was seated on the floor between Harry’s legs. “You can always spank him later, but for now, Alistair is right. We have to get through all these applications this evening. We only have one post left to fill, don’t we?”
Alistair knelt at Carey’s side, hands folded in his lap, his serenity in complete contrast to the noise and activity going on all around them. The Underground was always busy, but Friday nights tended to be hectic. Carey had sequestered a quiet corner for their discussion. A low table held paperwork and drinks, and cushions softened the floor for Alistair’s knees and Kai’s backside. Carey still found it hard to concentrate. He blamed Alistair for looking so tempting in leather trousers and a sheer silk shirt. He imagined removing the shirt, exposing Alistair’s smooth skin inch by inch, then watching his lover wriggle out of the trousers…
“Carey?” Harry brought him out of his daydream.
“Sorry, I got a bit distracted. Where were we?”
“The last vacancy—if you can keep your mind on recruitment and off whatever it is you’re planning to do to Alistair?” He shared a conspiratorial grin.
“Oh, yes. Right. Well, I’m thankful Mr. Wilder’s requirements are not too onerous. Tor Halvorsen will act as executive chef. He cooked for Joe and Heath when they had their taster weekend with Olly and Aiden and their reviews of his cooking were first rate. Olly said, and I’m quoting here, that Tor’s double chocolate brownies were better than an orgasm after two days in chastity.”
Alistair and Kai both burst out laughing.
Harry rolled his eyes. “Olly would be proud. He can create chaos even when he’s hundreds of miles away. That’s two extra strokes for you tonight, young man.” He gave Kai’s hair a gentle tug. Kai sucked on his lower lip but his eyes sparkled and he rubbed his cheek against Harry’s thigh.
“Tor has recruited two kitchen assistants, both, I might add, stolen from here at The Underground,” Carey said. “As Mr. Wilder is traveling alone, Tor says that will be more than adequate to cover his stay and allow for days off for each of them. Tor intends to work through and take some time off in between clients. He’ll also take on training Benjy and Frank. Going forward, I think we should consider rotating the junior kitchen staff through The Retreat. Then they’ll all get experience of different kinds of catering.”
“That’s a great idea. At least they won’t be shocked by anything they see at The Retreat.” Harry grinned. “Right. Goran has sorted all the drink supplies, so Mr. Wilder won’t starve or go thirsty.” Goran was Harry’s very capable deputy bar manager. “He can always take a quick trip down there if Tor needs him for anything. It’s always possible that the client will want to throw a party while he’s staying. Goran’s already offered to run the bar for events like that.”
Carey nodded. “Excellent. Then we have Luke Redding as general manager. He’s ex-forces, like Tor.”
“The Retreat is going to be run like a military campaign,” Harry said. “Tell me about Luke. I know he’s a member here but not much else.”
“He’s a well-respected Dom. Kept up his membership even when he was overseas on active duty.”
“Well, you do give service personnel an excellent discount.”
“I do, and they deserve it. Whereas Tor was in the army, Luke is ex-Navy. Served fifteen years then took an honorable discharge to care for his father who died last year. Mother passed when he was a child so his dad brought him up. He told me at the interview that he gave himself to his career, then to his father, now it’s his time. He was very open. He doesn’t have to work for the money but needs a purpose. He’s a very experienced manager and won’t take shit from anyone. He’ll be perfect for mentoring the young men that will be working at The Retreat, as well as the contractors. Management of the house and garden staff as well as all the arrangements related to housekeeping and maintenance will sit with him, and if our guests want any training in a particular technique, Luke can either handle it himself or bring someone in from the club if he doesn’t feel qualified. He knows the area well too—he was based at Portsmouth for many years and the New Forest was a favorite daytrip destination.”
“I hope I’ll get to meet him one day,” Harry said. “I’m surprised I’ve never come across him here.”
“I’m sure you will. I intend to have post-stay debriefings with The Retreat’s management team here at the club.”
“Good idea. So, when you Skyped with Mr. Wilder…”