Step into the Honey Club, where every sensual boundary will be tested in search of the ultimate pleasure…
Branch doesn’t exist. Living off the grid, he’s looking for a way to forget his past and the guilt that plagues him. But no woman has ever been able to bring him to the edge he craves.
After a traumatic experience of her own, Evangeline stepped away from the decadent world of the Honey Club. But when she gets Branch’s offer—to play without boundaries or commitments—it’s too tempting for her to refuse.
As their passion ignites, Evangeline and Branch push each other to their farthest limit, fulfilling their darkest desires while falling harder and deeper than they ever imagined.
About the Author
Kristen Ashley is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over fifty novels, including Mystery Man, The Gamble, and Own the Wind. She grew up in Indiana, but has lived in Colorado and the West Country of England.
Read an Excerpt
The Farthest Edge
By Kristen Ashley
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2017 Kristen Ashley
All rights reserved.
Set Up a Meet
Two years, three months later ...
The man dropped to his feet.
Without hesitation, even though his jaw was hanging loose from its hinge, Branch kicked the man's face with his boot.
The head shot back, the body moving with it, but no noise was made, no movement outside what came with the kick.
The guy was out.
And Branch didn't give that first fuck if he ever checked back in.
Without another glance, he turned and walked away, doing so pulling his phone from his back pocket.
He kept walking, out of the building, right to his truck while engaging.
"Branch," Aryas said as greeting.
"It's done," Branch replied, beeping the locks on his truck.
"Message conveyed?" Aryas asked for confirmation.
"Good. Send me a bill."
"Will do. Later."
Branch disconnected, swung up in his truck and drove away.
Eleven months later ...
Branch parked directly in front of her house.
It had just gone two thirty in the morning.
He got out of his truck, his eyes to the home in front of him, not for the first time noting that the Willo Historic District of Phoenix was the shit.
Especially her place.
Second house from a dead end that led to a thick, tall hedge beyond which was a parking lot off Central. The location gave the property an odd sense of quiet, even right in the city, close to a busy street like Central, and also a definite sense of privacy on that dead end.
He kept his gaze on her place, the abundant tall trees and full shrubs around her house making it look like something not out of Phoenix, but from the East Coast.
Her water bill had to be off the charts.
She had a ton of planters bursting with flowers decorating the front steps of her bungalow.
Definitely off the charts.
His eyes turned right.
She didn't have a garage, just a carport, but she didn't need one with those trees shading the house and her lot. When summer hit Phoenix and temperatures hit 115, her place would be thirty degrees cooler, a little oasis in a vast desert valley.
He walked up the front walk but took the path that led along her front porch to the side. Her drop-top white Fiat parked under the carport, Branch headed by it, seeing the interior was red and white, sporty, cute, such a girl car, it was a wonder it didn't reach out and smear lipstick on his jeans when he walked past it.
Two side doors to the house, one from the floor plan he'd downloaded he knew led to a laundry room, the one closer to the back of her house let you into her kitchen.
He saw the moon gleam off the pool beyond the house, but just barely, due to the foliage and plant-covered pergolas that acted as covered pathways between house, carport and the small studio that stood at the back side of her property.
He stopped at the door to the kitchen and made a decision.
He'd inspect the studio later.
He picked the lock to her house.
He moved in and turned immediately to disable the alarm at the panel, feeling his mouth get tight when it didn't buzz.
She hadn't set it.
She didn't even have a badge in the window that said she had an alarm.
She also didn't have a dog.
And further, she didn't have motion sensor lights outside.
But she did have a fucking car that sat under an open carport that screamed a girl lived there.
He drew in breath, turned to face the kitchen, and went completely still.
The floor plan showed the house had three sections of rooms, each section running the length of the house. One side office, laundry room, kitchen. Down the middle, living room opening direct into dining room opening direct into a family room. Other side, guest room, bathroom, small study, Arizona room jutting off the back. The bottom-level ceilings had been lowered so a master, with walk-in closet and master bath, could be set in the attic.
None of the rooms was big except the master.
But in that day of great rooms where kitchens were open, large and part of the house, Branch hadn't been prepared for this room to be so small, downright snug, filled everywhere, even if he was seeing it by moonlight, with shit that declared boldly a person who liked cooking lived there.
There was a small breakfast nook beyond the counter with the sink that faced the big picture window at the back of the house. There was a little table there, only space for two ladder-back chairs on each side. Plants hung from hooks in the ceiling and sat on high stands, making it look like gazing out the window was doing it through a jungle of leaves.
This was not a kitchen.
This was a kitchen in a house that someone had made a home.
Branch turned and exited immediately, pulling in oxygen when it seemed his breath might turn shallow, and his eyes hit on the studio.
A better place to start.
He moved there, noting the plantation shutters on the windows had been carefully closed. No one could see inside. Not from any angle.
He picked the lock, went in, pulled his small Maglite from his pocket and shined it around the space.
He knew this was her playroom before he'd entered but right then he saw that she didn't hide it under sheets and tarps, just behind shutters.
Branch shifted the light around, seeing a horse, a bench, a table, all of them good quality. It cost a mint to outfit a good playroom and she didn't make do. She'd been investing. Making smart purchases that would look good, stand strong during play and last a while.
Fashionable sink in the corner set in an attractive wood vanity, two matching tall, slim cupboards on each side.
He moved there, looked through the vanity and cupboards. Thick towels. Washcloths. Wet wipes. Soap. Bottles of foam anti-bacterial. Cleaning supplies. A large box of condoms. A little basket filled with some cosmetics — powder, lipsticks, gloss. Another filled with first-aid supplies — Band-Aids, bottles of antiseptic, tubes of ointment, gauze, cotton.
He closed the door to the cupboard he was inspecting, turned and shined the light around the room. Moving across the space, he noted hooks on the walls, in the ceiling, eyes in the floor, all looking sturdy. Whoever put them in might have wondered why or he'd been hers. But whoever that was knew what they were doing.
There was a tall cabinet and a large dresser across the room, both in the wood that made up the vanity and the cupboards. It all matched, was heavy and dark but attractive, giving the space the definite feel of a playroom, not a dungeon. It was stylish and handsome, even warm, somewhere you'd want to stay a while.
He didn't think on his last thought as he opened the top cupboard doors of the cabinet and shined the light in, feeling what he found there in his dick.
Cats. Whips. Switches. Flogs. Paddles. Some straps. Some harnesses. All hanging from hooks. All well organized and well maintained. All also excellent quality. Not many, but again, quality, not quantity, was what she was clearly going for.
He closed the doors and crouched down to the two drawers at the bottom of the cabinet, opening them. Top one had silk ropes, some chains, shackles, cuffs. The bottom drawer was full of leather straps with cinches attached.
Branch straightened, moved to the dresser. Nothing littered the top, so he opened the first drawer.
What he found there made his balls draw up.
Carefully placed in what looked like purple silk-lined, custom-made grooves were her toys. Plugs. Cocks. Vibrators. The first two in an impressive range of lengths, girths and shapes. If they had them, remotes were placed at the side of the toy they controlled. There was also a complicated cock ring, rabbit ears at the front for clit stimulation, and a strap that would lead between the balls to a bullet that could be inserted in the anus, all of it obviously vibrated — triple the fun.
She liked ass.
Not many of her kind didn't.
He didn't think on that either.
He closed the drawer, opened the next, and found baskets placed in, carefully organized and containing a large variety of necessary items. Lubes. Oils. Gels. Lotions.
Next drawer down he found scarves and eye masks, no sensory deprivation, no ball gags, no hoods.
Putting a hand in and touching the fabric, Branch noted she had a fondness for silk and all of them were either dark purple, deep blue or black.
He also noted in an intense way that almost made him feel something, not only in his dick and balls, but somewhere else, that she had her shit tight.
She knew who she was. She knew what she liked. And what she liked wasn't common or vulgar, as many people might see it (but he didn't, he still couldn't deny he liked the way she obviously played it).
There was an elegance to her style.
It wasn't about ball gags and he didn't find a single strap-on.
She got the life.
But she did it her way.
Yeah, that definitely almost made him feel something.
The next drawer down, he found more harnesses, these for smaller uses, balls, cock, jaw. There were also two carved boxes he pulled out and opened; their original use was for rings or jewelry but she'd put four cock rings in the purple velvet in one, and a number of gleaming nipple clamps with and without chains tangled against the blue silk lining in the other.
He put the boxes back, closed the drawer, straightened and took one last look around.
It was a well-equipped playroom. She could get creative and be clean and safe doing it.
He cast his eyes down to the top of the dresser, lifted his hand and swiped it along the top, shining his flashlight on his fingers when he was done.
She hadn't been in there in months.
He drew breath in through his nose, switched off the light and turned his attention across the studio toward the wall beyond which was her house.
Aryas had made him an offer.
He needed to make a decision.
So he needed to go there.
He went there.
The inspection he made of her house was cursory. She liked furniture. A lot of it. She liked it to be comfortable. She liked knickknacks, all of which, if he'd paid much attention, something he didn't do, likely had a story or meant something to her.
The Willo district might have been set with land purchases made in the Victorian era, but homes hadn't been added until the twenties and thirties. Her bungalow, his research had told him, had gone up in the late twenties.
Still, she decorated like that particular queen was going to rise up, make a visit and cast her judgment.
The heavy, cluttered, busy, flowery, frilly, fringy shit was not Branch's style.
Then again, he didn't have a style and he wasn't moving in.
He was just deciding if he wanted the woman who lived there to fuck him.
So how she decorated didn't factor.
On this thought, he moved from the living room up the narrow, steep-angled stairs that had been added at the front of the house when the attic had been converted.
The stairs led to a landing that had one of those plush lounge chairs women liked, a marble-topped table and standing lamp, all illuminated in that moment by the only window to the space that was original; the others were two sun lights set in the ceiling. Those sun lights would let in light, but with her trees, they wouldn't bake the room.
He turned to take the last, short flight of steps, which went from a right angle to the other stairs, and saw her four-poster bed.
It was colossal.
Definitely made for the space, not something you got in a store.
Branch wondered if she'd had it made.
Then he wondered why he wondered.
With that, he stopped wondering and walked to the bed.
She was sleeping, smack in the middle of it.
Her huge mass of dark curls were easily visible against the light sheets, and her small body barely took up any of the large mattress.
He looked away immediately and did the checks he needed to do.
Silk ropes hidden under the bed, tied securely to the feet of the footboard and headboard. Nothing but a vibrator for her in the left nightstand (also excellent quality and a premier brand).
The bathroom off the left side of the room was sunken, the ceilings in the eaves of the house, so the large, oval tub with jets at the end was recessed even further, in the floor and down two steps. The shower at the top, though, was big enough for two (or three).
And the room was pale green and baby pink and also decorated busy, frilly, flowery, so over the top, it nearly made Branch smile.
The walk-in closet to the other side of the room was close quarters, nowhere near as big as the bathroom (but still large), two steps down and stuffed full of clothes.
In fact, he'd never seen so many clothes. And shoes. Shelves and shelves of them. And handbags.
She kept her playroom neat and organized.
Her closet, however, was a disaster.
He found what he was looking for, silently slid it out, made sure the closet door was tightly shut and again engaged his flashlight to look into her toy chest.
He almost didn't bite back the low whistle when he saw how she liked to play in the intimacy of her bedroom.
Picking up a huge, black plastic phallus, he stared at it, his teeth in his lip to bite back his reaction.
"She likes to test a man's manhood, that's for fuckin' sure," he muttered.
Unbidden, thoughts of that cock shoved up his ass while he was in her massive frilly bed in her frilly room in her frilly house, maybe with his face stuffed in her wet pussy, Branch dropped the toy, closed the chest and pushed it back where it was meant to be.
Without delay, not looking at her sleeping in bed or making a sound, he exited the house, locked up behind him and walked to his truck.
He got in, fired his baby up, turned around in her drive without switching on his headlights, and he was all the way down her street before he turned them on.
He drove to his condo, parked in the underground parking and took the stairs at a jog up to the fifth floor.
He let himself into his place.
He had a TV. A DVD player. A sectional. A coffee table. Two stools at the bar (even if he was the only one who'd sat on either of them). And a bed in the one bedroom with a single nightstand and one lamp.
He had blinds.
He further had dishes. One pot. One skillet. One pint glass. And a set of four forks and spoons but only three knives he bought at Goodwill. He also had a bread knife, a butcher knife and a toaster.
These, and some clothes, belts and shoes in his closet, his truck and his gear, which was stored somewhere else, were all his worldly possessions.
He could move in with Evangeline Brooks in her frilly house in an hour, not needing his furniture, not having any problem at all with leaving it behind.
On that thought, he went to the packet on his coffee table and upended it.
One DVD fell out.
Aryas's handwriting in red marker was across the clear front.
Watch this, it said, and call me.
He didn't go for the DVD.
He went to one of his unsurprisingly empty kitchen drawers, yanked it out, turned it upside down on the counter and ripped off the big manila envelope taped under it. An envelope that Aryas had given him eleven months ago.
The two DVDs in that envelope he took to his TV.
The one marked #1 on the front he pulled out, shoved in his player, and turned on his TV.
He went back to his couch, slouched in it, pointed the remote to the player and hit a button.
What filled his screen didn't stir him and not because these days it took some serious extreme to stir him, and even that often didn't work anymore.
No, it didn't stir him because he knew what happened two days after what was recorded on that tape at Aryas's club, the Bee's Honey.
And also because, the morning after that, the man on his TV screen being fucked up the ass by a Dom while he ate his Mistress's pussy, Branch had beat half to death. He'd then spent the next month dismantling his life so he was now living with his mother in Baltimore, unemployed, with a lisp that he'd never get around since he'd bitten off part of his tongue when Branch was kicking his ass, and he was totally broke in a way Branch had fixed it that it'd take some doing for him to stop being.
Aryas had told him to relay the message.
When a situation warranted Aryas not offering those communications himself but instead calling Branch in, Branch was always instructed to relay strong messages.
But the one Branch had delivered was not entirely Aryas's style.
And Branch had no qualms that he took that straight into overkill.
She didn't share, that fucktard's Mistress. Her slaves were hers alone. She might let people watch her work in a room at the club, but that was rare and that was all. She didn't even go to the social room at the Honey unless it was as an observer and she never went to outside parties except simply as a guest to be with her brethren, which meant for most of the festivities, also solely as an observer.
She played in a playroom at the Honey with the blackout, or if she was in a certain mood, the silhouette blinds down, her playroom in her studio, or in that huge-ass bed in her bedroom.
Her gig was intimate. It was just him and her. Every sub she had, Aryas had told him, it was that way.
But this sub in particular.
The fuckwad had wanted what Branch was watching on his TV. Begged his Mistress for it.
And Branch watched as he took his ass fucking and loved it. Even if the Dom's meat was impressive and the man wasn't holding back — the sub's ass had to be raw — he still lost his cool and shot his load on the floor before he was given permission.
Excerpted from The Farthest Edge by Kristen Ashley. Copyright © 2017 Kristen Ashley. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Prologue: Of Course I'm Going to Kill You,
Chapter One: Set Up a Meet,
Chapter Two: I'll Still Get Him,
Chapter Three: Fun and Done,
Chapter Four: The Pound,
Chapter Five: Ma'am,
Chapter Six: He Was Fucked,
Chapter Seven: Domesticity,
Chapter Eight: Asshole,
Chapter Nine: Hope for Something,
Chapter Ten: I Don't Regret It,
Chapter Eleven: I Do Not Share,
Chapter Twelve: See the Light,
Chapter Thirteen: Evenly Matched,
Chapter Fourteen: A Good Man in Her Life,
Chapter Fifteen: Yes, It Was,
Chapter Sixteen: If It Was from You,
Chapter Seventeen: Win or Lose,
Chapter Eighteen: Promise Me That,
Chapter Nineteen: Absolutely Right,
Chapter Twenty: Fools,
Chapter Twenty-One: Taking This Ride Until It's Right,
Chapter Twenty-Two: Double Whammy,
Chapter Twenty-Three: My Name Is Branch,
Chapter Twenty-Four: Soft Against Hard,
Chapter Twenty-Five: Played,
Chapter Twenty-Six: Match Point,
Epilogue: Jungle of Plants,
Also by Kristen Ashley,
Praise for Kristen Ashley,
About the Author,