By: Delphine Dryden
Release Date: July 18, 2016
Drusilla Stasevich wants to leave the past behind and start the next chapter of her life. Returning to her hometown to open her dream kink club, Escape, seems like the perfect solution. But it can be tricky making dreams come true—especially when the person you want to share them with isn’t around anymore.
Amie Templeton is no stranger to tough times. She’s learned to make it on her own, and doesn’t do relationships outside the kink world. When her ex Dru moves back to town, old feelings surface. But that’s fine, right, since Dru has just opened the hottest new kink club in town?
Dru and Amie want to get the distracting spark between them out of their systems. Instead, their intense play sessions fan that spark into a flame. As if Dru didn’t have enough on her plate, an anonymous saboteur threatens to push her new club out of business. It will take the help of everybody at Escape to set things right again, and a lot of trust for Dru and Amie to start working toward a new life together.
ABOUT DELPHINE DRYDEN
Delphine Dryden probably should have gone ahead and become an English professor like she planned. Instead, she took a detour through law school, another detour through the wonderful world of working in special education, and took an extra fifteen years to end up where she belonged: writing kinky romances.
Del’s writing has earned an Award of Excellence and Reviewers’ Choice Award from Romantic Times Book Reviews, an EPIC Award, and a Colorado Romance Writers’ Award of Excellence. When not writing or editing, she can be found binge-watching television shows with her girlfriend, playing tabletop games, and tweeting to excess.
To celebrate the release of Top to Bottom, one lucky person will win an ebook package of Dom Around the Corner and The Unicorn, plus a $5 Amazon gift certificate. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 23, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info.
For the duration of the tour, Del is also giving away paperback copies of her steampunk books Scarlet Devices and Gilded Lily. Contact her via her website’s contact page, put your favorite mythical beast in the subject line and your name and address in the body. Limit to 20 people total, or until the tour ends.
The Boot Worm was eyeing Amie from across the room, and it made her skin crawl.
It had been a long evening, and she was sick of Club Onyx. And not only because of the Boot Worm. Amie’s shoulder was still sore from the flogging she’d given her ex-girlfriend Mara not twenty minutes earlier. A flogging that had culminated in an orgasm for Mara, but not much satisfaction for either of them.
Not that Amie would have come in the public room at the club, anyway. She’d faked it a time or two, when she thought it would add to a sub’s humiliation. But she usually saved her actual orgasms for when nobody was watching, nobody was judging.
Tonight she’d been stupid, like always. Mara had called and pleaded in her cutest voice—so pretty, so soft, so fuckingneedy—and Amie had agreed to meet and beat. Because she thought, like always, that this time would be different and she’d actually touch some part of Mara that would change everything.
In the heat of the moment, after flogging Mara’s ass and shoulders red, what Amie had really wanted to touch was Mara’s cunt. She’d wanted to reach into that wet heat with two fingers and stroke Mara’s soul until she screamed. Give her a workout she would never forget, remind her who had the real power in the situation. But Mara had opted to be flogged to orgasm instead, so Amie had done that. And then Amie had held Mara’s hand through yet another pissy little meltdown, and she was done. So done with it.
She’d told Mara about the new local club, Escape—and handed her a card with the owner’s number on it, so Mara could get herself on the invitation list—in part so she wouldn’t have to see her ex around Onyx quite so much.
She wanted to go home . . . but she needed to find somebody first. Somebody else to work on, who would be present when she hurt them. In the moment. Focused on Amie, on the pain, not on some existential crisis in their own impossible-to-satisfy mind.
Onyx only had the one room, and a tiny bar area. The Boot Worm was lurking near the end of the counter, turned around on his stool to face the crowd, his eyes glued to Amie’s feet. He’d almost gotten in a lick earlier, when she was still distracted by Mara. Usually the creepy fucker kept a reasonable distance if Amie glared at him strategically, but tonight she’d had to shut him down verbally because he’d gotten practically on top of her before she noticed, and she was still shaking from the encounter.
Bad enough she had to deal with the fucking male gaze all day at the gym. What she wanted as Mistress Amie was immediate recognition and respect . . . and never, ever, creepy unrelenting eye contact from a male sub who tried to touch a woman without her permission. She would have slapped the leer right off his smarmy face if she hadn’t known he would be jerking off to the memory for months. And it would have brought her no joy at all.
Once upon a time, she’d loved this crowd. This energy. Not this particular club—it was great that St. Andrews had a kink club at all, but Onyx had never been the most shining example of the species—but the community in general. She’d belonged. Now, though, the place was crawling with pierced youngsters trying too hard to impress. Half of them didn’t even seem interested in kink, more in drinking and dancing and decoratively hanging out in a place that looked dark and forbidden. And the club was members-only, which made it even more mysterious and intriguing.
Amie was only thirty. Way too young to feel old in a club. She forced herself to scan the crowd with a more critical eye, studying the people lingering near each station to see if she could spot any likely unattached subs.
From the sea of black leather, Lurex, and skin, a face shone out. Sweet, round, cherubic, under an artful tousle of blond curls. Fluttering eyelashes. The club lighting hid the blush Amie knew was probably heating those apple cheeks as the sub caught her gaze for a second, then glanced toward the ground with a hesitant smile.
He was good at the game. And he wasn’t her first choice, but he would do.
She shifted her toy bag higher on her shoulder, then unclipped her riding crop from the D-ring on the hip of her corset. She drew the leather through her fingers as she strode across the club, letting the anticipation build until she stopped in front of her willing prey.
She gave him a slow look, top to toes, then up again. Sighed. Forced the name out, even though she always felt like an idiot saying it. “Pookiebear.”
“Mistress Amie.” He put his hands behind his back, shifting his weight from foot to foot. “It’s nice to see you, ma’am.”
“You’re here alone tonight?”
“Well, then.” She slid her eyes around the room one more time. It was either Pookiebear or the Boot Worm. “And here’s an empty bench. What are you waiting for, Fluffy? Let’s get ’er done!”
He practically tripped over himself scooting toward the bench. By the time Amie had dropped her bag and started rooting through it for her favorite cane, Pookiebear was draped over the broad leather support, his legs spread, his rounded ass perfectly displayed in the backless vinyl shorts he sported.
If she were at work, Amie would be setting Pookiebear up for a world of hurt right now. He came to her classes sometimes—she tried to pretend that kind of overlap between her worlds didn’t throw her—and while he didn’t look as fit as some of the participants, he always worked hard and she could tell he stretched out and practiced at home, too. That was all she required; that earned her respect. But at the gym, she’d have had him doing roll-ups until he cried. Here at Onyx, Pookiebear got to sprawl on a bench and let Amie do all the work. And here, his soft, lily-white butt was literally his biggest asset.
“Get that rear up,” Amie chirped, slicing one palm across the unblemished, creamy surface. The skin paled, then flushed a delicate rose pink. She made a fist, holding in the heat that grew from the moment of contact. Pookiebear wiggled his hips higher, eager and adorable as a puppy. “Let’s see what we can get done. The usual, I take it?”
“Anything new I should know about?”
“No, ma’am. Well, I have to watch my left knee right now, but it’s fine. I’ll let you know if I need to move.”
“Oh no. ACL again?”
He nodded, shrugged. “I did something to it on that mud run last weekend.”
“You should stick to low impact,” she chided him. “Except for this kinda impact, obviously.” She whipped the slender cane through the air, letting him hear it.
“At least it’s easy on the knees, ma’am.”
“But it’s a bitch on the ass. Okay, let’s do this!”
Twenty minutes later, the cross-hatching of red on Pookiebear’s ass and upper thighs had melted into a glowing field of visible pain. Pookiebear squirmed and whimpered, looking close to tapping out. He kept trying to glance over his shoulder at her, following her with his eyes, as if seeing the swing before the impact would help. He wasn’t thinking about anything other than his momentary Mistress and the cane she was nearly breaking over his butt with each stroke. Smooth, easy, perfect. Right when she never wanted it to end, that was usually the time to stop. Amie made the last stroke count—she didn’t break the cane, but she nearly broke Pookiebear’s tender skin, high on his cheeks where he would feel it but still be able to sit down at work.
“Donesies,” she announced.
Pookiebear groaned. “Thank you, Mistress.”
Amie and her victim were both breathing hard, turned on. Ready to go do something about that. Not with each other. Pookiebear would go home to his Master, who might or might not let him relieve the tension that night.
Amie saw him off with a hug and a reminder to hydrate, then packed up her bag and attempted to stride out of the club with the same swagger she’d had on the way in.
She wasn’t feeling it anymore. She wasn’t feeling much of anything anymore except tired.