My most recent book Power Shift is the fourth book I’ve written with BDSM themes. For those of you who don’t read BDSM stories, let me assure you that all my books are very romantic, very emotional and very sensual stories even if there are scenes involving light bondage, domination, submission and yes, some ventures into mild sadism and masochism. When my characters have sadistic tendencies, they’re not sadistic just because it gives them pleasure to hurt someone. They’re definitely not cruel. Their pleasure comes from knowing that their partner needs, wants, even craves sensation, and that in giving it to her, they’re giving her pleasure, too.
I’m fascinated by the whole idea of the power exchange and who really has control in a relationship. In Power Shift, Gabe is a Dominant who wants to be in control. Has to be in control. It’s often felt that it is really the submissive who has the power, because she (and I say she only because this book features a male Dom/female sub) gives the power to the Dom. If the submissive doesn’t submit, the Dom can’t dominate. But even so, there can’t be submission unless the Dom uses the power. So it’s not just one giving something to the other—it’s an exchange.
The exchange of power is based on mutual trust and respect. Part of that respect is respecting the partner’s fears and doubts, needs and wants. It’s about connecting on a different level.
In Power Shift, for the first time I explored a Dom who needs to give up control. Reagan has an instinctive sense for what Gabe wants and needs. But Gabe is in denial. Gabe believes he has to be in control, always, and he refuses to give it up to Reagan. For a Master Dom, Gabe still has much to learn. As he says, the journey never ends and there is always more to learn, especially about ourselves. Gabe learns that there will be times when Reagan needs and wants to submit to him, to give up control. But there will also be times when she needs to take control, when he needs to shift the power to her. Does he need to give up the power —or does she need to take it?
The fluidity of this in a relationship where both partners are in tune with each other’s needs and wants struck me as a power flow. This flow of back and forth, giving and receiving, seemed to me more like a shift of power than an exchange. When both partners are open to each other, when they care and trust and respect each other, they know what the other needs and want to give it. Or take it. And if there’s love and commitment, trust and respect, it will balance and shift back and forth.
And that is what I think draws me to write stories involving BDSM ― the journey of self-discovery that makes for a character arc rich in growth and learning and, ultimately, makes for a deeply satisfying story.
Here’s a small excerpt from Power Shift:
His hands on her bare back stroked up and down and she pressed in closer, still wearing her panties, which, yes, were pretty ones, a pink thong with flirty ribbon bows at the sides and at the back, and which were also quite damp now. She scraped her fingernails across his scalp, eliciting a groan and then she lifted her mouth from his, kissed her way over his scratchy cheek and jaw and bent her head to his shoulder. She opened her mouth on the fleshy part, sucked a little and then gently bit down.
His body twitched hard. “Christ,” he gasped, his hands tightening on her. “Reagan.”
She smiled, licked the spot and moved her mouth, using her teeth again, a little harder, driven by some unknown force, some unknown need to do this to him. He jerked and shivered and then his hand fisted in her hair and he yanked her head back. The sharp bite of pain on her scalp sent thrilling sensations right to her core. Another secret trigger.
She gazed back at him, their eyes meeting in the dim light, meeting and holding...and holding. She smiled a little, almost challenging him. His eyes flickered, his lips parted...she couldn’t read the expression on his face but a tiny frisson of alarm worked its way through her. He was big and strong and dominant, and she was playing a risky game with a man she barely knew. And yet...she felt safe.
It wasn’t Gabe she was afraid of but rather the intensity of the feelings he’d excited in her, a sharp arousal like she’d never experienced, a fierce lust, an almost protective tenderness. It was all kind of...confusing.
His eyelids lowered, so sexy, his mouth softened. “I’m not sure if I like that,” he said.
“What are you going to do about it?” God, where did that come from?
His eyes darkened, the long dark lashes sweeping back up. “Behave, Reagan. You don’t know what you’re getting into.”
He was right. But whatever it was, she wanted it. Her mouth softened and pouted a little, wanting more kissing. “I’m a big girl,” she said. “I can handle whatever you dish out.”
He studied her, assessing her, and she held his gaze as long as she could before she had to drop her eyes, just briefly, blinking at his chest. And in that instant, she was on her stomach again, face down on the bed and his hand landed on her ass.
She cried out in surprise as heat flashed over her flesh. He hadn’t hit her hard, but holy shit, it got her attention. Her head lifted from the bed and she looked back at him, hair hanging in her face. “What was that?”
“A spanking.” His hand rubbed the spot in a warm caress and she blinked, and then he tapped her again. Heat simmered over her buttocks and her pussy went liquid. She moaned.
“I’m not sure if I like that,” she gasped. But holy hell, she did.
He was the sexiest man in the world, honest to god. Nobody had ever talked to her like that, so frankly, so erotically, nobody had ever spanked her like that, nobody had ever turned her on like he was.
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