Joey, an entry-level journalist at Sensations magazine, is overwhelmed when she is assigned an article about a woman who died at Unbound, Chicago’s premier BDSM club. When Reyn, Unbound’s manager, saves her from an abusive date on Unbound’s open house night, he offers to show her what it means to be a submissive to make up for her terrible first time. Joey jumps at the opportunity, quickly learning Reyn was engaged to the woman whose death she’s investigating. As they explore their chemistry, they realize that their secrets threaten to destroy the intense and passionate relationship they’ve developed.
In this contemporary erotic romance, Joey and Reyn must decide if their love is enough to overcome the lies they’ve told and the secrets they’ve kept.
Each time Senior Editor Rachel Warren’s arms rose, her gold bangles clacked together. It set my teeth on edge. Twenty more minutes, please only twenty more minutes. The staff meeting had gone on for far too long already. Laurie had the cosmetics article, Anna had restaurants and food trends, Zuri had human interest, some piece about how to buy a designer dog and which one matches your lifestyle, and Bethany had quizzes and horoscopes.
I looked out the window, searching for any inspiration. There was only endless gray sky and glass windows. I’d researched all weekend and was still unprepared. The world passed by outside of the office, the cars like bright, tiny ants with their headlights on in the rain.
Rachel droned on, making sweeping arm motions that she threw her entire body into. I doodled on my notebook. A small devil with horns and a muumuu had started to emerge on the page before Rachel got to me.
“Joey, what’re your ideas for next month’s issue?”
I looked up and glanced around the room. All eyes were on me. It was my turn to write the relationships/sex article. Nothing had come up in my three days of internet searches. I had 2,500 words to make an impression, and yet I had nothing. Everything and anything I was interested in had been covered. If not by Sensations, the women’s magazine we worked for, then by any one of our competitors. It wasn’t like sex had been all that great for me lately, so I couldn’t use my own life for inspiration.
“Umm…” I pushed the hair that had fallen out of my ponytail behind my ear. “What about kink? That’s been hot ever since Fifty Shades came out.” It was a reach and I knew it. The only reason I thought of it was because of the movies playing on “E!” network all weekend, and I kept them on while I cleaned the apartment.
Rachel paused her theatrics. “It’s a little tired, don’t you think? Do you need to switch with Bethany and do quizzes this month?”
Yes, Rachel, that’s exactly what I want. To commit career suicide with Bethany. Not like I’m really climbing the ladder here anyways.
“Thank you for the offer, but no. And it’s not tired. There are still a bunch of women who are interested but can’t seem to find the right way to go about it.”
Rachel’s eyebrows shot up and she crossed her arms.
“I’ll go to a club, find a dominant, get involved. All before deadline. Give women an idea of what to look for and what not to.” I shrugged, desperately searching for any sort of confirmation. Where the hell would I find a place like that? There must be one somewhere around Chicago. “It’ll be like...uhh, like a practical guide. A how-to on how to explore this lifestyle safely? I looked through dozens of Tumblr posts, and there were women who thought they were submissive or dominant and had no idea how to find the perfect match for them. When they did try, some ended up with the wrong type of partner because they ignored critical red flags.”
She was nodding her head, then came over and placed both hands on my face. Her sea-blue eyes bore into mine. “That is a wonderful idea, Joey. A fresh take on a sensitive topic. How women can find someone in that lifestyle who satisfies them. It’s better. Good job. Make it a two-part series. Take this month and find who you need, get settled. Next month, I really want to see the nitty-gritty.”
“What do you mean, find who you need?” I asked, unsure if I’d heard her right. This was research, not an immersion article.
“Exactly what I said. I’d like you to find a dominant, or submissive, whatever you’re into. Doesn’t matter. Point is, our readers want to know what the kink experience is like. Give that to them,” she said. “Oh, even better, go to Unbound. It’s hidden away a bit in Lincoln Square, but a girl died there. There has been a ton of speculation as to why, but no one has gotten the real story. See if you can get that scoop.”
My face started to fall the brighter Rachel’s eyes became. This was not the story we had just discussed. Even so, this was the story that could catapult my career. This could put me on the map. Plus, it was the closest I’d ever gotten to investigative journalism, and I wasn’t about to turn it down.
“I’ll send you a contact I have from the paper that broke the story. It’s been this mystery for the past year. If we could break what actually happened, it would be a hit.”
Without another word, Rachel snapped twice at her side, signaling the end of the meeting. Her flair had always grated on me, but eventually, I’d learned to accept it.
No matter how uncomfortable it would be, I straightened my shoulders and vowed that I would do whatever I could to make this successful. I picked up my notebook full of doodles and headed for the door.
“Oh, and Joey? You know it would be even better if you connected to the dom that was involved with that girl. Not saying you should get involved with him, but if it happens…”
She didn’t wait for a response before heading back to her office. The glass box she called home during the workday did nothing to hide her sinking down into her chair, exhaustion in every movement. What could possibly be so tiring, I didn’t know.