From Scotland to London, Amsterdam, and New York, two women struggle to build an enduring relationship in the face of adversity.
Danger haunts fashion photographer, Bryana Austin, at every turn. Her ex is seeking revenge and will do anything to achieve her aim. Bryana needs a safe haven. Cassie offers her healing and protection but is the price too high? Cassie Stuart is a Mistress in every sense of the word. Her Scottish castle boasts its own fully equipped dungeon. She is searching for the perfect submissive to make her life complete but she finds love instead. Will it be enough?
A chance meeting offers both Bryana and Cassie hope for the future if they can overcome the obstacles of the present.
“You expect me to get up on that?”
I eyed the horse and wrinkled my nose with distaste at the unpleasant odor emanating from the stained gray blanket covering its back before switching my gaze back to the butch dyke who’d ridden to my rescue. She had appeared out of the mist, mounted on an enormous, dark brown beast with evil eyes, with the other horse on a leading rein behind.
The woman, who’d introduced herself as Cassie Stuart, sat astride her mount with the easy confidence of someone who shared a close affinity with horses. With cropped dark hair and androgynous clothing, I had almost mistaken her for a man. Only the soft lilt of her voice betrayed her sex.
“It’s your choice, Ms. Austin.” Cassie glanced down to my feet then shrugged. “You either ride Tavish or face a five-mile walk to Auchtercairn.”
My day had started badly and then rapidly nose dived into a total disaster. Leaving me at a loss to understand how I’d ended up in this predicament. One minute I was driving along a discernible mountain road in early evening sunshine and the next... Nothing. Both the view and the road had suddenly disappeared, obscured by a blanket of white mist. I hit the brakes; expecting the car to slow and eventually stop but nothing of the sort happened. Instead Jazzy skidded off the road, gathering speed until it felt like she was flying, before eventually coming to a rest buried up to her axles in a sticky gooey mess of water and mud. I had no idea what damage had been done or how I was going to get her out and back on the road.
I shivered as the mist swirled around us. Although barely evening and still daylight, it might easily have been the middle of the night for all I could see. I momentarily regretted abandoning my shoes to the peat bog, but Jimmy Choo’s were never designed for a five-mile hike in rough terrain and neither were stocking-clad feet. If I wanted the promised hot bath, some food, and a bed for the night, I’d have to grit my teeth and do it. I nodded agreement and edged closer to the fetid beast, my sense of unreality growing with every step.
How the hell does one mount something this tall without a ladder, especially dressed as I am in a tight skirt?
“Let me help you up, Bryana.” Before I had the opportunity to protest that I’d changed my mind, Cassie freed her feet from the stirrups and sprang from her horse in one graceful movement. Then, in the blink of an eye, she had manipulated me into a position where, with no apparent effort, she hoisted me onto the horse.
Without a saddle or stirrups, I was forced to wrap my legs around Tavish and hang onto his long, silky mane as Cassie led the way along the narrow mountain track. But worse was to come when the friction of the rough horse blanket against my crotch began to drive me toward a climax.
God! What is the matter with me?
Sex should be the last thing on my mind right now; yet the memory of Cassie’s strong hands gliding up my thighs, as she eased the pencil skirt up to enable me to sit astride Tavish, made me crave the satisfaction of a good hard fuck even more than the hot bath.
I prayed for a speedy end to this torment and forced myself to think of anything other than sex in the struggle to hang on to my sanity.
Whatever possessed me to accept a commission so far from civilization?
Why didn’t I insist that we do the photo shoot for Esmée’s new collection of designer tartan in my London studio rather than on some wild headland in the north of Scotland?
And, more importantly, why didn’t I have the sense to stay put at the hotel until morning, like the rest of the crew, instead of driving off in a rage when I discovered Esmée fucking the brains out of that stuck-up bitch Marisa in our hotel bedroom?
God! I must have been blind not to see what was happening right under my nose. Now I know why Esmée always insisted on Marisa as her model of choice. Though what she saw in that haughty stick insect, I couldn’t fathom and quite frankly didn’t care; they were welcome to each other.
What I did care about was that Jazzy, my much loved Jaguar XJS convertible, together with all my valuable photographic equipment, was now stuck fast in a peat bog at the back end of nowhere, leaving me no option but to perch on this disgusting, smelly animal en route to some God-forsaken hovel.
Auchtercairn, when it finally loomed out of the swirling mist, disproved one misconception – it was as far removed from a hovel as one could get. Several security lights, switched on automatically by our approach, revealed a large square tower that dwarfed the well-preserved, gray-stone castle. The whole edifice sat squarely upon an outcrop of rugged cliffs above the sea. Cassie stopped at a side door, hitched the horses to a bar set into the stonework, helped me to dismount, and ushered me inside.
A bevy of dogs rushed to greet us with a flurry of wagging tails and excited barks.
“Don’t mind them; they don’t bite,” Cassie shouted to be heard above the commotion; then, barely pausing to pet the furry heads, she crossed the stone-flagged hall in a few long strides and was halfway up the wide staircase before she glanced back and beckoned. “The bathroom’s up here.”
I followed in her wake, admiring the swing of her firm ass. Although I would never be caught dead wearing a thick plaid shirt or worn jeans tucked into long leather boots, I had to admit they looked incredibly sexy on her.
Once we reached the landing, Cassie opened a studded wooden door then stood aside to allow me to enter. “Help yourself to whatever you need; there’s an assortment of bath oils to choose from, limitless hot water, and fresh towels in the press. Take as long as you want. I’ll need to see to the horses and then get Hamish to tow your car in before I fix us some drinks and a meal.” She paused; a frown creasing her brow as her gaze swept over my crumpled Giovanni d'Marco suit. “I’d better find you something more suitable to wear too.”
“Thank you.” The door shut with a solid clunk almost before I’d spoken. I turned eagerly toward the claw-foot bath that dominated the center of the bathroom, my brain already dwelling on the luxury of soaking in hot water. That was before I glanced down at the muck still caked to my legs and feet. Yuck! I looked and smelt like a creature from the swamp, as though I’d stepped out of some horror film. No, I shook my head, I couldn’t bear to soil that pristine white enamel. It would have to be a shower instead.
Twenty minutes later, I felt human again – clean, smelling of delicate white jasmine, a large towel wrapped sarong fashion around my breasts, and my long hair knotted at the nape of my neck. I explored the large room which was divided by a high partition. One side was fitted out as a luxury bathroom, and the other side furnished with an extensive range of fitness equipment reflected in a mirrored wall.
I shivered despite the warmth coming from the radiators; something about the modernity of all this hi tech equipment didn’t fit in with a late-seventeenth-century castle. On closer inspection, I saw that the mirrored wall was, in fact, a pair of sliding doors.
Do they lead to another room?
I knew it was none of my business to go poking around somebody’s private domain but the temptation to take a peek behind the mirror was overwhelming. I felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland faced with a button that read “push me.” I took a deep breath, placed one finger on the button, and the doors immediately slid apart with no more than a whisper.
Certain I was dreaming, or had fallen down the proverbial rabbit hole, I stepped into a fantasy world: a windowless room with a vaulted ceiling which, I guessed by the roughness of the gray-stone walls, must form part of the tower. In the light from electric candles that flickered almost as eerily as the real thing, I drooled over the array of restraints which hung from the walls, each separated by filmy, red-silk drapes. A spanking stool and a swing stood ready for use in the middle of the room, a St. Andrews Cross set into an alcove to one side, and, the pièce de résistance, a black wrought-iron, four-poster bed dressed in red and black silk on a dais at the far end.
Oh joy! I could hardly believe my luck stumbling into this pleasure palace. My insides clenched as my imagination ran riot with various erotic scenarios; with the right mistress to exact punishment, this discovery could lead to a whole lot of fun.
Hold it. The sensible part of my brain took over. Tempering my excitement with some pertinent questions.
What is all this stuff doing in a remote Scottish castle?
Who apart from Cassie Stuart lives and plays here?
I fingered one of the spaghetti-string floggers lined up on the table with a host of whips, masks, and other…
“Ah, I see you discovered my playroom.”
Heat crawled across my cheeks at being caught in the act. I spun around clashing with Cassie’s sensual gaze. My heart fluttered in my chest as I took in the disarmingly sexy woman lounging casually against the doorframe. Although she still wore her jeans and those knee-length black and tan boots, she’d swapped the thick plaid shirt for a sleeveless vest that showed off her strong arms and firm muscles to perfection.
“I’m sorry; I...I didn’t mean to...” The words dried in my throat as Cassie dropped the handful of clothes and advanced toward me. I immediately broke eye contact and hung my head, falling easily into the familiar role of submissive, my body on fire in anticipation of the pain-pleasure combination to follow if Cassie’s demeanor delivered on its promise…