Now to the newest Dom's book in the series. Last month, I released book four in my Rescue Me series. Nobody's Perfect is the longest, most difficult book I've ever written. It deals with a Sadist Service Top, Damián Orlando, helping an incest survivor Savi Baker (Savannah Gentry) reclaim her body and herself through sadomasochism techniques. Being a survivor of incest and child sexual abuse, I refused to sugarcoat the reality of what a survivor goes through. Based on the many messages I've received from survivors, some of whom have passed the book on to their spouse who now understands them better, I have achieved my goal.
Those who read my earlier books may have come to expect hot, kinky books, but this one won't provide that level of heat. It takes a long time for Damian to break down Savannah/Savi's walls to get her to feel something again. But if you enjoy deep emotion and characters who are realistic rather than fantasy types, then you might enjoy this read.
In the excerpt below, Damián and Savi are having their first BDSM scene and he has planned the scene to force her to reveal some of the traumatic events of her past, so those memories will no longer remain hidden and will no longer rule her emotions. Being a Whip Master, he plans to use the whip to achieve this. One reader wrote to ask me if this was real BDSM and I assured her a Whip Master would be able to pick the clothespins off her body with the whip without striking her skin. (Of course, when Savi doesn't reveal a past event quickly enough, she sometimes does experience the lash of the whip on her backside to help her learn to discipline her mind.)
For those who purchased the book when it was first released, you might notice that this scene has been revised. There were some safety issues that arose when, at the last minute, I changed the equipment used from a St. Andrew's cross to an A-frame (trying to differ from a scene using similar equipment later in the book). Kally got the lash for that one when her subject expert said he wouldn't have put a novice on an A-frame without spider-webbing her in because of the natural reflex to flinch and move when the whip came at her. Because I want my books to be safe, sane, and consensual, I switched back to the cross with a posture collar. Being a perfectionist, I also uploaded a new version to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords on Oct. 7 to correct some typos and point-of-view errors, so if your copy was purchased before that, you might want to download the new version where you purchased the book.
As stated earlier, Nobody's Perfect is the fourth book in this series of books that need to be read in order. This couple first met in Masters at Arms and reunited in Nobody's Hero (#3). To get their full story, please start with Masters at Arms, which is a FREE download, then move on to Nobody's Angel, Nobody's Hero, and then Nobody's Perfect. (The last three, very long books are priced at $3.99 each—very reasonable!) For a list of available books and buy links, go here.
Savannah Gentry, now Savi Baker, escaped the torture and degradation forced upon her by a sadistic father for eleven years and has made a safe life for herself and her daughter. When her father threatens her peace of mind—and her daughter's safety—Savi runs to Damián Orlando for protection. Their one day together eight years earlier changed both their lives and resulted in a secret she can no longer hide. But being with Damián reawakens feelings she wants buried—and stirs up an onslaught of disturbing flashbacks that leave her shaken to the core with little hope of ever being a sexual being again.
Damián has his own dragons to fight, but has never forgotten the one perfect day he spent with Savannah in a cave at the beach. He will go to the ends of the earth to protect Savi and her daughter, but can never be the whole man she deserves after a firefight in Iraq. Besides, the trauma of war and resulting PTSD has led him to find his place as the Masters at Arms Club's favorite sadist. Savi needs someone gentle and loving, not the broken man he has become. But he sees that the lifestyle he's come to embrace also can help Savi regain control of her life and sexuality. How can he not help redirect her negative thoughts and actions if she needs him?
Nobody's Perfect Excerpt
Savi was tired of letting the past control her. She needed to try this. Maybe Damián could help.
“The session I have in mind, Savi, will help you reconnect with your body. Today, I want you merely to submit that iron will to me. Accept what I am going to do to your body, knowing I will push you up to your limits without going beyond them. If you do reach a limit before I recognize it, you have your safeword.”
She nodded. “Okay.”
“Is that how you speak to your Top?”
“I’m sorry, Sir.” The protocols he had explained and that she’d read in the contract still seemed silly to her, but if she was going to get into this kind of thing, she might as well try to follow the script.
“The complete surrender of your mind isn’t required at first, but you will need to let go of that tight leash you place on your feelings.”
“I’ll try to, Sir.”
“Thank you, bebé.” His hand stroked her sides. “What’s your safeword, Savi?”
Her lungs constricted. Here we go. “Tamale, Sir.”
“You understand that I’ll be the only one here with you. No one else is going to touch or hurt you without coming through me first. ¿Comprende?”
He slapped the side of her butt again, but his smile told her he wasn’t upset with her smartass response, although her ass did smart a little bit from his slap. He did seem pleased that her mood had lightened. His had, too, but he quickly became serious again.
“Do you trust me enough to proceed with this scene?”
“I’d like to try the blindfold once more, but if you can’t take it, you have your safeword.”
Her heart pounded. “Do I have to be blindfolded?”
He nodded. “I think it will help with the scene. Would you allow me to blindfold you?”
Only Damián. She was safe.
She took a deep breath. “Yes, Sir. I think so.”
He held up the mask again. “Ready?”
The last thing she saw before he placed the mask over her eyes again was his smile, which gave her strength. She could do this with Damián here beside her.
He pressed a kiss on her cheek and whispered, “I’m proud of you, savita.” His praise caused an odd sense of warmth to spread throughout her chest.
“That’s my brave girl.”
Damián. Only Damián. No one else. He will never hurt you.
His hand stroked her arms and sides in long, tender touches and the fear receded a bit more.
Damián won’t let anything harm me. Damián will protect me.
He reached up and removed the mask again. She blinked and met his gaze, confused. He smiled at her.
“You did well, savita. I wanted to test you to see if you would let me blindfold you again, even though you were afraid. You’re very brave.”
She’d pleased him, which made her very content within herself. She could do this, with Damián’s patient guidance. Savi met his smoldering gaze and something unfamiliar stirred inside her. She glanced down. “Thank you, Sir.”
“I’m putting blindfolds on your list of hard limits for now, though, until we can work on it more.”
“Thank you, Sir.”
“It actually will be helpful to me to see your eyes. They’re the most expressive part of your body and can help me gauge where you are. So you’ll keep them open and you’ll keep your eyes—your focus—on me. ¿Comprende?”
After another foray into his duffel bag, he held a tall, leather collar in front of her with D-rings and studs on either side as well as in the front. He explained, “This is a posture collar, an alternative to using a blindfold in this scene. With this, you will keep your focus straight ahead and on me, and it will minimize any automatic-reflex responses.”
Reflexes? What was he planning to do?
After placing the sheepskin-lined collar around her neck, a kinky neck brace of sorts, he hooked the rings on either side of her neck to chains already attached to the cross. Her chin rested on a tiny shelf in front, her head locked firmly in place. She tried to bend and turn her head, but couldn’t move anything but her eyes. She could see straight in front of her, but couldn’t see below her nose and the tops of her cheeks.
Damián picked up his duffel bag and moved it behind her. She heard the clatter of lightweight pieces of wood. He came back around to stand in front of her and molded his warm body against her. She felt his erection press against her belly, sending a wave of panic clawing at her chest. He said this wouldn’t be about sex. She tried to move her hips away from him but couldn’t budge in the restraints. Breathe.
“Shhhh. I’m a man, Savi. Touching a beautiful woman excites me, but I’m not going to act on those urges. You’re safe with me.”
Odd as it seemed, with her in restraints and totally helpless, she did feel safe with him. He’d never done anything to betray her trust. As she relaxed again, his warm, gentle hand stroked the bare skin above and below the waist belt in long circles, calming her after a time. He held something in his hands that she couldn’t see, but that brushed against her skin.
Still, she was so numb, which frustrated her. She didn’t want to be numb anymore.
Anxious to get the scene started, she willed herself to relax. Warm lips pressed against her cheek. His goatee should have tickled her, but she felt nothing.
“Breathe, savita. You’re doing great.” His warm breath on her ear caused her to open her eyes. Inhaling deeply, she felt something small and hard in his hand pressing against her abdomen. She tried to look down to see what it was, but remembered the collar wouldn’t give her that much leeway. Then he removed all doubt as he raised it above her breasts, and she saw he held a spring-loaded wooden clothespin. Images of him using it to clamp what would be very sensitive parts on the bodies of most people crossed her mind, but would she even feel it? He’d promised not to play with her genitals, but she hadn’t put other sensitive places off-limits, like her nipples. She’d heard the clattering of more than one clothespin in his bag of toys. What did he plan to do with all of them?
With his other hand, he gathered a pinch of skin at her side, near her breast, and squeezed the flesh.
She gasped. While still numb, the clothespin had surprised her. She didn’t like surprises.
“Here comes another little pinch.” She didn’t know where he would attach the next clothespin until he pinched the skin on the opposite side, in about the same place. He fastened the wooden pin to her skin. Again, pressure, but no real pain. She felt her skin warming where the clothespins pinched her. He stepped away, and she grew cold in the absence of the body heat that had provided so much warmth.
“How are you doing, mi sueño?
He shook his head and chuckled.
“Now, I am going to continue more rapidly so we can move further into the scene. All you need to do is breathe. In…and out.” She heard the rattle of more clothespins and supposed he was stocking up on them.
For the next several minutes, he continued to pinch the clothespins at regular intervals down her sides, alternating from one side to the other, and restocking again when he ran out. He must have applied a couple dozen of them by the time he stopped above each of her hips, but he wasn’t finished yet. The next one was attached to the underside of her arm. She hissed. That one broke through the numbness a little bit, probably because she’d expected him to continue working down her body. He did the same on the other side, but she anticipated that one and shut down her pain reflex.
“Savi. Stay with me. You don’t have permission to zone out.”
She remembered the goal here was for her to feel something, but her old habit had helped her survive for so long that the response was automatic now.
“Focus only on your breathing, savita.”
Easy for him to say. He wasn’t under attack from so many fronts at once. Again, she forced her attention back to the task at hand.
Damián left her side again, and she almost gave in to the fear. As she made herself breathe in a very regulated manner, the way she’d been taught to work through the contractions as she’d prepared for Mari’s birth, she regained her discipline. Focusing her mind on each individual breath she drew and released helped calm her.
Damián stood behind the cross and pressed his hands into the clothespins on her sides. They must be digging into her flesh, but she still felt nothing too terribly uncomfortable. Numbness and pressure.
“Savi, when it’s time, I’m going to remove the clothespins one at a time. Immediately after each one is removed, I want you to attach a memory associated with a negative emotion—fear, anger, rage. You can scream, cry, swear, or do whatever it takes to release that memory and feel that emotion, but you need to do it aloud and immediately.”
Savi’s mouth grew dry. She shook her head. “No, I don’t want to think about those things, much less speak them.”
Damián came around her and stood before her, demanding that she meet his gaze without saying a word. “You need to let those memories go, so they’ll no longer control or hurt you. As long as you hold them back, they hold you back. Even though you aren’t consciously thinking about them now, they have held you hostage your entire adult life, possibly most of your childhood, too.”
“I’ve repressed much of my childhood.”
“Then those will be some of the last memories you’ll recall during this scene. It will take them longer to surface. But you will release even the most painful of them.”
She groaned. He seemed so certain. She’d didn’t even think she could remember them, much less speak about them.
“Can I just think them? Don’t make me say those horrible things out loud, Sir.”
Savi didn’t want him to know who she was, what she had been. She’d fought hard to hide that part of herself for years.
He reached out and stroked her cheek. “Speaking them is the best way to lessen their power over you. Otherwise, this will just be an exercise in pain for pain’s sake. No value. No learning. No healing.”
“But I don’t feel pain. I don’t feel anything.”
Damián chuckled and patted her cheek before withdrawing his hand, leaving her face cold. “Oh, you’ll definitely feel something before I’m finished, especially as the last pins are removed. The longer they pinch off the blood supply to your skin, the more you’ll feel.”
He truly expected her to feel something. He would be terribly unhappy with her when she didn’t react at all. For some reason, the thought of disappointing him bothered her almost as much as remembering those events from her past.
“Be my brave girl?”
“I’m not brave. I’m afraid of everything.”
“Bullshit. You aren’t afraid of me, are you?”
“You haven’t hurt me, Sir. Not yet. Please don’t ask this of me.”
He placed a kiss on her numb cheek and whispered in her ear, “Savi, do you trust me to know what you need? To know what’s best to help you?”
I think so.
She groaned again in frustration. How could he demand so much so soon? She’d expected him to start slowly, not force her to remember the horrors of the past, much less speak of them. She’d relegated the most traumatic of those memories to the recesses of her mind long ago, right where she wanted them to stay.
“Trust me, Savi?”
If she didn’t try this, she’d always wonder if it might have helped. She needed to try this. She nodded.
“I need to hear you say the words.”
“I…trust you, Damián…Sir.”
“That’s my girl.”
He pressed his lips against hers briefly. Her eyes stung. She wanted to feel his lips, but…nothing.
His girl. She wasn’t his girl, his dream, his anything. Why was it that when he spoke of her like that, some broken, damaged piece of her wished she could be his? Realizing a relationship with Damián could never happen left her feeling surprisingly sad.
“I have restrained your arms, head, waist, and legs, savita, so that you won’t be able to move. It’s critical that you remain as still as possible so that I don’t miss.”
Miss what? What had she missed?
“You don’t have to worry about doing anything but attaching a memory to each pin as I remove it. ¿Comprende?”
Her heart pounded, but he brushed his lips across her ear. “I’m so proud of you.”
That unfamiliar warmth spread through her again.
“Now, breathe for me, savita.”
He stepped away, moving behind her. As the time stretched out without contact, she felt her body craving his touch again. More time passed. Silence. Fear surged to the surface. Where had he gone? Her eyes burned, and she blinked them to ease away the sting.
He’d left her once before. Memories of his abandoning her at her father’s house surfaced, but she tamped them down. He hadn’t known what he’d delivered her to, what was happening in that perfect-looking mansion.
He wouldn’t abandon her here. He’d stayed with her all night long in that hotel room, while she’d slept and recovered from her ordeal with the sadists.
As the walls began to close in, Savi drew a ragged breath. “Sir? Are you still there?”
Seconds later, he stood in front of her and she stared into his warm brown eyes. He placed his hands on the sides of her face and she nearly hyperventilated as she refilled her lungs in relief.
“Slow, deep breaths, Savi.”
She smiled, almost giddy. “Yes, Sir.” She’d been ridiculous to think he’d leave her alone again. Why had she assumed the worst about him?
Because people in the past often had let her down.
He brushed his thumbs across her cheeks. “I will never leave a sub or bottom alone and in restraints. We might negotiate a mindfuck—a scene where you have the illusion something is happening that isn’t quite what’s happening—where I might make you think you’re alone.” He placed yet another soft kiss on her cheek, then pulled back. “Look at me, Savi.” She raised her gaze, staring into his deep, fathomless brown eyes.
“There will be times when I want you to spend time in your head, like now. I want you to be thinking about some of the scenes you will release for me soon. Don’t think for a second that I might leave you alone, though. Okay?”
Part of her wished he meant he’d stay with her forever, but she pushed that impossible dream aside. No one could ever love someone as broken as she was. He just meant he wouldn’t leave her during a scene.
“Thank you, Sir.”
His lips brushed her forehead. Tingling. She’d actually felt something! Perhaps because she hadn’t anticipated it. Maybe if she let her guard down more, gave herself permission to feel something, this scene actually could do some good.
He stepped away from her and turned to give her the once over. Savi pictured herself as Damián must see her, naked, arms and legs spread wide, exposed. She hadn’t placed herself in such a vulnerable position with a man since she’d regained control of her life and body after escaping her father and Lyle.
He uncoiled his bullwhip from his beltloop. His bullwhip? When had he put that on?
Her heart beat rapidly.
Ahh, Kallypso…the stories you tell blog: http://kallypsomasters.blogspot.com
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One lucky commenter will win a free e-copy of Nobody's Perfect (or another book in the series, if preferred, including the next book, Somebody's Angel), as well as some Rescue Me swag—an "Eyes on Me—Ka-thunk" hand fan, trading cards, bookmarks, and a pen.
Thanks for stopping by the blog today to read the excerpt! The drawing will take place on/after October 14.