My most recent book Power Shift is the fourth book I’ve written with BDSM themes. For those of you reading this 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 my story 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. 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 endless 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:
He was silent for a long moment, his hand rubbing up and down her back in a soothing but sexy rhythm that started a tingle down low inside her again. “See. I was right.”
“About you. Being strong.”
“Thank you, Gabe.”
“That’s important to you, isn’t it?”
“Right now...it’s the most important thing.”
He nodded and the heat from his hands spread through her body, that fluttering deep inside intensifying into a familiar ache of desire.
She wanted to ask him more questions about his mother, about his business, about the woman who’d hurt him, but his hands on her skin were sending warm tingles over every nerve ending. He tugged her higher against his body and tipped her chin up so he could kiss her. His mouth slid over hers in a long, drugging kiss.
“I think you’re very strong Reagan.”
Then he drew back again. “But there’s something you should know about me.”
“I like to dominate women. In bed.”
She snorted. “No shit. I got that, big guy.” When he didn’t answer right away, she lifted her head to look at him. He stared back at her, his mouth open.
“I don’t know if you understand,” he said carefully. “I mean I like to dominate. I’m into stuff like bondage. Floggers and canes.”
“Oh.” Her heart missed a beat, then sped up. “Really.”
“Yes. I like to be in control.”
“And once again, I say...duh.”
A smile tugged at his mouth and she touched his bottom lip with her fingertips. “Doesn’t that scare you?”
“Um...no.” She thought about it. “Is that why you spanked me?”
“I spanked you because you were asking for it.” He paused. “I’m not a sadist. I don’t hurt women just for fun. I only give them what they need.”
“I see.” Yeah, she saw, all right. Her instincts about him had been right. He was the last guy she should be involved with, if the last thing she wanted was to be trapped in another controlling relationship.
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