Okay, so how did you like FSOG? *winks* A lady never tells…. ha!
In any event, the 50 Shades “revolution” as only turned up the stage lights on all the fantastic erotica authors out there, among them Lily Harlem. I’ve been reading Lily’s books for probably 18 months now, and I’ve loved all her scorching stories of connection, and reconnection. Last week, she released IN EXPERT HANDS and I was not disappointed!
Disclaimer: This is an adult erotic read, and I received a review copy from the author, because I’m a big fan…
About the Book:
Imogen White has it all—a high-flying career, a prestigious London home and friends she knows will fight her corner. She’s going up, and she’s in control, she’s also got the hots for one very important, very sexy client.
Kane Ward is a self-made billionaire whose determination to be the best of the best has left him alone. He has everything money can buy, yachts, jets, and villas in all four corners of the globe, but even he can’t buy time to suit his needs.
And his needs are very specific, his desires a particular shade of kink and his tastes anything but vanilla. So when he sets his sights on Imogen it’s a given that things are going to get dark, that pleasure will be laced with pain and determining his success will be measured by her blushes and gasps and cries of delight. But Imogen doesn’t need to worry, she’s in expert hands and her every fantasy is about to come true—and then some she’d never imagined in her wildest dreams.
“Would you like a drink?” he asked over the sound of the music.
“I’m okay, unless you want one.”
“No. I drank water after my workout.” He urged her forward. “So shall we go straight into a playroom?”
“If that’s what you want?”
He glanced at his watch. “There should be something going on to satisfy our voyeur plans for the evening.”
They stepped toward the bar.
Kane indicated another doorway at the opposite end that had a chain mail curtain hanging from its frame. “It’s through there.”
“Ah, K. Long time no see.” A man wearing a similar jacket to Kane’s but with only two stars over the breast pocket extended his hand.
He didn’t wear a mask and Imogen could see that his smile was genuine.
“Nate, how have you been?” Kane took his hand and they shook.
“Great, been in the City for a few weeks on business. Making the most of my free time by coming here.” Nate turned to Imogen and raised his eyebrows. “You have company.”
“Don’t look so surprised.” Kane squeezed Imogen a little closer.
“I am. You don’t usually bring guests. Special occasion?”
Imogen felt Kane tense. She sensed he wasn’t enjoying having his break from the ordinary commented on.
“No occasion,” Kane said. “Good to see you, Nate, perhaps we’ll get a chance to catch up later.”
“Yep. That would be cool.” Nate held up what appeared to be a glass of fizzy water and nodded. He kept his attention on Imogen. “Enjoy your evening here at Sub Space. I’m sure Master K will address your every need.”
“Thank you.” Imogen smiled then felt her cheeks heat as Nate swept his gaze down her body—starting at the collar, then lingering on her breasts and finally on her boots.
Kane stepped forward, tugging her with him. “This way.”
After several paces she touched the collar. “This, around my neck,” she said quietly. “What would happen if I wasn’t wearing it?”
“It would make you fair bait for men like Nate, who are just out to play in a scene, find someone to hook up with.” He glanced at her. “He had no right to look at you like that.”
“Well, the outfit kind of screams look at me.”
“That’s not the point.”
“Oh.” She was confused. “It’s not?”
“No. You’re with me. I’ve claimed you with a collar. What’s more, I outrank him. He should show more respect.”
“You outrank him?”
“Of course.” He pulled back the chain curtain and opened a door. He ushered Imogen into the new room.
Imogen opened her mouth and stared around, thoughts of Nate vanishing.
Kane moved her from the doorway and into the shadows. He stepped behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist
“What are your first impressions?” he asked by her ear, his lips brushing her lobe and his breath heating a trail down her neck.
She leant back into him, loving being so close, held by him. But she couldn’t concentrate fully on his embrace because of what was before her. “It’s…sexy.”
“Mmm, I’m glad you think so,” he said, the soft material of his mask rubbing against her temple. “What else?”
She looked around. The room was sectioned into six large cubicles, each one decorated in dark tones and with a combination of low lights and spotlights. Each three-walled area held a bed or a table or some other piece of equipment in the center. Three spaces were occupied.
There was an audience, too, couples, singles, threesomes sitting on more large sofas. Imogen could only see the backs of their heads. Some appeared enraptured, others holding quiet conversations.
“Tell me,” Kane urged, slipping his hand over the smooth material covering her waist. “What do you think about that, over there, to your left.”
Imogen was already staring in that direction. It had been the main thing that had captured her attention.
A naked woman was bent double, tied to a skinny padded table with her ankles fastened to the legs and her arms stretched out on two platforms, crucifix-like. Her skin was pale except for her behind, which was scarlet.
Beside her stood a man—dressed like Kane in black trousers and a velvet jacket—wielding a flogger. He walked around the woman as if surveying the marks on her ass then cracked down the many strands over her skin.
Imogen jerked and a tingle traveled over her buttocks, as though her nerves were empathetic with what the woman on the table was going through.
The man hit again.
The woman groaned and moved her head, her face coming into Imogen’s view. She had her eyes screwed up tight and her lips were parted. There was a flush of red on her cheeks that matched the rosy blush on her backside.
“Talk to me,” Kane said softly.
“Is she enjoying it?” Imogen asked, although she was pretty sure she knew the answer. The woman appeared to be in ecstasy, as though she’d folded in on herself and only her body and sensation existed.
“Very much so,” Kane said. “Master Zen is very capable of working his sub towards orgasm just through striking her.”
“Are they just…playing a scene or are they…?”
“Lovers, committed to each other? Yes, actually those two are. They’re regulars here and live the lifestyle.”
“Yes.” He slid his hand to her collar and spanned it with his thumb and fingers. “They live full time as Dom and sub. He commands and she obeys.”
“It sounds…old-fashioned.” Imogen wasn’t sure about the obeying thing. She’d known friends who’d purposely had that removed from their wedding vows.
“It’s a symbiotic relationship,” Kane went on, smoothing his fingers around her collar and brushing her skin.
A small shiver ran down Imogen’s spine.
The woman was struck again—several times in fast succession. Imogen stared at the spectacle.
“You see,” Kane said. “She needs to be adored, cared for, taken through life by the man she loves. He needs to protect her, satisfy her, ensure that everything is perfect for her at all times. That is what makes him feel complete.”
“And that includes this. Beating?”
“Beating, spanking, flogging, whatever you want to call it, yes, it includes this, because that’s what they both enjoy, it’s their thing. It’s their kink.”
Imogen is a successful independent woman running an investment bank branch. She has worked hard for to gain her position and her own life–a very different lifestyle than her own meager upbringing. A billionaire client of the bank, Kane Ward is one of her semi-regular appointments; they meet every three or four months to go over his portfolio. While Imogen finds this a tad more “in touch” than most of her uberwealthy clients, she can’t deny she looks forward to meeting with the sexy Mr. Ward.
This appointment is a bit more than the usual however. Mr. Ward, Kane, that is, wants Imogen’s consultation on his accounts, but insists the meeting must happen at an outside location, and Imogen must wear a pretty dress and a hat. Well! Okay, okay, Kane is ranked #18 on Britain’s wealthiest list, and Imogen DOES NOT want to lose his banking business. So, she complies. Only to learn that his private helicopter is flying them to luncheon meeting in his private box at Ascot. On Ladies Day.
Imogen can’t help being a bit swept away by Kane. Still, she’s a professional, and she insists on comporting herself as such. So, she agrees to accompany him on a business trip to assess new business interests that her bank can help–plus, Kane wants Imogen’s personal opinion on how to grow this new enterprise. She’s nervous, but willing.
Nothing prepares Imogen for this whirlwind trip to NYC, however. Private jet. Penthouse suite. Kinky sex club. Wait, what?
That’s right. Kane is setting up sex clubs and wants a woman’s opinion so that they are appealing to both sexes. Turns out delicious Kane is a Master Dom, and he had identified beautiful, professional, meticulous Imogen long, long ago as the woman he’d like to wear his collar.
Over the course of a few intense days, they experience a good bit of vanilla, kinky and downright BDSM-type smexytimes. Their feelings are true and fierce. Kane wants Imogen, badly, and wants to experience his complete dream relationship: a 24/7 power exchange. Though Kane has loved the idea of Imogen for two years, did he really understand her?
Imogen has desired Kane, silently, nearly as long as she’s known him, but could she handle the type of relationship he desires? Would she even want to? She’s sure lots of women would love a billionaire buying everything they desire, and doing whatever kinky play he wished for that kind of security, but Imogen is already more than self-sufficient. She likes working, and aspires to become the first female board member of her bank. Could she abandon her career and dreams to become Kane’s arm jewelry and sex-pet? Would she want to?
I really appreciated the step-wise development of this relationship. I loved Imogen and her strong goals. I liked Kane; he was kind, romantic and compassionate, while being a bit dim in the emotions department. I wanted him to “get it”, to understand that Imogen had greater purpose in her life than to jet-set around as his partner, and I think he finally did. Imogen established all the rules in this relationship, and nothing went forward without her consent, and approval. I liked how these two characters came from independent lives, and were able to forge a path that celebrated the best parts of each other.
A great read for people who enjoy BDSM stories, though the BDSM elements were very light. The focus here was on the power exchange and a healthy way to negotiate a relationship within that framework. I think the resolution of the plot was excellent, and I’d read more on this couple, for sure.
Interested? You can find IN EXPERT HANDS on Goodreads and Amazon (US, UK, Ca, AU).
IN EXPERT HANDS has a spin-off short story, IN SAFE HANDS which is featured in the Brit Babes SEXY JUST GOT RICH anthology. (My Review and Purchase links!) Go grab your copy – it’s available from all good ebook retail outlets at a bargain introductory price – and let yourself fall into the dark, erotic world of the Ward brothers, but remember to call them Sir if you’re wearing their collar!
About the Author:
Lily Harlem lives in the UK and is an award-winning author of contemporary erotic romance. She writes for publishers on both sides of the Atlantic including Ellora’s Cave, HarperCollins, Totally Bound, Xcite and Sweetmeats Press. Her HOT ICE series regularly receives high praise and industry nominations.
Before turning her hand to writing Lily Harlem worked as a trauma nurse and her latest HarperCollins release, Confessions of a Naughty Night Nurse, draws on her many experiences while nursing in London. Lily also self-publishes and The Glass Knot, The Silk Tie, Breathe You In (USA Today Reviewer’s Recommended Read of 2013) and Scored have been blessed with many 5* reviews since their release.
Lily also co-authors with Natalie Dae and publishes under the name Harlem Dae – check out the Sexy as Hell Box Set Trilogy available exclusively on Amazon – The Novice, The Player and The Vixen – and That Filthy Book which has been hailed as a novel ‘every woman should read’.
One thing you can be sure of, whatever book you pick up by Ms Harlem, is it will be wildly romantic and down-and-dirty sexy. Enjoy!
You can catch Lily on her website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, Author Page, Pinterest. She’s also got a newsletter, Goodreads and Google +.
Check out her blogs on Raw Talent, BritBabes, and Hockey Romance!
Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!