Five Stars

Is a wounded spirit capable of love?

Shani loves being a staff slave on Desire Island. No one there knows her dark secret, and nothing disturbs the outward tranquil serenity of her quiet denial. That is, until Adam Hawk bursts onto the scene.

Adam, a dominant leather craftsman who travels the globe for his work, didn’t expect to meet the woman of his dreams on an impromptu visit to the island. Yet, the mysterious Shani captivates him from the start, and their sizzling BDSM scenes are off the chart. But when Adam accidentally stumbles on a terrifying physical trigger for Shani during their play, it becomes clear it’s connected to a painful past she can’t or won’t talk about.

Aware he’s falling in love, Adam offers Shani a chance to face a past she can no longer outrun. Unless she can find the courage to confront her dark secret, he’ll never be able to penetrate the wall she’s built around her heart.

Five Stars is Book 5 of the Desire Island Series – Bring your darkest BDSM fantasies to life.


Chapter One

The crowd around the fire pit quieted as Master Ryan approached, Shani’s leash held loosely in his hand. Barefoot, she walked beside him, head held high. The sand was cool beneath her feet, myriad stars sparkling overhead in the night sky. Her gold satin cape billowed behind her in the sea breeze, accentuating rather than covering her nudity.

Fellow staff slave Tommy, also naked save for a codpiece covering his cock and balls and the black leather collar all unowned island slaves wore, waited beside the pit. He had prepared the Kevlar whips and floggers, which were neatly arrayed on the prep table alongside the wet towels, ice bucket and his hand drum.

The crowd parted, whispering and murmuring with unsuppressed excitement as Master Ryan led Shani to the whipping post beside the blazing fire. At a nod from Master Ryan, Tommy removed Shani’s cape from her shoulders and the leash from her slave collar.

Master Ryan greeted the Desire Island guests who had come out to watch and participate in the fire play that evening. As he explained what was going to take place, Shani extended her arms to allow Tommy to bind her wrists together. She sighed with pleasure as the leather cuffs tightened. Her heartbeat quickened as he extended her arms up against the post and clipped the cuffs into place over a large eyebolt.

Master Ryan approached her, placing a calming hand on her shoulder. “I want you to offer your body to me, slave girl,” he said in a voice designed to carry. “Rest your forehead against the whipping post for balance, feet firmly planted shoulder-width apart, ass jutting out to receive the lash.”

“Yes, Sir.”

As Shani shifted to obey, he added, “You will remain in that position until released.”

“Yes, Sir,” she said again. She was aware of the excited murmuring and jostling of the crowd around her, but only in a peripheral way. Her primary focus was on Master Ryan as he moved behind her, preparing for the erotic torture.

Though she craved the hot, stinging kiss of the fire whipping to come, a shudder of anticipatory fear moved through her body. Despite her complete faith in Master Ryan’s skill with fire play, there was always the very real possibility of being burned.

Acceptance, she reminded herself. You serve the Master. You give yourself freely to him and all Masters on the island. That is your choice and your passion. Embrace it.

She closed her eyes, readying herself to accept his gift with submissive grace. A breeze came off the ocean, gently wafting over her skin. She inhaled deeply of its briny tang, letting the peaceful rhythm of the crashing and ebbing waves calm and soothe her.

Master Ryan appeared in front of her. “You ready, Shani?” he asked quietly.

The crowd was silent now, as if holding its collective breath. “Yes, Sir,” she replied, consciously calming her skittering heart. The smooth wood of the whipping post felt good against her forehead. She flexed her hands above her cuffs and pressed her feet firmly into the sand, centering herself both physically and mentally. “I’m ready.”

Master Ryan dipped the prepared head of the wand into the fire. It whooshed to life with a dramatic flair, pulling a gasp from several of the onlookers.

Tommy struck the hand drum with the flat of his palm, setting the rhythm with a percussive beat. Her heart thumped in time to Tommy’s drum, her soul open to the erotic pain to come.

Taking his place behind Shani, Master Ryan tapped the flaming wand between her shoulder blades. She gasped when the first heat sparked against her flesh. The fiery wand flicked over her back and ass, moving in time to the primal beat of the drum. Ribbons of sensation snaked across her skin, patterning over her in rivulets of flame.

Though she had her eyes closed, she could hear the “Oohs” and “Ahs” from the audience. It was as if they were watching fireworks, her bare skin the canvas of the dark night sky. The constant movement of the tapping heat relaxed her mind and soothed her soul. She settled into herself, embracing the lick of fire and the soft thump of the wand against her flesh.

All too soon, the wand’s flame burned away and the drumming stopped. Not yet released from her position, Shani remained still, save for the rise and fall of her chest as she worked to get her rapid breathing back under control.

Master Ryan would now move to the Kevlar whip. As he dipped it into the fire, it would draw more cries of excitement and trepidation from the island’s guests. Shani’s skin thrummed with expectation, her inner submissive reserves fully primed.

Just then, the faint whiff of the particular leather balm Adam Hawk used to treat his whips floated in the air. Shani drew in a sharp breath, resisting a very strong urge to turn around and see if, by some miracle, the man himself would appear behind her.

Even now, though he’d left the island just over a week ago, she could almost feel his gaze upon her, as if he’d left a piece of his spirit behind to watch over her. Her mother, steeped in the Native American traditions of their ancestors, would have said Adam and she had walked together in the spirit world before taking their place in this one. All Shani knew was that the very first time he had gazed at her with those clear green eyes, she’d felt as if she were reconnecting with a part of herself she’d thought had been taken from her forever.

But he’d had to leave after only four days on the island, and it would be at least a month before she saw him again. If she saw him again…

Shani hushed her mind, returning her focus to the scene. The drumming resumed, its pace faster now. Her heart increased its beat along with the drum. She focused on remaining still and strong, receptive to the hot kiss of the lash to come.

But, instead of the searing flick of the blazing whip, only another cool, salty breeze brushed over her skin. There was a shuffling sound and the soft murmur of masculine voices behind her. Was something wrong? Again, she resisted the impulse to twist her head back to see what was happening.

Finally, she heard movement again. Oddly, that sweet, soothing scent of leather balm tickled her nostrils once more. In her mind, she whispered a soft prayer to the spirit goddess. If she could conjure Adam’s scent, could she conjure the rest of him?

She heard the excited gasps of the onlookers as the whip ignited in her peripheral vision. Quieting her mind, Shani closed her eyes, mentally preparing for its fiery kiss.

The fire licked in searing, rhythmic strokes over her skin, moving in time to the steady beat of the drum. It hurt! Oh, it hurt, it hurt, it hurt! Her breath came fast and urgent, her heart pumping violently in her chest.

As always happened, this was when she questioned her own special brand of madness. Why had she thought she wanted this burning lash snapped cruelly against her flesh, welting and marking her, its flame singeing away the tiny hairs on her skin?

But it wasn’t so much a matter of wanting it. She needed it. It stilled the constant tumult of her thoughts and quieted the haunting memories of a past she longed to erase. The insistent, perfect snap of the whip provided welcome erotic pain—a cleansing pain that stilled her mind and soothed her soul.

Yes, she silently mouthed. More. More, more, more.

As the fiery whipping continued, she settled into herself, fully accepting the stinging heat that graced her skin. Her heart slowed and her panting breath subsided into a deep, slow rhythm that matched Tommy’s steady beat.

She imagined it was Adam wielding the whip. The fantasy was so real at that moment that she could have sworn it was him behind her now. She could actually smell the distinctive scent of his skin, which had reminded her of clean cotton dried in the sun, with a spicy note of fresh ginger root. She could visualize him, squinting a little as he concentrated, the whip held confidently in those long-fingered artist’s hands.

“Adam,” she murmured, too quietly for anyone to hear.

She let the fantasy overtake her, sliding down into the experience and allowing it to claim her completely. Her entire body was tingling with pleasure now, her clit throbbing, her nipples hard as the searing tresses whipped lightly against her body.

All too soon, the whip’s flame sputtered out.

She bit back a cry of frustration, aching for the scene to continue. She wanted to sink deeper into a subspace where no dark memory could touch her. She wanted to get to that place that wasn’t oblivion, but the opposite—a place of pure, peaceful awareness, fully in the moment, every nerve ending receptive to the erotic pain.

But the scattered applause and eager cries of, “Me! Pick me next!” yanked her back to reality. It was only a demo, after all.

Hands reached around her, unclipping the cuffs that had held her in place. As she looked up, something about those hands—not Tommy’s hands and not Master Ryan’s—made Shani catch her breath. The man behind her drew her arms down to her sides. He was so close now she could feel his chest against her back. Again, the nearly overwhelming desire to fall out of position almost got the better of her. As a cool, damp towel was draped around her shoulders, her entire being fizzed with an excitement her brain didn’t yet fully comprehend.

Then a warm, sweet breath tickled her neck as an unmistakable voice murmured in her ear, “Hello, Princess. I’ve missed you.”