FIVE STARS - Strength. Resilience. Resolve. There are so many reasons I love this author. Her characters are all women I want to be.
Kendra ignored her inner voice and she was physically hurt. Dylan ignored his voice of reason and someone he loved was hurt. Yet despite the hurdles these two must overcome they learn to trust and love again and in doing so they find each other.
This is a beautifully written love story with a nice twist of fire, domination and respect.

Amy - Amazon

Drawn together by bondage, leather and ink… Kept apart by their secrets…

Kendra’s tough-girl personality gives her the strength to overcome a traumatic encounter, but leaves her gun shy about her place in the BDSM scene. When her cousin gets her an interview on Desire Island, Kendra jumps at the chance for a fresh start, hoping to dip her toes back into the lifestyle she loves so much. That is, if she can keep her nightmares and panic attacks at bay while not letting on that her scars are more than merely skin-deep.

Dylan’s heart breaks when a BDSM connection goes horribly wrong. While he can’t do anything about the past, his new gig as a trainer for Dominants with a focus on Risk Aware Consensual Kink is his chance to make amends. He’s passionate about the scene and sees something in Kendra—her feisty nature hides a kindred pain that draws him in.

Their instant and powerful attraction makes each scene more intense and sexier than the last, driving them deeper into a relationship. But when the fault lines of their secrets threaten to crack wide open, each of them must make a choice…


Chapter One

Golden light sparkled over deep blue water as the catamaran sped toward the island. Kendra lifted her face to the warm, welcoming sun and breathed in the briny scent of the ocean, her heart lifting with excitement.

“There she is,” the captain called out to the half dozen passengers. “Desire Island, where all your darkest, sexiest fantasies are brought to life.”

As they approached the shore, Kendra saw white sand dotted with large blue and red beach umbrellas, the tops of the resort buildings just visible beyond the gently waving seagrass and brilliant green foliage.

The captain docked and jumped out, extending his hand to help some of the older passengers off the boat while his single crew member unloaded the baggage. Not in need of assistance, Kendra hoisted her duffel bag over her shoulder and jumped down onto the dock.

An eight-passenger golf cart waited on the path nearby. A tall, slender young man dressed in white shorts and a black tank top, a black leather collar around his neck, climbed from the driver’s seat to help the new arrivals load their baggage.

Just then, Kendra’s favorite person in the world came bounding toward her, long red hair flying, her face lit with a radiant smile. She was dressed in a skimpy bikini top and tiny shorts. She, too, wore a black leather slave collar.

“Kendra,” Abbie cried as she reached her. “You made it!”
Abbie pulled Kendra into her arms for a long, fierce hug that warmed her to her toes.

As they let each other go, Abbie put her hands on Kendra’s shoulders and peered into her eyes, concern etching her features. “How are you, Kenny? For real?

The question and the pain in Abbie’s eyes took Kendra off guard. She blinked back threatening tears and forced a bright smile. “You worry too much, Abs.” Pulling away, she punched Abbie playfully on the shoulder. “I’m doing just fine. No asshole bully boy is going to get the best of me.”

Abbie continued to regard her with concern, but after a moment, she smiled back. “It’s great to see you, cousin. I’m so, so glad you’re finally here.”

She’d been listening to Abbie gush about Desire Island ever since Abbie had taken the job the year before. “I still get to use my skill set,” Kendra’s cousin had explained. “But instead of the lotus pose or downward dog, I teach BDSM slave positions and grace training. Desire Island is a loving, supportive BDSM community where no one judges or condemns. Not to mention we live in a fabulous resort with free room and board. And as an added perk, we get to play in the dungeons and participate in the slave auctions.”

More like sisters than cousins, Abbie and Kendra were born just four weeks apart. They grew up on the same block in Cincinnati, where they’d spent as much time at each other’s house as at their own. They had discovered their shared passion for all things BDSM when they were barely fifteen years old. Kendra had been active since college in the BDSM club scene, but Abbie had taken it to a whole other level—now living and working as a staff slave at the BDSM resort.

When Abbie had called to let Kendra know they were looking to hire a dessert chef for the island’s kitchens, Kendra leaped at the opportunity. She’d managed to get a decent reference from her boss, after he’d finished grousing about her leaving him in a lurch.

Her remote interview had gone well, and they’d made her an offer. Throwing caution to the wind, she’d accepted. After all, it had been over five months since the incident now. It was time to move on. It had been too long since she’d inhaled the intoxicating scent of fine leather and welcomed the stinging kiss of the lash.

“It’s awesome to see you too, Abbie,” Kendra said now. She drew in a deep breath of the fresh sea air. “And it’s great to be here. If I never see another rainy Seattle day, that’ll be fine with me.”

“I brought one of the employee carts so we can take a little tour of the island before you get settled. That’s Tommy over there. He’ll take the guests for check-in.” Abbie waved toward the guy now loading other new arrivals’ baggage onto the back of the other cart. “He’s a staff slave, too. Oh, I almost forgot,” she added, reaching to take Kendra’s duffel. “The rest of your stuff arrived yesterday. I put it in your room.”

“Great.” Kendra slid into the passenger seat of the cart as Abbie tossed her duffel in the back. Though she wasn’t sure how long she’d end up staying on the island, she had packed up her clothing and a few of her favorite books and mementos, and had them shipped ahead of time. She’d gotten rid of everything else, determined to make a fresh start.

The strong, sweet scent of climbing jasmine mingled with the salty tang in the air. Abbie chattered nonstop as she showed Kendra the pool, the beach bar and cabana and the nature trails, pride in the island beaming from her like rays of sunshine.

“This place is really gorgeous,” Kendra said as Abbie beamed with pride. “Even without the BDSM, I can see why you enjoy living and working here so much.”

“I’m so glad you’re here, Kenny. I hope you’ll love it as much as I do.” Abbie pulled the cart into the circular driveway in front of the main building. They entered the lobby, where some of the new arrivals were clustered around the reception desk staffed by a petite woman with short blond hair and a shy, engaging smile.

Kendra looked around the lobby in awe. “Holy crap, Abbie,” she said, taking in the St. Andrew’s cross and the whip display hung along one wall. “This is awesome.”

Abbie laughed. “This is nothing, babe. Wait’ll I give you the grand tour of our BDSM facilities. And then there are the nightly play parties. And we have these super fun slave auctions twice a week. But the really special thing about this place is the professional training that goes on. Desire Island is way more than just a hedonistic playground for kinksters. We offer intensive one-on-one slave training packages and we just recently brought a new guy onboard who trains Doms and couples with a focus on risk aware consensual kink.”

Kendra laughed. “Okay, okay, cousin. Stop with the hard sell. I’m here, aren’t I?”

“You are,” Abbie cried, throwing her arm over Kendra’s shoulders.
“I’m so happy you finally made it. And that”—she paused, her face again scrunching with compassion— “you’ve been able to put what happened behind you.”

“Yesterday’s news, babe,” Kendra assured her with a dismissive wave. Abbie was the only one of the family in whom Kendra had confided, though she’d downplayed the details, not wanting to freak out her cousin or to admit how stupid she’d been to let it happen.

Abbie shook her head with evident admiration. “You always were so kickass cool, Kendra, even when we were kids. Remember when that bully, Doug Farley, kept tormenting me on the way home from middle school? You were like a foot shorter and thirty pounds lighter than he was, but that didn’t stop you from grabbing him by the nuts and telling him if he ever bothered your cousin again, you’d rip them off and shove them down his throat.”

Kendra laughed. “Once you stand up to the bullies, they usually run off with their tail between their legs.”

If you get the chance to stand up, that is…

As the new arrivals had headed for the elevators, Abbie introduced Maya, the girl behind the receptionist counter. Her slave collar, Kendra noticed, was different than Abbie’s or Tommy’s. It was made of a wider band of leather that looked soft as butter, a pink ceramic heart hanging from the O-ring at its center.

“This is Maya,” Abbie said. “Maya, meet my cousin, Kendra.”

After they exchanged greetings, Abbie said, “Maya belongs to Mistress Ella.” She didn’t try to conceal the longing in her tone.

Maya beamed, radiating that sweet serenity Kendra had seen from time to time in submissives heavily into the scene.

“You always were such a romantic,” Kendra replied indulgently. “I hope your Master Right claims you one day, Abbie, just like you want.”

“You, on the other hand,” Abbie teased, “are way too bossy to ever let anyone claim you.”

“You got that right,” Kendra replied with a snort.

Abbie grabbed her hand. “Come on back to the slave quarters and then I’ll give you the grand tour.”

“Slave quarters? That doesn’t sound too inviting. I’m visualizing bleak log cabins with straw mattresses on the floor.”

“Not hardly,” Abbie laughed. “Wait’ll you see. Your room is right next to mine. Each room is equipped with its own St. Andrew’s cross. How cool is that? I got special permission from Mistress Ella for you to stay there, even though you’re not technically a staff slave or trainee.” She flashed a grin. “It pays to have connections.”

Abbie hadn’t been exaggerating about Desire Island being a BDSM lover’s dream. There was a top rate play dungeon, and just beyond it an awesome water room complete with submersion tanks, a water torture wall and an electric fucking machine that Abbie said was, “guaranteed to blow your fucking mind.”

The second floor was as exciting as the first, with room after room filled with impact toys and BDSM equipment to satisfy every possible kink. “The top three floors are where the guests and Masters stay,” Abbie explained.

“There are a few nonresident workers who are ferried here every day. One of the questions during their interview is, ‘Are you comfortable with nudity among the guests and trainees?’ Abbie told her with a grin. “Another is, ‘Do you regard BDSM as a healthy, natural expression of some people’s sexuality?’ The interview process does a great job of weeding out applicants who would freak at our lifestyle. Everyone on the island is either into the scene or sympathetic and nonjudgmental about it. Makes it a really great place to live and work.

“We can check out the dungeon party later this evening, if you want,” Abbie added as she led Kendra to the main kitchen to meet her new boss. “It’s a hoot, watching all the guests going nuts in the BDSM lover’s equivalent of a kid given carte blanche in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.”

Kendra laughed. “Do you get a golden ticket?”
“Even better, a golden flogger.”

Chef Henry was as affable and jovial in person as he had been during her interview, and Kendra knew she’d made the right decision to join his team. “Welcome aboard, Kendra. Take the rest of the day off to learn your way around,” he added with a grin. “I’ll see you here at five thirty tomorrow morning. We’ll get things going and figure out your schedule.”

Abbie had to teach a positions class that afternoon, so Kendra decided to relax on the beach for a while. It was the first time she’d be in public with her scars showing. She toyed with the idea of wearing a coverup over her bikini, but decided against it. People would probably just assume she’d been in a car accident or something. Anyway, it was no one’s business but her own.

The beach was perfect, the warm day tempered by a steady, refreshing sea breeze. She actually fell asleep for a while under one of the huge beach umbrellas, and no one disturbed her.

Abbie fetched her to get ready for dinner a little before seven. Instead of going into the large, bustling main dining room that accommodated the island’s guests, Abbie brought her to a smaller dining room located near the kitchen. The door was ajar and Kendra could see a handful of people seated around a circular table.

“This is the resident Masters’ private dining room,” Abbie explained. “I’m guessing that normally you’ll probably eat with the kitchen staff or with us staff slaves and trainees once you settle in. But for tonight, Mistress Ella and Master Ryan wanted you to join them. They’re expecting you, so you can go right in.” Giving Kendra’s shoulder a supportive pat, she added, “See you afterward.”

Nervous butterflies flitted in Kendra’s belly but she batted them away. She took a deep breath and walked into the small dining room.

As she approached the Masters’ table, she saw Ryan, one of the guys who’d conducted her remote interview, and a co-owner of the resort.
He was truly a stunning specimen of male perfection. Kendra could see why Abbie had such a huge crush on the guy. “Not that I’d ever do anything about it,” Abbie had said with a rueful smile. “He’s way out of my league.”

An attractive woman with silver hair who must be Ella, the other co-owner, waved toward Kendra with a gracious smile. Maya was kneeling on a cushion by her Mistress’s feet, clad in a black bustier, her breasts bare save for gold hoops through her nipples.

Kendra was unsure if she was expected to kneel on a cushion or sit in a chair. There were two empty chairs, but there was also a stack of flat floor cushions under the table.

To her relief, the decision was made for her as Ryan rose to his feet and pulled out an empty chair. “Welcome to Desire Island, Kendra. Did Abbie give you the grand tour this afternoon?”

“She sure did,” Kendra said, taking the man’s offered hand. “I feel like I’ve died and ended up in BDSM heaven,” she added with a grin. “I’m really happy to be here.”

“And we’re happy to have you,” Ryan said with a movie-star grin. “This is Ella Bertrand, my business partner and dear friend.”
Ella smiled warmly at Kendra. “As Ryan says, we’re delighted to have you on board.”

“Thanks,” Kendra replied, taking the woman’s smooth, elegant hand.

“And this”—Ryan gestured to the big, imposing man next to him—“is Caelan Macaulay. He’s a trainer and he’s also our island physician, so if you ever feel under the weather, just let him know.”
“Pleasure to meet you, Kendra,” Caelan said, laugh lines radiating from kind gray eyes. He turned his smile to the woman kneeling beside him. “And this is Skylar Moran, my darling slave girl.”

Skylar, also in a revealing bustier, had long, silky blond hair and lovely green eyes that matched her beautiful emerald-green leather slave collar. She offered Kendra a wide smile. “Welcome to paradise.”

“Ah, here comes Dylan,” Mistress Ella said. “He’s a recent addition as well, just came on board last month. He runs our new couples and Dom training program.”

Kendra stared at the guy sauntering into the dining room with a sexy, panther-like walk. He moved like an athlete, comfortable in his own skin. He exuded power and a raw sensuality that instantly bypassed Kendra’s brain and lodged directly in her cunt.

Dressed in black, he was maybe five foot ten with a lean, muscular frame. He had longish light brown hair shot through with streaks of sun-kissed blond, his skin the coppery tan of someone who spent a lot of time outdoors. His eyes, she noticed, were an unusually dark shade of indigo blue.

“Dylan,” Ella said as he reached the table. “This is Kendra, Abbie’s cousin and our new pastry chef. Kendra, meet Dylan Gold.”

Dylan stopped at the empty seat beside Kendra’s. She extended her hand. He took it lightly, his gaze moving over her face and down her body, causing her nipples to leap to attention. A zing of electricity tingled over her skin at his touch.

“A pleasure,” he said in a smooth baritone.

In spite of herself, Kendra could feel heat rising in her cheeks. Used to acting tough with strong men from her life in professional kitchens, Kendra tightened her grip, giving him a sturdy, no-nonsense shake. “Nice to meet you, too, Dylan.”