The Locked Heart Release Week

Release week! My 30,000-word BDSM romance, The Locked Heart, is out this week.

I wrote The Locked Heart to answer a question I had about most stories that start when a woman first experiences BDSM. Sometimes the heroine is curious about the lifestyle, sometimes–as in Cherise Sinclair’s Club Shadowlands–the heroine stumbles into a BDSM club with no previous awareness of her submissive nature.

In these books, there seems to be an obligatory scene where the Dom orders the heroine to do something–strip off her clothes or kneel, say–to establish his mastery over her. Inevitably, the heroine balks even after admitting to herself how sexy the Dom’s control feels.

My question was this: Wouldn’t at least one potential sub not balk? I understand about the nature of ambivalence. I understand that our brains can send out contradictory messages, such as “Yes, stripping naked sounds just right,” and “What? Are you crazy? Keep your clothes on!” The normal response in that situation is to freeze and do nothing.

But what if the ambivalence had been resolved in advance? That’s what happens to Darby when she meets Damien. She learns enough about him to decide that yes, she wants to sleep with him. When he starts to dominate her, she has no trouble following orders. It’s what she wants to do…because it’s Damien giving the orders! With any other guy, Darby would have told him to get stuffed.

Neither approach is “right.” Some heroines will balk, and some, like Darby, might not. But even as I wrote those scenes, I kept in mind that in real life, hesitating can save your life. Romance novels glide over some of the unpleasant realities of our world. In The Locked Heart, Damien is rich, successful, and considerate. In real life, a woman in Darby’s situation might do well to take some extra safeguards before going with a guy up to his hotel room. Ask a lot of questions, phone a friend to say where you are and who you’re with, even negotiate the limits of the sexual encounter before you leave the public place.

But that’s the difference between fiction and real life. In fiction, I can compress into a handful of questions the cross-examination that Darby should have subjected Damien to. That’s because, in a romance novel, the author and reader have a little understanding. You understand that I’m not suggesting this is how real life works, and I understand that you’re smart enough to behave differently the next time a very sexy businessman hits on you in a hotel bar.

I hope you enjoy Darby & Damien’s story–and look for Master K to get a surprise in The Frozen Heart, coming in 2012.

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