Rude Awakening

Co-written with Natalie Dae


One man, one woman…both having a rude awakening. Will Ruby’s ex-Master succeed in his kidnap plan? Harry Knowles has taught subs for years but hasn’t found a subservient woman he’d like to spend the rest of his life with…until the beautiful Ruby comes into his life, stumbling onto his property in the snow and collapsing from exhaustion. He takes her into his home and nurtures her, showing her that the BDSM lifestyle she’d previously been living wasn’t what BDSM is all about. Ruby has run from an abusive relationship. Having shared the past few years with a sadistic man, she’s skittish and unsure of herself, but Harry encourages her to blossom. He teaches her not only the true meaning of BDSM but also to love herself—something she’s failed to do in the past. Their life has the promise of being idyllic, but her former lover, a man known only as Master, has other ideas on that score…


Harry Knowles stood at the living room window of his large, secluded house, staring out into the darkness. Bored and feeling the huge need for a decent sub in his life, he gnawed at the inside of his cheek. The BDSM club wasn’t producing the kind of sub he wanted lately-the women all insipid, inspiring nothing but tedium inside him. He wanted-needed-a challenge, a woman who had a unique brand of subservience, who knew how to do as she was told yet didn’t obey without question. Someone who voiced queries, let him know what she wanted. Someone who employed a bit of dominance outside the bedroom-or dungeon-walls.

He wasn’t holding his breath. After years of searching for the perfect partner, he’d failed to find one who even came close to matching his desires. The future didn’t look very bright, and with a sigh, he resigned himself to a life of bedding women who weren’t quite the ticket.

Winter had come on with a vengeance. Snow covered the grounds, his vast front lawn a blanket of white spotted with the odd indent from birds searching for worms in the cold, packed earth beneath. His gravelled driveway had been cleared when the first soft coat of snow had fallen in Manchester-his gardener, Len, had attached the snow scoop to the front of the Land Rover and shoved it to the sides. But since this afternoon, the drive had gained another thick layer of white, although two deep gouges marred the once-pristine expanse since Harry had driven over it as he’d arrived home from the office.

He sighed again, relieved it was Friday, that he wouldn’t have to preside over his employees at his law firm until Monday. Yet the weekend stretched ahead, an interminably droll two days of him rattling around his house with nothing more to do than watch television or read thrillers.

His brother, David, lived in America close to their parents, so there was no chance of getting together with him and shooting the proverbial shit. Harry didn’t mix business with pleasure, so employees coming over for dinner was out of the question, and the men who frequented the BDSM club… No, he didn’t enjoy their company enough.

He didn’t enjoy anyone’s company much.

What the hell have I become? A successful businessman with no one to spend the money on or share my life with. Christ, this wasn’t how I thought my life would be.

He clamped his lips together, annoyed with himself for walking down the road of self-pity. He had much to be grateful for, he knew that, yet a gaping hole sat in the middle of his life like an elephant in the room, taunting him every chance it got.

You’re alone, Harry. Thirty-two years old and alone.

His thoughts turned to what he must appear like to other people. Stiff-backed, somewhat prickly, a man to be respected. A man who didn’t let anyone in. His standards were perhaps a little too high in all areas. Maybe he needed to loosen up a bit, let his guard down a touch in order to get what he wanted. No woman found an uptight man attractive, no matter how appealing the packaging was. Oh, he’d heard whispers at the club from women he passed, who thought he hadn’t heard their lurid remarks about his muscled physique and how they wished he’d whip them into shape. One woman had even gone so far as to mutter that burying her nose in the hair around his cock haunted her dreams.

Such things disturbed him, made him feel a prize to be won, a trinket dangling from a sub’s arm-someone to be paraded as a good catch, looks, body, money and all. He prided himself on being able to spot a gold-digger a mile off, and perhaps that was his problem. He always suspected that was what they were after, so closed himself off, fucking them only with his cock and not his mind.

A slew of snow sailed down from above, startling him out of his pity party. He leaped back, feeling stupid, heart thumping at the sudden ferocity with which the snow had fallen. The roof was clearly overburdened. He moved closer to the window, peering out and seeing a stack of snow that almost reached the outside windowsill. If the weather kept up like this, Len would have his work cut out for him come Monday morning.

Harry turned from the window and stared around his living room, the opulence nothing but just the contents of his home to him. To others it would appear the height of elegance, all dark red walls and rugs, two deep-seated leather sofas in cherry hide, their backs studded with buttons, sitting opposite one another, a highly polished walnut coffee table in between. A real fire crackled in the grate, the fireplace a huge monstrosity he’d had installed with the image in mind of him and that special woman in his life sprawled on the rug in front of it—touching, caressing, exploring.

How was it he’d attained every other dream except that one? Was he being greedy in wanting the icing on the cake-a woman to love and adore, to share his wealth and life with?

It seemed he was.

He huffed out another sigh and turned his back on the room, returning to the window. Trees as tall as ten men bordered the edge of his property, so far in the distance they appeared merely bushes. The clouds, heavily pregnant with snow, made the sky appear a mid-grey instead of the true night-time blackness they shrouded. Moonlight somehow filtered through them, though, touching the grounds with fingers of silver, bouncing off the whiteness covering it. A few specks of snow danced, as though afterthoughts to the deluge that had teemed down not an hour since, and he prayed no more would fall tonight.

Something white ghosted out of the trees, a wisp of movement that darted for a moment then disappeared. Another chunk of snow falling from the branches, perhaps, or a figment of Harry’s imagination. A chill sped up his spine and he shivered, wondering why he felt so cold when the fire blazed. Staring at snow would do that. Despite being enveloped in warmth, when looking out at the scene before him, he knew full well how to imagine being frozen out there. The chill dispersed, and he shrugged, spinning on one heel in search of where he’d placed his brandy earlier. He spied the cut-crystal glass on the walnut sideboard beside the door, a few mouthfuls of liquid still inside-liquid that would ensure the chill was kept at bay.


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