*dances round the room like a loon*
Can some scars ever truly heal?
Cherie ran away from Ink once. She is not going to get the chance to do so again, but helping her heal will take all of his skills as a Dom. Using Shibari, Knife play, and Ménage sex, he shows her that pleasure can be found in the things that haunt her.
Emotionally and physically scarred Cherie has sought refuge at Club Ink, where she keeps everyone at arm's length. When Ink forces her to face up to her demons, does her submission hold the key to her future happiness? Or will their shared past destroy them once and for all?
As you may have guessed, I'm just a little excited today. I loved writing Ink's and Cherie's story. That is not to say it was easy to write. Parts of it were very difficult, because I get so deep in my character's heads, that Cherie's back story reduced me to tears on more than one occasion. Some of the play scenes are also intense, and skirting over and above my personal comfort levels as a writer, but I'm a firm believer in listening to my characters. Ink spoke and I had no choice but to listen. Those scenes are needed to help Cherie confront her demons.
I also feel the need to stress that Tiger Scars is a work of fiction. I try to be as accurate as possible, but I am sure Cherie's emotional recovery would take much longer than the time frame depicted in the story. Even with someone as delicious as Ink.
Here's one of my favourite scenes in the book.
"Eyes on me, baby girl."
The softly delivered words held an unmistakable command she was unable to ignore.
"Good girl." His smile of approval warmed her from the inside out, even as his next words sent her into panic mode again. "Strip for me."
"No, I can't … I—" His finger on her lips stopped her, and Cherie froze at his exaggerated sigh.
"Are you arguing with me, girl?" The softly delivered words were deceptively gentle, and he tapped her lips once, before he stepped back and just watched her. Cherie kept her gaze on the floor, not daring to look at him. You didn't say no to Ink in full Dom mode, and his earlier gentleness notwithstanding, she knew he never truly lost his persona. It had been a huge part of him fifteen years ago, and from what she had observed over the last year, it was now as much a necessity for him as breathing. His reputation was as fearsome as it was just, never cruel, but always demanding, expecting instant obedience from any sub or employee – that was Ink – and that was the very reason she sought him out after all.
She shook her head, knowing that he was watching her every move as he slowly circled round her.
"So, what's it to be, girl?" She flinched at the intonation, the audible proof of his annoyance. Her fingers slowly went to the hooks on her Basque, her hands shaking so much she couldn't unhook the delicate loops. His large hands over her frozen ones stilled the movements, and she bit back a sob of relief.
"Remember to use your safe word, Cherie, if you have to. I'll stop. We regroup. I'm not a monster, but we won't leave here until you've beaten this." His gravelly voice washed over her, soothing her as much as the words, delivered with spine-tingling intensity. This was the man she remembered, the man who'd won her heart. "Do you understand what I'm saying to you, baby girl?"
He cupped her chin in his hand forcing her to look up at him and Cherie lost herself in the concern she read in his eyes. She nodded, and he smiled briefly, before he re-assumed control.
"I can't hear you. Use your words, girl."
The abrupt change in his attitude focused her like nothing else could, and she scrambled to comply with a shaky, "Yes, Sir."
"Good girl. Now, strip!"
Again she tried to comply, her hands shaking so much it took several attempts to just unhook the first loop. She struggled on, taking courage from the quiet way Ink simply stood watching her. When she finally unhooked the last barrier and her breast fell free, his sharp intake of breath had her feverishly trying to cover herself.
"No, let me see."
The terse command whipped through the air as effectively as the real thing would have, and she dropped her hands. Mortification spread through every cell of her body, and she clamped her eyes shut, not wanting to see the disgust in his eyes.
He continued to circle her slowly, and she jumped when his hands settled on her shoulders. They traced a path down her shoulder blades over the zigzag pattern of scars she knew were on her lower back. His hands caressed her hips drawing her stiff body back against him, and she gasped at the feel of his thick, long cock pressing into her. He dropped a kiss on her neck, and his hands skimmed across her ribcage until they cupped the heavy globes. He massaged them gently, causing her head to fall back on his shoulders as her body reacted to his nearness. His harsh breath in her ear, the reverent way in which he traced the scars crossing her tummy, his renewed intake of breath at the puckered, ugly area under her right breast, where the knife had sliced through her, leaving a sunken stretch of skin, all combined to slowly build her arousal.
"Never hide from me, baby girl. You're beautiful."
Fresh tears fell at the whispered words, and she shook her head. The slap to her inner thigh brought her head up, and her eyes flew open.
"Are you calling me a liar, girl?"
"No, I … I mean, sorry." She mumbled the words, and she winced at the sharp tug to her hair, forcing her to follow where he led. One hand at the back of her neck, the other on her chin she had no choice but to look at herself in the full length mirror.
"What do you see, when you look at yourself?"
Cherie sought his eyes, pleading with him, but he simply increased the pressure on her neck to the point of pain. His eyes hard, unforgiving flint held a hint of his tiger, his expression murderous.
"Answer me, girl. I grow tired of waiting. You don't want to add any more to the punishment you've already accumulated."
Ink merely smiled, but his expression softened slightly when she started trembling; and he gentled his hold on her.
"I seem to recall you rather liked being punished, baby girl. Always pushing, always sassy." He traced his thumb over her lips, demanding entry, and she opened automatically. His eyes darkened, and he groaned when she sucked the digit into her mouth. A tiny spark of power went through Cherie at his reaction, and he narrowed his eyes and withdrew his thumb immediately.
"Nice try, girl. Now answer me. What do you see?"
He sighed at her whispered, "I can't," and stepped away and behind her. Goosebumps erupted on her skin at the loss of contact, and she shivered anew. Their gazes connected in the mirror, and she breathed a sigh of relief when his hands settled back on her hips, pulling her back against him.
"Shall I tell you what I see?" He lifted her breast out of the way so that the deep wound was clearly visible in the mirror. "I see a woman who survived. A strong woman, who should wear her scars with pride. A woman with curves a man wants to get lost in. I see my woman."
See, every woman should have an Ink in her life, and because it's release day, I am giving away a copy of Tiger Scars right here. All you have to do is leave a comment and I will pick a winner tomorrow.
Of course if you can't wait, you can get your copy right now at these places :-)
Check out my inspiration board here too!
is it too early to crack open the bubbly?