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Guest author: Out of the Darkness by Juliette Banks

Out of the Darkness Cover 3

“A man could go to war in defence of a body like yours, you know. You hold most men in the palm of your hand.”

The missing father; the predatory stepfather; the abusive lover; they all let her down.

She is one of the most beautiful and photographed women in the world.

She lives the life many young girls dream about.

But sometimes the dream and the reality don’t match up.

William, a powerful and charismatic Dom, who excites her like no other man before, steps into her life.

Will he be different from the others?

Will he recognise her need for loving submission?

 

Find out in Out of the Darkness by Juliette Banks! Read an exclusive excerpt below!

 

I’m not sure that even I know the real me. My life had changed so often since I’d been ‘discovered’ at the tender age of fifteen, while walking down the King’s Road in Chelsea, and within two years I was pictured on the covers of all the glossy magazines. It all happened so quickly. One day I was a fairly ordinary London schoolgirl, and the next I was travelling the world and being wined and dined by the world’s glitterati. Then there were the men. Mostly, they were older, successful and wealthy men who bought me champagne and dinner and then thought they owned me. Some of them were very powerful, men you would not want to cross for fear of the consequences. A few were kind, but many were not. I sometimes wondered if the fault lay with me. Did I do or say things to attract the wrong type of man? Did I give off the wrong vibes, or was I simply unlucky? I had no idea.

The working life of most models is quite short; youth and beauty being such transient states. Make the most of it, was the advice I often received, especially by older models who knew that there were always younger and prettier women to take their place. Many of the girls, if they didn’t make it right to the top where the serious money was made, adopted the other route of marrying wealthy men. It wasn’t always a guaranteed success. I knew of several older models who had given up the catwalk and married such men, some of whom turned out to be serial philanderers. They became second or third wives, and probably realised with a sinking heart that they were destined eventually to be replaced, as their predecessors had been.

I had a few love affairs, but I had never fallen in love. I saw most for what they were, men who viewed a beautiful woman as another symbol of their success, like expensive sports cars, yachts, and luxury villas. I tried to stay away from that sort of man, but I wasn’t always clever enough to spot the ones who should be avoided at all costs. They didn’t all look like Russian gangsters.

“Oh I work hard, but I play hard, too. Do you play hard, Marianne?”


 

Buy the book here:

Amazon US              http://amzn.to/2fP9rnL

Amazon UK                http://amzn.to/2w5qE2r

Amazon Canada        http://amzn.to/2uTiHcW

Amazon Australia     http://amzn.to/2uTtfsG

 

For the first week of release only, Out of the Darkness will be the bargain price of .99c/.99p! Get your copy quickly!

 

This book was previously published under the author’s previous pen-name, Rachel de Vine, with a different cover.

Breaking news – a new book!

Cancel your plans and charge up your Kindles – The Victorian Vices Book 4 will be available on the 21st April 2017!

In Spanking Lady Lavinia we meet the wilful Lady Lavinia Carstairs, youngest sister of the Earl of Beaumont, hero of Spanking The Heiress. She’s been a handful since the day she learned to walk, and she’s only got better at it as she’s got older!

The only man who has a hope of reining her in is William Evans, her brother’s private secretary. Sparks fly between them, but his humble birth means that a future together is impossible in Victorian London’s rigid class-driven society.

At least, it would be, if William Evans really is who he says he is….

I’ll post the cover as soon as it’s made by the fabulous people at Blushing Books! Meanwhile, have  a look at Flora by Titian, the painting that draws William and Lavinia together when William first applies to join the Beaumont household.  A shocked William is introduced to Lavinia’s rather inappropriate sense of humour in the sneak peek snippet below!

 

flora

 

He walked up and down the foyer, admiring the artwork on the walls. One in particular, right at the back near the discreet door for the servants’ use, caught his eye.

It was a Titian, he thought, although he could not be sure. The incredibly minor public school he had attended had not spent a great deal of time on the study of art. The painting was of a woman, with reddish-blonde hair that fell loosely over one bared shoulder. She was wearing a sort of nightgown, William thought, one that dipped scandalously low over her breasts and off one shoulder entirely. A reflection of colour from the pink shawl draped over her left arm drew his eye – or wait, was that a hint of rosy nipple that could be seen?

He couldn’t be sure. Without realising what he was doing he peered a little closer at the picture, and started back in alarm when a rather young, cultured, female voice said loudly,

“It’s her nipple, you know. Well, not the full thing, just the bit around the edge. Mama and Anthony had a huge row about whether it was indecent or not. Anthony played the earl card and got it hung in the foyer, but Mama made Nash move it to the back. It’s ridiculous, don’t you think? It’s not as if we don’t know what nipples are, after all.”

William whirled around to see a confection of a young woman standing on the staircase that led up to the private, family rooms of the house. She was tall and quite striking – not conventionally pretty, not with that nose and that chin in combination with each other – but she was possessed of a wicked smile that lit up her eyes. She was dressed in the height of fashion, William could tell, although he knew nothing about how women clothed themselves. She was wearing pastel shades, which rather made her resemble a flower, although with that mouth on her, she was very much a wild flower, rather than a hot house rose.

He didn’t think that he had ever heard a woman say the word ‘nipple’ before. Especially not one who couldn’t be more than sixteen years old.

“I wasn’t…” he began, his words starting to trip over themselves. “I mean, I was looking for the artist’s name. I’ve never seen…”

“Oh, it’s one of the Italians,” the girl said dismissively, descending the stairs and floating across the marble floor to stand beside him.

“Titian, I think. It’s called Flora. It’s not a patch on some of the ones we’ve got upstairs. She’s rather wishy-washy, don’t you think? All that staring off into the middle distance with an enigmatic look on her face. You can’t tell anything about her, except that she must be a bit chilly.”

“A bit chilly?” William said, bewildered.

“Her clothes are falling off, so she must be cold,” the young woman said helpfully. “Although she is in Italy, after all, so perhaps she’s warm.”

A mischievous look crossed her face, and somehow, instinctively, William knew what she was going to say next, probably because he was also thinking it.

“She must be warm,” she said decisively, “otherwise her nipples really would be showing through that dress!”

She burst out laughing, a real, unadulterated laugh, not the pretty giggles that the very few young women of his acquaintance seemed to be in favour of. William hesitated, part horrified at her lack of decorum, part intrigued by her forthright nature.

“Lavinia!” a female voice called from above.

“Blast,” she muttered. “Caught in the act.”

New year, new bookcases!


I’ve done the unthinkable – I’ve streamlined my bookcases! 

Every room in the house has at least one bookcase in it, and with my Christmas haul they were groaning under the weight. Books were stacked haphazardly and blocked the view of other titles, and my carefully organised system was out of the window. A culling had to happen, and the bags in the picture show my progress so far. 

I’ve gone through my romance bookcase, my classics bookcase, my reference bookcase and my cookbooks, which now have a bookcase of their own as the classics have been shifted upstairs. I haven’t yet gone through my sci fi and fantasy bookcase, my detective fiction bookcase or my history and biography bookcase. I don’t think I’m going to lose many from those, to be honest. 

All of this was in aid of getting out of buying a new bookcase, but I honestly think I might need one despite the cull.  The only problem is, of course, is that I’ve got nowhere to put it! 

Bedtime stories – 31 days of writing prompts!

What was your favorite book as a child? Did it influence the person you are now?

enormous

 

Now, to be completely honest,  I can’t actually remember this book myself. This was, apparently, my favourite story when I was about three and my parents hated it. It was one of those stories that was all repetition: the farmer has grown an enormous turnip, but it’s so big that he can’t pull it up out of the ground. So, the farmer’s wife joins him, and they both pull, but they can’t budge it, so the farmer’s son joins them, and they pull, but they can’t move it, so the farmer’s daughter joins them….and so on down the line until I think a mouse helps them, maybe? Lots of farmyard animals get involved, anyway, until the damned turnip is uprooted. The cover, perhaps, gives away the most exciting moment in the story!

I would ask for this story all the time.I had that obsessive desire for it that little children seem to have for things – no other story would do.  Despite the fact that I had a wide variety of Ladybird fairy tale books, this is the one I would hone in on, and as my parents were determined to foster a love of stories and books in me, they would give in and read it to me. However, my fervor for the story of the enormous root vegetable got so annoying for my poor parents that my father, no doubt in a moment of inspiration, asked me if I would like to learn to read the book myself, so I wouldn’t have to wait for him or my mother to read it to me.

Now, I’m not claiming that I was a child prodigy or anything, but because of that I was reading a lot earlier than other kids in my class, to the point that when I was five and joined infant school, they had to give me reading books for pupils several years older than me. That started me on a path that ended up in an English Literature degree. I read really widely as a child, and pretty much burned my way through the children’s section of our local library, which thinking about it now, was pretty limited. That’s why I read so many old fashioned books, I think – all the Travers Mary Poppins books, all the Oz books, the Swallows and Amazons series. I read the Just William books, the Biggles books, and the What Katy Did books because that was what the library had. There weren’t any young adult books then, as such.

My father got me an adult readers ticket from a clearly disapproving librarian, who tried to warn him that adult books might contain adult content. I still remember how my father’s eyes rolled at the warning, and how he told me, very simply, that if something in a book upset me, I should just shut the book and read something else.

That, I feel, is advice for life. If you don’t like something, fine, not a problem. Close the book, hit the back button, turn off the tv. You don’t have to clutch your pearls and start a crusade against it. The people that froth at the mouth about Harry Potter books, for example – you don’t like them? Fine! Don’t read them. Problem solved. Don’t try and get them banned from schools and libraries just because these made up stories seem to conflict with the made up stories that you think are important!

So, that’s how I met P G Wodehouse, Agatha Christie, George Orwell and so many other amazing writers. My love affair with Terry Pratchett started because of the adult library ticket. One of the funniest writers I’ve ever had the pleasure to read, Joe Keenan, was found in that library. I read historical non fiction and developed an interest in life centuries ago because those books were in the adult section.

I got an adult ticket because I’d mainlined the children’s section at a young age; I was an advanced reader because I had started young, before school started. I had started reading early because I was in love with a particular story that drove my parents crazy. Their desire to never read that damned turnip book again was what prompted them to try and get me reading much earlier than you would usually expect a child to read.

So all my love of the written word, including my higher education, my day job and my new career as an author, comes back to a fairy tale about an enormous turnip. Thank goodness they bought me that one, and not a different one. Who knows what would have happened?

Journal prompt: are you fussy about your book and music organisation?

bookshelves.jpg

I like to listen to music, but these days all my music has been imported into iTunes, so my actual CDs are in a few dusty cases under the desk in the office room. I tend to buy my music digitally these days, so all organisation is done by the computer. Not that I listen very much nowadays, come to think about it; I can’t listen to music with lyrics when I write as I get distracted, so I either don’t bother, or listen to classical music on Spotify. I listen to podcasts when I’m doing the washing up or cleaning the house, as I find that more interesting than just music.

My books though – they are organised to within an inch of their lives. Firstly, they’re organised by genre. Detective fiction in the front of the living room, science fiction and fantasy in the back, next to the bookshelves with classics in the canon of English Literature on one side and historical non-fiction and biographies on the other. On the bookshelves next to the bathroom are my non fiction reference books, with a few collections of cartoons in the bathroom itself for some light toilet reading. Upstairs in the office room are my bookshelves with professional books for my day job, my collection of children’s books and a bookshelf of romantic fiction. Inside each bookshelf, the genre is organised alphabetically by author, and then by publication date if the author has more than one book in my collection.

Obsessive? Perhaps. But I can always find any book I’m looking for in my house!

 

Journal prompts: what random objects so you use to bookmark your books?

bookmark.jpg

This is an odd question for me, although not for one of my very best friends. For the sake of protecting the flagrantly guilty, we’ll call her Beth. Beth is a rapacious reader. Her flat is lined with bookcases, often stacked precariously on top of each other. Books are packed onto them three-deep, covering every subject you can possibly imagine. I myself have bought her romance novels, books about surviving in the wild, an atlas of world history and a collection of maps designed by a teenage computer genius.

You can tell which books Beth is currently reading by the weird objects she uses to mark her pages. The silver paper that wraps chocolate biscuits, receipts, postcards, newspaper clippings and even, on occasion, an actual bookmark purchased for the purpose. You can track where she was when she was reading by what she’s used to mark her page. The one thing that she doesn’t do, thank goodness, is fold the corner of the page down.

Me?  I don’t use bookmarks.

Sometimes it’s because I’ll read the book entirely in one sitting so I don’t need one. Other times, I remember the page number. I don’t know why I don’t use bookmarks, I have plenty of them. Everybody knows that I like reading, so I usually get a few novelty bookmarks every year as part of Christmas and birthday gifts. At the moment they all sit crammed onto a bookshelf, unused and unloved. I just find it more natural to remember a page number.

Now that I read on my iPad a lot, I have no need of a physical bookmark as the Marvin app I use automatically keeps my place. Perhaps the next time I go to visit Beth, I’ll take my collection of book marks with me to give to her!