Tuesday, September 1, 2020

A summertime passion play - #MFRWAuthor #MFRWHooks #Dominance

The Understudy cover

Welcome to this week’s edition of Marketing for Romance Book Hooks. It’s still summer, so I’m sharing a bit from my erotic romance The Understudy, which is set among the players at a summer stock theater in the scenic hills of western Massachusetts.

When you’ve sampled my Book Hook, I hope you’ll visit the other authors participating in today’s hop. You’ll find their links at the end of my post.

Is there a future in playing stand-in to a slave?

Sarah Gladstone was thrilled to be offered her first real acting job at the Berks Summer Playhouse. She never expected to be working with theatre legend Geoffrey Hart. The charismatic actor quickly brings her under his spell, not to mention his control, as he initiates her into the dark delights of BDSM. He offers her far more than physical pleasure; they share a level of intimacy and trust beyond anything Sarah could have imagined.

According to the rumours, though, Geoff's heart is taken. Renowned actress Anne Merrill, his long time partner and submissive lover, has severed their relationship and Hart has escaped to the Berkshires to lick his emotional wounds. With her youth, inexperience, and girl-next-door persona, Sarah knows that she can't compete with the glamorous theatre veteran. She fears that she's just a substitute for the real object of Geoff's affections. As he draws her deeper into his intoxicating games of dominance and submission, Sarah wonders if she's willing to settle for the role of understudy in this perverse passion play.


The Hook

It’s him!” Adele tugged at my shirt, almost hard enough to tear it. “Look, Sarah!” She pointed to the shiny black Lincoln cruising around the corner. “I still can’t believe it! We’re really going to have a chance to work with Geoffrey Hart!” The wooden porch shook as my friend literally jumped up and down with excitement. Adele’s temperament matched her fiery hair.

Of course my own heart beat faster than normal as the town car approached the inn at a sedate pace. Geoffrey Hart was a legend in American theatre. Since his first appearance off-Broadway ten years earlier, he had won every award in the world of drama. He’d played every prestigious role from Oedipus to Willy Loman. One summer in Central Park I’d seen him as both Hamlet and King Lear. He was astonishing, equally convincing as the callow, indecisive university student and the bitter, world-weary old man. His magical voice, full of nuance and music, reached the back row without amplification. His body language was eloquent with emotion. In both plays, he’d made me cry. His performances were an inspiration, one of the things that finally made me settle on drama—much to my parent’s chagrin.

I’d been thrilled when the Berk Hills Playhouse offered me a place for the summer. I never in a million years expected that I’d meet the man who had been such a role model.

But why on earth was he coming here, to a little summer stock theatre in the rural hills of western Massachusetts? The last news I saw, he was lead actor and part owner of the Gotham Repertory Company. What could possibly have induced him to abandon the city for the sticks?

I heard that he broke up with Anne Merrill,” said Adele, sotto voce, as if she’d read my mind. “She dumped him. He’s come out here to the country to lick his wounds.”

What? Who told you that?” I recalled the actor’s handsome face and imposing presence. It was hard to believe someone would dump him—he seemed like the type to do the dumping.

I can’t reveal my sources.” Adele’s eyes sparkled with mischief. “But the word is that his heart is broken.”

Oh come on!” I just couldn’t imagine someone like Hart moping about a woman. “Seriously?”

I wouldn’t lie to you, would I?” She put her arm around my shoulders and gave me a quick hug. “And that’s not all. There are rumours about their relationship—that it was, well, kinky, if you know what I mean. According to the grapevine, she wasn’t just his girlfriend. She was also his slave.”

Please! You shouldn’t believe every bit of gossip you hear.”

I’m just saying…”

Shush! They’re here.”

The town car slid to a silent stop in front of the steps. The uniformed driver opened the back door, then stood back to let his passenger alight. For a long moment nothing happened—like the suspense before the curtain rises. I realised I was holding my breath.

A pair of long legs clad in black emerged from the shadowy interior. A lean torso followed, wearing a white shirt open at the neck under a black jacket. Finally, I could see his face.

Up close—he stood no more than a dozen yards from us—he looked more rugged and less refined than he had seemed on stage. Thick black hair curled above a noble forehead. I had a sudden, almost irresistible urge to bury my fingers in those lustrous waves. He had a Mediterranean complexion and a proud nose with a slight hook. I remembered reading that he was part Armenian and part Italian, despite his British stage name. His square jaw suggested stubbornness, his wide mouth and full lips, sensuality. His eyes were set deep under well-shaped, somewhat bushy brows.

He turned those dark eyes on me and I felt suddenly faint. They were the eyes of a predator sizing up his prey. His lips twisted into a half smile, displaying his pearly teeth. I wanted to run, but I was rooted to the spot. My cheeks burned. Sweat gathered under my arms. I realised my nipples were hard, pressing painfully against the constraining fabric of my bra, and I said a silent prayer of thanks that I’d at least worn a bra today. At least he couldn’t see those brazen nubs. The way he looked at me, though, with that focused, cruel attention, made me feel completely naked.

Buy The Understudy

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005CQP77I/

BN: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-understudy-lisabet-sarai/1106799949

Totally Bound: https://www.totallybound.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=1175

Be sure to check out the other authors participating in today’s Book Hooks!


Janet Lane Walters said...

The eyes of a predator got my attention

Ellen Mint said...

Wonderfully written and intriguing. I got the sense of the characters almost instantly.

Dee S Knight and Anne Krist said...

This excerpt sets up the drama and conflict so well!

Holly Bargo said...

You set up the story really well.

Fiona McGier said...

Another hot one, Lisabet. I may have to add this to my "research" into BDSM. Purely for educational reasons, of course! LOL.

Tena Stetler said...

Well done. The excerpt set up what is to come, leaving you wondering how it will go.

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