For today’s MFRW Book Hooks hop, I decided to go back to my very first novel, Raw Silk, and share the heroine’s first meeting with the hero. Originally published by Black Lace in 1999, the book was initially marketed as erotica for women. It’s gone through four editions since, becoming more romance-focused with each one. When I wrote it, though, I knew nothing about the romance genre or tropes. I was drawing from personal experience to create the story of a woman’s journey to a deeper understanding of her sexual self, including her submissive tendencies.
The funny thing is, this is one of the very few of my books which has an alpha hero. Despite my lack of romance background, Gregory Marshall is the classic romance Dom. Maybe there’s something about the archetype that transcends genre.
In any case, my hook today is the scene where Kate first encounters the challenging and seductive giant who will ultimately become her Master.
In a foreign land, a woman discovers exotic new realms of the senses…
When software engineer Kate O’Neill leaves her lover David to take a job in Thailand, she becomes sexually involved with two very different men—a handsome and debauched member of the Thai aristocracy, and the charismatic proprietor of a sex bar.
Each touches her in a different way; each teaches her different things about her body and her heart.
Then David comes to Bangkok, and Kate realizes that, finally, she must choose one of the three men who all desire her.
She turned her attention back to the information on her computer monitor, willing herself to pay attention to her work. As she focused on code scrolling down her screen, other thoughts faded into the background.
She was so intent on her tasks that she did not hear Malawee approach. She started at the Thai woman’s respectful voice.
“Miss Katherine, Mr. Edward asked me to see if you were available. He’s meeting with a client, and would like you to join him.”
“Of course,” said Kate, stifling a surge of frustration. She turned on her screen saver, and followed Malawee to the conference room.
She knocked then opened the door. Harrison sat at the far end of the polished table, a look of annoyance on his face. Sitting beside him was a man of unusual appearance—disquieting, she thought then questioned the source of her reaction.
The man was European or American. He dressed casually, entirely in black—black shirt with a stand-up collar, tight black jeans. He had long, straight hair, also black, pulled back in a ponytail with an ornate silver barrette. Kate thought she saw a flash of silver at his throat. His long fingers, clasped before him on the table, were similarly adorned with silver rings.
Strong planes shaped his tanned face—broad forehead, high cheekbones, resolute chin. His mouth, at the moment, framed a smile, but Kate thought that she caught a twist of irony in his expression.
As she entered, he turned his attention to her, and she saw his eyes—shocking, unexpected blue, under heavy black brows. Intense, piercing, and completely without restraint, any sense of politeness or etiquette. He continued to hold her gaze with his for an awkward moment. Then Edward broke in, clearing his throat.
“Ah, Katherine. Thank you for taking the time to join us. We need your technical expertise.”
“Of course,” she said softly, seating herself several chairs away from the man in black. She was aware that he was still staring at her, and still smiling.
“Katherine, this is Gregory Marshall, one of our clients.” The man in black rose and bowed, a polite gesture, yet somehow unconvincing. Kate saw that he was very tall, well over six feet. “Mr. Marshall, Katherine O’Neill, our new director of software development.”
“My pleasure,” said the man, perfectly civilly. So why did she feel he was mocking her?
“Mr. Marshall is the proprietor of one of the foremost establishments in Patpong.”
“The red-light district?” she blurted out then nearly bit her tongue in embarrassment.
“The entertainment district,” countered the man in black smoothly. “The Grotto is just a go-go bar, offering the same types of entertainment available in many places in the city. However, I am trying to make it more distinctive, more creative, more—interesting. That’s where DigiThai comes in.”
“Yes,” her boss cut in, trying to recapture the conversational initiative. “Six months ago we designed and installed a custom multimedia system for Mr. Marshall’s bar, The Grotto. Video-walls and cameras, a simulated aquarium with computer-graphic inhabitants, acoustically-driven digital kaleidoscopes—very elaborate.”
“And very successful,” said Gregory Marshall, with a broad smile that bared his straight, white teeth. “I’m very happy with your work. It’s just that now I want to go further.”
“Mr. Marshall has some novel ideas, but, as I have been telling him, they are barely feasible, technically. And certainly not for the money that we have been discussing.”
Always attracted by a technical challenge, Kate found herself interested. “What do you have in mind, Mr. Marshall?” she asked, in her most professional tone of voice.
“Well, now…” The man’s voice was melodious, controlled, expressive. The voice of an actor. He riveted her with his gaze again. She stared back at him, proudly, rebelliously, not willing to be cowed. Eventually, he continued his sentence, without looking away from her.
“Three-dimensional imagery is what I am looking for. Something like the holograms one sees in science fiction movies. My girls are already fantastic, but I’d like to project more fantastic images still, images from people’s dreams and nightmares, mysterious, evocative, disturbing, erotic. Furthermore, I would like to somehow link these images to the music, so that my customers will see, projected before their eyes, reflections or echoes of the emotions aroused by the beat and the melody.”
Kate was silent for a moment. As she gathered her thoughts, Gregory Marshall watched her attentively. Finally, she spoke, choosing her words carefully.
“Three-dimensional imagery on a two-dimensional screen has now become inexpensive and commonplace. Projected 3-D, though, still requires costly hardware, and custom software— the sort of thing available only to Disney or Spielberg.”
She paused and took a deep breath before continuing. “I do have some familiarity with this area, though. I did some related research when I was in grad school.”
“Would you be willing to work on this for me?” interrupted Marshall, clearly excited. “I believe that I can make you understand exactly what I want.” He paused dramatically. “What do you say, Kate?”
Part of her bristled at the liberties he took, using her name so familiarly on such short acquaintance. Part of her warmed in response to that very familiarity, the tone of persuasive intimacy.
However, she had to admit she was eager for the opportunity to pursue her ideas on the problem. She’d had to put her 3-D project aside after defending her thesis. Employers in the U.S. were seeking more practical innovations.
As for the chance to work for Gregory Marshall—well, that notion filled her with equal measures of excitement and dread. He was an arrogant bastard, that much was clear. The way he looked at her—without a shred of respect, as though she was some sort of peon, his to command! Yet at the same time, that challenging gaze made her pulse race and, yes, her pussy a bit damp. Despite his brashness and poor manners, she found him somehow intriguing.
Not that she’d let him know that, of course.
“That decision is for Mr. Harrison to make.” Kate responded as coolly as she could manage. “If the two of you can resolve the financial issues, I’d be very happy to continue my research in this area. However, we can’t promise you success. The work is in too early a stage for that.”
“I want no promises from you—now,” said the man in black softly. “And I am patient.” His sapphire eyes bored into her, as though he’d read her mind. Confusion, anger, arousal and fear washed through her in alternating waves. Under Marshall’s relentless scrutiny, she felt slightly faint.
“This is by far one of the best erotic novels that I have read and it fully deserves every one of the five ribbons I am giving it! But it does make me wonder what the characters could do with them.” ~ Maree Schuler, Romance Junkies (Five Ribbons).
“[Kate’s] character grows and she comes to realize her inner needs along with her deep sexual desires. Lisabet Sarai has a flair for sexy, sensuous romance with an edgy feel. I cannot wait to read more by this talented author.” ~ Dawnie, Fallen Angels Reviews (Five Angels).
“The Bangkok setting is fascinating and adds to the overall feeling of opulent sensuality. Lisabet Sarai deftly shows the country without ever letting the descriptions take over the story. Good BDSM novels are voyages of self-discovery, and Raw Silk is a journey you’ll enjoy taking.” ~ Kathleen Bradean, Erotica Revealed
“...this is one SIZZLING read (the ending was incredible) and should not be put on the back burner of your ‘to read list.” ~ Alyssa, Amazon review (Five stars)
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