In order to promote our amazing new box set, the other authors and I have decided to post our entire first chapters over the next five days.
If you haven't already, get your copy of Masters of the Castle: When the Gavel falls... today, from Amazon or Blushing Books, and to get you in the mood, here's the first part of the first chapter of Sharing Silver...
Her trembling hand made the ice in her gin and tonic clink against the glass as Sylvia took such a large gulp she almost choked on it. She wasn't normally a big drinker, but in light of her current situation...
For the umpteenth time, she stole a quick glance at the alarm clock beside the plain hotel bed, sighing as she realised that she still had more than twelve hours in which to contemplate—and try not to regret—what she was planning to do.
It had been a long flight from Brisbane, Australia, to Ohio, and she had hoped that jet lag would hit her fast, not giving her much of a chance to reflect. Unfortunately, she had slept so much on both planes, lulled into that odd sense of twilight induced by hours of perpetually dimmed lights, the hum of the engines, constantly running movies and a Valium or two, that she was now wide awake at nine o'clock in the evening.
The hotel was pleasant enough, and the flights and immigration had passed without incident, but now she was here. The point of no return was growing ever closer. Glancing at the sheaf of paperwork lying in her lap, Sylvia sighed and bit her lip. She had read every word a million times, and still she could hardly comprehend the enormity of what she had signed up for.
What would Stephen say if he could see me now? If he knew what I'm going to do, would he approve? More importantly, why do I still care whether he would approve or not? It has been more than six months...
With an exasperated sigh, she tossed the brochure in her lap aside and got up to pour herself another drink, exorbitant mini bar prices be damned. Then she curled up on the still neatly made bed, rummaged through her handbag for her address book, picked up the phone and began to dial.
Rosa answered on the third ring. "Hello?"
"Rosa, it's me, Sylvia."
"Hey, sweetie! You made it in one piece? How was the flight?"
"Fine, fine. Long, but that was to be expected. How are you?"
"I'm great. Can't wait to see you tomorrow," Rosa enthused.
"I can't wait to see you either. It's the other stuff I'm worried about. Remind me again why I agreed to do this, and how I let you talk me into it?"
Rosa chuckled, and Sylvia couldn't help but smile at her friend's infectious enthusiasm. "Well," she began, "you've just gone through a messy divorce, right?"
"Right," Sylvia confirmed.
"And you're all heartbroken, your self-esteem is in the basement—in a nutshell, you deserve to treat yourself, right?"
"Still with you so far."
"So what better way to treat yourself than to spend a couple of days with a gorgeous man who fancies you so much that he's paying for you to spend time with him? And who will be fulfilling your every fantasy to boot?"
"Not to mention I'm paying for my trip with some of the money I got from the settlement, so essentially, my ex-husband is paying for my pleasure," Sylvia added.
"Exactly. And you'll get to spend some time with your bestest friend in the whole world, whom you almost never see because we live so far apart. So you tell me, sweet cheeks, why wouldn't you agree to do it?"
"Do you want a list? I've spent the last forty hours or so compiling one in my head," Sylvia groaned.
"What's the worst thing that could happen?"
"Hmm, where do I start? I get purchased—I can't believe I'm even saying that word—by a complete troll who revolts me. And I have to spend the entire two days—and nights—with him."
"Highly unlikely. Sweetie, we're talking about the Castle here. This is an amazing place and I have it on good authority that all the Dominants who are bidding are wonderful in their own special way. No trolls allowed."
"Hum. I'm very picky when it comes to men," Sylvia said.
"I know that. But do you trust me? Honey, I would never have suggested you take part in this auction unless I thought it would do you the world of good." Rosa's enthusiasm was hard to deny.
"And it's been ages since I've played. Stephen tried, bless him, but he was never truly kinky... not compared to me, anyway. I'm out of practice. It's been years since I was in a real D/s relationship."
"Listen to me Sylvia—are you listening?"
"Mm-hmm." Sylvia took another great gulp of gin and tonic, and swore as some of it spilled down her chin.
"Are you drinking?"
"Yes. I figured I might as well get a few in now, seeing as I'll be limited to one per day once I get there. You know I don't indulge often, but sheesh, a couple of glasses of red would do wonders to take the edge off. Why can't the maximum limit be three? Huh?"
"You know why. Safety and consent are the number one priority where you're going. Anyway, as I was saying. D/s, BDSM, ageplay, all the facets of this wonderful kinky world we inhabit... they're all ingrained in us, right?"
"If you're a lovely person, you're always a lovely person, and whether or not you have the chance to prove it is irrelevant, correct?"
"You're asking someone who's just spent almost twenty-four hours on aeroplanes and in airports an awful lot of questions," Sylvia grumbled. "Yes, I see where you're going with this."
"Exactly. You are a maso, honey, and you are naturally submissive. Being married to a vanilla guy for years on end didn't change that. Your fantasies didn't change, did they?"
"If anything, they got more extreme, seeing as I wasn't getting any at home," she confessed.
"Well there you go then. It's just like riding a bike. You'll see. And don't forget, I'm doing it too," Rosa added conspiratorially.
"So how come you're not worried? What if someone you really dislike wins the auction when you're up on the block?"
"Easy." Rosa giggled. "There's no-one at the Castle I dislike. No, seriously though," she added, "this is for Don, so it's a wonderful cause anyway. And I'm tired of being on this side of the Nursery. I want to indulge myself for once."
"Fair enough. Promise you'll meet me there?"
"Of course I will. I can't wait to see you!"
Sylvia smiled. "Same here."
"Oh, that reminds me, have you chosen a name for the duration of your stay here? You know we're all meant to remain anonymous."
"I have. It's actually a nickname my first boyfriend gave me, due to the colour of my hair."
"Let me guess. Silver?"
Sylvia chuckled. "Got it in one."
"It suits you. Get used to using it. You don't know who will be shouting your name this time tomorrow."
"Gee, thanks, that's very reassuring." Sylvia rolled her eyes.
"Listen, I've got to go. Are you going to be okay getting here? I'm not going to have to drive out and kidnap you am I?"
"No," Sylvia sighed. "I might take another half Valium and see whether I can get some sleep. And thanks Rosa. You've really helped reassure me."
"What are friends for?"