Happy Monday Everyone!
I know what you're thinking...'what's happy about a Monday?'
Well how about this...a sexy BDSM trilogy! Ha! I knew I could hook you.
Author Ashe Barker has stopped by to introduce us to her BDSM Trilogy, The Dark Side.
“Welcome to the Dark Side, Miss Byrne”
Nathan may not have cookies, but he definitely has a whole lot else to offer Eva as he introduces her to the darker side of romance. And Eva has her own reasons for seizing what he offers her, with both hands.
All three books in The Dark Side trilogy are now ‘out there’. Darkest, the third and final instalment went on general release on 18 October, and the first book, Darkening, appeared in print on 27 September. I’ve been so touched by the great reviews for all three titles, particularly as this was my first attempt at getting a story published. It’s so heartening to know that others have enjoyed reading about my characters as much as I loved creating them.
The core plot in The Dark Side is one of burning attraction, hot seduction and even hotter sex, an erotic journey as Nathan draws his eager pupil into the joys and challenges of his BDSM lifestyle. But it’s not an easy ride, for either of them, and each has their secrets which threaten to derail their fragile connection.
The Dark Side trilogy is big on pain and the flip-side, pleasure, as you might expect from a story with a central theme of BDSM. But life has a way of being more complex than that. Underlying the delicate Dom-sub relationship between Eva and Nathan, is Eva’s constant battle with depression, her own ‘dark side’ which on occasions threatens to overwhelm her. But more destructive than her, at times, fragile mental health are Eva’s frantic efforts to deny the problem, to hide it, to avoid being labelled or judged. And it’s this struggle to maintain her façade that drives Eva to make quirky, destructive, and sometimes bizarre choices, risking her career, her blossoming relationship with her enigmatic but Dominant lover, and even her life.
But that’s not what Eva will be remembered for. Despite her struggles, Eva is a strong heroine with a lot going for her. With an IQ at the upper end of brilliant and a stunning range of talents she’s resilient, courageous, intelligent. She’s respected, admired, independent. She’s a long, long way from being a helpless victim. She knows it lies within her own power to change her life, ultimately, it’s down to her. She just has to make the right choices. Eventually. If she’s to win her happy ever after it will only be by facing her demons and dealing with them, and by accepting the help that’s all around her.
A lot of readers would recognise the difficulties Eva faces as she grapples with post-natal depression, the pain and grief of loss and betrayal, and the constant struggle to fit in. Mental health issues impact on most of us at some time, and whilst The Dark Side is first and foremost an enjoyable, sexy read, Eva’s story is designed to encourage people to think about it and talk about it. There’s a lot of empathy out there, just as there are lots of opportunities to find joy if you look out for them and expect to find them.
Eva finds hers in the form of the sexy and dominant Nathan Darke who challenges her to face her fears and move beyond them, who shows her the real meaning of pain, and the glittering reality of mind-numbing pleasure. And it’s Nathan who is there to pick up the pieces and keep her safe when she most needs him.
The Dark Side charts their turbulent journey together as Eva and Nathan each peel away their protective layers to expose the vulnerabilities beneath. It takes courage, and trust, and more than a few leaps of faith. It’s a sensual story, with its fair share steamy sex scenes dripping with kink, romantic but with a sharp sting in the tail.
The Dark Side trilogy, charts the sensual journey of academic musician Eva Byrne as she struggles to overcome painful shyness, sexual inhibition, and personal tragedy. Lonely, unsophisticated, fragile, and desperately seeking love and approval, Eva is easy prey for sensual and experienced Nathan Darke.
He wants her submission, and he knows how to go about getting it. Eva is quickly caught up by the whirlwind of his effortless seduction, though she has her own reasons for agreeing to join him in his world of pain and pleasure, on The Dark Side.
The Dark Side charts the turbulent relationship between Eva and Nathan as their mutual fascination builds. They both discover what surrender truly means as together they explore the fragile bonds of desire, trust, risk and reward, and the destructive power of betrayal.
This excerpt is taken from Darkest, book 3 in the trilogy, an insight into Eva’s depression.
When I restarted my role in Ben’s research programme my online profile reflected it immediately and Nathan was on it, courtesy of Google alerts. He emailed Ben, demanding to be put in touch with me. Ben, bless him, lied for me. He told Nathan that I was working remotely as I would have been if I’d stayed at Black Combe, and he didn’t know my whereabouts. And Nathan bought that, luckily. And all the time I was bunked up in Ben’s spare room, getting larger and larger as my pregnancy progressed.
But Ben did agree to Nathan’s demands that he at least forward Nathan’s emails to me, even though I insisted that I didn’t want them. By mistake, I read the first few lines of the first one that found its way into my inbox. It was full of pleas that I get in touch, talk to him about what had happened, let him put things right. I stopped reading and deleted it, and set my junk email filter to divert every other one that came after straight to my trash. I emptied it regularly, just to make sure. There was nothing I wanted to say to him, and nothing he could tell me that would appease the bitter pain of his betrayal and his lies. Quite simply, he’d broken my heart.
And now, his eyes follow me everywhere, gazing at me from his daughter’s pretty little six-week-old face. I look into those stunning eyes—it’s obvious whose DNA is dominant here—and that harsh burn of betrayal, that jagged, vicious stab of shattered trust is once more my constant companion. I can’t look at Isabella without the whole traumatic mess flooding back, slicing into my hollow, aching, broken heart and haunting my empty, meaningless existence.
I’d thought I had it licked, more or less. Sort of. The gaping, agonising wound caused by Nathan’s betrayal and the shattering of my dreams, the tearing apart of my hopes and annihilation of my sense of self-worth were little short of crippling at first. I spent the first few weeks at Ben and Gina’s sobbing, or lying in the dark in their spare room, trying to make myself numb because the pain of feeling anything at all was too much, quite intolerable. Then, gradually, the paralysis lifted, faded. Just a little.
Looking back, I think I came to regard it as a huge and grotesque picture hanging over my psychological mantelpiece, right there the whole time, in my face, filling my consciousness. Dominating every waking moment. Then, as time slowly passed, as the days dragged by and became weeks, I got used to seeing that horrific canvas there and was no longer taken by surprise every time—the shock was less acute. It was painful still, but I became accustomed to the pain, I knew what to expect from it. Then, as more weeks slid away, it was as though I managed to move the picture to the back of the room, still there and still dominant when I looked at it, which was frequently. But not in my face quite so much.
As the weeks and months went by I shifted the canvas out into my mental hallway, and down into a dark corner of my memory. I still went there, quite frequently, drawn there by my masochism and self-pity, but I could get away from it sometimes. I sometimes even forgot about it completely. For an hour or two. And I sort of expected that eventually I’d manage to lug that bloody picture out to my psychological garage and dump it behind some load of old subconscious crap.
It would still be there, I didn’t believe I’d ever be rid of it entirely, but I wouldn’t have to look at it. I’d be able to live a normal life—or what I thought might pass for one, more or less, in my fucked-up world.
Until 2010 I was a director of a regeneration company in Leeds, in the UK, before becoming convinced there must be more to life. I left to work as an independent consultant, and still do some of that though most of my time is now spent writing, as at last I’ve been able to realise my dream of writing erotic romance myself. I’ve been an avid reader of women’s fiction for many years, and I still love reading historical and contemporary romances – the hotter the better. But now I have a good excuse for my guilty pleasure – research.
I usually draw on settings and anecdotes from my own experience to lend colour, detail and realism to my plots and characters, but my stories of love, challenge, resilience and compassion are the conjurings of my own lurid imagination.
When not writing – which is not very often - my time is divided between my role as resident taxi driver for my teenage daughter, and caring for a menagerie of dogs, rabbits, tortoises. And a cockatiel. I’m a rural parish councillor, and I’m passionate about evolving rural traditions and values to suit twenty first century lifestyles.
I’ve just completed my third trilogy in the Black Combe ‘family’ as well as a novella and a short story. All are due for release over the next few months.
Buy Links:My books are available from most distributors
Thanks so much for sharing The Dark Side trilogy with us today Ashe and good luck with the newest release in the series Darkest,
come back any time.