The Unicorn by Delphine Dryden
Series: The Escape Universe
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: February 22, 2016
Buy Link: Publisher
Hi! I’m Delphine Dryden, touring the internet to talk about my latest book, The Unicorn. It’s a geeky, kinky M/F/F romp, it’s part of Riptide’s “Escape” universe, and it’s a much-expanded version of an earlier story called Roses and Chains. Thanks so much to all the blogs hosting the tour!
Be sure to comment on tour posts for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift certificate and your choice of two books from my backlist.
Delia and Daniel have a picture-perfect life. They like their jobs. They love their house. Everything is coming up roses . . . but in private, they’d rather have the thorns. Their recent forays into kink have brought them closer than ever, but there’s still something missing, and they can’t quite work it out.
Mara knows what she’s missing: a significant other. She tried vanilla, and it was a total bust. But when she and her last girlfriend took things out of the kink club and into the “real” world, they fizzled. Even their friendship is on the rocks now. Mara feels like a lost stray, looking for a forever home.
When the three of them meet up at the brand-new club Escape, their connection is instant. And surprising—none of them were expecting more than a few hot nights. But now they might be ready to bring their kinky threesome into the light of day and build a life together.
A few minutes later, Mara was seated on the floor next to Amie’s chair, wrapped in the soft, fluffy throw she’d brought with her for that purpose. As Mara dutifully finished off a bottle of water and plucked idly at one of the Dom’s bootlaces, Amie leaned down and pressed an unexpected kiss to the top of her head. Then she handed her a business card. Mara took the card and stared at it for a moment before looking up at Amie.
“My friend Dru’s new club. You have to call for directions, and to get your name on the list. I know you don’t like new places, sweetie, but I think it’s time. You’re barely holding it together, aren’t you? Maybe you can find somebody new to play with there, who can give you what I can’t. Besides, I think it might be good for you to have a change of scene. I’m gonna tell Dru to expect your call.”
She wanted to crumple the innocent white oblong into a ball and throw it back at Amie, but she knew her frustration wasn’t the Dom’s fault. It was her own. She looked at the card for another long moment before answering carefully.
“I’m sorry if I didn’t please you tonight, Mistress. It was very kind of you to—”
“Don’t. Don’t bullshit me. We were never like that.” Amie gave a sharp sigh and pulled her ankle from Mara’s reach, then stood and tucked a finger under Mara’s chin to force her eyes upward. She was too well trained to jerk away, no matter how much she wanted to.
“Honey, we always did have a good time here in the club. It never worked outside, and we both knew that. But we gave it a good try, and I can respect that. What I cannot respect”—Amie landed a soft faux slap against her cheek—“is a sub who plays passive-aggressive bullshit games, and won’t let herself get what she needs from the arrangement.”
Mara knew better than to apologize. She bit down on the automatic I’m sorry and nodded.
“I’m not sure what you need, Mara. And I don’t think you’re sure either. But there’s no reason to feel bad about that. It’s brave to be out there trying. You don’t need to beat yourself up for not figuring it out faster.”
“I know. I know.”
“Especially not when there are so many people who would be thrilled to do that beating for you.”
She couldn’t help but smile, and Amie grinned back—the million-megawatt, slightly evil smile that attracted subs from miles away. The prom queen has decided she wants to whip your ass . . . you’ll take it and like it, so bend over. Mara had been one of the first in line when Amie’d arrived on the local scene, and she would never regret the experience or their time together.
But Amie really had been a popular prom queen, and Mara really had been a disaffected, Indie-rock-listening Goth girl. Similar ages, similar backgrounds on paper, but in reality they might as well have been from different worlds. Though they’d tried to find some common ground outside their scenes, it had simply never gelled. They shared one big negative: each of them had been on their own from the time they left high school. Amie’s fundamentalist family had kicked her out after catching her with another girl. Mara’s parents had divorced when she was young, and she had never felt at home in the apartment she moved into with her mom and brother afterward. She’d gone to another state for college and never returned. But “lacks a sense of family” wasn’t a solid basis for a relationship. Really, they should have figured it out as soon as they realized their entire music libraries had only a dozen songs’ worth of overlap—all Christmas music.
Whenever things had gotten tough, they’d tried to solve it on the play floor at the club. In the end, that hadn’t been good for their relationship or their scenes.
“Mistress, may I worship your boot?” A groveling young man in a studded black leather thong had knelt down near Mara at Amie’s feet. It happened all the time, and she knew to wait while Amie dealt with it. She didn’t blame the guy. She felt much the same about Amie, even though they were no longer together and she wasn’t a boot fetishist. Her ex-mistress had a magnetic vibe, drawing subs from all directions like so many helpless iron filings.
This one made the mistake, though, of starting his move before he had received permission. He was already leaning in, mouth open, when Amie spoke.
“Move that tongue any closer to my boot, worm, and you’ll be thrown out of this club for a month. Drool on the leather, and I’ll rip that fucker out of your damn mouth. You do not have my consent.”
Then she turned back to Mara, ignoring the man, who was smart enough to squirm away without another word. He did whimper, however. He had almost certainly enjoyed the rebuke on some level.
“Pushy asshole. Look, just call the number. I haven’t been yet, but I’ve heard the place is amazing. Dru . . . she has the best taste, so it’s sure to be awesome. And I wouldn’t suggest it if I didn’t think it would help. It’s worth a shot, anyway. So be brave, okay? Now how are you feeling? Are you good to be on your own now, or do you need me to stay with you awhile longer?”
Aftercare hadn’t been Amie’s strong suit even when they were still together. She tried to hide it, but Mara had always sensed she had a limited patience for cuddles. Now, without even perfunctory postscene snuggling, the care felt downright clinical. It would have amused her if she weren’t already feeling the dangerous drop as her endorphin high started to fade. As it was, she thought an attempt to keep the connection going would only weary and depress her further.
“I’m good. Go play, have fun. And thank you.”
“You know it was my pleasure. And a perfect warm-up for me, too. I’ll go play, but I’ll stay out in the main room in case you need me before you go, okay? And I’ll call you tomorrow to check up on you.”
With another pat to her cheek, Amie was gone, strolling away across the main floor of the club like the Queen of the Doms, off to review her subjects.
Leaving Mara alone to consider the merits of calling the number on the innocuous white card.
Delphine Dryden probably should have gone ahead and become an English professor like she planned. Instead, she took a detour through law school, another detour through the wonderful world of working in special education, and took an extra fifteen years to end up where she belonged: writing kinky romances.
Del’s writing has earned an Award of Excellence and Reviewers’ Choice Award from Romantic Times Book Reviews, an EPIC Award, and a Colorado Romance Writers’ Award of Excellence. When not writing or editing, she can be found binge-watching television shows, playing tabletop games, and tweeting to excess.
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Leave a comment for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift certificate and your choice of two books from Delphine Dryden’s backlist. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 27, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!