I’d like to welcome back Ashe Barker as my guest today. Since her last visit here, Ashe has published the remaining 2 titles of her trilogy, The Dark Side, and will be telling us about them today.
Please join me in welcoming her, and feel free to leave a comment or two. 🙂
“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’, and the first book, Darkening, appears in print from 27 September 2013. The core plot 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 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 more than its fair share steamy sex scenes dripping with kink, romantic but with a sharp sting in the tail.
The story is told against the backdrop of the fabulous West Yorkshire moors. This is Bronte country, the home of Wuthering Heights, and particularly dear to my heart because it’s the view I see from my window every day. I wanted to share it with others, and tried to do it justice in my descriptions and in Eva’s reaction to the setting she finds herself in.
The village where I live is a mecca for walkers. They turn up from all over, park their cars, consult their maps, their compasses and these days their GPS kits, and go hiking off up the hills. We local folk are more casual about it. A bunch of us meet up most Thursday mornings in the middle of the village, agree on the spot where we’re going, and just set off. If we feel energetic it might be a long hike. If the weather’s bad, or someone’s pushed for time, we keep it short. Our walks are social affairs, we know all the local tearooms and usually manage to include at least one on our route. And pubs.
The moorland around Haworth is described extensively in my books, but of course a picture paints a thousand words so I wanted to share this one with you. I love this landscape, it’s atmospheric, haunting, timeless, and it wouldn’t take much imagination to conjure up your very own Heathcliff. But I’ll leave that to your own powers of erotic creativity.
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.
Inexplicably fascinated and at the same time totally frustrated by his new submissive, Nathan is increasingly drawn to her as she opens up in his hands and he realises there is much, much more to his latest playmate than he ever could have imagined.
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.
**In this excerpt from Darkening we see the West Yorkshire moors through Eva’s eyes as she sees her new home for the first time in daylight.**
I push back the duvet and swing my legs out onto the floor. I slept in just a long, baggy T-shirt, which I had remembered to screw up in the bottom of my holdall, and now it swishes around my thighs as I head for the window to check what the weather is doing today. Pulling back the heavy yellow curtain, I gasp. I can only stare in awed silence.
The scenery stretching out before me is absolutely breathtaking. Stunning. I have never seen any place lovelier. Or more austere. My mental image of the Brontë moors didn’t remotely do justice to the real thing. As far as I can see, in every direction, lies unbroken, undulating glorious moorland. The colours are vibrant, sparkling, still wet from the previous night’s downpour. The near to middle distance is a glittering kaleidoscope of reds, purples, olives, browns, greens and golds as the heather and bracken, grassland and wildflowers blend into one, seeming to move and rotate, still glittering and shiny from the dampness in the air, catching and reflecting the morning sunlight. In the farther distance are soft pale greys, darker smokiness and pale blue smudges of wispy mist circling the higher peaks, a variegated canvas of softly muted beauty. My eye is caught by the glint of light reflecting off water in the bottom of the valley over to my right—a glittering, dark, deep grey, the surface rippling gently in the slight breeze. A lake, perhaps, or maybe a reservoir.
I remember the strong impression of height and distance, and of wide open vastness surrounding me as Miranda chugged on and up through the inky blackness and driving rain last night. That was no illusion and the sense of limitless space overwhelms me now, as the bright daylight washes the expansive wildness before me . Even though all this beauty, the colours and textures of this grand and timeless landscape , was invisible to me, I recognised its aura last night. I felt the essence of it all around me then, unseen, and I am drenched in it again now as I open the window and breathe deeply, let it pour in, filling my senses.
It is irresistible, timeless and yet constantly changing as the light and shadows shift, as clouds flit across the sky, interrupting the sunlight as they pass, then releasing it back to fall across the moorland once more in dazzling rays. A hazy rainbow starts to appear across the clouds, coming into sharper focus before my eyes as the light refracts through the rainwater still hanging there in the air. Nature’s mysteries and wild beauty combining to wrap around my soul. And I am lost.
The confusion and uncertainty I felt a few moments ago evaporate in an instant. This is home. My home, and come what may I am not giving it up now. I am staying. I know it. I recognise it even though I have never been here before, and I know it knows me.
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.