First, The Art of Domination Serial will pick up again with one and possibly two new releases. Yes, that would be The Art of Domination 4: Dominant Object and The Art of Domination 5: Soft Focus, but that will be mid-month and near the end of the month, respectively.
What do I have for you before that? A new title and a promotion! What do you get when you mix a science fiction classic like Blade Runner with Firefly, Memoir of a Geisha, and Fifty Shades of Grey? You get sci-fi geisha in domination and submission romance set in a futuristic New Angeles, and it looks like this:
Lily, the most sought-after of all geisha submissives in the renowned Garden House, is about to graciously decline yet another wealthy patron’s offer to become her Danna, her Dom, when she discovers the man making the offer is Teven Vance. Heir to the most important banking family in New Angeles, Vance was not only Lily's first love as a young apprentice but the patron who purchased her virginity—the night before he disappeared from her life. Eight years later, he returns a self-made man to claim Lily as his own, but military plots and political intrigues follow Lieutenant Colonel Teven Vance of the Western Command, threatening the family and traditions that mean everything to the woman he loves. They could even cost her life.
Sound good? I've even got an excerpt for you:
Lily had already vowed publicly never to take a Danna. Apparently, that encouraged certain kinds of men, captains of industry and heads of state with wealth and high position (quite literally, amid the two hundred story city) that grounders could not have imagined any more than a man born blind could have imagined a color. No matter. This was her duty, her service, her art. For one night, she would submit herself and her body to the whims and pleasures and princely fantasies of her client as only a Fifth Step, top class geiko could. Afterward, Lily would politely decline his bid to become her Danna and to keep her as his own. She would keep herself, and her House, and her sisters. She would keep her heart where it belonged, inside her silken robes, behind the unbreakable cage of her cold breast.
She left Rowan to the teen’s overly romantic daydreams and departed the apartments for The Garden’s teahouse proper. It was dark “outside” in the landscaped courtyard, amidst a clear and starry night that was in truth a digital simulation displayed on a vast glass atrium above the completely enclosed compound—one reason being out under an open sky did not panic Lily as it otherwise might have. While strange bodies and smells pressed close in the chaotic streets outside the walls, the cobble paths of The Garden smelled of flowers and rang only of birdcalls.
The ground floor of the traditional Japanese teahouse was the common level, a haven of skilled hospitality but conventional entertainment. Whispers of appreciation from onlookers followed the first rank geiko, who coyly concealed her face with her fan, as she passed through the entryway enroute to the stairs. The second floor, The Second Step, was more jovial, like the hostess bars of old Japan before the quake that had crumbled two-thirds of the island into the ocean. The Third Step brought erotic but purely voyeuristic delight, which culminated in the bliss of private caresses on The Fourth Step. And The Fifth Step, yes, it was there where the geisha of New Angeles most stridently departed from the purity of the Japanese performers who were their namesakes.
It was there—here—that Lily knelt outside the paper door of the appointed salon. Per tradition and with all the poise and grace and perfect intention of a consummate geiko, she slid the panel open, crawled inside, and closed the screen behind her, all soundlessly. Her client stood on the opposite side of the luxuriously crafted but sparsely furnished room with his back to her as he gazed at the real live garden that occupied the central courtyard of the teahouse. His navy blue suit displayed skilled tailoring, of a quality that was not too flashy or excessively concerned with status labeling, and a body blessed of a broad, muscular back tapering into an athletic torso. Lily allowed herself a full second to feel the initial flush of attraction: the faint flutter in her stomach and the warmth kindled at her core. She was able to appreciate, as well as embody, beauty in form. The geiko even smiled to herself—which was completely permissible in this situation—over the fact that she liked his hair. He wore it trimmed neat, sable brown, a rich earthen color indicating he was more likely Anglo than Japanese. The strands gleamed in the diffused lighting, soft and thick and inviting, and Lily consoled herself with the thought that she would enjoy running her hands through his hair—presuming the Dom permitted it.
Her training dictated that she kneel in front of her evening’s patron, but his position prevented it. With some frustration, none of which showed in her expression or movements or pace, Lily lowered herself to her knees just behind the man, not too close, but near enough that she knew he could not help but notice the scent of sandalwood and citrus perfuming the skin of his submissive as she waited to attend him.
After only a moment, Lily heard him draw in and slowly release a deep breath that told her clearly he knew she was there, and had likely known since the moment she arrived. Something about the sound, maybe the suggestion of a sensual rumble from low in his throat or the smooth and measured deliberation of his sigh, calmed her. The self-control, self-possession, was familiar to her and indicated a skilled, confident, unhurried Dom. He would be, perhaps, the sort of man Lily appreciated entertaining and serving. Suddenly, the evening held potential she hadn’t expected, even if it would invariably end in her denial of his proposition. And it would, still.
When he turned to face Lily at last, he found the geiko kneeling with open palms upturned upon her thighs and gaze downturned to focus on his polished shoes. Without looking up, she placed the fingers of one delicate hand on the back of her neck. The other hand followed in a precise kata as measured as the famed tea ceremony. Her spine formed a graceful arch that pressed her rounded breasts forward enticingly. Only then did Lily’s gaze shyly, girlishly ascend the powerful lines of her patron’s body, his muscular form vaguely softened by the elegant drape of his trousers and jacket. Strange that her breath caught at the top of her throat, as she swallowed the scent of him. He wore something with sage lightened by mint, applied with the sparing hand she would have expected of a military man or government director. She paused at the breadth of his chest. Below the cologne, the musk of his skin—faint and clean and woodsy—momentarily dispersed her concentration. So familiar….
She did not recognize his face, though, at least not at first. Close-trimmed hair darkened his strong jaw and outlined the full bow of his sensual lips, which were wide and relaxed and suggested a smile even in the absence of one. The straight, stately patrician nose was practically standard among the most handsome men of New Angeles and implied a lineage drawn from one of the wealthier banking families. His cheekbones were just high and rounded enough, above a face just angled and hollowed enough, to make him good looking without crossing over to pretty.
His eyes, like his hair, shone a rich and gleaming brown. Shone, as though lit from within by… by an inner fire, a passion. He had to have been in his thirties, but his eyes were much younger. Not as young as they had once been, Lily realized as recognition seized her like a trainer’s sudden grip on the back of her collar, jerking an apprentice away just as she was about to commit a grave misstep.
Tell me the name of my lord, I beg. That was the phrase with which all Fifth Step geisha began the ritualized introduction of Dom to submissive. The words could be light and playful. They could be sacred, fragile, as though able to withstand no more force than a whisper. They could hold a subtle challenge, when the geiko sensed that was her patron's true desire.
Instead, in her first slip in ceremony in at least two years, Lily gasped. Her fingers slid from the back of her neck to cover her exclamation. Her mind flailed out for some thought or word to seize upon as an anchor. Only one came to her, pushing out all others, suffering no other.
Flower-And-Willow In New Angeles is a standalone novella that will be released for Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance, and Smashwords on Friday, May 2. It will be available shortly thereafter for Apple, BookStrand, Kobo, and Sony. HOWEVER, if you subscribe to my newsletter, you have the chance to receive one of five free pdf copies I will email to winners two days before the official release. Details go out in today's newsletter!