Book 1 in the Club Imperial Series
By Katherine Rhodes
** Content Warning: Contains explicit content with BDSM, Erotica, and strong language. Not intended for all audiences. 18+ Audience
From the moment Nathaniel laid eyes on Emmy Westerly, he wanted her in his life. He would do anything to get her there and keep her there. To his surprise, Nathaniel found himself quickly pulled into Emmy’s dark world of whips and blindfolds, kink and submission. He was intrigued not only by the thrill of it, but by the enigma which led Emmy there as well.
Emmy could not resist Nathaniel Walsh. She couldn’t deny the electricity between them, the utter animal magnetism she felt for him. Emmy was mystified by someone as honest and uncomplicated as Nathaniel allowing her to lead him into the dark. She adored having him at the tip of her lash.
But Emmy had secrets - deep, cruel truths which led her to Club Imperial, and staying with Nathaniel would mean telling him everything. He wasn't ready for that.
Neither was she.
“Consensual: A Club Imperial Novel, Book 1”
He followed Emmy down the hall to the kitchen, where he found her with her face pressed into the flowers, inhaling deeply. His blood pressure rose as he openly stared at her backside, shapely and firm in the gorgeous blue dress. It was all he could do to keep from walking up to her and cupping that incredible heart-shaped ass in his hands. She had put the two desserts on the breakfast bar, and her coat was tossed over the chair.
With a sigh, she stepped back from the flowers, but didn't turn around. “I never got flowers, ever, and now three times in the past three months.”
“I'll buy you flowers everyday if you want them,” Nathaniel said, walking up behind her and putting his hands on her arms, trailing up and down.
“They make me feel like...” Her voice drifted off. She turned and smiled at him. “Dessert?”
“Oh, yes,” he said. God, no. No. I want to strip you out of this dress, lay you on the couch and have you for dessert.
She walked around him, going to the fridge. “Wine?”
He turned and looked at her. “Actually, do you have a beer?”
She pursed her lips and sighed. “I do, but...”
“I don't have normal beer,” she said. “I don't drink macro-brewed piss water. It's Troeg's Flying Mouflan.”
His jaw dropped. “You know beers?” She nodded. “And you keep Troeg's in the house?”
“It's in rotation,” she said.
“Oh, dear God, marry me.” He laughed.
“I thought you liked wine?” Emmy asked.
“I like good wine just fine, but I'd rather have a beer when I'm not eating at exclusive restaurants,” he said. “I didn't peg you as the kind of woman who would enjoy beer.”
“A good beer can be just as complicated as a good wine,” she said, pulling out two bottles and putting them on the counter. “And you have to know how to pair the flavors and styles with the food. Troeg's is a great after-dinner beer.” She handed him the bottle opener and Nathaniel opened the two bottles as she turned to get the plates for the dessert.
He watched her lean up to grab the plates and her leg popped up off the ground. The shoes looked so incredible on her feet. She had lovely long legs and he found himself dreaming about licking them from her ankles to her pussy. He took a deep breath and stilled himself. Down. Down. Not yet.
She plated the fruit and chocolate desserts and joined him at the table. Looking around, she laughed. “I almost never eat here. I prefer the den.”
He stood from the stool. “Then let's eat there, if that's where you're more comfortable.”
“So agreeable. I like that.” She smiled and hopped back down, leading the way from the kitchen to the den where there was a coffee table for them to put their plates on. Emmy took the over-stuffed chair and with a private note of disappointment, Nathaniel sat on the love seat. She picked up a remote and turned on the sound system. An achingly gorgeous aria wafted out of the speakers, and it took Nathaniel a moment to place it.
“Ach, ich fühl's?” he asked.
“Very good,” she said. “I sang this at one of my recitals. This and Gretchen am Spinnrade are two of my favorite pieces.” She ate a piece of the confection with an unnerving grace.
“You sing too?” he asked. She nodded with her mouthful. “Dear God, Emmy. The cello and a voice?”
“It's not a good voice,” she said. “It's merely adequate.”
“If you can sing Papagena, I don't think you're merely adequate.”
“Well, no one seemed to agree with you.”
Again he could hear the bitterness in her voice, the sound of someone who had been always left behind and ignored by those around her. She had run a business where she had only been an admin for three days. That was not a woman who was incapable, or merely adequate. He cut off a piece of the dessert and chewed it thoughtfully for a minute, letting the voice from the aria fill the room.
“Oh, damn!” Emmy exclaimed. He looked over and found the latest forkful had cascaded down the front of her dress, leaving a huge chocolate and raspberry stain. “Oh, damn.” She put the plate on the table, and stood. “I have to change, I'm sorry.”
“No, no,” he said. “Go get it off before the raspberry sets.”
She walked out of the room to the bathroom just on the other side of the den. “I'm sorry,” she called.
“It's fine, Emmy,” he said, sitting back and taking a sip of the beer.
“I was...going to ask you about Imperial,” she called a moment later.
He shrugged, confused. “What about it?”
“Did you like it?”
“I think I was too pissed at Jillian to really care,” he said. “I saw some things that were intriguing, but...well, I have to consider my place in the community. Mostly, though, I was pissed at Jillian.” He paused. “It was a beautiful building on the inside. If I remember anything from that night, it was that woman...”
“You liked her?”
He shook his head. “What's not to like about leather and lace? But it was more than that. It was the way she walked across that floor, consumed with such fiery anger. She knew who she was and someone had crossed her. She took steps.” He took a sip of the beer. “The outfit was just the icing on the cake.” He took a quick bite of his dessert, and didn't want to think about that woman. She was an untouchable in a place he didn't want to make a habit. And was tainted by Jillian. He turned down his lip.
“Would you go back?” Emmy asked, the question floating down the hall.
“I don't think I will,” he said. “It was kind of a bad ending to a bad week.”
He paused, and looked at Emmy's dessert. “I can't say never,” he replied. “I don't want to think about it right now. It's probably a very nice place for an interesting distraction.”
“Do you remember what she looked like?” Emmy called.
What is going on here? “Emmy, don't tell me you want to go there.” She didn't answer right away and he could feel himself cringing. He heard a heel click on the wood flooring and then another, then two more. She stopped just out of view. “Please, don't tell me you want to go there,” he said.
“Well, no,” she said. “I was just thinking I could bring a bit of that here.”
She stepped out from behind the wall and Nathaniel dropped his fork loudly on to the plate.
“Fuck.” He gasped.
Emmy was wearing the same black silver-button-up boots, black lace and satin outfit, opera gloves and choker. Her hair was now up, and the only things missing were the whip and the crop.
He stared for a long minute, then rose and walked over to her, where she stood, arms folded, waiting for some sort of response from him. He looked straight into her eyes. “It was you. You were there.”
She nodded once. “It was me.”
Author InterviewWhat inspired you to write Consensual?
I read Fifty Shades of Grey and I was really interested in the material the book presented. I started reading around in the genres – erotica, erotic romance, bdsm – and all I was finding were male Doms. So I decided to create the character I was looking to read.
Which character in your book would you say you are most like? If any.
Well, honestly—Emmy. I have a fierce independent streak and I don’t take well to people telling me to do things. I can get a little bent out of shape when someone orders me around.
What inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always been a writer. Even when I was little. I did my first plot outline when I was six on a chalkboard on the back porch – some day I’ll rewrite that one…
What are you most excited about the most for readers to experience/learn from your newest book?
Why Emmy is the way she is—it’s a pretty messed up story, but I think they’ll really understand how awesome she when they find out.
Were you scared when you first published? Did you feel exposed or vulnerable?
I was scared, but not exposed. I was a journalist in a previous life and I was used to people slinging nasty comments at my work.
Do you have ideas for dream cast members for your book?
Ha. I would love to see Jennifer Lawrence tackle Emmy. That would be awesome, but I generally don’t do that because if the book were ever to get to that point, I would to put relatively unknowns in the spot.
What do you do on your down time? What do you do to relax?
Down time? Writers don’t have down time! We’re either writing or thinking about writing! What do like to do to relax is going out on the back deck on a warm summer day (remember those?) with a cup of tea and my laptop and enjoy some fresh air.
What do you love most about being a writer/author?
I make anything happen on paper. My wildest dreams can come to be through my characters.
What do you hate most about being a writer/author?
Finding the actual time to write. I feel like I’m always bogged down by my “real” jobs.
What writers/authors have inspired you?
Stephen King, first and foremost. Others include Anne McCaffery, Nawal el Sadaawi, Frank Herbert, Toni Morrison. So many…
When you get stuck in a story, how do you get through it?
If I’m not on deadline, I will put the story away and come back to it later. If it’s on deadline, sometimes, I’ll skip that part and jump ahead to keep the words flowing.
Do you listen to music when you write?
Always. Must have music. Music inspires so much.
Can you write anywhere? Or do you need a specific place to write?
Anywhere. And you can take that literally.
Do you have advice for aspiring authors?
Yes. Please. After all the other authors have told you to keep going, don’t give up, don’t let anyone tell you you can’t… please get an editor. That’s all I ask.
What was the best/worst advice you were given in the beginning of your writing career?
My writing career has spanned so many years that I don’t know that I can answer this… I’ve been told good and bad, but I can’t remember most of it now. It all fades to the background because all I really want to do is write.