Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sunday's Safe Word Shelf: Tales from Rainbow Alley by Jaime Samms Part 1

Hotwired Heart #1
A good car thief needs sixty seconds, but grand theft heart might take even less time than that.

Freedom and trust; opposite sides of the same coin that could give expert car thief, Marky, the win he's looking for. Little does he know escaping his gang ties will lead him through heartbreak and into cuffs he hadn't even thought to watch out for.

Now he can trust the powerful man who wants to help, or he can keep running. It all depends on how much he values his freedom, and whether or not Roland has managed the impossible; hijacking Marky's carefully guarded heart.

***Publisher's Note: This story has been previously released as part of the Stealing My Heart anthology by Total-E-Bound***

Reader Advisory: This story contains light BDSM and the death of a minor character by shooting.
Finders, Keepers #2
All his life, Rory Sanders just wanted please the people he loves and always thought he failed, until the day Gabriel Stark rescues him from Kane's abusive hands and Rory's own misconceptions of what it means to be submissive.

His search for a way into the world that lets him live out his need to serve others has left Rory Sanders estranged from his family and without a lot of friends. When he meets Kane, he thinks his dreams have come true. Those dreams are shattered when he discovers Kane is less interested in his submission than his total subjugation and humiliation. Unable to figure out how to please Kane, Rory is left in a dangerous and humiliating position, bound and helpless in a fetish club where he at last meets people who understand.

Gabriel Stark is not only the private investigator called in to figure out who Kane is and why he has been abusing submissive men, he's also a professional Dom and the man of Rory's dreams come to life. It remains to be seen if Gabe can overcome his own losses and mistakes and be the Dom Rory needs, or if he will let his own past be the ruin of yet another submissive who needs his help. That Rory is physically, emotionally, and intellectually everything Gabe has been looking for only makes Gabe more determined not to get emotionally invested in Rory's recovery.

Keeping Rory safe from Kane might be more than Gabe can manage on his own, and the result of failure could cost the submissive his life.

Reader Advisory: This book contains D/s relationships and graphic descriptions of sexual and psychological abuse.

Fix This, Sir #3
It's always easier to run and hide than to face your problems. So what happens when you get your legs cut out from under you and running is impossible?

Jimmy's been hiding from his troubled past for a long time—in drugs, drink and dangerous sex. It's always been easy to find oblivion in the restraints of men who don't really care who he is or where he's come from. When tragedy puts him in a wheelchair and forces him to fix his legs—and his life—he's not so sure he has it in him to even try. Belligerence is the only weapon he has left.

Cliff is a physiotherapist with a big heart...and a dominant streak a mile wide. The instant Jimmy Phillips rolls into his clinic, he sees a submissive headed straight for self-destruction and every protective instinct kicks in. Ignoring the dangers of getting intimately involved with a client, Cliff takes Jimmy under his wing and pries under the broken man's guard. Getting behind the anger is a challenge the Dom in him just can't ignore.

What he finds is so much more than he bargained for. Now that he's reopened all of Jimmy's old wounds, he's not so sure he has what it takes to help his new submissive heal. All the control Cliff can muster can't hold Jimmy's crumbling world together, and now Cliff faces not just the loss of a sub, but his own fears that he was never worthy of Jimmy in the first place.

Face to Face #4
They said home is where the heart is. They never motioned rusty fire escapes, hustling or dumpsters. They never warned how fragile hearts could be, either.

They say home is where the heart is. For Skate and Denny’s sake, they had better be right, because all they have is each other.

For eight months, they’ve been running from past mistakes, a vengeful gang and their own inner demons. But living on the street has become less and less viable. As winter deepens and food gets scarce, they have to make some tough choices. How much can they sacrifice before it becomes too much?

Desperate for survival, Denny is forced to make decisions when Skate no longer can, and takes them back to Rainbow Alley, where their lives first went wrong. Hoping Rolly can help them escape the gang and the streets with their lives, and maybe some of their tattered pride, he begs for help. But going to Rolly might prove to be the one thing that their fragile relationship can’t survive, not to mention that the chaos their return unleashes in the Alley and with its protectors could make them more enemies than friends.

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of violence.

Hotwired Heart #1
"Time me!"

Gig sighed. "Now? Marky, we all know you’re fast." He shifted his weight to one foot with a quick glance around the deserted car park. "Just hurry up and hotwire the damn thing."

"Get your watch out, Gig." Marky plied his magic on the car, and by the time Gig looked up from setting his watch, the passenger door swung open. Marky grinned at him from his usurped place behind the wheel. "Get in, slowpoke!"

Gig made a face, slipped into the car, and closed the door. "This is nice!" His long, slim fingers caressed the dash, slid under the visor and along the arm rest.

Marky shivered, watching the gentle touch. "Ready?" He gunned the engine, streaking out into traffic before Gig could tell him not to drive like a maniac, or make any more loving gestures over the interior.

Mercedes safely inserted into the flow of traffic, Marky glanced over at Gig. "Record time, yeah?"

"Isn’t it always?" Gig’s words fogged the window.

"Oh, c’mon, sexy." Marky slapped Gig’s thigh, his hand lingering until Gig brushed it away. He moved it back to the wheel, focused on the traffic as Gig fiddled at the glove compartment, which proved to be locked, and flipped the visor down.

"What’s this?" He pulled a slim, silvery wrist wrap out of the visor pocket. "Says Joe...Picone and...something...holographic. Not enough light." He slapped the band on Marky’s wrist and it snapped into place.

"What is it?"

"Club pass, maybe." Gig shrugged, sighed. "Marky."

Marky’s hands began to ache from his grip on the wheel. "What?"

"This is all we know how to do."

"We have a plan."

"Had." When they’d been together, he didn’t bother to add. His body language, tight against the passenger door, said it all.

Marky pulled into an alley, parked in a cross-hatching of shadows under a fire escape and killed the engine. Gig had his fingers curled around the door handle, ready to bolt.



Marky leant over and peered out of Gig’s window.

"What?" Gig said again.

"We’re early." Marky glanced back out the back window. "There should be people on the corner."

"Hustlers." Gig snorted. "Someone you were planning on meeting?"

Marky frowned. Once. It had happened once. "Point is," he snarled, "there’s no one there." He turned to Gig, pointed to the door. "Get out. Go down the alley, I’ll take the street. Anyone says anything to you, run." Marky grinned but it was strained this time, and the strain showed on Gig’s face, too. "We’ll meet at the usual place."

"You said it would be okay!"

"And it will be. Just do what I say, and it will be fine."

"This job was supposed—"

"Gig!" Gig jumped, and the hand that had been gripping the door handle in a tight fist jerked. "The longer we sit here... Please. Get out and walk away."

Gig nodded, slipped out into the shadows, and headed for the street. Marky cursed, but shouting after him would be too dangerous. Gig was almost around the corner, out of sight when the pop sounded. Marky froze half way out of the door. He’d heard that before. It didn’t sound right this time, either, didn’t sound big enough or loud enough, but it was enough. He turned his head in time to see Gig hit the ground.

Finders, Keepers #2
The last lash fell. The searing pain had turned to buzzing numbness some time ago, and I congratulated myself on making it to the end, on counting every single lash in a loud enough voice to be heard. Kane wouldn’t have anything to complain about tonight. At the last second, I remembered and kept my head down. Kane would let me know when—if—I could look up. I waited, my heart thudding, my entire rib cage shaking, and a pounding going through my head until it throbbed. I’d never been good at waiting.

The clop of my Dom’s boots circled around from behind me, sounding loud over the dull thump of music from the club outside the door. The first thing to enter my view was the toe of one boot, then the butt of the short lash Kane had been using. He now used it to raise my chin.

“You can count,” he said.

“It’s what you asked—”

A sharp crack of the hard wooden handle on the underside of my chin clacked my teeth together. Bright pain from clipping my tongue sparked white spots and elicited a gasp. It effectively stopped the protest I should have known to keep to myself. Another bruise to add to my collection, but at least he didn’t discipline further.

“Did I say you could speak?”

I stared up at him, mouth clamped shut.

He hit me again, a little harder. “Answer.”

“No, Sir.”

“That’s right.”

The lash butt lifted my chin higher, dragging me up to the limit of my reach. The hard butt dug into my jaw. My back screamed at the stretch on hot skin, and my already shaky legs threatened to cramp.

“Stay.” He said it with about as much expression as he might have said it to a dog.

I stayed. Then I whimpered as the only support deserted me. Kane trailed the wooden handle down across my collarbone, sternum and belly, finally using it to lift my limp cock.

“What’s this?”

I closed my eyes in defeat. The new bruise under my chin, the searing heat of the lash marks across my back, the agony of stiff muscles and now that torture instrument so near my delicate bits sent me into a tailspin of panic. I shuffled backward, knees scraping across the rubber mat, thigh and butt muscles screaming pain up my spine. I couldn’t go far. The manacles around my wrists, holding my arms spread-eagled above my head, stopped me. New pain lanced down my arms to connect with all the other agonies and draw out another sharp gasp.

“Weak,” Kane spat. My privates flopped against sweaty thighs as Kane retreated. “Why I bother with your training…”

I watched him as he backed away, tossed the crop on the table near the door, and pulled out a pack of smokes.

“Don’t look at me, slave.”

I dropped my gaze, then my head. If he couldn’t see my face, he wouldn’t see the tears. The rejection hurt more than the physical discomforts, and I knew that was pathetic. Still, ice sank through me, gripping my heart. What else did I have to do? I’d followed every instruction, tried to anticipate every wish and held back when I wanted to beg for surcease. Nothing I’d tried was enough to please this man. Four months, almost, and I had yet to earn a bare word of praise. He told me to try harder, to do better, and I would make it. Now, I wondered if I’d ever get any of it right.

Long minutes passed to the sound of Kane’s puffing. The smell of smoke overpowered the stench of my own sweat. Finally, Kane shifted, clomped back over and released a lever that dropped my hands lower. I had enough slack now to sink back on my heels, relieve some of the strain on my legs and back. I didn’t dare move, didn’t risk disappointing my teacher further.

“I’m going to get a drink.”

Still not a word of acknowledgement. It didn’t matter. I’d stay, I’d wait. I’d be here like this when he got back, and maybe, just maybe, he’d be pleased enough to say something.

Briefly, the flashing light and din of the bar beyond our private room entered the dim space as Kane opened the door to let himself out. It faded again as the door swung shut. Still, I didn’t dare relieve the strain, didn’t dare rest. Kane could walk in any minute, and I would prove I was strong, and not the weakling he accused me of being.

I would.

I tried not to think how it might have been easier if I’d dared eat more at dinner, but that was a wasted thought. The lashing would have been worse if he thought I’d eaten too much, and not just across my back. I resisted glancing down at my concave stomach. I knew it was free of marks beyond a few old, fading bruises. That punishment hadn’t been administered in over a week, at least. I’d figured that one out. If it was the only part of me that didn’t have bruises and lines of punishment, at least it was something. It could only be a step in the right direction.

I hoped.

Fix This, Sir #3
A slow trickle of moisture wended its way down through the light hairs on Jimmy’s back until he felt it wiggle its way between his butt cheeks. He didn’t shift to ease the tickle. He couldn’t. Another drop collected and slithered through his hair, etching a path across his scalp until it was free to slide down his nose. He could see it hover on the tip for a heartbeat, then he watched it fall and splat on the black rubber mat between his feet.

“You can’t just stand there forever.”

Jimmy glanced up at the sound of that pert little voice to glare at the pert little owner. “I can do whatever the fuck I please.” He wanted to tell her she wasn’t the boss of him, physiotherapist or not, but that was maybe slightly too childish, no matter how surly he was feeling.

“I know it’s difficult, Jimmy, but you want this. You know you do. And it’s going to take work.”

“Shut the fuck up.” He dropped his gaze again to stare at the glimmer of sweat on the mat because he couldn’t continue to watch the telltale flush of pink riding up her cheeks. His mouth ran on, smothering his better judgement in a torrent of uncontrolled bile. “You think after four months I don’t know how much fucking work this takes? You can stand there and tell me how hard it is. You have no idea what it’s like.” He lifted his head, forcing himself to glare at her and watch the destruction. “You’ve never had a day in your life where you had to remember you’ve got nothing left. You’ve had an easy ride—Mommy and Daddy paying for school, good grades, always knew what you wanted.”

Her smile slipped, but she pasted it back, stiff and meaningless. Her nostrils flared, and thin white lines of tension appeared around the edges.

Jimmy pulled himself up as much as he could, latching onto the momentum that kept him from thinking how vile he was being. “You and your perfect little feet and your perfect little legs and your perfect, cheery little,” he wiggled his fingers at her, “self can just go and sit on a—”


The sharp male voice, slamming into his thoughts like a wrecking ball, cut off his tirade, wiped the insults he’d prepared right out of his head and left him sagging. The speaker was somewhere to his left and behind him. Turning enough to look at him would bring him dangerously close to tipping onto his ass. He dropped his head again. Another trickle of sweat dribbled down the side of his cheek.

“Callie, you can take five in my office.”

“Sure, Cliff.” She drew herself taller and disappeared around behind Jimmy without a word.

He didn’t dare try to turn to watch her. Partly, he didn’t want to see her boss’s face, and partly, he was afraid he’d lose his balance and fall over.

“Are you done?” Cliff sauntered around, and his sneakers came into view in front of Jimmy, close enough he could see without lifting his bowed head.

Jimmy clamped his mouth shut.

“I asked you a question.”

“And who the fuck are you that I should answer it?”

“Look at me.”

The tone of the man’s voice sent an involuntary shudder through Jimmy. Despite the pain in his legs and the unbelievable exhaustion that wouldn’t seem to go away, that tone reached into his gut and stirred it up. He tightened his fingers on the metal bars, his arms tensed. He lifted his head slightly. This wasn’t the time or the place to let his submissive tendencies show. Not when he was already helpless.

“I said, look at me.” Though Cliff’s voice actually dropped in volume, the command underlying it strengthened and ripped through Jimmy’s composure.

Shaking and angry, but fascinated anyway, he lifted his head.

Cliff was not a small man. He was likely as tall as Jimmy, and not very many people were. He was wide, too, thick arms and trunk-like legs giving him a massive appearance. Jimmy knew he’d lost a fair amount of weight in the months since Kane had hamstrung him, but even at his fittest, Cliff outweighed him by a good thirty pounds of muscle. Sandy brown hair dashed across the big man’s forehead, framing hazel eyes that took in every limp line Jimmy was presenting and gave no hint of what he thought about the sight.

Jimmy made a mostly useless attempt to pull himself up to his full height, but trusting his entire weight to his tired legs and traitorous knees hurt like a bitch. He didn’t manage to keep the grimace off of his face.

Cliff nodded. “Better. Now. I asked you a question. I’d like an answer.”

“You can’t…just order me around.” Jimmy’s protest dribbled into the space between them. Cliff absolutely could order him around and they both knew it. Still, it didn’t seem the appropriate way to proceed under the circumstances, and Jimmy frowned. “I’m a patient. Don’t you have some code?”

“I have a responsibility to my staff not to let the clients abuse them. Callie has been more than patient with you and your swearing and your outbursts. I doubt, at this point, you’d find another therapist willing to take you on.”

Jimmy hung his head. There was nothing he could say to defend his behaviour. He felt shakes and sweats coming on and wanted nothing more than to sit.

“Look at me, Jimmy.” Cliff’s voice had gone soft and low, but the edge of command spiralled around Jimmy’s will and broke it down.

He raised his head.

“I get it, all right? You’re hurting.”

Face to Face #4

Winter seeped through even thick denim, eventually. Skate squirmed. The pavement ground his seat bones. It hadn’t been that long ago he’d had much more padding back there. He braced his feet, wiggled his toes and aligned his spine next to the hard metal bracket bolted to the brick at his back. It dug painfully into his flesh but it was a comfortable kind of pain. It told him he was as far under the rusting iron grid-work of the fire escape as it was possible to get, and that was a good thing. Neither the cold wind nor prying eyes could reach this far into the gloom

"You okay?" A small, soft voice issued from the bundle between his legs.

"Yeah." Giving in to his need for warmth, Skate wound both arms around said bundle and drew the quaking form tight to his chest. It was as much shelter as he could hope for, sandwiched between crumbling brick and the bony form of his companion.

His bundle squirmed until a face appeared. "It’s getting worse." Lank, mousy brown hair flopped in front of sunken brown eyes set in the gaunt face that turned up to him. Full lips looked out of place, too plump next to all the shaded hollows of too-thin cheeks, a jutting chin and a long, narrow nose.

Mouse. At the moment, it seemed an entirely appropriate name for the tiny, skittish creature huddled in the tight space with him. Skate hauled him nearer.

"You still chilly?" he asked.

"Aren’t you?" Mouse never spoke louder than a stage whisper lately, and Skate had to lean until he felt the warmth of breath on his cheek to hear the question.

The truth was Skate had gone well beyond cold some hours ago. At least back here, fingers and toes might be numb, his ass on the concrete might be beyond feeling, but he had Mouse curled up tight to his chest and he had the illusion, with that intimate contact, that they were safe. With any luck, safe enough he could sleep. Between the constant wintry temperature and forever looking over their shoulders, he was exhausted. Maybe now that he’d stopped shaking, he would be able to find some rest.


"Huh?" He fought to keep his eyes open, his thoughts focused and his attention on Mouse’s grimy face. He’d asked something, but Skate couldn’t remember what.

Frosty fingers cupped his face.

Skate flicked his head, trying to eradicate the frigid touch snaking goose bumps down under his collar.

"Are you cold?"

The pitch of Mouse’s voice had risen slightly, touching off an alarm in Skate’s gut. He pulled the smaller man closer still, peering past for the danger that had his friend on sudden alert.



"We should go to the shelter." Mouse prised himself free of Skate’s grasp and began to back out of their tiny alcove. "C’mon."

"No." Skate remained firmly, heavily in place, making it impossible for the smaller man to move him.

"We should. C’mon." Mouse tugged again, harder, jacking pain through Skate’s fingers where he squeezed the frozen digits too hard.

"No!" Skate jerked free. "Blade."

One name, a short form for all of the things they’d been trying to outrun for months. The shelter was where their former gang leader had found them the last time. They’d only got away because one of the brawnier volunteers had managed to distract Blade at the door just long enough for Mouse to dash to safety. Skate didn’t think about his own encounter with the gang on that faraway day. He had managed to get himself out, but not soon enough.

Blade would be doubly pissed off now that two minor, mostly helpless ex-gang members had once again slipped through his grasp. The shelters would be watched. So would the soup kitchens and charity wagons and bus stops. The abandoned buildings where vagrants crashed would be guarded by the very homeless people who squatted there. They’d tell Blade if Mouse and Skate showed to save their own frozen, filthy hides, and Skate couldn’t really blame them.

Every place they might go would be under surveillance, and Skate knew it, because back in the day, when he’d been desperate to join the Greenbacks himself, he’d been one of those doing the watching.

Now that he wanted out, he was the one being hunted. All those kids wanted was a glimpse of them. They wanted that vital scrap of information that might get them noticed by the leader. The desire to tell them how horribly wrong it would all go once they were in washed over Skate.

Of course, he wouldn’t say anything to any of them. He couldn’t. They’d have to save themselves.

"We have to go somewhere," Mouse was insisting, still yanking on his arm.

"Here’s good." Skate called up reserves of strength he didn’t really have to spare and hauled Mouse back in. "Not even cold anymore." He smiled a wilted, floppy smile. "Just tired."

"That’s what has me worried." Mouse huddled against him, apparently giving up the attempt to get him to move. "Tell me something?"

"What?" Skate blinked into the dusky light. Knowing they were safe from prying eyes here, he wrapped his arms around Mouse and nestled his chin on his companion’s shoulder, breathing in the faint smell of Mouse clinging under the layers of street.

No use wasting the tiniest smidge of heat, he decided. Besides, despite the reek of city filth and the stale stench of other men, Skate could still detect that special tinge of open sky and hay and sweetness that he was addicted to. If he could breathe Mouse all the time, he would.

"Anything." Mouse twisted around and cuddled his bony body to Skate’s. He never passed up an opportunity to get close. It didn’t matter how many times Skate reminded him they were just friends, he still wormed his way deeper every opening he got.

"Tell me anything," he said, voice barely above a kitten purr. "Just talk. I love your voice."

"Nothing to say," Skate muttered. He was acutely aware that if anyone were around to overhear them, or see them like this, he would never get away with playing his dog-eared, bent-up straight card. Especially not with the way he let Mouse take the liberty of popping tiny kisses open along the side of his neck.

Author Bio:
With most of the hours in the day taken up by a part time job and the full time occupation of raising and schooling two kids, writing is somewhat of an indulgence, but it's the indulgences that keep us sane, right? When not otherwise occupied, like most writers, reading is my relaxation method of choice, and you can find my reviews at and Dark Diva Reviews to let you know what I liked (and occasionally, what I didn't). And just in case there are an extra few minutes in the day, I also help out the admin team abelong to a writer's critique group: Dreaming in Ink. After all, idle hands and all that.


Hotwired Heart #1

Finders Keepers #2
KOBO  /  iTUNES  /  ARe

Fix This, Sir #3

Face to Face #4

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