X is for Xylitol

“That’s Rachel, whose daughter takes violin lessons. They live two floors below us.” I dip my head, and she returns the bow. We’re out for an afternoon walk, and the local ajuhmas enjoy precious free time before their children return home from school. Soon, their evening will fill with private lessons, classes, and cram school. Korean mothers have a busy life.

“Good morning, Gray-shee!” Rachel yanks the leash of her gray Lhasa Apso yipping at a spider. “Graciela” is hard for Koreans to pronounce, and “Gracie” means they add a “shh” sound to the last syllable. I asked Rachel to choose a Korean name for me, the way they all requested an English name for themselves, but I can’t pronounce it. Eun-hye. It’s the Korean word for “grace” and a popular girl’s name, but the first syllable is too hard. Not un-hay or in-hay, but something in between. Plus, they giggle when they use a Korean name for me, attaching all sorts of honorifics. So, Gray-shee it is.

“Hi, Rachel.” Trinity holds out her hand. “Your dog is beautiful.”

Rachel beams and twitches the leash. “Soju! Say hello.”

Trinity squats on the sidewalk to pet the long fur. “Such cute red ribbons. What is her name? So-joo?”

“Soju.” Rachel covers her smile and looks to me for explanation. Her English is almost perfect, but she gets embarrassed by questions.

“Uh, soju is a kind of Korean alcohol, like vodka. Cheap and strong.” My co-workers made me try the stuff when I first arrived, but I decided it made better floor cleaner.

Trinity laughs. “So her name is vodka in Korean?” Soju sniffs Trinity’s hand before giving it an enthusiastic tongue bath.

“Your friend can hold Soju if she likes.” Rachel explains to me in Korean, but I’m not letting her off that easily.

“You say you have to study English, but you only use Korean with me. Why don’t you try to speak directly with Trinity?” From the pained expression on Rachel’s face, I seem to have conveyed my meaning despite my atrocious Korean. Trinity watches us both, looking frustrated. She’s never learned any other language, not even a few words of Spanish on Sesame Street. From what I can tell, the jerk known legally as her father decried foreign languages as tongues of the devil.

Rachel shakes her head, giggling some more. It took me a while to understand the difference between nervous and polite laughter, just like the smiles of polite anger. Yet I encounter inebriated passengers on the subway who puke up their guts. It’s a funny country, Korea, but I’ve come to love it. It’s not what I wanted for myself as a child, but it’s a life separated from bad memories. I hope someday that Trinity can feel the same way, but will she want to return? She might not think so now, but homesickness will set in eventually. I wonder, for a sickening moment, what it’s like to yearn for a home to which she can never return.

Looking at Trinity cuddling the teeny dog, I make the decision I’ve been putting off for weeks. Years, really. I can’t tell Trinity to face up to her past if I’m not willing to do the same.

“Yes, yes.” Trinity nods, encouraging each word from Rachel. “Your daughter chose the name Soju because she didn’t understand what it meant?”

Trinity speaks too quickly, and Rachel flounders before continuing. “Understand…Soju…Yes.” She breaks into frustrated Korean. “How do you say it? My English is so bad!”

Before I can translate or step in, Trinity picks up Soju and plays with the ribbons. “Your English is tons better than my Korean. How did you learn?”

When they smile at each other, the idea is so obvious I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to see it. “Of course! Why don’t you help each other? Rachel can practice her English by teaching you Korean, Trinity.” And Trinity can be grateful for a teacher who will praise instead of punish.

Trinity groans. “Can’t I teach you English instead? Korean is too hard!”

Hangul is a scientific alphabet. King Sejong invented it so anyone can learn…”

Watching Rachel’s bright, happy face as she chatters to Trinity, I take Soju’s leash and let her back onto the ground. A few curious onlookers join in, correcting Trinity’s pronunciation and praising her for saying kamsa hamnida. Someone offers her Xylitol, the popular chewing gum made with sugar-free sweetener. The hard squares look like pale Chiclets. Pretty soon Trinity will be swarmed with would-be tutors eager to teach the foreigner. It happened to me ten years ago, and it will happen for her as well.

In the meantime, I have a phone call to make. “I’ll head back and let you chat,” I say to Trinity and Rachel.

“Oh, but—” Trinity looks hesitant until Rachel touches her arm.

“Do you like Korean food? I’ll make bulgogi and invite you for lunch.” Rachel chatters with the other ahjumas, and they argue what food is best for a foreigner. One suggests chap chae with its vegetables and clear noodles, while Ginny says kimbap is best. No, says another. Foreigners don’t like seaweed.

“Gray-shee, you’ll have to come, too!” Ever courteous, Rachel bows as I take my leave. I should have thought of this long ago. The ahjumas will make Trinity feel useful, and they won’t let her get away with shenanigans. I’d rather fight with a wild lion than an angry Korean mother. They’ll feed her, spoil her, and put her in her place.

As I head back to my building and jab the elevator buttons, my stomach feels as if it’s fallen down the shaft. She will be easy to find. The last name is unusual, and Mom has hinted at keeping in touch.

Danvers. It takes only a few searches before I locate her online profile, complete with current city. It takes a few calls to get her number from directory assistance, and I take a deep breath. I expect voice mail, but instead she picks up.

“Hello?”

It’s been ten years, but it could have been yesterday.

“Hi, Jessie. It’s Gracie.”

Let’s order Chinese

(Since I accidentally posted an A-to-Z post yesterday, this is just a freebie. :D )

Mistress-Please-Amazon(1)

(Now we’re back on track with alphabetical order. Yay!)

If you haven’t already, you’ll want to pick up the first four books in this series (although Mistress, Please can be read as a stand-alone):

Desire in Any Language

Mira’s Miracle

Fire of Desire (Free on this blog!)

Mistress on Her Knees 

“Let’s order Chinese.”

“Hm?” I’ve been too busy eating Gracie to think about food. “Stop doing stuff and lie down for a minute. I love your new shampoo. What is it, pine?”

“Green tea, and we order food or you cook.” She lies against the headboard, one leg propped against my shoulder. “That might be nice, too. You could wear my apron.”

“I don’t need–”

“Without anything underneath.”

I blush, which is ridiculous because at the moment all of our clothes are scattered across the floor. “Gracie!”

“If I order Chinese delivery, do you think it will come with a cute girl to spank?” She curls her toe and pokes the side of my shoulder. “Maybe she’ll run away in fright, and I’ll have to chase her down.” She’s almost purring my now.

I roll over, hugging my pillow. I’d rather not think about that night. “And you get after me about infidelity.” I try to keep my tone light, but my voice cracks at the last syllable.

“We wouldn’t have to pick either or. You could make dessert, and you could welcome the delivery girl in the apron.” Her voice is too careful. Is she trying to say more than it seems, or is it my sensitivity?

“Are you saying threesomes are now on the table?” I sit up, pulling the bedsheet with me as I sit next to the wall. Gracie’s headboard rises toward the air conditioning unit mounted on the wall, while one side meets the wall. I have often been grateful for one occupied corner, but the rest stand empty and waiting. She likes the Korean style of decorating with its clean lines and lack of clutter.

She pulls her hair over her right shoulder. “If by threesome you mean Pierre and I spanking you, yes.”

I can’t help giggling. “You know that’s not what I meant!”

She smiles. “I notice you’re not objecting.”

“Because my objecting to things has worked so well in the past?” If I keep talking, if I keep smiling and laughing, we can stay on a superficial level. Talking with Gracie is like walking through a minefield. One moment we’re laughing and cooing after intimacy, while the next moment an offhand remark brings me back to my worst days.

“As if you’d want it to work.” Rather than drawing me close for cuddle, as she usually does, she studies me. She’s still reclining against the headboard, unselfconscious in her nudity. I clutch at the bedsheet as if it will protect me. “It’s time to talk about some ground rules, Trinity.”

I’d rather not, but talking means I get the illusion of input. “Okay. No threesomes? I’ll try to get over my disappointment.”

She doesn’t laugh. “Things will be great until the moment wears off, and then you’ll fight me at every turn. You’re your own worst enemy.”

She’s right. “It would help if I had something of my own. If I’m going to stay, I need a life here besides you.” I wonder if housewives in the fifties said the same thing to their husbands. I’m glad Gracie provides for me, and I’m grateful I don’t have to count the days until she throws me out. I’ll always have that worry, but for now I am safe.

Still, it’s not enough.

She nods. “And I can’t let you have that independence if you go off the deep end again. Do you see the problem?”

“If I do exactly as you say, you’ll let me off the leash?” It comes out snarkier than I intended. “Sorry.”

She stays calm, which is a miracle in itself. “Yes, but we both know that won’t happen. You won’t obey, because you think it’s a character flaw to do so.”

Honesty from Graciela is almost as painful as anger from anyone else. “Maybe.” It’s not obedience; it’s vulnerability. If I let her have control over me, where will it stop? If I let my guard down and believe her promises, how will I recover when they are no longer true?

“Definitely.” This time, she crooks her finger and I go to her side. She strokes my hair, and I bring one leg up and over her lap. She’s mine, as much as I am hers.

“So now what?”

A kiss, a sweet kiss promising everything her words never say. “I’ve expected you to obey on your own, and you can’t do it. I’ve waited for you to prove your obedience and commitment, and you can’t.”

I should despair at her pronouncement, but she’s holding me too tightly for fear. “And?”

She tips me forward so I sprawl over her lap, giggling and squirming. “It’s not fair to expect you to trust a system that’s not clear. So, from now on…” She pinches a bottom cheek that throbs with all the spankings in the previous day and a half. “I’m putting you on maintenance spankings.”

I groan. “That’s for babies!”

She slaps and rubs. “Hardly. Baby spankers go to jail. Wouldn’t you rather have scheduled, matter-of-fact spankings instead of punishments all the time? We could relax and satisfy your need to be spanked without all the drama.”

“I don’t have a need!”

Swat! “What was that, Trinity?” I stay quiet too long, and she smacks again. “You know the correct answer, my girl.”

Mistress, please. No way! “How often? Like once a month?”

Her laughter shakes the bed. “Don’t insult my intelligence, cheeky brat. Once a day, in the morning. You can wake up with a reminder to be a good girl, and with any luck it will stick with you the whole day.”

I grumble, but she spanks some more.

“How many times have you gotten spanked in the past twenty-four hours?”

She does have a point there. “I’m going to find your online listing and leave bad reviews saying you’re sadistic and unfair.”

She coos as she rubs some more. “Oh, please do. I could use a few more customers since getting rid of Stan.”

After a few more swats, she lets me curl up with her. I sulk for as long as I can, and she gives me kisses. “Okay.”

“Thank you, Your Royal Highness, for your gracious agreement.” She tweaks my nose, and I stick my tongue out.

“So…essentially I won’t sit for the rest of my life?”

“That’s the plan.”

As I snuggle with her, the world has never seemed so right.

Mistress on Her Knees-Amazon

Thou shalt not covet thy host’s submissive

When a Domme loves a Domme, strange things can happen. When a Domme loves a Domme who is her former submissive and cheated with her best friend, all of the usual fun with handcuffs turns into something darker.

Graciela struggles to control her attraction to the headstrong, beautiful woman who broke her heart ten years ago. She offers temporary shelter to a fellow human in crisis, nothing more. But when Trinity buckles under Graciela’s righteous anger and begs for forgiveness, Graciela’s resolve wavers. Can she ever trust again? Does Trinity deserve a second chance, or is this yet another manipulation?

P is for Penny

Connections

OOPS! I DOUBLE POSTED TODAY. IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR THE NEW MISTRESS, PLEASE CHAPTER, PLEASE CLICK HERE. THANKS!

P is for Penny, a blogger and author friend who reached out to me years ago. Intelligent, thoughtful, and sweeter than sweet, Penelope Hasler graced my life and the lives of many with her adorable charm.

Last June, Penny disappeared from cyberspace. Her blog has remained dormant (but has not been deleted), her email and Facebook accounts show no activity, and multiple attempts to contact her offline have not proven fruitful.

She did reach out to one friend back in the early fall, but since then no one has heard from her. A friend visited her home twice. Once, no one was home. The second time, she no longer lived there. Cards, letters, and other mail have been forwarded to her real estate agent who most likely will not send them to her.

Her last personal blog post reads:

Hush my heart from its waking pain

Hi everyone. I’m sorry to have gone quiet suddenly, and I’m sorrier to say that I will be quiet for some time to come. My personal life is in a very bad place right now and I’m just not up to writing or having fun. My little blog is going to hibernate for a while.

On the upside there’s much, much more to the world of spanking than me so you won’t be short of sexy, kinky entertainment!

I hope that everyone who visits here is doing okay, and I miss you all. Stay safe and be naughty. xxx

It’s a scary proposition, to care about someone who can disappear without a trace. We have even checked obituaries, to no avail.

Penny, if you see this (by some miracle), please let us know if you are okay. I won’t bother you or force you to talk if you are unable. If you need to move on with your life and put this chapter of your life behind you, everyone will understand.

But we miss you and care about you.

P also stands for Poppy St. Vincent, a much-beloved spanking blogger who had to leave the blogging world for safety reasons. It’s been almost two years since we have heard from Poppy, but I still miss her banter, thoughtful comments, and beautiful perspective on life.

L is for Letting Go

Connections

Yes, Let it Go! :D

Kidding.

When my theme for the month is “Connections,” why would I blog about letting go?

Because, paradoxically, clinging to the temporary spells trouble.

Every.

Single.

Time.

In Biblical terms, Peter embodies this “trouble” when he wants to build tents so the disciples can stay with Jesus on the mountaintop. The Transfiguration was an awe-inspiring experience (wouldn’t it be neat if two famous prophets appeared?), but it was a moment to enjoy at the time.

No selfies. No cell phone or iPad videos. No livestream on webcam.

I’m not trying to preach (literally). Live in the moment, blah blah, don’t be so caught up in recording/preserving that you don’t enjoy what happens while it happens.

Yes, but no.

In a book I am writing, my protagonist has to walk away from someone with whom she thought she would build a life together. She thought it would mean happily ever after at last.

Instead, she realizes how much she has given up in order to keep a dying relationship on life support.

While she twists herself into a pretzel trying to become who she is not, all to make someone happy, she ruins herself for the life and love she does have.

In Living in Sin, one of my recent publications, Ciara is so afraid of losing her family and girlfriend that she nearly loses both. She clings because she is afraid, and she fears because she anticipates loss.

Loss means life.

If we never have anything to lose, we never had anything.

Period.

As much as it can hurt to be part of life and lose friends, families, and lovers, we learn and grow. We become better people.

We lose.

We love.

We live.

All when we learn to let it go.

#MistressPlease begins on Wednesday! #MistressonHerKnees #99cents sale!

Please!

You have knelt before the Mistress, but are you ready to say please? You know how she likes begging. :D

Mistress, Please, the much-anticipated sequel to Mistress on Her Knees, will be available one chapter per day April 15-29. What will happen? Even I don’t know! :D I have copious notes, a few scenes sketched out, and a rough idea of the major story arc. Other than that, I’m entering this adventure just as ready for surprise as everyone else.

Mistress on Her Knees-Amazon

If you haven’t read Mistress on Her Knees yet, what are you waiting for? Click the image above for the Amazon buy link.

But wait! The news gets better! For one week only, you can get Mistress on Her Knees for the low, low price of 99 cents! That’s right…less than a cup of coffee. :D

Are you Team Gracie or Team Trinity? Stop by on Wednesday to see who’s in the lead. :D

K is for Kimchi

Connections

K is for Kimchi

Sexy Kimchi.

Oh, yes.

Sultry, tempting kimchi that should be revered everywhere

As I explained earlier, Cabbage is Sexy.

I originally chose Seoul Searching for my title. After discussing with readers and playing around with various titles, I hit upon a great, fun title:

Kimchi with a Side of Spanking

Fun, sassy, and indicative of kimchi’s central place in the story. Hyunkyung feeds Indigo the spicy, fermented cabbage, and the food symbolizes the new world offered. Kimchi made for a great title! I loved it! It was brilliant!

“No,” said #EvilMistressKate.

“But…” My chin quivered. A tear may have fallen. I’d already had to conduct a memorial service after my evil editor slashed one of my favorite lines. I had to give up the title, too?

“No,” replied the inexorable #EvilMistressKate. “There is nothing sexy about cabbage.”

The book turned into Seoul Spankings, and once I revealed the cover (by the talented Fiona Jayde), I basked in praise for the artwork. I couldn’t help teasing Kate.

“And you said cabbage wasn’t sexy!”

Kate’s reply?

“That ain’t no cabbage on the cover!”

Indi feels the same way as Kate. When Hyunkyung orders a meal for her, Indi turns up her nose. Hyunkyung, raised in a culture that reveres the spicy, fermented cabbage, is sure she knows how to tempt the picky eater. I still giggle whenever I picture this clash of food cultures. :)

 

Indi Go set her fork down with a sickly shudder. “Thank you,” she said. “But I’m not hungry.”

Ristorante Bellini prided itself on hand-cutting its noodles, and it had elevated Italian cuisine to grand style. Maybe, as a Korean, I should have introduced my guest to Korean food, but pasta had seemed a safer bet. Everyone loved pasta, even finicky eaters.

“It’s a little bland,” I agreed. “The sauce needs some spice to cut through the thickness. Here, have some kimchi to cleanse the palate.” I picked up a few choice pieces of fermented, spicy cabbage and set them on the edge of her plate. She looked, if possible, even greener. “Kimchi is good for you,” I said. “Full of vitamin C, low in calories….”

 

 

Seoul Spankings Promo

Broken-hearted when her live-in boyfriend impregnates her best frenemy, Indigo Adams accepts a one-way ticket to Seoul, South Korea, and a challenge from her Great-Aunt Matilda: Forget that boy. Go and make something of yourself.

Bruised from an international public relations nightmare as the new heir to the multi-billion-dollar Han Incorporated, Hyunkyung Han seeks positive publicity in the form of a wedding. She consults with Madame Eve to find a nice, well-behaved Korean American with bilingual and bicultural skills.

Instead, Madame Eve sends Indi, a naïve philosophy major graduate working for minimum wage at the local pub. Enraged to find Indi can’t speak one word of Korean, Hyunkyung orders her sent home on the next plane to Spillville, Iowa.

Then Hyunkyung shakes Indi’s hand, and the sparks fly. With all of her professional responsibilities, how can Hyunkyung allow herself to fall for the wrong woman? How can Indi feel attraction for a woman who despises her?

Seoul Spankings offers a light-hearted romp through the perils and joys of navigating an intercultural romance. Certain to delight all fans of a happily ever after with a kinky twist.