Inexperienced April Cassidy got the surprise of her life when she took a job as a medium in A Haunting Experience and promptly realized she was in way over her head. Clashing wills with the dominant resident ghost was a learning experience for both of them. But that was only the beginning of their adventures.
Now the cameras are filming every second of their burgeoning paranormal romance and sensual escapades, and she’s slowly forced out of her shyness and into the spotlight as the visible half of the relationship, struggling to cope with knowing that strangers will see her most intimate moments – and, worse, the embarrassing times when he disciplines her.
April must decide if she can devote the rest of her life to the spectral John, as his lover and submissive. But with new perils come the possibility of happily ever after – if she’s brave enough to risk everything.
Publisher’s Note: Sensual scenes with stern discipline between the resident dominant ghost and the woman living in his house make up this tale of an unlikely romance.
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“I had intended to hold you down and give you a proper birching, something you would have felt for days. Instead you should be able to sit comfortably by tomorrow, if you don’t give me cause to change my mind,” he said. It was a veiled warning not to struggle too much and she received it loud and clear.
His hand cracked down across one bare cheek and the retort echoed through the room, making her jump almost before the pain of it arrived. She hissed in a breath just as a matching slap descended on the other cheek leaving both sporting bright red splotches. It wasn’t any harder than the last time he’d punished her, though somehow she always forgot just how much it hurt to be spanked when she wasn’t turned on.
It hadn’t taken her long to discover that she preferred to be spanked when her body was primed for sex. The arousal made the stinging heat into something very close to pleasure then, and this… this was not pleasure. She clutched at a handful of blankets and dragged them up to cover her mouth as his strong arm swung again. His hand, stiff and unyielding, bounced back and forth in a steady staccato of pain that built rapidly from a stinging heat to a searing fire that made it impossible to stay still.
Do you like to listen to music while you write? If so, what kind?
Music is a big part of my life and how I manage my moods, so typically when I’m writing I pull up a play list of songs that fits the mood of my main character and I let that guide me as I start writing. When I get to difficult sections I generally turn the music off so I can focus all my attention on the words.
When it comes to music for writing I tend to listen to things that I think that character would like, but personally my interests are pretty eclectic. I’m a big fan of classic rock, Celtic rock, and alternative rock.
What is your favorite novel or author?
That’s a really tough one to answer. I’m going to say I don’t really have a favorite novel because I love too many to pin it down that far, but Robert Heinlein would be my favorite author of all time. All of his Future History books (Cat Who Walks Through Walls, Time Enough For Love, To Sail Beyond the Sunset, Number of the Beast, etc.) are right up there in my top books. I’ve read every book he published at least ten times. (Fun fact: the majority of them include frequent spanking references, and a few of them have detailed threats or scenes. The first mainstream novel I ever read where a woman orgasmed from spanking is one of his books.)
I read Cat Who Walks Through Walls when I was nine and it had a big impact on what I thought about relationships, love, spanking, and sci-fi in general. I’d say it probably had a lot to do with framing my personality. His female characters were smart, capable, and feisty…and prone to being spanked by dominant male characters. He introduced group families, and poly love showing me that the traditional monogamous heterosexual couples weren’t the only options.
What genres do you write in?
I’ve written in every genre over the years, but 95% of my writing includes D/s or spanking in some way, because that’s what I love. I haven’t kept count but I’ve published at least two hundred short stories during my career and while I’ve done plenty of romance, and historical romance, I always prefer elements of sci-fi or fantasy. Supernatural is a big favorite, as is time travel, and stories set in the future.
Do you like to outline or just dive right in when writing?
It depends on what I’m writing. A short or mid-length story really doesn’t need it. My favorite way of writing is literally to just sit down, and start typing. A lot of times I develop new insights as I write, and things shift gears from where I thought they were going to go.
When it comes to writing longer pieces or novels it’s a little harder to do the free-form style. For one thing, there are so many details to remember so you don’t end up contradicting yourself later. As a reader, I know nothing can pull you out of a story faster than stumbling over a plot fail so I take copious amounts of notes as I write. Outlines, I think are sometimes necessary when it comes to novels though mine are very simple and tend to change as the book grows.
Sometimes stories jump into my head with a full beginning and end, and I just have to find the middle when I get there, so in that case I do a basic outline just to keep the pacing and I stop every so often to brainstorm where I think the story is going to go. When I’m not sure how the story is going to end it’s a little harder and then I tend to go plot out just a chapter or two at a time.
Would you rather do the spanking or be spanked?
In most circumstances I’d rather be spanked, but it depends on the other person. There are some people I can feel dominant with, but I usually find one role with a person and stick with it. I don’t generally switch back and forth.
I find I tend to be more dominant with women, and more submissive to men, but it’s really about the person and the energy they put out. At the moment, I have two female dominants who function as a team, and I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long time.
Do you have any hobbies?
I do the same things for a hobby as I do for a profession, it’s just the genre of work that varies.
I’m a professional artist as well as a writer. I do mixed pencil and digital media art, and I’ve done two books of BDSM illustrations. But… I do fanart and fanfiction in my free time for fun. I also do quite a lot of online Rp (roleplay) every day, which again, is writing, so I guess I never really stop creating.
How much research do you typically do on a novel?
A lot! I’m very detail oriented and when I get to something I don’t know, I’d rather research or, if the details aren’t available, just leave the section vague instead of making things up. I rarely get more than a few pages without having to go find something out. Sometimes I feel like I know a topic pretty well but I just want confirmation on a few details, then I end up realizing there was a lot I didn’t know and there goes my evening.
I’ve cursed the times I’ve spent hours researching details that end up only filling a paragraph or two. Most likely no one else will ever know that the information is accurate and was time-consuming to gather, but at least I’m learning things while I write. There is a temptation though, to flood the story with unnecessary details because I learned this cool stuff and want to share, but when it comes to writing a romance novel people are just looking for enough detail to set the scene, not an adventure in learning.
These are just a few of the things I had to research for this series:
Ghost Hunting equipment
Men’s clothing styles of the 1800’s
Travel from America to England via ocean liner in the 1800’s
Virtual Reality equipment (This included testing some of the latest technology.)
Statistics on people who buy video games, broken down by gender
Native American sacred herbs
April settled awkwardly on the overstuffed loveseat. She felt like a guest, anxious and unsure of how to behave. Her hands wouldn’t stay still until she finally clasped them in her lap. The anxiety was odd because this was her home, for now anyway, but then she’d never been interviewed before. The conversation that was about to happen had been cleared by her temporary boss, and the owner of the house. Because of confidentiality clauses and contracts, April was going to have to be very careful what she said, and she’d been given a list of topics that were forbidden; she just hoped she didn’t mess up. Sitting across from her was Maggie Potts, a reporter from the local paper, an efficient-looking lady who either dressed to look like a stereotype of her job, or had simply lucked into the one profession that suited her appearance best. Her hair, chestnut brown with a sprinkling of grey, was pulled up in a messy bun, and the large glasses she wore made her eyes look bigger and even more inquisitive. “Don’t be nervous, Ms. Cassidy. I promise this will be painless. We came across some information about a ghost investigation happening here and after some digging we turned up some really interesting things. I’m sure our readers would love to hear a little bit about what’s happening here,” she said, leaning back in her chair with a steno pad and pencil in hand. They seemed superfluous since she’d also set out a small recorder on the table between them.
April shifted on the sofa, crossing her legs nervously. “Well, I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to tell you, some of this is confidential,” she explained, again. She’d done that already over the phone but Ms. Potts still seemed very interested in talking.
“Don’t worry, this is just going to be an interest piece. We’ll fill it with some background about the house and make it exciting. We’ve spoken with the owner Ms. Hagmaier, but we’re really interested in your part in this. May I ask a few questions, Miss Cassidy?” she asked, tapping the tip of the pencil against the paper, ready to write.
“Sure, oh, please, call me April,” she said quickly.
“Then I’m Maggie. So, I guess my first question would have to be: What’s it like to be a psychic medium?” the reporter asked with barely suppressed eagerness in her tone.
“Well, I—” April stopped, frowning as she tried to think of a good answer that wasn’t too embarrassing. “It’s difficult actually; people get nervous around me, and of course seeing things no one else sees can be a weird experience.” she said.
“I imagine! So, your gift mainly focuses on spirits? You can’t tell me what the winning lottery numbers are, I suppose?” Maggie teased.
April had several gifts, which she was keeping to herself, but none of them involved pulling winning lotto numbers out of thin air. It was a common joke though, and she gave the woman a tight smile as she shook her head. “Afraid not, but if you have a ghost in your back yard I could probably ask them not to haunt your flowerbed for you,” she offered.
“I’ll keep that in mind, April.” The reporter laughed and made a note. “So, can you tell us a little bit about your part in this investigation?” she asked, but before April could answer she’d already continued, “My understanding is that there’s a ghost-hunting team here, run by a– Dr. Benjamin Marlowe, and you’re assisting them?” she said.
This question, at least, she could answer. Elizabeth wanted the publicity about the investigation because it would prove that her Virtual Reality Experience was based on actual occurrences when it was released. “Well yes, they’re from the university parapsychology department. The entire house has been wired with cameras and EVP recorders to catch any activity,” April explained. “It’s not really a ‘ghost hunt’, it’s a very professional investigation into the afterlife,” she said firmly. She really hoped that Maggie wasn’t going to turn this into a sensationalist piece that would make Ben and his team sound silly.
The reporter was nodding as she scratched notes on her pad, but then she looked up expectantly, and April realized she hadn’t answered the real question; her role in all of this. Well, there was so much she couldn’t tell, and even more that she refused to talk about. No way was she going to let the reporter in on her affair with the dominant ghost who ran the household, or explain that she’d been brought in to be his ‘companion’ in return for his cooperation.
Maggie would never hear the story of how April had fallen in love with a man who’d died over a hundred years before she was born. A man who, at their first meeting, had bent her over, bared her backside and spanked her because she’d mistaken him for an intruder and threatened him with a kitchen knife. She couldn’t tell the reporter that she considered herself a feminist but loved the way John took control of her. His old-fashioned ways had been hard to get used to, but she couldn’t deny that her body reacted to his dominance. Knowing that everything was on camera, but being unable to resist the way he made her feel had been a real challenge. Of course, it was easier now that she’d agreed to let the romance happen on film.
Instead she kept it professional. “Typically, when a haunted house is left empty for a while it becomes a dead cell. The spirits go dormant and nothing happens. When the investigation started they weren’t getting the activity they were hoping for. So, they started looking for a medium to stir things up. My job is mostly just to be here; the spirits draw energy from my presence and things get…interesting.” Interesting was one way to describe erotic BDSM adventures with a ghost, she supposed.
Now Maggie paused, her head cocked and one eyebrow rising high above the glasses. “So, you’ve had spiritual encounters then? You can confirm the house is haunted?” she asked.
A laugh burst out of April and she nodded. “Oh, yeah. This house is…I guess you could say it’s infested with ghosts.” She couldn’t help the smile on her face, knowing that any reporter would kill for the real story of what was going on in the house. “We’ve had manifestations that were so solid you’d think you were looking at a real person,” she said, throwing the woman a juicy bone to gnaw on “and frequent poltergeist activity.”
Just as she said that, the recorder on the table slid a few inches to the left, leaving it hanging over the edge of the table. Maggie jumped, eyes widening as she stared. “Did that…was that a—”
“A ghost? Yep, it happens a lot around here, especially at night. Once the sun goes down things can get a little…um, dangerous,” April said, looking amused. She could see John, an impish smirk on his face, standing next to the reporter. Apparently, her lover had decided the interview had gone on long enough, and she had to agree.
“D-dangerous?” Maggie’s eyes darted around the room anxiously.
“Yep, most of the activity takes place after dark,” April said, as John leaned over and plucked the pencil right out of the reporter’s hand.
The woman squealed and jumped to her feet in a panic, snatching up her recorder as she beat a hasty retreat to the door. The fact that she paused long enough to say, “Thank you for your time. I’ll make sure you get a copy of the article,” before she booked it out the door was a tribute to her professionalism, April thought as she watched her leave.
She laughed, “That wasn’t very nice, John.”
“I’m not feeling very nice. I wanted my woman and she was taking too long,” he said, chuckling as he pulled April into his arms and buried his face in her long black hair, nipping at her neck.
April groaned, a shiver ran down her back as his mouth brushed over a sensitive spot just under her ear. “Well, she’s gone now. What are you planning to do with ‘your woman’?” she asked in a breathless teasing tone.
In a low voice, he whispered against her ear, graphic details of all the things he wanted to do to her helpless body. She swallowed hard, “And here I thought giving an interview would be boring,” she said as he picked her up. She settled comfortably against his chest, arms around his neck as he carried her upstairs to follow through on every single word.