Book Title: Carnal Recovery
Author: Victoria Bright
Release Date: March 9, 2016
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
I thought no one could tame me until I met him…
My life revolved around two things— sex and power. As a sex therapist, I helped couples with their intimacy issues while appearing to lead a typical single life. Although I lived a civilized life during the day, by nightfall I transformed into my sadistic, dominating persona.
When a session with my submissive left him severely injured, I found myself sitting in Xavier Bennett’s office for court-ordered therapy. It was one thing to reveal the skeletons in my closet, but it was a different ball game to confess these demons to my colleague. Little did I know, he harbored dark secrets of his own.
After receiving an invitation to assist Xavier with his marriage retreat, I soon learn his intentions weren't what they seemed. What I thought would be a relaxing work-related vacation turned into a mental bloodbath as we both fought for dominance. Walls will come tumbling down and someone’s bound to get hurt.
There can only be one Master.
Who will come out on top and who will surrender?
There’s a first time for everything
“So…” I started, looking at the couple sitting in front of me. We’d been in my office for almost twenty minutes and they hadn’t said a word to me or each other. Although they sat next to each other, they were facing the opposite direction, as if in a standoff.
Glancing down at their file, I tapped my pen against my chin and cleared my throat. “Mr. and Mrs. Patterson?” I called. They cut their eyes in my direction for a split moment before finally turning to face me.
“Yeah, hi. I’m Gia Valencia, you know, a sex therapist. How can I help you?”
I clicked my manicured nails against the polished surface of my desk, irritation filling me as I waited for them to speak. When it became apparent that they weren’t ready to say anything, I felt it was the right time to remind them of something that would make anyone talk.
“Let me catch you two up to speed. We’ve already wasted nearly half an hour because the both of you are being immature. Please remember that whether or not you say a word in here today, it’s still going to cost you $175 an hour. Now I’ll ask you again; how can I help you?”
The wife glared at her husband and folded her arms across her chest. “My husband is gay.”
Well then. That escalated quickly.
My gaze drifted over to her husband, who scowled without a word.
“Mr…” I glanced at the clipboard. “Justin, is it?”
“Do you know where these accusations stem from?”
He gave a nonchalant shrug. “Because I watch porn instead of having sex with her.”
“Gay porn?” I inquired, scribbling notes on my legal pad.
“What the fuck?”
“This is a judgement-free zone, so don’t worry. So do you?”
He scoffed. “Fuck no! Do I look gay to you?”
“Yeah, right,” Mrs. Patterson muttered, shifting in her chair as she crossed her legs.
I blinked a few times without a word. Everyone who was gay didn’t have to “look” gay. I turned back to my notes and continued.
“So you only view straight porn then?”
“Well, yeah and maybe some girl-on-girl action occasionally.”
“I see,” I noted, focusing on my notepad.
-Possibly addicted to porn
-Detrimental to relationship
-Wife is obviously dick deprived (off the record)
I turned back to the couple with a nod. “How many times do you watch it, Justin?” I asked. He slouched down in his chair, his forehead crinkling in discomfort. “Once a week? Once a day?”
“Hell if I know. I’m not counting—“
“See? He’s either gay or cheating!” Mrs. Patterson shrieked.
“Maybe if you weren’t such a dead fish in bed, I wouldn’t have to resort to porn!” he bellowed, spittle flying from his mouth. The surprise on Mrs. Patterson’s face morphed into anger in an instant as she stared at her husband.
“A dead fish? You’re not that exciting yourself, buddy!”
“Enough,” I stated, tapping my pen on my desk. They both grunted in displeasure, going back to avoiding eye contact with each other. With a low whistle, I noted his outburst.
-Root of problem is probably boredom in the bedroom
“Justin, when you say ‘dead fish’, what are you referring to?” I drawled. I knew exactly what he meant and felt the question was just a roadblock to getting to the real issue. But since this was a couples session, everything had to be explained to prevent miscommunication between them if their significant other didn’t know what it meant.
“She just lays there and does nothing. There’s nothing exciting about our sex life anymore. We used to be spontaneous and ready to go at the drop of a hat. Now she doesn’t want to try anything new and she never wants to have sex when I’m ready. I was tired of being rejected by her, so I stopped asking and found another outlet. Now she’s upset and has it in her head that I’m gay, which is fucking absurd,” he spat, turning his gaze to the window.
-Rejection from wife pushes him to view porn instead of being with her
“Call me Donna, please. I don’t even want to be associated with his last name—“
“Then divorce me!” he snapped.
“Whoa, tiger. We don’t discuss divorce in sex therapy, got it? Things are a bit heated right now, so let’s take a deep breath and regroup,” I suggested, inhaling deep and exhaling. They soon followed suit, breathing in and out a couple of times.
“Everyone good?” I asked. They responded with a solemn nod, looking at the floor in shame. “Okay then. The reason you guys are here is because you want to work through whatever issues you’re having. In order to do that, the hostility has to be out of the equation. Understood?” I asked, focusing on Donna. She eyed her husband for a brief moment before responding with a timid nod.
“Yes what?” I corrected her. She raised an eyebrow and glanced at my desk plate.
“Yes, Dr. Valencia?” she answered.
After a few moments of awkward silence, I realized my mistake. I was waiting for her to respond with, “Yes, Mistress,” completely forgetting that she wasn’t my slave. I was at work, not in my pleasure den. What in the hell was I thinking?
Deciding to push the weird exchange behind me, I leaned back in my chair and assessed them. They appeared to be in their early thirties. Justin was athletically built with sandy blonde hair and eyes so blue they appeared to hold the sky. His strong jaw was lightly covered in facial hair, giving him a tired, overworked look. Donna’s auburn hair was pulled into a tight bun and decorated with flower pins. I was convinced it was a cheesy idea she pulled from Pinterest. Despite her childish up-do, she was strikingly beautiful with her dazzling, soft brown eyes and a baby doll face. Her porcelain, ivory skin was smooth and achieved tightness and youth that only Botox could offer. She appeared to be the dainty, petite type until she opened her mouth. Some people were just more attractive when they didn’t talk.
“What do you guys do for a living? What’s your life like?” I asked as I leaned forward on my elbows.
“I own a construction company, so I spend many days working on contracts for the city,” Justin said.
“Nurse,” Donna answered.
“Were you two working these jobs when you first met?”
“So if you both had the energy back then to be, as Justin puts it, ‘ready to go at the drop of a hat’, what changed?” I asked. They were silent for a few seconds as Donna fiddled with her hands.
“Things haven’t been the same after I had a miscarriage last year,” she said in an octave above a whisper. Justin hung his head, trying to hide the sadness evident on his face.
“I’m really sorry to hear that,” I stated. She pursed her lips together.
“After it happened, it seemed like Justin threw himself into work, so much that I didn’t see him a lot. We wouldn’t say anything to each other for days unless it was a question about a bill that needed to be paid or when he wanted to have sex. It made me feel as if the only purpose he had for me was burying himself inside of me. I felt as if he blamed me for what happened,” she confessed, her voice cracking toward the end.
Justin looked at her with wide eyes and shook his head. “Donna, I…I never thought it was your fault. I would never think that,” he said, taking her hand into his. A single tear rolled down her cheek as she looked at him. “I guess I was caught up in my own grief and didn’t take the time to just talk to you about how I felt.” He caressed her cheek with his thumb.
I clasped my hands together. “It doesn’t seem like your problem is necessarily sex. You guys had a great miscommunication that eventually affected your whole life, not just your sex life,” I stated. He planted a soft kiss on her hand and turned back to me.
“Losing our child was hard, but I felt that I had to be strong for us—“
“But how can you be strong for me when you weren’t there? You never talked about it. Sex doesn’t fix everything. I’m not a mind reader, Justin. Your actions spoke when your words didn’t,” she said.
“And for that, I’m sorry. For the record, I do love you and I don’t blame you for what happened. Some things are out of our control and that was one of them. I want this to work with us, Donna. If I have to ditch the porn, I’ll do that if it’ll make you happy,” he bargained. She gave him a shy smile and wiped her eyes.
“How about this? For your homework assignment until your next appointment, how about you watch something together? Involve her in something you enjoy. Porn isn’t a bad thing, but it shouldn’t be your only option when you have a beautiful wife,” I suggested with a smile. Justin looked at Donna with hopeful eyes, causing her to giggle.
“That doesn’t sound so bad,” she admitted.
“Great. Now if things lead to sex while watching this, I want you to write how it felt to reconnect,” I said. When they raised their eyebrows, I added, “Spare the physical details. I just want to know the emotional part.”
They nodded, relief flashing in their eyes. I pulled out an appointment card and filled it out, handing it to Donna. “We’ll see where you two are in a week and go from there. Don’t forget your assignment,” I winked, sending them on their way.
I breathed a sigh of relief once they were out of sight. Just as I closed my eyes to relax, my phone vibrated in my desk. “What does a girl have to do to get a moment of peace around here?” I muttered to myself as I retrieved my phone. An amused grin pulled at my lips as I viewed the text message from one of my slaves.
Slave Martin: I hope this pleases you, Mistress.
Attached was a photo of him in a full length mirror wearing nothing but a mask and a black g-string. Since my slaves didn’t live with me, they were required to only wear what they thought would be pleasing to me and send photos to me every three hours until we met later on in the evening. There were to never show their faces in their photos; they weren’t allowed to be humanized before their master.
G: Although this pleases me, you’ve failed to report in two times today. You already know what that means.
After a brief moment, he sent a response.
Slave: I’m sorry, Mistress. I will take whatever punishment you give me.
A solid knock sounded on my doorframe. Thinking it was Zoe, my secretary, I didn’t bother looking up from my phone. “Yeah?”
“I was wondering if you had time for another session? I need some ideas to surprise my soon-to-be husband on our wedding night.”
My head snapped up at the sound of her voice. “Arianna!” I squealed, jumping up from my chair and rushing over to her. We shared a tight embrace before I held her out in front of me. “You look like you’re getting plenty of sun and probably just as much sex,” I teased. She blushed. You’d think that being engaged to an unconfirmed nymphomaniac would cause her to ditch the prude act.
“Things never change with you,” she giggled with a shake of her head. I motioned for her to sit and took a seat next to her.
“When did you get here? You should’ve told me you were coming so I could’ve taken a day off or something!” I said. I hadn’t seen her in the flesh in a year due to our hectic schedules, but it was great to see her. Miami was definitely treating her well. Her skin was a shade or two darker and she glowed with happiness. They always say when you found your soulmate, it showed. That was definitely the case with Arianna. She also seemed a lot slimmer than I remembered in her white lace romper paired with sexy gold glitter Steve Madden pumps. If I didn’t know any better, I would think a new woman was sitting next me.
“It was a last minute thing. Zane had to check on some things at the restaurant. I hope you’ve been behaving at least,” she smirked. I dismissed her comment with a wave of my hand.
“Did your move to Miami cause you to forget who you’re talking to? What is this ‘behave’ nonsense you speak of?” I asked.
She giggled and gave me a knowing look. “You’re definitely right. Giavanna Valencia—“
“You know I hate when you call me that,” I gritted.
“Sorry, Gia, but I should’ve remembered anything dealing with behaving is unknown to you,” she smirked.
I rolled my eyes Anyway, how long are you here?”
“Just a couple of days. While I’m here, can you come with me to get measured for my dress?”
“Of course! First things first, I need to see that ring of yours!” I squealed, reaching out for her hand. She giggled and placed her hand in mind, showing her diamond engagement ring in all its glory.
“The picture you sent did this thing no justice at all. It’s gorgeous!” I gushed. She smiled and pulled back with a nod.
“It still doesn’t feel real,” she murmured, admiring it.
Seeing my best friend basking in genuine happiness was refreshing. She seemed to be doing so much better since she ditched that dickhole Julius and her annoying, controlling parents. Not only was she a successful author, she was now preparing to marry the man of her dreams. Despite all of the shit she had to go through to get to this point, it all appeared to pay off.
Arianna looked at her watch. “Do you feel like meeting with the seamstress right now?” she asked.
“Hell, I’m not doing anything else,” I said, standing and retrieving my purse from behind my desk. As we walked down the hall toward the elevator, my colleague, Xavier stepped out of his office, nearly running into us.
“Whoa, sorry there, ladies,” he apologized before steadying his gaze on me. “Ms. Valencia,” he said, a small smile pulling at the corner of his mouth. I rolled my eyes.
“Xavier,” I clipped, trying to move around him. After a brief, awkward stare down, I finally said, “Well, can we pass? This hallway is narrow and my hips won’t allow the both of us to pass.” He grinned and stepped aside, allowing Arianna and I to move around him. Arianna glanced over her shoulder as we walked away and shook her head at me.
“I think he likes you,” she said.
“Why in the world would you think that? Actually, it doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t be interested anyhow.”
“Whatever, G. You can’t block yourself from love forever. Someone is going to tame you one of these days,” she said. I laughed and gave her shoulder a playful shake.
“You’ve obtained a sense a humor since you’ve moved away, my dear. It’ll be a cold day in hell before someone tames this beast.”
“Oh wow, it looks very…full in here,” I noticed, looking around the filled dining area. Arianna nodded.
“He’s doing well in Miami, so he wanted to add a buffet here in New York. Foreman’s Catering is now Foreman’s Buffet and Catering. Things seem to be going very well,” she said, pulling me toward the kitchen. Although the kitchen wasn’t very big, it seemed to take forever to get through it. We were constantly weaving in between bodies, stopping and backing up to avoid people carrying trays of food to the dining room. I was relieved when we finally reached the hallway leading to his office.
“Do you need me to wait out here?” I asked. She scoffed and grabbed my hand.
“Of course not. He’s been asking about you anyway,” she said, pulling me inside.
Zane was on the phone when we entered, but when he saw us, he grinned. “I’ll call you back in a sec,” he said and ended the call. “Hello, hello, ladies. What do I owe this visit?” he asked, standing and coming around his desk.
I let out a low whistle. Arianna chose a good one. Zane sported a Polo shirt that seemed to practically be painted to his body, molding every muscle in his chest, shoulders, and back. He filled out his khaki pants so perfectly that it should be illegal. How in the actual fuck could someone be semi-casual and sexy at the same time?
“Gia?” Arianna called. I blinked and forced a smiled that probably looked uncomfortable.
“Sorry. Nice to see you again,” I said, holding out my hand. He grabbed my arm and pulled me in for a hug.
“You’re basically family now. No need for the awkward friendly handshakes,” he said with a smile. Arianna shifted through a few papers on his desk until she found what she was looking for.
“We’re heading to the seamstress, babe. I’ll call you when we’re done,” she said, moving past him. He reached out and caught her elbow, pulling her into his arms.
“Are you sure you’re ready to do this?” he asked, concern filling his handsome features. Hearing him say that confused the hell out of me. Why wouldn’t she be ready for this? I hoped they weren’t already having problem. They were the perfect couple and if something else happened to tear them apart, I don’t think my heart would be able to take it.
“Yeah, I’ll be fine. I’m optimistic about it,” she said. He cupped her chin in his hand and kissed her lips.
“No matter what happens, you know I’ll always be here, right?” She nodded, holding his gaze for a split second before their lips locked again. The passion they shared through a single kiss was uncomfortable to look at for some reason. I cleared my throat after a few moments.
“I’m definitely still here, guys,” I noted, breaking them out of their trance. Zane whispered something to her in which she responded with a nod as they let go of each other.
“It was nice seeing you again, Gia. Be sure to look out for her at your little…meeting with the seamstress,” he said to me while keeping his gaze on Arianna, who looked a bit nervous about something.
“Why are you guys speaking in codes? Is there something I should know?” I asked. Arianna glared at Zane, who only responded by lifting his hands in defense.
“I’ll explain on the way there,” she said, pulling me out the door.
Victoria Bright is from a small town in North Carolina and currently resides in Greenville, South Carolina. You can usually find her hoarding bottles of Cool Blue Gatorade, playing The Sims when not writing, or obsessing over Camaros.