by Elia Winters
Columnist Bridget Hartwell agrees to write about BDSM to impress her new executive editor at Sultry, the “sex-positive magazine for sex-positive women.” Unfortunately, it’s a topic she knows absolutely nothing about…but if she ever wants that promotion, she’ll need to learn the ropes, fast.
English professor Max Harlow is active in the Dom/sub scene, but only for casual play—he’s never found his ideal partner: a woman who is his equal, but sexually submissive. When he’s asked to explain the lifestyle to his cute but obviously inexperienced neighbor, Max is certain it’s best to approach it academically—to keep things purely professional.
Until Bridget’s first article is a huge hit, giving her the perfect excuse to delve deeper into the naturally submissive side of her sexuality. But as their encounters intensify and each of her boundaries is skillfully pushed, Bridget must decide what this all means… for her identity, her career, and, most importantly, her future with Max.
“What about your fantasies?”
“What? What is it?” Catching her hesitation, Max looked up from the Scrabble board.
“It’s just…” She paused and took a swig of beer. “I’ve had a lot of crushes on men in positions of power. My volleyball coach back in high school, my internship coordinator in college, a few professors…” Realizing he was grinning, she blushed, remembering he was a professor. “Right. Anyway, I never acted on any of them.”
“And yet you complain that you date weak men.” He swirled the beer around in his bottle and held it up to the light, his gaze thoughtful and distant.
“Well, I don’t want some guy to boss me around.” To hide the discomfort she suddenly felt, Bridget looked down at the board. She played reach off the H in hinder and fumbled as she chose four new tiles.
“I think we both know that’s a lie.“ Max said smoothly, and he drank his beer. “I’ll bet you’re just afraid of what kind of woman you would be if you gave in to those urges.” He rubbed a tile between a thumb and forefinger, then set it back on his shelf. “I’ve been doing this a long time, Bridget. You responded today like a natural submissive. You liked more than just the sex. You liked all of it.”
She set down her beer and looked at him. “All right.” She tried not to sound defensive. “So what does that mean?”
“It doesn’t have to mean anything.” Max shrugged. “Maybe this afternoon, I just want to play some Scrabble with you and order a pizza. But when we’re done with all this experimenting, you’re going to have a lot to write about.”
Welcome Elia! Please start off by telling us a little about yourself.
Thanks for having me! I’m sex-positive, saucy, geeky, and fun. My turn-ons include well-trimmed beards, proper grammar, and a sense of adventure. Aside from writing, I teach high school English. When I’m not writing, teaching, or running lots of extracurricular activities, I enjoy taking on ambitious sewing projects and geeking out with friends over tabletop games.
Is Purely Professional a single title or part of a series?
Right now it’s a single title, but I have a sequel in the works. Stay tuned.
What were your inspirations for the story?
The first draft of Purely Professional was written for my tenth National Novel Writing Month. After a few years of taking on heavier topics for those months, I wanted to write something just for fun, just for me. I built off my own kinks (but not necessarily my own experiences, mind you) for this book and threw in everything that turned me on. When I finished, I knew the book was marketable. I decided to polish it up and seek an agent, even though that meant “coming out” about my own status as a kinkster.
Please share your setting for Purely Professional. Have you ever lived or visited there? If so, what did you like most?
Purely Professional is set in the fictional town of Ridgeville in southern Connecticut. I’ve driven through, but never spent much time in the area. To invent Ridgeville, I narrowed down a radius where Bridget could reasonably live and still commute into NYC from New Haven, then sought out similar towns nearby to make sure her suburban environment was realistic.
When did the writing bug first bite?
I’ve been writing ever since I was little. I wrote my first poem, “A Sneeze,” when I was four or five. I started writing novels in high school because I was too long-winded for short stories, and saucy sex scenes around the same time.
What are your favorite books and authors?
Although I’ve only published erotic romance right now, I read some of everything. I have a special place in my heart for the classics, especially Dickens and Poe, but I love modern literary fiction as well. Margaret Atwood and Barbara Kingsolver are two favorites. I devoured the Song of Ice and Fire books last year, when a terrible person to live with because I only surfaced to eat and sleep. I love Orson Scott Card’s books but hate his politics, so if I buy any of his work, I pair the purchase with a donation to PFLAG to help ease my conscience. For romance, I read whatever strikes my fancy, which lately has been a lot of Charlotte Stein.
If you could have an author roundtable discussion with any authors, who would you invite?
Margaret Atwood, John Green, Stephen King, and Anne Lamott.
Do you have any hobbies or special things you like to do in your spare time?
My sewing hobby has grown larger than my closets can contain. I enjoy cosplay, so I make a variety of costumes for various events. I recently finished a Steampunk sky-pirate costume that I’m going to wear to Templecon next weekend, and next I’ll be making a “Welcome to Night Vale” Eternal Scout costume for PAX East.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve heard or seen?
This sloth gif.
I know, I know. Harlie doesn’t review the hard stuff anymore. She got burned out with the FSOG stuff but I just had to read this one. No one loves a friends to lover trope more than me. Throw in the steamy, a well thought out plot, characters to love and a true HEA. Oh yes, Harlie’s there in spades.
Word to wise, there is BDSM in the book but its not too graphic. Bridget isn’t the virgin heroine but she is a newbie to the lifestyle. Working up the courage to just to approach her neighbor took guts. But was is endearing about Bridget is that she will go for it no matter what. In the beginning it was all about her job and impressing her new boss but in the end, she found out that she can be strong in and out of the bedroom. Yes, dear readers…submissives hold the power, not the dominant.
Ms. Winters does an excellent job in writing the story. The story flowed throughout and didn’t miss a beat with the lifestyle. She doesn’t dumb it down for the reader but makes us think about our own wants and desires. Just like Bridget. Bridget is an older heroine (which I love) and Max is the perfect hero for her. Equals but different. He doesn’t push and takes the time to explain things to her. I mean, after all she is writing articles for the magazine. But again, Ms. Winters does an excellent job with this. Nothing too graphic but when the scenes do come up, they are well crafted and beautiful. You can feel Bridget’s reluctance but then ultimate submission to Max.
I love an English professor. I could “hear” Max talking through the book. I like when an author does that. I feel better connected with the character and can understand them better. What makes him different from the other “Doms” that I have read is that he wasn’t alpha, overbearing, douche bag that I wanted to slap about every other page. He was sweet and caring when it came to Bridget.
The secondary characters are AWESOME, too. They add depth to the plot and to our hero and heroine. As you can see, there is a sequel and let’s hope its Helen. 🙂 I even liked Marcy. I know, right?
Even if you are sick of the genre, give Purely Professional a read. You won’t be sorry. Its a complete story with nothing “hanging” in the end. Refreshing, I know.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Elia Winters has always been a New England girl, despite having spent much of her childhood in Florida. She holds a degree in English Literature and teaches at a small rural high school where she runs too many extracurricular activities. She balances her love of the outdoors with a bottomless well of geekiness.
Elia dabbles in many genres, but erotic romance has been one of her favorites since she first began sneaking her mother’s romance novels. In high school, she kept her friends entertained with a steady stream of naughty stories and somehow never got caught passing them around. Her erotic fiction and poetry have been published online at Clean Sheets and Scarlet Letters under a different name. Elia currently lives in New England with her loving husband and their odd assortment of pets.
Elia’s virtual life is as busy as her real life. In addition to her website, http://eliawinters.com/, you can also find her on:
Purely Professional is available from:
Carina Press http://ebooks.carinapress.com/AE496C3B-2369-43F1-8ECC-4F7F270DD680/10/134/en/ContentDetails.htm?ID=818B948E-17EF-4F91-8CE7-998D91DC788B
Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/purely-professional-elia-winters/1116912916?ean=9781426897863&itm=1&usri=9781426897863&cm_mmc=AFFILIATES-_-Linkshare-_-GwEz7vxblVU-_-10:1&r=1,%201
and other ebook retailers.
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