Authors: Ashe Barker
Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #General, #Erotica, #Contemporary
Table of Contents
A Totally Bound Publication
A Hard Bargain
ISBN # 978-0-85715-665-5
©Copyright Ashe Barker 2014
Cover Art by Posh Gosh ©Copyright March 2014
Edited by Sarah Smeaton
Totally Bound Publishing
This is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or places is purely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher, Totally Bound Publishing.
Applications should be addressed in the first instance, in writing, to Totally Bound Publishing. Unauthorised or restricted acts in relation to this publication may result in civil proceedings and/or criminal prosecution.
The author and illustrator have asserted their respective rights under the Copyright Designs and Patents Acts 1988 (as amended) to be identified as the author of this book and illustrator of the artwork.
Published in 2014 by Totally Bound Publishing, Newland House, The Point, Weaver Road, Lincoln, LN6 3QN
This book contains sexually explicit content which is only suitable for mature readers. This story has a heat rating of Totally Burning and a Sexometer of 3.
The Hardest Word
A HARD BARGAIN
Book one in The Hardest Word serial
Over forty-million pounds in the bank, but the one thing she wants to buy is not for sale.
Freya Stone is a Lottery winner. A Euromillions Lottery winner to be exact. The week she won, hers was the only winning ticket. And it was a rollover, seeing her almost forty-five million pounds richer. But with no taste at all for a wealthy lifestyle, Freya bought herself a flashy car and a fancy apartment, then ran out of ideas and stuck the rest in the bank to be carefully invested by her own private wealth consultant.
One passion her wealth will enable her to indulge, however, is her appetite for submission. Or so she thinks. Following a childhood illness, Freya is unable to speak. She gets by pretty well with a combination of British Sign Language and a notepad, but her lack of speech makes negotiating difficult. She can’t tell a Dom what she needs, and she can’t use safe words. None of the Doms she’s played with so far have been especially interested in training a novice sub who doesn’t even squeal.
So Freya decides to buy tuition from a Master who comes highly recommended. Why not? She has the funds at her disposal, and nothing better she’d like to purchase. Twenty-five thousand pounds for a month with the Dom she’s fantasized about for ages seems like a bargain to her.
But experienced and harsh Dom Nick Hardisty has other ideas. Infuriated at Freya’s attempt to buy his services, he turns her down flat, while also demanding that she pay for her temerity by submitting to a punishment which he will administer personally.
Can Freya accept his discipline? Can she convince him to reconsider and provide the help she needs? And Nick Hardisty drives a hard bargain. If he won’t accept her money, what will his price be?
For Hannah, my current work in progress, and John.
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:
Euromillions Lottery: Camelot Group, Française des Jeux and Sociedad Estatal Loterías y Apuestas del Estado, S.A
: British Broadcasting Corporation
Skype: Skype Technologies S.A.
Tesco Clubcard: Tesco PLC
Sudocrem: Forest Tosara Ltd
Facebook: Facebook, Inc.
iPhone: Apple, Inc.
Alton Towers: Merlin Entertainments Group PLC
Pepsi: PepsiCo, Inc.
Ford Cortina: Ford Motor Company
Aston Martin Vanquish: Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd.
Woolworths: Woolworths Group plc
National Lottery: Camelot Group
Lloyds: Lloyds Bank plc
BMW: BMW AG
Qantas: Qantas Airways Limited
Countdown: ITV Studios
Outlook: Microsoft Corporation
Costa: Whitbread PLC
NatWest: National Westminster Bank Plc
Samsung Galaxy: Samsung Group
Citroen: Automobiles Citroen S.A.
Google: Google Inc.
Levi’s: Levi Strauss & Co.
WHSmith: WHSmith PLC
From: Freya Stone
To: Nicholas Hardisty
Date: 27 March 2013
Subject: A Business proposal
Dear Mr Hardisty
Please forgive this less than orthodox approach. I was given your contact details by Angela Delaney, who I believe is a mutual acquaintance to both of us. We probably have a number of mutual acquaintances in fact, as we are both members of the Collared and Tied club. Certainly I’ve seen you there, in the dungeon.
There’s no delicate way to frame my proposition, and I appreciate that in normal circumstances a direct approach from me, to you, would not be acceptable. But my circumstances are a little unusual and I hope you will be able to overlook my departure from accepted practice. In short, Mr Hardisty, I want to commission your services. As a Dominant, my Dom, specifically. I am convinced that you would never normally consider inviting me to scene with you, so I feel I should offer you some payment to compensate you for your time and for sharing your expertise. Would you consider the sum of twenty-five thousand pounds to be a fair price for your services? If not, I am happy to negotiate.
For this amount, or whatever sum we eventually agree on, I would wish to enjoy your attention, exclusively, for a period of I think perhaps one month, though, I am prepared to be flexible on that also. You will know better than I what’s involved and how long it might take. During that time, I would like you to work with me, train me in order that I can become accustomed to submission and the BDSM lifestyle. I am interested in exploring the various forms of submission, the usual and most common practices and so on. You will appreciate that whilst I have long been aware of this aspect of my nature, my experience is extremely limited, and to date my progress as a submissive has not always been especially rewarding. I have reached the conclusion that unless I take drastic steps, that situation will not alter.
I mentioned that my circumstances are unusual, and I feel I need to explain those to you more fully in order that you can consider my proposal fairly. Whilst I have normal hearing, I am mute. I cannot speak at all and therefore I cannot use safe words or other vocal clues to communicate with a Dom. I have on a number of occasions encountered difficulties as a result of my particular communication challenges. Not that I have had many offers.
On the other hand, I understand that you have an extensive track record and considerable expertise in training submissives, and I would like to be able to benefit from that specialist knowledge.
If you are positively inclined to consider my proposition, perhaps we could arrange a time to get together to discuss the details. I am happy to meet with you at a time and place of your convenience.
Freya Stone (Miss)
From: Nicholas Hardisty
To: Freya Stone
Date: 31 March 2013
Dear Miss Stone
You are quite correct. Your approach is both unorthodox and inappropriate. I am in the habit of selecting my own submissives, and have never yet found it necessary to do so on the basis of financial consideration.
I understand your membership of the Collared and Tied club has been revoked so it is unlikely our paths will cross again. May I therefore take this opportunity to wish you every success for the future.
And finally, if I were minded to accept payment for my services as you suggest, I would have done what you require for considerably less than you have offered.
From: Freya Stone
To: Nicholas Hardisty
Date: 2 April 2013
Subject: A Business Proposal
Dear Mr Hardisty
There was no need to have my membership revoked. A simple no would have sufficed. As there are no other reputable establishments catering to my—our—preferences closer than Glasgow, I now find myself with nowhere safe to play.
I am therefore considerably worse off than when I first approached you. Perhaps that was your intention, but I feel that a more direct form of retribution would have been more appropriate. You could have simply spared a few moments to spank me, and been done with it.
Needless to say, I deeply regret having approached you, and you will not be bothered by me again.
Freya Stone (Miss)
P.S. The level of my financial offer reflected the value I place on the service I am seeking. I have the funds, and how I decide to spend my money is entirely up to me.
From: Angela Delaney
To: Nick Hardisty
Date: 2 April 2013
I can’t believe you did that. Freya was only asking you to help her. You had only to say no. You and I both know perfectly well that if you’d chosen not to agree, you could have convinced her to abandon her plans without resorting to such measures.
Freya Stone needs her membership in the club. You know as well as I the dangers facing an unattached and inexperienced submissive, let alone a sub with Freya’s communication difficulties. Freya is willing, enthusiastic, courageous and honest. She could, given training, become a perfect submissive. And she deserves a chance, no less than the rest of us. I can’t imagine how she’ll cope now, without the relative safety and protection offered by a well-run club. No doubt she’ll be reduced to skulking around dodgy chat rooms and sleazy online networks. Heaven help her.
You may own the club, but I am the manager here. You are also my big brother, Nick, and you know I have the utmost respect for you. I have no wish to quarrel with you, but you make it extremely difficult at times, not least when you take matters of club membership into your own hands in this way. I am very disappointed in you over this, Nick. Very disappointed indeed. I like Freya Stone and I’ve tried to help her, train her, but it’s not a Domme she wants. She will only really respond to a Master, and I don’t doubt that she would have responded beautifully, given time and the opportunity to explore her nature in safety.
And regardless of your singularly ill-chosen remarks in your email to me earlier today, I have no regrets at all about suggesting to Freya that you could meet her needs because quite simply, Nick, you could. Can. You are exactly what she needs. As the general manager of this club, I am aware that you are an experienced trainer, highly regarded among all the submissives you’ve educated. You have a reputation for being hard but fair, exacting and challenging. You certainly have the skill and creativity, and the patience, to devise ways of overcoming Freya’s particular issues and developing her unique qualities. And you’re intuitive, tuned in to your submissive’s responses, good at reading the signals. Even without words, you would know how she was feeling, you’d be aware of her responses whether she was able to tell you or not, and you could have trained her. I know Freya would have been safe with you and that’s why I recommended you. And it’s not as though you don’t have the time, now that you’re not throwing tourists out of those bloody planes of yours every day.