Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,…
You’ve seen Shakespeare’s sonnet number 116. You’ve probably heard it read. In fact, I read aloud it at my brother’s wedding. But it isn’t about weddings, as such, but about two people who match each other’s needs so perfectly that nothing can destroy their love.
Alison Tyler’s The Delicious Torment, the sequel to her Dark, Secret Love, is about two people with such intense, specific, on-the-edge needs that it seems like a miracle that they found each other.
Samantha, the heroine based on Alison Tyler herself, is “ensconced in an S/M relationship that makes everything I’ve done before turn a whiter shade of pale.” Jack is older, a high-powered lawyer, whose need to dominate through “pain and shame and utter humiliation” could only be satisfied by a woman like Samantha, as strong in her way as she is submissive. Pain and humiliation are pleasure to her, even when she dreads them, and they bring her to orgasm even when they bring her to tears. Jack gives her what she needs, and she loves him without reserve, while he needs her love as much as her submission, even though he needs her to prove that love over and over.
There are plenty of S/M books out there now, but nobody does it with as much style and skill as Alison Tyler. Nobody makes it as real, as convincing, as appealing even to people whose tastes have never run that way. And the story here is more than a series of “scenes,” even though the traditional canes and belts and crops and chains play their part. The relationship has its twists and turns and unexpected deviations, especially when it comes to involve a third person. There are adjustments and alterations that might strain a love less strong. Jack’s difficulty in trusting Samantha’s love and the lengths he goes to in testing her could have destroyed the very thing he craved. But no impediment is great enough to tear these true minds (and bodies) apart.
And there’s never a dull moment. Here’s what happens after Sam counters Jack’s suspicious surveillance with tricks of her own, then waits at home for him:
I was on the bed, naked, and I’d cuffed my ankles and tossed the keys to the corner of the room, clicked the cuffs onto my wrists, and hung the chain from the hook on the wall. I was as exposed as I could possibly be. And deeply grateful that it was Jack in the room and not Alex. I didn’t know if I could have handled this reveal twice.
Then, when things are reconciled, at least for the time being, comes this scene:
Jack stroked me all over with his bare hands. Up and down. Not leaving any part of my body untouched. I’m trained as a masseuse, and yet I’m one of those strange creatures who don’t like to be massaged. In fact, if I don’t know someone well, I don’t like to be touched at all. I don’t hug people on greeting. I don’t spontaneously hold hands with my friends. I have a history of being stand- offish in this way.
When Jack used his bare hands to stroke from the tops of my shoulders down to my feet, he made me purr like a relaxed panther. My body was humming, electrified. He didn’t tickle me. He didn’t touch me too gently. He used firm strokes, over and over, until I felt as if I were flying.
Only then, after he’d put me into an almost hypnotic trance of pleasure, did he bend close on the bed, press his face near the nape of my neck, and say, “You worried me.”
He’d lulled me, tricked me, created this false sense of
safeness in my surroundings, and now that was replaced by instant awareness. My skin prickled. My muscles tightened.
“On purpose,” Jack continued.
His breath warmed the back of my neck, but I would not turn my head to look at him. I was frightened of what I might see in his cold blue eyes.
“I told you before,” he continued in a menacing whisper. “I told you not to make me worry.”
Oh, I’d been so pleased with my plan. And it had worked exactly how I’d hoped. But should I have confronted Jack in a different way? Spoken to him like an adult rather than playing behind his back? No... He understood this. He understood dirty pool. Christ, he was a lawyer after all. But that didn’t mean I could get away free. Jack had to take back the power. And that meant I would endure the punishment he chose.
I could feel Jack’s body against mine, pressing hard. He was still dressed, which made me feel more naked than ever. He straddled my body from behind, so that I could feel how hard he was, and I knew that I’d turned him on. He was like steel. Even when I’d made him worry, I’d managed to turn him on. We had a powerful connection, a type that rarely exists. You can meet people who will spank you. You can meet people who will tie you up, who will fuck you six ways to Sunday. But this was different.
“A powerful connection, a type that rarely exists.” There you have it. Shakespeare’s “marriage of true minds.” Two people who have the incredible luck of finding each other, in a book readers have the incredible luck of being able to read, with no impediments.