When I wrote “Submission for Skeptics”, part of the motivation was to put into words what I’ve learned over the years reading about BDSM. I remember hearing about BDSM and thinking it was just a fancy term for abuse. And then I read my first BDSM book and I was confused. It was sexy, but wasn’t it still just abuse? But then I was drawn to read more and I started to see and understand the differences. One is an agreed to power exchange with discussion between parties, limits and an emergency braking system (aka a safeword). The sub isn’t a victim; they are a willing participant.
Disclaimer: of course there’s no one way or right way to do most things, and BDSM is no different. But the generally accepted practice is for the participants work out the details that work for them. They are both consensual participants in the activity. I wish I know who created the chart below, and I’ll add an attribution if someone can provide it, but I think it’s a very good summary of the differences.
And so, “Submission for Skeptics” was born:
“Writer Kris Comisky was manipulated into insulting a room full of Doms during a book launch at Seattle’s notorious Club Libertine. Once she realizes her error, she decides to undergo sub training so she can write an article both as an apology and to help clear up misconceptions about the lifestyle.
University professor Damon Redmeyne and firefighter Brad Martin are Doms and lovers, and they live upstairs from Kris. They’re also in love with her and volunteer to be her trainers, hoping it will help her see them as more than just friends and open her up to the idea of a permanent ménage relationship.
Kris takes to the lifestyle immediately but is also fearful. Her family has a history of domestic abuse, and she’s having trouble coming to terms with a relationship involving pain no matter how many orgasms Damon and Brad give her. Can she let go of her upbringing and love them back before it’s too late?”
5 STARS: “Submission for Skeptics by Diane Leyne is a wonderful addition to her Club Libertine series. I have read several books by Ms. Leyne and she has never disappointed me. I know that her books will not only entertain me, but will move me emotionally. Such was the case with Submission for Skeptics when I was pulled into the story from the first page. I found myself getting lost in the book, forgetting my surroundings and focusing solely on the story. Kris grew up in an abusive household and now has to watch her older sister repeat history. She swore that she would never allow herself to be abused by any man. So when she is invited to cover the launch of a book glorifying BDSM, Kris is determined to speak her mind. The launch party is held at Club Libertine, a notorious BDSM club. Kris is surprised to see her neighbors, Damon and Brad, at the party. She knew they were lovers but did not realize they lived the D/s lifestyle. Damon and Brad offer to teach Kris about the lifestyle so that she can better understand a D/s relationship and write an article explaining how BDSM is not abuse. The story played right into my own questions about BDSM. How can you let someone cause you pain? When does it cross the line into abuse? How can it possibly be consensual? Why would you let someone who supposedly loves you hurt you? Ms. Leyne answers all these questions as part of the story. As Kris learned, I learned. As Kris accepted, I accepted. As Kris yearned, I yearned. In fact, Submission for Skeptics portrayed a D/s relationship with such love and caring that I actually found myself jealous of Kris. Damon and Brad were fascinating characters that I wanted to get to know better. Brad is a macho, muscular, firefighter, yet he is the submissive to Damon’s dominant. Why? How does being submissive provide Brad peace and security? Damon is the intellectual, a college professor. Yet this seemingly mild-mannered man loves to dominate. It’s always fun to see stereotypes turned upside down. The sex scenes were so much more than just sex. The love between the three leads was evident in every words and every touch. Even when Brad or Damon was spanking Kris, you could feel how much they cherish her. And even though each man was focused on their woman, they never lost their own connection. Ms. Leyne packs a lot into this novella. I really enjoyed watching Kris grow and learn the power of submission. Though Damon, Brad and Kris were strongest when together, I loved the relationship each had with the other. I’m not usually a fan of M/M relationships, but Damon and Brad had so much love for each other that I even enjoyed the scenes just between the two. Submission for Skeptics can really be read as a standalone. However, once you’ve read it I wouldn’t be surprised if you decide to go back and read the others. Ms. Leyne is that good. I know that I can’t wait to read the next one in the series.” — Robin, Sizzling Hot Books
5 STARS: “Kris Comisky undergoes sub training after insulting a room full of Doms. She does it so she can write an article about her experience and to clear up the misconceptions about the lifestyle. Her friends Damon Redmeyne and Brad Martin volunteer to train her in hopes of Kris seeing them as more than friends, they want a permanent relationship with her. Kris has a family history of domestic abuse and has trouble dealing with her feelings as she undergoes training. Can Kris let go of her past to embrace what she finds with Brad and Damon? Submission for Skeptics is the seventh book in the Club Libertine series by Ms. Leyne. While this book is part of a series it can be read and enjoyed as a standalone novel. Once I started reading this book I had a hard time putting it down. I loved this book, even more than the other books in the series. I like how the author addresses the misconceptions about the BDSM lifestyle as she tells the story. She does it in a way that feels natural and does not interrupt the flow of the story. Kris had had a rough life. She has watched her sister and mother abused by men they loved. She does not want to fall into that trap and make the mistake her mother and sister made. In her want to protect women from abuse, she makes an assumption that BDSM is abuse. Damon and Brad have loved Kris from afar. They have not pursued her because of her past, afraid she would flee. Once they are given an opportunity to see where a relationship might go, they take it and run with it. The chemistry between Brad, Damon and Kris is explosive, with sizzling hot sex scenes. The trio fit together in a way no one seemed to expect. Overall, this was a hot and sexy read and I hope we get to see more of these characters as the series progresses. I cannot wait for the next book. ” — Arianna Bolger, Just Erotic Romance Reviews
5 STARS: “I do like this series for the most part, and we met Kris in the last Libertine book, when she dissed the BDSM lifestyle, in a high profile book signing taking place at a BDSM club. Kris’ history has a boatload of domestic abuse in it, with her mother and sister being abused by her father and brother-in-law, and her brothers also abusing their wives. Kris has left home to avoid the same fate, and has been disowned by her family as a result. So Kris equates the lifestyle with domestic abuse, until she meets a few people who try to set her straight (or should I say, ‘set her kinky’?). She desperately wants to make it up to her new friends by using her freelance reporting contacts to do a series of stories on the differences, but first she has to give herself over to a Dom who can teach her what that difference is. Coincidentally, her upstairs neighbors are Damon and Brad, who are in a D/s relationship and they want to be her Doms. She is afraid at first, and needs to let go of a lifetime of fears and mistaken beliefs before she can be with them. I liked the way Submission for Skeptics was interwoven with Kris’ sister’s abuse problems, so she could actually see the difference first hand. Like all the previous Libertine books, if BDSM is your thing, you’ll like this one too. I liked that it’s a little different take on boy or boys meet girl and fall in love and into BDSM together.” — Alberta, Manic Readers
Kris was still sitting on the stoop twenty minutes later, researching Dr. McClain and BDSM instead of soy beans when her other upstairs neighbor returned from work, riding his trusty Schwinn. She found herself immediately slamming the laptop shut, but her face still flamed at the thought he might see her perusing sites on whipping and bondage.
Dr. Damon Redmayne was a committed cyclist. On the weekends she’d see him going out in his spandex shorts and those funny little shoes with the hard soles that made clicking noises as he walked and snapped into his bike pedals. But during the week, he wore what she liked to think of as his work uniform of cords or khakis, golf shirt, and jacket. Today he was wearing a pair of baggy olive-green cords with a cream-colored golf shirt and a black-and-red bike helmet. He had a khaki messenger bag slung across his chest. She watched him disappear into the small gap between the houses and park his bike in the garage before reappearing a few minutes later. He had his bike helmet tucked under his arm as he ran his hands through his long hair before tying it back and away from his face.
He really was quite cute as well, in a nerdy, academic kind of way, and really appealed to her, too. He was the quiet one, and she sometimes wondered what he was thinking when she and Brad were laughing and joking their way through a shared meal while Damon just watched them both. When they were alone together, though, conversation never flagged. Damon was amazingly intelligent with a dry sense of humor, and he always kept her entertained.
But sometimes when it was the three of them and Brad was holding forth with one of his many amusing stories about life in the fire hall, Damon’s dark, enigmatic eyes sometimes seemed to look right inside her. More than once she’d felt her panties dampen when he’d focused his intense gaze on her, a gaze that belied that casual air he cultivated with his clothes and bike. Sometimes she thought she was imagining things because she’d look at him again, and he had his usual mild expression, but every now and then she caught him studying her with that concentrated expression and wondered what he was thinking.
While he wasn’t as muscular as his boyfriend, Kris knew from seeing him in his spandex weekend riding clothes that his lanky body was very well toned. And once, when it had been really hot, he’d stripped off his top and used it to wipe the sweat of his face, and she’d been extremely impressed by his ripped abdomen. She’d wondered what the rest of him looked like naked. She also thought about what it looked like when he and Brad got naked together, and she found the thought surprisingly hot.
She knew Damon and Brad, at thirty-five, were five years older than she was and that they’d known each other since middle school. She watched them together sometimes and felt envious of their obvious love for one another. She hadn’t been in a relationship for almost two years. She’d dated a bit, but her job required odd hours sometimes, and she just didn’t have the energy right now to head out into the jungle of singles on the prowl, so she devoted herself to her career and fantasized about her upstairs neighbors while using her battery operated boyfriend.
Damon parked his bike and then came around to the front steps.
“You just missed Brad. It looked like he was rushing off to work.”
Damon sighed. “He texted me. Big four-alarm fire on the east side. They’ve called all of the off-duty guys in.” His tone was neutral, but he looked worried.
“Brad’s good at what he does. I’m sure he’ll be fine.” She paused and looked down at the laptop balanced on her knees. “You’ve worked at the university in the Sociology Department for a few years.” It was a statement, not a question. She knew where he worked.
“Yup.” He looked intently at her.
“Do you know Joshua McClain? Work with him, maybe?”
The smile left his face quickly. “Sure I know Josh. But he’s on sabbatical this year.”
“Josh? You are friends?”
“Yeah. We’ve known each other since grad school. He was working on his PhD when I was working on my Masters.”
“You in the same field?” She could see he was curious and not too pleased with the direction of her questions, but she was a journalist. She was trained to ask the tough questions. She realized that she was also very interested in his answer. Was her tweedy professor of her fantasies a secret Dom? Not bloody likely.
“Broadly. We’re both in the Sociology field, but he specializes in BDSM and my field is family therapy.”
“I understand he has a book coming out, a somewhat controversial book.”
“That’s what they say.” His tone was cautious.
She looked at him. His eyes were narrowed, and he looked wary.
“Have you read it?”
“It’s not out for a few days.”
“That’s not an answer.”
“No it isn’t.” He now looked slightly amused as he stared at her with those dark eyes
“Are you going to the book launch tomorrow?”
“Why do you ask?”
“Just wondering. I’d heard about it from an acquaintance.” Even though there was no way he knew Margo or would ever know that was who she was talking about, she couldn’t bring herself to claim Margo as a friend. “She claims that it is a dangerous book, degrading to woman and will encourage men to abuse their wives and girlfriends.”
“Are you asking as a woman or a journalist?”
Kris had to force herself to keep her gaze lowered as Damon slowly walked into the room. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see him lean down to caress Brad’s head with one hand. In the other, he was carrying what looked like a riding crop. She felt a shiver of desire run through her. What the hell was happening? That book had corrupted her, putting dark desires into her head, desires that she’d never had before, that she’d associated with abuse, but she now found herself wondering what it would feel like if he used that crop on her. She hadn’t thought she’d enjoy being spanked, but that had turned into a pleasurable experience. She had to force her thoughts back to the present.
“How are you doing, boy? Are you looking forward to playing with girl?”
“What do you think of girl? Are her tits pleasing to you? Would you like to suck them?”
She saw Brad glance at her, his eyes laser focused on her breasts. He licked his lips before returning to Damon.
“I love her tits, Master. I’d love to suck them and squeeze them and bite them until she screams for mercy.”
Kris couldn’t stop from turning her head to look at Brad. This wasn’t the southern gentleman she’d known for six months. This was a primitive stranger controlled by his base desires, and what he wanted was her. Maybe it was his crude words or maybe the tone of his voice, raw with need, or maybe the combination of the two, but she was suddenly literally shaking with desire, and the evidence of which was now running down her thighs.
Damon laughed. “And you shall get the chance, boy. But you need to be patient. Now, what about her ass? It’s a nice ass, don’t you think? Firm and ripe and just made for a man’s hand. Would you like to spank girl’s ass?”
“She has a wonderful ass, Master. I would love to spank it and flog it and paddle it and whip it and then fuck it.”
This time Damon laughed harder. “You really have missed being on top, haven’t you, boy? I’m glad we have our new toy here for you to play with. Now, tell me this. Would you like to fuck girl’s hot pussy? Or maybe her mouth or her ass?”
“Whichever one Master wants me to fuck.” Brad’s tone was humble, but his eyes glittered with desire and something else as he glanced over to Kris. She saw his expression and felt a shiver of desire pulse through her. She’d never felt so desired, and now not one but two men, men she’d fantasized about for the last six months, were about to turn her fantasy into reality. Of course, her fantasies hadn’t included whips and paddles, at least not until last night after she’d read that damned book.
Suddenly she felt a sharp pain in her left nipple and then her right one.
“Ouch.” Damn him. He’s hit her with the crop. Her nipples hardened more as the jolt of pain morphed into heat that seemed to pulse through her breasts and all the way down to her pussy.
“Pay attention, girl. Your attention must never wander from your Masters. You must listen and obey at all times.”
“Yes, Master.” The words came reluctantly, but weren’t as difficult as she had expected.
“Boy, you can speak freely. Which do you want to fuck first?”
“Since Master spanked her ass first, boy would really like to fuck it first.”
“Well, boy, be good today, and you’ll get your wish. You might have to wait a day or two while we prepare her and stretch her ass so she can take a cock, but if you are a good boy, you’ll have her ass. Disobey and you’ll be watching while Master and girl have all the fun. Understand?”
Even after the strikes with the crop, Kris had to force herself to concentrate and keep her breathing under control. Damon was talking about her as if she weren’t even there and in the crudest of terms, but damned if it wasn’t turning her on even more. Intellectually, she thought she should be angry or offended, but instead she was turned unbelievably on. She could feel more moisture leaking from her. She’d never had anal sex, but the thought of Brad taking her that way was arousing. Even the talk about stretching her ass was strangely hot.
The riding crop moved again as Damon leaned down. He ran it between her legs, running up one thigh and down the other, pausing in the middle to burrow into her slit and rub against her clit, eliciting a low moan as it gathered up some of her juices.
“Boy. Taste this and tell me what you think?” He moved over and placed the coated end of the crop in front of Brad’s face. Brad immediately opened his mouth, and his tongue darted out and licked it. His eyes closed. “Mmm. Like honey.” Damon lifted it to his own mouth and tasted it, his eyes closing as he clearly enjoyed the taste.
Kris felt a wave of need ripple through her and leave her panting with desire. There was something about the way these two men were so turned on by her. Their obvious need for her was intoxicating. In that moment, the entire world dropped away and there was nothing but her throbbing clit and her need to have her pussy filled by these two men, and she’d do anything they wanted to experience their possession. Was this love? Did she love them? Was they why she wasn’t freaked out by their treating her as their possession? Is that why she found herself desperately wanting to please them?