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25 March 2009 @ 11:32 am
A Strong Hand  
Nicholas Sayers, needing money for college, takes a job as assistant to infamous photographer Damian Wolfe. It's just taking pictures, right? Wrong. While Nick has never questioned what kind of man he is or what he truly wants in life, working for Damian during a BDSM photo shoot opens his eyes to all sorts of sexual possibilities, and many of them include the handsome Mr. Wolfe.

Damian has serious doubts about getting involved with a younger man who knows nothing about the BDSM lifestyle, but Nick's adventurous and humorous approach to new experiences is far too alluring to resist. Although he knows it might be a mistake, Damian takes Nick into his life.

Flirting on the edges of control, submission, and pain excites Nick more than he would have ever dreamed possible. With Damian, Nick learns about his own deeply hidden desires and finds out that relinquishing control doesn’t make him weak—having someone else in control of his sexual pleasure simply heightens it. And the reverse is true for Damian: Control turns him on. So they set out to explore these sensual boundaries together, neither expecting to find love along the way.

Available at Dreamspinner.com April 13th in both ebook and paperback here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/comingsoon.htm

I'm still getting a handle on this self promotion thing. It's daunting, especially to a retiring person.

This is my first book, which fills me with joy and trepidation. I think it has a plot outside of the sex; I only hope others will too.

This story is BDSM-Lite™. I don't think it contains anything that would squick, nothing that will require brain bleach afterwards. Not a subject I thought I would be tackling, but I wrote it at the request of a friend and it proved to be extremely interesting. (More ruminations after the jump.)

Damian came back to him making a clanking noise, and Nick darted an anxious glance at the photographer. He was carrying black leather restraints of some kind, linked together by a length of silver chain.

“Give me your hands,” Damian ordered.

Silently, Nick held out his wrists.

The leather cuffs were long, almost like a gauntlet, running nearly to Nick’s elbows. Damian fastened the various buckles on the right arm, passing the chain over the bar in front of Nick. It was quite high, almost to Damian’s shoulders, and Nick had to raise his arms for Damian to attach the second restraint.

After Damian had him securely bound to the bar, he stroked the smooth, honey-toned skin of Nicholas’s bare shoulder. “Okay?”


Damian thought Nicholas’s voice had sounded a bit breathless, but he was so excited to see his artistic vision come to life, that he paid it no heed, bounding back behind the camera to check angles and lighting.

He suppressed a gasp, swallowing it when he saw the lithe form, lean muscles taut in the slender shoulders, buttocks round and tempting, and the glossy dark curls shining under the sole light source. He really was blind, Damian marveled. It was a mercy that the insipid blonde model actually hired for the shoot hadn’t turned up. Nicholas was perfect for this. Damian enjoyed the sight of the muscles in Nicholas’s thighs twitching slightly as he fought to remain still.

Damian checked his focus and snapped off a couple of quick shots. “You doing okay?” he called out.

“Yeah, fine,” Nick said, turning to look back over his shoulder just as Damian snapped the shot.

“Now don’t do that again if you don’t want a recognizable shot of you naked in handcuffs. Stay… fucking… still,” Damian snarled.

Nick turned away quickly. His heart was beating so hard and loud, he was surprised that Damian couldn’t hear it. The thought of Damian owning a shot of him, naked and restrained to a bar, made his cock twitch and he wasn’t even gay! Was he? No, Nick thought resolutely, he wasn’t and he wasn’t going to be converted. He was just helping his employer. Nothing more.

His heart slowed when nothing more happened and the lights didn’t flash again. It was quiet so long, he wanted to turn around again and see what Damian was up to, and he was just about to when he felt something chilly at his ankle.

“Wh– what’s that?” Nick asked nervously, flinching as he felt cold metal close around his ankle.

Without answering him, Damian pushed his legs apart with his foot. Nick suddenly felt very vulnerable and exposed, his cock swelling but not hard yet, his balls dangling where he was sure Damian could see them, hell, Damian could probably see everything that was to be seen about his arse!

Nick jumped when Damian spread his legs even further and a cold cuff was clamped about his other ankle. When the strong hands released him, Nick tried to move his legs together but found he couldn’t.

“No need to worry, it’s just a spreader,” Damian said in a very pleased tone of voice. “Excellent. You were born to wear one, you look great in it.”

Faint sounds told Nick that Damian had retreated behind the camera once more. It made him feel a tiny bit safer, but not safe enough. Trussed the way he was, he could barely move. Nick had never been able to please Damian before and hearing approval in his employer’s voice was… heady. On the other hand, he had also never had his legs held apart and trapped before, and it was disturbing. He was just trying to calculate whether he could manage to get to his feet with the spreaders on when the lights flashed, practically blinding him because he wasn’t ready.

“You could warn a person!” Nick yelled, with an energy that surprised even him.

“Sorry,” came the distracted reply.

Somehow Nick knew that Damian wasn’t going to remember to warn him the next time either. He squirmed uncomfortably; wearing these restraints somehow made him feel more naked than when he’d just taken off his clothing. He wondered how long Damian–

The lights blinded him again, but he didn’t say anything this time.

“Stick your ass out a little. No, back, towards me. More. No, too far, go back to where you were. Okay, back it up again. There! Hold it right like that!”

The lights flashed in quick succession and Nick’s hip twinged. He hoped he’d be able to hold the pose as long as Damian wanted, without his back cramping up.

“What’s the scar from?”

“Oh, sorry,” Nick muttered. “Uh, an accident. Had to have an operation.”

“It’s beautiful,” Damian responded.

Nick was outraged; how dare Damian say that? He knew it was ugly and it sure as hell hadn’t been beautiful acquiring it. “Har fucking har,” he retorted sarcastically.

“Shut up,” Damian said, in his dreamy, crazy artist voice.

Nick shut up accordingly. He knew Damian wouldn’t hear whatever he had to say anyway. His arms were falling asleep as the blood drained from them.

“Okay, straighten up a bit. Now turn your head to the left slightly. Oh, very good, you remembered which way left is. I want the light to just catch the edge of your cheekbone and the line of your jaw. Right there. Hold it.”

Again, the flurry of lights. By now Nick knew to close his eyes, seeing as Damian wasn’t shooting his face anyway. When the sequence of flashing lights ended, he pulled on his arms to stretch his back, trying to ease the building tension in his shoulders.

“Will you stop wiggling around? Just stay where I put you until I say you can move,” Damian demanded irritably, striding forward and pushing Nicholas back into position. “Do as you’re told, boy.”

“Yes, sir!” Nick hissed angrily.

“And stop talking, or I’ll swat you,” Damian instructed.

Nick froze into position, except for his cock, which rose in a slow steady swell of blood. The heat pooled at his groin made him fidgety but he didn’t want to know whether Damian was serious about his threat. He sounded as if he would do it.

Nick jumped as he felt warm hands land on his hips. Something brushed across his arse and he yelped, even though it hadn’t hurt at all.

“Stay still, dammit!”

Fuck, Nick thought, he sounds serious. He concentrated on keeping his body positioned exactly as Damian had left him.

Finally his back and hip were signaling dire distress and Nick had to move, letting out a little groan. He yelped and flinched as a hard hand cracked against his arse, sending a burst of heat through his left cheek.

He turned instinctively just as the flash went, and heard a click.

“Will you hold still now, or do you want me to swat you again?”

Damian’s voice came from almost directly behind him, where he was standing with the cable release in his hand. Nick fell silent and turned away from the camera again. He could see the handprint in his mind, red against the whiter skin of his arse. He was suddenly very embarrassed and humiliated to know that Damian had taken a picture of him that way, and wondered what insanity had led him to yank off his clothes and kneel here unresistingly while Damian took more photographs. Not that he had much choice now that he’d let Damian tie him up. The words alone sent a shiver of arousal over his bare skin.

“Got it,” Damian breathed, when he’d captured the final shot. He came to himself then, and chuckled as he took in the slim body of his assistant, stretched and bound, muscles moving under the smooth skin as he strained to remain still; a picture of sensual promise.

“Sorry, Nicholas, I got a little caught up in my vision,” Damian apologized as he came forward to release the young man. He chuckled as he saw the palm print on the boy’s round, enticing cheek. Had he really done that?

He knelt behind Nicholas, leaning just a little closer than necessary to take in a whiff of the faint vanilla scent that clung to the boy, as he released the ankle cuffs on the spreader bar.

Nick shivered and the fine hairs on his back stood up as he felt the heat of Damian’s body so close to his. For a moment, the man was kneeling behind him, and Nick was trapped there, cuffed and spread. If Damian were to try something, take his pleasure, Nick wouldn’t be able to do a thing to defend himself. He was terribly frightened and yet his cock was betraying him by remaining achingly hard.

Damian noticed that the boy was trembling and gently released one arm, hanging on to the other one, sensing that Nicholas was about to bolt with the restraint still buckled onto his wrist. Once he had set the boy free, Nicholas sprang to his feet with a coltish grace, keeping himself turned away from Damian. He ran for his clothes, scooping them up and straight for the bathroom, slamming the door shut behind him.

To find out how it all turns out, go to Dreamspinner.com on April 13th.

When a friend requested a BDSM story, it was a challenge. I had to read a certain amount for research. I also visited sites that sell BDSM toys, and as an aside, let me just say, they can all use a better art director! You guys could sell so much more if you didn't look as if you were shooting everything in a badly remodeled basement! Ambiance, people!

Anyway, for me this turned into an exploration of why a person would want to experience submission to another, and of course, the flip side, what's going on for the dominant. It was an interesting subject and I feel like I came to a greater understanding of why people go for this. It will be interesting to see if readers feel that they get some light into a "darker" side of sexuality.

Jackie: Orli Bluejackieville on March 25th, 2009 08:11 pm (UTC)
I saw this on Dreamspinner's website and have been squeeing and bouncing since! I am ordering it first thing on the 13th!

catt_fordcatt_ford on March 25th, 2009 08:42 pm (UTC)
You are the sweetest friend ever! I mean, you do realize you've read this before, right? I only hope that the additions will make it worth while for you, and of course, you get a lovely arse to go with it! LOL.

Whilst cogitating on this story, I came to certain realizations about why this one boy in particular would get a thrill out of doing this. I hope you'll enjoy it. What would I do without you? I LOVE your enthusiasm!!!

(no subject) - jackieville on March 25th, 2009 08:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - catt_ford on March 25th, 2009 08:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Clare Londonclarelondon on March 26th, 2009 11:23 am (UTC)
This looks delicious, I'll be looking out for it. I don't read a lot of BDSM because I like it on the mild side, plus it matters to me how well the characters come across as men, not just master/submissive. But this reads as just right! Congratulations on the release, your pimping is working just fine ^____^
catt_fordcatt_ford on March 26th, 2009 03:20 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean. When I was reading for research I came across some stories that involved humiliation and what amounted to torture and I DID need brain bleach. I'm sure there's an audience for that kind of thing. This isn't that sort of story at all. The draw of being the dominant seemed clear, but I had to wonder what would make a person want to be submissive. I actually hung out on some BDSM boards and read the chats. What struck me was that subs aren't at all ashamed of their desires, they are proud to own it. And that led me into an exploration of what people get out of this type of relationship. It was very interesting. I also loved the challenge of thinking up better photos to show off the products. The two main protags find a way of doing this that works for them, and it is a pretty mild form. I really hope that you enjoy it. I have much to learn in the pimping arena. *grin*

Edited at 2009-03-26 03:25 pm (UTC)
Clare Londonclarelondon on March 26th, 2009 11:24 am (UTC)
Hell, and I meant to say, that cover is mesmerising! LOL
catt_fordcatt_ford on March 26th, 2009 03:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes, nothing like a beautiful arse. Those lush curves… mmmmm. :-)
Sean Kennedykennsea on March 26th, 2009 02:27 pm (UTC)
Congratulations! It's a fine looking book! And make sure when you sign copies, the signature goes right across the crack ;)

But seriously, you rock. Now get to work on D+D.
catt_fordcatt_ford on March 26th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC)
Snork! I'm glad you like it as opposed to the other contenders. I just think there's some mystery to it, the way it's lit. Not giving away too much.

I was thinking of doing the postcard thing and I shall sign one across the cheeks just for you!

Thank you for all your tireless support, sweetie.

I hope I rock. And yes sir! I actually thought of another part. Le sigh. I'll be writing some today. xox
krazykitten46: goodevil kittenkrazykitten46 on April 14th, 2009 05:08 pm (UTC)
I almost had a heart attack when I saw this on Dreamspinners. I couldn't believe it was in print and of course I had to have it because that meant that one of my favorite stories at Mirrormere was now gone for good.

Congrats for your avid fan.

catt_fordcatt_ford on April 15th, 2009 12:50 am (UTC)
Sweetie! How's my cute little bonbon?

So you're a Dreamspinner fan, eh? I love that! I'm so glad you saw it. You'll find that the story has expanded somewhat, but the essentials are the same and the same scenes are in there. I am so very flattered that you like it so much that you're willing to buy it!

Actually after the troll, I stopped posting at mirrormere; it just left a bad taste. So I'm very glad you found me under my new name! I hope you'll enjoy it just as much as the first time. :-)

And I love your icon.

(no subject) - krazykitten46 on April 16th, 2009 02:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - catt_ford on April 16th, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - krazykitten46 on April 17th, 2009 02:37 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - catt_ford on April 20th, 2009 07:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - krazykitten46 on April 21st, 2009 07:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - catt_ford on April 21st, 2009 09:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
liriel1810 on April 15th, 2009 12:19 pm (UTC)
Yes, I finally pulled my head out of my arse and found you here. ;P

And can I just say, I still get all shivery when Damian goes all dom on Nick's arse. *g*

And now I'm going to whinge. Why the bloody hell does everyone have to do the black background thing? It freaks the hell out of my eyes. If you want me, I'll be sitting over here in the corner pouting.

catt_fordcatt_ford on April 15th, 2009 02:21 pm (UTC)
Ooh, pretty icon. Well, at least your first post is on the book written for you. >;-p

I know you do. And I know you love staring at that cover, and imagining… things…

Well, there are reasons. Black really shows up colours well. And because I was lazy? And here's a hint; it's well-known in graphic arts circles about the colours, but only OLD people complain about black backgrounds. So if you don't want people to think you're OLD…

That being said, age is simply a state of mind. At heart, we will both be forever young. (Cue Rod Stewart, please.)

*squishes back* oxo
(no subject) - liriel1810 on April 17th, 2009 01:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - catt_ford on April 20th, 2009 06:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
contradiction5 on April 20th, 2009 05:34 pm (UTC)
Strong Hand
I thought the book was good, but didn't like the character of Damian too much.

He never apologized for his mistakes (shutting out Nick, running away from problems, taking Nick (a newbie) to a BDSM club (knowing that Nick was still not comfortable with people knowing about their personal life) without some notice or talking about it, and he always seemed to turn it around so it seemed like Nick's fault. If he had apologized then it would have felt like he was more human and less like a "BIG BAD DOM" (which is what I thought you were trying to convey in comparing his actions to Crispin's).
catt_fordcatt_ford on April 20th, 2009 06:56 pm (UTC)
Re: Strong Hand
Oh dear, well I'm sorry about that. But it's possible that Damian was only doing as well as he could. I think he's pretty emotionally guarded and when Nick blew into his life, he fell hard. And he started making a lot of mistakes. He admitted as much to Ashley, but maybe he should have more to Nick. He did apologize in the bathroom.

I've always felt that as they grew in their relationship, they both got better at communicating and making it be what they both needed. I think Damian softened up a lot, even if he had trouble expressing it.

I'm glad you at least liked it a bit.

Thanks, Catt
Jen: John and Scott big ole kissluvinthe88and20 on May 3rd, 2009 03:31 am (UTC)
I just love this story. All your characters come to life beautifully.

I originally bought it in ebook form and now I am purchasing it in book form.

Keep up the great work,
catt_fordcatt_ford on May 5th, 2009 08:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! I'm so sorry to be late in replying, but I've just realized that I'm not getting alerted to comments on my LJ. I'm trying to fix it now.

I am so glad you enjoyed the book, and thrilled that you want to have it in book form. And I will certainly try to keep up the good work, as best I can!

Thank you very much.

foxylady187 on June 21st, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
Hi there! I've just read "A Strong Hand" and I wanted to tell you that I absolutely loved it. I think it's one of my favourite m/m novels - it has everything I like i.e. strong characters, good plot and character development, romance, sex and a nice splash of BDSM lite! I'm interested in reading more of your stories - do the others have a BDSM theme as well?
catt_fordcatt_ford on July 13th, 2009 03:16 pm (UTC)
First, I have to apologize for taking so long to reply to this. I just went through a crazed period of work with insane deadlines, and a client who kept changing things. We have to upload files to Hong Kong and the poor people at the other end must have been so confused as we got into 8+ revisions. It's a free-lance thing, I have to do the work when it's there. But that's not your problem and I do apologize.

I always appreciate when people take the time to comment and I thank you for that. It's so encouraging to an author, and especially to me.

You really made my day and it's so nice to hear that you loved A Strong Hand. I feel like you really got it. What you're saying about the characters and plot makes me dance across my office in joy! It's so nice to get compliments like that! I know what you mean about the BDSM, I had to read a fair amount in research and some were just too heavy and I needed to scrub my brain afterwards. This is the only story I've written so far with a BDSM theme. I have several wips with the same theme, but I don't have any timeline for when they might be coming out. And of course there's no saying that they'll be accepted for publication either. Sorry about that. There is a scene in Summer Fever that has a tinge of dom/sub, but that's it and it's not like this at all.

I hope you'll read other stories of mine and enjoy them, but if you're on a BDSM-Lite kick, I hope you find other stories that will fill the need.

Thank you very much for taking the time to give me your thoughts, and I apologize again for the delay in replying.

(Deleted comment)
catt_ford: pic#82645618catt_ford on June 30th, 2010 02:55 am (UTC)
Of course it is! Not that it'll do you a lot of good. No doubt you've noticed the lack of activity. This has just been a terrible year, between work and dental stuff. I hope you enjoyed the book. Thank you so much for letting me know.

leveana_speeksleveana_speeks on February 6th, 2010 08:22 am (UTC)
I bought it - i read it and I love it! It's just perfect...thank youi you so much!!
catt_ford: pic#87090217catt_ford on June 30th, 2010 02:54 am (UTC)
Oh good! I'm so glad that you love it! That makes me feel great. And thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I'm sorry I'm so behind but I've been crushed with work and working through a lot of dental issues.

Thank you again!

elibeth_hobbitelibeth_hobbit on April 12th, 2012 02:59 am (UTC)
A Strong Hand
Hey! I read A Strong Hand when I bought it on a whim and was just floored by how much I loved it. My favorite aspect of the book is the humanity and love that you weave into Damien's and Nick's relationship and personal growth. When I finished the book, the first thing I thought was, I want more! Out of curiosity, would you ever consider writing more along the lines of this book?