The Dark Garden by Eden Bradley Read Online (FREE)
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ROWAN RAN HER HAND OVER THE COOL METAL OF the chain suspended from the ceiling, drawing her fingers along the sleek, steely surface, one link, then the next. She curled her fingers around the length of it, slid her hand down until she felt the soft touch of leather against her skin, moving her fingers absently over the buckles of the cuffs.
She breathed in the familiar, earthy scent of leather. Club Privé. The most exclusive BDSM club on the West Coast. Rowan’s second home.
She surveyed the space where her friends and acquaintances were preparing for the play party tonight. The room was, as always, womblike, with its dark red walls and dim purple and amber lights. The mesmerizing, tantric cadence of a Gregorian chant filled the air. She crossed the expanse of wood floor to find a seat on one of the red velvet couches that edged the play area, nodding quietly to those she knew, careful not to intrude as they cleaned and prepared their equipment and set the mood with their partners.
The familiar faint buzz of sensual anticipation that was always present at a play party was heavy in the air, a palpable shared energy that built up as the evening wore on. And as had happened all too often lately, a surge of disappointment rose up in her at the emptiness inside that this place had once filled so beautifully.
When had it all begun to mean so little, when at one time it had been everything to her?
She watched as more people filtered into the room and willed herself not to fidget. Why was she even here? She had no intention of playing tonight; she wasn’t in the mood. She was far too edgy, and dominating even the most beautiful boys at the club, the most obedient, was no longer satisfying. She’d been like this for months, and nothing seemed to help. Yet at the same time, her writing, her dark secret writing, was going better than ever. Words seemed to flow out of her fingertips effortlessly in a tide of language and emotion. It should have been a release, yet she never came out of it feeling sated anymore.
The music changed to the familiar trancelike tones that signaled the official beginning of the evening. Submissive men and women were bound to the large wooden crosses, the spanking benches, the racks. They were beautiful, all of them, regardless of their shape or size. She had always thought so. There was beauty in the act of submission itself, something which never failed to amaze her.
She had talked about it at the discussion group she ran one Tuesday night each month for those new to the lifestyle. They talked a lot about the psychology of BDSM, of the rituals and symbols that were the basis of it all. She was glad she was able to help people make the transition into accepting this secret side of themselves. But in the five years she herself had been involved, there was a part of her that never quite felt whole.