Paid to Pretend brought the Delphic Agency series to a close although I will be back in that universe in 2021 with the Outreach Series, which I am really looking forward to writing - kink is my thing!
When it came to what to publish next I had a couple of choices, I am really into shifters, and I have a series I have been working on for a while that takes place in a universe where Wolf shifters are second class citizens and their society scorned for its animalistic traits.
The hero has to accept his own inner wolf before he can set about freeing his people from their shame and leading them to take pride in their natures.
It all gets really primal! Yummy!
And I love the story, so it was very tempting to just dive straight into that.
But autumn is upon us and All Hallows Eve is around the corner and I was feeling a little dark (understatement!) and so next to be published will be Handled, a serial killer novel. This is a dark gay romance, set in a universe where those with psychopathic traits, called Handlers, are employed to deliver the death sentence on inverate killers in an extreme version of the set a thief to catch a thief theory.
Handlers work in conjunction with a Witness whose job it is to oversee the just punishment and ensure it is carried out legally.
There are some very dark and twisted moments in this - you have been warned!
Mixed in with the complex relationship between our Handler and his new Witness we have ritual killers, painful backstories and very deviant desires acted upon. So dark, so dirty, I hope you enjoy it.
Handled - Available for Pre-Order Now
Serial killers think if it all goes south and they finally get caught that their swan song is a day in court, making the families relive the agony while they get off on that delicious pain, all over again.
We’re not making celebrities out of monsters.
We’re not giving them a stage to strut on.
Now they get an audience of two.
One to Handle the problem, one to Witness it.
I’m a Witness. I trained for six years to do my duty, to manage my contracted killer, and to watch justice be done.
I knew it would be hard, the first time, to watch the eye for an eye moment.
I expected to feel a lot of things – fear, disgust, guilt.
I didn’t expect to feel turned on.
And I didn’t expect my contracted killer to look quite so pretty with blood on his hands.
HANDLED is a dark gay romance with themes of justice, retribution, and unsuitable love. It is not for the faint of heart and contains graphic scenes intended for an adult audience. Further trigger warnings inside.
Paid to Pretend, the fifth and last book in the Delphic Agency Series, is published 2nd October 2020. Here is a little sneak peek from the opening.
Beneath his feet the ground was icy and slick and Christian kept a close eye on the path ahead in the wavering light of his head torch.
Pathfinder, watch your step.
The wind from the lake was cold tonight and the icy rain found ways under his compression shirt and chilled the back of his neck.
He glanced at his wristwatch and picked up the pace a bit, he was behind his schedule.
In the distance the lights of the agency were a bright white beacon on the rise above the lake while the boathouse windows were pinpricks of more welcoming gold. Sara must be home Christian thought, because Tay and Cash’s cottages would be dark for a long time to come.
For a moment he felt a flash of jealousy. They got their happy ending. They found each other. Christian gritted his teeth and fiercely pushed down the feeling.
Feel nothing, fear nothing, desire nothing.
He pushed the unwelcome emotion to his muscles and took the bend in the track faster, digging his mud caked feet into the curve, pumping his arms to keep his balance. Icy water splashed up his bare calves. He was on the home straight now. Half a mile ahead the bur oaks that surrounded the boathouse were a bare branch silhouette against the sky, and Christian put his head down and went for it.
The burn in his muscles was a fierce joy. One of the few he allowed himself. If he made it to the boathouse by his scheduled time he might allow himself a warm shower. It would probably be wise given the run around the perimeter of the lake in November would have dropped his core temperature despite the exertion.
Can’t get ill. Not allowed to be ill. Not allowed to be weak.
Suck it up boy.
The runner’s euphoria powered him the last half a mile in a blur of hot endorphins and needle pricks of cold against his skin.
He sprinted the last 100 yards and pulled up under the bur oaks, panting. Bent over, hands on his knees, he glanced at his watch. On schedule. Good. Not early, not late. On track. Perfectly acceptable.
He breathed in and out deeply, and then straightened slowly.
The lights of the end cottage of the boathouse shone in front of him. Those lights had never been lit in the five years he had worked at Delphic. Through the rain beating down they glowed and burst in prisms of light. Christian gasped and his heart leapt. His mouth went dry.
The lights were golden spills of welcoming warm colour, the little square in the front door, the portholes on both sides, and the floor to ceiling multi-pane arched window above the entrance.
“Not now,” Christian didn’t know if he spoke aloud or if the words were in his head, “I can’t, I’m not ready,”
He felt his legs give way and the next thing he knew he was kneeling in the shallow mud beside his long-time home, his hands curled into fists on his thighs.
He raised his head, and through the long wet strands of his hair he saw the tall man who leaned against the side of the window, arms folded, one ankle crossed over the other. “Michael,”
Christian stared up at him, just like always, and Michael looked down on him. Christian swallowed the surging emotions, rage, guilt, sorrow, and blinked the water and mud out of his eyes, trying to see Michael’s expression.
When Michael turned away from the window Christian felt his heart break all over again.
I dearly love the Delphic Agency, it gives me an increasingly detailed stage on which to play out love stories and it says things that are close to my heart. Stuff that I believe in.
I couldn’t leave it without telling Michael’s tale – Every prologue has been written in Michael’s voice and so I think it’s only right that his story closes this chapter of the Delphic Agency.
So who is Michael Bond, other than the man behind Delphic? And why is he so disappointed in Christian?
Paid to Pretend
Christian De Olio, natural-born Boy Scout, head of the Delphic Security Team, exemplary son of a proud family, pretends every day of his life.
He pretends he is sexless in a world where arousal rules.
He pretends that he works for Delphic because it was the obvious choice after his time in the army.
He pretends that whenever he listens to the far-off voice of Michael Bond, the long-absent Director of Delphic, it doesn’t take him right back to one night 15 years ago. To the one night, he didn’t pretend. To the one night, he was himself.
And then the Director comes home, and Christian isn’t sure he can pretend anymore. Not when Michael looks at him the way he does, with such disappointment, because Christian can endure anything except being a disappointment to Michael.
Particularly when he thought he was doing so well.
Paid to Pretend is Book 5 in the Delphic Agency Series and features a second chance romance, a hero so clean-cut he glows in the dark, and plenty of steamy kink exploration along with a HEA.
With Paid to Watch coming soon now is a great time to catch up with all the previsous Delphic Agency stories in one location.
Step into the world of the Delphic Agency by Romilly King where wealthy Emptores buy the time of beautiful Venditores and love blooms amidst carefully negotiated BDSM contracts.
This collection includes three full-length steamy gay romance reads plus three additional spicy shorts. Guaranteed ten plus heat level throughout.
The Delphic Agency series begins with Paid to Kneel, where submissive first time Venditor Richard is paired with rich dominant Ash for a short term contract that leads to so much more.
Next, in Paid to take Control, find out what happens when super smart, super hot Brio meets Painter, the only Dom to ever truly match his high maintenance needs. Their road to happiness is full of electrifying exploration and fiery full on BDSM scenes.
Things get complicated in Paid to be Shared, when sweet experienced submissive Birch is contracted to meet the needs of two very different Doms. Will their interactions be a recipe for disaster or a hot ménage?
Also included in this collection are Free to be Tied and Free to Play, two sizzling scenes starring Richard and Ash as their relationship moves forward, and Due to be Punished, a very steamy insight into Painter and Brio’s life together and how Painter tames his brat.
Each story has Alpha dom’s, fascinating submissives, and a full gamut of safe and consensual playtimes along with a happy every after.
Personal Journal Entry – Dr. Cashel Gregory
When everything is going wrong, they taught me, take it back to basics, go back to the solid ground on which you stand, and check it out from there. So that’s what I have always done because I am nothing if not obedient.
Journaling was a mandatory part of our training, and I never really stopped. Sometimes there are just phrases or sentences in my moleskin notebooks, and sometimes there was more. In recent years there has been a lot more.
It helped back in college when I was getting to grips with my empathy and shyness and struggling with expressing myself to my supervisors, and I hope it will help now when I can’t tell anyone my biggest problem.
And as I’m honest here, I want to record what happened, because maybe this will be the only thing I have in years to come, to remember it by, to remember him by, or to make sense of how monumentally fucked up I am.
So here goes.
I remember when I met him, back when he was a contract Venditor, a Dom in the field, spanking asses and roping rich guys and fucking the well-healed in their Hampton Estates.
I was a mere squint of 17, a prodigy tapped by the Delphic Agency as future management potential. I was set to work with Dr. Ash Gannon and Dr. Brio Hywel-Bennet, the founders of ManMindMaps, who were developing a system that mapped all the kinks of human sexuality – heady stuff, I can tell you.
I was running the first algorithm trials with Brio – who was very flighty back then – and Ash, and he came in for one of the first psych evals, and he blew straight off the carefully constructed charts. High-end Dominant, kinks across the board, strong homosexual identity – hardly surprising as he came out of what was left of the leather scene - but no markers for pure sadism.
I remember Brio looked up from the chart and turned to me in outrage – “He just blew the bloody base line up!” he said, “I don’t know whether to hit him or beg him to fuck me!”
I heard laughter, and there he was, leaning against the door. Six foot four of muscle, wearing leather jeans and boots you could see your face in. His face was rugged, like something carved from stone, and his dark hair was shot through with auburn highlights. “I really wouldn’t advise punching me, little sub, I’d have to take your pants down and punish you right here,” he said.
I had to turn away to hide my blush and the semi that instantly made my pants tight.
Brio looked like he’d seen the second coming – or given Brio’s tastes, maybe the fourth of fifth coming.
And Ash, well Ash, stood up and did the brother Dominant thing and slung his arm around the guy’s shoulders and led him away. “I think we’ll have Cash do all your follow up’s,” he said, “Because I don’t think we can trust Brio to be in the same room as you!”
Brio made grabby hands, and I wanted to slap him.
Because that guy, he was everything my stupid little submissive wanted and could never have.
And I got to spend the rest of my career watching him.
I was there when he fucked up, and we had to pull him from contract work. I was there when we saved him and made him Head of Training. I was there for him, year after year, through counseling and friendship and all the other stuff.
And I was there when yesterday he turned around and said he wanted to go back to contract work and no, that’s too much, I can’t watch that. Anything but that. I have been a martyr to the cause of Tay since day one, but no, I can’t do that.