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On the Razor's Edge of Paradise

By: Carolyn_Faulkner
Published By: Blushing Press
Copyright: ©2017 by Blushing Books® and Carolyn Faulkner
Nine Chapters / 35,672 words
Heat Level:
3.9 Out Of 5 (3.9 on 16)   |  Write a review
Price:
$3.99

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Isabella Sterling has been hurt before, and she isn’t about to let it happen again. 

Enter one sort of British business tycoon, with a rakish look, a sharp mind and a broad sense of humor. He finds himself infinitely intrigued by Miss Sterling, especially once she accidentally lets something very telling about her tastes slip that lets him know just how compatible they’d be.

Now, if he could just get her to stop taking two steps away from him to his one towards her… 

Publisher's Note: This book contains graphic scenes and the disciplining of an adult woman. If this is not to your liking, please do not read it.

Chapter One

"And now, thanks to you, my breath would knock a buzzard off a shit wagon," I was saying to my best friend, looking behind me at her rather than the direction in which I was barreling forward.

And, of course, I ended up walking into the very person I'd spent the evening desperately trying to avoid.

He was tall, so much so that it was hard to avoid commenting on it, which I refused to do because I'd heard—not that I was paying attention, mind you—almost everyone who spoke to him tonight mention it. He must've been damned sick of hearing about something he couldn't control in any way, short of digging a six-inch trench ahead of him as he went through life. It wasn't as if he was NBA tall, either. He was probably six-three or four. Tall, yes, but not gigantic.

And although he was hardly the brick shithouse build I usually went for, he was damned solid enough to stop me in my tracks and then send me reeling backwards.

Of course, the bastard was athletic enough—unlike me—to reach out and catch hold of my forearm in a vice like grip before I topped backwards onto my friend, starting what would certainly have been a very ungainly, undignified human domino effect.

"Thank you," I murmured under my breath, deliberately not looking up at him, subtly trying to reclaim my arm, although he appeared to be in no hurry to relinquish it as people poured out of the kitchen from behind me, forcing me back up against him. Not that he seemed to mind or even take a step back—which would have been the polite thing to do. Instead, he just stood there, gazing down at me with that angelic look he apparently bestowed on everyone and, at the same time, not looking in the least flustered, while I was coming apart at the seams.

Too much tequila. It was definitely too much tequila—even though I'd actually consumed very little—and not his nearness that was getting under my skin.

Wasn't it?

Instead, his big hand traveled down to my own, and instead of shaking it, as I would have expected, he clasped my fingers and brought the back of my hand to his lips in a very soft, tender kiss that my body somehow interpreted as something much more intimate.

"I think you're the only person I haven't met here this evening, although you're the one I'm most interested in meeting, Ms. Sterling. I've heard so many wonderful things about you. I'm Dan Hayden. It's truly a pleasure to finally meet you."

I frowned. Son of a bitch, who had been talking to him about me? I would wring their necks, whoever they were! I was not on the market and that was it, but none of my friends agreed with my decision. They tended to like to try to set me up with men they thought I might be interested in. This was far from the first time I'd heard of them doing this—but this was the first time that I agreed with their assessment of the man they'd chosen for me.

This man was sex on a stick. Sex on two very long, slim, yet definitively muscled legs. He wasn't classically handsome, but he didn't need to be, either, with a voice that just slightly hinted at English—or was that Irish—accent and those impeccable manners, not to mention the artfully messy mop top of black curls. And it wasn't as if he wasn't nice looking. He had all the right features—full lips, strong jaw line, aquiline nose—but somehow, they didn't quite fit together. The mismatch only managed to make him seem just that much more attractive—more approachable to everyone but me—than someone who was drop dead gorgeous.

And worse than all of that, as far as I was concerned, he seemed to be a genuinely nice person. I'd watched him—covertly—making his rounds of the party that was being thrown in his honor. He'd greeted everyone effusively, hugging most of them, even if he'd just met them, generously distributing earnest compliments that had me cringing in second-hand embarrassment and—unlike most men in my unfortunate experience—in particular the one I'd just broken up with after a very long time—actually listening to them as they spoke to him. Even the midst of the inanities of their small talk, his posture and open, inviting expression left them with no doubt that he was interested in what they had to say.

Yet, there was that something in him, that spark I had immediately recognized as a kindred spirit.

He was a Dom. I'd be willing to bet my life on it. His amiable personality did nothing to hide it, if that was what you were attuned to, and I, unfortunately, had been all my life. There was a steeliness to him—a backbone—that all good Doms had. He would know—innately—how to make his sub feel safe—and yet, somehow, uneasily, acutely aware of him at the same time—while in his presence.

It was a very potent combination.

Yes, he was downright dangerous, this one—I could feel it in my bones the moment I saw him. I had very carefully circulated around the party a few steps ahead of him, ducking out when he'd gotten a bit too close for my comfort and into the kitchen, where I knew my friend—the hostess of said party—would be.

She was the reason why I was making the comment about my breath that I'd been saying as I'd so rudely run into him. She'd let me sample a roasted garlic, parmesan and caramelized onion dip she was making, which was proving to be a bad idea. A very bad idea.

So now, I had to cover my mouth and do my best not to breathe noxious fumes on the most attractive man in the room, while also trying not to look at him but not seeming impolite while doing so. He was just too potent for the likes of me, and despite his friendly persona, and those continental manners, all I wanted to do was to get away from him as quickly as was humanly possible.

What does a woman do when a man has just kissed her hand? Does she turn it in his and force him to shake it instead? I had absolutely no idea, so I simply let my hand hang loosely in his, expecting that any moment he was going to let me go.

"It's very nice to meet you, too, Mr. Hayden," I lied, still not looking at him, still counting the seconds until I could have my hand back.

"Dan, please," he offered.

His fingers finally relaxed their hold and I fairly snatched my hand away from him, certain that Miss Manners herself would have endorsed that smooth move.

Before I had a chance to do the awkward thing and tell him that he should call me Isa, a gorgeous, statuesque woman who looked as if she could—and would—devour him for breakfast descended on us—completely ignoring little ole insignificant, perfectly happy to be invisible to her type me, and I was—thank the Gods—finally able to shirk and shrink my way back into the crowd.

To become anonymous once again. Well, as anonymous as one could get in a crowd of people, the majority of which knew you all too well.

But even they—most of who professed to love me, in their own ways—were too much for me. I wasn't a crowd or, for that matter, even a party person at all. More than three or four people grouped together was already skirting the edges of too many bodies for me, and Sharon's place was packed.

I hazarded a furtive glance at my watch—yes, I still wear one—with a face and everything, rather than digital. My parents had given it to me when I graduated from grammar school, and I'd worn it ever since. They weren't around now, but the watch served as a reminder of them and their love every time I looked at it.

Except now, when it lightened my heart, not because of my memories of them, but because I had been here for well over the time I had decided to require myself to stay before I'd even gotten here—hell, before I'd even accepted the invite. At normal parties—ones not thrown by people I knew well or—God forbid—business functions at which I was even more withdrawn—I forced myself to have at least one drink, and to stay for at least half an hour.

But this party was different from that kind of awkward affair. It was worse. Much, much worse. Familiarity was not necessarily advantage to someone who was as socially awkward—in crowds of people and out—as I am. I was perfectly fine in a small group—girls' nights, sleepovers when I was younger—passed out drunk on the hostess's guest bed being the adult equivalent—that kind of thing was fine. I was even somewhat outgoing in that setting, my friends would tell you.

But not in a situation like this, which made me anxious, make me feel like I wanted to crawl out of my skin, to do nearly anything to get away from all of these damned people.

"I saw that."

I heard the accusing refrain from behind me and knew who it was without turning around.

"You're leaving." She came around to stand in front of me, a shot glass in either hand, one of which she gave to me—then retracted. "How much have you already had?"

"Very little, actually," I replied, always scrupulously honest about something like that, since I intended to be driving home in a matter of minutes. I put my hand out, and she gave me the shot glass, which I then emptied and handed back to her.

"You look like you would prefer to be facing a firing squad than to be here." She wasn't whining, there was no rancor in her tone. Sharon understood my peculiarities and, even in the midst of what was sure to be another epic party in which I would not be partaking any further, she supported me.

That was what best friends did.

Lord knows, I'd held her hand through enough atrocious relationships and the inevitable, subsequent breakups, which often went hand in hand with bad career choices and fights with other friends—she could damned well accommodate my, well, more than occasional social phobias.

"Pretty much," I agreed, more blithely than I was feeling.

Sharon sighed. "Did you at least get to meet Dan?"

"I did."

"What'd you think? Gorgeous, isn't he?"

Sharon wanted him. Probably every other woman—and a generous handful of the men—in the room wanted him.

I was used to being the odd man out, although I knew there was something to him, something I could grow to…more than like, if I allowed it. My wet panties voted with the majority, but luckily, it had been a long time since I let their opinion rule.

I wasn't about to give in to their cave woman lack of sensibility. Dan was the type of man to whom women were drawn without him having to do much to make it happen.

I was taking the high road, doing myself the favor of avoiding all of what would most probably become an agonizing heartache in not allowing myself to get sucked into his already estrogen filled orbit, to become just another hanger on in a crowd of hangers-on who were probably much nicer and were almost definitely prettier than I am.

"He's all right," I answered noncommittally.

Another, more exasperated sigh. "I give up. You're incorrigible. Okay, you want to be alone. I'll stop trying to match make."

I raised an eyebrow. "I'll believe it when I don't see it. When I'm not invited to it. When I don't have it arranged for me—"

"All right, all right. I've been trying too hard, I know." She shifted the empty shot glasses into one hand and used the other to cup my cheek as she pouted those glossy red lips at me. "It's been too long, Isa. I just want you to get back on the horse or at least the stud, anyway. I want you to be happy again."

"Believe it or not, honey, not all of us need a man to make us happy. Some of us are just as happy—maybe even happier—by ourselves."

Sharon leaned closer to me, and I could still smell the dip—as well as tequila—on her breath, as she patted my cheek like the condescending bitch she could sometimes be. "You keep telling yourself that, cupcake. Maybe one day, you'll actually believe it."

Before she managed to make the dramatic exit I knew she had planned in her head, I said, perhaps a bit too pointedly, enough so that it stopped her retreat, "So I'm free to go, without recriminations? Without your childish sulking for weeks on end—not returning my texts except with frowny faced or weeping emoticons or sending all of my calls to voicemail, etc., etc., etc.?"

There was the resentful glare I was used to. "Yeah, fine. You look so damned uncomfortable that you're going to infect everyone. Go—get into your flannel jammies with a cup of hot marshmallows and a teaspoon of cocoa and watch I Love Lucy for the gazillionth time, if you think that's what's going to make you happy."

Still amazed at how well she knew me, I leaned forward to kiss her cheek noisily. "Excruciatingly. Enjoy your party, Sharon. I'm sure everyone will rave about it. I'm sorry I can't be more of a social butterfly for you."

"Good thing I love you anyway," she spat out, as if it was a curse as she drew me in for a hug anyway.

"I love you, too," I said, meaning it more than she did at the moment, I think.

It wasn't until I was finally out of that loud, hot, oppressive room and taking a deep, calming breath that I felt the very door I was leaning against moving out from under me.

Who else would be leaving such a great party so early?

Of course, just the person I didn't want to see as I was trying to make my escape unnoticed.

Mr. Dan Hayden.

"I'm so sorry," he said immediately, upon noticing that I had to try to recover from suddenly falling backwards when he opened the door, his fingers on my elbow.

Right, like that was going to stop me from falling.

"Are you all right?"

"I'm fine, thank you," I threw over my shoulder as I swiftly recovered and took several steps down the hall, away from him.

"Stop!"

Yeah. Definitely a Dom.

Unfortunately, I had been—somewhat—well trained, and I did exactly what he said.

Damnit.

But I also did my level best to hide what I'd done—or at least not give him any hint that that was why I had done it. So, I whirled around to face him, and my, "Yes?" was a tad less than welcoming.

I saw that tiny smile he hid very quickly, though, as if he was amused at my efforts to conceal my inner self from him. He didn't seem insulted in the least by my attitude, taking only about a stride and a half to catch up to me and stuffing his hands into his pockets as he looked down at his shoes.

I was amazed. Those unconscious actions betrayed a nervousness—a certain level of insecurity, even—for which I couldn't imagine I could be the inspiration.

But then he looked up and right directly into my eyes—past any artifice I might try to summon to deflect him.

And then, with a start, I realized that this man saw exactly who and what I was—and what's more, he accepted it. He more than accepted it, he appreciated it.

I actually had to shake myself, internally, to take myself firmly in hand and coach myself to straighten the fuck up, to not indulge in flights of fancy about what this man might really be like under his suave exterior.

"I hope you'll forgive me for my forwardness, but I saw you were leaving and I didn't want to let you go without saying how nice it was to meet you."

I notched my chin up a bit higher and pointed out—slightly discourteously—that he'd already said that.

Another smile, this time a little harder, less jovial. "You're right, of course. I must confess that I wish you weren't leaving so soon—we didn't really get any time to talk."

I snorted. "No one in there is really talking."

He nodded slowly. "Quite true. Perhaps we'll have another chance to talk soon?"

I wasn't about to give an inch, murmuring, with just the right tinge of reluctance, "Perhaps."

I would have sworn that the corners of his lips turned up just slightly at that, as if he was amused at my hesitance, but I could have been mistaken, I suppose.

"Well, I mustn't keep you," he said, and I thought I was going to be released from the snare of his all too powerful gaze. But then he did something so wholly endearing—and thus, for me, unbearably intriguing—that I hated him for doing it, despite the fact that I loved that he had the impulse to do so with me—a woman he didn't know. "Are you all right to drive? You haven't had too much to drink, have you? I would be glad to drive you—" When he stopped himself, I could see him take a mental step back, as if he knew he'd been a bit overzealous. "Or I could call you a cab—"

I didn't want to, but I smiled up at him—all that long way, since I—unlike every other woman at the party and probably some of the men—wasn't wearing heels, saying, "No, thank you, though. I've had very little to drink this evening, considering, and I'm fine to drive. If I hadn't been, I would already have called a cab for myself."

He looked a bit uncomfortable and—was that a blush staining those acute cheekbones? "Of course." Somehow, I didn't think he felt awkward very often, which just made him feel that much more so, and it was quite obvious in his expression. "Have a pleasant rest of your evening, then."

"You, too, Mr. Hayden," I returned, heading back towards the elevators.

"Dan," he corrected immediately—sternly, even—having not taken a step from where we'd been.

With nearly enough distance between us for me to relax a bit, I turned to face him, consciously refusing to repeat his name back to him, as I would have if he had been the one person in my life who was allowed to give me orders that I would make a sincere effort to obey.

"And, if we should ever meet again, you must call me Isa."

Unlike what usually happened in my life, the elevator dinged at the precisely right moment, and I stepped into it—knowing that he was still looking at me intently, a hunch which was confirmed the second I turned around and he was still standing there, hands in his pockets—which pulled the material of his suit pants tight over what was a truly stupendously rounded behind that my palms began to itch to touch and I wished to Heaven I hadn't noticed. Head angled down, just a bit, those all too generous lips curved into a ghost of a smile, the essence of which set me slightly on edge for some reason.

We stood there for the interminable few seconds it took for the elevator doors to close in front of me, just staring at each other, neither of us saying or doing anything else.

Except me.

I was drenching my panties as he watched me silently, and only when I'd seen that I'd descended at least a floor so he wouldn't hear it, I forcibly exhaled the breath that I hadn't, until seconds ago, realized I was holding.

Toni L on 09/10/2017 09:28pm
I find myself in the position of having always liked everything I've read from this author, but I have a love/hate relationship with this story. I loved the characters & found them interesting. I particularly found Dan unusual - to be so gentle, considerate & understanding in a Dom is quite unusual (in my reading, anyway). But I just couldn't get around the physical barriers that were put up between Dan & Isa. To me, it was more than delayed gratification & I found it unsettlingly cruel & selfish. But other parts of the story I just loved. My best suggestion - read it for yourself & make up your own mind.
Lisa Watson on 09/10/2017 04:33am
This is the story of the girl next door, Isabella Sterling and business tycoon Daniel Hayden. Isa has been hurt before and is reluctant to get into another relationship.

She lets slip to Daniel that she is into D/s and that is Dan's queue to pursue a relationship with her as he is a Dom. She has to follow his rules even when he is away or face the consequences. A lot of this book is about delayed sexual gratification with some really steamy scenes.

I feel that this book is the introduction to another book which will focus on their relationship evolving into an age play relationship and if I am right then I can't wait to read it.

I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy of this book.
Lisa Watson on 09/10/2017 04:33am
This is the story of the girl next door, Isabella Sterling and business tycoon Daniel Hayden. Isa has been hurt before and is reluctant to get into another relationship.

She lets slip to Daniel that she is into D/s and that is Dan's queue to pursue a relationship with her as he is a Dom. She has to follow his rules even when he is away or face the consequences. A lot of this book is about delayed sexual gratification with some really steamy scenes.

I feel that this book is the introduction to another book which will focus on their relationship evolving into an age play relationship and if I am right then I can't wait to read it.

I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy of this book.
Lalaland on 09/08/2017 02:03am
This new book by Carolyn Faulkner is a D/s love story (or should be). Isabella is determined to remain single and her best friend is determined to introduce her to a man. Dan is an English business man who she meets at one of her friend's parties and although she spends the entire evening avoiding engaging with him, and makes a hasty exit as soon as is polite, he is fascinated by her. Eventually they get together and it would appear that Dan is a very dominant man and Isabella is an extremely passionate submissive woman. They begin a relationship, you would think aaah nice boy meets girl, spanks her they get hot and heavy and there you go HEA. Not so, Dan has to be so dominant that he keeps Isabella on the edge of that precipice of satisfaction but never allows her to jump, i.e. delayed or really withheld sexual gratification. Surely there is a line where dominance becomes downright cruelty. I didn't like Dan one bit and thought he was really a bit of an arrogant a******e. He went away on a business trip and made her take herself to the edge and not go over and if she failed she should take herself in hand i.e. spank herself. Too much for me I think I would have told him where to go and what to do with himself when he got there. I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy.
lillie1922 on 09/07/2017 07:26pm
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book. Isa meets Dan Hayden at a party. Since she feels totally out of her depth, she tries to avoid the man she recognizes without a doubt as a Dom. He is captivated with the beautiful, but shy sub. This book is a little harsh, but only to those unfamiliar with a strong d/s lifestyle. Spanking, edging, control.
CC Barr on 09/07/2017 09:06am
Well written D/s story. If interested in reading about delayed gratification and %u201Cedging%u201D you will like this latest by Carolyn Faulkner. Characters were well developed.
I VOLUNTARILY REVIEWED AN ADVANCE READER COPY OF THIS BOOK
Pico1 on 09/07/2017 06:55am


Isabella and Daniel are introduced by a friend, and quickly fall into a loving, intense relationship that involves a lot of sex, spanking, and deferred orgasms. The story moves quickly, the characters are well described and likable, and the conclusion makes good sense. My only regret is that I really enjoyed the book and wish it were longer.
Tami on 09/06/2017 12:22pm
Isabella has a hard time trusting men. In fact, if a man approaches her, she acts as if she isn't interested at all. Dan isn't fooled by her action. He just knows there is a submissive woman inside Isabella that wants to come out. Slowly, with many lessons over Dan's knees, Isabella learns that there is one man that she can trust.

It's the first book I've read of Miss Faulkner that is written in first person pov. I have to admit because of that I prefer her other books more but also enjoyed reading this one.
DONNA L on 09/05/2017 10:46pm
I am usually a fan of Carolyn Faulkner and while I enjoyed this short book it fell short in some areas.Isabella has sworn off men after her trust is damaged.This does not stop
her best friend trying to set her
up with Dan.Despite her misgivings,Isa agrees to a date
with Dan.The plot focuses on their budding D/S relationship and delayed gratification.The
in depth description and emotions help bring this book to life.The author did a great job portraying Isa's insecurities and emotions.The sexual chemistry was erotic and powerful,awakening desires she has tried to bury with her past.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Readers Copy of this book
rjr on 09/05/2017 10:01pm
Carolyn Faulkner is an amazing author and one of my favorites. That being said, while this novella is very well written, it is not my favorite book of hers. This short story is about the beginning weeks of a D/s relationship. A great deal of the book is based on the idea of delayed sexual gratification and is quite steamy. The hero is very handsome, very successful, very intelligent, and very, very rich. The heroine, while apparently quite pretty, suffers from social phobias. This did not put me off at all, but what did put me off was her attitude and participation in the relationship. He pursued her even though she was not easy to catch. He was very considerate of her phobias and was kind to her. I just felt like she had to be dragged into every part of the relationship and I was never sure why he was so crazy about her. A large part of the book was spent with him physically distant from her which made the relationship tougher to develop and tougher to follow. The HEA was sweet, but came WAY too early in the relationship to be believable considering the portion of their relationship we are privy to. This is probably the first book by Ms. Faulkner that I will not be putting on my to reread list.
Margaret Corcoran on 09/05/2017 11:42am
I love this author and have read most of her books. This one is one of her sweeter stories. All of her work is very insightful into human nature. All her books are very well written and described. This one is no exception. I received an ARC copy of this book and I highly recommend it.
Tami on 09/05/2017 06:06am
Isabella has a hard time trusting men. In fact, if a man approaches her, she acts as if she isn't interested at all. Dan isn't fooled by her action. He just knows there is a submissive woman inside Isabella that wants to come out. Slowly, with many lessons over Dan's knees, Isabella learns that there is one man that she can trust.

It's the first book I've read of Miss Faulkner that is written in first person pov. I have to admit because of that I prefer her other books more but also enjoyed reading this one.
JigsawGirl on 09/04/2017 09:02pm
I have to say that this story was an interesting study in human nature. There were a couple of things that I had never read about before, and I'm still not sure how I feel about them. But, I must say they were intriguing, if nothing else.

I voluntarily read and reviewed this Advanced Reader Copy.
Stats23 on 09/04/2017 06:48pm
This was a very interesting tale of pleasure delayed, and how it affects the emotional, sensual and sexual psyche of the new D/s relationship developing between Isabella and Dan. Isabella has some trust issues from a previous relationship while Dan is a natural Dom who likes to control his sub by denying her sexual gratification. The tension builds throughout and comes to a satisfying climax (pun intended) as the two reach an understanding of how their relationship will work now, with a hint of how it could be in the future. A sequel is definitely needed to continue their D/s journey. This book is a 4 Star read, and I look forward to a 5 Star sequel.
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.
Rhonda on 09/04/2017 06:33pm
Inventive BDSM love story

Carolyn Faulkner can always be depended on for a well written book. On the Razor's Edge of Paradise is a great example of her well developed characters and realistic dialogue. Isa and Dan were a great couple. It was fun to see the instant attraction turn into their HEA.

I received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Dyane on 09/04/2017 09:47am
I thoroughly enjoyed this book by Carolyn Faulkner, one of my favorite authors. No spoilers, but the entire premise of this book kept me squirming in my seat. With a stern dom and sassy heroine, I will definitely read it again and again. I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

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