Adrianna is a woman who slipped into the life of a dominatrix quite by accident. She wasn’t a natural dominant, and never played in the scene herself, but after being asked to spank a man while modelling for a fetish photo-shoot, her curiosity was piqued. There’s never any sex involved, and she’s clever and witty rather than vulgar and obscene, but some of the fantasy scenes she constructs for her clients are quite elaborate and imaginative.
Although she enjoys elements of it, it’s very clearly just a job - albeit one with odd hours. We like to fantasize about it being a 24/7 lifestyle, but she reveals to us the challenges of keeping secrets, putting up appearances for the neighbours, shifting between personalities, and taking awkward calls from clients in public. She also introduces us to the stress it causes in her relationships, with her boyfriend often feeling put out by how the role of Mistress Hallie Brookes intrudes on the life of Adrianna Taylor. It’s when that stress becomes too much, and she feels the need to break things off that the story really gets interesting.
During a night out a fetish event, she meets a very convincing cross-dresser named Suzanna, who kindly asks to have her bottom spanked. There’s an immediate spark there, and the night ends with her uncharacteristically offering this complete stranger a ride home. Over the course of the story we watch as Adrianna deals with the everyday tasks of life and family, the busy schedule of a Dominatrix who is very much in demand with her clients, and her odd relationship with Mark/Suzanne, which is equal parts work, romance, and professional partnership.
The key theme running through the entire story is one of control. Whether it’s with a client, a lover, a family member, or a friend, she needs to feel in control of the situation. It’s a need rooted in an unhappy childhood, and while it causes anxiety sometimes, it’s a healthy part of what keeps her grounded, and which allows her to control that intersection of fantasy and reality. It really is a fascinating story, constantly moving back and forth between the erotic and the mundane. It’s never really erotic, but it is exciting to see how much passion, energy, and attention she puts into both her scenes and her relationships. An odd sort of tale indeed, but one with an honestly that I think many readers will appreciate, and which serves to draw us even deeper into her world.