Ashe Barker The Dark Side Welcomes the Wizard of Oz

Welcome New friend Ashe Barker to My blog today!


The Dark Side Welcomes The Wizard of Oz, Ashe Barker

Today I’m visiting Victoria Blisse’s blog,and it’s fantastic to be here. I’m particularly excited because I’m looking forward to meeting Victoria in person at the end of this month, at the Erotica Show in London’s Tobacco Dock. Victoria and her partner in grime Lucy Felthouse are organising Smut By The Dock which is where I’ll be spending a lot of my time. Can’t wait!

But enough of that. Today I want to talk about The Wizard of Oz.

When I started to write The Dark Side, just about a year ago, I started with a very clear image of Eva Byrne. I knew she was shy, incredibly clever, pretty but under-stated, talented, resilient, independent. Everyone around Eva sees the same thing. Except her.

Eva doubts her attractiveness she has no illusions about her intellect but under-values her talents, and her low self-esteem continuously derails any attempts to form relationships. She’s nervous and awkward around others, and struggles with depression and anxiety.

Despite her fears she finds herself drawn to Nathan, a man totally unlike her in just about every way. As I crafted Nathan I deliberately made him into a person who is confident, driven, harsh and uncompromising. He totally dominates and overwhelms Eva as he draws her into his dark lifestyle, but almost from the first moment he picks up a cane the tables start to turn. Eva’s responses are totally unlike those of any other submissive he’s played with, she baffles and unnerves him, but he’s fascinated and can’t let her go. Nathan sees qualities in Eva that she hasn’t recognised for herself, and despite having his own agenda as far as she is concerned he can’t help caring. He clearly sees her inner beauty right from the outset, though he may mistake it for something more to his usual taste, but still he slowly peels away the layers to reveal the sensual woman beneath.

The Wizard of Oz at the end of that story turns out to be just a harmless illusionist, but even so he hands the scarecrow a diploma, the Tinman a clockwork heart, and the lion a medal, proving to them that all along they had the gifts they thought they needed. They only had to know it, and believe it, to make it true. In the same way Nathan hands Eva his respect, and his love, and helps her to see for herself the sensual, intelligent and strong woman everyone around her sees. He’s her very own Wizard of Oz, and I love him for that.



The Dark Side trilogy, charts the sensual journey of academic musician Eva Byrne as she struggles to overcome painful shyness, sexual inhibition, and personal tragedy. Lonely, unsophisticated, fragile, and desperately seeking love and approval, Eva is easy prey for sensual and experienced Nathan Darke.

He wants her submission, and he knows how to go about getting it. Eva is quickly caught up by the whirlwind of his effortless seduction, though she has her own reasons for agreeing to join him in his world of pain and pleasure, on The Dark Side.

Inexplicably fascinated and at the same time totally frustrated by his new submissive, Nathan is increasingly drawn to her as she opens up in his hands and he realises there is much, much more to his latest playmate than he ever could have imagined.

The Dark Side charts the turbulent relationship between Eva and Nathan as their mutual fascination builds. They both discover what surrender truly means as together they explore the fragile bonds of desire, trust, risk and reward, and the destructive power of betrayal.


Excerpt: Here’s a sensual excerpt from Darker as Nathan starts to talk to Eva about how he sees her. And more important, she’s listening. And starting to believe.

“Enjoying your bath, Miss Byrne,” he murmurs.

I can only sigh, roll my shoulders in contentment. He gets the idea and lightly kisses the top of my head, continuing to caress me with his fingers. “Tell me how you feel, right now…” he whispers.

“I feel fine. This is so good.”

“Your body feels fine, I can tell that. But what about your head?”

“My head?” I am at a loss, what is he after now?

“I can control how your body feels, pretty much. Pleasure, pain, I can deliver. On demand. Agreed?” Still bemused as to where this is going, but with a growing sense that it could be important, I try to gather my thoughts.

“Eva? Do you agree?”

He isn’t letting up, so I answer, whispering, “Yes. Agreed.”

“When we talked, in my office on Friday, you told me you wanted to explore the physical side of your sexuality. Did I understand that right?” At my silence he prompts, gently but insistent still. “Eva?”

“Yes, yes that’s what I was trying to say. Not sure it came out quite like that, but yes.”

“Okay. And you also said you wanted to understand, experience your emotions better. Relationships, being around other people, liking yourself and being liked, being loved… Did I get that right too?” This is much more personal. Much more intimate. But he’s still spot on. Did I really say all that? Did I really let him see, hear all of that? Did I really hand him all that power to hurt me? And more to the point, starting to panic, can I get it back now?

“I, well, I’m not sure I meant. I mean, I do like myself. Obviously. Why wouldn’t I?”

He’s still gently stroking me, his cock still inside me, and I am struck by how incongruous this conversation seems to me. Not to him, though, apparently, as he continues, his voice steady, even, as though he might be addressing a business meeting or chatting across the breakfast table with Rosie.

“You tell me, love. What’s not to like? Not to admire? You’re clever, funny, talented, brave. You’ve got a body to die for, the most responsive little clit I’ve ever come across”—he pauses, flicks my clit lightly to emphasis his point—“if you’ll pardon the pun, and you’re the best lay I’ve ever had. And I’ve had a few, believe me, so I am an authority.”

I can only gasp in reply—there’s really no answer to that. He’s not done yet, though. “I repeat, what’s not to like? You’re gorgeous, absolutely stunning. And brilliant too. The full package. I can’t believe my luck that you turned up at my house that night. And that somehow I managed not to scare you away.”

Does he mean me? He can’t be talking about me. I am stunned. Absolutely speechless. No one, no one has ever spoken about me like that. No one ever thought of me like that. The best lay he’s ever had? God! I should be affronted that it comes down to sex, but this is repressed, virginal little Eva Byrne we’re talking about, flat-chested, nerdy little Eva Byrne, the boring swot with no tits, no friends and hair like a bunch of carrots. And somehow, incredibly, this gorgeous hunk of a man who knows more about sex and sensuality than anyone I’ve ever met, a one-man Karma Sutra, thinks I’m a good lay. Me! I could dance on the ceiling. Or failing that, I might just stroll across this ocean of a bathtub of his.

This can’t be real. I have to ask. My voice cracking, I whisper, ”Are you just saying all that? To make me feel better? Are you just being kind?”

“Well, I hope I’m being kind. I do try, most of the time. With you. And yeah, I do want you to feel good, Eva. But that doesn’t mean I’m not telling you the truth, telling it like I see it. If you won’t believe it from me, who would you like to hear it from? Is there someone else?” His voice is soft, gentle. No accusation here, no jealousy, just concern. For me.

It’s too much. Compliments I can laugh off, admiration I can dismiss. But care and concern? Those just shoot straight through my carefully built defences and hit me direct in the heart. My face is wet, and I realise it’s not only the bathwater. Intense emotion just undoes me. I can’t handle it. Quite simply, I just never learnt how. Overwhelmed, with a gulp I turn in his arms and bury my face in his chest. I sob quietly as he holds me, strokes me, whispers sweet things in my hair.

“Beautiful, beautiful Eva. So sweet, so gorgeous, so sexy, so lovely… Talk to me, Eva. Cry if you need to. I’ll wait, then we’ll talk some more. Don’t stop talking to me, sweetheart. Please. Promise me that, love.”

My voice broken, halting, stumbling over the emotion surging through me, this strange, unfamiliar sensation that I don’t know how to handle—yet—I manage to scrape together a near enough coherent reply. “I promise. I need you, Nathan. I need you to help me. Please don’t stop helping me, caring about me.”

“Caring comes easy, love. You’ve got that, always. And I’ll help you if I can. For as long as you’re here, as long as we’re together, I’ll be on your side. Okay? Believe me?”

“Yes, I believe you.” I love you. As long as I’m here. As long as I live.

His voice is firmer now, the gentle lover receding. “Earlier, when I pulled you into the bath, you were…what? Being cocky? Defiant? Playing with me? Challenging me? Not very sub-like, Miss Byrne. I think you were feeling a little over-confident, yes? That it would be okay to push me a little?”

“Yes. I’m sorry.”

“And I crushed it. Scared you. Put out the spark? Drowned it, I suppose would be more accurate?” “Yes. Maybe. I didn’t think of it like that.”

“I never want to squash your spark, Eva. It’s just a role. You do know that, don’t you? Play-acting. We both play our parts, and it’s fun. Well, I enjoy myself.” He tips my chin up with his finger to look into my eyes, his questioning gaze light now, teasing.

“Me too.” I smile, still a bit watery but managing to pull myself together.

“It’s okay to be cocky. To say whatever you like to me. Always. I want you to know that. When we’re in Dom-sub mode there are rules and I’ll come on strong, intimidate you. Scare you, possibly. That’s not real, though, never serious. But there’s this other connection we have, these moments we have when you cry sometimes, usually when my cock’s still inside you, like now.”

Christ, how could I have forgotten that?

He nuzzles my neck as he continues, “When you share your secrets with me, when I listen, try to understand you. And that is real, that’s not a game. And I want you to know you’ll always be safe with me. Whether we’re playing or not. Does that make sense?”

I nod. No words can help me to express the shell of safeness, of well-being he is building around me, within me. My gratitude, my appreciation, my sheer bloody wonder that he wants to be bothered.


Until 2010 Ashe was a director of a regeneration company in Leeds, in the UK, before becoming convinced there must be more to life. She left to work as an independent consultant, and still does some of that though most of her time is now spent writing, as at last she’s been able to realise her dream of writing erotic romance herself. Ashe has been an avid reader of women’s fiction for many years, and still loves reading historical and contemporary romances – the hotter the better. But now she has a good excuse for her guilty pleasure – research. Ashe usually draws on settings and anecdotes from her own experience to lend colour, detail and realism to her plots and characters, but her stories of love, challenge, resilience and compassion are the conjurings of her own lurid and decidedly smutty imagination.

When not writing – which is not very often – her time is divided between her role as resident taxi driver for her teenage daughter and friends, and caring for a menagerie of dogs, rabbits, tortoises. And a cockatiel. Ashe is a rural parish councillor, and she’s passionate about evolving rural traditions and values to suit twenty first century lifestyles.

Ashe has just completed her third trilogy in the Black Combe ‘family’ as well as a novella and a short story. All are due for release over the next few months.

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