Both Ends of the Whip

by Brenda Murphy

Octavia Vargus had everything she wanted at Rowan House, Skye’s most exclusive pleasure house, except the one thing she craved.  Longing for the freedom to explore both sides of her nature she leaves Rowan House and her mistress, for a new start in Italy with her partner Bridget Murray.

Vivian Abiola is a connection to a past Octavia would like to forget, and a love she never expected to see again. After Octavia’s past relationship with Vivian is exposed, Octavia and Bridget explore the limits of their desires with Vivian.  When an arsonist threatens to destroy the vineyard, past loyalties and secrets endanger their lives, and the three women’s relationship. Will their love survive the firestorm of doubt, intrigue, and jealousy?



Viviansat behind Martha’s desk. She wore a fitted dress that hugged her slim frame. The low-cut neckline displayed her modest cleavage, and the lilac color set off her amber eyes. She wore her hair close-cropped and natural. A touch of silver shone on some of the curls. Octavia tilted her head, studying her face. The nagging feeling of knowing her was back. Vivian’s skin was only a shade darker than Octavia’s, her features suggesting a complicated heritage. She met Octavia’s gaze with a cool look, and Octavia shivered as Vivian raked her eyes over her frame. Should have changed my clothes, maybe dressed up. Left my hair loose. Where do I know her from?


Bridget was at her side. Her hands were clasped in front of her waist. She was dressed in her starched and pressed chef’s jacket. It gleamed white in stark contrast to Octavia’s outfit of faded jeans and gray T-shirt. The vine tattoos winding around Octavia’s forearms stood out against her dark skin. She sensed Vivian’s gaze lingering on her tattoos. Does she like them? Hate them? I should have put on a long-sleeve shirt. What the hell? Why do I care what she thinks of me? She clasped her hands behind her back and squared her shoulders, setting her feet wide. Her gaze was drawn to the thin gold chain with a tiny gold Magen David centered in the hollow of Vivian’s throat. Lyceum? It can’t be. How the hell could she be here?

Bridget spoke first. “We accept your offer.”

Vivian sat back from the desk. “You’re both sure?”

“Yes.” Octavia pushed the wisp of hair that had worked loose from her braid out of her eyes. “We’ve read through the specifics.”

Vivian lifted her chin, her gaze steady. “I have the contracts here. They are for six months. That should be enough time for all of us to decide if the arrangement is acceptable.” She lifted an elegant black fountain pen from the desk and uncapped it. With a flowing hand she signed her name to each document. She held the pen out, and Octavia walked to the desk. Her fingers brushed against Vivian’s as she took the pen, and a tingle of desire worked its way to her core. Octavia signed her name on the contract. Damn. Get it together. This is trouble. So much trouble. When she was finished, she laid the pen on the desk and she glanced up into Vivian’s intense gaze. The tingle turned into a strong wave of heat. Looking away from Vivian’s eyes, she stepped back.


About the Author

Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. She loves tattoos and sideshows and yes, those are her monkeys.  When she is not loitering at her local tea shop and writing, she wrangles two kids, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot.  She reviews books, blogs about life as a writer with ADHD and publishes photographs on her blog Writing While Distracted .  She guest blogs on Queeromance Ink.

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