Home > The Effing List

The Effing List
Author: Cherise Sinclair

Acknowledgments

 

 

Where do I even start? So many people help to create a story, and I’m so grateful to all of you.

But, you know, it all starts with you—my readers. You’re why I’m still plunking my butt down in front of the keyboard. You’ve offered your ideas and opinions, cheered me on, requested stories for characters I’d never have tried to give a voice to—like Mistress Anne and Master Sam. To all of you, you’re amazing and inspiring. Thank you.

So many hugs go to Leagh at Romance Novel Promotions for running the Facebook Shadowkittens group. Herding kittens isn’t for the faint of heart.

To my Shadowkittens on Facebook. I adore y’all so much. I love how discussions range from books to real life, how y’all share…ahem…inspirational pictures and laugh-out-loud memes, how generous you are with advice and encouragement to other kittens. Blessings on Lisa SK for her generosity and tact as Mama Cat.

As always, my besties and crit partners had my back—even when one of them was only a week from a big surgery. Fiona Archer and Monette Michaels, thank you! And a huge hug to Bianca Sommerland doing the content editing for this book.

Although, I swear, y’all, I almost pulled my hair out when all of you wanted more sex scenes. ARGH!

Beta readers—Barb Jack, Lisa White, Marian Shulman, and JJ Foster—I treasure you so much. Thank you so much for your time and help in pointing out where something isn’t clear and in finding errors in grammar or phrasing that have slipped right past me.

Red Quill’s editing team—Ekatarina Sayanova, Rebecca Cartee, and Tracy Damron-Roelle—is simply fantastic, not only catching grammar and punctuation errors, but finding oopsies like characters who miraculously switch clothing in the middle of a scene. LOL!

April Martinez of GraphicFantastic has designed all the covers for the Shadowlands, including this one. Thank you, April!

 

 

Timeline

 

 

Since there is some crossover between the Masters of the Shadowlands series and the Sons of the Survivalist series (Master Z just can’t keep from getting involved, right?), I thought y’all might like a chronological order of events.

The thirteenth book in the Masters of the Shadowlands series was: Beneath the Scars (Master Holt & Josie’s story).

Several months later in the fall comes Defiance with Master Z & Jessica. This book takes us to Alaska and introduces the sons of the survivalist.

This book, Ghost & Valerie’s story in the Shadowlands series, The Effing List, occurs the following spring.

Before the end of their story, the first book in the Sons of the Survivalist, Not a Hero, begins.

 

 

Author’s Note

 

 

To my readers,

The books I write are fiction, not reality, and as in most romantic fiction, the romance is compressed into a very, very short time period.

You, my darlings, live in the real world, and I want you to take a little more time in your relationships. Good Doms don’t grow on trees, and there are some strange people out there. So while you’re looking for that special Dom, please, be careful.

When you find him or her, realize they can’t read your mind. Yes, frightening as it might be, you’re going to have to open up and talk to them. And you listen to them in return. Share your hopes and fears, what you want from them, what scares you spitless. Okay, they may try to push your boundaries a little—they’re a Dom, after all—but you will have your safeword. You will have a safeword, am I clear? Use protection. Have a back-up person. Communicate.

Remember: safe, sane, and consensual.

Know that I’m hoping you find that special, loving person who will understand your needs and hold you close.

And while you’re looking or even if you have already found your dearheart, come and hang out with the Masters of the Shadowlands.

Love,

Cherise

 

 

Prologue

 

 

November

 

Happy fiftieth birthday to me. And it was time and past time to make some decisions. Valerie Winborne rolled out of the narrow bed in the bedroom that had once been her daughter’s. And was now hers.

Two weeks ago, when her husband invited a second slave into their bed, Valerie had moved to this small, very bare bedroom. Who would have thought she’d miss her daughter’s garish posters on the walls?

In the tiny bathroom, she frowned at the sad-looking woman in the mirror.

A purpling bruise was obvious on her cheek. Yes, she had decisions to make.

Pudgy. Limp, dark blonde hair. Sallow complexion. Pitiful.

Removing her nightgown exposed the tiny red wound and bruise on her right breast. A lump on her mammogram resulted in a biopsy a few days ago.

The findings were negative. She was all right.

But the days of thinking she might have cancer—might die—had shaken her world. And today, she was fifty—and her husband had hit her.

She tilted her head to the ceiling. Listen up, all of you gods, I really don’t need wake-up calls like this. Right?

Once out of the shower and dressed, she retrieved her briefcase from under the bed and unlocked it. There were student papers to grade before the community college’s Thanksgiving holidays next week.

She started to set it on the desk and stopped abruptly.

Oh, wonderful. There was a sludgy puddle in the middle of a pile of papers. A pungent orange scent wafted up.

Someone, undoubtedly Kahlua, had dumped orange juice on the desk.

Anger roused…and faded to frustration.

No harm done, after all. The jealous, petty slave had vandalized things before. It was why Valerie kept her paperwork in the locked briefcase. All Kahlua had destroyed this time was years-old unclaimed homework that had been left out as a decoy.

From the kitchen, Kahlua’s shrill voice rose. “It’s not my fucking turn, you bitch!”

“You slut, it is your turn. I cooked yesterday,” Alisha yelled back.

Something shattered. Probably a plate.

Barry yelled, “Keep it down.”

As cupboards slammed in the kitchen, Valerie started to open her briefcase, then shook her head. The essays needed to be graded, but if she didn’t have coffee first, she’d probably mark every paper with an F. With a rueful laugh, Valerie rested her head in her hands, feeling the onset of a low-grade headache.

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