Updated: Jan 18, 2021
by Brynn Ford
Book #1 in the Black Ties Duet
“Whatever your dark tastes may be, this is where you transition from your tattered and stained and mundane life into Black Ties, our underground world of pain and pleasure, dominance and submission.”
Desi is no stranger to pain. Her young, newlywed life had been blissfully perfect before tragedy turned it into daily emotional hell. When she meets a kind stranger outside a mysterious members only club, she’s drawn into a secret world that promises to show her how to turn her pain into pleasure.
Vaughn would do anything to protect his wife and save his marriage. When he discovers unexplainable bruises and marks on her body after solo outings late at night, he resolves to discover the secrets she’s been keeping and fight for their marriage at all costs.
Will Desi’s secrets destroy her?
Can Vaughn fulfill his wife’s darkest desires?
With hope, Desi and Vaughn attempt to find the beauty of letting go while fighting the demons of their past that threaten to destroy them for good.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
See Below Erotica Bittersweet
CONTENT WARNING: This book contains sexually explicit scenes and mature themes. Desi's story features a sexual journey that involves kink, bondage, multiple partners, a sex club, and questionable fidelity (with a purpose). It is not a standalone and the books must be read in order. This is book 1 of 2.
TRIGGER WARNING: This book is about healing after a loss. A stillbirth occurs in the prologue. Details are brief and limited, but the emotions may be triggering for some readers.
Blue by Brynn Ford centers around three people: Desi/Blue, wife to Vaughn and suffering from an unimaginable loss, Vaughn, Desi's incredibly loving husband, who is struggling watching his wife and marriage circle the drain, and Law, Desi's friend and a dominant who is suffering in his own way.
I will start this out by admitting that after reading the first few chapters, I wasn't convinced I was going to like this book. I honestly think because the prologue starts off so happy. Falling in love, getting pregnant, marriage ... it was kind of perfect. Then they lose their baby. Lately, I try to stay away from spoilers, but the trigger warning says it all, so I hope you don't mind. Understandably, Desi spirals. I'm a mother. I'm a mother who has gone through preterm labor. I was lucky. My babies survived. And although Desi and Vaughn are fictional characters, I was broken-hearted for them. As someone who has suffered from severe depression, it was relate-able in a way that made it hard to read. I was unsure if I could finish.
I am SOOOOO glad I continued though. Brynn Ford is a great writer, and I couldn't pay attention to any of the other books I am reading until I finished this one. While parts of it were predictable, I was riveted. The BDSM is not like fifty shades, which I blame for romanticizing it, and not showing a true portrayal of BDSM. It's raw, and honest, and I can tell Brynn Ford took her time to try to portray a controversial world. Were there some parts of the story I wasn't crazy about? Sure! But I couldn't put the book down.
The characters are really well written, and their emotions are clearly expressed in the book. While it was hard to read about Desi's depression, it was realistic. It was triggering. I was crying before the first chapter. I understood Desi's character. Perhaps not her masochism, because I am not one. Brynn Ford's writing made her feel real, which is impressive. Now Vaughn ...oh my god. Read this book and tell me you don't love him. Someone so devoted to his wife ... ugh. My heart. Swoon. Swoon. Swoon.
And let's talk about Law. We should hate the "side-guy", right? BUT I COULDN'T!!! Sure, he wanted a married woman. He respected her boundaries. And while morally in a grey ... close to black area ... he helped bring Desi back to life. Despite his feelings for her, his desire to see her happy, he HELPS her and Vaughn. Again. Swoon. The other characters were great too, including Desi's new best friend Ris.
The ending of book 1 ends on quite a cliffhanger, and I can't help myself. I'm invested enough in this story and the characters to purchase the second book. Especially after reading the sneak peek. If you like slightly dark erotica, or BDSM, you will love Blue. The story is kind of beautiful, in a twisted way. The sex is hot if that is what you are into. You won't regret it.
Top 3 Favorite Moments
1. The start of Vaughn and Desi's relationship
2. The Holly Blue butterfly on her shoulder
3. Law helping Desi through her panic attack
4. (bonus) Vaughn confronting Desi at Black Ties
5. (bonus) Vaughn, Law, Desi and Ris meeting
6. (bonus) Law showing Vaughn how to dominate Desi at Black Ties
7. (bonus) Vaughn arranging for the Holly Blue butterfly tattoo for Desi
8. (bonus) Vaughn and Desi grieving Lucy when they went to go visit their niece
Where to Buy
Vaughn: "I don't think I want us to be strangers."
Desi: "Vaughn, I'm pregnant."
Vaughn: "Are you serious?"
Desi: "As a heart attack."
Vaughn: "You're being totally serious with me right now?"
Desi: "I wouldn't joke about something like this. And trust me, it's no joke. I've been puking every morning for the last two week, everything smells awful, I'm staring, but I can't eat anything. And personally, I'm a little offended that you didn't notice my boob were just a little bouncier."
Vaughn: "You're having my baby."
Vaughn: "You're having our baby."
Desi: "Vaughn, I - "
Vaughn: "I'm so in love with you, Desi."
Desi: "I'm in love with you, too."
Vaughn: "Marry me."
Vaughn: "You heard me. Marry me. Be my wife. Have all my babies."
Law: "Do you mind if I sit?"
Desi: "You should definitely sit, you're paying for my drink."
Law: "You're refreshing."
Law: "Drink what you want. Then go home and tell your husband how much you love him. That's an order, Blue."
Desi: "Yes, Sir."
Law: "That sounds good coming from you. You can definitely expect to hear from me tomorrow."
Laying my head back down, I curled around her. I reminded myself not to push her too hard, to give her time and understanding. She deserved my patience for what she'd been through, for what she was still going through. I had to find a way to control my impulses that told me to push her and force her to talk. She would talk to me when she was ready to talk to me. We would reconnect when she found herself again. And I would continue to patiently love the shit out of her until that day and every day after. - Vaughn
Law: "You should never let anyone in enough to figure you out before you've figured yourself out."
Desi: "I know exactly who I am."
Desi: "You're an asshole."
Law: "Maybe. But I'm an honest asshole."
Law: "Pain is raw, Blue. It's the most authentically fucking exquisite emotion a woman can express."
Desi: "I'm not so sure about that. Pain is suffering in my experience."
Law: "It can be, but I would venture to guess your experiences with pain are limited outside of this tragedy. It's what the pain does to you that matters. You can let it cripple you or revive you. I can tell you one thing. Men are weak when it comes to pain."
Law: "They can endure but it doesn't transform them the way it does women. Only women possess the ability to experience torture and come out of it on the other side stronger than ever."
My profile in the mirror should have shown a new mother with a swollen belly, glowing before a night out dancing with her husband. Instead, it showed an empty vessel ready to destroy everything good in her life out of sheer desperation to feel something good again. - Desi
Desi: "Oh, boy. Well, I can say with complete honest that I did not expect this kind of action and excitement this evening."
Law: "And yet you're still here. It's intriguing, really."
Desi: "I know, right?"
Desi: "But as you pointed out to me via text today, Law, I'm a big girl and I can make my own choices. You don't need to babysit me."
Ris: "Oh, I like her. You're amazing, Blue. I kind of love you already."
Law: "Okay, fine. I'm being an ungracious asshole, for lack of a better term. I apologize. But only this once."
Law: "Will you please let me show you my world now? Before you call me on my bullshit again and shatter my internal image that every woman desperately wants me?"
Law: "Focus on your five senses, Desi. It will help, I promise. Say it out loud. Tell me something you see."
Desi: "I see ... your dark blue necktie."
Law: "Good, what else? Tell me what you smell."
Desi: "Musk. Mahogany. Sex."
Law: "What do you hear?"
Desi: "Your heartbeat. Your voice. I taste salt and sweat in the air."
Law: "And what do you feel?"
Desi: "Everything. Everything I could ever fucking feel."
Law: "Come over tomorrow. Let's play a little bit. I'll go easy on you."
Desi: "I don't need you to go easy on me."
Law: "You've got a bit of an attitude, you know that?"
Law: "Watch your tone. We'll have to work on your manners first."
Desi: "Who needs to work on their manners? Jesus Christ."
Law: "Blue. Please come over and talk to me that way tomorrow. My hand is literally twitching to swat your ass right now."
Law: "I'm musically challenged. I've just found that women think I'm less intimidating if they think I can play. Thus, there's a piano in my living room."
Desi: "Brilliant. Your whole vibe is very fifty shades of - "
Law: "Don't you dare finish that sentence. I'm so much better than that.
Law: "You know, I always get asked why I enjoy breaking in a new submissive so much. This is why, right here. New subs, like you, Blue, don't understand their place. They don't know how to play by the rules. I really enjoy teaching those hard lessons. You would be getting the hard lesson right now if I wasn't easing you into this.
Law: "I want you, Desi."
Desi: "Tough shit."
Law: "I know. I know I can't have you. You don't belong to me, but what just happened, that was both of us, wasn't it? I just need to hear it from you. I need to know."
Desi: "Know what?"
Law: "If you weren't with Vaughn, if you weren't married, if you'd met me first. Would you want me? Would you let me have you? Would you have let me fuck you just now?"
Behind his baby blue eyes was longing and heartache and desperation for something he wasn't allowed to have. That something was me. It crushed my spirit that I couldn't give him something that he wanted in return for all that he had given me. He'd given me pain and punishment, but it was so much more than that. He'd given me freedom, peace from my grief, a distraction, an outlet, a friendship. All I could give him in return was the truth.
Desi: "Yes, I would have. But you already knew that."
Desi: "I wish someone could just tell me what to do."
Ris: "Typical submissive."
Vaughn: "Quiet. You're mine. I'm gonna show you what you've been missing. Show you who you belong to."
Desi: "I want to be yours again. Make me yours."
Vaughn: "You've always been mine, baby. I own every part of you."
Desi: "When I grow up, I wanna be just like you, Ris."
Ris: "Aw, sweetie, I love that. But the way you say that makes me seem old."
Desi: "You're not old. Just older than me."
Ris: "I'm perfectly aged white wine, honey."
Desi: "I love white wine. White wine is my favorite."
Vaughn: "I mean, bedroom's back there, ladies. Do you need a private moment or can we get back to it?"
Law: "By all means, ladies, we can wait. Or watch."
Ris: "Be careful what you offer me, Vaughn. I definitely adore your wife."
Vaughn: "Wow. I did not expect that."
Law: "But it's so much more than sex. As a dominant in marriage, Vaughn, you'd be responsible for her. Taking care of her and providing for her, as Ris said, are paramount to this kind of relationship. She doesn't lose her independence, she doesn't lose her right to say no, she doesn't lose her right to make decisions and define boundaries. The goal is that you learn who she is, better than she knows herself, so that she doesn't have to make decisions. She can submit to you and your will knowing that if she does, if she takes care of you and your basic needs as her man, you will take care of her body, mind, and soul. You'll free her from the burdens that hold her hostage and keep her stuck in the same place, the burdens that keep her from moving forward, from loving herself. You'll free her from self-sabotage because she has learned to submit to your dominance. You'll allow her to find immense pleasure because you become the master of her pain. You own it and control it."
Ris: "Honey, you still know how to turn me on. That sounds like the mother fucking dream right there."
Law: "Being a dominant has become such a big part of my life that I rarely, if ever, her someone call me by my given name."
Vaughn: "Which is?"
Law: "Jasper Haven."
Vaughn: "I might go by Law, too, if my parents named me Jasper."
Vaughn: "I just have to summarize. I'm getting lessons on how to be a dominant to my wife and marriage counseling from her ex-side guy? Fucking unbelievable."
Law: "Absolutely fucking unbelievable."
I smirked to myself.
I fucking love my wife.
Desi: "Thank you, thank you so much. You don't know what you've given me."
Vaughn: "I know what I gave you, baby. I would give you anything you want, anything that will make you happy. I promise, Desi. I hope you believe that now."
Desi: "I do. I really do. I'm so in love with you, Vaughn."
Vaughn: "You're my girl forever, Holly Blue. I love you."
Desi: "Is he ready?"
Vaughn: "Yeah, ready if you are."
Desi: "Just promise you're not gonna have him write 'mine' on my forehead or something."
Vaughn: "Ah, fuck. Tony, we have to change everything."
My body wanted to feel her body.
My heart wanted to know her heart.
My soul wanted to feel her soul.
But she didn't need that from me. She needed it from Vaughn. And I had to find a way to be happy that she was getting everything she needed now, even if it wasn't from me. - Law
Ris: "I'm so sorry, Law, I know you fell for her."
Law: "Was it that obvious?"
Ris: "Oh, sweetie, so, so obvious."
Law: "I thought you were supposed to be comforting me. Not fucking freezing me to death, woman."
Ris: "Listen, you want comfort? You keep my feet warm. Fair is fair."
Law: "It's just comforting to have you beside me."
Ris: "Your hand on my ass doesn't feel like it's just a comfort touch."
Vaughn: "I'm so sorry, Desi. It shouldn't have to feel like this. We should have our girl."
Vaughn: "I love seeing you like this, Desi."
Desi: "Maybe. Maybe we'll try again soon."
Vaughn: "I told you we'd fill our family tree with as many baby birds as you want and I meant it. When you're ready, Desi, you just say the word. When you're ready, I'm ready."
Desi: "Not now, but maybe soon."
Desi: "Can I fall in love with you over and over again?"
Vaughn: "I'll give you every reason to, whatever it takes, Des."
Law: "I miss you and your beautiful face, sweetheart."
Desi: "I missed you."
Law: "You're endearing, sweetheart, and adorable as hell, but I really need you to shut the fuck up for a minute."
Law: "Have you been laying there since I left three hours ago?"
Law: "Desi, I can't begin to imagine how all of this is weighing on you, but I have to say this new coping mechanism you've developed is rather unbecoming."
Desi gives him the middle finger.
Law: "Now that was just unnecessarily rude."
Desi: "What do I do if they send him to prison?"
Law: "If they do, then I'll take care of you until he gets out. He already made me promise."
Law: "At the bail hearing. That's what he asked me before they took him away."
Desi: "You didn't tell me that."
Law: "What would I have said?"
Desi: "You could've told me that he'd already given up hope."
Law: "I love you, sweetheart. I'm here, for all of it. I won't let this break you. I won't let you down."
I loved him, too, but I couldn't tell him that, because it wasn't love in the way he deserved. Instead of saying anything, I wrapped my arms and legs tightly around him, pulling him close into my embrace to show him how much I appreciated him, how much I needed him here for me. He released a long, slow breath and snaked his arms around my body, rolling us both onto our sides again so we could hold each other in a way that outsiders might think was far too intimate."
Desi: "Okay. I'll trust you to keep me in one piece. I'll trust you. Don't let this break me, Sir."
Desi: "I'm kind of lost without you."
Vaughn: "I'm so sorry I did this to us."
Desi: "You didn't do this to us. You didn't, Vaughn. I hate that ... I hate that they think you're a criminal. You're not. I know you're not. You're Vaughn Cooper. My V. I'm proud of you for doing what was right."
He was quiet and I suddenly felt terrified that the call had dropped.
Vaughn: "I'm here, baby. Just needed a second to suck it up and be a man. I'm in jail, you know. You can't make me get all emotional here. It would probably be in my best interest to avoid shedding any tears."
Check out both books in the Black Ties Quartet