The Bookshop

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New erotic BDSM and fetish novel by Simone Francis

My new novel The Bookshop blends a racy thriller with tales of BDSM spankings, whippings and fetish sex

It’s 1908 and Amelia Slone is bored until her friend Frances disappears. The bookshop and the haughty, arrogant Prussian Konrad von Schellenberg are her only clues. Determined to find her friend, her search leads her into a secret society devoted to sexual submission, kidnapping and murder that hides just below the surface of Edwardian London. Desperate to find her friend, it seems romance will have to wait as Amelia discovers new passions for both men and women.

Read chapters 1 and 2 for free

Chapter 1


Amelia’s boots crunched on the fresh snow and she glanced down at the hem of her dress which, despite being fashionably above her ankles, was creating its own little drifts as she walked. An empty hansom cab manoeuvred along the narrow street towards her. The two and three-storey buildings on either side were old and decrepit. She glanced up; they seemed to lean inward almost as if threatening to topple in on her. She shivered and wished for a moment that she had summoned a cab.
An ancient farmer’s cart laden with winter cabbages rattled slowly past, its horse treading carefully on the unfamiliar ground. She lifted her dress to shake off some of the cloying snow and a muscular labourer lounging on the tailboard of the cart smiled appreciatively at the sight of more than her ankle. For a moment Amelia was tempted to lift the material higher to see what reaction she got, but as the cart clattered on it revealed the bookshop she was searching for on the opposite side of the road.
Seemingly jammed in as an afterthought to fill the vacant space between an ironmonger’s and a tailor’s, both of which had awnings shielding the pavement below from the worst of the snow, it looked small and inconsequential. With no awning to protect it, snow had drifted against the wall and gathered on the doorstep. Its single window was divided into small rectangular panes, each one with a small drift of white making it look like a Christmas card illustration.
Above the window, a sign simply said The Bookshop as if to confirm that this was the place she sought. To the left of the window a solid wooden door, its timbers black with age, opened. A young man dressed like a clerk emerged, carrying a parcel wrapped in brown paper. The woollen scarf wound around his face and a cap jammed onto his head left only his eyes visible to Amelia. He glanced furtively left then right before treading carefully on the snow-covered step and then scurried away down the street.
Amelia took a deep breath; the air was cold and clouded in front of her as she exhaled. She stepped into the road, and another Hansom cab skidded to a halt blocking her path, its driver shouting at her and his horse. The horse struggled for a moment until its hooves bit into the compacted snow and the cab moved on.
Amelia trod carefully in the tracks until she was safely on the opposite pavement. She peered into the bookshop window. Books piled untidily almost hid the interior from view, but between the stacks the inside looked dark and still. She stood back; there was no sign in the window to suggest the shop was open. She looked at the doorstep. There were only the clerk’s footprints in the fresh snow. She turned the handle on the door and pushed. Its old hinges creaked as it opened slowly, almost as if grudgingly allowing her in.
The inside of the shop was lit only by what grey winter light from the window had managed to sneak in between the piles of books. Amelia was forced to pause for a moment as her eyes adjusted to gloom. The smell of antique paper and the accumulation of years of dusty knowledge made her nose itch. It was cold inside and her breath still misted the air.
“Good morning, madam, may I be of service?” The weak, crackling voice seemed to emerge from nothing but darkness.
“Yes.” Amelia straightened her back and lifted her chin in an attempt to exert her position and demonstrate, more to herself than the owner of the voice, that she was confident. “I am searching for a book.” Although this was the truth, she suddenly felt a little foolish since she was clearly in a bookshop. In fact, the whole expedition suddenly seemed more than a little absurd.
“We have many,” the voice said, apparently without irony. “Are you searching for a particular title or maybe on a specific subject?”
The question made Amelia even more uncomfortable. “May I just look around?”
“Certainly, madam. I will light some lamps in case you wish to explore the darker recesses of the collection.”
Darker recesses. Amelia almost turned to leave. That was exactly why she was here.
No, she told herself. This shop was her only clue; she must be strong.
A pool of light appeared in the back of the shop and revealed a small, grey-haired man stooped with age behind a sloping desk. In his right hand he held a dip pen as if he had been writing in the ledger open on the desk. How he could have seen to write in the gloom, Amelia had no idea. He adjusted a pair of round spectacles that perched on his nose and peered at her.
“It would save some time, and a considerable amount of oil, if madam could give me some idea of the section she would like to view.” His voice crackled and he coughed into his sleeve.
Amelia shuffled her feet. The old man raised his nose as if enquiring as to her reply.
“I …” Amelia looked down at the floor. Piles of books two or three feet high almost seemed to crowd around her feet. For a moment, as the light flickered, her imagination saw them moving like naughty children attempting to bar her way into the shop. “I found a book in my uncle’s library. It was of interest to me. Your label was inside the front cover. I wondered if you have more works on that subject.”
“And the title?” The old man leant forward.
“It had no title; the cover was blank.”
“I see. And the subject?”
“I should go.” Amelia turned toward the door. “I probably have the wrong shop. I’m sorry to have troubled you.”
“Wait.” The old man’s voice was suddenly firm. “I believe I know what you seek. One of our more specialist titles, on domestic improvement? Follow me.”
Without waiting for her reply, he picked up the lantern and shuffled behind a bookshelf that ran across the back of the shop. Continue reading

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