‘Out of the Shadows and into the Darkness’ by Senta Holland is a literary erotic novel published by HarperCollins UK.
It was a bestseller in the UK in 2013.
Blurb: A deeply felt and superbly written BDSM love story, Senta Holland’s ‘Out of the Shadows’ explores the beautiful darkness in seven bedrooms. You’ve been enthralled by ‘The Bride Stripped Bare’ and ‘The Secret Diary of a Submissive’, now prepare to devour ‘Out of the Shadows’.
Senta, a thirty something Londoner, travels around the planet looking for the man who can match her. The one she finds is her ‘Nai’, a high society American in Asia. Senta’s story is both complicated and made more exciting by the fact that it unfolds in the dark world of BDSM, a world that can be hostile to single, independent females. Highly erotic, deeply romantic and insightful this book shows the BDSM experience from the inside out, as reality, not just fantasy.
This is above all an intelligent, insightful and deeply sensitive love story that will take you to places beyond your wildest dreams and open up the most secret aspects of your erotic identity. It will make you lust, think, feel and cry. Senta’s message to her readers is passionate and clear: Never give up looking for your true sexuality.
Real romantic BDSM with all the thrills (and more…) of fantasy, plus a real life size relationship and a positive message to women: ‘you can go for your sexual dreams’.
“Senta Holland, one of the new wave of erotic writers from heavyweight publisher HarperCollins…”
– Marie Claire Magazine, UK
“If you have an open mind and you are ready for a wild adventure, I definitely recommend that you read this. If you wanted a glimpse on how it feels and what it’s like to be living the lifestyle this is a masterpiece written for you.”
– Gelytayz, BookishTemptations
“The book has been described as an ‘eye opener’ by readers who mistakenly read it as ‘Romance’. It is only because of the absurd division into ‘literature’ and ‘genre’ that books like OOTS are not on the main shelf in the bookshop.”
– Ashley Lister, How To Write Erotic Fiction
“Written in a fast-flowing staccato voice, this book delivers on all counts. A fresh and intimate picture of a quest for, and enjoyment of, BDSM as a sexuality. From jungles to urban landscapes, it challenges our capacity to fantasize and imagine and has us melting with delight.”
– CoffeeCakeandKink, London
“This book is written in a poetic and beautiful manner, you could almost smell the air, feel the heat, and really, I got so caught in the story that sometimes I had to stop and pull away from the story because it literally sucked me in. M. Holland wrote a fantastic book, one of a kind, so different from what I expected but so much better than so many others out there.”
– Patricia Melo, Lost in a Moment”
“I’ve never read anything as adventurous, both sexually and narratively before.”– Janny’s Books, Vanity Book Case
“Fifty Shades of Grey may have passed me by, but Out of the Shadows proved to be a deeply engaging glimpse into the world of a woman struggling to find her true self inside and outside the bedroom.”
– Dan Menhinnitt, London
Author Biography Senta Holland
Senta Holland lives and loves in the shadows, in a world of BDSM from the inside out. Her passion has to be lived in secret. If the shadows don’t lift, you will never meet her and the only way to get to know Senta is through her book. Open the pages, and she will lead you deep inside her beloved darkness. But maybe you have met Senta already. Maybe you hear her soft voice in your dreams, maybe she is sitting right next to you on the Underground. And maybe you, yourself, are Senta in the shadows.
Excerpt 1: Deeper into the Darkness
Darkness had fallen utterly, above the city of ancient kings.
High up in the tower, my Nai was waiting for me.
He had insisted on that journey, on taking me from Bangkok, the city of the present, further up the slow night river to this other, older, more mysterious place, entangled in time and passionate longing for a life of promise after death.
So I came out in my little dress and my steel-heeled shoes and I stood and was looked at.
Was looked at for a long time, while his body changed and his look changed and he started to smile like the snake king.
‘You look like a wicked slut,’ he said.
I smiled. My body shivered.
He rushed towards me and lifted me up, I was carried high in his arms and he threw me on the bed. I thought just for a moment but I’m too heavy for him, but he will drop me, I will crash through his arms. I will sink down and down through the pillows through the bed through the floorboards through the concrete in the basement into the earth itself. But not.
With one hand he held me down, the other he pushed under my dress until he found the top of my knickers. ‘Ah,’ he said with satisfaction, ‘here they are.’
He held me even more firmly and then he pulled my knickers down over my bottom. They knotted in front and got entangled with my pubic hairs so I tried to push myself up again but he forced me down until my head was almost smothered by the pillows. He ripped the knickers along my legs until they hung halfway between my ass and my knees and then he gave me a good slap. Hard slap. Right in the middle of my ass. The upturned face, the top of the hill, the smooth curve just as big as the imprint of his hand.
You really get to know a Dom by the way he beats you. Beating styles are just as individual as fucking or kissing or as a unique accent when you speak.
I love love love love to feel his hand on the crest of my ass. Just resting there. His fingers, his palm, his thumb. I could draw an outline for the blind school. I lie on my face, on my stomach, naked, vulnerable, turned towards him, so tender, so white, so smooth. He holds me down and I can feel his power. The tiny hairs on my back and thighs stand up in slow shared electricity. I know he is going to spank me.
Suddenly I get nervous. I slurp the air in little puppy breaths. I want to run away in my sheets and knickers.
People say you can’t feel what your senses don’t tell you, so if you can’t see or hear or taste or smell there is no way of getting information, but I don’t know. I felt his hand hovering above my ass. I could feel how he was thinking, waiting, watching me. I waited, too. I waited and the waiting filled the space between us.
His delight and excitement was all his own, just like his voice that changed and sunk down almost an octave deeper into his chest when he got to this point in the session. It was as if he became part of something greater than himself, but still uniquely him. He had a very special way of responding to my responses, with sometimes a little time delay as he adjusted to an unexpected reaction. He loved those moments.
He later said that Doms were the ‘uber subs’, watching and listening for the submissives’ signals all the time, the moans the shouts the little squeaks of delight, the big screams of pain and ecstasy, the faintest echo of terror so they can stop if we need it before we even know.
How the colour of her skin changes. How she is warm or cold.
How she breathes.
Right now I breathe hardly at all.
I can’t see him, I can’t hear him, I can’t feel his touch, but my whole being is tuned into him. Sometimes I wish this part would last forever. Sometimes I dream of lying there, suspended, for a very long time, not knowing what will come. Knowing what will come.
He arouses my passion, he serves my passion. He expresses his passion on me. On my body. On my soul by driving me so, so forcefully, so harshly, so relentlessly into surrender.
Now I can take his passion into me. My body is there for only one purpose: to receive his beating. I enter a plateau of pain and passion. I am surrendering to the violent shaking of my body. My body becomes his. His to use, his to beat, his to own and transform.
The inside of my vagina is humming. My lips are aching to be touched. The strokes on my ass wake up all the connecting channels between my sexual organs.
I want, I want, I want, I want, so much to be fucked. Right now. Now, now, now, under the beating. Simultaneously. Beaten and fucked. Fucked and beaten. I want a hard penis in my vagina, I want it to be rammed in and I want to be taken as hard inside as I am beaten.
My screams change to deeper moans, I can hear the change myself, I’m not controlling it, it just comes out of my body, out of my voice, out of my mouth. I’m not controlling my voice, my master controls it. My master controls me. He plays my whole body like a big drum.
I feel submission rush through my skin from head to foot. To lie here, dress pushed up, knickers pulled down, on my face, on my stomach, to be pushed into the corner of the bed, to be held down by my Dom. To be spanked. To be beaten. I am getting a beating from my Nai. He dominates me.
He works on me, he works for me, he is the master and the magician’s assistant, he sends me where he himself cannot go.
I am so free. I am flying through the night, high above death. Finally, the wild savage physical sensations match the wildness of my inner life.
I am just my wildly vibrating, hugely stimulated, beaten, flying, surrendered body.
Excerpt 2: Power exchange
I am looking at him.
No, he is looking at me. And I am taking it in, the way he looks at me.
There is promise and thrill in this exchange. And a lot of love and trust. I am strong, I am free, I am wild. Just as he, in everything.
And I am here by my own choice.
I take in his energy. I let it go down into my very core.
He can see exactly what is happening. I hold the moment. I am in control. He humbly waits for my decision.
I choose to surrender.
Slowly, the balance of power between us shifts.
I give myself to him. He takes my power from me.
This is a complex, sophisticated process.
And it is wonderfully erotic and deeply fulfilling and dizzyingly wild. And it can happen without a word, without touch. Breath by breath.
I submit. I submit to his domination.
That is what I want. That is what he wants.
I am his submissive. Maybe for a lifetime, maybe just for now.
The tension between us is generating its own charge.
Submission to him arouses me. This is my true sexuality. Not my social role, not at all, but my sexuality.
Like many sexual orientations, it needs the right match to thrive.
Looking at each other, we have found it.
I am naked.
He is fully dressed.
He reaches out towards me.
He could do so many things to me, right now.
My submission calls for them. My vagina is opening her soft red mouth.
I want to yield and I want him to meet my softness with ruthless force.
I long to be subjected. In my way.
He touches my hair. Follows the long strands down over my shoulder and to the tip of my breasts. I am still.
My hands are bound behind my back.
Safely, in soft wide leather cuffs.
Securely, I cannot undo them, not that I want to or have ever tried, and I am powerless before my lover.
My dominant, my Dom.
He touches me, any way he wants.
I hold still. He gives, I receive. And I am in his power.
I don’t know what he is going to do next. And he doesn’t say.
That is another kind of power.
He tells me to go down on my knees.
My vagina gives a satisfied little tug.
My mind plays with the infinities of erotic subjugation.
I kneel on the floor, naked. He stands over me, still fully dressed.
‘Look at me,’ he says and slaps me softly in the face. A very light touch, almost a caress but not quite. I understand it perfectly. I should have looked at him without being told. This is part of his discipline. The understanding between us is part of the power exchange. We are very tuned into each other.
I look up at him.
My perspective has changed. I am much lower down now. This is my new and rightful place. At his feet.
I am getting dizzy. I am getting closer to the place of powerlessness, to the place of total yielding.
He slides his hand over my hair again but this time he grabs it, hard. All the nerve endings on my head start to scream. I have goose bumps all over my skin. He is making his domination physical.
I look into his eyes the whole time, although mine are filling with tears. He smiles. My subjection has been forced out into the open.
When he is satisfied, for now, he lets go of my hair and I kneel, hands bound behind my back, head dizzy in more than one way.
My master’s hands wander to his own body.
I am getting very moist. I think I know what is going to happen.
‘Watch,’ he says.
Slowly, very very slowly, my master is taking off his belt.
The sound as he undoes the clasp is humiliatingly, exhilaratingly familiar. I couldn’t stop looking if I tried.
He draws the belt out. Long, wide, well-worn leather. He slowly runs his hand along its length. I’m going to give up breathing.
He takes a step towards me until he stands so close that his crotch is pressed to my mouth.
I don’t know what he is going to do. Whatever it is, I will submit.
He is my master.
‘Down,’ he says quietly.
I understand. I obey.
I bend forward and lower my head until my face touches the floor, right next to his shoes. My bound hands sink into my back and come to rest on my shoulders.
Power has been exchanged.
He is the owner of my body and my soul.
He will do with me what he wants.
He may use his belt, on my naked, pale round ass, exposed and presented to him. He may turn round and take me from behind. He may play with the deep band of female arousal that goes from my ass to my clitoris, until I forget my name and even that I used to be a simple human.
Oh – what is this, exactly? Is there a name?
People call it BDSM. Yes it’s a Californian committee term.
I call it my sexuality.
My true sexuality, hidden under transparent veils.
Excerpt 3: The curious backpack
The backpack was old. A little torn at the top, where you had to draw a string together to keep it closed, and with rough edges that showed a pinkish colour underneath the black skin.
It was the backpack he carried on the night when I first met him. When he had looked so much like a man who had remained behind from former times.
He told me later: ‘I was very surprised, on the first night, when you said you would have sex with me’.
‘But,’ I said, ‘but you had your backpack.’
‘Oh yes,’ he said, ‘always keep the doors open.’
It was a lot to carry just for an open door.
And then there were the freshly cut bamboo sticks. He had cut them that day in his garden.
All the objects in the pack had been put carefully together. They were both a snapshot through the layers of that moment in his life and a collection from his whole history in BDSM.
There were soft scarves, some with a whip or a flogger wrapped inside them, there were laundry clips and suction tubes, there was a heavy collar and a furry blindfold. There was a strong little paddle.
And – he had an old well-used belt. Yes he did! I shivered with excitement and recognition when I first saw it.
It was wide, and thick, and softened with usage.
He saw how I looked at it.
In that moment we passed an invisible threshold.
It was a moment of extraordinary electricity, miles of film footage of possible scenarios raced past our eyes. Then we connected again, very directly, in this moment.
He picked the belt up and held it in front of me.
I was lying on the bed in the retro-colonial room, looking up at him, half curious, half seductive.
When he showed me the belt, I slipped off the edge of the bed so that I knelt and presented my bottom.
I was already naked.
He was still dressed.
I looked up at the belt, mesmerised with all the possibilities and meaning. I felt his hand on my head, pushing me towards it. He was a little rougher now, just a little.
I submitted and followed him until my face touched the worn leather.
Then I stuck my tongue out and licked it. I licked it from the end where it was already disintegrating a little, slow wide strokes with my tongue towards the buckle. I trembled with adoration and submission. He caught me by my hair, pulling my head up slowly and powerfully so that I had to lick the entire length of his belt.
Even through my own shivers I could feel him shake, too, his whole body shook as he held me and held up the belt for me to lick and then kiss.
It was a moment of great luminosity, come to shine into our shadow lives.
I started to cry and pushed my face into the sheets, still shaking.
Then I felt the cool leather slide onto my back, curling up like a snake. My Nai arranged its coils into perfect positions while my skin yearned for its touch.
‘Hold still,’ he said.
As if I could have done anything else!!
He stood and looked at me, for a long time. I carried his belt on my naked back, the instrument of my future pain and humiliation. Strongly desired, by him and by me.
I held my own breath and only heard his. I, a warm living woman, was the image from his dreams.
It took a long time, in that first session, before I was allowed to feel his belt.
First, as he always would in the future, he told me I would get spanked by his bare hand. A lover’s hand. He slipped the belt off my back, he wanted me naked and vulnerable all over my body.
I pushed my ass in the air, quiet, quiet, quivering in quiet. This waiting and submission was so sweet.
All the sensors in my skin expanded. It made me exquisitely sensitive. For what was to come.
Even then, he caught me off guard. He didn’t like me to be prepared. He enjoyed that last little edge, where I wasn’t able to give my spanking to him, where he overwhelmed me with it.
He was a true connoisseur of spanking.
Maybe he also waited because he knew he was on the threshold of showing himself, as he really was. The first stroke was incontrovertible proof of his unacceptable and savage desires. Maybe he was assaulted by doubt and fear.
Just like me.
And as the object of those savage desires he chose me, me of all women. I was there, to receive his beating.
I was witness to his need.
Then he gave me my first hard slap, across both cheeks with his open palm. It pushed a little shout out of my throat. He gave me the next one deep on my sitting bone and I yelped, and then I laughed and we were no longer afraid.
It turned into a long-drawn-out, hard, wild, fast, and increasingly painful spanking. My Nai spanked me harder with his hand than many other men with implements. And, even that first time, he was so tuned in to my body, my voice, the slightest changes in my being and responded to them easily and fiercely.
But all that time while he gave me his hand, hard on my ass and my ass turning hot and sore under his strokes, he placed the belt so that we could both see it, in front of my eyes on a white pillow.
When I shouted out loudly, when I struggled and jerked with the impact of his open palm, he pushed me down on the bed and held me there and said, just said in his dark slow voice, a voice that had emerged only with his first blow: ‘Look at the belt.’
Excerpt 4: I was a BDSM hermit
I was a BDSM hermit.
Sometimes, most times, I could live with it.
I said to myself: yes, I want to be a Submissive to a Dominant in real life.
But I couldn’t be.
I said to myself: yes, but I’d like to have my own opera house too.
Some dreams are only possible for a fortunate few, a very, very fortunate few.
So then I was lying in my bed, awash with longing.
So much longing it spilled out in tears.
I saw my shadow on the wall and it was all I had.
I did have lovers.
Of course, throughout my long life before I found my Nai, of course I had lovers.
But they were not the lovers I saw in my deepest dreams.
I had sex, but I did not live my true sexuality.I
What was it like, in the long, long years before I found a way to meet my Doms? (Yes, I did meet them, on my journey, even before I met my Nai.)
Before I even thought of having the courage of trying to devise a way to go and find them?
Telling a man
Lying in his arms, holding him tight and wishing he would hold me tighter, feeling his hand on my naked skin.
My body there, and my mind was dreaming and longing.
I sighed and shivered, but not from my lover’s touch.
Outside I was with him, inside I was with him too, but with a different version of him. Him as the Dom.
Inside myself, I tried to magnify his tentative stroking of my back so that I could imagine a spanking. When he put his hand between my legs I longed for him to be more forceful. I wanted him to take me completely and shake my whole body. I wanted to look into his eyes and see the joy and triumph of domination.
Instead I was alone, trying to amplify faint signals on my skin into the huge waves and towering storms that are my true home.
I often felt like a hollow doll.
Then sometimes, though less and less often as I learned from experience, I would tell him.
How to tell? So difficult. Particularly when what I wanted was still only a desire, a reality inside, the inner life of the doll, stuffed full to bursting but divided from the air by her porcelain shell.
Now it is easier, now I can start by telling a story from my life. I can hint lightly. I can watch out for signs with so much more knowledge.
I can also not have sex with vanilla men. At all.
When I was very young I sort of knew you weren’t supposed to be into BDSM. But at the same time I was so joyfully aware of the full range of my sexuality that it was hard to take that seriously.
I liked to welcome a penis in my vagina. I equally liked to welcome a hard hand on my ass, and a rope forcing my wrists together.
The men I dated then were very young too.
Maybe that was the reason.
Maybe it just was the times. People just emerging from the deadly shadows of enforced respectability.
But every single time I brought the subject up, stammering, blushing, fearful and hopeful, I got the same reaction.
I was rebuffed, rejected and despised.
The nice boy looked at me and told me I was disgusting, I was sick, I had a mental illness.
I was a pervert. He was not. He was normal.
I stood there like a witch found out. In my white shift of condemnation. I was lucky I wasn’t burned.
Only thrown out and quarantined from his healthy life. I don’t know what he told others.
There were a few of him until I shut up. For many, many years.
Before I travelled round the world.
Before I found myself, high above the dark red city of ancient kings, forced naked through the liquid glass by my master, by my Nai.