Friday, July 18, 2014

Spanking Stories Book Club: Sarah's Tutorial by Emily Tilton

It's going to be a Corbin's Bend Summer (or what's left of summer) here on Spanking Stories Book Club. Tara Finnegan is here today to lead the discussion of Emily Tilton's Sarah's Tutorial.

Emily Tilton’s wonderful novella, Sarah’s Tutorial, Book two in the Corbin’s Bend series, to me represents a number of things.

First of all, it is a story of first love, of the intense, life-changing, coming-of-age and sexual awakening experience that rocks your soul. That the first love is also a heavy D/s type relationship only adds to the intensity in my opinion.

Secondly, it is a story of how prejudice and interference can so severely hurt and damage a person and indeed a relationship. Sarah’s parents rejection of her chosen partner, and lifestyle are so harmful that it almost breaks her. And John’s desire to do the right thing for Sarah further twists the knife in the heart of a young woman who was born to love so totally and submissively. For a time Sarah loses her beautiful givingness.
And of course it is a story of hope and strength – how prejudice and misunderstanding can be overcome if only you can be strong and someone bends, even just a little.

It’s beautifully written, the innocence of a twenty one year old is depicted in the wonderful  almost childish phrases Sarah uses to describe her private places, and as she grows in confidence and self awareness, while more worldly and crude expressions are used at the appropriate times, her sweet coyness and gentility remain.

John the more worldly Dom, while more experienced and more  sexually free, cannot fail to be enchanted by the beautiful innocence he is offered, even  appreciating it all the more when the seemingly pure young lady has a delicious wanton side that she wishes to share with him.

My Questions.

1. The first intimate scene between Sarah and John was incredibly intense and very lengthy, it spanned several chapters. Initially, Sarah, who had a crush on her professor, decided it would be a thrill to seduce him. A combination of innocence and that self-assurance that only the young have made her quite sure that John would be grateful for whatever attentions she chose to bestow on him. Within moments, John had taken charge of the situation and shown Sarah the Dom he was, and the sub she was. By the time the first meeting was over, both recognized that they had started something very special indeed.

Do you think it is possible to recognize a Dom or a sub within that short a timeframe, and to connect on a subconscious level the way John and Sarah did in Sarah’s Tutorial? And also, do you feel  it is possible to know that what you are experiencing is indeed love, rather than lust, or excitement, or immense interest in someone? Do you think love at first sight can happen?

2. Secondly, although Sarah is clearly the initiator, John is Sarah’s professor, and is a quarter of a century older than her. Her parents are horrified, assuming that as John is both in a position of authority over  Sarah, and so much more worldly wise, (and given the Master/slave nature of the relationship) that he is in effect an abuser. I admit I had a real conflict of interest as I read, I had come to know John and Sarah, and I really wanted them to be happy, but as a parent I couldn’t hep but put myself in Joe and Maeve’s shoes. In the end Maeve offered an olive branch to her daughter, and I was so relieved. I honestly don’t know how I would feel if it was me and my daughter though. I think probably my first reaction would be no way (because of the age difference, I think I would assume a hero worship crush) but I hope I might let them get on with it, in the hope it would burn itself out! How do you fee about it?  Do you find that overstepping the boundaries of professional ethics  and moral behavior? How would you react to a family member embarking on a similar situation? Would you be able to stand back and examine the situation or would you do as Sarah’s parents did, try to call an immediate halt to it?

3. I would have expected that Maeve and Joe, Sarah’s parents, living in Corbin’s Bend as they did, should have been more open to diversified relationships. They initially would have entered Corbin’s Bend so they could enjoy the freedom of a spanking and Taken in Hand relationship. Yey when the chips were down, they couldn’t afford their daughter that same understanding that they had sought. Did that surprise you while you read the story unfold? How did it make you feel/ think? Do you find this an issue with life in general, that people will talk about the right to freedom of choice, as long as that choice is acceptable to them? Or do you find that people who make alternative choices are more open to variances? Or is it even possible to make a broad sweeping statement on any kind of prejudice?

4. One thing John was very clear about in the book, was that he did not want Sarah throwing away her future because of her relationship with him. He wanted her to reach her potential, academically speaking. Where do you stand on sacrifice for love? How far would you go? How far are you comfortable with seeing the characters in a book go?

Thank you so much for joining the discussion on Sarah’s Tutorial. I look forward to reading your thoughts, both on the book, and on the general questions it raises in the minds of the reader. This was a very thought provoking book, and as a result some of the questions are pretty thought provoking too. But please, do join in in so far as you are willing to. Feel free to make general comments on your feelings about the book or the discussion, or perhaps one or two of the questions, even if you don’t want to answer each question individually.

Before I finish I’d to say I commend Emily Tilton for writing a book that even forces these questions into the mind of the reader because I really love a book that both challenges me and makes me hot at once, and this one certainly did.

Coming Up: 

July 25 - "Exile to Unity" by Tara Finnegan - Discussion Leader: Thianna D
Amazon Buy Link:
August 1 - "Long Shot" by Cara Bristol - Discussion Leader: Kate Richards
Amazon Buy Link:
August 8 - "Leading the Way" by Constance Masters - Discussion Leader: Maren Smith
Amazon Buy Link:


The first time he caned her was a direct result of one of these tutorials. She had seen John's cane, in its place of honor on the bookcase in his office, had even dared to touch it when he wasn't looking. Her fear of it was huge and delicious, for she knew that sooner or later she would feel it across her bottom, and yet she couldn't imagine what it would feel like.
John asked her about whether she had read a certain article about the rape of Lucretia that he had told her to read, and of course she hadn't. "I would hate to think, Miss Harshaw," he said, "that our erotic pursuits are getting in the way of your studies."
"Oh, no, you wouldn't," Sarah said, without thinking about it.
"That's the kind of answer that gets young ladies caned, Miss Harshaw," John said. "Would you care to rethink it?"
"No, Sir," she replied, annoyed he implied that fucking her was less important than teaching her Roman history.
"Go to the office, young lady, and get over my desk. I will be there to punish you in a few moments."
"With the cane?!"
"Yes, Miss Harshaw, with the cane. It is high time you understood that your education is not a proper object of your disdain."
Had he been looking for an opportunity to use the cane on her, or did he really think the tutorial was more important? She was surprised at how angry she was about it. Who the fuck cared about the rape of Lucretia? Did John really love her, or was she just his latest tutee?
She was so pissed off that she actually didn't get over the desk, but rather stood there in his office, fuming. He found her standing in the center of the floor, looking at him. She was naked but for her collar, of course, but that didn't matter at all, since she was so used to it by now. This incident happened in perhaps the third week of October.
"Do you really think..." she began.
"Get over my desk, NOW, Miss Harshaw." He did not raise his voice. As far as Sarah could tell, John never, ever raised his voice. But the tone of it instantly reasserted his dominance over her. Her pussy tingled and flowed and she obeyed.
She heard him take the cane from the bookshelf with a little rattling sound.
"Sir..." she said. "I'm sorry."
"Not as sorry as you're going to be, Miss Harshaw," he said, drily, and began to cane her. After six, she did, actually scream "Yellow!"
"Listen to me, young lady," he said, right after that. "My love for you is the most important thing in the entire universe as far as I'm concerned. I'm willing to proceed on the supposition that the same is true, in the converse, for you."
Sarah quietly sobbed. Had she ever, ever, ever felt anything more painful than the six welts across her bottom, John's welts? She didn't think so.
"But that doesn't give me a license to harm your prospects, if we stoop to that Victorian phrase. What if I died tomorrow? What if our relationship couldn't continue, for any of a number of very good reasons?"
"There's no good reason. None," she said miserably.
"Grant me this, Sarah. Perhaps there are good reasons. I can't think of any right now, but perhaps there are. I would owe it to you, and you would owe it to yourself, that you were prepared to continue with your studies. You are brilliant. I don't know if you're going to write a book about Livy, or about Roman history, or about anything related. Frankly, I don't know if people will still be writing things called 'books' ten years from now. But you have a gift for classical history, and probably for a lot of related things, and I'm not going to let you waste it because I want to fuck you in the ass every night for the rest of eternity."
"Oh, God... John..." The pain from the cane welts had begun to fade, and it was communicating itself to Sarah's pussy in a truly extraordinary way.
"Um... make love to me?" (That was the first time Sarah ever uttered that phrase.)
He kneeled behind her now, the cane thrown aside, with his face buried in her ass and she was screaming. She came, and then he carried her the short distance over to the office couch, settling her on top of his cock, holding her burning bottom cheeks in his big hands. 
"I'm going to teach you to ride me, now," he said softly, and he began to guide her upon him, until they moved in rhythm. "Does that feel nice, sweetheart?" he asked.
"Oh, fuck. Oh, yes, Sir."
John tsked at her foul language and looked up into her face. She saw an expression in his eyes she hadn't ever seen before: Certainly it was not in any way a submissive expression, but it wasn't really dominant–just... loving. He wanted to make her feel good; that she feel good was his will for her at that moment. She felt tears well up in her eyes.
"Sir... thank you for caning me."
He smiled up at her. "Any time, young lady."


When Professor John Dunn moves to Corbin's Bend, hoping to live the spanking-centered BDSM lifestyle for which he has always yearned, he gets more than he bargained for when his brilliant student Sarah Harshaw sets out to seduce him. Sarah, in turn, gets much more than she bargained for when she finds herself taken in hand, and loving it. Both John and Sarah know that their torrid D/s relationship is wrong, but both also know that they have found in the other a true partner not just erotically, but intellectually as well. 

Will their love survive the trials that inevitably befall it when Sarah's parents find out, and confront John? Can Sarah convince John that she knew what she was doing when she entered his office even though wearing his collar wasn't in her game-plan? 


  1. Thanks so much, Tara! I'm really interested to hear what people think about the questions! Here are some thoughts of my own.

    1. I think that dynamic can develop quickly in real life, though perhaps not as quickly in the book. I definitely don't believe in love at first sight (remember that John has been teaching Sarah for six weeks or so before she asks to meet with him with the intent of seducing him), but I believe certain people can realize quickly how well suited they are for one another.

    2. This is a really tough question, because of the power relation involved in the academic situation and the youth of college students. I do think that in a (probably very unlikely) situation like John and Sarah's, it would be ethically permissible, but in real life I think it makes more sense for this kind of relationship simply to be prohibited, so that everyone knows where s/he stands.

    3. I think that a lot of people separate DD from D/s (the wonderful Kathryn Blake just wrote a terrific post about it, actually, which I don't completely agree with but which seems to me a great summary). Maeve and Joe are my representation of that separation: Joe doesn't go ballistic because of the spanking--it's the butt-plug that gets to him. He can imagine spanking Maeve--he does it all the time! He could never, ever imagine plugging Maeve, for punishment or for pleasure. I like to think Maeve can imagine being plugged, but is never going to admit it.

    4. Thanks for asking this one! I intend John to be a kind of questioning of the "strong alpha" standard for dominants, and him making the mistake (and it's definitely a mistake, in my mind) of breaking up with Sarah is a crucial part of that.

    I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

  2. Thanks for kicking us off to a flying start :) It's great to get your views.
    In response to your second reply, it would actually be really interesting to know how many colleges do expressly forbid such relationships, and also if such prohibitions extend to all students - say for example, a mature student, where the age gap would lessen the implications.

    1. I think there are quite a few that do, now, though I think most (like my fictional Sandy Ridge) still don't have policies except for the general ones about sexual harassment.

  3. 1. Depending on how intuitive one is, I think one can get quick impressions of people that turn out to be accurate.
    2. I bought into the mutual feelings that John and Sarah had for each other. They were two halves of a whole, so the issue you raise did not bother me. But in real life--uh, yeah they would. John's actions are a HUGE breach of ethics and he should be fired. Her parents were right to get as upset as they did. That's real life. Fiction is something different.
    3. The parents' reaction does seem to run contrary until one considers that age and timing matter. Their daughter is so young, and her "dom" is so much older. For instance, although parents want grandchildren--they don't want them from their teenager. Had Sarah been older and her HoH/Dom younger, they might not have had such a strong opposition.
    4. I thought John was very noble in this regard. In real life, I think people often sacrifice too much for love. I've seen women (and some men) make very foolish choices.

    I enjoyed this book very much. Great read.


    1. I agree totally on buying the mutual feelings, and willing Joe and Maeve to butt out, but all the while asking what would I do if it was one of my daughters. I have to admit, butting out would probably be almost impossible... And, as you say the age difference is a huge factor.
      Thanks so much for your thoughts.

  4. Thanks for the thought provoking questions, Tara.

    "Fraternizing" with your students is definitely frowned upon by most colleges and universities. For some, it is cause for dismissal. It's not unheard of for a professor to marry a student, but I'd say any romantic relationships that occur before marriage would need to be kept "hush-hush.".

    I also congratulate Emily for tackling some very important issues that can exist in the fictional world or Corbin's Bend as well as out of it. I can understand and identify with Joe and Maeve's concern. Sarah and John's relationship exceeded the boundaries of DD (in my opinion). She's barely of legal age and a willing slave to her professor. Yup, definitely a concern. Their age difference would be another issue for her parents, I'd think. When I was 21, I dated a man who was 42. I can definitely say that my parents were not thrilled about that relationship. If a couple has a twenty year age difference, when in their twenties and forties the separation in years doesn't seem all that significant. Take away or add another twenty or thirty years and the difference in age becomes much more of an issue.

    I sort of combined a couple of questions in my reply, but I still want to address the first one.

    1. Yes, I think it's possible for two people to recognize the dominance or instinctive submission in another person during a first meeting. As to whether knowing they are "the one," I believe that takes time. Love at first sight is probably a physical reaction to pheromones. I'm a romantic at heart, so I do think love can conquer many things. Perhaps not all, but it certainly makes life more interesting.

    Emily, I'd love to hear your opinions on DD, D/s and BDSM. What I wrote is definitely an opinion article. There are no absolutes, and each relationship is unique. As to crossover, it definitely exists between those dynamics. I want to encourage a discussion just to show how varied opinions can be on something that is so personal to many of us.

    Thanks to both of you for giving us such a thoughtful exchange.

    1. You're so welcome. Thanks for such a thoughtful comment!

      My only area of disagreement is that in my opinion it's not possible to separate the behavior-modification aspect of spanking from the erotic. But I would never try to force that opinion on anyone else, of course!

    2. Thanks for joining the discussion Kathryn.

      You raised an incredible point about taking away or adding another twenty years, it actually becomes quite scary, even if you just subtract a decade. and add on thirty years, Sarah will still be a middle aged woman, married to a man in his mid seventies.

      I loved your article on DD D/s and BDSM. It was just great to see it all put into some structure, even if there are some variations of opinions, degrees etc.

  5. Fascinating disucssion today. Thank you everyone!

    I think it would be a little strange for a parent to see their child in a relationship with someone closer to the parents' age than the child's. On the other hand, I know several people who have such marriages and are very happy.

    As for the professor/student thing...I think it happens more often than we'd like to admit. I think the key factor, for me, would be if their personalities seemed equal or at least that the student didn't seem starstruck and naive.

    When I taught at the college level every now and then someone would ask me about the "hot guys"...and all I could think about what "what on earth would I talk about with one of them?"

    1. Thanks for having us here to have the dicussion, Celeste. It's been great :)
      Yes, it's very hard to apply one hard and fast rule, either about age gaps, or indeed about student/professor relationships as there are so many variables.
      LOL, I can't imagine how much conversation I could manage either!

  6. 0. I have not read this book, though I dearly want to since I love Emily's style and the Corbin's Bend paradigm.

    1. I don't believe in love at first sight unless the two people know something about each other before meeting that first time. Like, who they're friends with, or where they work. Love is something that grows organically, to my way of thinking, but "lust at first sight" -- yes, that's a definite possibility.

    2. Yes, it's overstepping many cultural mores. However, people are people, they're not automatons. When they feel something strongly for one another, that might tip the scales.

    As a parent of 26 yr old daughters, I can only say I WISH they'd find someone older and more mature than they are to partner with. From my position, I would not have a problem with it.

    3. I have friends--dearly beloved friends--who have a pinkie-lock relationship with hypocrisy. They don't realize it and, although I have gently hinted that maybe they should re-think their positions on things, they keep right at it. If Joe and Maeve fall into this category, ensconced in Corbin's Bend where an alternative lifestyle is prevalent, then they are not alone. We all have mixed up emotions about things. I think it's realistic for Emily to give them strong emotions that might be contrary and unexpected.

    4. Not many people have the self-discipline to sacrifice for love. I think a Dom should have self-discipline in a Big Way, so it makes sense to me that John would show that kind of sentiment.

    I'm looking forward to reading this book, and the questions and concepts discussed here make it even more appealing.

    1. Thanks, Trish! I love your answer to #3!

    2. Thanks for joining in, Patricia

      I'm with Emily, your answer to question 3 is wonderful.
      No 4 is very insightful, I thought. And your comment about your daughters made me giggle. :)


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