Genre: LGBT Fiction
Publisher: Can’t Put It Down Books
Date of Publication: July 28, 2016
Number of pages: 315
Word Count: 103,216
Cover Artist: Genevieve Lavo Cosdon
Russell has lost everything; his wife Mandy, his children and his suburban mini-mansion. Left with only the tatters of a once successful life, he discovers the courage to venture beyond the boundaries of conventionality. Stripping off his male exterior, Allison makes her debut, bringing a ray of hope that life might offer more than pain and confusion. His boss, Sylvia, a dominant and beautiful sexual powerhouse, has other ideas after discovering his deepest secret. As Sylvia’s hold on Russell tightens he is torn between shame and desire. Can he break free from Sylvia’s grasp? Will he choose to be: Russell or Allison?
DIVORCE. THE WORD RATTLED around in his brain like a steel ball in an old-fashioned pinball machine. The papers had arrived at his office that morning by courier; he was officially divorced. Russell Radcliffe pulled his cherry-red Mercedes Benz convertible into the garage of his modest rancher and slid the transmission lever into park. Stung by the events of the day, he sat quietly, struggling with the dramatic change in his lifestyle. The five thousand square foot McMansion, the pool with elaborate cabana complete with wet bar and massage table, the Mercedes and the Range Rover, the country club membership, the well-earned upscale lifestyle—gone. The dream life with his children and the woman he promised to love for better or for worse were now a memory.When days were rosy and nights sultry, the couple fell for the trappings of opulence. To support their lifestyle Russell and his wife mortgaged themselves right to the edge, not close enough that a fall from grace was eminent, but close enough that Russell could feel the spray from the waves pounding on the financial rocks below. The last brick in the wall crumbled; the mansion—her dream home—had a for sale sign with a picture of a 40-something big-haired, big nailed, real estate goddess in the front yard. The real estate market had softened putting a large portion of their nest egg in harm’s way. His wife got to remain in the house with the two teenagers, forcing him to relocate. She wanted everything before she would cede his car to him.
He wanted that car; he needed that car. He equated the car with his identity even more than the house.
Russell replayed those last days of their marriage. In one fell swoop, Mandy revealed she was having an affair and had the divorce papers served to his office the next day. Not only was he not getting any, an interloper had been planting in his garden. He told Mandy that he was willing to forgive her, that she would regret leaving him, that she couldn’t stand on her own two feet.
“Come to your senses Mandy. Quit this foolishness and think it through.”
She had laughed. “Do you think I haven’t thought this through? Do you think I’m doing this because I want to get your attention?”
“I don’t understand why you’re doing this to me. I just want you to stop. Adultery is against the law.” His voice was strained; he wanted desperately to get through to her. His wife stood arms akimbo, her long sleek legs ran from her blue skirt, through nude pantyhose, and slid perfectly into navy blue patent leather pumps. She was attractive, even after two hard pregnancies. Her auburn hair wafted in sultry waves across her soft shoulders ending elegantly just short of the middle of her back. Large hazel eyes were framed by high cheekbones, thin nose and highly sculptured eyebrows. Her complexion hinted at regular trips to the tanning salon.
“When you started wearing my clothes I knew it was over. You were the one who turned our marriage into a farce, not me. ” Her tone was accusatory. “And don’t think threats will work with me, kiddo. I can ruin you if you put me in that position.” Her gaze was cold steel.
Russell looked her over; he would have begged her to stay if his pride wasn’t so strong. He loved her; she was his female role model; everything he wanted to be in a woman he saw in his wife. But he couldn’t condone her desire to find pleasure in another’s bed. Looking away he calculated his options; they were bleak. Losing his job wasn’t an option. He had worked long and hard to parlay the master’s degree in finance into a high profile position with an investment banking firm. He figured he would be summarily dismissed if his superiors knew he was transgender.
After the divorce he licked his wounds and decided to buy down-market. The shock of a smaller place on a postage stamp lot made him wish he hadn't been so critical when his wife unceremoniously disclosed her extramarital affair. He lost that struggle and was losing others. He would never give up his femininity even though it had meant losing his wife, who realized she wasn’t the only woman in his life. This had cut her deeply and she had made him bleed.
As he sat in the car with the engine running he considered pressing the activator button to bring the garage door down and seal off the garage. Just one click and he would fade slowly into eternal sleep.
Nikki DiCaro has been writing novels, inspirational essays and poetry for over ten years. Her novels focus on complex characters whose real-life problems touch on the issues of the day—from workplace harassment to divorce to transgender/LGBT issues. Gates of Submission is the first novel in her five-book series, “New Boundaries.” Its spicy plot twists will keep you on the edge of your seat.
When not creating fascinating characters and sensual scenes, Nikki writes inspirational essays which she posts regularly on her website, www.NikkiDiCaro.com. A proponent of parity, equality, and unconditional acceptance she is a frequent speaker and presenter on gender sensitivity and workplace equality.
Twitter handle: @NikkiOliviaDi1