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As She's Told

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As She's Told by Anneke Jacob

Winner of the National Leather Association's 2008  Pauline Reage Novel Award.

The toughest love and the deepest intimacy, rendered in language that's consistently surehanded and deeply alive. I read it in a fever of engagement, arousal, and continuing fertile dialogue. When it comes to BDSM for smart girls, put this fantasia of unrelenting surrender at the top of your list.

Molly Weatherfield, author of Carrie's Story and Safe Word

Take two caring, thoughtful individuals with some highly unusual sexuality, let their paths cross, and watch how far their obsession takes them. That's the essence of this story about an intense bdsm relationship: extreme, loving, creative, steeped in imagination, embedded in the real world. What emerges is a passionate, private sexual reality, in which the balance of power tips only one way.

Maia and Anders want nothing less than total consensual power exchange, without games, negotiations or safewords. Any pretence is out of the question; for both of them the power relationship has to be as genuine as it is absolute, but Anders is more than aware of the risks to inexperienced Maia if she should be wrong about what she can handle. Early on, he steers a careful line between games and gobbling her up. His ownership is established step by step through conditioning, rough consequences and constant bondage. Before long, Maia finds walking away has become inconceivable. Anders keeps his slave increasingly 'on a very short tether' something to which she struggles to adjust, in a continuous state of terror and joy. His love of technology takes some interesting turns, particularly around orgasm control, teasing and denial.

The intensification of Maia's chosen enslavement is balanced by the pair's affection, sense of humour and intelligent conversation, and by the real world of work and friends. Some of these friends become integrated into the menage one way and another, and help Anders create the setting in which Maia's uttermost submission can flower. Consensual BDSM erotica.


I sat down again and managed a longer glance at the man beside me. The Goth couple were getting up to go; it just about occurred to me to nod a vague farewell to them before turning back to Anders. Those disconcerting light-grey eyes were on my face, and I dropped mine hastily and said, “Are you really from here – I mean Canada? Your name and –” I looked up and gestured at his hair, which was straight, a little shaggy, and pale as Ikea pine; the blondest I’d ever seen on an adult – naturally, I mean, and this clearly wasn’t peroxide. It was the first time I’d taken the lead. I was bad at it, awkward and embarrassed, and I tucked my gesturing hand back below the table so he wouldn’t see it shaking.
He looked kindly at me. “No, not from here originally, but it’s been what?” he calculated. “Christ, seventeen years. We moved here from Denmark when I was ten. So – no accent. If you move before you’re an adolescent you take on the new accent; after and you’re stuck with the old one. Some language learning area in the brain that shuts down when the hormones start. I can turn it on any time, though,” he said, and suddenly the voice and rhythms matched the Nordic looks. “My parents and sister have gone back; not my brother, though.”
I smiled at the accent, conscious of my breathing. I could have listened to the sound of his voice forever, in any accent: complex, deep harmonics that shook me. “Why did they go back?”
In the next sentence he was back to pure southern Ontario, tight vowels and all.
“Got homesick, I think. My father manages building projects, that’s what brought him here in the first place.”
“Right. I must have inherited a building gene.” He tipped down the last few inches in his water glass, and I watched, secretly enthralled by the long, moving throat with its big Adam’s apple, the muscles sliding from neck to shoulder like magnificent tree roots. He’d been trying not to crowd me, I could tell, but he couldn’t help taking up most of the booth. The glass came down, and I tore my eyes away, breathing in his atmosphere: wood resin, faintly and soap, and something else that made me long to taste his skin. He continued, “Once my sister was through high school my dad got a project to do in Denmark. What about your family, where do they come from?”
“Oh, I’m a mix.” His look was inquiring; I half shrugged. “Well. It’s complicated. On one side, there’s – let’s see – Chilean marries Russian Jew.”
“Really? How did that happen?”
“My Jewish grandpa got around a fair bit, so I’m told. Spent some time in Santiago and started a business there. Married my grandmother. They moved to the U.S. after a while, and then he left her and started another family in New York, and they got divorced. I never met him, though he’s supposed to be still alive somewhere. My dad was brought up by a very anglo stepfather.”
“And the other side?”
“On the other side I had a grandmother who was mostly Cree. She married an Irishman. You name it.”
“Wow! All sorts of possibilities.”
“For what?”
“Identity, I guess. Culture.”
I laughed uncomfortably. “No. Not if your parents turn their back on it all. Then it’s just exotic-looking window dressing. Anyway, too many ethnicities kind of cancels out, I think. What do you pick?”
“Are your parents from here?”
“They aren’t here at all; I’m from California. Oakland. There’s a culture for you.” I fiddled with the salt shaker. “Actually, I was born in Winnipeg, where my mother’s from, but we moved to California when I was little.”
“What for?”
“My dad’s family was there. We went back so he could get in on the Silicon Valley thing, but he was a little late. He ended up chasing his dreams to L.A., then Oakland. We moved a lot.”
I could see him mulling that one over. Damn it, why had I said that? Now he was going to think I grew up all pathetic and friendless and was looking for some man to latch on to.
But he moved on. “And why don’t you sound like a Valley Girl?”
I opened my eyes wide at him. “Like, I always hated it, okay? Omygod, I try not to sound like a total airhead.” The voice was so familiar I could turn it on like a tap. It was my turn to make him laugh.
“Is that why you went to school here? To change your accent?”
“Totally.” We both laughed. “In fact, I went to San Jose State first. Valley like you would not believe. Then I transferred to U. of T. in my third year.”
I was about to give him the usual explanation, the one about U. of T. having better courses on rare manuscript research. But something else came out of my mouth instead. “You’re going to think this is very weird.” Dammit, why can’t you keep your mouth shut?! I gave him a pained look, took a breath, then let it out slowly, feeling slightly desperate. Oh, what the hell. “I couldn’t take it. The race stuff. People being sent to prison for years for petty crimes. The hatred, the fear. Violence. Toronto’s heading that way but it’s a different feel; it’s nowhere near as scary.” Oh, god. Why had I told him that? Any reasonable interpretation would have to drive him away.
He looked at me seriously. “The world out of control?”
“Yes!” I looked up at him, shocked, and laughed. “How did –?”
“You need safety. Security.”
I stared at him. “Yes. I do. But most people would assume if I felt like that I wouldn’t want – couldn’t take – the kind of, well, violence that –” I struggled, felt the blood rise in my face. He reached out and took my hand in both of his, and my voice stopped. Just stopped dead.
I looked down at the enormous hands engulfing mine. Calloused, hard, long-fingered, warm. Profoundly reassuring. Disturbing as hell. That first touch silenced me; for a long moment it silenced us both. I looked at his hands and he looked at me.
I finally took an audible, shaky breath and went on. I said things I’d never said out loud in all my life.
“I spent years thinking I was – attracted and horrified by the same things – pain, imprisonment. Helplessness.”
His grasp tightened. “I used to wonder too. How I could want to inflict such things. But really I knew it was different. The world’s violence and ours are not the same thing, Maia. One has victims. The other doesn’t.”
“I know,” I whispered. “Consent. Choice. There we go again.” I turned my head away, took back my hand and laughed.
“You do have a choice. I can’t help that. I won’t kidnap you.” He smiled. “Unless you need that.”
I gave him a swift glance and laughed again, this time more genuinely. “No.”
“What do you need, Maia? Believe me, I won’t keep consulting you if this works out for us. But I need to know if it could work at all.”
“But if I tell you…”
“I know, it’s taking control.”
“No – yes – it’s more than that. I’m – I need…god this is hard…” I gathered myself. “Look, what if what I am is too extreme and you think I’m – I’m sick?”
“I doubt it.”
I shook my head and looked down at the hands in my lap, plucking and folding my dress.
“Do you want to be damaged? Scarred? Dismembered?”
“Be used as a toilet? Have sex with animals?”
“Do you want to be sold off to white slavers?”
I gasped out of tension, blurted a laugh and shook my head. “No.”
“Then I doubt there’s anything you want that I don’t want more.”
The shock and clang of the last few sentences gradually faded. I looked up at him, painful doubt in my eyes.
“All right,” he said slowly, “let me tell you what I want. What I need.”
I nodded. I was relieved that he would be the one to say these things, these unspeakable things, not me.
His voice dropped to a low, intimate thunder that resonated somehow at the back of my skull. “I need to own a woman and control her, twenty-four hours a day. I want absolute control, not a vanilla relationship with some s/m trimmings, not some sideline bedroom thing. I’ve settled for less, and I may have to do it again, but that’s what I need. I don’t want to play games, I don’t want to scene, I don’t want to negotiate, I don’t want someone who’s free to walk away. I want a slave, a real one. Human chattel.”
His words entered into me at some level, along with meaning, but they had to sink slowly through the mire in my brain. The sudden heat of my body was slowing all my synapses. There was a faint ringing in my ears, and for a minute I could hardly see.
Through the fog came his voice, dropping another note or two. “If you were mine, Maia, I’d take good care of you. I’d take the greatest care not to damage you. But there would be beatings, constant control, humiliation – I’d treat you like an animal and worse. If that’s beyond what you can take, we might as well know it now. That wouldn’t mean there’s nothing for us, but it won’t be long-term.”
My vision was clearing; in my line of sight were his fingers, pressing the table until the nails went white. I could feel his desire coming at me in a wave, so strong it was all I could do to resist the undertow.
His words had coalesced in my head, and now were like balls in a basket that clicked as they collided and banged. …a slave, a real one… an animal…. A very small Maia lurked in a dark basement with two curved wooden blocks held around her wrist, secretly playing at being chained in a dungeon. I’d been four or five. By nine I’d spent each night in elaborate fantasies of slave civilizations. The stories by the age of twelve were darker and saturated in humiliating sex and fear. It was the one hidden, overpowering constant of my life.
And yet every other voice I’d ever heard had told me I was wrong. Wrong to relinquish control, wrong to submerge my self, my being. Even the other subs.
I forced myself to glance beyond the intent circle of our two bodies. Even Lena and Nikki were gone. The restaurant was in its mid-afternoon lull, and the waiter had long since given up on us. I suddenly noticed the noise of traffic from outside, something I hadn’t heard for hours.
The man beside me watched me quietly. I looked down at my hands. They weren’t shaking.
I looked up into his eyes. Clear, aware eyes, kind eyes.
“It’s not.”
“It’s not what?”
“It’s not beyond what I can take.”
The look he gave me was of such concentrated heat and sweetness that I felt filled with light, hollow enough to float. For a while I just focused on breathing in, breathing out.
At last I anchored myself carefully, and found more words. “You just described me – what I am. Or at least what I’m meant to be. And the details – what happens – how far it goes – that’s not up to me. What matters is who is in control. And it can’t be, it shouldn’t be – me.”
He let out a long, slow breath, and took my hand again, his eyes searching my face. At last he gave whatever he found there a nod of recognition. I felt his thumb stroke the back of my hand, back and forth, back and forth.
“And are you saying it should it be me?”
“I think so.”
“You’ll need to think carefully. We’ll see. All right. We may have something here. If we’re lucky.” He laughed suddenly. “There’s an understatement for you.” His smile faded, and he gave me a look from beneath lowered eyebrows. “But we’re taking this slowly, do you hear me? You give me your number, we go out, we talk, we get to know each other some more. No jumping into this. I could take you over too soon, and it could all go wrong for you and you might not be able to say so. No. We have a lot to work out, not least how you can have choice but no choice. That’ll take time. So I’m sending you home now.”
I was trembling both with frustrated lust and with the pleasure of being told what to do. I wrote down my phone number and watched him pay the cheque. He scared me just by standing up, he was so big . Six-foot six or seven, maybe? A foot and a half taller than me. There was a tough, supple quality to his body that I couldn’t tear my eyes from, now that he was looking elsewhere. He didn’t have the self-conscious stoop that some very tall men have, but occupied the upper atmosphere as if he owned it. Not a Norse god of the bulked-up gym-muscles type. A lone coniferous tree-god reigning high above the deciduous canopy. Or a god from somewhere else in the pantheon. One with hard hands and muscles that came from real work. Wasn’t there something in that mythology about a giant master builder?
He walked me to the streetcar stop, his arm around me, his huge hand enclosing my shoulder. He was obviously walking slowly for my benefit, strolling. A wind gusted, swept shreds of clouds across the sky, played with my hair. This man’s body against mine was maddening. I hadn’t been anything like calm since he’d appeared next to me. I would have wanted to go to bed with him if I’d met him anywhere, but to have this golden giant find me there, turn out to be my brief miraculous mirror image of the chat room – that was good fortune beyond anything I could ever have expected. And he was sane, and he understood me, and he wanted me. All those hours, inches away but not touching, tantalized, wanting, imagining. And he was sending me home.

Artist Credit

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Product Reviews

  1. Superb Writing - Makes other books in this genre look crude

    Posted by Jurgen von Stuka on 9th Sep 2014

    My first reading of this work was cursory. I scanned and thus failed to dig into Jacob's intense build of a love story such as this. The details of feelings, emotions, physical sensitivities and mutual trust are very carefully wrapped up in a tale that will probably put off the reader seeking instant gratification. I say this because, as one other review points out, there is a long wind up to the pitch in this game of will she or won't she, does he or doesn't he, will they or won't they?

    Still, compared to other books in this category, I found it to be beautifully structured with tiny bits of detail that I wish I could build into my own work. It is great to find some of our BDSM works that are more than whip and whack, bind and gag. I enjoyed this book immensely and recommend it to anyone who searchs for more than just a physically stimulating read.

  2. Biker disciplines his Bitch

    Posted by ZZZ on 20th Mar 2011

    Well, this story has received a lot of press. I read it and got the feeling that the author, Jacob, was writing a book about a teen age gang and decided to pepper it with B&D scenes. This work has been compared to Carey's Story. It is not. To save you time, the good parts are in Chapters 22 and 31. It is a well written book if you want to wade through all the meaningless conversations. As for me, better reads are Chris Bellow's two books: Ship of Remorse and Suspension Bondage, available through Pink Flamingo.

  3. Life changing?

    Posted by Unknown on 28th Jul 2010

    this book profoundly changed how and what I want to read in erotic fiction. It is now my touchstone of what I want to read and so far nothing has come up to the impact As She's Told has had on me. For that Ms Jacob must be commended.

    But, then of course no other story holds my interest and I have become jaded as a reader. Who knew!

  4. Posted by Unknown on 23rd Apr 2010

    As She’s Told by Anneke Jacob

    Reviewed by Ashley Lister for the Erotic Readers and Writer's Assoc.

    Appropriately enough, for the Valentine’s month of February, As She’s Told is a love story. Set in contemporary Toronto, Canada, Anders and Maia meet briefly through an internet chatroom and then make their first face-to-face contact during a convenient munch. They both feel a strong connection when they meet. That connection grows more powerful very swiftly. It isn’t long before the casual reader discovers that this is a couple who deserve to be together.

    However the course of true love never does run smooth and every love story needs a complicating action. In Gone With the Wind, Rhett and Scarlet are kept apart by the American Civil War. In Romeo and Juliet the title characters are separated by the senseless feuding of their embittered families. In King Kong, the eponymous hero never gets to be with his girl because his penis is the same size as the bus she rides to work. In As She’s Told, Anders and Maia struggle to develop their relationship because they’re both into BDSM.

    Anneke Jacob’s story is rich and powerful. Anders and Maia are a couple who are described with loving and delicious detail. Their relationship is hardcore but never unbelievable and it is always grounded in a well-crafted reality. The Toronto they inhabit is a three-dimensional world that is deftly envisioned and perfectly realised. I’ve never been to Toronto however, after reading As She’s Told, I believe I could find my way around the city blindfolded.

    Maia has a natural tendency to submission. Perhaps this is understating the situation – or perhaps Maia is just too honest about her own needs for me to make that distinction. You’ll have to read the book and work that one out for yourself.

    Anders is a very capable dom. He has an instinctive ability to know what Maia needs, but enough humanity to doubt himself. Those inner doubts make him appear vulnerable, humane and loveable.

    The fact that both these characters are not native Canadians – Anders is descended from Danish stock and Maia’s heritage has taken a circuitous route around the world – provides another clue to the complicating action of this story. Even though this couple have managed to find each other in Toronto, and even though they are accepted by a wide social circle of family and friends: they remain outsiders throughout the story.

    It would be difficult for any BDSM enthusiast not to enjoy this story. The characters leap off the first page and develop into rounded individuals for whom the reader knows, loves and cares. Their situation is in turns frustrating, amusing, passionate and complex – the same as every conventional well-told love story.

    If your appetites stretch to well-written BDSM, and you love to immerse yourself in tales of believable people, then As She’s Told is this spring’s must-have read.

    Ashley Lister
    February 2009

    Reviewed by JG-Leathers

    I’ve seldom had the pleasure of reading such a wonderfully intense book as the one Anneke Jacob has just released. Her story, AS SHE’S TOLD, in my view easily surpasses the work of Pauline Reage (Story of O) and it is my belief and hope that this story will become an erotic classic in every sense of the word.

    AS SHE’S TOLD is the best kind of love story ... a tale of two people from widely disparate backgrounds, who find in each other, the perfect match to their deepest fantasies and needs, then move slowly and carefully to make their mutual dreams come true. That these are so widely at variance with what society normally considers ‘love’ matters not to them, for they are deeply-committed to bringing their fantasies to life and it IS a love story in the truest sense, despite some of the darker passions that are slowly unleashed.

    Maia and Anders initially meet in an internet chat room and at a safe electronic distance describe what they seek, but each with an eye to the fact that the other may not be what they profess. Soon though, they come to meet in person and that is when the story begins in earnest. Over the course of the following weeks and months Maia slowly and willingly becomes immersed in the life she has always wanted ... that of being a fully-controlled slave, possession, and eventually, an animal, doing only as she has been commanded. Maia moves into Anders house and not only does she become his possession physically, but mentally as well, while his control of her physical person and her mind and awareness is constantly increased. This situation though, is not a ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ occurrence, but one of deep commitment to each other.

    The story is told from two points of view: Maia’s and Anders’, and as such is a fascinating look into both personalities, clearly showing why they are who and what they are, and react as they do to the life they are creating for themselves. Ms Jacob’s other characters and the locale’s they function in are as finely and exactingly drawn, and so the story is fleshed out in the most believable way.

    Ms Jacob has obviously spent a great deal of time and effort to polish her descriptions of her characters: their dress, appearance, emotions, sensations and how they react to each other and the world around them. All of her characters are beautifully and crisply drawn and Maia and Anders are most certainly not cardboard cut-outs, but living, breathing people that you and I could meet on the street or at work and really like. The locales and equipment are beautifully described and a reader can quite literally see the places and feel all of her equipment being fitted. Her plot line is of intricate interest and flows smoothly to a logical and lovely conclusion and I sincerely hope there is a sequel to this wonderful story.

    As She’s Told is such a good story that other readers have thought that it is actually a memoire, rather than fiction.

    I cannot but envy this tour de force display of Ms. Jacob’s skill with words, for she has crafted her story to the precision of a Swiss time piece. All in all, this story is a classic piece of erotic fiction and not just jerk off porn.

    I recommend it MOST highly to anyone who wishes to read a story of love, lust and kink. You’ll not be disappointed with this gem of a book.

    Reviewed by Tobias Tanner

    “If you were mine, Maia…I’d take care of you, but…there would be beatings, constant control, humiliation…I’d treat you like an animal and worse. If that’s beyond what you can take, we might as well know it now.”

    “It’s not beyond what I can take.”

    “Then we may have something here…if we’re lucky.”

    Have you ever had a conversation like that? Anders and Maia do, and it sets the stage for changes they can neither predict nor prepare for. Anneke Jacob has done a masterful job of blending life and lifestyle, and you know which lifestyle I mean. In the wordsmith trade, there is character and characterization; the former describes, the latter defines. Ms. Jacob has done both. These people are multi-dimensional, thoughtful and interesting. You can’t help but care about them.

    It is a big story, told in detail, but well worth the time. This novel follows the path of a man and a woman along the rocky road to…well, you know where. Not perdition, certainly, although some might see it that way; unless you can take first class seats on the A-train to hell, that is, AND hell is where you wanted to go in the first place, AND you are ready, willing and able to take a hell of a ride to hell in the process.

    This is not about kidnapped slaves tortured into submission and eventual compliance. It isn’t about Stockholm Syndrome, or wifely compliance. It’s about a learning curve. Take a willing submissive with a yen to be a total slave, mix well with an intelligent sadist with the will and mental acuity to take over someone’s life, mix well with real lives, with real questions and puzzles to solve, bake in the crucible of a masochist’s pain, and voilá, you have a plausible and well crafted novel.

    Ms. Jacob treats us to minor doses of philosophy, music, conservation, green living and left-handed politics; all stewed in with straps and whips and gags and chastity belts and electrical training devices (think dog collar and dildo in the same sentence). Her characters are full-bodied. Their lifestyle is extreme but, in context, believable. And I was left with the distinct impression that I would like these people. You could sit down and have coffee with them, talk about things, have a few laughs.

    See if you don’t agree.

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